At the weekend, the Saturday girls and I made reusable wipes as Christmas Gifts… The circles we used were 4″ in diameter. I created a video of the process to make the wipes and next week I’ll do the same for the bag. The idea is the mesh bag that is made to gift the wipes in is used to collect the dirty wipes and can later be put into the washing machine to hold the wipes as they are washed! Genius! 🙂
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
I am lucky to be in the position to see the advent panels from many of the fabric suppliers in the Summer months, which means I can order them ahead of time. Two weeks ago a bold of gorgeous advent panels arrived from Dashwood Fabrics. I have some new Junior Sewing Bees this year who will love making these up, but it is always good to have one ready-made for them to follow.
Most advent panels will be exactly like this – so if the one you have bought is a little different, the process is likely to be the same.
Panels generally come with instructions written on them. Following these instructions will get you to the stage of the panel sewn-up with no wadding or backing. Normally the panel is split into two parts, one that has the background of the panel and the other which has the pockets ready to be cut out on it. For the pockets, depending on the design of your panel you will cut out a strip of pockets or a single pocket. For my 2018 Dashwood panel, I had 5 strips of pockets to cut out. Read the instructions carefully so that you cut around the right lines.
Once your pockets are cut out, the normal next step is to iron down a hem on the top and bottom of the pocket or pocket strip and then go on and sew them he down on the top of the pockets or pocket strips. Next, the fold in the pocket needs to be ironed in place. For a single pocket, all that may be needed is a hem ironed down on each side of the pocket (meaning all sides are now folded over with the top one also sewn down). If you have a strip of pockets as I did, you will need to create box pleats between each of the pockets (as seen below) and then the ends are simply turned under.
Whichever way you need to iron the pockets, the next stage is to pin them on the other background piece and sew around them (side-bottom-side). If you are using pocket strips, you will also need now to sew a line to create divisions between the pockets on your strips. This is quick and easy to do and there is a printed line to follow.
With the panel now complete with the pockets on the background, you can now trim around the background as directed in the instructions. It is important to keep the panel as large as possible when you trim it as it will become smaller again when it is completed.
To give the calendar more body I used fusible wadding to iron onto the back. I only ever use fusible wadding for small projects, like bags, purses and calendar. It is pretty useless for larger projects. Once the wadding is ironed onto the back of the calendar use this combined piece as a template to cut out fabric for the back of the calendar. I used a Dashwood Flurry in Cream as it is in the same colour range as the panel itself.
At this point, I also added in some ribbon to create loops to hang the calendar from. I used four 8″ strips of 3/4″ ribbon. I fold them in half and placed them equidistant along the top of the calendar with the loop/fold pointing inwards and down onto the calendar (opposite to the way you may think they need to go). The backing fabric is then placed on top, with right sides together, and then sewn around with a small gap left for turning. The calendar is then turned the right way out, pressed and then topstitch all the way around, tucking-in and closing-up the turning gap.
Voila! We are ready to pop in some chocolate coins for each day of Advent.
Since May it has been on my mind to have professional photos taken for GillyMac Designs. This was never going to be vanity project – far from it – I would rather not have my picture taken at all – however the business here has reach the amazing point of my classes having an online demand. This is brilliant, but brings different challenges. There is every chance that the people I am teaching may never have met me in person, but there is a need for those people to have a sense of me and GillyMac Designs – hence my need for come superb photography.
So that was the brief .. and I engaged a photographer, Liz Carrington, who I had met through a local business community. I could not have gone ahead with this if I hadn’t liked and trusted Liz as much as I did. In my corporate career I had a number of shots done for conferences, brochure and internal sales event, but this would be different. This time I wasn’t representing a corporate role, I was wanting to convey the business I had built.
I rushed out and bought new clothes for the shoot. Only to find that the lovely stuff I had bought has stripes and checks on it which (when I read the brief) were not a good option. So I decided to wear what I felt most comfortable in. I asked a good friend to be my pupil for the day and we were set.
The shoot was easier than I thought it would be and the time went quickly. We covered as much as we could and in all there must have been 3-4 hours of photography. There is always a desire to cram more in – but a core bank of shots was what I needed.
As well as doing the photoshoot, we also reviewed my overall approach to brand imagery. I knew what I was doing up until this point wasn’t consistent, but I didn’t want it to become overly staged. There is always a middle ground, but to find that I needed Liz to help me start producing consistent imagery on my social media feeds.
I now have the photographs back from Liz and they are great. I am also at the VERY beginning of working on my visual strategy. I have felt overwhelmed this past week with the amount I am taking on in changing up what I do – but the need to adapt cannot be ignored.
I hope you enjoy the shots I have posted … I’d love to know your thoughts.
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 🙂
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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