Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Season's Greetings

Bethlehem star quilt pattern
My seasonal best wishes to all.  I hope you had as delightful a day yesterday as I did.  My fridge is full of leftover Christmas meal and once I have decided how best to use that up I shall feel free to get back to sewing.  Just before Christmas I finished the Bethlehem Star quilt pattern shown, which seemed appropriate.  Now I'm working on a Cat in the Window quilt as a symbol of looking forward to the New Year.


Market square quilt block
Over the last few months (I'm ashamed of how long it is since I last posted on this blog) I've been building up my list of quilt block patterns and this is one of the newer blocks.  It's called Market Square and it's a lovely vibrant block which is easier to make than it looks.  I think that one of my new year resolutions must be to organise my list of quilt block patterns and split them up into categories so that individual blocks are more easy to find.

I love this time of year - in the break between Christmas and New Year I like to sit back and take stock of where I've been this past year and where I'm going in the coming year:  that's both figuratively and literally.  This year I managed two short breaks away with my daughter - one to Prague and one to Marrakech, but now that she's working full time that may not be an option any more.  I'm hoping to do a lot more travelling around the UK next year - both looking for quilting visits and just to visit the many beautiful places waiting out there.  My camera will always be at my side!

Thanks for visiting my blog.
Best Wishes
Rose



Saturday, 22 September 2012

Box Table Runner

I've made this quilted table runner using the box quilt block.  It measures 16" by 48" and I've used three blocks to make it. 





The block is best made in quarters rather than rows.  The white squares are 4.1/2", the pink/white half square triangles are made from 2.7/8" squares and the rectangles around the squares are either 4.1/2" by 2.1/2" or 6.1/2" by 2.1/2".  The light blue and dark pink go on opposite sides of two of the squares and the dark blue and light pink are on the other two sides.

Sew the patches together in pairs and then gradually build up each quarter.  Sew the quarters together and then make two more blocks the same.  Sew the three blocks together in a row, then layer, quilt and bind as for a quilt.  It's a nice cheerful pattern and could probably also be used as a scrapbuster with a greater variety of colours.


I've also made a scrappy draught excluder for the front door.  It tends to let the wind in and with winter approaching I thought that it was time that I did something about it.




I made three rows of eight blocks each, alternating four patch units with plain squares (all from stash), then folded it in half and sewed two and a half sides, leaving a gap to turn it right side out.




I filled it with just about anything - scraps of fabric, scraps of wadding cut up until it was loosely filled and then slipstitched across the gap to close it.  I didn't want to use lentils or anything like that for the filling because I wasn't sure what would happen to them if they got damp, but I think that they would probably have made a better filling.  Oh well, we live and learn.

Thanks for visiting my blog.
I hope to see you again soon.
Rose




Friday, 21 September 2012

Nosegay Quilted Wall Hanging

I've made this wall hanging using Nancy Cabot's nosegay quilt block and I think it's quite effective.  It's 16" square and as you can see it's dead easy to make.  You'll need twenty 2.1/2" light squares, sixteen 2.1/2" dark and one white 4.1/2" square.  For the points of the star you'll need four rectangles 6.7/8" by 2.7/8" in both light and white fabrics.


The nine patch units in the corners are made using the light and dark squares only.  If I was making a whole quilt with this block I would sew together 2.1/2" strips of light and dark fabric, but as there's only one block I used individual squares and sewed them together across the rows and then sewed the rows together.


The rectangles for the points of the star need to be cut along one diagonal to give two triangles.





Sew together a white and a light blue triangle to make a rectangle.  You'll need two of these for each point of the star.





Lay the patches out with a nine patch in each corner and the star points between them, all round the white 4.1.2" square in the centre.  Sew together across each row and then sew the rows together.  Layer, quilt and bind as for a quilt.  I planned this as a wall hanging but haven't got round to adding a hanging sleeve yet.


I've been working all week on a quilt as you go project with sashing because I'd had so many emails asking for tips on keeping the sashing lined up from one block to the next.  I've just posted the pattern on the website as a star quilt pattern with quilt as you go.



Thanks for visiting my blog.
I hope to see you again soon.
Rose

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Quilted Toaster Cover

It's always good to find inexpensive things to make for gifts so I was thrilled when I managed to make this toaster cover from scraps.  I even pieced the wadding from scraps, so it was very cheap to make and looks lovely and cheerful in my kitchen.



I used one hundred and twelve 2.1/2" squares from my stash, chosen randomly, I made two panels three squares by four and one panel eleven squares by eight.  The two small panels cover the sides of the toaster and the large panel goes up the front, over the top and down the back of the toaster.


I layered the panels with wadding first then backing fabric right side up and patchwork panel right side down.  Sew round three and a half edges so that you can turn the panels right side out through the gap.  Trim the wadding and backing and snip the corners and then turn the panels out. 



Turn under a small hem and slipstitch the gaps closed.  Topstitch and quilt - I just quilted in the ditch along the seam lines, then sew the three sides of one small panel to one long side of the large panel.





When that is complete, repeat on the other side with the second small panel to complete the toaster cover.  It's really quick and cheap to make and would make a great gift.




What else have I been up to?  I've added several more quilt block patterns to the website. The one on the left is called Roads to Berlin and I think it would look great in a quilt - when time permits .....




Thanks for visiting my blog.
I hope to see you again soon.
Rose

Friday, 14 September 2012

Forge Mill Needle Museum

Well, after an absence from my blog I am back because I have just been to a lovely place that I must tell you about - the Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch.  What a treat!  Redditch and the area used to be the world leaders in needle manufacture and the museum gives a wonderful idea of how needles were made in the 19th century.


I think that I can safely say that almost all of it was new to me.  Apparently needles were made by drawing out lengths of steel, basically stretching the wire so that it became longer and thinner.  This was all done manually at one time.  The wire was then cut into double the length of the needles required so that two needles were made at a time.  The photos both show some of the range of needle packs through the years.

The double needles were ground to a point at each end and then two imprints were made in the middle for the eyes of the needle.  Once these had been cut through the double needle was cut in the middle to separate the two needles and then the strengthening and cleansing of the needles could take place.  What amazed me was the sheer quantity of needles made in this way - needles from Redditch were shipped all over the world at one time.  One interesting thing was that ordinary needles were used in surgery for a long time before specialist surgical needles were designed and manufactured.

Although I have wanted to go to the museum for a long time, the thing that finally drove me there was the quilt exhibition that they are running at the moment.  There were some delightful wall hangings based on the Far East using a great variety of techniques and stitches.  Really interesting.  The exhibition runs until 21st October and this link will give you more information about the museum:  http://www.forgemill.org.uk/index.htm


Tomorrow I will definitely catch up and let you know about all the blocks and quilts that I have been working on while I have neglected my blog.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Best Wishes
Rose



Sunday, 19 August 2012

Cheyenne Quilt Block

The biggest news of the week has to be my visit to the Festival of Quilts.  This year is it's 10th anniversary and it really has grown into a magnificent show.  Over 1.300 quilts on display, more than 200 traders catering for every quilter's needs, making it an exhausting, expensive but thoroughly enjoyable day out.  What I love is the variety of categories of quilts, meaning that there is something for everyone to enjoy.


I've added the cheyenne quilt block to the quilt block patterns page.  it's one of those blocks that is as pretty as its name suggests.  It's made using eight squares and eight half square triangles and takes no time at all.  Probably a good one to use in a scrappy quilt.



Quilt as you go is such a good way of making a quilt if you want to quilt on your domestic sewing machine.  I've made a quilt showing how to make the rows of quilt blocks in the usual way but then add the rows together using quilt as you go.  I'm quite pleased with the way it has turned out - and it was certainly easy to quilt.


Sometimes I look at quilt blocks and immediately think that they are going to make lovely secondary patterns when they are sewn together but I got it wrong with this Hither and Yon quilt block.  It's a lovely block but I could only put several together in one way.  When I started rotating blocks I just got a mess- oh well, it's still a pretty block.


Thanks for visiting my blog.
I hope to see you again soon.
Rose




Monday, 13 August 2012

Folded Log Cabin Quilt Block

I love log cabin quilt blocks anyway, but the folded log cabin is a delightful variation and really easy to make.  The logs are double thickness because they are folded and that gives a lovely feeling of depth to the block.  It needs to be made on a calico backing (muslin in America) and I used an 8" square because I happened to have one that size already cut.  It is thought to originate from the Isle of Man and is often called Manx folded log cabin quilt block.



Fold the calico and press along both diagonals.  This is just to create creases to help locate the first square.  This is a 4.1/2" square which is placed right side up in the middle.  The corners of the square line up with the diagonal creases to make sure that it's right in the middle.



For the logs of this folded log cabin block cut 2.1/2" strips in both light and dark fabrics and press them in half along the length, giving folded strips 1.1/4" wide.  The first four logs (two light and two dark) are 4.1/2" long.  Lay the first one with the fold towards the middle and the raw edges in line with the edge of the square.  Sew in place using a 1/2" seam.  Continue adding one log to each edge of the square.

The first log of the next round is 4.1/2" long.  Place it so that the fold is 1/2" down from the fold of the log underneath it.  For this first log of the second round I used my tape measure but after that I just placed the logs by eye.  Sew in place using a 1/2" seam.



The next log is 5" long.  Sew it in the same way.  Continue with the next two dark logs which are 5" and 5.1/2" long.





Continue addings as many rounds of logs as you wish.  The next logs are 5.1/2", 6", 6", 6.1/2", 6.1/2", 7", 7", 7.1/2".  Once you've got into the swing of it, it's a really quick log cabin block to make.  If you're planning on turning it into a cushion (as I was) you don't need to do any measuring as it won't matter if the log cabin block is a little bigger or smaller.  I'm going to add a border now to make it up to 10" for a cushion cover or bag.

Thanks for visiting my blog.
I hope to see you again soon.
Rose

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Tile Puzzle Lap Quilt

The tile puzzle quilt block came together nicely to make a small lap quilt.  It really does make me think of a tile pattern.  There's plenty of white fabric in it to give a fresh summery feel as well.  I made a 40" lap quilt and it only took one yard of brown, just over quarter of a yard of yellow and three quarters of a yard of white fabric.  This photo doesn't show the border, but I just put a simple 2.1/2" brown strip on to frame it.

This is the layout for each block and you can find full instructions on lap quilt pattern.  Not quite a scrappy quilt, but it doesn't use too much fabric.  As ever, I still have to layer, bind and quilt it.




I don't think that I ever showed you the Crowning Glory quilt block.  I made it before the Olympics began and tried to use the gold, silver and bronze colours of the medals.  Now that the Olympics are in full swing with medal ceremonies every day it seems quite appropriate.  I have never watched as much of the Olympics as I have this time and I've found them absolutely riveting.  What a lot of talented athletes there are.

I missed the linkup last week, but this week I'm in time to link up with freshly pieced again:

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Thanks for visiting my blog.
I hope to see you again soon.
Rose

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Dresden Plate Flowers

I think that I have neglected my blog this week - too much excitement with the Olympics in full swing.  What amazing and committed people these competitors are.

I've always loved dresden plate designs but sometimes a complete dresden plate takes up too much space - unless you make the segments really short.  The other option is to make quarter plates and that's quite good fun.

Always anxious to use up fabric scraps, I made these quarter dresden plates from 2.1/2" squares.  I cut fifteen segments altogether so that I could have three of them.  Usually I put them in a corner, but the third one this time is in the middle of the edge, just so that you can see that it is possible.


Sew the segments together using a 1/4" seam and place them on the backing fabric.  I have sewn them in place using stitch in the ditch, just stitching across close to the edge to get from one segment to another.




I know that it doesn't show up too well in the photo, but I have satin stitched across the top of the dresden plate quarters and for the one that's not in a corner I have satin stitched down the sides as well.  I used a fairly narrow satin stitch, about 3 on my machine.




When adding the centre, the only important part is to have a decent curve where the centre covers the bottom of the segments.  Most dresden plate templates come with a circle template, but if not you can always just draw around a glass.  The other edge of the centre doesn't matter because you can trim it to size after you've sewn it into place.  Sew it in place using the same satin stitch as used on the outer edge of the dresden plate.

Finally add something pretty in the middle.  I drew a butterfly silhouette and then went over my drawing with a small zigzag stitch.





Thanks for visiting my blog.
I hope to see you again soon.
Rose

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Pinwheel Table Runner

Quilted table runners can be great for using up stash.  This one is 12" by 40" finished size and it really doesn't use much fabric.  It's made using Nancy Cabot's dancing pinwheels quilt block and I think it's really fresh and cheerful looking.



Each quilt block is made using four white 2.1/2" squares, sixteen 2.7/8" brown squares and eight 2.7/8" squares of both yellow and white.  All the half square triangle units are made using brown with either yellow or white fabric.  For the table runner I used three complete blocks.



After sewing the quilt blocks together I felt that it needed something to finish off the ends, so I added a row consisting of two brown 2.1/2" squares and four brown/yellow half square triangles at each end.  That seemed to do the trick and round off the design.  Then it just needed layering, quilting and binding.


Thanks for visiting my blog.
I hope to see you again soon.
Rose

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Silver Lane Quilt Block

I'm quite excited about this quilt block.  It's called silver lane and I can see it making a wonderful grid with the dark blue lines when it's made into a quilt.  I've made it here with four shades of blue and a white background but I think that when I make more for a quilt I'll vary at least the pinwheel colours if not all three of the blues apart from the dark.  Could make a great scrappy quilt.


To make it as a 12" finished size block you need four 2.1/2" squares in light blue and white and eight in medium blue.  The rest of the block is made using 2.7/8" squares to make half square triangles:  four each in light blue and dark blue, four each in dark blue and white and two each in sky blue and white.  Then it's just a case of following the photo for placement.

I hate doing this so early in the year, but this week I have put in an order for some Christmas fabric - all the Christmas in July articles that I've been reading have made me realise that if you're handcrafting your gifts you need to start early.  Gone are the days when the children were small and we didn't anticipate Christmas till December 1st so that they wouldn't get over excited.

I've continued working on my weather vane and steeple quilt.  I've corrected the mistake on the top right where I put one row in upside down and now I'm going to use the same design at the top and bottom to go down the sides.  I'm quite pleased with the way the design has turned out - simple but effective.  More photos when it's progressed to a nearly finished project.


Linking up as usual to the Freshly Pieced blog:

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Thanks for visiting my blog.
I hope to see you again soon.
Rose