Haden Hill House Museum – Birmingham

Haden Hill House Museum

Haden Hill House Museum

Haden Hill House Museum is another delightful museum that is a hidden treasure very close to where I live.  As with the Oak House, it is free to visit, but this one sits in a magnificent park of 55 acres.  I didn’t see much of the parkland as it was raining but I will definitely return for a nice long walk in the summer.

There are two parts to it – an old hall which is probably seventeenth century but was damaged in a fire, and the Victorian house. This is on the right of the photo.




Sculpture in the lake

Sculpture in the lake

This lovely small lake was the only part of the park that I saw.  As it’s between the car park and the house I couldn’t really miss it!

The library

The library

Inside Haden Hill House

The first room that you come across downstairs is the library.  This was described as cosy although I felt that it was very dark.  I think that the curtains were drawn to protect the furnishings from sunlight.  The model of a lady embroidering was very realistic.  In every room I was really impressed by the many activities for children.  It must get packed during the school holidays!

Bed in the servants' quarter

Bed in the servants’ quarter

The servants’ quarters looked really comfortable.  This bed had both mattress and pillows.  There were many Victorian items of clothing displayed around the room.

Treadle sewing machine

Treadle sewing machine

And also a sewing machine!  We didn’t have one of these with a treadle when I was small, but the machine itself looks really similar to the hand operated Singer that we used for many years.

Quilt Inspiration

Floor tiles

Floor tiles

Obviously I was on the lookout for quilt inspiration and these floor tiles will definitely be appearing in a quilt some time in the future.  The overall design was very Victorian and I was particularly impressed with the border tiles.  In one of the rooms there was a huge amount of William Morris design in both the wallpaper and the furnishings.  What a treat.

There was one gorgeous stained glass window that would make a great quilt, but my photo looks too shaky for me to display it here.

Scrappy quilt?

Scrappy quilt?

I was delighted to find a quilt on one of the beds.  While we would describe it as a scrappy quilt, this one probably filled the original point of quilts – using up fabric from old clothes to provide warmth.

Wedding dresses

Wedding dresses

They are licensed to hold weddings in Haden Hill House and one room was taken up with wedding outfits through the ages.

These were fascinating.

Overall I was thrilled to have found Haden Hill House Museum and will definitely be returning there.

Anvil Steps Quilt – Free Pattern

Anvil steps quilt

Anvil steps quilt

I’ve made the Anvil Steps quilt using three different blocks within the quilt and a different block for the border.  It’s the border that I’m most pleased with – something completely different for you to try.  The quilt measures 58″ square and I’ve used 1.3/4 yards of white, 1.1/4 yards of red, 1 yard of light blue and 1//2 yard of dark blue fabrics.   The blocks within the quilt are 12″ square finished size while the border blocks are 9″ square finished size.

You can buy the fabrics for this quilt at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the anvil steps quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  twenty dark blue, thirty six white, sixteen light blue

3.7/8″ squares:  twenty dark blue, thirty six white, sixteen light blue

2.3/4″ squares:  eight light blue, eighty white – these can be made with strip piecing

5.3/8″ squares:  twenty red, twenty white

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

Create half square triangle units

Create half square triangle units

Make the half square triangle units

Use both the 3.7/8″ squares and the 5.3/8″ squares to make half square triangle units in two different sizes.  Place a coloured square right sides together with a white square 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 triangles.  Press the seam allowances away from the white and clip the two corners where fabric sticks out.

The blue and white squares are now 3.1/2″ square while the red and white squares are now 5″ square.

Anvil quilt block layout

Anvil quilt block layout

Make the anvil quilt block

I began this quilt with the idea of the anvil quilt block because it’s a simple four patch block that goes together really quickly.  Lay the blocks out in four rows of four.  There’s a white square in each corner and four dark blue squares in the middle.  On each edge of the central four patch place a pair of dark blue/white half square triangles.  Place these so that so that the dark blue triangles form a butterfly shape across two corners.  On the other two corners, the white triangles together with the white corner square form a larger white triangle.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  The block measures 12.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make four of these.

Alternate block layout

Alternate block layout

Make the alternate block

For the alternate block I wanted a block that was similar to the anvil block but had more of a vertical shape rather than a diagonal shape.  So I played around with the same squares that make up the anvil block and came up with this alternate block.

Lay the squares out in four rows of four.  You still have the white squares in the corners and the four blue squares in the middle.  This time the half square triangles on the edges are placed differently.  On two edges the light blue triangles together form a larger light blue triangle pointing away from the middle.  For the other two edges, the white triangles together form a larger white triangle pointing towards the middle.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  The block now measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make four in light blue and one in dark blue.

Row one

Row one

Assemble the anvil steps quilt

Lay the blocks out in three rows of three.  Make row one with an anvil block at each end and a light blue alternate block in the middle.  Place the anvil blocks so that the diagonal lines point towards the middle.  Place the alternate block so that the pointy bits point to either side.

Second row

Second row

Make row two with a light blue alternate block at each end and a dark blue alternate block in the middle.  Place all three blocks so that the pointy bits point up and down.

Row three

Row three

Row three is similar to row one with an anvil block at each end and an alternate block in the middle.  This time the diagonal shape of the anvil block is pointing outwards.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete this section of the anvil steps quilt.

Strip piecing

Strip piecing

Make the border blocks

I’ve used a smaller block for the border. In order to make the four patch units in this block you need to sew together 2.3/4″ strips of light blue and white.  Cut these panels at 2.3/4″ intervals to make rectangles 2.3/4″ by 5″.

Border block layout

Border block layout

Lay four of the rectangles out as shown with the red/white half square triangles.  The red triangles form two corners of the block.  Place four of the light blue/white rectangles so that the light blue squares run along the diagonal.

Sew the rectangles together in pairs to make four patch units.  Then sew one four patch unit to each half square triangle.  Finally sew the two halves of the block together.  The border block measures 9.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make twenty of them.

Stepped quilt border

Stepped quilt border

Add the first quilt border

You need to make two strips of four blocks for the top and bottom of the quilt.  Rotate these so that the light blue squares form two peaks across the row.  The red triangles will then form one larger red triangle in the middle pointing down and one larger red triangles each side pointing up.  The strip for the bottom is the same but with the blue squares forming two V shapes.

Add the sides

Add the sides

That leaves twelve border blocks for the sides – two strips of six blocks each.  Lay the first two blocks so that the blue squares follow the same diagonal as the last block in the top row.  That means that around the top right hand corner you have three blocks with the blue squares running from top left to bottom right.  Then add two blocks where they form a V against the side of the quilt top.  Finally place the last two blocks so that the blue squares follow the same diagonal as the last block in the bottom row.

Add the final border

Add the final border

Add the final border

Finally I have used 2.1/2″ strips of red fabric for the outer border.  You’ll need two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 58.1/2″ for the sides.  That completes the Anvil Steps 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:

What are these used for?

What are these used for?

I have a favour to ask – can you identify what these scissors are used for?  They were in a box of scissors that my cousin gave me a few weeks ago and I’m curious to know what they are.  The top one only has one circle for a finger and the bottom one has a square in the middle – most odd.

Since writing this, I have had many suggestions that the top pair are thread snips and the bottom pair are buttonhole scissors.  I have also been sent this wonderfull informing link on how to use buttonhole scissors:

https://www.ebay.com/gds/How-to-Use-Buttonhole-Scissors-/10000000205702342/g.html

Back view of Coughton Court

Back view of Coughton Court

My travels this week took me to Coughton Court – another National Trust property that is a delight to visit.  You can see more photos by clicking here or you can click on the photo.

Coughton Court – Alcester – Photos

Coughton Court

For my visit to Coughton Court I managed to choose a day that was dry and not too cold.  It's a National Trust property not far from here.  The Throckmorton family have owned it for hundreds of years - since 1409 in fact.  They were a very powerful … [Continue reading]

Pleated Tote Bag – Free Pattern

Pleated tote bag

I made this pleated tote bag because I feel that it is more secure than some of my tote bags.  The opening at the top is narrower than the rest of the bag.  It's also very pretty and is very easy to make.  The body of the bag measures roughly 16" … [Continue reading]

Oak House Museum – West Bromwich – Photos

Oak House Museum

Oak House Museum is a wonderful museum quite near where I live.  I had never even heard of it, never mind visited it, before this week.  What a treat it was!  It's a 17th century farmer's house which is classified as a Grade II listed … [Continue reading]

Meetinghouse Square Quilt Block Pattern

Meetinghouse Square quilt block

The Meetinghouse Square quilt block is rather a large block but it is easy to make as it is such a regular block.  I have made it here as a 27" square finished size so that the photos and instructions would be as clear as possible.  The secret to … [Continue reading]

Paper Pinwheel Quilt – Free Pattern

Paper pinwheel quilt

The Paper Pinwheel quilt is made using two versions of the block of the same name.  It was the name of the block that attracted me - the design looks like those paper whirligig things that I can remember from my childhood.  The quilt measures 54" … [Continue reading]

Reverse Applique Cushion – Easter Bunny

Reverse applique cushion Easter bunny

I've made this reverse applique cushion using the Easter bunny and four Easter egg shapes.  It's a very simple cushion cover but I wanted to show you not only how easy reverse applique is but also that you can have more than one colour showing up in … [Continue reading]

Visiting Blenheim Palace – Oxford – Photos

Blenheim Palace

Visiting Blenheim Palace was an extraordinary treat for me.  I lived in Oxford for a small time many years ago, but somehow I didn't manage to visit the Palace.  It was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and the grounds were designed by Capability Brown.  … [Continue reading]

Four Corners Star Quilt Pattern

Four corners star quilt

I've used three different blocks to create the Four Corners star quilt pattern.  The central block contains a star and then I have created a second star around it.  The quilt measures 60" square, using 1.1/2 yards each of light blue and white with … [Continue reading]