Tried and Tested: Clippings quilt pattern

I am currently working on this lovely pattern called Clippings which was published in Issue 28 of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine. The pattern is for a giant block which finishes at 24 inches square. I wanted to turn my block in to a baby blanket so I added a 3 inch border.

Clippings WIP front

I didn’t use any wadding in this blanket and instead chose to back it in a cosy flannel fabric for a bit of extra warmth.

Clippings WIP back

You can see some of the sewing lines. In the centre where I did a bit of hand sewing with embroidery thread, just to anchor the centre piece. For the rest I decided to ‘stitch in the ditch’ using a red thread, around the dark fabric. Stitching in the ditch is usually done with a matching thread that will not show, but I wanted the thread to show, the red gives a subtle outline to the pieced design.  I love how it turned out, but it does require very careful stitching and concentration as any wobbling off will be very visible against the white background.

I just need to decide what I am going to do for the binding.

Fabrics used:
Top: Flappy Owl by Copenhagen Print Factory, Owls by Copenhagen Print Factory, Dot in Dots by Copenhagen Print Factory, White Every Day Organic Solids by Clothworks. Back: Twig Fall Tomato by Birch Fabrics.

Happy sewing,

Lisa at The Quilting Bird

Linking up with Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday and Freemotion By The River and Fabric Tuesday

How to make a very easy flannel baby blanket.

organic flannels blankets

Flannel fabrics are just made for the winter months. Their soft cosiness is just perfect for snuggling up in. It’s lovely to sew with too (if you can stop stroking it for long enough), and perfect for whipping up a simple and quick baby blanket.

Organic Flannel Baby Blanket

This is so easy to make I hesitate to call this a tutorial.

Flannel Blanket Sewing SuppliesGather together your sewing supplies:

Fabric, I am using 2 pieces 75cm x 95cm to make a crib size, but you can cut the fabric to whatever size you choose. Just remember to cut 2 pieces.

You will also need pins, scissors, rotary cutter and mat, ruler, fabric marking pen, hand sewing needle and embroidery floss. Oh, and a sewing machine of course.  Continue reading

New Year Resolutions

making organic flannel baby blanket

Well it’s not really a resolution…I don’t make resolutions, why set yourself up for stress and recriminations! No not a resolution but a decision. I decided to start blogging again. After a break of just over a year it really is time, to make time for the poor neglected blog!

I had a very busy 2015. I am travelling the road of becoming more ‘planet concious’ and wanted to reflect that in my business as well as personal life. In September I launched my own website The Quilting Bird, which you can find on the Shop tab. Currently I am selling organic cotton fabrics, some gorgeous prints for clothing and craft projects. I will shortly be adding organic flannel baby blankets to the shop, you can see me hand finishing them in the picture above.

The feel of the blog may change, I have no plans about how it will go, just gonna let it flow and see where it takes me.

Looking forward to all that 2016 has got for me, and I hope you are too.

Lisa at The Quilting Bird


How to set pigment printer ink on fabric & Thank Friday It’s Finished!

Some weeks ago I shared with you a wedding anniversary photo quilt   I was making, and I mentioned that I had experienced some difficulty getting the printer ink to set on the fabric. I have now managed to resolve that problem and I wanted to share what I learned. But first it has been rather remiss of me not to show the finished photo quilt so here it is.

Wedding photo quilt wall hanging

Showing the close up first. You might have been thinking that photographs on fabric will be grainy and ill-defined, but actually you can get some very clear pictures by choosing a tightly woven fabric and making some adjustments to the photograph in a photo editor.

The background fabric is a white on white, you can just about make out the pattern if you squint. I chose the colour to tie in with the wedding theme. Similarly the red thread used to define and ‘frame’ the photographs, is a similar shade to the red in the bridal bouquet and bridesmaids dresses. I used a polyester wadding, so it can be washed without fear of shrinking. The backing is just a plain calico (muslin) fabric. For the quilting I obviously was not going to stitch through the photo’s themselves, instead I have stitched in the ditch around each photo.

This is a wall hanging. It’s finished size is 84cm X 71cm (33 X 28 inches). Here is the full view.

Wedding photo quiltSo back to the issue of getting pigment ink to set on fabric. When I began printing photographs on to fabric a few years ago I followed one of the many tutorials out there, which directed me to use a product called ‘Bubble Je Sett’. Bubble Jet Set is a liquid that the fabric is soaked in prior to printing, it then enables dye based ink jet printer ink to ‘bond’ with the fabric. This process also produces a fabric that can safely be machine washed without the photo fading away. This was the method I had used very successfully for years. Continue reading

Sonday Sewing

Yesterday I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon doing some sewing with my son. (That’s why I called the post SONday sewing…I know you thought I didn’t know how to spell Sunday!) He turned six at the end of September and it seemed that he might be ready to try the sewing machine. He loves sewing, he made his first felt owl when he was three years old from a kit with pre-made holes and a blunt needle. Last year we progressed on to a sock monster using real thread and a real needle. It now seemed time to take the next step. Needless to say he was very excited by the prospect.

Here he is intently concentrating,

Sonday SewingHe’s standing up using the foot pedal in case you were wondering about the logistics. He made three Christmas tree ornaments, each one is made differently. I was trying to find the easiest way for him to make them with minimal help from me. Here they are finished.

christmas tree ornamentsHis favourite is the middle one, it is all his own design. I tried to get him to use a lovely ribbon instead of the ric rac, but as you can see my powers of persuasion failed. Each of the tree decs are filled with a polyester wadding, the middle one was the easiest for him to sew, it is just the two pieces of fabric with the wadding in the middle. I drew a square about 1/2 inch from the edge to give him a sewing line to follow. The other two are turned out which also meant more help needed to close the openings.

He was great with the sewing machine. I do have a computerised machine with a speed control so was able to lower that, however he was still able to learn how foot pressure changes the speed of the machine. We had a great time together, he is thrilled with what he has made and now wants to make a quilt for one of his toys.

Lisa at The Quilting Bird





Around The World Blog Hop

I am so excited to have been asked to take part in the Around The World Blog Hop by Greta Anderson from Material Detachment, hop over and find out more about Greta’s quilting exploits. I have really enjoyed finding out a bit more about some of the bloggers I already follow and have discovered some new blogs as well.

The rules of the Blog Hop are 1) Acknowledge the person who nominated you. Thanks Greta. 2) Answer four questions. 3) Link to one to three bloggers to carry on the Around The World Blog Hop, it’s like passing on the Olympic flame!

Here I go with the questions.

What are you currently working on?

Here’s a little sneak peak.

Escape Fabrics

After writing my tutorial on how to make a personalised Santa sack, I decided that I would write a pattern for a quilt top. I designed the pattern after receiving my lovely fat quarter set of Dashwood Studio fabrics. I love Dashwood Studio, not least because the designers are British (and so am I!) The fabrics are from the Retro Orchard collection by Wendy Kendall, with a bit of Flurry added in. I knew I wanted to showcase the fabrics in the design of the quilt top, so I have kept the pieces large and simple. I am rather excited to start cutting fabric and get this project underway.

How does your work differ from others?

This is always a difficult question, I find the whole notion of being unique rather difficult…anyway, what I can say is that I have never made a quilt from a pattern, from my first quilt I have designed them all myself. This was not intentional, when I started quilting I got a great book from the library that went through the whole process of making a quilt from start to finish. A great way for a beginner to learn all of the basic techniques and all the quilting jargon, I thought. So I had the book, I bought all the sewing supplies and the fabric. I was ready to start, however I found the book really difficult to understand. I have since discovered I find written patterns of any type difficult to follow, I need a real step by step, with photo’s of each step which is just not practical in a published book. I gave up on the book and turned to YouTube. Those badly filmed five minute videos is where I learned to quilt! Actually some of them are very well filmed and some of the quilters are very experienced. I love YouTube, it helped me to see what the book was telling me to do, it took away some of the confusion, I fell in love with quilting and wanted to know more.

My First QuiltThis is the first quilt I made, it’s a cot size quilt.You can’t see on this rather bad photo, but it has hand quilted circles in the blue squares and there is hand quilted along the edges of the red gingham strips.

It was at this point that I decided I couldn’t really be bothered with accurately matching seams and started to find out more about art quilts. I read this great book Art Quilt Workbook by Jane Davila and Elin Waterston. It’s a book full of different art quilt techniques, including printing photographs on to fabric. At the time I was doing scrapbooking and was working on a photo montage using some scrapbooking techniques. After I read the Art Quilt Workbook, I knew I had to create some sort of photo frame in fabric.  I had no idea what I was doing and just printed my photo’s out in whatever size I thought they looked best, then I had to work out how I was going to get all of these different sized blocks in to a quilt. This is what I cam up with.

Photo Memory QuiltEvery single one of these seams is a set in seam! I literally cut each piece of the background to fit as I stitched the photo’s together. It was not the easiest way to create this look, but I love it. I wanted it to look like the photo’s were ‘floating’ on top of the background fabric. The only other photo quilt I had seen at that time that looked like this, had the photo’s appliqued on to the background. I was determined to piece my quilt. This is the third quilt I ever made, and it is not perfect, it’s a bit wonky, but I adore it. I was asked once if I would remake it, now that I have developed my skill, my answer was and will always be a resounding no!

My work today has grown out of those beginnings, I still don’t follow patterns, (although I do read them, patterns are a great source of inspiration) and I like to create quilts that have a randomness about them, a lack of uniformity.

Why do you write/create what you do?

Why do I make quilts?…Because I can…Because I want to! Before I discovered quilting I had never known what it was to be so passionate about something. I had hobbies I enjoyed, like reading (love fiction) gardening, I had done a bit of sewing, tried my hand a scrapbooking, then I discovered quilting…and the world made sense! Angela Walters has called her blog Quilting Is My Therapy and I can 100% relate to that. I decided to turn my hobby in to a business and opened a shop on Etsy in May of this year.

Why do I write this blog? I realised that I was (and still am to a certain degree) quite bad at documenting the quilts I make. I get in to the ‘zone’ plough through making the quilt, give it to it’s new owner, then realise I have not documented how it was made and in some cases did not even get finished photographs. I started the blog to force myself to take the time to document the quilts I make, I still need to work on documenting the ‘in progress’ bits. Pattern writing is really an extension of documenting how the quilts are made, I have a couple of quilts that I cannot remember how I actually made them!

How does your creative process work?

I usually start with the fabric, I choose what combination of fabrics I want to use as the main focus first, then I design a quilt pattern with the fabric in mind. For example if I have fabric with a large scale print, I will want to show that print in the quilt top, so I will have some larger blocks to accommodate that. When I have designed the quilt top, I then decide if any extra fabrics need to be included then set about cutting, and piecing. Then I baste together my quilt sandwich and at this point I think about how I want to quilt it, although I am working on designing the quilting at the same time as the quilt top as this sometimes has implications for seams.

My process includes a lot of time draping fabric, quilt tops, basted quilts about the place waiting for them to ‘talk to me’.

Passing on the Hop

I thought it would be fun to have some non-quilty links to see where that leads us.

Hop on over to these very fun blogs:


The Hybridians

Karen Walshe Textiles


Lisa at The Quilting Bird

I am linking up with Anything Goes Monday  A Round Tuit  Cleaver Chicks Blog Hop Crazy Mom Quilts






Sewvivor 3 Quilters Edition: The Winner

This post is a little late, as the winner was announced a week ago, my only defence is that September snowballed in to a very busy month for me, ending in my 6 year old’s birthday party. Things have calmed down a little now and I am back on the blog!

So, who is the winner of Sewvivor 3 I here you cry (although you probably got bored of waiting for me to tell you and have already looked for yourself), big congratulations to Nicole from Snips Snippets.

The Winning Quilt

Nicole has called this very unique creation carousel, the colours certainly have all the fun of the fair! Have a read of her blog to find out how she made this quilt, there are some really interesting design details such as the plus signs and although it does not show up well in this photo, there are some very pretty starburst designs that have been hand quilted.

To find out more about Nicole and the other runners up, and to get a round up of all the entries made throughout the course of the competition, head over to Rach H’s blog FamilyEverAfterblog.

Lisa at The Quilting Bird.



Thank Friday It’s Finished! Papillion Baby Quilt

Papillion Baby Quilt

I have finally finished this very pretty baby quilt. I showed you this a few weeks ago when it was just a quilt top, click here to see that post and find out how I used the disappearing nine patch block technique to create the Papillion Baby quilt.

Papillion Baby QuiltI decided to quilt this in a spiral. I do love spirals, they bring a lovely softness to the hard edges of square blocks. The quilting lines are about half an inch apart, which gives a really lovely crinkle to the fabric. (Yes, everything is lovely today!) The thread I used for the quilting is Mettler silk-finish 100% cotton mercerised, this is a 50 weight thread. I used a lilac and light purple colour that coordinated with the colours in the quilt, the silk finish has a pretty sheen to it which fit well with feel of the quilt.

This is the first time I have used a 50 weight cotton to quilt with and I admit I embarked on this with some worry that the whole thing was going to fall apart before I even finished stitching the first spiral! I put this down to my fear of the secret quilt police, who issued a whole host of dire warnings when I first began quilting. As you can see, I had no need of worry, the thread worked wonderfully, no problems with breakage or thread fatigue in the quilting.

Papillion Baby

This was also my first time using Mettler threads. I have a whole case of different ranges that I got as a free gift when I bought a new sewing machine at The Festival of Quilts.  The case includes cotton quilting and embroidery threads in a variety of thread weights, all of which I am looking forward to trying out.

Mettler Thread selection

Definitely worth waiting for a show if you are in the market for a new machine, there are some really great deals to be had.

Papillion Baby QuiltFor the back of the quilt I decided to use a single piece of fabric that was included in the quilt top. I thought about doing a pieced back with some of the left over nine patch blocks, however with the spiral quilting design I thought that a ‘clean’ back would really help the spiral stand out. I think I made the right decision, the spiral adds enough interest to the back of the quilt.

Papillion BabyFor the filling I have used Hobbs Heirloom wool batting. The finished quilt measures 42 inches x 48 inches (107 cm x 122 cm) All fabrics are quilting weight cotton. Fabric links can be found in this post Lilac Baby.

I love how pretty and feminine this quilt is, the colours are even better when seen by eye.

Lisa at The Quilting Bird

I will be linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday Crazy Mom Quilts Can I get a Whoop Whoop


Hand dyed fabric exploits

About 2 years ago I purchased a class form Craftsy called ‘The Art of Cloth Dyeing’ by Jane Dunnwold, and I have been totally hooked on dyeing fabric ever since.

This weekend I turned my bathroom in to my chemistry lab and began to play.

yellow hand dyed fabric

The top yellow pattern was made by continually folding the fabric in half until it could not be folded any more. The bottom yellow fabric was scrunched up in to a tight ball.

red hand dyed fabric

The top red fabric was pleated. The bottom red fabric was folded in the same way as the yellow above but the pattern here is much more pronounced.

blue hand dyed fabirc

The top blue fabric was made with a flag fold. The bottom blue is a pleat fold the same as the red pleated above.

I wanted to show you the different outcomes you can get with hand dyeing even when using the same techniques. For some people this would be off putting, but it is this lack of uniformity and the organic nature of the designs on the fabric that I adore. Manipulating the fabric by folding creates a resist to the dye and can produce some stunning patterns.

It is this unknown quality that separates hand dyed fabrics from printed fabrics. A print will be repeated across a width of fabric and each print will be exactly the same. You can see from the photographs that hand dyeing produces a unique pattern across the entirety of the fabric. Whilst it is possible to control the variables in hand dyeing to achieve a similar result, each batch of fabric dyed will be inherently unique.

The fabric squares in the photo’s are 10 inch cotton poplin and I used procion mx dye, which is a fibre reactive dye for cotton, linen and silk. The dye will react differently to different types and weights of fabric.

All of the fabrics here were dyed with 1 pure colour, that is a colour that does not have any other colours mixed in to it. I will do another post showing some mixed dyes and adding colour using a technique called overdyeing (basically dyeing the fabric again in another colour).

If you fancy giving hand dyeing a try Colourcraft (UK) do a starter kit, which comes with 6 dyes and the auxiliary chemicals needed for dyeing, however you will need to buy a wash product such as synthrapol.

My favourite of the dyed fabrics is the blue pleat fold, which is your favourite?

Lisa at The Quilting Bird.

TUTORIAL: Personalised Drawstring Santa Sack or Toy Bag

This week I have been working on writing a tutorial for how to make a santa sack. I have had so many lovely messages about the santa sack I finished last week (view that post here), from people who are new to sewing, I decided to share how I made mine. santa sack tutorialThe santa sack for this tutorial has a simplified version of the patchwork, I did on the other sack. There are no seams to match up, so it is not too scary for anyone new to patchwork. The construction on a drawstring bag is also pretty straightforward for beginner sewers. Of course if you choose different fabrics for this tutorial you can make a large toy bag instead.

drawstring toy bag

This toy bag was made with an old sheet and fabric scraps.

Drawstring Toy Bag

Back of toy bag showing patchwork.

I would really love to see your finished santa sacks, you can email them to me at the address on my about page and I will feature my favourites. If you are a beginner (or like me you find patterns seem to be written in a foreign language) and you get a bit stuck, please drop me a line and I will do my best to help you out. Continue reading