Sunday, 29 April 2012

Daisy Snowball Quilt Pattern

I got quite carried away this weekend.  The weather here in Ludlow was so foul that there was no great temptation to go out anywhere so I was able to spend all weekend at my sewing machine.

Every now and again it's good to go back to basics.  The snowball and nine patch quilt blocks must be among the oldest quilt blocks around, but they can still provide enchanting quilts.

I made the snowball part of the block using 2.7/8" squares in pink and blue for the half square triangle units, two blue 2.1/2" squares and a blue rectangle 6.1/2" by 2.1/2".  I know that the fabric looks red but it really is pink in real life!

To go with the snowball I made the same number of nine patch units by sewing together pink, blue, pink 2.1/2" strips of fabric and blue, green, blue 2.1/2" strips.  Cut these at 2.1/2" intervals and sew together to make the nine patch unit.

Sew these two blocks together to make one 12" by 6" block and then join them together by alternating the blocks across each row - one row starting with the snowball part of the block and the row beneath it starting with the nine patch part of the block.

I began the quilt thinking in terms of daisies which is why I went for those colours - pink daisy, green for the middle of the daisy and blue for the sky in the background.  In fact when I put several blocks together the daisy wasn't nearly as prominent as I thought it would be - all the circles and grids show up more strongly.  Still going to be a great quilt, though.

In between times I was also working on the quilt that will be the focus of the newsletter going out from the website later this week ....

... and I also made a T tessellation quilt that is on its way to becoming a quilted bed runner.

Quite a productive weekend, but I would have preferred at least some decent weather so that I could get out and about!

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I hope to see you again soon.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Passport bag

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I haven't managed a blog post since last Wednesday and I haven't managed to do much quilting this week - but I have had a wonderful few days in Prague with my daughter.  What a beautiful city!  We walked for miles but it was well worth it.

One thing that I found really useful was the compartment bag that I had made for passport and travel documents.  It is tied with ribbon but has two zipped compartments inside which kept my documents safe and secure.  I made it in bright colours so that I could find it easily in my luggage without lots of rummaging around.

I used 15" by 10" rectangles, one in top fabric, one in batting and one in lining fabric.  I used two 10" zips and about 30" of ribbon.  The compartments were made with two 10" by 6" blue rectangles.

Lay the top fabric with right side down, then the batting, then the lining fabric with right side up.

 The zips are added first to the blue rectangles and then these are sewn to the three layers of the bag.  Lay one zip right side up and place one blue rectangle on top of it with right side down and the left hand edges of the zip and the rectangle lined up.  Sew the zip and fabric together using your zipper foot and fold the fabric across to the left so that the raw edges are hidden.  This will form the left hand compartment.

For the right hand compartment repeat the process but with the right hand edges lined up.  Place these two zip/blue fabric pieces on the three layers of the bag with the zips towards the middle and the edges of the blue lined up with the edges of the bag.

Sew the free edges of the zips to the bag and then sew a series of lines about 1/4" apart across the gap between the two zips.  This holds everything in place and strengthens the spine of the bag.

Bind the bag as for a quilt.  I find that it's best to sew the binding to the inside of the bag and then flip it to the outside.  That way you can be sure that you don't sew over the ends of the zips.

This is what the completed bag looks like on the inside - with my passport peeking out from one of the compartments.

Sew a length of ribbon across the outside of the bag for fastening and you have a bag with secure compartments which I found really useful while I was away.

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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Baby Love Quilt

Grab a button:WIP Wednesday again and I seem to have more unfinished projects than ever.  I have tried hard to finish a few projects and have played around with a few quilt blocks just because I liked them.

My daughter and I are heading off for a few days in Prague and it's been a manic week making sure that I'm up to date on everything before we go.  I managed to get the tutorial for this baby love quilt on my website yesterday so now I can fold that up and put it away until such time as I find time to layer, quilt and bind it.  I used the Fabric Freedom Hyde Park fabric which is gorgeous.

  I've also managed to finish another lap quilt which turned out quite well.  I asked my daughter to name it so it's now officially the Truffle quilt, named after our dog.  Fave Quilts have asked me to submit video tutorials to them which is very exciting, so at the moment this tutorial doesn't have a video with it until I've had it approved by them.

I made up the Spinning Arrows quilt block which is another of Nancy Cabot's quilt blocks.  I know this makes me sound thick, but I spent ages looking at it before I could make out the arrows that were spinning!  I think that I'll have to make some more because I suspect that several together will be more impressive than the one on its own is.

I hope this link works properly for you, but Patchwork and Quilting UK are giving you the chance of winning an Accuquilt Go Baby cutter if you like their facebook page and I thought that it was worth sharing with you:

Isn't it amazing what you can do with half square triangles?  This one is called Lightning in the Hills and I haven't had a chance to write up the tutorial yet, but I'm always amazed at how many different ways you can put together half square triangles with a few squares and come up with something completely different each time.

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I hope to see you again soon.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sewing Machine Mat

Obviously I spend a lot of time making quilts, but sometimes I make quilt blocks up just to see how they look or because I like the look of them  or I like the name ........  Pretty sad, really!  Occasionally I get carried away and make something useful and that's when I treat myself to something like a pin cushion or a mat for the sewing machine to sit on.

I'd always intended to make something to go under the machine to stop it slipping, protect the table and muffle the sound a little.  I know that very little of the sewing machine mat shows, but I still wanted to make something pretty.

My machine is broadly 8" by 16" so it made sense to put two 8" blocks side by side.  I rather like the four patch and square block because you can make it look as though there are squares behind squares.

I used stash fabric as there was so little fabric required, just white plus any light, medium and dark fabric.  For each block I cut two 4.1/2" squares from the darkest fabric,  four 2.1/2" squares from the medium fabric and two 2.1/2" squares each from the light and the white fabrics.  By placing the smaller squares in the order shown you can make it look as though there's a a medium (grey) square behind the red square. 

Sew the small squares together to make four patch units and then sew these to the red squares.  Make two of these.  If your sewing machine is bigger than mine or if you wanted a bigger mat anyway, you could use 3.1/2" small squares and 6.1/2" large squares.

Once I had completed the top of the sewing machine mat I layered it with batting and backing fabric (also from my scraps) and bound it as for any quilt.  Even though it doesn't show, I'm really pleased that I've finally made something that's been at the back of my mind ever since I bought my new sewing machine.

I've submitted tutorials to Fave Crafts in the past and they've been kind enough to publish them.  I love the way that they have such an incredible variety of crafts and cover such a wide range of skill levels.  Their site is well worth a visit.

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I hope to see you again soon.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Quilt Border Mishap

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Another Wednesday arrives and I have several things that I should be finishing soon.  I've begun a baby quilt which uses a really simple design but looks quite impressive.  The quilt top was really easy but then I made a mountain out of a molehill with the border.

The quilt was made using the Pleasure Paths quilt block - four of them - and it went together like a dream.  In fact it was so quick that I thought that I could allow a little more time for a quilt border.

So I made a huge pile of half square triangles and made them into squares on point for the border and pinwheels for the cornerstones.  It looks gorgeous but I didn't plan my measurements well enough.  I just assumed that it would fit because I was using the same size blocks as I'd used in the quilt top.  In fact, I've ended up needing a half block or a plain block (I haven't decided yet) at the other end of the border strips - the ones that you can't see!  Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

While I was on simple quilt block patterns I made a stripes and squares quilt block for a table centrepiece.  I'm going to quilt the brown squares quite densely to make the blue lines show up and then I can use it for flower vases and such like.

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I hope to see you again soon.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Burgoyne Lap Quilt Pattern

Yes, another lap quilt pattern.  I've started a section for lap quilt patterns on the website and it looks a little empty so I'm working at adding more patterns to the section.  This one is based on the Burgoyne Surrounded quilt block pattern, but instead of red, blue and white I've used some completely different fabrics.  It has ended up 36" square including the border.

The overall quilt block uses several very simple blocks.  I sewed together a 2.1/2" strip of lilac and green and cut it into 2.1/2" strips which were sewn together for the four patch units.  You need four of these.

I sewed together a 2.1/2" strip of purple and lilac fabrics and used 2.1/2" strips of this together with some extra squares to make the nine patch units.
Note that the purple forms a full diagonal and the green partially forms the other diagonal.  You need four of these.

From the purple/lilac strip I also cut two 4.1/2" lengths and one 2.1/2" length to make the block shown.  There are four of these in the Burgoyne lap quilt.

The top and bottom rows are the same as each other, with a four patch unit, a lilac 6.1/2" by 4.1/2" rectangle, one of the purple/lilac blocks as above and then another lilac rectangle and four patch unit. 

The second and second from bottom rows are also the same as each other.  They are made with a 6.1/2" by 4.1/2" rectangle, a nine patch unit, a 10.1/2" by 6.1/2" lilac rectangle, then another nine patch unit and 6.1/2" by 4.1/2" lilac rectangle.

As you can see, the circle is beginning to form and there's just the middle row to complete now.

You obviously only need one of these and it's made using one of those purple/lilac blocks on each side, then a 10.1/2" by 6.1/2" rectangle on each side and in the middle there are four 4.1/2" green squares separated by 2.1/2" lilac strips (two at 4.1/2" and one at 10.1/2").  Don't you agree it's a lovely simple quilt block to make!

For the border I used 6.1/2" by 3.1/2" strips of purple fabric alternating with strips made from 1.1/2" strips of purple, green or lilac, purple.  I made four of these the same and sewed one to the top and the bottom of the lap quilt.

For the sides I added a 3.1/2" green square to each end of the border strips as cornerstones and then sewed them to the sides.

I'm really pleased with how it looks as a lap quilt and there are lots of lovely open spaces for quilting.

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Hope to see you again soon.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Lap Quilt Patterns

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WIP Wednesday has fallen nicely this week:  I've just begun a new section on lap quilt patterns on the website and I've nearly finished another lap quilt to go on it.  I'm going to try and make some more tutorials for lap quilts - and I may even finish some of them!

The one that I have nearly finished is shown below.

I've seen this quilt block before on vintage quilts but I couldn't find out its name.  Then, yesterday I was delighted to happen on it in one of my books so now I can tell you that it's called Aunt Mary's Double Irish Chain.  What makes it interesting is that within each block the triangles round the edges face different ways - they face one way on two opposite edges and they face the opposite way on the other two edges.  This means that if you put two of the blocks side by side but with one of them rotated, then the two rows of triangles between the blocks all face in the same direction which I think is quite attractive.

This seemed an ideal pattern to make into a quick and easy lap quilt.  I've made the quilt blocks 16" finished size so it only needs four of them to make a 40" lap quilt (including borders).

The small half square triangles for the edges are made from 2.7/8" squares in the usual way - place them right sides together, mark the diagonal and sew 1/4" either side of the line and then cut the line.
The large quarter square triangles are begun in the same way using 13.1/4" squares.  To turn these into quarter square triangles, place two half square triangles right sides together with the dark part of one triangle against the light part of the other one.  Mark a line along the diagonal that's at right angles to the first seam and sew a 1/4" seam either side of the line.  This gives you two quarter square triangle units.

Sew the half square triangle units together in pairs to make one larger dark triangle and then sew these larger triangles together in two rows of three and two rows of four.  These can now be placed around the edges of the quarter square triangle.

Sew the two 3 triangle strips to the top and bottom of the quarter square triangle and then sew the two 4 triangle strips to the sides.
Make three more of these quilt blocks and sew them together rotating the blocks so that they all face in different directions.

I put two simple borders on this lap quilt - both 2.1/2" wide - first in the dark fabric and next in the light fabric. 

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Monday, 2 April 2012

New Quilt Blocks

Sometimes I just make a quilt block because I like the look of it and sometimes I can't find a quilt block that does what I want and then I put one together from bits and pieces of other quilt blocks.
That's pretty much what happened with this quilt block.  I liked the idea of the duck track outer layer but I wanted something different in the middle so I added the pinwheel and I'm quite pleased with how it looks.  If I can get some time later this week I think I'll try out this block with something else - maybe the pinwheel part on its own or even plain squares - and see how it looks for a lap quilt.

I managed to finish the top for my charm pack quilt with three part sashing.  That went up on the website yesterday.  I like using charm packs - even with my embarrassingly large fabric stash I would struggle to find 40 different fabrics that co ordinate so well.

I've made some progress with following the quilt along at free motion quilting but I'm not going to link up to Leah's blog because my quilting within a shape is not good enough.  The beauty of a photo is that you don't get to see the detail of all the mistakes!  I think I'll have to do a lot more practising before I let anyone see it close up.

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