21 March 2012

An Irish Road Trip {part four}: back to Belfast

Hello there & welcome back to the fourth part of our Irish Road Trip. 

I've so enjoyed introducing you to some Irish stitchers & reading all your comments. Thanks so much for each one of them! If Sarah's fab tutorial has got you all hooped up - here's some more hoopy inspiration for you:
A table decoration
source: ruffledblog.com
A clock
source: blogs.babble.com
Swatch wall art
source: purlbee.com
And, seeing as we are on an Irish Road Trip...hoop map-art
So, to-day we are coming back up north from Cork (which is at the very bottom of my hoop) to Belfast (which is at the top right of the hoop) to call in with the lovely (& very talented) Judith.....
Hi, I’m Judith from Just Jude (previously Rags to Bags). I’ve lived in Belfast for 15 years now; before that 7 years in Bournemouth, and before that, a sleepy village in Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland. I’m married almost 20 years, and have 3 daughters and a pet goat disguised as a dog! I’ve been a self-employed Patchwork and Quilting Tutor for 3 years now, after returning to college as a mature (very!) student to study the City & Guilds certificate in Patchwork & Quilting.  I’ve been sewing since the age of 12ish, when I inherited my Gran’s treadle singer, and crocheting since the age of 8.
Being self-employed means long hours working on your own, keeping yourself motivated and inspired, which can be difficult at times.   
The 'Martha May' Handbag
So when my friend Sarah introduced me to blogging over a year ago,  a world of inspiration, motivation and of course wonderful friendships opened up to me! 
'Value Charm' quilt 2011
I love being in Bees and swaps.  One group in particular that means a lot to me is the Brit Bee – a group of 12 nutty lovely ladies who have become my friends, and who I get the amazing privilege of meeting for real at the FQ Retreat in June this year!  Squeeee!!
My foundation pieced 'Foody/Kitchen item' for Ceri (Miss March)
The amazing talent and generosity that is the quilting blogging community inspired Sarah and I to start up our own charity Bee, called Bee Blessed, in September '11.  The aim of the Bee is to make quilts to donate to needy families in our area. A physical group of ladies meet every 3 weeks to sew quilts.  But we are also supported and massively encouraged by 30 online members, who faithfully make blocks, donate fabrics and show an interest in what we are doing. 
A selection of Bee Blessed Quilts
Without the support of the blogging community, Bee Blessed couldn’t be the productive wee group that we are able to be.  This Bee is open to anyone who would like to make a block or two, donate some fabric, or call in and sew with us if you live in or near the Belfast area.

So as this is a tour of Ireland, I thought I’d take you on a mini tour of the area of Belfast where I live.  I live on the Eastern side of Belfast, which is famous for these well known sights.
Harland & Wolfe cranes, called 'Samson' and 'Goliath'
Stormont Parliament Buildings
Titanic Dry Dock
In fact, this is a hugely significant year for Belfast and the new Titanic Quarter Development in particular, because 15th April marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, which was built just 5 minutes away from my house!
The new Titanic Museum
Sadly Northern Ireland in general, and Belfast in particular, has also been well known for other reasons.  There is a longstanding history of violence in our island, a troubled and hurting land that politically tore itself apart.  
I grew up during one of the worst periods of The Troubles, but I'm pleased to say that the Northern Ireland I'm living in now is vastly different to back then. We are enjoying peace in our land now, albeit fragile at certain times of the year.  Belfast is a thriving Metropolitan city, with much to offer visitors and locals.  Despite still being a country girl at heart, living in a City means I have the advantages of living 15 minutes from a beach, 5 minutes from an airport, 10 minutes from City Centre shopping & don't have to walk far to get to one of the 44 parks in Belfast. We also have a zoo, a castle, several harbours and much more.  The only thing we are sadly lacking are modern fabric shops!! Perhaps one day I'll be able to teach my classes in my very own fabric shop in Belfast!  Now there would be a dream come true!
Thanks for reading my mini tour story.  You are most welcome to call in with me over at Just Jude for a wee chat.  I love getting comments from folks and I always reply!

Thanks Judith!
I'll be back on Friday with another stop-off on our road trip, hope to see you then
Take care


  1. Thanks Judith and Karen!
    I last visited Belfast in 2008 but my youngest son is hoping to start uni there in the autumn so perhaps I'll be back!

  2. Thanks Judith and Karen - what a lovely idea to have people telling us a bit about the place they call home.

  3. Thanks for the tour, Judith. See you in London.

  4. Hey this is a fab post - thanks for a little glimpse into your world. Now..... you can make that dream of a local fabric shop come true..... I know you can!!! :)

  5. Hurray for Judith! One day I will come over and do this tour for real!

  6. Thanks everyone! You're all welcome in Belfast anytime, I've plenty of room! Jxo

  7. Love the hoopy inspiration! I really need to do this tour as an adult, it's been a decade or 3 since I lived there! My great grandad did help build the Titanic though. He also went all the way to Southampton on it and then thought 'blow that for a game of soldiers' and came home again. Which was probably a good thing!

  8. The pet animal - would that be Archie!?? What human brochure are you going to be printing Judith?

    Great post and thanks for the intro to your part of the world...and thanks I love bee-ing part of Bee Blessed!