Book Review ~ Simply Modern Patchwork Quilts by Janet Goddard

This months book review is of ‘Simply Modern Patchwork Quilts’ by Janet Goddard. It was released in May and I was lucky enough to bag a copy of it early that month. It contains patterns and step by step instructions for ten patchwork quilts as well as a section on the tools recommended to complete the projects and one on the techniques required to be successful. It has been produced beautifully by Quail Publishing and this makes it even more readable and ultimately far more usable than some other patchwork books.  Each quilt, it is said, could be made in a weekend or over a couple of weeks – which I guess is in the evenings – which I think is very possible.

Of the ten quilts, seven are categorised as ‘Easy’ and three are categorised ‘Needs Experience’. Each one of the ten quilts is pleasing and would fit right into a modern home (in fact any home).  Janet also encourages the reader to consider scaling the quilts up or down – which I think would be really easy to do. My first favourite from the book is the ‘Floating Triangles’ Quilt (Easy) which is a great way to show off your ability to create half square triangles and mount them as the feature in a plain background quilt. My second favourite is the ‘Starburst’ Quilt (Requires Experience) which is pictured cleverly using Tula Pink fabric for the sassy middle stars in the pattern.

If you follow my blogs you will know that I am far more drawn to modern quilting than pure traditional quilt (though everything has its place). This is a great starter book for those looking for modern patchwork designs.  I have struggled to find the ‘next book’ for my beginners’ classes. I’ve been looking for something that I can encourage them to use and know that they will be successful in making the quilts from it. This is definitely such a book and the step by step instructions and pictures, and the technique section will help those pupils enjoy the project along the way.

To accompany the launch of this book there is a sew-along (on Instagram) of the ‘Floating Triangles’ Quilt (search for #floatingtrianglessewalong or @naomialicec). It starts in September, so there is plenty of time to buy the book (currently £7.70 on Amazon), find your fabrics (the Festival of Quilts is only around the corner) and limber up in readiness for this very easy going 10-month sew-along (just one row a month).

 

Simply Modern Patchwork Quilts is definitely a book I would recommend – the quilts are great, you can scale them up or down and add your own fabric choice touches to each one to make them your own. The production of the book is superb with great step by step instructions. I have decided to join the sew-along… so why not buy the book and join me!

If you would like to know more about Janet Goddard, you can follow her on Instagram at @janetpatch1. Janet is also a member of the Quilters Guild (@thequiltersguild) and the Guild’s Modern Quilting Group (@quiltersguildmoderngroup) – both of which are great Instagram accounts to follow.

2018 Summer Doodle Challenge : #gillymacdoodlechallenge

Did you know that doodling helps people concentrate while fostering creativity? It’s true 🙂 …..

This Summer I will be running two challenges. Both can be completed by anyone (children as well), and neither needs anything complicated by way of equipment. The first one is my GillyMac Doodle Challenge.

What is it? Each weekday for the six weeks from 23rd July to the 31st August I will post a 2-3minute video of a doodle that you should practise that day. Then on the Saturday of each week, I will post a video and some pictures of the doodles sewn out on the sewing machine. After 6 weeks you will have learnt 30 doodles and if you manage to follow on with the weekend doodle sewing then there will be a bonus video showing you how to make these into a fabric book containing 6 pages and one front cover of your sewn doodles. This will be a brilliant reference guide for your free-motion quilting going forward.  There will also be prizes and giveaways each week for those taking part.

What will you need? For the daily doodling, you will need an A5 or A4 notebook with blank pages and a sharp pencil. A notebook is better than sheets of paper, as single sheets can get lost. The notebook needs at least 30 pages in it.

For the weekend sewing, you will need a 12 1/2″ wadding square for each week (backing fabric, wadding and top fabric). It is best if the fabric is not patterned. Anything plain will do. You will also need contrasting thread and a darning foot for your sewing machine.

To make up the book at the end of the challenge,  you will need an additional 12 1/2″ wadding square, 5 eyelets, 75 cm of ribbon (anything will do – about 1/2″ wide) and 1/2m of fabric to bind all the squares.

How do you join? I have created a facebook event on my GillyMac Designs Facebook Page where all the videos will be posted each day. You need to click ‘going’ to the event or you will not be sent each video – clicking interested will not work. Please note that although you will need to click ‘going’ for each day you don’t actually need to be standing by your computer at 10am each day .. it just guarantees you will get the video – which you then have access to throughout the whole challenge.  For those of you on Instagram follow #gillymacdoodlechallenge not to miss a thing! 🙂

 

 

 

Ruler Quilting – A New Approach to FMQ

This week I held the first of my new Ruler Quilting Classes. I was really excited to show the five ladies all about how rulers can be used on a domestic sewing machine to create fabulous free motion designs.  Ruler quilting offers the opportunity to switch the way you think about free motion quilting.  By using rulers you are able to create smaller, manageable structures which are great to look at on their own, or you can embellish them with more traditional free motion designs, like pebbles, ribbons, figures of eights, feathers and zig zags. During the class, there is lots of practice in the morning (or on the first evening), and in the afternoon (or second evening) the class focusing on marking and making the cushion sampler below.

In the class, we learnt about ruler feet. The ruler foot looks exactly like your darning foot, except it is thicker. It doesn’t have the bar that fits over the needle screw and it doesn’t hop. instead, it will just glide over the material. Setting the ruler foot to the correct height is critical so that the fabric moves easily, but the height of the foot is not so great such that the stitches don’t complete properly or the ruler is able to slip under.

It is now possible to spend your life savings on rulers for use with a domestic machine – however, if you buy just a few, but good ones, then that is really all you need to get started. Rulers with good markings are equivalent to extra rulers, as you can use that one ruler in more dimensions with great accuracy. Before you buy any ruler, have a good look at it and see if there are options for you to use them in different ways, for example

  • Do they have markings so that you can echo the lines you have drawn at ¼” or ½” or more
  • Do they have degree marking at 45’ or 60’ so that you can accurately create a triangle or circle of your ruler work
  • Do they have clear starting and end points that mark ¼” from the needle or have a lip to stop you going past the point
  • Do they have both horizontal and vertical lines so that you can use the ruler at 90 degrees to your work with just as much accuracy without having to twist the quilt

There is more to the ruler than just the shape of the outside edge!

I buy Handiquilter rulers and have built up a little stock now. They are beautiful but expensive. In the class, each person can use my Handiquilter Rulers, but each pupil in the class had access to all four of the rulers that Angela Walters brought out earlier this year. They are versatile, the right size for domestic quilting and all four retail at around £90 in the UK, which is much less of an investment to make to continue with ruler quilting after the class.

As with everything, it is practising that makes us proficient. Ruler quilting is definitely something for you to try – for many people, I expect this to be the breakthrough in free motion quilting that they have been looking for.

For details of further information on my Ruer Classes 1 & 2  and other GillyMac class click here.

Keeping You Organised : Free Document Wallet

Before I go on holiday (or travel for business – when I used to do that regularly), I frequently had a really vivid dream.  It was one of those dreams that you wake up from all upset and worried and it takes you a moment to work out that actually it is all ok and it is just a dream – whew! The dream involves me trying really really hard to get to the airport and every mode of travel I try fails along the way. This leads to me being hideously late. Normally when I get close to the airport, I also realise that I haven’t got my passport with me and have to return home to collect it.  I feel stressed writing this down!

I have put these dreams down to my husband who is perpetually late for everything – except the airport. In normal everyday life, he doesn’t believe he is late until it is past the time he needs to be somewhere. So he can plan to go into Putney to coach rowing at 11am – which is a journey of about 30-40 minutes, so he should leave by 10.20am. However, in his mind, he isn’t late until it’s after 11am – even if he is still at home at 10.55am. Conversely, when we go to the airport we have to get there super early – hours earlier than is necessary – which then involves a ridiculous amount of hanging about and shopping!!  So let’s just blame him for my dreams! 

Before I went to New York in April, I did ponder my dream and thought it may help to make myself a document wallet so I knew exactly where the passports, travel documents, insurance papers etc., were. It was a huge success. It was small enough not to be bulky but big enough not to get lost. The zip, which is part way down the front didn’t get snagged on the content. All in all, I was really pleased with it. I made another one a couple of weeks ago for my daughter who was off to Slovenia on holiday with her pal… again it was a success. So I have written up the pattern to share with you all.

I hope you enjoy it – and your husband isn’t as funny and crazy as mine. 🙂

GillyMac Document Wallet

ps. We’ve been married 15 years today and he is the best!!

 

 

 

Book Review ~ WALK by Jacquie Gering

I buy alot (ALOT) of patchwork and quilting books. I am embarrassed to share with you that I often flip through them.. think ‘meeeehhhhhh’ and that is it. Another mildly expensive mistake. After buying another ‘meeehhhhh’ book a couple of weeks ago I decided that I should review and promote the really good ones I have. The ones that stand out as being well written (by someone who understands our art) and have something really informative to offer. So on the first Friday of each month from now on, I’ll be doing a book review under the hashtag #fridayreads. My blogs come out weekly on Thursdays, so for that week it will appear on a Friday (or late on Thursday Night) and will have my take on the book I am reviewing.


WALK – Mastering Machine Quilting with Your Walking Foot, by Jacquie Gering, first caught my eye because I teach a lot of ladies who seem to feel they have failed with quilting because they don’t enjoy free motion quilting (FMQ) and would dearly love to whip up one of the professional FMQ designs we see at shows or in books. This book really resets the view on Walking Foot Quilting and by the end of it you are buoyed by the fact you need never HAVE to FMQ again. 🙂 Alternatively, if like me, you do enjoy FMQ, it has taught me some excellent lessons which I will apply to my pieces nevertheless. In fact, I am itching to make book covers with my Junior Sewing Bee when they are back on Monday.

Do you skip the introduction pages of a book? I do.  I want to immediately get into the body of the book, however, this book starts with a chapter called Walking Foot 101. It shows you how to test your foot, and also how either utilise the markings and spacings on your foot or how to mark it up for success. After reading this section I immediately got out my seam guide and started measuring all over my foot – and what a difference that made to the samples I was about to work on !!!!! For me, this chapter was worth the price of the book alone. The picture here is not only of my thumb .. it is of me checking the distance from where my need would be coming down to the internal edge of the walking foot – which is precisely 1/4″.  I went on to mark my 1/4″ and 1/2″ turning points (something I’d guessed at in the past) and also create a mark to help me with curves – genius!

The book is really well produced. It is full of helpful diagrams to follow and many many pictures of Jacquie’s gorgeous quilts. The book takes you through quilting lines, curves, quilting decorative stitches as well as quilting in reverse (who knew!!) and provides designs which are achieved by turning the quilt. It concludes with a gallery of quilts made by Jacquie herself.

Curved crosshatching was one of my favourite designs  – super simple but super effective. My sample was made by marking 2 lines only. (Ta Dahhhhhh)

I also created a fan and then added some zigzags within the fan. This took a bit more marking, but the effect is great. This could be used or adapted to be used in any shape. I think it would look amazing within a set of semi-circles.

 

The tutorial for the nested diamond involved drawing a grid and then marking the turning points in the grid. I drew my grid really carefully and was a little slapdash with the turning marks, but I like the effect and can think of multiple uses for it. This design also pops the quilt, really defining the areas quilted and not quilted.

My final sample for this review was to use matchstick quilting to write a name.. Jacquie recommends this for smaller projects as it does take time and lots of thread. That said it was worth all the effort. I went off-piste here and used lock stitches at the start and end of each letter. I should have used Jacquie’s small stitch method as I think it would have been neater. I put this small error down to the excitement of making this work!

WALK is by Jacquie Gering and is published by Lucky Spool. I loved it – can you tell ?? If you are on Instagram, you can follow Jacquie via @jacquietps. In addition,  you may also want to follow @sarahashfordstudio who is also making samples and videos of lessons from this gorgeous book.

 

 

Off To The Beach

I loved this bag from the moment I saw the pattern. It was smart,  big and had the opportunity to use some really fun fabrics. In May half term my older daughter is off to find some sun in Slovakia, so hopefully, she will like the bag as much as I do and want to take it on holiday with her. The pattern is by Swoon Patterns. I enjoy making Swoon Pattern bags. The instructions are clear and reliable and the results are always really professional.

I used fabric from Sophie Allport. Sophie Allport isn’t your normal ‘go-to’ fabric store, her collection of canvas/homeware curated fabrics is great. I don’t have a little boy … but if I did, the Dinosaur fabric would be on my wishlist … in fact I love it so much, I may buy some anyhow!  Just a note on the Sophie Allport fabric – it is expensive at £25/m, but it is 150cm wide… that is super wide and so it is much better value than it may appear at first.

This bag is a little different as the handles are not sewn down on to the bag front, instead, they are threaded in a continuous loop around and through the bag. This makes the bag really different. I decided to buy handles ready made. I find that bought handles can often make a big difference to the professional look of the final bag. I recently found that U-Handbag is selling pleather handles on a roll. They are 1 1/4″ wide, backed with hessian. and come in 3 colours.  They are also beautifully edge stitched. They are too thick to easily sew onto a bag but could be attached with Chicago screws or something similar.

Although I used pleather for the handles, for the base piece of the bag I had a piece of real leather big enough – just. It also wasn’t too thick. The thickness of the base of this bag is important to consider as to make the bag corners you will be sewing through, the outer thicker fabric, your equivalent to the flamingo fabric and the fleece interfacing  all doubled over on itself… and my machine was fine with this except over the (already created) seams, where I needed to hand crank the machine through those bits carefully – and I won’t lie .. I broke several needles.

By comparison, making the buttonholes for the handles was much easier. This involved creating buttonholes through the flamingo fabric, fleece interfacing, lining and light/medium woven interfacing was easily enough after a few practise goes!

This bag doesn’t have many pattern pieces, so cutting out took me around 50 minutes and making the bag took 3 hours (max).  I have added to the bag by installing a meshed zipped pocket in it – for my daughter’s suncream and bits and pieces she needs regularly. I have also made a document wallet for her and a make-up bag to. I used the pattern from the Grainline Portside bag for the document wallet and winged it a little bit for the make up bag.