Hergest Helly

Stories about my art and craft and home…


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… and so the madness begins…

I have finally succumbed to the madness of hand sewing minuscule pieces of fabric together to create one of Willyne Hammerstein’s beautiful Millefiori quilts.

This one is from her second book and I will admit up front that the prospect of sewing 1cm pieces was just too much – so I have doubled the dimensions of these templates – and this is how I started last night…

hand sewing madness

… note the wine – absolutely essential for courage at this stage.

You can just see a hint of the glorious patchwork pattern in the book – and my first bit of sewing…

I think a lot of people who make these quilts use paper templates and construct the quilt using the English paper piecing method, but I have opted to sew them without papers.  I like the softness and gentle feel of sewing running stitches… we will have to wait and see if this was a good idea or not!

To see more of the beautiful quilts in the books, google La Passacaglia Quilt (one of the most popular quilts from the first book).

Happy days…

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My FIRST patchwork…

Look what I have found…

ancient patchwork

I started this in 1970.  I followed instructions for paper piecing hexagons in a Good Housekeeping book of needlework.  I used ANY thin-ish fabric – cottons, polyesters, mixes, satins, lining fabrics – none was bought specially – it was all from old aprons and dresses and odd bits left over from other sewing projects.

I actually finished it into a double bed sized quilt in the 80s – I layered and backed it, tacked it together and tried to quilt it.  I tried hand quilting and straight lines on the machine – it was a disaster!

In the 90s when I really started quilting, I dragged it out, couldn’t believe the mess I had made, and decided to unpick the quilting (I remember that was a job and a half!!!), remove the batting and backing and try to resurrect it.  I tried adding some more hexagons to the edge but got distracted with all the new quilts I was making.

Well its now 45 years later – and here it is again – still a right old mess – but full of memories of my gran’s, mum’s, sister’s and my own clothes.  Perhaps it really is time I finished it off properly…  Trouble is, I am not sure I even like it anymore…!

Happy days…


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Look what I just did…

Whoops!!!  I managed to scorch a couple of holes in this gold fabric while I was ironing the block…

Oh dear... not what I intended...

Oh dear… not what I intended…

Well – it isn’t 100% cotton – it is woven through with gold threads and I did know I should be careful when ironing – I just wasn’t thinking!

Still – easy enough to replace this quarter circle, and as I am in a happy, sunny mood today, I am really not at all bothered 🙂

Now all I have to do is dig through my gold coloured fabrics for a replacement.

Happy days…


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Nearly there…

This has been on and off my design wall for ages… I simply couldn’t get a grip on it.  In fact, I started this about 12 years ago I think… good gracious!

The blocks use paper foundations and the block pattern is from the book “Really Sharp Piecing” by Barbara Barber.  I met Barbara at the National Championships in 1997 where she signed a copy of her book for me.  Do go and look at some of her quilts – they are smashing.

So, after a couple of days of concentration, I think I might have the final arrangement…

So sunny...

So sunny…

I like it – I love the colours and it makes me feel happy.  Some of the sections are just bits of fabric pinned roughly in place – but its the closest I’ve been to the final quilt!  It really helped that I had bought some Kaffe Fassett fabrics with the gift voucher I was given when I retired last year… those fabrics have lifted the whole thing.

Now I can’t wait to get it sewn together and start the quilting…

Happy days…


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Socks for sewing up…

Three pairs of socks are awaiting their finishing touches…

Almost finished...

Almost finished…

… and then they will go into my presents drawer ready for birthdays or any other whim gifting occasion – although I have my eyes on the pair on the right – I love that yarn!

The baby knitting is progressing – and I have found some more baby-suitable yarn lurking in my baskets… so I bought this pattern from Stephanie (Yarn Harlot) for garter stitch booties… really looking forward to making these little lovelies.

Happy days…


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Slow progress on the needlepoint…

… its all background stitching now.  I have been toying with the idea of copying some of the paisley motifs from the rug and using them in a border to liven up the edges a bit (and me…)… I am not sure…

... moving down the canvas...

… moving down the canvas…

… I do love this design.  I am trying to do some stitches every day…

On the quilting front, the quilt I am making for my friend is now quilted, the binding made and attached, and I am now sewing the binding down by hand (all 400 inches…)  Its coming along well… I am loving this quilt…

... sewing on the binding...

… sewing on the binding…

… soon be finished…

Happy days…


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Happy New Year… and a happy new(ish) quilt…

At the end of last year an old friend contacted me about buying a quilt for her sofa bed for their place in the French Alps.

After reading her email, I looked up and saw the unfinished quilt top I started a year or so ago.  I had ran out of steam when it came to finishing it.  It turned out to be the right size and my friend loved it… I am so happy to have a good reason to finish it!

Pinning the quilt layers...

Pinning the quilt layers…

Here it is a couple of days ago spread out on the floor for me to pin the layers together.  This is quite a big quilt – around 100″ square(ish)… so we had to move a lot of furniture out of the way and hoover up where the chairs, speakers, rugs and sofa had been!  (I don’t think the floor has ever been so clean!)  Now I am quilting it – and its a joy – its all going really well…

Quilting...

Quilting…

This must be the start of a jolly creative year 🙂

Happy days…