Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Cafe Creme Mug Rug

I think my new mug rug is going to prove to be far more useful than a coffee coaster.  In case you haven't met them before, mug rugs are coffee coasters wide enough to take your coffee mug and your apple or chocolate cake or whatever you take with your coffee.  I've used coffee and cream coloured fabrics and made two 6" blocks to sew side by side.  The blocks are negative images of each other.

To make the mug rug you'll need five 2.1/2" squares of each fabric and four 2.7/8" squares of each fabric for the half square triangle units.  These are made in the usual way by laying a coffee and a cream 2.7/8" square with right sides together and drawing a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4" seam either side of the diagonal line and cut along the line to make two half square triangle units.

Lay out the squares and half square triangles in a nine patch formation to form a star shape in the coffee fabric and then make another nine patch with the colours reversed to make a cream star shape.

Sew the squares together across the rows of each block, sew the rows together and then sew the two blocks together side by side.

Cut rectangles of batting and backing fabric slightly larger than the patchwork rectangle, layering them as for any quilt - backing fabric right side down, batting, patchwork with right side up.  Quilt to hold the three layers together.  Stitch in the ditch works well.  Trim the excess batting and backing fabric.

Use a 2.1/2" wide strip of fabric to bind the mug rug in the same way as for any quilt. Definitely time for a coffee break.

One major project in the making is a french braid quilt.  It's going to be quite a large quilt so it may be on the unfinished project for quite some time!

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Monday, 28 May 2012

Arrowhead Lap Quilt Pattern

Sometimes quilt block patterns are so pretty in their own right that it's worth making them up in a large size to be a one block quilt.  That's how I felt about the Arrowhead quilt block.  It's a four patch quilt block attributed to the Kansas City Star from around the 1930's.

I made it with 1.1/4 yards of pink fabric and 3/4 yard of cream fabric, using 4.1/2" squares with 4.7/8" squares for the half square triangle units.

There's a nine patch unit in each corner and I made this using three pink squares along the diagonal with two cream squares and two cream rectangles 8.1/2" by 4.1/2". 

On the edges of the central square there are units made with four half square triangle units and one pink rectangle 8.1/2" by 4.1/2".  The half square triangles were made by placing together a pink and a white 4.7/8" square with right sides together, marking the diagonal and sewing a 1/4" seam either side of the line.  Cutting along the line produces two half square triangle units.

The middle of the quilt block is an 8.1/2" square and I made this by sewing together two 8.1/2" by 4.1/2" rectangles.  I had already cut 4.1/2" strips across the width of fabric for the squares, so it made sense to use these up rather than cutting an 8.1/2" square.

Sew all these blocks together in rows and then sew the rows together.  Take care to rotate the nine patch units so that the pink squares follow the diagonals and the pink arrows point towards the middle.

To save time, I sewed the three borders together in strips and then cut them into 32.1/2" lengths.  I've used 2.1/2" strips of pink with a 1.1/2" strip of cream fabric between them.  Of course the drawback of sewing the borders together before attaching them is that you can't just sew them to the quilt top or you'll have the corners looking decidedly odd.

The remedy for this is to add cornerstones.  In this case I have used 5.1/2" cream squares.  Sew a length of border to the top and bottom of the quilt and sew a cornerstone to the top and bottom of the two remaining strips before sewing them to the sides of the quilt.

I've made a short video of how I made the quilt:

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Quilted Table Runners

Quilted table runners are great when you want a small project - sometimes it's nice just to finish something quickly and not have another project added to the UFO pile.

I've made this one using the Blue Chains quilt block.  I was going to make it in reds and browns and then decided that I would stay true to the quilt block name and use blue fabrics.

I used 2" squares to make each block 12" square and I used four blocks in total.  The half square triangles were made in the usual way using 2.7/8" squares.  Place a white and light blue square with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4" seam either side of the line and cut along the line.  This gives two half square triangle units.

The total fabric requirement for the quilted table runner:
Light blue:  twenty four 2.1/2" squares and sixteen 2.7/8" squares
Dark blue:  thirty two 2.1/2" squares plus three 2.1/2" strips for the binding
White:  fifty six 2.1/2" squares and sixteen 2.7/8" squares
Rectangles of batting and backing fabric about 14" by 50"

Lay the squares out as shown, sew together across the rows and then sew the rows together.  Make four of these blocks.

Sew them together in a column, rotating the blocks so that you get the zigzag effect running along the length of the quilted table runner.

Layer with backing fabric right side down, batting and patchwork on the top with right side up.  Quilt, baste and then trim the edges and add binding as for any quilt.

This quilted table runner is really quick and easy to make, but quite eyecatching.

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Sunday, 20 May 2012

Rosebud Pinwheel Quilt

After several late night sessions I managed to finish my rosebud
pinwheel quilt and send the details out in a newsletter.  I was really pleased with all the extra designs that started to show up as soon as I started to sew the quilt blocks together.  You can click here for full instructions with video.

I had a lovely day at Malvern quilt show on Thursday.  I managed to avoid buying any more fabric to add to my stash, but I did pick up a great curvy ruler so I'm looking forward to trying that out.  As ever, there were some lovely quilts on display.

I came across a great quilt block which I thought would stand alone nicely as a patchwork placemat - although I'm sure that it would make a great quilt as well.  I used 2" squares so that it finishes at 12" square.

To make this placemat I used fourteen 2.1/2" squares in both the red and the grey and four 2.7/8" squares in both fabrics to make the half square triangle units.  After making the half square triangles and laying everything out as in the photo, I layered, quilted and bound it as for any quilt.  I think it makes quite a striking placemat.

I also started messing around with tumbler blocks.  I've never been a great fan because I couldn't see that there was much that you could do with them, but once I started I realised that you could add interest to a tumbler quilt by varying the fabrics within each tumbler block.  I managed seven fabrics in one block using 1" strips and decided that it was definitely worth thinking about a full sized tumbler quilt one day.

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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Diamond Plaid Quilt Block

I've started making a small quilt from Nancy Cabot's diamond plaid quilt block.  I've changed the colours completely and rather like the way the blue stands out so well from the other two colours.  I've used 2.1/2" squares (with 2.7/8" squares for the few half square triangle units) and that makes it an 18" finished size block as it's a nine patch block.

I made four blocks, fully intending to add a blue sashing with black cornerstones so that each block could stand alone, but now that I've put them together I think that sashing would spoil the patterns forming with the black squares.  I keep going back to look at it, but I think that the only way that I'm going to decide is by cutting a length of fabric for the sashing and pinning that up to see how it looks.

Last weekend I went to a lovely messy workshop based on printing on fabric.  I've always rather felt that I'm not artistic enough to consider printing my own fabric given that there are so many gorgeous fabrics around, but I was hooked by the end of the day.  This fabric was made using a potato print - something I haven't done since my children were tiny tots.  We made one smallish square design on a potato and then printed and rotated it four times so that a circular design began to show.  As you can see, I wasn't bright enough to rotate it correctly in the top right section so I lost the design a bit, but it was certainly great fun.

We then did something similar but with metallic paint.  I think I can certainly see this technique being used again at Christmas - what an amazing way to add to Christmas designs, making them really unique.

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Sunday, 13 May 2012

Flying Colours Quilt Block

Isn't it funny how star quilt blocks always catch the eye?  This flying colours quilt block from the Kansas City Star looks stunning and it's terribly simple to make - sixteen half square triangles is all it takes.  I've made this using 4.7/8" squares to make a 16" quilt block and I can't wait to make more to make it into a small quilt.

The half square triangles are simple enough to make:  lay two squares 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 line to make two half square triangle units.

The only thing to be careful with on this quilt block pattern is getting the colour combinations right.  You need four different fabrics - one light, one medium, one dark and one a bit brighter to go in the middle.  They are made up into half square triangles using two squares each in medium/light fabric, three squares each in dark, light fabric, two squares each in dark/medium and one square each in bright/light fabric.

Once you've made the half square triangles, it's just a case of laying them out as shown, sewing them together in pairs then rows and sewing the rows together.  It's wonderfully simple to make.

I managed to finish my first machine quilting video last week and send out the link in a newsletter from the website.  I'm hoping to finish more quilts this year rather than just piling the quilt tops up, thinking 'tomorrow ....'.

Here's the video.  It's longer than usual, but I hope you find it useful.

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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Quilted Table Runner

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Linking up to Freshly Pieced for Work in Progress Wednesdays is always a good chance to summarise what I've been working on.  This week it has been almost entirely a project for a machine quilting article on the website which I'm hoping to get out later this week.  I did manage to quilt and finish this table runner though.
I love making quilted table runners.  They are such a quick and easy way to showcase a quilt block or a quilting design.  Sometimes if I've been working on a big project it's quite nice to have something that you can complete fairly quickly.  They also make great gifts.

I made this one using a quilt block called Mosaic.  It's another of the Nancy Cabot quilt block patterns.

Each mosaic quilt block for this table runner is made using half square triangle units only and I've added a strip of squares between each block.  There are three quilt blocks with four strips of squares to make a table runner 48" by 12".

The half square triangles are made by placing two 3.7/8" squares with right sides together, marking a line along the diagonal and sewing a 1/4" seam either side of the line.  Cut along the line to produce two half square triangle units.  Make the half square triangles using four squares each of light and dark fabric and four squares each of medium and light fabric.

When you've made all the half square triangles, lay them out into four rows of four blocks each and sew together across the rows and then sew the rows together.

Sew together two dark and two medium 3.1/2" squares, alternating the fabrics.  Make four of these and sew them to the mosaic quilt blocks, beginning and ending with a row of squares.

 Layer the table runner with backing fabric and wadding.  Pin, quilt and bind as for a normal quilt.  The beauty of this table runner pattern (apart from the fact that it's so quick to make) is that you could also use the same mosaic pattern on its own to make place mats to match.

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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Radstock Quilt Exhibition

Yesterday I made the delightful trip to Radstock near Bath to visit a quilting exhibition held at the Radstock Museum.  There were loads of exquisitie quilts on display but special mention has to go to the quilt made by the Queen's Midwife.  That obviously gives it a value in its own right, but the fabrics used in the quilt were really beautiful - silks and satins donated to her as she travelled amongst her pregnant clients.  What a wonderful memory quilt it must have been for her.  The exhibition is organised by Midsomer Quilting and is on till the end of May.  It is well worth a visit if you live anywhere near the southwest of England.

My own offerings always seem so mundane by comparison with those that I see at exhibitions.  I've made a baby quilt because I wanted to have something simple and with lots of clear spaces for my first article on machine quilting which will be going out later this week.  This one is made using Jungle Fun for the dark fabric.  It's broadly a green fabric so that it can be used for a boy or a girl baby and it's made almost entirely from half square triangles.

As you can see there are a few white squares in among the half square triangles.  These were mainly used to open up the white spaces for quilting, but I think that by surrounding the line of dark squares in the middle like that they give the opportunity for the middle column of dark squares to be made from fussy cut baby fabrics or even photos.  I have used six squares on each side and the whole of the rest of the baby quilt is made using fifty two half square triangle units.  I then used 3.1/2" strips of light fabric to make a binding - two strips at 32.1\2" for the top and bottom and two strips at 38.1/2" for the sides.

I have also begun experimenting with a lovely patchwork quilt block by  the Kansas City Star called Hopscotch.  I think that it's going to look great when made up as a quilt so now I just have to get more of them made.

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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Baby Quilt Patterns

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Work in Progress Wednesday and this week I feel that I have really managed to get stuck in on several projects.

There are so many quilt block patterns out there that I find myself thinking 'ooh that would make a great baby quilt' so often that I could get overwhelmed by how many lovely baby quilts there are waiting to be made. 

I've just begun a baby quilt based on one of Nancy Cabot's quilt block patterns but so far all I've managed are a great pile of half square triangles and the plain squares to go with them.  Very much a work in progress.  The green fabric is Jungle Fun which should make it a baby quilt that can be for a boy or girl.

I made the Burnham Square quilt block recently and I just love it.  Definitely possibilities there for either a lap quilt or a baby quilt when time allows.

The quilt block was made using four 2.7/8" squares in yellow and brown to make half square triangle units for the points of the star in the middle, two 6.7/8" squares in yellow and blue fabric for the corners of the quilt block.  Add in aa 4.1/2" square for the middle of the star, four 2.1/2" squares for the corners of the star and four rectangles in blue/yellow/blue measuring 8.1/2" by 6.1/2" (made by sewing three 2.1/2" strips together) and that's all that's required for each quilt block.

As you can see, it's really simple to put together once you have made the half square triangles and I'm sure that when I put several of them together there's going to be a circular feel to the quilt pattern.  When time allows ....

Yesterday I managed to send out the May newsletter from the website - I don't always have it ready in time for the first of the month, so that was a bonus.  Here's the video for the Crackerjack lap quilt which went with it:

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