Wednesday, 28 March 2012

WIP Wednesday Projects

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I've so many unfinished projects on the go that I'd be embarrassed to list them all, but I've decided to have one pile work in progress on the back burner that I will try to tackle at the rate of one a month and another pile of things that I'm actually working on at the moment.

I've finished piecing the top of my log cabin quilt and I'm thrilled with it.  I've had to leave it for now while I decide on a border.  Any suggestions would be most welcome.

The next project that I'm anxious to get on with but need to put aside a definite uninterrupted time for is a wholecloth quilting block.  I'm following along with Leah Day at the free motion quilting project.  She has provided the pattern so all I have to do now is quilt it .....

I also need to put two hanging sleeves on quilts for the exhibition that the Ludlow Quilters Group is holding next month.  I think that will is bound to entail quite a lot of checking for loose threads and anything else that needs fixing and can be fixed at this late stage.

For the website I have begun a charm pack quilt which is very much still in its design stage.  I love the idea of having so many different fabrics to work on without having all the leftover fabric that I would have had if I'd bought a fat quarter of all these fabrics.

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Saturday, 24 March 2012

Queens Crown Lap Quilt

I had a delivery of some new fabric last week and I had to make something relatively small straight away because the fabric was so pretty that I wanted to work with it.  No - the photo doesn't do it justice at all!  for the quilt pattern I decided to use the Queens Crown quilt block.  This is a 40" square lap quilt and the entire design is classified as one 5 patch quilt block.

The basic blocks are simple enough.  For the nine patch units I sewed together a panel of light, dark, light fabric and another one of light, dark, light and cut them at 2.1/2" intervals.  There are nine of them in the lap quilt, so you need eighteen of the dark, light, dark strips and nine of the light, dark, light.

Using the same panels, there are four of these 6.1/2" squares required for the lap quilt.

There are ten half square triangle units and these are made from 6.7/8" squares placed right sides together, marked along the diagonal and sewn 1/4" either side of the marked line. You'll also need four 6.1/2" squares in the dark fabric.

Lay the blocks out, sew together across the rows and then sew the rows together.  That's the Queens Crown quilt block complete. 

I used three quilt borders for this lap quilt - border one was made with 1.1/2" light fabric, border two with 3.1/2" red fabric and border three with the 1.1/2" light fabric again.

It was such an easy quilt to make and yet looks quite striking, I think.

Here's the video I made while I was making the lap quilt:

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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Barbara Fritchie Star quilt block

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I didn't realise that Wednesdays would come round so quickly!  The beginning of the week was taken up with finishing my Table for Four quilt to send out a newsletter from the website. 

When I put it together there were all sorts of secondary designs showing up which really pleased me - I love the way that you can start with one simple block and finish up with all sorts of designs showing up in the quilt.

So what's in progress?  Well, I managed to do a few more hexagons.  I began these at Christmas when I had to put my sewing machine away.  They are paper pieced but I don't have the patience to do those tiny paper pieced hexagons that you often see.  I haven't quite decided what I'll make with them yet, but I need to do quite a few more before I need to worry about that!

The one thing that I did make which will be somewhere in my next quilt is a Barbara Fritchie star.  It's so pretty and so easy to make that I'm determined to think up a quilt that will show it off.  The quilt block itself has a fascinating history - Barbara Fritchie was a real person as opposed to all the columnists who wrote quilt columns under pen names like Nancy Cabot or Nancy Page. 

If you look carefully you'll see that the middle of the block is a blue and red pinwheel and then there's a layer of half square triangles around that pinwheel.  I made the half square triangles from 3.7/8" squares and that gives a 12" block which I always think is a nice size to work with.

Now I just have to decide how and where to use the block.

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Monday, 19 March 2012

Somerset Patchwork

I've had to rewrite my somerset patchwork tutorial.  I feel so embarrassed.  It worked when I was making it, but I had an email the other day pointing out that it didn't work.  I couldn't find the original cushion cover that I made so I made another one following my original tutorial and to my horror I found that it really doesn't work!

The idea of somerset patchwork is that you fold small rectangles of fabric and place them in layers starting in the middle and working outwards - hence the alternative name of folded star patchwork.  My original tutorial worked fine for the first four rounds (phew) but went badly wrong in the fifth round where I had too few folded triangles and they were the wrong size.  Apart from that .....

So, my apologies to anyone who has tried to make my somerset patchwork cushion cover in the past and found it impossible to complete, and here is the video showing the correct way:

Aside from that, I had a great weekend going to the Quilter's Guild Area Day which was held a few miles south from here.  The speaker was Gwenfai Rees Griffiths and she was absolutely superb.  What an amazing quilter.  It was wonderful to be able to look closely at her quilts afterwards.  Her quilting is so detailed that I could only sigh with envy.  I am really going to start working hard on my quilting.

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I hope to see you again soon.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Work In Progress Wednesdays


WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedUsually I show you projects when I've more or less finished them - at which stage I have to confess that many of my quilts languish as quilt tops in a pile on the spare bed because I just can't find the time to layer, quilt and bind them.  So I was really interested in the idea of showing work in progress each week and sharing it with others.  Enter WIP Wednesdays on Freshly Pieced's lovely blog.  I'm hooked and will try and keep this up every Wednesday.

My first WIP Wednesday offering is a log cabin that I began at a workshop on Saturday with
Jan Hassard.  I love the way that the design weaves all the colours together and I've realised that I haven't paid nearly enough attention to log cabin quilts in the past.  I think I shall be experimenting with lots more log cabin ideas from now on.

My other major work in progress is a quilt for my next newsletter.  I'm using a quilt block called Table For Four:  I think half the time I love the names that are given to quilt blocks as much as the quilt blocks themselves.  Anyway this one is a priority because I want to have it finished in the next day or two - my delightful log cabin is going to have to wait a little longer for completion!

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Hope to see you again soon.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Ticker Tape Quilts

Don't you just love a quilt design where there are no rules!  I hadn't come across ticker tape quilts until recently and I can't believe what fun they are to make.  They are a great way to use up small strips of fabric from your stash and I'm sure that they were orginally intended for strips only - hence the ticker tape name.  But in fact they have now become a great way to use up all scraps of any size or shape. 

The ticker tape quilt block is intended for quilt as you go methods, so the starting point is a layer of backing fabric with right side down, batting and then white fabric on top with right side up.  I chose a 12.1/2" block to give 12" finished size.  Pin the three layers.

When placing the patches I tend to start in a corner and work across and down, but there really aren't any rules to this quilt design!  Decide on the first patch, lay it where you want to start and sew it down.  There are obviously alternative methods of sewing it down.  I prefer to zigzag around the patch with a fairly close zigzag - about 1 for stitch length and about 3 for stitch width.  I've seen ticker tape quilts where the patches are sewn with straight stitch just inside the edge so that there will be a frayed effect after the quilt has been washed and other quilts where the patches are cut using pinking shears to prevent fraying.  I just find that zigzag stitching works for me.

Keep adding patches, sewing each one in place before you move on.  Leave a good 1/2" or so around the edge for sewing the blocks together.  The patches don't have to be squares or rectangles.  Leave enough white fabric showing between the patches, somewhere around 1/4" but that can vary.  The main focus of these ticker tape quilts is keeping it irregular, so it's good to vary the amount of white showing and try not to have rows and columns - just varied sizes.

As you can see, the quilting is all done as you go, with plenty of varied shapes of zigzag.  I found that as the shapes were so small I could use my normal sewing foot without having to worry about the fabric puckering.

I tried something completely different for the next ticker tape quilt block.  I began with a circle in the middle, sewn on in the same way, and used the same fabric for four spokes along the diagonals.  Then I filled in the areas between the spokes with random patches and ended up with quite a striking quilt block.

To sew the blocks together I placed them with right sides together and sewed the top fabrics together, then trimmed the batting to lie flat between the blocks, turned under a small hem in one of the backing fabric edges and sewed it down over the other backing fabric.

I stopped after just the two ticker tape quilt blocks and added quilt binding once I had sewn the blocks together.  I'm not sure now where I'll put it, but I really love how bright and cheerful it looks.

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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Alaska Quilt Block Pattern

Isn't this a pretty quilt block pattern?  Over a period of time I am developing a list of quilt block patterns that are named for the states of the USA and I think this Alaska quilt block is one that I will definitely be including in a quilt some time soon.  I think that I can see lots of secondary designs emerging when several of these are put together.

The quilt block is symmetrical in all directions so I made two identical halves and sewed them together.  This is classified as a four patch quilt block pattern and for simplicity I have made it using eight rows of eight patches.  As with many quilt block patterns, it could be constructed in several different ways, for example with one large square in each corner rather than four small ones.

The fabric requirements are:
white fabric:  eight 2.1/2" squares, twelve 2.7/8" squares
pale blue fabric:  twenty four 2.1/2" squares, eight 2.7/8" squares
royal blue fabric:  twelve 2.7/8" squares.

The 2.7/8" squares are all used to make half square triangle units in the following combinations:  eight royal blue/pale blue, eight pale blue/white and sixteen royal blue/white units.

Once the half square triangle units have been made it's just a case of sewing the patchwork pieces together in pairs, joining the pairs together across each row and then sewing the rows together. 

Make another panel the same and then sew the two panels together to make a really attractive quilt block.  I'll show you the results when I make enough of them to put together to make a quilt.

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