Sunday, 28 August 2011

Diamond Quilt Borders Using Squares

I've often looked enviously at other quilters' diamond quilt borders but I always felt that I couldn't be doing with all those triangles - bound to be lots of inset seams with all the frustrations that they always cause me.  As with most things in quilting, when I actually came to try my own diamond quilt border it was really quite simple.

For this particular quilt I used 4.1/2" green squares, 4.7/8" light squares cut once on the diagonal to make half square triangles, and 5.1/4" light squares cut along both diagonals to make quarter square triangles.

The basic unit for the diamond quilt border is a square with a half square triangle on either side as shown.  Note that they are attached with the right angle corner at the bottom on the right hand side and with the right angle corner at the top on the left hand side.  Two of these sewn together begin to make the diamond border pattern as shown on the right.  Sew them together with a triangle joined to a square, making sure that the points of the diamond are matched.

So far, so good.  Now I needed to figure out how to join two strips at the corner - without using any inset seams, since that was my challenge to myself.  For the diamond border strip going up the right hand edge of the quilt, sew a quarter square triangle on the left as shown with the right angle of the triangle on the top left.

The diamond border strip along the top of the quilt is just several of the basic units sewn together.  Place this strip so that the half square triangle goes beyond the corner of the quilt to match the quarter square triangle and sew in place.  This gives a straight edge across the diagonal of the corner.

The corner unit is made of a green square with a half square triangle on either side and a quarter square triangle on top.  The half square triangles are placed differently from the way that they are in the basic diamond border units, so do check the photo.  Another border strip of the same colour as the squares sets off the diamonds quite well.

I haven't given any measurements for the lengths of the diamond border strips because that depends on the quilt size, but it is obviously quite important to have the strip exactly the right length to give a neat corner.  The length of the diamond border can be adjusted to fit either by changing the size of the squares and triangles or by varying the width of the fabric strips either side of the diamond strip.

I'm so pleased that I managed the diamond quilt border without any inset triangles that I now feel that I can consider using it within a quilt as sashing or a frame or something.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Hope to see you again soon.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Some weeks seem to be so much shorter than others - or do I just mean that some weeks I get less work done than others!  Wonderful day in London last week to have lunch with my dear friend June Malone, a very talented illustrator, another day spent shopping with my daughter for her forthcoming holiday and suddenly the week was over.

While in London I couldn't resist a quick trip to Liberty London where I managed to pick up some remnants. I don't remember ever seeing remnants for sale there, so I'm pleased that I have found that out.  I have an idea for a Liberty quilt with liberal sprinklings of white silk to set off the patterns.

I adore silk but didn't know much about it until recently.  I knew it came from silkworms but not a lot more than that.  So here goes:

  • Cultivating silkworms for silk production is known as sericulture.
  • The process began about 4,600 years ago in China.
  • The Chinese goddess of silk is Xi Ling She.
  • Dupion silk is made from threads fom two silkworms spinning cocoons very close together.
  • Dupion means double.
  • Wild silk is harvested from free silkworms which have fed from lots of trees other than just mulberry.

Back to my cotton quilting fabric and one of the things that always rather worries me is the size of my fabric stash.  I try to use as much leftover fabric as possible in my quilt borders but still my stash grows ......

So I was quite pleased to be asked for a crumb quilt tutorial.  I've had great fun making it not only because I have reduced my stash but also because it was quite a trip down memory lane, seeing scraps from so many quilting projects.

The crumb quilt is almost finished now so I hope to have the tutorial on the website within the next few days.  I read somewhere that September is National Sewing Month in America, but I'm not sure that I could spend any more time sewing than I am at the moment.

Thanks for calling by my blog.  Hope to see you again soon.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Mitred Corners for Quilt Borders

I'm often asked for instructions on how to mitre quilt corners.  This often leads to confusion because mitring the corners of a quilt border is obviously a very different process from mitring the corner of a quilt binding.  So just for the record I'm going to give my thoughts here on mitring quilt borders.  This obviously applies to mitring cushion corners as well.

The simplest method for quilt corners - which doesn't involve mitring - is just to put a strip of fabric across the top and bottom of the quilt top and then a longer strip with or without a corner square down each side of the quilt top.  This provides a frame for the quilt top and I use this method for the majority of my quilts.

Every now and then, though, it's good to mitre the quilt corner and give a different look to the quilt top.  Cut the quilt border strips to the length of the quilt edge plus twice the width of the border.  Find the middle of both the border strip and the quilt top and pin the border strip to the top edge of the quilt with the same length of fabric over at each end.

Sew a 1/4" seam, starting and stopping 1/4" from the beginning and end.
Do the same with the border strip along the next edge, so that the two ends of border strip overlap each other.

Fold the quilt top in half along the diagonal so that the two border strips are in line with each other.  Lay your ruler in line with the quilt top edge and mark a line where it crosses the border strip.  Sew a seam from the last stitch joining the border strip to the quilt across the marked line.

Snip the excess triangle of fabric (two layers).  Open out the quilt top and you will have a neatly mitred corner to your quilt border.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Hope to see you again soon.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Festival of Quilts 2011

Yesterday I spent a wonderful day at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham.  I was surrounded by quilts, by people who like quilts and by people who wanted to sell me quilt fabric and quilting accessories.  The really satisfying part was that in my mind I was able to classify it as work or research or something and so I gave myself a completely guilt free day soaking up quilts.

There were hundreds of quilts hanging in the exhibition area, divided into the expected categories of traditional, art, picture, contemporary and such like.  There was a youth section and a quilted creations section where there were some seriously yummy looking cakes made from fabric and a delightful carousel.  So much talent!

It was difficult to get round all the quilting stalls - there were just so many of them.  I was trying to keep a rein on my spending but one item that I bought that I can't wait to try out is a curve master presser foot.  It came as a festival pack with a stiletto for holding fabric in place under the needle and a seam roller.  The demonstration of how easy it made sewing a drunkard's path quilt block was awesome so that's definitely going to be one of my next quilts.

I bought some silk for a Liberty quilt that's brewing in my mind and then when I came home I had to look up more information about silk which was really fascinating.  I'll write it up for this blog within the next few days.  The main thing that I brought back from the Festival, though, was enthusiasm and inspiration.  What an amazing day!

Thanks for calling by my blog.  Hope to see you again soon.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Arizona Quilt Block

While my daughter Samantha was on an exchange year in Arizona she asked me for some place mats to use in her apartment. When I looked in my pattern books and found a quilt block called Arizona it seemed the obvious choice. This is another of those quilt blocks that looks quite complex, but if you break it down into its constituent parts it is not difficult. Fiddly, but not difficult.
I made these place mats in white and purple which are her colours and not the usual colours for the Arizona quilt block! 

To make this quilt block you will need in the white fabric:
ten 2.3/4" squares
four 2.1/2" squares
four 2.1/2" by 4.1/2" strips.

In the alternate colour you will need:
ten 2.3/4" squares
one 4.1/2" square.

The finished size of the Arizona quilt block is 12" square.

Place each white 2.3/4" square against a purple 2.3/4" square with right sides together. Mark a line along the diagonal and sew a seam 1/4" either side of the marked line. Cut along the marked line and you will have two squares both half and half white and purple.

The top and bottom rows are both made using a white 2.1/2" square at each end and four of the combined squares placed as shown with the purple triangles in two pairs facing different ways.

The second and fourth rows of the Arizona quilt block are made with a 4.1/2" white strip in the middle and a pair of combined squares on either side. Check the photo carefully to see which way to place the combined squares.

The third row, the middle of the Arizona quilt block, is made with the 4.1/2" square in the centre, one 4.1/2" strip on either side and then two combined squares at each end. To sew this row you need to sew the pair of combined squares at each end together first. Notice that the squares are sewn together so that the white triangles meet to form one large white triangle. Then sew these combined squares to the white strips and finally sew each side to the central square.

It just remains to sew the rows of the Arizona quilt block together. The easiest way is to sew the first and second rows together and the fourth and fifth rows together and then sew these both to the third row.

I know this sounds odd, but I actually find it easier to sew together rows with lots of patches like in this Arizona quilt block, because you have to match the seams all the way across so any slight discrepancies in size are eased out gradually across the row.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Hope to see you again soon.