Railfence Star Quilt Pattern

Railfence star quilt

Railfence star quilt

I have designed my railfence star quilt pattern with two colourways for the railfences and a few stars to give it some pop.  It is a very simple pattern to make, but very striking.  The quilt measures 56″ square, using 1.1/4 yards of yellow, 1/2 yard of white, 1 yard of one of the blues, 1/2 yard of another blue and 1/4 yard of everything else – that’s four purples and two more blue fabrics.

The fabrics are chosen to run from dark to light in blue and again in purple.  I have used sixty four blocks, all 6″ square finished size.  As usual you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the railfence star quilt

Five 1.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric in four purples and four blues

Ten 1.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric in yellow and in white

2.1/2″ squares:  six yellow twenty four blue

2.7/8″ squares:  twelve yellow, twelve blue

For the borders you will need to cut five 2.1/2″ strips of yellow and six 2.1/2″ strips of blue across the width of fabric.

Make panels in blue and in purple

Make panels in blue and in purple

Make the railfence quilt blocks

Sew the 1.1/2″ strips of four blues with yellow and white along the length to make one panel.  Repeat with the four purples, yellow and white.  Place the strips so that they run from dark to light.  This makes a 6.1/2″ panel in each range of colours.  You need to make five of each panel.

Cut these panels at 6.1/2″ intervals to make 6.1/2″ squares.  You need to make twenty nine of these in blue and twenty nine in purple.

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make the star blocks

For the stars I have used the third lightest blue, but you could use any blue that you prefer.

Use the 2.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles.  Place a blue and a yellow square with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line.  Cut along the line to produce two half square triangle units.

These are now 2.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the blue and trim the two corners where fabric sticks out.  You need twenty four of these.

Star quilt block layout

Star quilt block layout

Lay the squares out in three rows of three.  Place a 2.1/2″ yellow square in the middle with a blue square in each corner.  Add half square triangles in the remaining spaces.  Check the photo to see which way to place the traingles.

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

Each star block measures 6.1/2″ square and you need to make six of them.

Rows 1-3

Rows 1-3

Assemble the railfence star quilt

Sew the blocks together in eight rows of eight blocks.  In row one place a star at each end.  Between them lay a purple block across, purple block down, blue block down, two purple blocks across and one purple block down.

For row two you need two blue blocks across, one purple down, two blues across, one blue down, one purple down and one blue across.  In row three place a purple down, blue down, two purples across, one purple down, one blue down and two purples across.

Rows 4-6

Rows 4-6

For row four you will need a purple down, two blues across, two stars, two blues across and one blue down.

In row five place two purples across, one purple down, one blue down, two purples across, one purple down and one blue down.

For row six place a blue across, blue down, purple down, two blues across, one blue down, one purple down and one blue across.

Rows 7-8

Rows 7-8

Make row seven witha purple across, blue down, two purples across, one purple down, one blue down and two purples across.

Finally for row eight place a star at each end.  Between them add two blues across, one blue down, one purple down, two blues across.

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

Add two borders

Add two borders

Add the railfence star quilt borders

In border one I have used 2.1/2″ strips of yellow fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 52.1/2″ for the sides.

For the second border I have used the second lightest blue fabric in 2.1/2″ strips.  You’ll need two lengths of 52.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 56.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the railfence 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/GKdO5X03ecg

Ben Venom's quilts

Ben Venom’s quilts

Last time I wrote I was off to a craft fair the next day.  As a totally unexpected treat there was a quilt exhibition upstairs in the MAC building.  It featured Ben Venom’s quilts in an exhibition called All This Mayhem.  Ben is a renowned San Francisco artist.

I am delighted to see that this exhibition will be at the Festival of Quilts next month.  Well worth seeing if you are there.

All this mayhem

All this mayhem

Birmingham is known as the home of Heavy Metal music and Ben’s quilts are heavy metal music meets quilting.  Absolutely delightful.  He had used a sort of crazy quilting/applique technique and the detail was amazing.

Blue Bargello Quilt Pattern

Blue bargello quilt

Blue bargello quilt

I’m thrilled with the way this blue bargello quilt has turned out.  I’ve used patches of differing sizes to create the feeling of movement.  The squares and rectangles are 4″, 3″, 2″ or 1″.  However the method of making the quilt differs from the more traditional bargello where you create loops of patches and break into them to create the design.  Instead I have used strip piecing to create panels which use all the different sizes of patches.  An incredibly easy quilt to make, using sixteen 10″ square blocks.

The quilt measures 56″ square and it takes 1/2 yard each of three different blues with 1.1/2 yards of white fabric.  As usual you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed quilt block

Completed quilt block

Cutting requirements for the blue bargello quilt

Dark blue:  two strips 4.1/2″ wide, one strip 3.1/2″ wide, one strip 2.1/2″ wide and two strips 1.1/2″ wide

Medium blue:  two strips 4.1/2″ wide, two strips 3.1/2″ wide, one strip 2.1/2″ wide, one strip 1.1/2″ wide

Light blue:  one strip 4.1/2″ wide, two strips 3.1/2″ wide, two strips 2.1/2″ wide, one strip 1.1/2″ wide

White:  one strip 4.1/2″ wide, one strip 3.1/2″ wide, two strips 2.1/2″ wide, two strips 1.1/2″ wide.

First strip panel

First strip panel

Make the strip panels

Sew together two panels, each one with one 4.1/2″ strip of dark blue, one 3.1/2″ strip of medium blue, one 2.1/2″ strip of light blue and one 1.1/2″ strip of white.  Cut these panels at 4.1/2″ intervals to make rectangles 4.1/2″ by 10.1/2″.  You need sixteen of these rectangles.

Cut only the sixteen that you need so that you can use the remainder of the panel for the second border.  The same applies to all the panels.

Second strip panel

Second strip panel

For the second strip panel sew together two panels, each one with a 4.1/2″ strip of medium blue, 3.1/2″ strip of light blue, 2.1/2″ strip of white and 1.1/2″ strip of white fabric.  Cut these panels at 3.1/2″ intervals and make sixteen of these rectangles.

Third panel

Third panel

Make the third panel with a 4.1/2″ strip of light blue, 3.1/2″ strip of white, 2.1/2″ strip of dark blue and a 1.1/2″ strip of medium blue.  You only need one of this panel.  Cut it at 2.1/2″ intervals to make sixteen rectangles.

Fourth panel

Fourth panel

Finally for the fourth panel sew together a 4.1/2″ strip of 4.1/2″ white, 3.1/2″ strip of dark blue, 2.1/2″ strip of medium blue, 1.1/2″ strip of light blue.  You need just one of this panel.  Cut it at 1.1/2″ intervals to make sixteen rectangles.

Press the seam allowances in opposite directions

Press the seam allowances in opposite directions

When you press the strip panels, press the seam allowances in one direction for the 4.1/2″ and 2.1/2″ strips.  Press them in the opposite direction for the 3.1/2″ and 1.1/2″ strips.  That way your seams will nest together when you sew the rectangles together.  The photo shows the back view of the block.

Quilt block layout

Quilt block layout

Make the blue bargello quilt block

Take one rectangle from each of the four panels.  Lay them out as shown in decreasing order with the 4.1/2″ strip of the left and the 1.1/2″ strip on the right.  Sew the strips together to complete the block – really simple, isn’t it!

The block measures 10.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make sixteen of them.

Rows one and two

Rows one and two

Assemble the blue bargello quilt

Sew the blocks together in four rows of four.  In order to construct the design you need to rotate the blocks.  Use the 4.1/2″ dark blue square as your reference.  In row one this square is placed bottom right, bottom right, bottom left and bottom left.

For the second row place the dark blue square top right, bottom right, bottom left and top left.  You can see where the two dark blue squares together form rectangles as a guide, and the white patches are forming the top half of circles.

Rows three and four

Rows three and four

For row three place the dark blue square bottom right, top right, top left and bottom left.

In row four you need to place the dark blue square top right, top right, top left and top left.  You still have several dark blue rectangles forming and the white patches are now forming the lower half of circles.

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

First border

First border

Add the borders

For the first border I used 3.1/2″ strips of white fabric. This was to help the design of the quilt to stand out.  You’ll need two lengths of 40.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 46.1/2″ for the sides.

Use the remaining strip sets

Use the remaining strip sets

For the second border I wanted to use up the remaining sections of the strip panels.  I cut all the remaining pieces into 2.1/2″ widths.  Luckily I ended up with twenty of these rectangles which was just what I needed.  I sewed them together in four rows of five strips, giving me four 50.1/2″ lengths.

Second border

Second border

For the border I needed two lengths of 46.1/2″ and two lengths of 50.1/2″, so I could trim two of the lengths for the top and bottom and use the full lengths for the sides.

If you don’t manage to cut twenty 2.1/2″ strips from your leftovers you can always just add some extra 2.1/2″ sections of one of the blues.

Third border

Third border

Third and final border

For the final border I used 3.1/2″ strips of white again.  You’ll need two lengths of 50.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 56.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the blue bargello 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/xOeQ6hhWdOM

Birmingham Peace Garden

Birmingham Peace Garden

Last week I visited somewhere that I’ve wanted to see for a long time.  I’ve seen it from the bus on my way into town but never actually got round to stopping off to see it.  It’s the St Thomas Peace Garden and to see my photos click here or click on the photo.

Busy, busy weekend coming up – I’m off to London to see the family tomorrow, then on Sunday I have a craft stall in Cannon Hill Park and on Monday it’s back to London to go to Wimbledon with my daughter.  We have tickets for Number One Court which is very exciting.

Birmingham Peace Garden – UK – Photos

Birmingham Peace Garden

Birmingham Peace Garden

I’ve seen the Birmingham Peace Garden from the bus on my way into town many times.  Last week I finally stopped off to have a look around it – and I’m so pleased that I did.  I had a wonderful feeling of peace as I walked around, even though I was so close to the city centre.

St Thomas church

St Thomas church

History of the Peace Garden

St Thomas’s Church was originally built in 1818 as a Waterloo Church – something that I had never heard of before.  Apparently these churches were built to celebrate peace after the Battle of Waterloo.  In this Wikipedia article you can see the original church.  It was bombed during the war and only some parts of it remain.




The garden was created on the site of the church to celebrate the Queen’s coronation, but it didn’t become a Peace Garden until 1995, fifty years after the end of the war.

Peace garden entrance

Peace garden entrance

The gardens now

The garden as it stands now is a wonderful tribute to those killed during the bombing of Birmingham.  The fence around the garden has many images of doves flying in the metalwork.  These gates lie at the entrance to the garden.

Trees planted in 1998

Trees planted in 1998

In 1998 the G8 summit was held in Birmingham and each national leader planted a tree chosen to be relevant to that country.  These are now mature trees and they contribute to the overall feeling of peace within the garden.

School field across the road

School field across the road

There’s a school playing field across the road and this contributes to the feeling of space – well it does when there are no children playing on it anyway!

May peace prevail

May peace prevail

The wording at the centre of this mosaic reads May Peace Prevail on Earth.  I think that’s a sentiment that we would all echo.

I’m so glad that I have finally stopped off at the Peace Garden and found out so much about it.

Floor Tile Lap Quilt Pattern

Floor tile quilt

Floor tile quilt

This floor tile lap quilt design is based loosely on some floor tiles that I saw in the V&A museum – that place is a treasure trove of design ideas!  I have added some more colour to the blocks.  For the central area I added a design that is more usual around the edges of tile designs.  In the original floor tiles you can see that they have used plain squares for the alternate while I have repeated the nine patch block, but with different colours.

Floor tile design

Floor tile design

The quilt measures 38″ square, using 1/2 yard each of cream and light purple, 3/4 yard of purple and 1/4 yard of brown fabric.  I have used nine 10″ square finished size blocks with two borders.

As ever, you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the floor tile quilt

2.1/2″ squares:  twenty brown, twenty light purple, sixteen cream, sixteen purple

6.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ strips:  eight cream, eight purple

10.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ strips:  eight cream, eight purple

1.1/2″ by 5.1/2″ strips:  eight cream, four light purple, four purple, four brown

For the borders you will need to cut four 2.1/2″ strips of light purple and of purple, all across the width of fabric.

Using strip piecing

Using strip piecing

Make the first block

I have used strip piecing, but this is perhaps a bit wasteful of fabric unless you want more of the blocks for another project, as I did.  You may prefer just to cut individual squares and sew them together.  However if you are using strip piecing, sew together 2.1/2″ strips along the length.  You need to make panels in dark, light, dark and in light, dark, light.  Cut these panels at 2.1/2″ intervals.  This produces rectangles 2.1/2″ by 6.1/2″ made up of three squares.

Make the nine patch block

Make the nine patch block

Place a dark, light, dark strip at top and bottom with a light, dark, light strip between them.  Sew these strips to each other.  This creates a simple nine patch block.

Add a cream frame

Add a cream frame

Now add a 2.1/2″ frame around the nine patch block.  Add 6.1/2″ strips of cream to the top and bottom with two 10.1/2″ strips down the sides.

That completes the first quilt block.  It measures 10.1/2″ square at the moment and you need to make four of them.

Second quilt block layout

Second quilt block layout

Make the second quilt block

The second block is the same basic design as the first block.  This time I have switched the colours, using purple and light purple.  I have placed the dark fabric (purple) where in the first block I had placed light fabric (cream).  This was to add a bigger contrast between the blocks.

This block also measures 10.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make four of them.

Use strip piecing again

Use strip piecing again

Make the central block

In the middle of the quilt I have used a railfence/piano keys type of block.  Again I used strip piecing, sewing together 1.1/2″ strips of cream, light purple, brown, cream and purple.  Cut this panel at 5.1/2″ intervals to create squares.

Sew together four squares

Sew together four squares

Sew four of these squares together, laying them so that the stripes are alternately vertical and horizontal.  I have chosen to place them so that the cream stripe is on the outside in each square.

The block measures 10.1/2″ square and you need to make one only.

Sew the rows together

Sew the rows together

Assemble the floor tile lap quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  In rows one and three use a brown block at each end with a purple block between them.  For row three place a purple block at each end with the stripey block between them.  Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

Add the quilt borders

Add the quilt borders

Add the quilt borders

For the first border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of light purple fabric.  You will need two lengths of 30.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 34.1/2″ for the sides.  In the second border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of dark purple – two lengths of 34.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 38.1/2″ for the sides.

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/vw4NQua5vm8

Bradford by night

Bradford by night

Last time I visited Bradford to buy fabric I decided to visit the city itself rather than just the fabric warehouse.  What a lovely surprise it was – a lovely city.  To see my photos click on Bradford City or on the photo.

Edgbaston cricket ground

Edgbaston cricket ground

My daughter was clever enough to get tickets for one of the World Cup cricket matches held here in Birmingham and on Wednesday we watched the New Zealand/South Africa match at Edgbaston.  What an exciting match it was, with the result hanging in the balance right up to the last over.  Definitely a day to remember!

Rose of Sharon Quilt – Free Pattern

Rose of Sharon quilt

Rose of Sharon quilt

The Rose of Sharon quilt block comes in many different forms.  Needless to say, I have chosen to design an easy version!  Within this quilt I’ve used applique as well as piecing.  Coincidentally it now looks to be a Christmas design, but that wasn’t my intention when I began to make it.  It seems that the original reference to the rose of Sharon comes from the Bible:

I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
The Song of Solomon 2

Apparently the rose is now thought to be a variety of tulip that still grows in the plains of Sharon – the word rose was used when the Bible was translated into English.

The quilt measures 40″ square, using nine 12″ square finished size blocks.  I have used 3/4 yard each of white, red and green, with 1/2 yard of yellow.  As usual you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed blocks

Completed blocks

Cutting requirements for the rose of Sharon quilt

12.1/2″ square:  one white

For the applique cut one 4″ strip of red and one 2.1/2″ green strip – both strips approximately 6″ long

6.7/8″ squares:  eight red, eight green

4.1/2″ squares:  twelve white, four red

4.7/8″ squares:  four each in red and white, four each in green and white

2.1/2″ squares:  four yellow, four white

4.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ rectangles:  four white

Applique templates (if you wish to use mine) can be downloaded here.

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

Drawing the applique shapes

Drawing the applique shapes

Make the rose of Sharon quilt block

Use the 12.1/2″ white square as the background for this block.  Add a fusible interfacing (I used Mistyfuse) to the red and green strips for the applique.  You can either download the templates here or you may prefer to draw your own.  Basically for the large flower I drew round a wine glass and then added petals.  For the small flowers I did the same but used a liqueur glass.  My biggest problem was finding the right size – the large flower is roughly 3.1/2″ across and the small flower is roughly 2″ across.

Draw the shapes on to your fabric and cut out.

Partial placement

Partial placement

Place the template shapes on the white square.  In the photo you can see the large flower in the middle with pairs of stems leading off, each with a small flower at the end.  At this stage I was just checking the placements so that I could decide what size to make the leaves.

Rose of Sharon quilt block

Rose of Sharon quilt block

Then I cut the leaves and placed one between each pair of stems.  Broadly, each leaf points towards one corner.  The ends of the leaves and of the stems are tucked under the edges of the flowers.  When you’re happy with the placement, press the shapes to stick them to the background square.  It’s probably easiest to sew the shapes in place now.  I used a small zigzag stitch around all the edges.  This block measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make only one.

Half square triangle units

Half square triangle units

Make the half square triangle block

Use the 6.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Lay a red and a green square with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This produces two half square triangle units which are now 6.1/2″ square.

Alternate blocks

Alternate block

Sew these together in fours, making sure that the green triangles are side by side forming larger triangles opposite each other.  Likewise for the red triangles.  At this stage the block measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Pieced rose quilt block

Pieced rose quilt block

Make the rose corner blocks

For this block I have pieced roses, one pointing to each corner.  Make red/white and green/white half square triangles with the 4.7/8″ squares.

Place a white 4.1/2″ square in three corners with a red square in the middle.  Add two green/white half square triangles either side of the bottom right white square.  These are the leaves of the rose.  Place two red/white half square triangles to form a butterfly shape across the top left corner.  In the top left corner place the 4.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ white strip with 2.1/2″ white and yellow squares beneath it.

Sew the three pieces of the top left corner together first to make one square.  Then sew the squares together across each row and sew the rows to each other.  At this stage the rose block measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Rose one and two

Rows one and two

Assemble the rose of Sharon quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  In row one place a pieced rose block at each end with a half square triangle block in the middle.  Make sure that the roses point towards the corners and the green is vertical in the half square triangle block.

In row two place the rose of Sharon block in the middle with a half square triangle on either side of it.  This time make sure that the green is horizontal in the half square triangle blocks.

Row three

Row three

For row three you will need a half square triangle block (green vertical) in the middle, with a pieced rose block on either side.  The roses point downwards towards the corners.

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

Yellow quilt border

Yellow quilt border

Add the quilt border

Use 2.1/2″ strips of yellow fabric for the border.  You’ll need two lengths of 36.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 40.1/2″ for the sides.

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/P5QN8MWuba0

It’s been a manic week as I’m back on Sewing Quarter’s TV channel on Sunday.  I’m demonstrating one of my own quilts (quite ordinary) and a quilt pattern by Lynne Edwards which I think is absolutely stunning.  I think that my sessions are at 9 and 11 o’clock.  The Sewing Quarter is available on Sky 687, Freeview 73, youtube or online.  I’m also demonstrating again on Tuesday 18th June.

Wrought iron work

Wrought iron work

But although I haven’t had the chance to do any travelling this week I didn’t want to leave you without any photos so here are two that I took a few weeks ago when I visited the lovely V&A  Museum in London.

This one was an exhibition of wrought iron work and there were some lovely examples there that I could just see in a Through the Gate quilt.

What a dress!

What a dress!

This one came from the fashion exhibition.  Imagine trying to walk around in a dress this size!

Whirligig Cross Quilt Pattern

Whirligig cross quilt

Whirligig cross quilt

I’ve made the Whirligig Cross quilt using my favourite colours of red, blue and white.  I began with five whirligig blocks in a cross shape, added some half square triangles to create a diamond affect and then added three borders to the quilt.  It measures 54″ square and I have used 1 yard of light blue, 3/4 yard of white, 1.1/4 yards of dark blue and 1.1/2 yards of red fabric.   The quilt is constructed with nine 12″ blocks finished size.  There are three borders to provide a good solid frame for the quilt.  The blue and white squares were intended to look like the edges of an old fashioned film spool.

As usual you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the whirligig cross quilt

12.7/8″ squares:  two light blue, two dark blue

3.7/8″ squares:  twenty each in red and white, ten each in light blue and white, ten each in dark blue and light blue

For borders one and three you will need to cut nine 3.1/2″ strips of red fabric across the width of fabric

For border two you will need thirty 3.1/2″ dark blue squares and thirty 3.1/2″ white squares.

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units in the colour combinations listed above.  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 produces 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.

Whirligig block layout

Whirligig block layout

Make the whirligig block

This block uses half square triangles only.  It is also known as a mosaic block.  Lay the pieces out in four rows of four.  Begin with four dark blue/light blue half square triangles in the middle.  Across each corner place two red/white half square triangles.  The red triangles together form a stripe across each corner.  In the remaining four spaces place a light blue/white half square triangle.  The light blue triangles form a stripe with the light blue from the central area.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  This block now measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make five of them.

Corner blocks

Corner blocks

Make the corner blocks

Cut the 12.7/8″ squares along one diagonal to create two triangles from each square.  Sew a dark blue and a light blue triangle together – that’s the corner block complete!  The block measures 12.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make four of them.

First two rows

First two rows

Assemble the whirligig cross quilt

Lay the blocks out in three rows of three.

In row one lay a corner block at each end with a whirligig block in the middle.  Make sure that the dark blue triangles are at the top, forming the corners of the quilt.  For row you just need three whirligig blocks placed side by side.

Row three

Row three

For the third row place a corner block at each end with a whirligig block in the middle.  This time place the dark blue triangles at the bottom so that they form the bottom corners of the whirligig cross quilt.

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

First border

First border

Add the quilt borders

For the first border I have used 3.1/2″ strips of red fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 36.1/2″ for the top and bottom, with two lengths of 42.1/2″ for the sides.

Sew together blue and white strips

Sew together blue and white strips

In the second border I used alternating squares of blue and white.  I was aiming for the sort of look that you get from the old fashioned film spools.  The simplest way to make this border is to sew together 3.1/2″ strips of blue and white along the length.  Cut the resulting panel at 3.1/2″ intervals to make rectangles 3.1/2″ by 6.1/2″.

Make strips of blue and white

Make strips of blue and white

Sew these together side by side to make strips of squares.  You’ll need two lengths of fourteen squares for the top and bottom of the quilt, together with two lengths of sixteen squares for the sides.

Third border

Third border

Finally for the third border I used 3.1/2″ strips of red again.  You’ll need two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the sides.

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/od3hWa-rd70

Beautiful Prague

Beautiful Prague

When I visited Prague Patchwork I spent a few days exploring Prague itself.  To see my photos of this beautiful city click here or click on the photo.

Many thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes you sent me two weeks ago.  Unusually for me, I actually held a party last Sunday to celebrate.  We had a lovely day but I’m still eating the leftovers!

Prague – Czech Republic – Photos

Prague Castle

Prague Castle

When I visited Prague Patchwork, I also had several wonderful days to explore Prague itself.  This photo is actually the Basilica within the Palace complex rather than the Palace itself.  The palace complex lies on a hill dominating the Prague skyline – I was a wimp and took a bus to get there, although I did walk down the hill afterwards!  This is the largest coherent castle complex in the world.

The Basilica of St George was extraordinary on the outside and just as delightful inside.




Inside the basilica

Inside the basilica

Prague Castle complex

The Czech government is still based in in the castle and it is also the home of the Czech president.  For this reason many parts are obviously not open to the public.  However for me the basilica was the star of the show anyway.

Cottage in Golden Lane

Cottage in Golden Lane

Down the side of the basilica lies Golden Lane which has been restored to its original function of workmen’s cottages.  It’s a fascinating street and many of the cottages have been renovated to show the homes and workplaces of different trades.  Naturally I homed in on the cottage with a sewing machine kept beside the bed – although my sewing dominates the house I haven’t quite reached the stage of keeping my machine beside my bed yet.

Golden Lane was home to Franz Kafka and other writers for many years.  It also had a reputation for being the home of alchemists striving to turn metals into gold.

King Charlemagne

King Charlemagne

Wenceslas Square

As a child I can remember images of Russian tanks filling Wenceslas Square in 1968, so it was wonderful to walk down this vibrant square.  This photo was taken from half way down the square looking back up to the Art Gallery and the statue of King Wenceslas.  He is the patron saint of Bohemia and was a much loved King, not just the guy in the Christmas carols.

Straw figures in Wenceslas Square

Straw figures in Wenceslas Square

Nowadays the middle of the square is filled with street food vendors and although it was expensive it was very tasty!

These two figures were made of straw and were quite delightful.

Old Town Square Prague

Old Town Square Prague

Old Town Square Prague

This wonderful square contains the Old Town Hall with its wonderful 15th century astronomical clock.  We watched this striking the hour twice and I did take a video of it but can’t seem to find it now.  You can see more about it in the link above.  The clock is one of the major attractions in this square, but the whole square is wonderful.

St Nicholas Church

St Nicholas Church

Prague is brimming over with wonderful buildings, not just churches.  I’m sure that I missed many of them during my walks in Prague, but one that stands out is the St Nicholas Church in Old Town Square.  Wikipedia describes it as the finest baroque in Prague.

The church is lovely outside and totally stunning on the inside.

Stained glass windows

Stained glass windows

Many wonderful stained glass windows fill the church with coloured light.

Rose window

Rose window

This rose window is superb.  I could go on for ever about this beautiful church.

Unusual tomb

Unusual tomb

I enjoyed this tomb – there was something refreshing about seeing the man appearing to sit up and talk rather than the usual view of someone lying in state.

Sorry but I can’t remember whose tomb it is.

Other places I visited include the Charles Bridge over the River Vitlava.  This is the one with statues all the way across and if you rub one particular one it means that you will return to Prague.  I didn’t take any photos here because the whole bridge was so crowded.

John Lennon wall

John Lennon wall

Just the other side of the bridge, tucked away around a corner, we happened upon the John Lennon Wall.  If I’m honest, this seemed to be a wall of street art featuring John among others.

Overall I found Prague enchanting.  It wasn’t just the romance and beauty of the city – it was also amazing how friendly and helpful the people of Prague.

Irish Chain Star Quilt Pattern

Irish chain star quilt

Irish chain star quilt

My Irish chain star quilt was intended to be more of an Irish chain but I kept adding extra elements so I’m not sure if it still qualifies as an Irish chain quilt.  All three blocks are very simple to make.  I’ve used two batik fabrics and I’m really pleased with how the quilt looks now.  There are twenty five 9″ blocks finished size in the design.  The quilt measures 53″ square and I have used 1.3/4 yards of blue batik, 1 yard of cream, 3/4 yard of white and 1/2 yard of green batik.

As usual you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.  As it’s my 65th birthday on Sunday I am also offering an additional 20% off all purchases over £6.  Details at the bottom of the page.




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the Irish star quilt

3,1/2″ squares:  sixty five blue, sixty eight white, four cream  – but check the pattern before you cut these as they can be pieced using strip piecing

3.7/8″ squares:  eight cream, eight white

9.7/8″ squares:  four green, four blue

For the borders you will need five 2.1/2″ cream strips and five 2.1/2″ blue strips cut across the width of fabric.

Strip piecing

Strip piecing

Make the nine patch units

Sew together 3.1/2″ strips of blue, white, blue and of white, blue, white.  Cut these panels at 3.1/2″ intervals.  This gives you rectangles 9.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ which can be used to form the nine patch units.

Nine patch unit

Nine patch unit

Lay down a blue-white-blue strip at the top and bottom with a white-blue-white strip between them.  Sew the three strips to each other.  This forms the nine patch unit.  At this stage it measures 9.1/2″ square and you need to make thirteen of these.

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make the alternate block

Use the 9.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Lay a blue and a green square with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Cut along the marked line to produce two half square triangle units.  Trim the two corners where fabric sticks out.  This unit measures 9.1/2″ square now and you need to make eight of them.

Star block layout

Star block layout

Make the star blocks

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles in the same way as above.  Place a 3.1/2″ cream square in the middle with white squares in each corner.  Add four half square triangle units in the remaining spaces.  Check the photo to see that you place the triangles correctly.  You need to have a cream edge lying against the central square.

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

Rows one and two

Rows one and two

Assemble the Irish chain star quilt

Sew the blocks together in five rows of five.

In row one place a nine patch unit in positions one, three and five with a blue/green half square triangle in positions two and four.  Place the half square triangles so that the green is on the outside.  The seam line begins to form a line going from the top middle of the quilt to the middle of the sides.

For row two lay a half square triangle at each end with a nine patch, star, nine patch between them.  Again place the half square triangles so that the green is on the outside.

Rows three and four

Rows three and four

In row three, the central row, place nine patch units in positions one, three and five.  Lay two star blocks in positions two and four.

Row four is similar to row two – a half square triangle at each end with a nine patch, star and nine patch between them.  Note that the half square triangles are angled differently now, so that the seams now begin to form lines running from the sides to the middle of the bottom edge.

Row five

Row five

Row five is similar to row one – nine patch units in positions one, three and five with half square triangles in positions two and four.  Again the half square triangles are placed so that the green is on the outside.

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

Add the borders

Add the borders

Add the quilt borders

For the first border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of cream fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 45.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 49.1/2″ for the sides.

Make the second border with 2.1/2″ strips of blue fabric – two lengths of 49.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 53.1/2″ for the sides.

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/ffqrXk512Mg

Prague patchwork 2019

Prague patchwork 2019

A few weeks ago I fulfilled one of my ambitions and went to Prague Patchwork 2019.  I first heard about it years ago and have always wanted to visit it.  It was a magnificent exhibition and you can see my photos by clicking here or click on the photo.

Now at the top of the page I mentioned that on Sunday I will reach the ripe old age of 65.  In order to celebrate this I am offering a 20% discount across the shop on all purchases over £6.  There is no code required – the discount will be applied automatically at checkout.  You can visit the shop here.

20% off all purchases over £6

Prague Patchwork 2019 – Photos

Prague Patchwork 2019

Prague Patchwork 2019

Prague Patchwork 2019 followed the Sitges quilt festival by just a couple of weeks.  I was delighted to be able to visit both of them – even if it was a hectic couple of weeks.  I’ve wanted to visit Prague Patchwork for many years, so it was a real thrill to make it at last.  The exhibition took place in a Sports Centre, so there were different displays in all the badminton halls, football halls and such like.

This particular quilt struck me because it has so much depth – you feel the birds might step out of the quilt at any time.

We had a minor hiccup on our way there, having not validated our train tickets properly, but a wonderful young lady who spoke perfect English came to our rescue.  She was also on her way to the exhibition so she took us under her wing and made sure that we arrived there safely.  Without her, we would probably still be wandering the streets of Prague now!

Group mystery quilt

Group mystery quilt

Group mystery quilt

This quilt was absolutely stunning not only in its own right, but also for the way that it was made.  It’s called Midnight Dance, but the quilters were not told that.  Each one of them was given the pattern for a section – and also asked what they thought the final quilt might look like.

As you can imagine, it must have been a real surprise when they saw the finished quilt.  If I had been given a section of skirt, for example, to make there’s no way in the world that I could have predicted what the subject of the quilt would be.  What a lovely idea.

Third in theme

Third in theme

Prize Winners

Near the entrance to the main hall there was a display of prize winning quilts.  This quilt was third in theme and it was quite delightful.  All the colours blended beautifully and the design was amazing.

I loved the way she had added three leaves in each corner – really striking.

Another winning quilt

Another winning quilt

This was another quilt from the prize winning section.  This one certainly took my breath away – really eyecatching.

Passacaglia quilt

Passacaglia quilt

Passacaglia quilt

Willyne Hammerstein had an exhibition of her quilts on display.  I first came across the Millefiori quilts at Nantes quilt show a few years ago and have loved them ever since.  The link takes you to a pinterest board showing lots of her quilts (I couldn’t find a website to link to).

As you can imagine, the templates for these quilts are tiny, but they do make stunning quilts.

Dresden butterfly

Dresden butterfly

Classical Challenge – Dresden Plate

I have never seen so many Dresden plates used in such creative ways.  I would never have thought of using small Dresdens to create a butterfly.

More Dresden plates

More Dresden plates

This quilt used Dresden plates to great effect.  I really must get my template out and make some Dresden quilts now that I have seen how interesting they can be.

There were many, many more of these quilts on display – a real feast for the eyes.

What depth

What depth

Three dimensional looking quilts

I think we probably all like quilts that look three dimensional.  I thought that this one was a particularly good example.  Birgit Schuller is a Handiquilt ambassador and does some extraordinary quilting.  You can see more of her work here.

See the elephant head

See the elephant head

This quilt really caught my attention because of the wonderful way India had been converted into an elephant head.  What a lovely quilt.

It had the overall look of one of those very old maps.  The Mariners Compass in the corner is also very impressive.

Sorry but I don’t seem to have noted the name of the quilter who produced this.

Landscape quilt

Landscape quilt

Wow factor quilts

Detail of the quilt

Detail of the quilt

It’s not quite a case of saving the best to last, but this part of the exhibition was amazing.  These landscape quilts could have been paintings or photos.  The detail and the choice of colours is superb.  I took this closeup so that you could see that she has pieced each individual leaf – a real work of art.

There were many equally beautiful landscape quilts.  They are all by Grycova Jaroslava, a Czech quilter.  Once again I couldn’t find a website for her, but you can see a lot more of her stunning work on this Google Images page.

My visit to Prague Patchwork 2018 was an amazing opportunity to see some extraordinary quilts and also to explore a delightful and beautiful city.  My photos of Prague itself will follow when I’ve had a chance to sort them out.

 

 

Michigan Beauty Quilt Pattern

Michigan Beauty quilt

Michigan Beauty quilt

I’ve made the Michigan Beauty quilt using the block of the same name and an alternate block of my own design which I tried to make as much the reverse of it as I could.  My plan was to make an interesting quilt with plenty to look at.  The first block has lilac in the middle with white outside it while the alternate has white in the middle with lilac outside it.  The green flower shapes point outwards in the first block and inwards in the alternate block.

The quilt measures 58″ square.  I have used nine 18″ blocks, needing 1.1/2 yards each of white and blue with 3/4 yard each of green and lilac.  As ever, you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed blocks

Completed blocks

Cutting requirements for the Michigan Beauty quilt

3,1.2″ squares:  thirty six green, sixteen lilac, twenty white

6.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  ten lilac

3.7.8″ squares:  thirty six each in green and white, twenty eight each in blue and white, thirty six each in blue and lilac

For the border you will need to cut six 2.1/2″ blue 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 half square triangles in the colour combinations listed above.  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 which are now 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric and trim the two corners where the fabric sticks out.

Central area

Central area

Make the Michigan Beauty quilt block

Begin with the two 6.1/2″ lilac rectangles in the middle of the block.  Place a pair of blue/lilac half square triangles on each edge of this central square.  Make sure that the lilac triangles are together, forming a larger lilac triangle pointing away from the middle.  Add a green square in each corner.

Michigan Beauty quilt block layout

Michigan Beauty quilt block layout

For the outer frame, place a pair of blue/white half square triangles in the middle of each edge.  Add a green/white half square triangle on each side of the blue/white half square triangles.  Place a white square in each corner.  Note that the blue triangles together form a larger blue triangle pointing outwards and the white triangles together form larger white triangles pointing inwards.

Sew the patchwork pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the block.  At this stage it measures 18.1/2″ square and you need to make five of these.

Alternate block centre

Alternate block centre

Make the alternate block

Place four blue/white half square triangles in the middle.  Lay them so that the white triangles together form a diamond in the middle.  Add a pair of blue/lilac half square triangles on each edge of the central square.  Lay them so that the blue triangles together form a larger blue triangle pointing outwards.

Add a lilac square in each corner.

Alternate block layout

Alternate block layout

For the outer frame place a pair of white squares in the middle of each edge.  Add a green/white half square triangle on each side of the white squares.  The white pieces should now form a mountain shape on each edge.  Add a green square in each corner.

Sew the patchwork pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  At this stage the block measures 18.1/2″ square and you need to make four of these.

Blue quilt border

Blue quilt border

Add the border

Use the 2.1/2″ blue strips for the border.  You’ll need two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the top and bottom, with two lengths of 58.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the Michigan Beauty 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/HSHboNtxEcU

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

While I was in Spain for the Sitges quilt festival I had time for some sightseeing in Barcelona.  The lovely Sagrada Familia, still being constructed after over 100 years, was top of my list of places to see.  What a treat!  To see my photos click here or click on the photo.

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments about my demonstrations on Sewing Quarter.  I had a wonderful morning there – they were all so welcoming and friendly that I felt far more relaxed than I had expected to.  I don’t have any more dates yet, but will definitely let you know when I do.