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.
Another classic from GillyMac TV 🙂
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.
Years ago I bought a book called “Liberated Quiltmaking II” by a lady called Gwen Marsden. I found the whole technique that she used for improvisational piecing very refreshing. I like rules, but I also like to know how far I can bend them and this book showed me a new way to piece patchwork without so many rules or worries. Early on, I made a number of small items using this technique and gifted them away. I wish I had taken more photos of my very early work. Not because it was uber memorable, but so I could have better recorded my journey through quilting and more importantly my journey to find the things I like most in the wide array of techniques and genres that make up the patchwork and quilting world. After a lot of small pieces, I did make a quilt, very loosely based on ideas gleaned from Gwen’s book.
Around the same time as this, I found a blog by Kate Pedersen called Sew Katie Did . Kate’s improvisation technique was more controlled but created the most amazing edgy modern pieces. I remember on our first family holiday in the Lake District, taking my sewing machine and working my way through a number of the pieces in her book Quilting Modern (which funnily enough she wrote with Jacquie Gerring, who also wrote WALK, the book I reviewed for #fridayreads this month). This is a piece I made on that holiday whilst Brian fell walked with the girls.
These two pieces are strikingly different but are linked by the more free approach they take in piecing. I think with quilt making my heart probably rests somewhere between the work of Gwen and Kate. I would be more certain if I felt more confident in working around a blank canvas, the complete opposite of creating a quilt strictly from a pattern. However, I can say with certainty that this is the direction my own personal quilting is most likely to go in the coming years.
I currently teach a class once or twice a year on my own GillyMac version of Liberated Quilting. Last week there were ladies here at the studio, eating cake and challenging themselves with colour and a more relaxed approach to piecing. I am not sure if they were complete converts to throwing away patterns, but I know they all enjoyed the day, as did I in hosting it.
Deborah and I made this stunning quilt together. She did the hard work in the patchwork piecing and I got to quilt it, and whilst I wanted the background to be a brilliant white, she chose the wonderful colours that make up the rings.
It was made using the Mini Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful. At the end of last year, I invested in a number of both the mini and full-size rulers for my classes. I really like working with rulers and teaching using good rulers. The best rulers are the really versatile ones. By that, I mean ruler with good markings on them so you can move them increments of partial inches and lines on so you can cut with the ‘on point’. These rulers have all those features AND they have matching quilting rulers which are excellent for identically matching the curves, inside and outside of your piecing work.
This quilt can be made using the larger ruler, but we chose to use the smaller one as I wanted to check out the suitability of this pattern for a cot size quilt – and it doesn’t disappoint. It is built using 2″ x 10″ strips, (for the larger quilt jelly roll strips are suggested). Although the pattern suggests using 20 10″ squares, in fact, we would recommend not bothering with this and just cutting up scraps, which are 10″ long, into 2″ slices. We found that the more colour tones we used and patterns we incorporated the more interesting the final quilt became. Fabric with smaller prints work best with this quilt as larger prints would get chopped up and lost. The strips are sewn together in batches and then cut cross-ways using the ruler.
As with all our rulers, we added Handi Quilter gripper to the back of them to stop them slipping as we cut out the fabric. This is essential and the Handi-Grip product is the best one that I’ve found (and a little goes a long way). The rulers have a slot in them that you place the rotary cutter in and move it along. We did think the slot was quite wide, but if you are consistent with how you place your cutter then this isn’t a problem.
More of an issue with the mini version Deborah was making, was that the pieces were small and partly bias cut, so were quite unstable. This meant that if you didn’t iron them they would curl slightly and not sew together well, but if you ironed them, even a little too vigorously, they would stretch and be useless. When you test out a quilt pattern, you are most often halfway through the patchworking build before the penny drops and we see how to get it working well. This quilt was no different and after a number of goes building the curved block only to find that they were too small, we tweaked the pattern to make it ‘full proof’.
The choice of the colours used in the blocks joining the rings is really important. If you decide to make this quilt yourself, consider carefully what colour and pattern to use for these pieces. Deborah chose a Dashwood Twist in smoke and a Kona grey.
Below I have attached a free quick reference guide for quilting this piece. The correct quilting rulers make the job much easier and I enjoyed filling in the shapes I made with very basic designs. This was not a hard quilt to make look good.
I am thrilled with this quilt. It would make a stunning baby gift or maybe one day I will get around to making the larger one for my bed! Sew Kind of Wonderful has lots of patterns using the quick curve rulers. The rulers themselves can be bought from Creative Grids, though I did have to buy the matching quilting rulers from Sew Kind of Wonderful in the USA.
There are two classes this year to make this quilt… 20th June and 6th November, both classes are at my studio in Maidenhead and run from 10am -3.30pm – with lots of tea and homemade cakes – of course! Every student gets an original copy of the pattern to go home with.
I’m a HUGE fan of Aneela Hoey, her patterns and the way she can create such fun mini projects, most of which can be achieved in an evening. This time I wanted to make the All-In-One Box Pouch. The standalone pattern has been recently updated, but a version of it can also be found in Aneela’s book – Stitched Sewing Organisers.
I have to admit to having a tendency to be distracted by sparkly things and for a long time now I have been loving working with Robert Kauffman Metallic Essex Linen. I find that for these boxes, the added firmness of the linen fabric is really helpful and of course, like a child, I love the way it sparkles in the light! For this project, I have used Ebony Essex Linen with Gold Metallic Threads and twined it with Tula Pink’s Tabby Road Fur Ball Fabric in the Strawberry Fields colorway.
I enjoy evenings making things much better when I have previously got myself all prepared. As well as fabric, for this project, you will also need fusible interfacing (I used light-medium Vilene F220/304), fusible fleece (I used Legacy Extra Lofty Fusible Fleece) and also clear vinyl (I used sparkly vinyl – obviously:-)). The day before I spent an hour cutting out, fusing on and ironing binding strips – all ready for my solo #saturdaynightcraftalong.
The first thing to make is the front pouch. I hadn’t made a pouch like this previously – but having done it, I will certainly be adding it to the techniques I used most frequently. It is created by adding the binding and zips to the vinyl and then casing it in the lining and basting the external fabric on the reverse. If that wasn’t clever enough, the 20″ zip is then sewn around the pouch … then the whole lot has binding applied all around the edges. I’ve missed out a few steps, as Aneela’s Pattern is her own, but believe me it is super clever and not hard when you take it step-by-step!
After the fervor of making the front pouch it was time for tea and cake and a little hand sewing to finish the binding off. Then I was off again !!!….. making the back pocket and then adding it and the front pouch to the exterior pieces of the main pouch. The pouch is then sewn together and suddenly you are finished. WHEW !
All in all (without cutting out). It took me 2 1/2 hours to make this – so 3 1/2 hours with cutting and fusing.
The important points to highlight about the pattern is that however experienced you are, read it properly and follow it closely. Don’t skip the kick -off steps making up the tabs, adjusting the top of the long zipper or marking up the material as directed. These are all vital to your success. My bag is now filled with my traveling medicine cabinet. You can get a lot of stuff in this pouch!
I so loved making this, I have already cut out the pieces for another one. Once again I am using the Metallic Essex Linen (this time Navy with Silver Metallic threads) but for the lining, I am going to use a Cotton & Steel/Rifle Paper Co. fabric range called Amalfi. I like the combination of the Sun Girls and Waves fabrics, both in Coral. I thought I would use the Waves fabric for all the binding and the Sun Girls for the linings of both the front and main pouches. I think this combination will be perfect for my older daughter on the beach later on in the summer.
The next class with spaces on it to make the Aneela Hoey All-In-One Box Pouch is on 3rd July (7pm-10pm). Call Gill on 07818 551232 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org to book a space.
More information about Aneela and her patterns can be found here.
Happy Sewing …… Gill