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Bluebirds Flying Quilt – Free Pattern

Bluebirds flying quilt

Bluebirds flying quilt

The name of the Bluebirds Flying quilt block attracted me, thinking of all the birds migrating to warmer climates at this time of year – it’s also a very pretty block!  I have teamed it with a simple alternate block to make this lovely fresh looking quilt.

The quilt measures 69″ square using nine blocks which are 21″ square finished size.  I used 2.3/4 yards of white fabric, 1 yard each of light blue and dark blue, with 3/4 yard of red fabric.  As usual, these fabrics are available at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed bluebirds flying quilt block

Completed bluebirds flying quilt block

Cutting requirements for the bluebirds flying quilt

3,7.8″ squares:  forty dark blue, forty white

3.1/2″ squares:  forty dark blue, five red, sixty white

9.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  twenty white

11.3/8″ squares:  eight light blue, eight white

For the border you will need to cut seven 3.1/2″ strips across the width of fabric.

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make the half square triangles.  Place a dark blue and a white 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 triangles which are now 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the blue and clip the two corners where fabric sticks out.

Bluebirds flying quilt block

Bluebirds flying quilt block

Make the bluebirds flying quilt block

The layout for this block is very simple.  Begin with a red square in the middle.  Place a white rectangle on each edge of the central square, forming a cross shape.

Layout for the corners

Layout for the corners

Now add the corner sections.  These are all the same as each other, just rotated in the placement.

Along one diagonal place two dark blue squares and one white square.  Place two white squares in the remaining two corners.  Add a pair of half square triangles on either side of the bottom blue square, placing them so that the blue triangles with the square form a larger blue triangle.  Place another pair of half square triangles on either side of the middle blue squares with the two blue triangles forming a butterfly shape together.

Block partially sewn

Block partially sewn

Sew the patchwork pieces together across each row of this nine patch unit and then sew the rows together.  Repeat with the other three corners.  You can now sew the pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the block.

At this stage the block measures 21.1/2″ square and you need to make five of them.

Alternate block layout

Alternate block layout

Make the alternate block

I have made the half square triangles for this block by simply cutting the 11.3/8″ along one diagonal.  Then I could sew a light blue and a white triangle together.  Use four half square triangles for each block, placing them so that they form two larger blue triangles meeting in the middle and two larger white triangles meeting in the middle.

Sew the pieces together in two pairs and then sew the two pairs to each other.  At this stage the block also measures 21.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Rows one and three

Rows one and three

Assemble the bluebirds flying quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three blocks.  Rows one and three are the same as each other.  Lay a bluebird block at each end with an alternate block in the middle.

Row two

Row two

For row two you need to place a bluebird block in the middle with an alternate block in the middle.

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

Red for the border

Red for the border

Add the border

I have used 3.1/2″ strips of the same red fabric that I used within the blue bird blocks.  You need two lengths of 63.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt and two lengths of 69.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the Bluebirds Flying 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:

https://youtu.be/aNwt0hX5dA4

 

National Memorial Arboretum

National Memorial Arboretum

Earlier this year I visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas.  With Remembrance Sunday taking place this weekend I thought that it was a good time to share my photos with you.  You can see them by clicking here or on the photo.  I hope that the weather isn’t too bad for all the parades on Sunday.

As the weather forecast isn’t good for tomorrow I thought that I might go and see Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema.

National Memorial Arboretum – Alrewas – Photos

National Memorial Arboretum

National Memorial Arboretum

I visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas earlier this year.  This was officially opened in May 2001 and is a moving tribute to our armed services.  This is the official description of it:

A spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country.

It is now run by a charity with countless volunteers and I felt that I could have spent far longer than a day there to explore the 150 acres of trees and memorials.

Lifting a fallen comrade

Lifting a fallen comrade

I’ll try to keep my talking to a minimum now and concentrate on the photos.

This tableau is part of the first section that you come to, surrounded by walls inscribed with the names of those who have died in active service since World War II- so many of them.

The surrounding walls are placed so that at 11am on the 11th November the sun shines through two slits in the walls and a shaft of light falls on a wreath in the middle.

So many varied trees

So many varied trees

There are 30,000 trees here with the number growing all the time. What struck me was the wonderful variety of trees – leaves of every colour and shape.

Memorials everywhere

Memorials everywhere

Memorials along every walk way.  This particular one was at the end of a very long walkway.  The simplicity of two hands clasped was moving.

Engraved ball

Engraved ball

This globe had names engraved over the surface of the ball.

Memorial

Memorial

Every aspect of the armed services – support services as well – was remembered somewhere within the arboretum.

Bordered by rivers

Bordered by rivers

The arboretum is bordered by the rivers Trent and Tame and was built on a former gravel pit.  The rivers add to the peace of the area.

Curved Log Cabin Quilt Pattern

Curved log cabin quilt

Curved log cabin quilt

My curved log cabin quilt pattern has turned out really well – well I think so, anyway!  I’ve used the basic log cabin quilt block but with different sized logs.  This means that the red square which began in the middle of the block actually ends up way off centre.  Traditionally, the central square of a log cabin block is red to represent the fire in the hearth of a log cabin.  The colours move from dark to light on each side and I have added the logs clockwise rather than anti clockwise.  The quilt measures 60″ square.

I made sixteen identical blocks and created the design by rotating the blocks.  Each block is 14″ square finished size and I used 1 yard of red, 3/4 yard each of the two darkest blues and darkest light fabrics, with 1/2 yard each of the two lightest blues and the third lightest light fabric, and just 1/4 yard of white fabric.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Cutting requirements

The red squares in the middle are 2.1/2″.  The blue logs are 2.1/2″ wide while the light logs are 1.1/2″ wide.  I made the border with 2.1/2″ red strips.  I haven’t listed the log sizes here because it would take me half a page to do that and also because you may prefer to speed piece the logs – details below.

Cut the central square

Cut the central square

Central square

Sew together 2.1/2″ strips of red and the lightest blue along the length.  Cut this panel at 2.1/2″ intervals to give rectangles 4.1/2″ by 2.1/2″.  These will form the central red square and the first blue log of the block.

You need to make sixteen of these.

First round of logs

Add the second log

Add the second log

For the next blue log you could cut a 4.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ blue rectangle and sew it to the left hand side of the red square.

Speed piecing

Speed piecing

Alternatively, if you wish to save time with speed piecing, you can cut a 2.1/2″ strip and sew the blue/red rectangles to it.  Place the rectangle on the blue strip.  Make sure that the red square is above the blue square and keep adding more blue/red rectangles until you have sixteen – for this you will need more than one blue strip.

Cut the strip between the rectangles

Cut the strip between the rectangles

Cut the blue strip between each pair of rectangles.  I find this speed piecing much quicker than cutting each log individually before sewing it.  If you are unclear of how I’ve done this, you may find the video helpful – link at the bottom of the page.

Add the first white log

Add the first white log

I’ve made the next two logs of this frame using 1.1/2″ strips of white fabric.  You need a 4.1/2″ rectangle across the top.  This is shown on the right of the photo.  If you’re speed piecing then place the white strip and the block as shown on the left of the photo.

Second white log

Second white log

Add a 5.1/2″ white strip down the right hand side of the block, shown on the right of the photo.  If you’re speed piecing, place the blocks on the white strip as shown on the left of the photo.  This completes the first round of logs around the central square.

First log, second round

First log, second round

Second round of logs

For this round you need the next darkest blue and light fabrics.  The blues are always 2.1/2″ wide and the lights are always 1.1/2″ wide so I’ll just specify the lengths of the logs from now on.  Add a 5.1/2″ blue strip across the bottom of the block.  Place the block against the blue strip as shown on the left if you are speed piecing.

Second log, second round

Second log, second round

For the second log sew a 7.1/2″ blue rectangle to the left hand side of the block.

The speed piecing option is shown on the left of the photo.

Third log, second round

Third log, second round

For the next log sew a 7.1/2″ light rectangle to the top of the block.  Speed piecing option shown on the left.

Fourth log, second round

Fourth log, second round

Make the final log of this round using an 8.1/2″ light rectangle down the right hand side of the block.

For speed piecing place the block as shown against the light strip.

First log, third round

First log, third round

Third round of logs

Add an 8.1/2″ strip of the next darkest blue across the bottom of the block.  Place the block as shown for speed piecing.

Second log, third round

Second log, third round

Now add a 10.1/2″ blue strip up the left hand side of the curved log cabin quilt block.

Speed piecing shown on the left of the photo.

Third log, third round

Third log, third round

Use the third darkest light fabric for the next two logs.  Add a 10.1/2″ strip across the top of the block.

Fourth log, third round

Fourth log, third round

Now sew an 11.1/2″ rectangle down the right hand side of the block.

Speed piecing layout shown on the left of the photo.  That completes the third round of logs – just one more round to go now!

First log, fourth round

First log, fourth round

Fourth round of logs

Using the darkest blue (I’ve used purple) place an 11.1/2″ strip across the bottom of the block.

Second log, fourth round

Second log, fourth round

Sew a 13.1/2″ rectangle up the left hand side of the block.

Placement of the block for speed piecing shown on the left.

Third log, fourth round

Third log, fourth round

Using the darkest of the light fabrics (I’ve used yellow), sew a 13.1/2″ strip across the top of the block.  For some reason I seem to have taken the photo when the block was upside down, so please take care when placing this strip.

Fourth log, fourth round

Fourth log, fourth round

For the final log of this curved log cabin quilt block, sew a 14.1/2″ strip down the right hand side.  This time the block is the right way up!  The block should now measure 14.1/2″ square and you need to make sixteen of them.

First two rows of blocks

First two rows of blocks

Assemble the curved log cabin quilt

Sew the blocks together in four rows of four.  I think that using the purple corner for reference will be clearest.  Make row one with two pairs of blocks where the purple corner is bottom right, bottom left, bottom right again and then bottom left.

In row two place the purple corners top left, bottom right, bottom left and then top right.

Rows three and four

Rows three and four

Row three is similar to row two.  Place the purple corners bottom left, top right, top left and bottom right.

In row four the purple corners are top right, top left, top right and top left.

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

Add the border

Add the border

Add the border

I have picked out the red of the central squares for the border.  You’ll need two lengths of 56.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt, with two lengths of 60.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the curved log cabin 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:

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

Recently I visited somewhere that has been on my list for a long time – Warwick Castle.  It is relatively close to where I live and to see my photos you can click on the photo or click here.

Tomorrow I have a stall at Moseley Art Market – I hope that it’s not going to be as cold as they are forecasting!

Warwick Castle – Photos

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is one of those places that I had always intended to visit but as it’s nearby I hadn’t quite managed a trip there until recently.  After all, it has been there since 1068 so I felt that it was likely to be around for a while yet.  What a lovely castle it is with lots of activities.

The castle lies on the River Avon and you can see at the front of the photo where the moat used to be.  Originally it was built in wood during the time of William the Conqueror but in the twelfth century it was rebuilt in stone.  It is run by Merlin Entertainments, rather than the more usual English Heritage or National Trust.




Inside the great hall

Inside the great hall

Inside the castle

The Great Hall is magnificent.  No floor tile patterns to inspire a quilt, but plenty to see.  This horse was a bit like the Mona Lisa – he seemed to be watching me as I walked around the hall.

Bear and ragged staff

Bear and ragged staff

I had heard of the bear and ragged staff many times before without quite knowing its significance.  The symbol of a bear with ragged staff is closely associated with Warwickshire – the T20 cricket team the Birmingham Bears is part of Warwickshire County Cricket Association..  They play at Edgbaston, just down the road from me.  Somewhere else that I still need to visit.

Apparently one of the Earls of Warwickshire was a Knight of the Round Table in the time of King Arthur.  His name was Arthgal.  The name is thought to have come from the Welsh word for bear.  A different earl a few centuries later fought off a giant using a tree branch from which he had stripped all the twigs and leaves – the ragged staff.  I have to admit that the link seems a bit weak to me, but it makes a nice story!  You can see two bears with ragged staffs in the photo.

Time Tower

Life at the castle

Life at the castle

The Time Tower provided some great stories of the castle through the ages.  There were some very lifelike models showing how people lived at the castle during various stages of its history.  The story of the castle was explained as you walked through a series of rooms – very interesting and well set up.

Wonderful tapestries

Wonderful tapestries

When I visit these historical buildings I am always struck by how well some tapestries seem to survive the years.

There are many lovely tapestries in Warwick Castle.  It’s the fact that the colours are still so good even after hundreds of years that always impresses me.

Outside the castle

I visited the castle out of season so a lot of the usual activities were closed, but I can imagine that in full season there would be lots of activities and demonstrations aimed at keeping the children happy and involved.

Peacocks close by

Peacocks close by

The trebuchet (siege machine) was fascinating.  For safety reasons this huge catapult was situated and fired on the other side of the river.  My photos aren’t clear enough for it to be worth showing them to you, but there are some good photos on the Warwick Castle website.  The trebuchet was used to hurl stones and rocks into whatever castle they were attacking.  Sometimes they also hurled things like dead animals over the defensive walls in the hope of spreading rotten meat throughout the area.  What nice times they lived in!

We sat on a hill on our side of the river to watch.  I was rather amazed at how close the peacocks came to all the spectators.  I had never seen a peacock so close up – what amazing colours they have in their feathers.

All in all, Warwick Castle provides a magnificent day out with a fascinating glimpse of life through the centuries.

 

Budapest Quilt Pattern – Floor Tile Design

Budapest quilt

Budapest quilt

The Budapest quilt design is based on floor tiles that I saw on my recent visit to Hungary.  You can find a link to the photos from that trip at the bottom of the page.  The quilt measures 67″ square, using nine 15″ blocks with three borders.

For the borders I have used blue strips for borders 1 and 3, with a smaller version of the central block for border 2.

I have used 2.1/2 yards of cream fabric, 1.3/4 yards of red and 1.1/2 yards of blue.




Original tile design

Original tile design

There were so many wonderful buildings from which to choose a design that it was difficult to choose one, but the quilt is loosely based on the tiles in this photo.

Completed blocks

Completed blocks

Cutting requirements for the Budapest quilt

Central block:  one 11.1/8″ red square, two 8.3/8″ cream squares

Cross block:  sixteen 6.1/2″ cream squares, sixteen 3.1/2″ cream squares, twenty 3.1/2″ red squares

Third block:  sixteen 6.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ cream rectangles, sixteen 3.1/2″ cream squares, eight 3.1/2″ red squares, eight 9.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ red rectangles, four 14.1/2″ by 3..1/2″ red rectangles

For borders 1 and 3 you will need to cut twelve 2.1/2″ blue strips across the width of fabric

For border 2 you will need thirty two 5.1/2″ red squares and sixty four 4.3/8″ cream squares.

Central block layout

Central block layout

Make the central block

I have made a simple diamond in a square block for the middle of the Budapest quilt.  Cut the 8.3/8″ cream squares along one diagonal to create two triangles from each square.  Place one cream triangle on each edge of the 11.1/8″ red square.

Sew the two side triangles first

Sew the two side triangles first

Sew two opposite triangles on to the square, press them open and then add the remaining two triangles.

Trim the middle of each edge where the triangle tips stick out.  The block now measures 15.1/2″ square and you just need to make one.

Cross block layout

Cross block layout

Make the cross block

The layout for this block is very simple.  Place a 6.1/2″ cream square in each corner.  Between the top two corners place a cream and then a red 3.1/2″ square.  For the bottom two corners place a red and then a cream 3.1/2″ square.  Make the middle row with a 9.1/2″ red strip in the middle and a 3.1/2″ cream square at each end.

Sew the red and cream squares together first and then you’ll be able to sew all the pieces together in three distinct rows.  Sew the rows to each other to complete the block.

The cross quilt block now measures 15.1/2″ square and you need to make four of these.

Layout for the third block

Layout for the third block

Make the third block

In the third block I have tried to use rectangles rather than individual squares as much as possible in order to save time sewing the block.

Make rows one and five with a red square in the middle and a 6.1/2″ red rectangle on either side.

Rows two and four contain a 9.1/2″ red rectangle with a cream square at each end.

For row 3 you just need one 15.1/2″ red rectangle.  Sew the pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the block.  It now measures 15.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Rows one and three

Rows one and three

Assemble the Budapest quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  Rows one and three are the same as each other, with a cross block in the middle and a third block on either side.

Row two

Row two

For row two place the diamond in a square block in the middle with a cross block on either side of it.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  At this stage the Budapest quilt top measures 45.1/2″ square.

First border

First border

Add the first quilt border

For the first border I have used 2.1/2″ blue strips to separate the main quilt from the borders.  You will need two lengths of 45.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt, with two lengths of 49.1/2″ for the sides.

Add the second border

Make smaller blocks

Make smaller blocks

In the second border I have used a reduced version of the central diamond in a square block.  This time I used 5.1/2″ red squares surrounded by triangles made by cutting 4.3/8″ cream squares along one diagonal.  Don’t forget to trim the edges of the block where the triangle tips stick out.  Each block now measures 7.1/2″ square and you need to make thirty two of them.

Press the seam allowances open

Press the seam allowances open

Sew the blocks together in two rows of seven blocks and two rows of nine blocks.  I have pressed the seam allowances open along these strips as the middle of the seam can be quite bulky.

Border two

Border two

Sew one row of seven blocks to the top of the quilt and one to the bottom.

Sew one row of nine blocks to each side of the quilt.

Border three

Border three

Third quilt border

Finally for the third border I have returned to the 2.1/2″ strips of blue fabric.  You need two lengths of 63.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt with two lengths of 67.1/2″ for the sides.

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

Here’s the video:

River Danube and Budapest

River Danube and Budapest

As I mentioned at the start of the page, this quilt was inspired by my trip to Budapest in Hungary.  To see my photos click here or click on the photo.

The weather seems to be doing strange things all across the world and I hope that you can stay safe and warm over the weekend.

 

Budapest – Hungary – Photos

Budapest - Hungary

Budapest – Hungary

Budapest has been on my list for a long time and I am delighted that I have finally managed to visit this beautiful city.  The River Danube runs right through the city, which was once the three cities of Bhuda, Obhuda and Pest (pronounced pesht).  I had always thought that Budapest was created from the two cities of Bhuda and Pest, so that was the first thing that I learned on my arrival.

Most photos of Budapest focus on the unbelievably beautiful buildings so I thought that I would open with a photo of a statue way above the city – it took me a long time and a lot of puffing and panting to climb up there but it was well worth it to see the panorama of the city spread out beneath me.




Budapest's Statue of Liberty

Budapest’s Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty Budapest

The statue above was actually a sidekick to Budapest’s very own Statue of Liberty.  This was perched on the hilltop on the Bhuda side of the river and completely dominated the skyline no matter where you were in the city.  It’s a very impressive area with magnificent views – appreciated all the more because it was such a steep climb to reach it.

It was erected in 1947 and shows Liberty holding a palm leaf aloft.  Actually, I thought it was a feather and have only just realised that it isn’t!

St Gerhard

St Gerhard

I have to confess to a senior moment here – while I was on a Danube cruise I heard the guide talking about the statue of the Archbishop while directing our attention to that side of the river.  So I thought that Liberty was the Archbishop until I climbed up the hill and realised that she couldn’t possibly be a man.

In fact the statue of St Gerhard is half way down the same hill that Liberty stands on.  He was the first bishop of Hungary.  The cruise guide told us that he was flung off the hill for his beliefs and that the waterfall beneath him signifies his death in the Danube, but I can’t find any reference to that anywhere else.

Parliament building

Parliament building

Parliament Building

The Parliament Building is best viewed from the river to get the full impact, but this is the front entrance.  They were obviously expecting someone special on this day – the red carpet was being unrolled while we watched and there was a very heavy army presence.  The following day we were allowed on to the area immediately in front of the palace so that we could see the memorial to those killed in the 1956 uprising.  I felt sad to see how open the area was – compared with our own Palace of Westminster which has to be so heavily barricaded and policed.

St Mathias church

St Mathias church

St Mathias Church

There is an area of Budapest called the Fisherman’s Bastion, built at the end of the 19th century to provide a panoramic view of the city.  This is beautiful but it was the Church of St Mathias just behind it which really caught my attention.  The roof alone dominates the area – such lovely patchwork designs created with the roof tiles.  I knew that the inside must be special and I wasn’t disappointed.

Inside the church

Inside the church

Inside, the church was breathtaking.  Every inch was decorated and the overall effect was eyewateringly beautiful.  Even with all the tourists the church managed to maintain a peaceful and calming atmosphere.

I took loads of photos of the interior – definitely lots of quilt inspiration there!

Shoes on the Danube

Shoes on the Danube

Shoes on the Danube

I had heard of the shoes on the banks of the Danube but it was still very moving to see them.

They are laid out along a stretch of at least 20 yards – sixty pairs of all shapes and sizes made in iron.  The memorial was created to remember the 3,500 people killed by the Arrow Cross militia men during the war.

The people were lined up on the banks of the Danube then ordered to take off their shoes.  When they were shot their bodies fell into the river.  The shoes are made of iron and many people have left flowers or candles in amongst the shoes.

Hungarian embroidery

Hungarian embroidery

Hungarian embroidery

Hungary embroidery is world renowned and it was a real treat to see it everywhere.

I have to admit that some of it looked mass-produced, but there were also ladies sitting in many areas embroidering the most delightful table runners and clothing.

Heroes Square

Heroes Square

Heroes Square

On our last day we visited Heroes Square.  This is a very impressive square where the Pope celebrated mass when he visited Budapest.  the figure at the top of the column is the Archangel Gabriel.

The square was laid out at the end of the 19th century to mark 1000 years of Hungary and there are magnificent museums and art galleries around it.

Museum in City Park Budapest

Museum in City Park Budapest

Behind the square lies City Park – an oasis of calm.  We didn’t go in to this museum but the architecture was a reminder of how these wonderful buildings seem to appear wherever we walked in Budapest.

Polar bears in the zoo

Polar bears in the zoo

We walked among the trees and fountains and then happened upon the zoo.  These polar bears were probably picking fish off each other’s teeth, but it was rather nice to imagine that they were kissing!

We visited so many places within the city that I haven’t been able to show you a fraction of my photos, but Budapest is a beautiful city – well worth a visit if you ever get the chance.

The beauty of Budapest

The beauty of Budapest

We travelled around on trams and buses.  Each journey cost the equivalent of about £1 although if I had been a year older I would have travelled for free.  All EU citizens over 65 travel free on Budapest’s extensive public transport system.  Food and wine are cheap and around every corner you can find a magnificent building to gaze at in awe.

 

New Waterwheel Quilt – Free Pattern

New waterwheel quilt

New waterwheel quilt

The New Waterwheel quilt is far larger than I had intended it to be.  It ended up measuring 85″ by 112″, large enough for a king size bed with some left over either to drape down the sides to wrap around the pillow.  The blocks are large and very simple, so the quilt went together really quickly.

I have used twelve 27″ blocks, half in blue and white with the other half in red and white.  The fabric required is 1.1/2 yards of light blue, 2 yards of red, 2.1/4 yards of dark blue, and 4 yards of white fabric.




Cutting requirements for the New Waterwheel quilt

9.7/8″ squares:  twelve red, twelve dark blue, twenty four white

3.1/2″ squares:  thirty red, twenty four white

9.1/2″ squares:  six light blue

3.1/2″ by 9.1/2″ rectangles:  twenty four red, forty eight dark blue, seventy two white – read the pattern before cutting these as they can be made using strip piecing

For the border you will need to cut nine 2.1/2″ strips of light blue across the width of fabric.

Sew the triangles together

Sew the triangles together

Make the new waterwheel quilt block

Use the 9.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles.  As the squares are quite large I have not made them in pairs, but just cut each square along the diagonal and then sewn a white triangle to either a red or a blue triangle.

Make the striped sections

Make the striped sections

For the striped sections of the blocks I have saved time by using strip piecing.  For the new waterwheel block sew together 3.1/2″ strips of white, red, white along the length.  Cut these panels at 9.1/2″ intervals to create 9.1/2″ squares.

Central section

Central section

For the central section of the block make a nine patch unit of red and white squares.  The top and bottom rows are 3.1/2″ squares of red, white, red while the middle row uses white, red, white squares.

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

New waterwheel quilt block layout

New waterwheel quilt block layout

Assemble the full quilt block

Lay the sections out in three rows of three.  Place the nine-patch in the middle with a red/white half square triangle in each corner.  Make sure that the red triangles are on the outside, forming the corners of the block.  Between each pair of corners, place a striped block.  These should form a frame around the central area – the top and bottom ones are laid horizontally while the side ones are placed vertically.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  The block measures 27.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make six of them.

Alternate quilt block layout

Alternate quilt block layout

Make the alternate block

The alternate block has most of the same elements as the new waterwheel block.  It is even easier to make because there is no nine patch in the middle – just a plain light blue square.

The striped blocks are made in exactly the same way as above, but using dark blue, white, dark blue strips.  Place the light blue square in the middle with a blue/white half square triangle in each corner, blue on the outside.  Place the striped blocks so that the stripes point away from the middle, rather than framing the middle.  Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

The alternate block measures 27.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make six of them.

Rows one and four

Rows one and four

Assemble the new waterwheel quilt

Sew the blocks together in four rows of three.  Rows one and four are the same as each other.  Place a blue block in the middle with a red block on either side of it.

Rows two and three

Rows two and three

Rows two and three are the same as each other.  Place a red block in the middle with a blue block on either side.

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

Add the border

I just wanted a small border for this quilt because it is so large, so I used 2.1/2″ strips of the light blue fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 81.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 112.1/2″ for the sides.  The new waterwheel quilt top is now finished and ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.

Here’s the video:

Waddesdon Manor

Waddesdon Manor

Recently I visited Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury.  It’s a magnificent property, built originally for the Rothschild family, along with equally lovely parkland.  To see my photos click here or click on the photo.

Tom and Anna

Tom and Anna

And of course last weekend was the wedding of my second son Tom to the lovely Anna.

The church had been recently refurbished and was beautiful, the cake was carrot and banana and was delicious.  My daughter was a bridesmaid and was also beautiful.

 

My daughter as bridesmaid

My daughter as bridesmaid

Wedding cake

Wedding cake

Heytesbury Church

Heytesbury Church

My granddaughter

My granddaughter

My eldest son with my grandaughter.

 

Waddesdon Manor – Aylesbury – Photos

Waddesdon Manor

Waddesdon Manor

Waddesdon Manor is another delightful National Trust property.  It was built in the late nineteenth century for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild.  He wanted somewhere to display his arts and sculptures – and of course to entertain his friends.  Although the property is owned by the National Trust, it is managed by the Rothschild Foundation.

A visit there is a real treat as both the buildings and the gardens are superb.  We had to park quite a distance away, but they have a shuttle bus between the car park and the manor, which helps.




The aviary

The aviary

The Gardens

The first place that we came across in the gardens was the aviary.  We didn’t look as closely as I would have liked at the birds because there were about three school trips that day and the noise from the children was deafening!

As you can see, the buildings are substantial and the birds had plenty of room in their enclosures.  Now I would never think of putting red and purple together in a quilt, but don’t you think that the flower bed on the right makes a lovely display.

What lovely colours

What lovely colours

My mind was still on quilts when I came to the next flower bed – those colours look gorgeous together.  There were statues all over the place and a rose garden that you could smell well before you reached it.

Beautiful topiary

Beautiful topiary

The other eyecatcher on our way to the manor was the topiary.  I’ve seen clever topiary before now, but what stood out here was the way they had used different plants to give a different green for the bird’s breast.  Very clever.

Tapestry fire screen

Tapestry fire screen

Inside Waddesdon Manor

The interior of the manor was breathtaking.  The colours in this tapestry were stunning and they had some really large tapestries hanging on the walls as well.

Zebra in harness

Zebra in harness

I was brought up in Africa and I was always told that zebra could not be tamed so it was delightful to see this photo of zebra pulling a carriage.

This is just an example of how varied the treasures are within the manor.

Twelve Caesars

Twelve Caesars

While we were there – and just about to finish – was an exhibition called the Twelve Caesars.  This consisted of gold or bronze sculptures of each of the first twelve Caesars.  It was fascinating and the amazing thing is that they don’t know who made them or why.

Dining in style

Dining in style

The meals were obviously sumptuous when the Rothschilds lived at Waddesdon Manor.  This table was set for a wonderful feast.  It was the chandelier that was truly beautiful, but I’m afraid my photo hasn’t done it justice.

Waddesdon Manor is an amazing place to visit both inside and outside – well worth it if you’re in the area.

Diamonds Are Forever Quilt Pattern

Diamonds are Forever quilt

Diamonds are Forever quilt

My Diamonds are Forever quilt has been named in honour of my son’s wedding this weekend.  I have used two different quilt blocks with various colour variations to provide diamonds in both the overall quilt design and in some of the blocks.  Please don’t think that it looks too complicated – each block is actually very simple to make.

The quilt is rectangular, measuring 64″ by 70″, so it would be suitable for a double bed or a throw.  I have used twenty five blocks which are all 12″ square finished size.  For the quilt top I needed 2 yards each of green and white, 1 yard of purple and 3/4 yard each of lilac and yellow.




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the Diamonds are Forever quilt

2.7/8″ squares:  ninety eight purple, forty eight green, one hundred and fifty white, four yellow

4,7.8″ squares:  twenty four purple, two yellow, twenty six lilac

2.1/2″ squares:  one hundred white

8.1/2″ squares:  twelve green

For the borders you will need to cut three 3.1/2″ yellow strips, seven 2.1/2″ green strips, all across the width of fabric.

Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangle units

Make the half square triangle units

You need to make these using both the 2.7/8″ squares and the 4.7/8″ squares.  Place two squares 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.  Trim the two corners where the fabric sticks out.  In the 2.7/8″ squares, place white with either purple or green.  For the 4.7/8″ squares, place lilac with either purple or yellow.

First quilt block layout

First quilt block layout

Make the first block

My original intention had been to use a green/white four patch in the middle of this block.  However I felt that it made the quilt look too busy so I changed it for one green square.  As I had already cut the fabric, it meant that I had lots of 4.1/2″ green strips cut – that’s why in the full quilt you’ll see that I have sometimes used two 4.1/2″ by 8.1/2″ green rectangles instead of one 8.1/2″ square.

Place a green 8.1/2″ square in the middle.  On each edge of this square place two purple/white half square triangles with a 2.1/2″ white square on either side of them.  Place the purple triangles together so that they form a larger purple triangle always pointing away from the middle.  In each corner place a purple/white half square triangle with the purple triangle on the outside, forming the corner of the block.

Partially sewn block

Partially sewn block

Sew together the four squares above and below the green square and then sew them to the green square.  Join together all the squares down each side to form two columns of six squares.  Sew these to the central section to complete the block.

At this stage the block measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make twelve like this.

Make the second quilt block

The second block is very similar to the first block, but I have created a diamond in the middle instead of a square.

Second block layout

Second block layout

Place four lilac/purple half square triangles (made from 4.7/8″ squares) in the middle.  Lay them so that the purple triangles lie in the middle, forming a purple diamond.

Place two green/white half square triangles and a white square on each edge of this central square.  Place them so that the green triangles together form a larger triangle pointing away from the middle.  Add a purple/white half square triangle in each corner with the purple on the outside.

As you can see, the outer frame of the block is the same as the one in the first block, but with green triangles instead of purple forming the diamond behind the central square.

Sew the four large half square triangles together first to form a square.  Then continue as for the first block.  At this stage the block measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make eight of them in this colour selection.

Central block

Central block

Make the central block

The central block is the same as the basic second block, but with lilac/yellow half square triangles forming a yellow diamond in the middle rather than a purple one.

You need to make only one of this block.

One more variation

In order to emphasise the diamond theme of this quilt, I have created one further colour variation.   These blocks I have placed in the middle of each edge, at the tips of the overall diamond formed by the purple blocks in the quilt design.

Last layout variation

Last layout variation

The layout for the block is the same as for the basic second block, but with the substitution of two yellow/white half square triangles for two of the green/white ones.  This block also measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Rows 1 and 2

Rows 1 and 2

Assemble the Diamonds are Forever quilt

Sew the blocks together in five rows of five blocks.  Row 1 consists of one purple block with substituted yellow triangles in the middle.  Rotate this so that the larger yellow triangle points upwards.  Place two green blocks on either side.

For row 2 place a green block at each end with three purple blocks in the middle.

Row 3

Row 3

Row 3, the central row, is made with a yellow diamond block in the middle.  Place a purple block on either side of this.  At each end place a purple block with substituted yellow triangles,  Rotate these so that the yellow triangles point to each side away from the middle.

Rows 4 and 5 are similar to rows 1 and 2.

Rows 4 and 5

Rows 4 and 5

In row 4 place a green block at each end with three purple blocks in the middle.  In row 5 place the last purple block with substituted yellow triangles in the middle.  Rotate this so that the yellow triangle points downwards, away from the middle.  Lay two green blocks on either side.

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

Add yellow to top and bottom

Add yellow to top and bottom

Add the quilt borders

I wanted this quilt to be rectangular, so I have added 3.1/2″ strips of yellow to the top and bottom of the quilt, but not to the sides.  You’ll need two lengths of 60.1/2″.

For the final border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of green fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 60.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 70.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the Diamonds are Forever 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:

Tomorrow my son is getting married to Anna.  No travel news this week as I have been busy finishing the bunting and my jacket for the wedding.  With my next pattern I hope to bring you lots of travel and wedding photos.

 

Orange Peel Quilt – Free Pattern

Orange peel quilt

Orange peel quilt

I have made my orange peel quilt using applique – so much quicker than sewing lots of curved seams!  The thing that I love about orange peel quilts is the way circles form in the design.  There’s always something more to see when you look at the quilt.

I have used thirty six blocks which are 7″ square finished size and the final size of the quilt is 48″ square.  The fabric requirement is 1.3/4 yards each of blue and white, 1/4 yard of pink and 1/2 yard of the border fabric.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.

As this is the end of August I am also holding an autumn sale of 15% off everything in the shop – no coupon required – lasting till next Thursday.




Completed blocks

Completed blocks

Cutting requirements for the orange peel quilt

5.1/2″ squares:  eighteen blue, eighteen white

1.1/2″ squares:  thirty six blue, thirty six pink

Strips cut across the width of fabric:  two 5.1/2″ blue strips, two 5.1/2″ white strips, two 1.1/2″ blue strips, two 1.1/2″ pink strips

For the applique you need one 3″ strip of pink and three 3″ strips each of blue and white

For the border you need to cut five 3.1/2″ strips of border fabric across the width of fabric.

You can download the template here.  Please check that your print square is 5″ square – I’m not sure if it is printing to the right size.

Strip piecing

Strip piecing

Make the background blocks

Sew together 5.1/2″ strips of white with 1.1/2″ strips of blue along the length.  Cut these panels at 1.1/2″ intervals to make rectangles 6.1/2″ by 1.1/2″.  Repeat with 5.1/2″ blue and 1.1/2″ pink strips.

Blue background block

Blue background block

Place a 5.1/2″ blue square in the middle with a 5.1/2″ blue rectangle on either side.  Hindsight being a wonderful thing, I could actually have used a 5.1/2″ by 7.1/2″ rectangle instead.  For the top row place a blue/pink rectangle with the pink on the left.  Add a 1.1/2″ blue square on the right.  In the bottom row place a blue/pink rectangle with the pink on the right.  Add a 1.1/2″ blue square on the left.

White block layout

White block layout

Sew the patchwork pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  This block measures 7.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make eighteen of them.  Repeat with the white/blue pieces.  You also need to make eighteen of the white blocks.

These blocks form the background for all of the orange peel sections.

Cut the orange peel shapes

Cut the orange peel shapes

Make the orange peel applique shapes

For the applique I used Steam a Seam for the backing of each shape.  It comes in a 12″ width which I cut to 21″ lengths.  I cut the 3″ blue, white and pink strips in half so that I had 3″ by 21″ strips which I could then press to the steam a seam.

You can download the orange peel shape here.  The print should be 5″ square – you may need to adjust it if it’s bigger than that.  Print and copy on to paper or card.  I found that card worked better as I was using the template thirty six times.  Draw and cut out the shape on the fabric.  I managed to get three shapes from each half strip of fabric.  Altogether you need to make four pink, sixteen blue and sixteen white orange peels.

Press the orange peels on to the background squares.  You need to put pink shapes on two blue and two white background blocks.  Then press sixteen blue shapes on the white background blocks and sixteen white shapes on the blue background blocks.  Make sure that the orange peels run from corner to corner along the diagonal between the small pink or blue squares.  I found that some of my orange peels were slightly too long so I just snipped the tips off so that they fitted between the squares.

Rows 1 and 2

Rows 1 and 2

Assemble the orange peel quilt

Sew the blocks together in six rows of six. Rows 5 and 6 are exactly the same as rows 1 and 2.  In rows 1 and 5 alternate the blocks across the row, beginning with a blue block.

For rows 2 and 6 you also need to alternate the blocks, but begin with a white block.  Lay the blocks so that the blue orange peels always run from bottom left to top right while the white orange peels always run from top left to bottom right.

Rows 3 and 4

Rows 3 and 4

In rows 3 and 4 the layout is similar but this time using the pink orange peels.  In row 3 begin with a blue block and alternate across the row but use two of the pink orange peels in the middle.  For row 4 begin with a white block and again place two pink orange peels in the middle.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  Each set of four orange peels actually makes a traditional block known as True Lover’s Knot.

Quilt border

Quilt border

Add the border

For the border I have chosen a completely different fabric to give a bold frame to the quilt.  I’ve used 3.1/2″ strips and you’ll need two lengths of 42.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the orange peel quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  I haven’t had time to quilt this yet, but my plan is to use the blanket stitch embroidery on my sewing machine and outline each orange peel shape with it.  That way I can secure the applique and quilt all at the same time.

Here’s the video:

Last time I wrote I was just on my way to the Swansea Festival of Stitch.  I had a wonderful weekend in Swansea.  The festival was spread over about nine locations throughout the city, so walking from one place to the next was a great way to see the city as well as all the lovely textile exhibitions.

I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old lady, but I did see a quilt using my Owl and Pussycat design, with nothing to suggest that it was my design.  I provide a huge number of free quilt patterns for quilters around the world and I think that it would be courteous to credit me with the design if it’s used in a public display.

St Tiggywinkles Hospital

St Tiggywinkles Hospital

Now for my travels:  when I went to Bletchley Park I also found a place with the delightful name of St Tiggywinkle’s Hospital.  To read all about it click here or click on the photo.

 

PS  Don’t forget the autumn sale – 15% off everything till next Thursday.