Work in Progress July 2018

Blue star quilt

Blue star quilt

My work in progress is at a wonderful stage at the moment – some quilts are still just tops only, some have been layered, some quilted, some bound and some just waiting for a hanging sleeve or something else minor.

Now that I have given myself more time to work on these projects, I thought that I would share with you what I’m doing and how I am quilting some projects.  As ever, I’m not saying that my way is the correct way – I just hope that it will give you some ideas for your own quilting.




Blue star quilt

This was a quilt that I made to use up some leftover blue fabrics.  I have stitched in the ditch on each diamond within the star sections and then echo quilted 1/4″ in from the seams.  For the blue/pink fabric forming a frame around the central star, I have machine embroidered a star stitch in pink along the middle of each section.  This was to highlight the circular shape of the frame.

Using a bendy ruler

Using a bendy ruler

Palm Tree Hawaiian wall hanging

This one is now complete bar the hanging sleeve.  I used machine embroidery – a blanket stitch – to sew the applique to the wall hanging.  Then I quilted a sort of feather wreath on the background.  There are four sections – one across each corner – but I tried to make them look more like palm fronds than feathers.  I used one of those bendy rulers (technical term that!) so that I could be sure that I had the same shaped curve in each segment.  The yellow section in the middle will have to be hand quilted as I wouldn’t be able to machine sew such a small section.

Sunflower wall hanging

Sunflower wall hanging

Sunflower wall hanging

This now also just needs a hanging sleeve.  I stitched in the ditch around the central sunflower square and then ran a curve between each pair of corners to emphasise that sunflower.  The three petals in all the triangles with some echo quilting in each petal is a great way to quilt triangles – particularly when the project has a floral theme.

Dragon moon wall hanging

Dragon moon wall hanging

Dragon Moon wall hanging

Are you beginning to see a trend here?  I began with small projects so that I could get several finished and then really feel that I was progressing!  This particular wall hanging is just delightful.  I used one of Kona Bay’s dragon moon panels and put several borders on it, using Christmas fabrics with a gold thread running through them.

Quilting detail

Quilting detail

I cut out white circles for moons and hand sewed them to the red border.  Then, using a gold quilting thread I stitched in the ditch between all the borders.  For the central section I used one of the embroidery stitches on my sewing machine – the stemstitch – to create a central diamond and some straight lines across the corners.  I had agonised for ages over how to quilt the central section because I didn’t want to take attention away from the gorgeous panel itself.

I’m pleased with the way it has turned out.

Altogether I have used hand quilting, machine quilting and machine embroidery in this wall hanging – you don’t have to stick to just one type of sewing when you quilt a project.

Longarm quilting

Longarm quilting

Longarm quilting

Obviously Minnie is being kept very busy as well.  If you haven’t come across her before, Minnie is my longarm quilting frame.  I am in the fortunate position where I can have a large quilt set up on Minnie and I can also work on smaller projects on my domestic sewing machine.

On this particular quilt I am meander quilting all the background sections first.  Then I will decide how to use quilting to emphasise the main design.

Practice square

Practice square

Practice squares

I’ve always suggested plenty of practice to help your quilting.  I tend to use individual quilt blocks for this.  I usually have plenty of these lying around from my quilt block patterns.  This gives you a small section to play on and you don’t have to worry about large quantities of fabric.

On this particular one I have tried out different machine embroidery stitches, different shapes for feathers and also different threads – specifically the gold thread that I used above.  Then when the square is full I bind it and use it as a shelf liner.

My pile of UFO’s is still enormous, but I do at last feel that I can make some inroads on it.  I hope you find these suggestions helpful.

Here’s the video:

 

Piano Keys Star Quilt Free Pattern

Piano Keys Star quilt

Piano Keys Star quilt

When I designed the Piano Keys Star quilt my original intention was to place a piano keys border around each block.  However as I went along I decided to use the piano keys sections as sashing rather than complete borders around each block.

I had hoped to create a look where the light blue background to the star blocks blended with the light blue piano keys, while the dark blue plain blocks blended with the dark blue piano keys.  I think that I have achieved this.

I’ve used ten simple star blocks with ten plain squares, all 9″ square finished size.  The piano keys sections are 3″ by 9″ finished size and I made thirty of them.

The quilt measures 49″ by 61″, another rectangular quilt.  I have used 1 yard of red, 1.1/2 yards of light blue and 1.3/4 yards of dark blue fabric.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Quilt components

Quilt components

Cutting requirements for the piano keys star quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  ten dark blue, forty light blue, twelve red

3.7/8″ squares:  twenty dark blue, twenty light blue

9.1/2″ squares:  ten dark blue

1.1/2″ strips:  fifteen light blue, twelve dark blue – all cut across the width of fabric

For the border you will need to cut six 2.1/2″ of red across the width of fabric.

Half square triangle units

Half square triangle units

Make the half square triangles

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Place a light blue and a dark blue 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 produces two half square triangle units which are now 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the dark blue and clip the two corners where the triangle tips stick out.

Star quilt block layout

Star quilt block layout

Make the star quilt blocks

I’ve used a very simple nine patch star quilt block pattern.  Place a dark blue square in the middle and a light blue square in each corner.  Place a half square triangle unit in each of the remaining spaces.  Check the photo to be sure that you have them placed correctly.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  The block measures 9.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make ten of them.

Make three panels

Make three panels

Make the piano keys sections

Sew together five light blue and four dark blue 1.1/2″ strips.  This will give you a panel 9.1/2″ wide and around 42″ long.  Make three of these panels.  Cut the panels at 3.1/2″ intervals to make rectangles 3.1/2″ by 9.1/2″.  You will need thirty of these.

Basic rows of the quilt

Basic rows of the quilt

Assemble the piano keys star quilt

Each row of the quilt contains two star blocks, two dark blue plain squares and three piano keys sections.  Each sashing row contains four sashing strips and three red cornerstone squares.

Make three rows as the top row shown, with star, plain, star, plain blocks.  Make four of the sashing rows shown in the middle of the photo.  You need to make just two of the final row shown with plain, star, plain, star blocks.

Sew the blocks together across each row.  Sew the rows together alternating the star rows with the plain block rows and placing a sashing row after every row.

Use red for the border

Use red for the border

Add the piano keys star quilt border

I have used simple 2.1/2″ strips of red fabric to tie in with the red cornerstones.  You’ll need two lengths of 45.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt with two lengths of 61.1/2″ for the sides.

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

Here’s the video:

Washington DC

Washington DC

I have finally written up the Washington part of my American trip.  To see the photos you can click here or click on the photo.

Hawaiian quilt

Hawaiian quilt

I have also been busy finishing quilts and I have found it really satisfying.  I began with a couple of wall hangings that have been waiting in the UFO pile for quite a while.  For this Hawaiian quilt I used a blanket stitch machine embroidery to edge the palm trees.

Sunflower wall hanging

Sunflower wall hanging

I am really pleased with the Sunflower wall hanging.  I drew three petals in each triangle and then sewed each petal shape with a second petal echo quilted just inside the first one.  It’s a very simple design but looks great, I think.

Before the next quilt pattern in two weeks’ time I will write a full article showing you how I have finished various projects.  I’m not suggesting that my quilting is the right way, but I hope that it will give you ideas for your own quilting.

Washington DC – America – Photos

Reflecting pool Washington

I took the train to Washington DC from Philadelphia.  It's an amazing city and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.  The grid system for the streets makes it so easy to find your way around.  I didn't realise until I was just leaving that the numbering … [Continue reading]

Church Tile Quilt – Free Pattern

Church Tile Quilt

My design for the Church Tile quilt is based on a panel behind the altar in a church that I visited last weekend.  It's an incredibly quick quilt to make, using mostly squares only.  I don't have a photo of the panel itself - I didn't take my phone … [Continue reading]

Bath – Somerset – Photos

Bath Abbey

My visit to Bath last weekend was great fun.  I haven't finished showing you my American photos yet, but they will have to wait till next week. Bath is a city in Somerset, renowned for its Roman Baths.  I didn't visit these but I gather that they … [Continue reading]

Photo Quilt Cushion Cover Pattern

Photo quilt cushion cover

I've used this photo quilt cushion cover pattern as an opportunity to show you how to transfer photos to fabric.  You can use this technique for individual photos or text prints, or you can make a memory quilt using all your favourite photos.  The … [Continue reading]

Philadelphia – America – Photos

Philadelphia City Hall

For my Philadelphia visit I travelled by train from New York.  It was a very short visit so there must be large areas that I haven't seen, but I did at least have a lovely walk round the historic area.  Philadelphia was founded by an Englishman, … [Continue reading]

New York Flooring Quilt Pattern

New York flooring quilt

My New York flooring quilt is based on a design of tiles that I saw in a New York diner.  I have of course changed the design quite a bit, but that was the basis for the design.  There were many, many more quilt inspirations during my American … [Continue reading]

New York – America – Photos

New York skyline

My trip to New York was a wonderful experience.  I also took in Philadelphia and Washington, but I'll keep those photos for another time.  The flight that I had booked was cancelled so I had to go a day early - what a hardship!  I'm starting with an … [Continue reading]

Special Occasion Clutch Bag Pattern

Special occasion clutch bag

I made this special occasion clutch bag as I have another wedding on the horizon.  My plan is to make this butterfly bow bag to match my outfit.  It's my second son Tom, who is getting married in September. I have used silk so that I can use both … [Continue reading]