Thursday, 24 November 2016

Wonky and cross

A couple of years, a call went out for wonky cross blocks in shades of blue and grey to make boys quilts for the Siblings Together charity. I sewed up a bunch and sent them off.

But then a strange thing happened - I couldn't stop making them and soon enough I had almost enough to make a quilt of my own. To spice things up a bit, I added some orange fabrics into the mix.

Once the top was all sewn together, I quilted it on the longarm, using a hand-guided pantograph called Double Bubble.

I added an orange binding, putting in the last stitches on a cold evening in front of the fire.

And here's the finished quilt before I sent it off to Siblings Together for their 2016 quilt drive.

Blue and white

My mum has always been a big fan of blue and white china, and I've always been partial to this colour combination in quilts. It makes me think of blue skies and fluffy white clouds. A couple of years ago, I received a Sizzix Big Shot for my birthday and I decided to use just one shape (the 4 inch half square triangle) to make a quilt. I dug through my stash for blue and white fabrics. There were plenty as a few years earlier I had made a Storm at Sea quilt for my sister and I had plenty of leftovers.

Cutting the pieces with the Sizzix was a breeze - I had all the pieces cut within an hour!
(Note to self: I should use it more often).

I cut equal quantities of blue prints and light prints, and then sewed them together in pairs.

With a stack of squares all sewn, I experimented with several layouts, quickly settling on this one...

Next up was the quilting. I quilted on the longarm, forgoing stitching in the ditch and just freehand quilting a ribbon candy design in the lighter portions of the quilt with a variegated blue thread.

And here's the finished quilt...

Kitten approved before I sent it off to Siblings Together for their annual quilt drive.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Comfort Circle block round-up

The second bee I belong to also makes quilts for charity, but each quilter gets to choose where to send her finished quilt. This bee has an international flavour as we are based all over Europe.

This year's finished blocks...

July/August 2015...

November/December 2015...

Tutorial here

January/February 2016...

Tutorial here

March/April 2016...

May/June 2016...

July/August 2016...

September/October 2016...

Siblings Together block round-up

It's been a while since I showed you any of the bee blocks that I've been making. The first bee I belong to makes quilts for the Siblings Together charity that runs holiday camps for siblings who have been separated from one another in the care system. At the end of the camps, each attendee goes home with a quilt of their own. What a great way to remember a fantastic holiday and be wrapped in warmth and comfort.

Over the last year or so, here are the blocks that I've made...

June 2015 blocks...

September 2015 hen block from Lori Holt's book Farm Girl Vintage...

October 2015 blocks...

Tutorial here

November 2015 owl blocks...

December 2015 wonky crosses...

Tutorials here and here

February 2016 hedgehogs...

March 2016 blocks...

Tutorial here

April 2016 dog gone cute block...

Tutorial here

May 2016 quarter log cabin quilt blocks...

September 2016 canvas blocks...

Tutorial here

October 2016 scrappy square blocks...

Tutorial here

I have really enjoyed being part of this bee. It encourages me to try techniques, designs, and colours that I would probably never make for myself. And I get to use a small part of my ever growing stash of fabric.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Cactus flower block tutorial

This month I am the Queen Bee for the Comfort Circle of do.good stitches - an organisation that makes quilts for charitable causes. I have written up a tutorial for a quilt block that I call Cactus Flower.

I am asking each member of the bee to make one 15.5 inch (unfinished) square block, and to also send me one piece of green fabric 15.5 x 3 inches that I can use in the sashing. The blocks should use yellow for the centre square, white for the surrounding rectangles and limey greens for the background. Use whatever bright, warm colour you like where I have used pink - think coral, orange, red, magenta or warm purple...

You will need to cut the fabrics as follows...

  • one yellow 5.5 inch square
  • four white 3 x 5.5 inch rectangles
  • four green 3 inch squares 
  • eight green 3 x 5.5 inch rectangles
  • twelve warm, bright 3 inch squares

Make 4 corner units by sewing a green 3 inch square to a warm 3 inch square and then adding a green 3 x 5.5 inch rectangle. Press all seams towards the green fabrics. All four of these units should have the identical arrangement of squares and rectangles.

Make 4 flying geese units. Start by drawing a diagonal line across the eight remaining warm 3 inch squares.

Place a warm square face down on top of a green rectangle, and stitch along the diagonal line.

Trim the seam and press it towards the warm triangle.

Repeat with a second warm square, sewing along the diagonal on the back of the warm square.

Again, trim the seam and press it towards the warm triangle. The back of the flying goose unit should look like this...

Now add this flying goose unit to a white rectangle, pressing the seam towards the white.

Once all the units are completed, you can lay them out, rotating the corner sections of the block.

Now sew the units together into rows. If you have pressed the seams as suggested, they should nest together easily allowing the block to be constructed more accurately. Press these seams as shown in the photo below.

Finally, join the rows together nesting the seams together and pressing them as indicated below.

I hope you enjoy making these blocks, and I really look forward to sewing your blocks and sashing strips together into a cheerful garden quilt.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Finish-along 2016 - plan for the first quarter

In an attempt to get some WIPs out of the finishing pile and onto some beds, I'm joining in a Finish A Long this year. Hopefully, it will act as the kick up the backside that I need!

FAL 2016

My plan for the first quarter of the year includes

1. Finishing a quilt I started for my husband a few years ago, using predominantly fabrics from Australia and New Zealand. The top is sewn, the back (with a morse code message on it) is completed, and it just needs quilting and binding - FINISHED SEPTEMBER 2016.

2. Finishing a rainbow chevron quilt for Siblings Together or Project Linus. Again just quilting and binding to go.

3. Finishing a red and black kaleidoscope quilt for Siblings Together or Project Linus. Once again, just quilting and binding to go - FINISHED FEBRUARY 2016.

4. Finishing a daisy applique quilt. You guessed it - just quilting and binding to go. This one is for me  - I fancy hanging it on the wall of my office at work.

5. Finishing a mini quilt that I started for a secret swap. This is the one I need to finish first. I love the top but stalled when it came to quilting it, but I think I now have a plan that involves lots of feathers.

The quilts I want to finish this quarter are highlighted in bold text

Monday, 26 October 2015

Mini rainbow New York Beauty quilt - 2nd entry in Bloggers' Quilt Festival

My second entry for this autumn's Bloggers' Quilt Festival is my variation on a New York Beauty mini quilt. I am entering it into the "Mini Quilt" category. To be honest, 2015 has been the year of the mini quilt so it seems appropriate to be entering a quilt in this category.

I made this mini quilt for the Sew My Stash mini quilt swap that finished earlier this month. My initial plan was a rainbow New York Beauty variation made of 9 blocks arranged diagonally across the quilt.

My initial sketch

After making a test block, I realised I didn't have enough rainbow coloured fabrics to do my vision justice, so I decided on an alternative arrangement of 4 blocks with a little more variety in the pieced arcs. At this point I was considering a pieced background of various black-on-white and white-on-black prints.

My initial fabric pull and updated plan

By the time I started piecing I had decided to use plainer black and white background fabrics to let the rainbow scraps really stand out. Here are the first four arcs pieced on foundation papers.

First four arcs pieced

 I added a bit more complexity with another 2 pieced arcs...

All components pieced and ready to sew together

Once the top was finished, I stopped for a couple of days to consider my options. My original plan had been to quilt the white background areas in white and the black areas in black. However, I had recently finished another mini quilt where I had used matching threads for complex quilting, and had been a bit disappointed that all the quilting was pretty much invisible on the front of the quilt. So, I bit the bullet and went for grey thread that would show up on both black and white background fabrics. It was a bit nerve wracking and a bit exhilarating, but I'm glad that I went for it. I stitched in the ditch around the points, and then free motion quilted in concentric circles using my domestic sewing machine.

A little bit nerve wracking and a little bit exhilarating!

I used the same black fabric for the binding and then sent it off to its new owner in Canada.

the finished quilt

And here's the mini quilt that came to live with me. I love it! Bright colours and plenty of kitties - what's not to love?!