California Oakleaf Star Quilt

California oakleaf star quilt

California oakleaf star quilt

I’ve made the California oakleaf star quilt using the block of the same name with a simple alternate block which causes a star to form when the blocks are sewn together.  It’s a nice easy quilt to make – I’m sure that you are all as busy as I am in the runup to Christmas.

The quilt measures 52″ square and I used 1.3/4 yards each of purple and gold, together with 3/4 yard of white fabric.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.  Incidentally, this quilt also looks good made up in red, white and blue.  The blocks are all 14″ square finished size and you need to make five California oakleaf blocks and four alternate blocks.

I’d love to hear from anyone who lives in California – do your oakleaves look any different from those elsewhere?




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the California oakleaf star quilt

2.1/2″ squares:  eighty purple, twenty gold, forty five white

2.1/2″ by 1.1/2″ rectangles:  one hundred each in purple and white – but read the pattern before you cut these as they are simple to make using strip piecing

7.7/8″ squares:  eight purple, eight gold

For the borders you will need ten 2.1/2″ strips of gold cut across the width of fabric and five 1.1/2″ strips of purple cut across the width of fabric.

Make the California oakleaf corners

Sew together strips of purple and white

Sew together strips of purple and white

Make the strip pieced squares first.  The simplest way to make these is to sew together 1.1/2″ strips of white and purple.  Press the seam allowance towards the purple and cut at 2.1/2″ intervals.  This will give you 2.1/2″ squares made of a purple and a white rectangle.  It’s much quicker and less fiddly to make them this way.

Layout of the corners

Layout of the corners

The corners of this block are made with a simple nine patch block.  There’s a purple square in each corner, a gold square in the middle and one of the purple/white squares on each edge of the central square.  These are placed so that the purple rectangle is on the inside, lying against the gold square, and the white is on the outside.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  You need to make four of these for each California oakleaf block, which means making twenty of them altogether.

California oakleaf quilt block layout

California oakleaf quilt block layout

Full layout of the block

Now you can assemble the entire block.  Between each pair of corners there are two white squares and one purple/white square.  There’s a white square in the middle:  the purple/white squares are all placed so that the purple rectangles surround the central square.

Make three rows

Make three rows

Sew together the three squares that make each spur of the central cross.  You can then sew the pieces together to make three rows and finally sew the three rows to each other to complete the California oakleaf quilt block.  Make five of these.

Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangle units

Making the alternate quilt block

For this block you need to make half square triangles with the 7.7/8″ squares.  Place a purple and a gold square with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This will produce two half square triangle units which are now 7.1/2″ squares.

Alternate block layout

Alternate block layout

Lay these out as a four patch unit.  Place them so that the two gold triangles together form larger gold triangles, and so do the purple squares.  Sew the pairs together and then sew the pairs to each other to complete the alternate block.  Make four of these.

Rows 1 and 3

Rows 1 and 3

Assembling the California oakleaf star quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  Rows one and three are made with a California oakleaf block at each end and an alternate block in the middle.  Place the alternate block so that the purple is top and bottom with the gold on the sides.

Row 2

Row 2

Make row two with an alternate block at each end and a California oakleaf block in the middle.  This time place the alternate  blocks so that the purple is on the sides and the gold is top and bottom.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

Add the quilt borders

Add the quilt borders

Add the borders

For the first border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of gold.  You’ll need two lengths of 42.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 46.1/2″ for the sides.

Make the second border using 1.1/2″ strips of purple.  Piece two lengths of 46.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt and two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the sides.

Finally for the third border you’ll need 2.1/2″ strips of gold again.  Two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 52.1/2″ for the top and bottom.

That completes the California oakleaf star quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.

Here’s the video:

Harborne clock tower

Harborne clock tower

The suburb nearest to where I live is called Harborne and it is dominated by a building which seems incredibly tall for what it is – a clock tower.  The building used to be a school till the 1960’s but is now mainly restaurants.  I’m guessing that the playground used to be where the car park is now.

Apparently the name Harborne is thought to come from the Old English horu burna, meaning dirty stream, although Harborne was considered a health resort at one time.  It was fascinating reading about Harborne’s history – I’m rather ashamed that I haven’t yet done the same for Quinton itself!

Craftsy

Baby Soft Toy – Seahorse Rattle

Baby soft toy - seahorse rattle

Baby soft toy – seahorse rattle

I thought that this baby soft toy – seahorse rattle – was truly gorgeous, but it also made a logical step in my progression of basic soft toy making articles.  The seahorse is made with the same basic principles as the two previous soft toys that I have looked at.  The extra steps are the addition of fins on the outside and something to make a noise on the inside.

Cut out the seahorse rattle templates

Cut out the seahorse rattle templates

Where to find the seahorse pattern

You can find the full pattern on the Hobbycraft site:

http://blog.hobbycraft.co.uk/how-to-make-a-little-seahorse-rattle/

They have a great range of projects for you to make in all crafts, not just sewing.

Preparing the seahorse

Cut out two templates of the sea horse and four of the fins.  Sew the four fins together in pairs with right sides together, leaving a gap to turn them right side out.  I found this bit quite fiddly because they were so small – and do remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.  I forgot on one of the fins and almost all of one side came undone when I was struggling to turn the fin right side out.

Sew the fins to the seahorse

Sew the fins to the seahorse

Sew one fin to each seahorse piece.  I did this by hand.  Then sew the two seahorse sections right sides together, leaving a gap.  Clip all the seam allowances where there’s a curve and turn right side out – I really struggled here with the tail as it was so thin.  I ended up pulling the fabric out with tweezers rather than pushing it out from the inside.

Filling the baby soft toy – seahorse rattle

Put rice in a container for the rattle

Put rice in a container for the rattle

For the rattle they have used a tic tac container in the Hobbycraft pattern.  I found a small round plastic container – the sort that you get when you buy plastic see through bottles to take liquids on a plane.  I used rice to make the noise – don’t put too much in or it won’t make much noise when it is shaken.

Begin filling the seahorse with toy stuffing and add the container to make the rattle.  Pack more stuffing around it so that you can’t feel the rattle and sew up the gap.  Now you just need to embroider eyes and mouth to complete the baby soft toy – seahorse rattle.

Thanks, Hobbycraft for a great toy pattern.

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