Ashby de la Zouch – Leicestershire – Photos

Ashby de la Zouch castle

Ashby de la Zouch castle

Ashby de la Zouch – the name of the town has always fascinated me.  I was convinced that there was some deep rooted French connection there, but I was only partly right.  The town was already known as Ashby as far back as the Domesday Book.  The name means ash tree farm according to Wikipedia.

The name was extended when the town was given to the La Zouche family during the reign of Henry III.  This was after the Norman conquest so I’m guessing that the La Zouche family were French.




Ashby de la Zouch castle

The castle is set within the town and it dates from the 12th century.  I didn’t go right into it, but it’s amazing how much of it still survives today.  It’s run by English Heritage and they have a fascinating article about it that you can read here.  I had noticed some connection with Ivanhoe in the town  and apparently this is because Sir Walter Scott placed a tournament in the grounds of Ashby Castle in his novel Ivanhoe.

Altar in St Helen's Church

Altar in St Helen’s Church

St Helen’s Church

I was on a bit of a flying visit to Ashby, but I spent far longer in the church than I had intended.  It is beautiful.  The church dates from the 15th century and is surprisingly large for such a small town.  Naturally I was on the lookout for floor tile designs to give me inspiration for quilts.  I found inspiration more or less throughout the church.

The altar was gorgeous with so much to look at.  The stained glass windows above it had beautiful designs but these didn’t show up very well in my photos.

Baptismal font

Baptismal font

This baptismal font was placed quite near the entrance and it really dominated the area:  all that lovely stonework and the flowers working up from the base.

Candle kneeler cushion

Candle kneeler cushion

These kneeler cushions were beautifully made and enormously varied.  So much love and time must have gone into stitching them!

Crown kneeler cushion

Crown kneeler cushion

I have shown just two designs in this article, but there were many wonderful cushions in the pews.

Bargello style knee rest

Bargello style knee rest

You may have heard me mumble on about how wonderful it was to see the original Bargello chair backs when I was in Florence.  This knee rest used the same design which I was thrilled to see.

Huntingdon tomb

Huntingdon tomb

Just one more note from the church:  the stonework on this tomb was very intricate and the tomb itself took up a surprisingly large area of the church.  The inscription shows that it contains the 2nd Earl of Huntingdon and his wife.  Now the interesting thing about this is that the English Heritage history of Ashby mentions both the 1st and the 3rd earls but makes no mention of the 2nd earl who occupies such a prominent position in the church.

Festive hay bales

Festive hay bales

East Leake

From Ashby I travelled a bit further to East Leake.  You may remember that last week I mentioned that I was visiting a friend for lunch.

We had a lovely lunch at the Manor Farm.  This wonderful Father Christmas was placed at the entrance.  It’s made from two bales of hay – what a wonderful idea.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Pinwheel Diamond Quilt – Free Pattern

Pinwheel diamond quilt

Pinwheel diamond quilt

My pinwheel diamond quilt pattern is made with just two simple blocks – and I think it’s really attractive.  The pinwheels are placed in the middle with a circle of gold diamonds around them.

The quilt measures 58″ by 70″, made with twenty 12″ blocks sewn together in five rows of four.  I have used 2 yards of gold fabric with 1.3/4 yards each of purple and lilac.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.

But before I begin the pattern I just want to wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.  It’s rather exciting having a whole new year ahead of us!




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the pinwheel diamond quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  forty lilac, forty gold

3.7/8″ squares:  twenty each in purple and gold, twenty each in purple and lilac

6.7/8″ squares  twenty lilac, twenty gold

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

Half square triangle units

Half square triangle units

Make half square triangles

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Place a purple square with either a lilac or a gold square.  Mark a line along the diagonal and sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line.  Cut along the line to produce two half square triangle units.  Press the seam allowances towards the purple and trim the two corners where the triangle tips stick out.  These are now 3.1/2″ squares.  You need to make them in purple/gold and in purple/lilac.

Pinwheel quilt block layout

Pinwheel quilt block layout

Make the pinwheel block

This block has a very simple four patch layout.  Begin with four purple/lilac half square triangle units in the middle.  Place these so that they form a pinwheel, with the lilac and purple alternating.

Now place a purple/gold half square triangle outside each purple triangle of the central pinwheel.  Lay these so that the outer purple triangle and the inner purple triangle together form a diamond shape, extending the pinwheel.

Place a lilac square in each corner and a gold square in the remaining four spaces.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the pinwheel block.  It measures 12.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make ten of them.

Alternate block layout

Alternate block layout

Make the alternate block

Use the 6.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles in exactly the same way as you made the smaller ones above.

Lay the half square triangles in fours.  Place them so that the triangles form larger triangles – two gold triangles opposite each other and two lilac triangles opposite each other.

Sew the pieces together in two pairs and then sew the pairs to each other.  These also measure 12.1/2″ square and you need to make ten of them.

Rows 1 and 5

Rows 1 and 5

Assemble the quilt

Sew the blocks together in five rows of four.  Rows one and five are the same as each other:  a pinwheel at each end with two alternate blocks between them.  Place the alternate blocks so that the gold triangles form diamonds across the rows while lilac triangles point up and down.

Rows 2,3,4

Rows 2,3,4

Rows two to four are also the same as each other.  This time the two pinwheel blocks are in the middle with an alternate block at each end.

Note that this time the gold triangles run up and down while the lilac triangles run from side to side.

At this stage the quilt top measures 48.1/2″ by 60.1/2″.

First border

First border

Add the borders

I’ve used 2.1/2″ purple strips for the first border.  You’ll need two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 64.1/2″ for the sides.

Second and third borders

Second and third borders

In the second border you need to cut 1.1/2″ strips of gold:  two lengths of 52.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 66.1/2″ for the sides.

Finally for the third border use 2.1/2″ strips of purple again:  two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 70.1/2″ for the sides.

The pinwheel diamond quilt top 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/blLul-GZh9g

Owl and Pussycat table runner

owl and Pussycat table runner

No travels this week – I just luxuriated in the festive season.  What I can show you, though, is a table runner that I made using the owl and pussycat templates that I used in the quilt of the same name.  To see it click here or click on the photo.

Owl and Pussycat Table Runner Pattern

Owl and Pussycat table runner

Owl and Pussycat table runner

I thought that the Owl and Pussycat table runner would make a fun addition to any table.  I have used the same templates that I used in the owl and pussycat quilt but sewn in a column and with the addition of two pea green boats in the middle of the table runner.

The table runner measures 18″ wide by 66″ long.  I have used 3/4 yard of sea fabric, 1/2 yard of brown batik, 1/2 yard of green batik, 1/4 yard of sky fabric with just 1/8 yard of white fabric.  You can buy these fabrics (with the applique already backed with Mistyfuse) on this link.




Completed blocks

Completed blocks

Cutting requirements for the Owl and Pussycat table runner

Brown batik:  four 10″ by 7″  squares backed with Mistyfuse or other fusible interfacing, two 1.1/2″ by 16.1/2″ strips, two 1.1/2″ by 66.1/2″ strips

Green batik:  two 9.1/4″ by 2.1/2″ rectangles, two 12.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ strips, two 64.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ strips

White fabric:  one 4.3/4 ” white square

Sky fabric:  two 3.7/8″ squares, two 6.1/2″ by 1.1/2″ strips, two 8.1/2″ by 1.1/2″ strips

Sea fabric:  four 12.1/2″ squares, two 2.7/8″ squares, two 12.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ strips.

For the cat template click here.

For the owl template click here.  There is a small V in the top of the owl template – ignore this.

Cut the corners of the green rectangles

Cut the corners of the green rectangles

Make the central block

Begin with the two 9.1/4″ rectangles of green batik.  Fold each bottom corner up to the top edge of the rectangle.  Pin and cut along the fold.  Discard the green triangles that you have cut from the rectangles.  Cut the 2.7/8″ sea rectangles in half along one diagonal to create two triangles from each square.  Sew the long edge of these triangles to the cut edges of the green rectangle as shown in the bottom of the photo.

Make the boat sails

Make the boat sails

Now make the diamond in a square for the middle of the block.  This represents the sails of the two boats.  Cut the 3.7/8″ sky squares along one diagonal to make two triangles from each square.  Lay one triangle on each edge of the white square.  Sew the top and bottom triangles to the square, press them open and then sew the remaining two triangles to the square.  Press and trim the middle of each edge where the triangle tips stick out.

Central layout of the block

Central layout of the block

Add a 6.1/2″ by 1.1/2″ sky strip to each side of the diamond in square.  Then add an 8.1/2″ sky strip to the top and bottom.

Sew the strips to the sides of the diamond in square first and then sew all the pieces shown together in one coloumn.  Note that the short edge of the green boat lie along the top and bottom of this section.

Complete layout of the block

Complete layout of the block

Finally add a 12.1/2″ sea strip to each side of the block.  Sew these in place to complete the central block.

Make the applique blocks

Make the applique blocks

Make the applique blocks

Back the brown squares with Mistyfuse or any fusible interfacing.  Draw round the templates and cut two owls and two cats in the brown.  Lay one cat or owl on each 12.1/2″ sea square.  Press to secure the applique to the background.

Sew round the applique shapes to secure them more permanently to the backgrounds.  I used the blanket stitch option on my sewing machine.

Sew the blocks together

Sew the blocks together

Assemble the Owl and Pussycat table runner

Lay all the squares out in the order owl, cat, central block, cat and then owl.    Note that the top owl and cat are placed in the opposite direction to the bottom owl and cat.  Sew them all together in one strip.

First border

First border

Add the borders

For the first border I used 2.1/2″ strips of the green batik fabric.  Sew the 12.1/2″ strips to the top and bottom of the table runner.  Then sew the 64.1/2″ strips to the sides.

Final border

Final border

I had intended that to be the complete table runner but I decided that I needed a darker border to frame the table runner.  For this I used 1.1/2″ strips of brown batik.  Sew the 16.1/2″ strips to the top and bottom.  Finally sew the 66.1/2″ strips to the sides.

That completes the top of the Owl and Pussycat table runner.  It can now be layered, quilted and bound as for any quilt.  You can find details of these stages in the beginner quilting section.

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/2qz3r18BldI

Well, that’s my final pattern for 2018.  My warmest wishes to you for a happy and healthy 2019.

New Dawn Wall Hanging – Free Pattern

New Dawn Wall Hanging

New Dawn Wall Hanging

My New Dawn wall hanging is designed to welcome in the New Year.  I thought I’d go for a small project as I’m sure you are as busy with Christmas preparations as I am. My intention is to give you ideas for your own simple wall hangings.  If you want to make the same wall hanging then I am offering it as a kit – with the applique fabrics already backed with Mistyfuse.  Click here for details.

Today is the shortest day of the year so now we can look forward to longer days and all the promise of a new year.  The wall hanging measures 24″ square and I have broadly used scraps to make it.




Cut the fabrics

Cut the fabrics

Cutting requirements for the New Dawn wall hanging

One 15″ blue square

10.5/8″ squares:  one purple, two green grass (only if your fabric has a direction as mine does)

One 4.1/2″ white square backed with fusible interfacing

Scraps of pink and purple fabric – I actually cut 10″ by 4″ rectangles, backed them with fusible interfacing and then cut them into wavy strips for the clouds

For the border you will need either two or three 2.1/2″ strips of a light fabric cut across the width of fabric.

Add the sun and clouds

Add the sun and clouds

Prepare the applique

I have used Mistyfuse to back the white, pink and purple fabrics, but any fusible interfacing will do.  This means that you can place the applique shapes and then move them around.  When you’re happy with the placements you can press them in place.

Cut a circle from the white square for the sun.  Use the pink and purple fabrics to make wavy strips to represent the morning sunrise clouds.  I have placed the blue square on point so that it looks like a diamond.  Place the sun slightly to one side and extending slightly over the edge of the blue square.  Press.

Place the triangles

Place the triangles

Add the triangles

I have used purple triangles for the night sky and green triangles for the ground.  Make these by cutting 10.5/8″ squares along one diagonal.  For the purple triangles I needed one square only but for the green triangles I needed two squares so that the grass would point in the right direction.

Sew two triangles in place

Sew two triangles in place

Sew opposite purple and green triangles in place.  Press them open and then sew the remaining two triangles in place.

Add the border

Add the border

Add the border

I used 2.1/2″ strips of a lighter fabric for the border.  You’ll need two lengths of 20.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 24.1/2″ for the sides.  Do measure your wall hanging first before you cut the border strips.

Now you can layer the wall hanging with wadding and backing fabric ready for quilting.  I used 26″ squares of backing fabric and wadding.

Quilt the middle first

Quilt the middle first

Quilt the New Dawn wall hanging

I had decided that I wanted some gold in the clouds.  Instead of adding yellow fabric I decided to quilt with yellow thread.  I have quilted with wavy lines going across the blue diamond.  I used these lines to sew down the cloud shapes as well as to represent cloud shapes themselves.

 

Quilting the sun's rays

Quilting the sun’s rays

Next, still using yellow thread, I quilted around the edge of the sun using the stemstitch embroidery stitch on my sewing machine.  Having secured the sun, I then used fabric marker to draw lines radiating from the edge of the sun to the edges of the blue diamond.  I quilted along these lines using yellow thread and still using the stemstitch embroidery.

Quilt the triangles

Quilt the triangles

Finally for the triangles outside the blue diamond I used my favourite quilting filler.  This is just a loop going from the base to the top of the triangle and then a further loop on either side of that central loop.  I think that it gives quite an effective corner to a wall hanging.

That completes the New Dawn wall hanging.  You can just see in the last photo that I have sewn the binding to the wall hanging but have not yet had time to flip the binding and sew it to the back of the wall hanging.

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/9KhWvg4ouGs

It just remains for me to wish you a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.  Thanks for all your support during this last year – it’s been wonderful hearing from you and being able to share my designs with you.

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Just one last travel article of the year – and it’s very fitting.  I visited a hall in Wales with 52 rooms, each one decorated with a tree and a different Christmas theme.  To see my photos click here or click on the photo.

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall – Wales – Photos

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

I’m sure that Abbey Cwm Hir Hall is wonderful at any time of the year, but at Christmas it is truly spectacular.  The reception area is fascinating, with lots of old signs such as this Singer advert.  We saw vintage bikes hanging from the ceilings, traditional bellows beside the fire …..

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

This is before you have begun the tour of fifty two rooms, each one decorated for Christmas with a different theme.  From the outside it’s hard to believe that there are so many rooms within it.  It was dark by the time we’d finished the tour, so we didn’t even have a chance to look at the 12 acres of gardens – we definitely need a return trip in the summer.

Seashell tree

Seashell tree

The Collections

We were shown around by Paul, the owner and he had a wonderful and amusing store of anecdotes about the hall and the area.  These photos aren’t in any particular order – just examples of the decorations. In this room the theme was obviously the sea and the tree was blue, decorated with shells and fishnets.

Sewing machine collection

Sewing machine collection

The owners of the hall seem to be obsessive collectors so it wasn’t long before we came across their sewing machine collection.  There must have been half a dozen sewing machines (all vintage) in this area.  Paul’s wife makes all the curtains, covers the seats and makes the decorations so I’m sure there is a modern sewing machine tucked away somewhere.

Gold star

Gold star

Tree Decorations

There were many wonderful tree decorations throughout the hall and I found loads of inspiration in all the rooms.  The lovely thing about Abbey Cwm Hir hall was that we were encouraged to take photos and pick up ideas during our tour.  What a refreshing change from the many places that don’t allow photos.

Button Christmas wreath

Button Christmas wreath

Christmas Wreaths

We came across many wreaths, but this one particularly stood out for me because I’m sure you have a huge button tin – I certainly do – and this struck me as an interesting way of using them.  The buttons were formed into a chain which was then wound around the basic wreath.

Dolls house room

Dolls house room

The red mantle scarf was interesting.  It varies from my own one in that it can be used on any length of mantle.  It was also very striking with Christmas trees forming a zigzag pattern across the scarf.

Clothing room

Clothing room

This room was dedicated to clothing.  The decorations on the tree showed lots of small dolls in different outfits.  So much detail!

Crocheted cakes

Crocheted cakes

A mouthwatering display of crocheted and knitted cakes formed a central feature of this room.

Floral mural

Floral mural

Abbey Cwm Hir decorations

The attraction of this hall is not just the Christmas decorations:  the hall has been renovated over a period of twenty years by Paul and his wife with some very talented artists.  This floral display was just one of many painted on the walls.  I would never have the confidence even to begin a project like that.

Paintings beside the stairs

Paintings beside the stairs

These two paintings on the stairs have been shaped so that their base follows the line of the stairs.  I had never seen this before and the effect was really striking.  Many of the walls and doors had individual floral paintings applied directly on the surfaces.

 

Angel tree

Angel tree

More Trees

Festive cheer

Festive cheer

I’ll leave you with more photos of a small fraction of the fifty two trees.

Fabric ornaments

Fabric ornaments

These tree decorations were a great idea – fabric shapes with a small amount of stuffing.  Very striking.

Visiting Abbey Cwm Hir was a great experience and certainly went a long way to putting me in the Christmas mood.  I would recommend anyone to visit there if they are in the Llandrindodd Wells area.

 

Pineapple Quilt Pattern – Courthouse Steps

Pineqpple quilt

Pineqpple quilt

In order to make this Pineapple Quilt I have used all the easy options.  The pineapple sections are folded squares, so minimum sewing.  I have used the courthouse steps quilt block which I always find quicker than making a traditional log cabin quilt adding logs all round the central square.  Altogether I think that the quilt looks complex but is very easy to make.

The quilt measures 50″ square, using four blocks which are 20″ square finished size.  I used 1.1/4 yards of purple fabric, 1.1/4 yards of white and 1.1/2 yards of the leaf fabric.  The leaf fabric actually comes from the Tropicana range and is probably meant to be palm tree fronds.  I felt that they looked sufficiently like pineapple leaves to add to the quilt.  As usual you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed pineapple quilt block

Completed pineapple quilt block

Cutting requirements for the pineapple quilt

8.1/2″ squares:  four white

3.7/8″ squares:  sixty four purple

2.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric:  eighteen in leaf fabric, seven white, five purple

Fold the squares

Fold the squares

Make the central area

Begin with an 8.1/2″ white square.  Fold the purple squares along one diagonal to make a triangle.

One triangle on each corner

One triangle on each corner

Place one triangle on each corner of the white square so that the raw edges are all in line and the folded edge of the triangle lies across the corner.

Pin the triangles in place – just take care that your pins are not along the seam lines.  The two right hand triangles are waiting to be placed.

Sew the first frame

Sew the first frame

Add an 8.1/2″ strip of the leaf fabric to the top and the bottom of the square.  Press with the seam allowances away from the square.

Add triangles to the corners

Add triangles to the corners

Then add a 12.1/2″ strip to either side.  Check that the triangle edges are lying along the edges of the square as you sew – sometimes they can slip out of line while you’re not looking!

Add a purple triangle to each corner of the block and pin in place.

Second frame

Second frame

Add the second frame

For the second frame you will need two lengths of  12.1/2″ for the top and bottom followed by two lengths of 16.1/2″ for the sides.  Pin purple triangles to each corner.

Third frame

Third frame

Add the third frame

The third frame is the final frame.  I had intended to use four frames, but then decided that the block was going to be large enough with just the three frames.

You’ll need two lengths of 16.1/2″ for the top and bottom followed by two lengths of 20.1/2″ for the sides.

Add a purple triangle to each corner.

Sew a white strip between the pairs

Sew a white strip between the pairs

Assemble the pineapple quilt

Sew the blocks together in two pairs with a white strip between each pair.  This strip measures 20.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ in white fabric.

Make the central row

Make the central row

Now make a strip using two 20.1/2″ white strips with a purple square between them.  This makes the central row which will lie between the two pairs of blocks.

Sew the central strip to the top pair of blocks.  I find it safest to pin the row at the central purple square first and then smooth it in each direction.  That way you get a nice clean join in the middle.

Next sew the bottom pair of blocks to the central row.

Add the top sashing

Add the top sashing

Finish the sashing

At the moment the sashing is only between the blocks but not round the outer edge.  Cut two 42.1/2″ lengths of white fabric and sew one to the top and one to the bottom of the quilt.

Add sashing to the sides

Add sashing to the sides

Then cut two 46.1/2″ lengths and sew one to each side of the quilt.

Add the quilt border

Add the quilt border

Add the quilt border

I have used 2.1/2″ strips of purple fabric to frame the quilt.  You’ll need two lengths of 46.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 50.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the pineapple 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/D9tYHQvR8jE

 

Lapworth Museum

Lapworth Museum

Last week I stumbled upon a fascinating museum just up the road from where I live.  It’s called the Lapworth Museum of Geology.  To see my photos click here or click on the photo.

Another busy weekend at the Christmas Craft Fair at the Mac in Cannon Hill Park.  I really will remember to take some photos of my stall this time – I’ve had several requests for photos.  After that I can relax and start to plan my own Christmas.

Lapworth Geology Museum – Birmingham – Photos

Lapworth Geology Museum

Lapworth Geology Museum

My visit to the Lapworth Geology Museum was an unexpected treat.  It’s run by the University of Birmingham and was absolutely fascinating.  It’s also free to visit!  The Museum is set within the University and there is a lot of building work going on around it so I had to use Google Maps to get there.  It was well worth it when I arrived, though.

Charles Lapworth

Charles Lapworth

The Museum has one of the oldest collections of fossils and stones together with lots of detailed information and videos which were great fun.

It is named after Charles Lapworth who was a noted geologist of the time, being Professor of Geology at the Mason College which was the forerunner of the present University of Birmingham.

Magnetic influence

Magnetic influence

Interactive displays

This display showed the influence of magnets really clearly.  As you moved the magnet on the left up along the slot the needle on the compass to the right moved to follow it.  I wish I had known about this museum when my children were young.

I

Revolving globe

Revolving globe

I spent ages at this revolving globe.  At the click of a button you could change the display to cover different areas of information.  In this particular photo you could see the lines of human movement but there were many other options.

Wonderful shapes

Wonderful shapes

Rock displays

I have various bits of rock around my house – I just love the colours produced by different layers of stone when they are polished up.  However these displays were something else – this particular one made me think of coral – what amazing and beautiful shapes.

I also learned a lot about precious stones from the displays.  For instance I have always believed that sapphires are blue but in fact they come in a whole range of colours.

Fossils and bones

Fossils and bones

Fossils and bones

These huge bones were a wonderful reminder of just how large dinosaurs were.

What impressed me about the fossil displays was not only how well preserved the fossils were, but also how instructive the notes were – explaining how fossils were formed.  The plant fossils fascinated me – I get that animals become covered in sediment and their shape is imprinted in the rock, but I was staggered to see that the same thing had happened to plants.  I would have expected them just to decay long before their shape was imprinted on the rocks.  Shows how little I know!

All in all my visit to Lapworth Geology Museum was a real treat – well done Birmingham University!

Medallion Bethlehem Star Quilt Pattern

Bethlehem Star quilt pattern

Bethlehem Star quilt pattern

Using the Bethlehem Star quilt block for this week’s quilt seemed appropriate for this time of year – and it is a lovely block.  I have used it as the central medallion and then surrounded it with a circle of smaller stars.  I love the way it has turned out.

The quilt measures 46″ square, using 1 yard each of dark blue and floral fabrics, 3/4 yard each of medium blue and light blue, with 1/2 yard of white fabric.  The floral fabric counts as a light or medium fabric – altogether for the quilt I used four blues and one white fabric.  These fabrics are available in kit form in this week’s special offerI am also holding my first ever Black Friday sale – details at the bottom of the page.




Completed Bethlehem Star quilt block

Completed Bethlehem Star quilt block

Cutting requirements for the Bethlehem Star quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  four dark blue, twelve medium blue

3.7/8″ squares:  eight each in medium blue and white, six each in dark blue and white, four each in light blue and white, four each in medium blue and light blue, two each in medium blue and dark blue

2.1/2″ squares:  twenty medium blue, eighty light blue

2.7/8″ squares:  forty each in medium blue and light blue

6.1/2″ squares:  four floral

For border one you will need to cut three 3.1/2″ strips of floral fabric across the width of fabric

For border three you will need to cut five 2.1/2″ strips of dark blue fabric across the width of fabric.

Half square triangles

Half square triangles

Make half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles in the colour combinations listed above.  Place two squares with right sides togethr 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 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric and trim the two corners where fabric sticks out.  For the second border you will need half square triangles made in the same way using the 2.7/8″ squares.

Make a pinwheel

Make a pinwheel

Make the Bethlehem Star quilt block

I am building this block up from the middle to make it clear.  So begin with a four patch pinwheel of dark blue/medium blue half square triangles.

Next frame

Next frame

Now add a pair of dark blue/medium blue half square triangles on each edge of the central square.  Place these so that the white triangles together form larger white triangles pointing towards the middle.

Add the corners

Add the corners

Add a medium blue/white half square triangle in each corner.  Place these so that the blue is always on the outside, white on the inside.

Third frame of the block

Third frame

Third frame

For the third frame of squares, begin with two medium blue 3.1/2″ squares in the middle of each edge.  Add a medium blue/floral half square triangle at each end of the squares.  Place these so that the floral triangles lie against the blue squares.

Add the corners

Add the corners

Now add a medium blue square in each corner.  In order to check that your triangles are placed correctly look at the larger shapes.  You have a star in the middle surrounded by white triangles.  In each corner the medium blue square and two triangles form an envelope shape pointing away from the middle.

Fourth frame of the block

Fourth frame

Fourth frame

Begin the fourth frame with a pair of medium blue/white half square triangles in the middle of each edge.  Place these so that the blue triangles form a larger blue triangle pointing away from the middle.  On either side of these lay a floral/white half square triangle.  Place them so that the white triangles form two larger white triangles pointing towards the middle on each edge.  Please note that I have mis placed the floral/white half square triangle on the left of the bottom row – as you can see the two white triangles there do not form a larger white triangle.  It seems really obvious now, but I didn’t notice it at the time.

Add the corners

Add the corners

Finally add the corner sections of this frame. – a dark blue square with two dark blue/white half square triangles in each corner.  Place them so that they form a large dark blue triangle across the corners.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows together to complete the Bethlehem Star quilt block.  It measures 24.1/2″ square at this stage and you just need to make the one.

Press the seam allowances open

Press the seam allowances open

As there are so many triangles, the seams can be quite bulky, so I pressed the seam allowances open as much as I could.

First border

First border

Add the first border

I have used 3.1/2″ strips of floral fabric for this border.  You need two lengths of 24.1/2″ for the top and bottom together with two lengths of 30.1/2″ for the sides.

Make the second border

I have used simple star blocks for this border.  It is obviously more work than just using strips of fabric, but it does provide a lovely circle of stars around the central block.

Star layout

Star layout

Use the 2.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Place a medium blue square in the middle and a light blue square in each corner.  Place the half square triangles in the remaining spaces.  Check the photo to make sure that these are placed correctly.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  The block now measures 6.1/2″ square and you need to make twenty of them.

Sew stars to the top and bottom of the quilt

Sew stars to the top and bottom of the quilt

Sew the stars together in four rows of five stars each.

Add one row to the top of the quilt and one to the bottom.

Add the side borders

Add the side borders

Sew a 6.1/2″ floral square to each end of the remaining two rows of stars.  Sew one strip to each side of the quilt.

Third border

Third border

Add the third border

I have framed the Bethlehem Star quilt with a simple border of 2.1/2″ strips of dark blue fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 42.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt and two lengths of 46.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the Bethlehem 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:

https://youtu.be/cEX-nJdMMgQ

This week I am holding my first Black Friday sale ever.  I am offering a 20% discount – the most that I have ever offered! – on all orders over £6.  There is no coupon required:  the discount will be applied automatically at checkout.  To take a look click here.

 

Royal Liver Building

Royal Liver Building

And I have also been on my travels again.  You can see my photos of Liverpool by clicking here or you can click on the photo.

Liverpool – Merseyside – Photos

Liverpool memories

Liverpool memories

Liverpool is a photographer’s dream, but I have chosen this photo because the symbolism moved me so much.  A bombed out church has been left as it must have been at the end of the war and the sculpture in front of it shows a German and an English soldier shaking hands over a football during the Christmas truce.  Wonderful imagery!

I had not visited Liverpool before so it was a real treat for me.  I’m sure that most people (myself included) link Liverpool with the Beatles and the music of the sixties, but there is so much more to it than just that.  I had not realised that it is a Unesco designated World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City.




Gateway to America

Gateway to America

Liverpool as gateway to the Atlantic

I knew that the Founding Fathers left England from Plymouth to travel to America, but apparently far more people left from Liverpool.  In fact the estimate is that nine million emigrated to America through Liverpool.

This Legacy Sculpture was given to Liverpool by the Mormon Church as a tribute to all the families who made that journey.  It shows a family with suitcases and the small child is intended to represent moving forward to a new future.

The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club

Even though I knew that Liverpool was way more than the Beatles and the Mersey Beat, I couldn’t resist a pilgrimage to the Cavern Club.  We had intended to have a quick wander around the club and then continue our sightseeing, but ended up staying there for several hours.  They have live music during the day and we happily bellowed out all the old Beatles songs.

Interestingly, they also had an impressive collection of memorabilia – signed guitars and such like.

Liverpool docks

Liverpool docks

The Waterfront

As with so many cities, the docks have been re developed to create a wonderful area of museums, exhibitions and art galleries.  We could have spent several days exploring just that area, but time did not allow.

The Liverpool Museum had lovely interactive sections for the children – but as there weren’t many children around I had a play on several of the sections and ended up with a good rating for being a potential docker!

Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Liverpool Cathedrals

There are two cathedrals in Liverpool, not far apart from each other.  The first one that we came across was the Catholic cathedral.  It is a very modern and striking building.  I believe the overall shape has been likened to the pope’s hat.

Inside the cathedral

Inside the cathedral

It certainly dominated the area, but I was quite unprepared for the beauty of the interior.  Clever lighting framed the individual wall hangings which were all very impressive in their own right.  The building is round and they had made use of every inch of space.

We couldn’t descend to the crypt as there was something on that day, but apparently it was designed by Edwin Lutyens and is a masterpiece in its own right.

Cathedral Church of the Risen Christ

Cathedral Church of the Risen Christ

The second cathedral is built to a far more traditional design.  It is no less beautiful and surprisingly was only built at the beginning of the 20th century.

It is the longest cathedral in the world, although my photo only shows one end of it.  In this article you can find far more information about it than I could give you.

Royal Liver Building

Royal Liver Building

The Royal Liver Building

This wonderful building was built for the Royal Liver Assurance Company.  The two Liver Birds that you can see on the tops of the towers watch over the city and the sea.  Legend has it that if they ever flew away then the city of Liverpool would cease to exist.  Let’s hope that never happens to such a wonderful city.

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.