TipTuesday – Why I am a member of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles

This is a little bit different than my normal TipTuesday messages, but as we approach Christmas and I rack my brain as to what gifts I can buy my friends and family, I am constantly looking for new ideas and presents that will have meaning throughout the year. An annual membership of the Quilters Guild is a wonderful present for anyone interested in sewing, patchwork, and quilting whether they are beginners or have more experience. There are also packages for Teen and Young Quilters as well.

What I get out of the Quilters Guild is soooo much, so I thought I would list it in my own words…..

  • As this is a national organisation, I am able to link with other members of the Guild across the United Kingdom to share and gain ideas about my work and what I plan to do next. Sometimes just seeing other peoples work will inspire you – it does me! Now that the Guild has embraced social media this is such an easy way to see and share ideas.
  • The Guild is broken down into regions within the UK and each region has it’s own events making it a great vehicle for face to face meeting with new friends and learning opportunities during the year.
  • “The Quilter” is the quarterly magazine of the Quilters Guild which you will receive as a member and it is absolutely jam-packed with interesting articles and information about Quilting in the UK and around the world. I can honestly say that it is the only magazine I am guaranteed to read from cover to cover.
  •  Also, as a Guild member, you are able to join specialist groups – there are 5 groups, for Modern Quilting, Traditional Quilting, Minature Quilts, British Study Group, and Contemporary Quilting. What I have learned about these groups is that they are full of people just like me and you – not super duper experts. They are also very welcoming to new members and will provide you with lots of ideas and inspiration for your own work. They have their own meetings and ‘challenges’ which once again will augment your overall experience and learning.
  • As a Guild Member, you are able to show your work at their exhibitions within your region, nationally and internationally. It may be that you think that this isn’t for you. However, I can’t describe the pride you will have in showing your own work or that of a small group of you. It is fun and a good challenge. Don’t discount that you may want to do this.
  • As a Guild member, you will also get advance booking opportunity for the Festival of Quilts and all the workshops and classes there. This is invaluable. As the interest in patchwork and quilting booms, many of the classes at the Festival of Quilts sell out within the first days so being able to book ahead of everyone else gives you the choice of all the amazing classes on offer.
  • Also, as a Guild Member, you will get discounted prices for Guild events, the Festival of Quilts and many shops around the UK
  • I also enjoy knowing that my membership fees are going towards preserving quilting heritage, providing support for bursaries and awards as well as supporting the work of the Young and Teen Quilters in the UK.

All this is £46 a year … That is less than the average price for 4m of fabric a year or 1 1/2 Cappuccinos at Costa each month. It is also comparable with many of the commercial magazine subscriptions (and I definitely believe you will get FAR more from the Guild).  I have built my knowledge of Patchwork and Quilting over the past 5 years and have used much of the talent and the resources within the Guild to do so.

So if you are interested in joining this fabulous organisation – the link is below – for you to send to Santa!

Subscription form -> https://www.quiltersguild.org.uk/members/subscribe

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GillyMac Doodle Challenge Sewing Up Week 6

How amazing … we got to Week 6… and wasn’t this week fun!   Learning the bump back feather is a nice technique and and I think if you have some success with this type of feather, you can practise it over and over, challenge yourself to create it in different shapes, understand the value of seeing how other people tackle feathers in strange shapes (by seeing quilts at shows, or on social media and Pinterest) and ultimately it will give you the confidence you need to try other methods of creating feathers.

The sew up for this week is below.  However, I just wanted to say a few things about this challenge.

I developed this challenge to keep my home sewing ladies engaged with sewing over the school summer holidays because for family reasons I wouldn’t be able to teach or hold my normal summer BBQ for the GillyMac Crew (an often raucous affair that Brian stays well away from).  In the ridiculous heat of the early summer, I filmed the doodles and started sewing them up. I did worry if people would be interested.

The Challenge has given me hours of pleasure. The best thing has been the community YOU have created around the Challenge and the encouragement YOU have given each other. I have roared with laughter at the photos of Jupiter (Lindy’s cat), Billie (Carolyn’s friend’s horse) and Terry (Sue’s dog) all getting in on the action and thrilled that so many people doodled across Europe on holiday as well as being part of the core challenge. Unbelievably the videos have had >5000 views and this is still increasing.

One of you asked me why I did this for free. Well, I did it to try out delivering information by video (thanks for putting up with my learning steps) and I wanted to see if I could build a community.  I hope that if you have enjoyed this, you will naturally tell others or share posts.

A few housekeeping things

  • Doodle badges will be in the post on Monday or Tuesday … if you haven’t sent me your address – please do so…
  • I have posted a survey on our Doodle Challenge Facebook Page – it would be great if you would fill it out (2 mins only)
  • If you feel able to give me a facebook review on the main GillyMac Designs page (no obligation – I love you all anyway) then that would be great

Keep practising the doodles as we will use them in the October Fiesta 🙂 ….

Thank you all soo much for being brilliant…. See you tomorrow at 3.30pm for the final draw and some additional prizes 🙂

Gill x

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GillyMac Doodle Challenge – Sewing Up Week 5

Only one week left and it is a good time to reflect on what you have learnt through the challenge before you forget it, and before we have some creative fun with feathers.

To start with you need to give each doodle a name – you can make your own up (or you can use my names – downloadable below) and then my suggestion is that you use this grid  (also downloadable below).  The grid has two axes. One is ‘how much you like the doodle’ and the other is ‘how hard it was’.

In the example below I have added in my (pretend) thoughts …So … I found doodles 1. 3. 5. 6. 7. 10. 11. and 12. EASY to Doodle and I LIKED them. I found doodles 4. 8. 9. 13. 14. 19. 20. and 25 HARD to doodle but I LIKED them. I found doodles 2.15. 16. 21 and 22 EASY to Doodle but I DISLIKED them and I found Doodles 17. 18. 23 and 24 HARD to Doodle and I DISLIKED them.  I hope that from this example you can see how you can map your likes/dislikes and how tricky you found the doodles onto this grid. Now you can put your doodles numbers where they fit for you. Everyone’s grid will be different as we all liked different doodles and found specific ones harder than others.

From here it is really easy to make of plan of what to do next !! The chart below shows you what you need to do.

Some doodles you can just forget (bottom left) … others you should actively use now on your sewing to get them nailed in your free motion repertoire (top right), others you can continue to doodle until you find them easier (bottom right) and  then there are some in the top left box that you may find a use for in the future so keep them on the back burner.

You may find that in 6 months time the place you have put the doodles in now has changed. So this is something you may want to revisit.

For now  – here is the Sew Up for this week… My Ullswater Steamer Ferry … I hope you enjoy it … Next week – Feathers …. and also on Saturday (1st September), along with the final Sew Up, I will be announcing how you can get your GillyMac Doodle Challenge Pin and confirming the dates for what is next for those of you who have doodled with me this Summer – to qualify you to need have doodled for at least two weeks of the six weeks.

Well Done All xxx

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GillyMac Doodle Challenge – Sewing Up Week 4

Well done team !!! We are at Week 4 with two more to do. This week’s borders seemed to be welcomed as easier across the board – with a lot of love for the loops on Monday and my ‘lie-detector’ (too much ‘Homeland’) on Thursday.  The sewing up this week reflects that these are border patters, or at least can be used in a linear fashion. I really like quilting borders. I think it means I am closer to the ‘Ta Dah’ moment of quilt completion … and also, typically, quilting the borders is easier because they are more accessible.

So this week I have sewn up the doodles in rows, as I see you using them. Below you will find two videos and a downloadable document.

  • The first one is the video you are now used to with me sewing up our doodles. You can choose how large each of your border rows will be. I started in the middle with the stars row and found something to draw around (baked beans tins are very useful) and then worked my row sizes out from there.
  • The next video is information to help you plan for doodling and sewing up corners.
  • Then there is a downloadable PDF document which goes with this second video to help you plan your corners.

 

Next week we’re moving back to ‘all over’ doodle patterns which culminate in a picture to sew which is great fun. Then in Week 6, I will teach you how to doodle ‘bump-back ‘feathers and I know you will all love the sew up for that final week.

Talk to you all tomorrow when I will be doing this weeks prize draw 🙂

 

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GillyMac Doodle Challenge – Sewing Up Week 1

A heartfelt thank you to all who are taking part in this challenge. Below is the video of the doodles being sewn up. At the moment the most important thing is that you get secure in your doodles and if you want to practice them on the sewing machine, just ‘have a go’ with no expectations. I am sewing them on my sit down long arm, but only because it makes the videoing easier. Everything I do can just as easily be done on a normal sewing machine.

To sew the doodles up I used a wadding sandwich with a 14″ square drawn in it – which I filled with my doodles. I made my square a little larger however a 12″ drawn square will be a better size for a book if that is your intention for the squares later :-). If you want to copy this, then the picture below will show you the designs I chose. The numbers in the drawing related to the doodle day patterns I used in each section – so a label of ‘3’ means that I used the doodle from Day 3.   The little boxes which are hanging from the tree are for the Day 5 Doodle.

The other picture shows you the Glide and Fantastico threads I used. Any eagle-eyed person will notice the red (for the apples) isn’t in the picture, but it was also Fantastico.

I have speeded up certain areas of the video so as not to bore you or be very repetitive.

Happy Doodling 🙂

I’ll be around on the facebook page to answer any questions 🙂

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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! 🙂

 

 

 

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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.

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The GillyMac Club is Launched !

Now that there quite a few people coming along to classes and so many brilliant things are being created, it has been on my mind to find a way to share more of what we do just between ourselves.  I already post some of the work in my gallery page on this website,  and of course there is the very active facebook page I run for GillyMac Designs, however many of you are often doing similar projects but are in different classes, and it would be great if you were able to share your work directly without it being in an open forum.

GillyMac Club Image 1

Earlier in the year Tracy and I were discussing how to create such a group and  luckily for me she has come up with just the thing ! We haven’t solved the problem if you are not on facebook, but the majority of you are and I will continue to think about how we can include everyone. Now, if you have been to a GillyMac Class, you can apply to access the GillyMac Club, where you will find (currently) 26 photo albums from each of the various classes I teach, full of class samples made by me, or items others have made in classes. There are over 700 photos uploaded. I know I am missing some of your lovely work and so if you have made something in a class and you cant find it … don’t despair, you are able to upload photos to albums yourself and I would encourage you to do so.

GillyMac Club Image 2

To find the group – simply search for it in the top search bar on your facebook book page. I have invited a number of you to join it already. When I am sending you the invite you will automatically get access. Alternatively, you can proactively look for the group and ask to join. It may take Tracy or I 24 hours to approve you, so just hang in there we will do it as quickly as we can. Everyone who has been on one of my classes at home, at Liberty, at Juberry, Lady Sew and Sew or at the various quilt groups I’ve spoken and taught at can join. The group is accessible from whatever device you use to view facebook – however for the best access to the photos and the albums I have found it ideal to use my laptop.

I have written a few words about the protocol of the group. This is just about not reusing photos that are not your own. Please would you scan over it. I’m sure there will be no issues.

GillyMac Club Image 3

So that’s it. I hope we can make it a useful forum to share information and pictures… Gill

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