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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Baby sewing…

My dear niece is having a baby boy in early July – which means I am going to be a Great Aunt!!  It also means I can have lots of fun sewing and knitting 🙂

Here are some bibs I made…

Aren't they sweet?

Aren’t they sweet?

The 5 on the left have a towelling backing and the other 2 have fabric backs and are padded with wadding.  They look so small and so cute – and they are really easy to make.  I have no idea if modern mums use bibs but at least they are pretty.

And now I must get on and finish off the booties I am knitting… photos to follow soon.

Happy days…


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Wedding gift…

My smashing niece Eleanor and her partner Jason are getting married tomorrow.

As a little extra gift, I have made them a pair of pillow cases – using dalek fabric – because how could a bedroom be complete and perfect without some Dr Who bed linen???

No exterminating around here....

No exterminating around here….

I even remembered to make the cases with the patterned fabric at opposite ends so they will look nice and symetrical on the bed (in case anyone would ever be worried about that of course 🙂 )

So looking forward to the wedding tomorrow…

Happy days…