Wednesday, 31 August 2011

On a Roll!

It's back to school time in the Hollies' Household!

My 2 oldest girls return to school today, and the 'baby' starts her final year of Primary School tomorrow (where did the time go?)!

This means I will be able to get some guilt free work done, instead of letting them vegetate in front of the TV while I run up another project.

While I can't yet show you what I'm currently working on (all will be revealed in time), I can show you something I ran up a couple of weeks ago, as a potential teaching project.

A Jewellery Roll:

There are pockets for rings, bracelets & brooches, as well as loops for necklaces and a felt flap for earrings.

I've had several requests for one of these, so thought I'd have a go.  I'm wondering is it a little on the long side, but the advantage of this means you can get lots of different types of jewellery into the one roll.

With wadding inside, it keeps the jewellery well protected.
So if you are travelling, or heading away for that wonderful romantic weekend away (dream on!), then this would be a practical little accessory.

I'm sorry I can't write a tutorial for this one, as it is on my list of patterns to sell (watch this space!).

Hope you all have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

One Finished Goodie!

Well instead of Bank Holiday Monday, yesterday turned out to be Mugrug Monday!

I got this goodie finished for one of my swap partners in the Small Goodies Swap.

The design is based on Lily's Quilts Little Big George, and while I don't like sewing curves, I'm really pleased how flat this turned out.

There is a reason why the mugrug is fan shaped, but to explain it would giveaway too much about the recipient!

I also made a brooch, but not sure yet which of my partners is going to get it!

So what do you think partner?  Like any of these?

Monday, 29 August 2011

Mugrug Fun!

I love mugrugs!

They are really just mini quilts, an excuse to get down and creative on a small scale.  But they make great wee gifts too.

I recently made this one for my friend Sarah, whose birthday I missed!

Sarah recently encouraged me to try out some new/modern hexie designs that have been floating around the Hex-a-long flickr group.  I was delighted with how this one turned out (check out a great tutorial for this hexagon here).

If you are wondering 'why the monkey face?' it's not because Sarah has a particular fettish for them (at least I don't think so!), but this is her profile icon for her fab blog and flickr page.  

If you've never visited Sarah's blog - check it out!  Sarah has an amazing ability to make even sewing disasters sound funny!  She's a very talented quilter, writer, Brit Bee member & friend.

You may remember I signed up to the Small Goodies Swap being hosted by Fluffy Sheep.  This involves making a mugrug & small goodie for 2 people.

We've all now been assigned our partners - I'm really pleased with who I've got but I'm sworn to secrecy.  All will be revealed at the end of September.

Suffice to say, I have already started on one of the mugrugs ....

....and have some ideas on what small goodies to make too.

All will be revealed in time!

Enjoy your bank holiday Monday, Brits.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Roundup of Summer Classes

Today was the final day of my Beginners' Saturday School which ran for 4 Saturdays through the summer.

Here is a mosaic of the lovely ladies and their gorgeous makes, together with a few beach-hutters from July & a Boxy Bag workshop in August!

Well done everyone!  I hope you are inspired to keep sewing!

Friday, 26 August 2011

A Bag for Life!

I'm a great one for carrying around a couple of those 'bags for life' - you know the ones?  

Where you paid 50p for a smart looking plastic bag that you could fold up and keep in your handbag, and proudly whip it out just as the cashier is about to pack your items into a standard plastic bag!  Love that moment!

Well it turns out these 'bags for life' aren't so immortal after all!  I keep 2 in my handbag, and they are both wrecked!

Now as a 'bag lady' you would think I would have had one of these babies made a long time ago, wouldn't you?  I guess it's just another one of those things I haven't gotten around to.

But we can thank the lovely Ayumi for inspiring me into action (check out her gorgeous grocery sacks).  I designed this shopping bag to fold up neatly and keep in my handbag:

Truth be told there is another reason why I needed to get on with making this.  I'm in the process of designing a new handbag (not as a 'bag for life') and I wanted to experiment with some shapes & sizes.
Not one to waste anything, I thought rather than 'waste' fabric on a trial design, I'd make good use of prototype 1 - ok the fabrics aren't that inspiring, despite an original bit of vintage thrown in, but it is sturdy!

Really this is an early draft of what I will tweak with and play some more on until I get the bag that I can see in my mind (just not yet in reality!).

I would like to make a few more of these 'bags for life' style ones, but to also work out a cunning way of holding it together when it is all folded up, like the strap you secure an umbrella with. 

I don't often get the time to just 'play' and design, I miss it and would like to do it more.  If only I didn't need to sleep or eat!!

I'll leave you with my inspiration mosaic for the upcoming mugrug & goodies swap being hosted by Fluffy Sheep.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Decisions! Decisions!

Last week (on holiday) I had planned to get stuck into a gorgeous bespoke charm pack I won some time ago from Pickle Dish.

I wanted to do v.little to these cute squares, and thought about a stacked coin style design.

But then I got to thinking (oh no!) that these colours would look really good in my bedroom, and I have a large & long space on a wall which is crying out for a quilt.

So to fill this space on my wall I've added a few more squares from my stash, 

cut up an endless number of white hsts, 

and the plan is now to make a flying geese style quilt, similar in style to this one.

From Red Pepper Quilts
Problem is, I can't bring myself to cut into the charm squares in case I change my mind again!!!  I just need to take a deep breath and go for it!

I also don't know what to call this quilt, so I may run a wee Naming competition/giveaway - watch this space!

The cutting that I did manage to do yesterday, was for the Across the Sea QAL.

What a lot of squares and rectangles - so glad I only signed up for the cot size quilt!

Have a fab Thursday, whatever you get up to!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Rail Rolling!

Last week I got a cot size Jelly Roll quilt top completed.

This pattern is called Rail Fence
This is to teach at one of my Autumn Classes.

I used half of a Kate Spain Central Park Jelly Roll i.e. 20 pre-cut 2.5" strips, separating the strips according to colourways.  

Yesterday I got it finished, quilting it with diagonal lines and Free Motion Quilted flowers in the diamond gaps, and bound in aqua stripes.

Might do a bit more quilting in the border.

The back - this is actually aqua, but evening light doesn't show it up.

FMQ flower

The finished quilt measures 42" x 48" (each block is 6.5" finished) however you could easily make this quilt bigger by adding more borders.  

Using more strips from the Jelly Roll, you could sew some together lengthways to make a scrappy border, followed by another plain border, finishing with your binding. You could even make your binding from more leftover jelly roll strips.

Jelly Rolls are great to use because they take a lot of the work out of cutting your material, the 40 strips are all co-ordinated because they come from the same fabric series, and they go a long way - you can get lots of projects from one JR.  I still have enough left over to make another cot quilt (which will be in different colours from this one), and with the trimmed strip ends, I made this trivet:

If you've never used a JR before, have a go, shop around for some bargains, and make sure you get 40 strips in your roll (you can buy half JRs on Ebay, and some designer JRs only have 30 strips).

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Bee Blessed Gets Started!

The introductory blog about Bee Blessed and what it's all about is here, just in case you missed it during the holidays.

My good friend Sarah and I would love it if you could join our charity bee - making blocks & projects that will be pieced and quilted and donated to needy families in Belfast.

This is an actual group that will meet in homes, starting in September (for dates see the Bee Blessed page), but also supported by this wonderful online community.

The flickr group is here.  Please become a member and post your pics of the things you make.  We will in turn be posting pics of the finished projects & keeping you informed about who they are gifted to.

Our first block for September is the Wonky Star block (again check out the introductory post to see Susan's inspirational quilt).  

We will be piecing these blocks to make cot quilts.  If you can make 1 block that will be great.  However, please don't feel you can only make one!
This one is for a baby girl quilt
Blocks Criteria:

* Blocks will be 10.5" finished (once they are all sewn together) using 4" squares.  When you have made a single block it should measure approx. 11".

* Please use cotton fabrics in either pinks, blues or yellows, and using a white (or white on white) background.
* Feel free to mix and match patterns whichever way you like, as long as the finished block looks girly, boyish or neutral.  The finished quilts will be washed in non-bio washing powder before being donated.

There is a really good tutorial here on making wonky star blocks.  As there is no point in reinventing the wheel, I'm going to ask you to use this tutorial, using 4" blocks instead of the stated 4.5".

I would rather not give out my postal address here, so when you have finished your block, please email me ( and I will send you my postal address.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any further queries.
Thank you so much in advance of your support to this new venture.

"We make a living by what we get.
We make a life by what we give."  Winston Churchill

Monday, 22 August 2011


Yes, I've fallen for it again.

I've signed up for a swap AND another QAL (Quilt-a-Long)!  What am I like!  I need therapy!

I could renege all responsibility and blame it on my other blogger friends, who have signed up too!

Let me justify my actions (well one of them anyway!).

My new friend, Sarah of Fairy Face Designs, is a fellow (& v.talented) Irish woman who is jointly hosting a QAL with Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts called Across the Sea.

I like the simplicity of this pattern, I like Sarah, I have a cot quilt to make for a friend - is that justification enough?

Here are my chosen 'boy' fabrics.

Signing up for Fluffy Sheep's Goodies Swap was a purely impulsive 'because I like making small things and giving them away' justification (I'm so weak!).

We will only have to make 2 items for 2 people - a mugrug each (love making these cuties) and one other small item each.  I'm sure I can manage that on time (famous last words!).

Anyway, I have lots of ideas from recent small makes that I could draw on for this swap.

Hope you are joining in too!

Before I finish, just time to tell you about a giveaway my friend Karen is doing.  Check out her fab stash of Creative Grids equipment she's giving away - some really useful stuff in there!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Kaleidoscope Quilt Top

Firstly can I just say a big 'thank you' to everyone who gave me creative and constructive feedback yesterday on my Hexie Dilemma.

You have given me lots to think about & I'm going to take some time out pondering (oh no! now I sound like Susan!) on what the next step should be.

When I was away last week I was able to complete 2 quilt tops.  Today I'll show you one which has been long overdue the Don't Call Me Betsy QAL deadline!

Yes, there are 3 random pink blocks in amongst the green ones!

I don't think there is one point in this whole quilt that matches up (which is why I'm not showing any close-ups!)!

I discovered half way through that my downloaded template wasn't symmetrical, coupled with 'under pressure' (aka 'That'll do rightly!') sewing, and accuracy was well and truly compromised.

However, life is too short to be worrying about such things when they are about learning a new pattern and what to do differently next time.

This quilt will be for my youngest daughter and she's really pleased with it so far.  (Quilt currently measures 62" x 72").

I'm slowly but surely updating all the rubbishy early works that my kids received from me, when I was a fledgling quilter!

One day I might even let you see them (but only when I'm feeling especially brave & secure in myself!!).

To finish, a little bit of crochet.

I haven't a 'baldy notion' what this is going to be (bit like the hexies!).  It's only 13" x 10" so it has the potential to become a cushion front (one day!).

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

A Hexie Dilemma!

I love EPP (English Paper Piecing) because it's sociable!  You can sit with the family in the evenings, watching TV, sewing away.

This is what I did this week on holiday - growing my hexie collection (as inspired by Lily's Quilts Hex-a-Long). 

I've done my usual thing of not planning out a design in advance, and just going with the flow.

Well the flow has stopped!  I'm not liking the floral shapes the hexies are making, nor my 'filler' hexies.

While I choose vintagey fabrics, I didn't especially want a traditional design.

I don't even know what I'm going to turn these into - a cushion, a quilt?

What to do?

1. Unpick the hexies and resew them into a more modern shape e.g. pyramids, giant hexie?
2. Stick with what I have, add a few more & make a cot size quilt?
3. Abandon all hexies made so far, and start again, making a few more intricate hexies (as seen on flickr) which could then adorn a cushion front?

Vote now!!!!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Hello again!

Hi everyone!

I'm back from the wonderful & rugged S.E. coast of N.I.  And I'm pleased to report that the sun shone (most days) and we had v.little rain - hooray!

That meant lots of time spent on 'our' beach, which is the stoney, rock-pool exploring, beach combing type of beach - the kids spent hours on it.

I did manage to get some sewing done too, and surprisingly a lot of hexie hand sewing & crocheting in the evenings (pics to follow shortly).

I'm slowly but surely catching up with everyone in blog/flickr-land.  Thanks to everyone who left comments on my pre-programmed posts (relieved it actually worked!).  Sorry if I haven't managed to reply to all of them (there were 56 in my Inbox!).

In the meantime, I'll bore you with some inspirational pics from our forest walk - I see patchwork patterns everywhere!

Hope you all had a great week!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Another Pouch, sorry!

My middle daughter is a keen football fan.  She loves playing it, and supports Division 3 Bournemouth Town (the fact that her daddy is from there is of no consequence!!).

That means that when she wants me to make her stuff, it's usually in the Bournemouth (aka 'The Cherries') team colours - red & black.

First there was a bag to carry her books in:

Sorry about the dark pics!  It's evening time.
Then she wanted a long cushion for her bed, with a footie theme, to match her bedroom:

Took me ages machine stitching those footballs!
And the other day, she saw me working on my corduroy pouches, thought they were amazing (bless) and hastily put in her request for one to house her DS and mobile phone when she's travelling in the car.

So I let her pick out her fabrics (red & black of course) and the buttons (she designed the ribbon stripes) and voila!

She's over the moon with it.  The cow print fabric is a fq she bought me for my birthday.  How fitting to be able to put it into one of her makes (or did she always intend that, mmmmm?).