Bath – Somerset – Photos

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey

My visit to Bath last weekend was great fun.  I haven’t finished showing you my American photos yet, but they will have to wait till next week.

Bath is a city in Somerset, renowned for its Roman Baths.  I didn’t visit these but I gather that they are very impressive.  The whole area is steeped in history, with Stonehenge not far away.

Bath Abbey dominates the middle of the city.  It’s a beautiful 7th century church.  As you can see there are two layers of stained glass windows which make it very light inside.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go inside it, because I’ve just found out that there’s a Heritage Museum in the basement which would have been interesting to visit.

Apparently the Abbey receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.




Kaffe Fassett exhibition

Kaffe Fassett exhibition

Kaffe Fassett exhibition

My main purpose in beginning with Bath was to meet up with my future daughter in law and her mother.  I deliberately arrived early so that I could visit an exhibition in the Victoria Art Gallery.

Many thanks to Sue for alerting me to this – the exhibition is called A Celebration of Flowers and it displays both quilts and other needlework from Kaffe Fassett together with ceramics from Candace Bahouth.  Both were totally delightful, with amazing use of colour.  There were no photos allowed so I had to be content with a photo of the poster.

Victoria Art Gallery

Victoria Art Gallery

The exhibition is on till September 2nd and I thoroughly enjoyed drinking in all those wonderful colour combinations.

The Art Gallery is housed in a lovely building with a statue of Queen Victoria above one of the doors.

American Museum

American Museum

American Museum

Just outside Bath is the American Museum.  I had seen some of their vintage quilts at the Festival of Quilts but it was a real treat to see more of the collection.

The museum has been open since 1961 and apparently remains the only museum outside America to display the decorative arts of America.  It is housed in Claverton Manor which sits on a hill and enjoys wonderful views across the surrounding countryside.

Vintage quilts on display

Vintage quilts on display

Some of the quilts are displayed on the wall like this one.  Most of them are displayed on hanging boards so that you can leaf through them.

They rotate the quilts on display so you would need to visit many times to see their full collection.

1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet

1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet

As an extra treat for quilters, they have the 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet on loan from the Quilters Guild.  It will be there till July 29th.  It really is an extraordinary project – I felt privileged to be able to see it.

The wedding church

The wedding church

Local churches

The area that my future daughter in law lives in contains a grouping of ten churches.  This is the one that will host the wedding – a real picture postcard English country church.

I spent a wonderful weekend seeing the various venues for the wedding and getting to know Anna’s parents.  My job is the bunting and now I have much more idea of what will be required so I can get stuck in on that over the next few months.

Photo Quilt Cushion Cover Pattern

Photo quilt cushion cover

Photo quilt cushion cover

I’ve used this photo quilt cushion cover pattern as an opportunity to show you how to transfer photos to fabric.  You can use this technique for individual photos or text prints, or you can make a memory quilt using all your favourite photos.  The cushion cover I’ve made fits an 18″ cushion pad and I’ve used about 1 yard of the navy blue fabric, just over 1/2 yard of white fabric and about 10″ of the light blue fabric.

Cutting requirements for the photo quilt cushion cover

It’s a bit difficult to give these because it will vary depending on the size of the photo print that you use.  Broadly you need an 18″ strip of navy cut across the width of fabric for the back panel, an 18″ square of white fabric to line the front panel, a white rectangle about 11″ by 8″ for the photo print and varying strips of navy and light blue to frame the photo.




Soak the fabric

Soak the fabric

Treat the fabric

Cut a rectangle about 11″ by 8″ – roughly the size of A4 paper.  You can buy sheets of treated fabric to print your photo, but I find that my printer doesn’t like these so I usually make my own sheets.  You need to treat the fabric so that it will accept (and keep) the photo print.  I use something called Bubble Jet Set 2000.  Pour a little into a flat tray or bowl and soak the fabric completely.  The instructions say to leave it in the solution for 15 minutes, but I usually just leave it long enough to be sure that all the fabric has been soaked.

Scrunch the fabric up to squeeze excess liquid out and lay it on a towel to dry naturally.  Pour any leftover liquid back into the bottle – it’s okay to use it again.

Back with freezer paper

Back with freezer paper

Cut a sheet of freezer paper slightly smaller than the fabric.  You need to back the fabric because it will not go through your printer on its own.  If you haven’t used it before, freezer paper has one side waxy which acts as an adhesive when you iron it.

Iron the fabric to the waxy side of the freezer paper.  You need to do this really thoroughly or the two layers will separate somewhere in the middle of your printer – yes, it has happened to me.

Clip the top corners

Clip the top corners

Trim the rectangle so that the fabric and paper edges are in line.  I find that clipping across the two top corners helps the fabric to pass through the printer.

Add text if you want

Add text if you want

Print your photo

If you want to print a photo with text on it, I find a website called addtext.com very useful.  You can upload a photo and then it will give you options on size, colour and font for any text that you want to add.

For this particular project I just wanted text on a plain background, so I created a Word document, typed in the words and then printed that onto the fabric.  You need to empty the paper tray so that your treated fabric is the only thing in the tray.  I think that your printer needs to be inkjet rather than any other kind and it helps if it accepts different thicknesses of paper.

After printing, remove the paper backing and rinse the fabric in cold water with a bit of washing up liquid added.  Leave to dry naturally.  Trim to the size that you need.

Add the first border

Add the first border

Add the two borders

I used my first border to square the printed fabric.  I added a 2″ strip to each side which gave me a width of 10″ total.  My photo print is 5″ high so I needed to add 5″ to the top and bottom in total.  That means 2.1/2″ each on top and bottom.  Adding 1/2″ for seam allowances meant that I needed two lengths 3″ wide to complete the square.

For the second border I needed to make the panel 18″ square.  This meant adding 4″ to each edge.  I cut 5″ strips to be safe and sewed a length to each side first and then one to the top and the bottom of the panel.

Line the panel

Line the panel

Line the front panel

In order to protect the seam allowances and the photo print I added a lining of white fabric.  Cut an 18.1/2″ white square and pin carefully to the back of the cushion panel.

Turn under a double hem

Turn under a double hem

Make the cushion back panel

I’ve used an envelope closing for the cushion.  For this I cut a panel of the navy fabric 18.1/2″ by about 42″ – basically across the width of fabric.  Turn under a small double hem on each end of this strip on the 18″ edges.

Lay the panel on the backing strip

Lay the panel on the backing strip

Lay this strip of fabric down with right side up.  Locate the centre of both this strip and of the front cushion panel.  Lay the front panel down also with right side up, matching the two centre lines.

Fold up one end

Fold up one end

Turn up one end of the backing strip so that it partially covers the cushion panel.

Fold the second edge down

Fold the second edge down

Then fold the other end of the backing strip down so that the cushion panel is completely covered.  The two ends overlap which provides the envelope opening on the back of the cushion.  Carefully check that all the edges are lined up – there are quite a few layers of fabric there now.  Pin and sew all round the edge of the square.  Turn the project right side out just to check that you have caught all the layers of fabric in your stitching.  Then turn it back wrong side out so that you can zigzag or overlock the edges to neaten up and prevent fraying.

Finally turn the photo quilt cushion cover right side out again and insert a cushion pad.

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/2fypAqYBTpc

 

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

While I was visiting New York I took a train down to Philadelphia.  What a beautiful city it is!  You can see my photos by clicking here or click on the photo.

Philadelphia – America – Photos

Philadelphia City Hall

Philadelphia City Hall

For my Philadelphia visit I travelled by train from New York.  It was a very short visit so there must be large areas that I haven’t seen, but I did at least have a lovely walk round the historic area.  Philadelphia was founded by an Englishman, William Penn in the late seventeenth century.  He was given the land by King Charles II to pay off the king’s debt to Mr Penn.  He went on to found the state of Pennsylvania.

From my hotel the City Hall could be seen dominating the area – what a lovely building it is.  It also made a useful landmark so that I could find my way to the old city – and also back to my hotel afterwards!




Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

Philadelphia is well known for being the home of the Liberty Bell, that international symbol of freedom.  the inscription on it reads:

Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof

It is impressive for its history as much as for the actual bell itself.  The whole area was very informative – lots of information boards, videos and historical background.  The bell was apparently rung in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was read out and later became a symbol of liberty for the abolitionists.

Independence Hall

Independence Hall

Congress Hall

Nearby the Independence Hall looked absolutely fascinating.  However entrance is very strictly controlled and I didn’t try to buy advance tickets until it was too late and they were already sold out.

However it was still possible to get into the park area around the Indpendence Hall and that way I could also get to the Congress Hall.

 

Congress Hall

Congress Hall

Luckily the Congress Hall next door was more open to visitors and I thoroughly enjoyed my tour around there.  This photo may look a little lopsided, but it was because I was trying to show the eagle on the ceiling as well as the chairs and table where the Congress used to sit and debate in the early days.  Philadelphia was capital of the United States for ten years while the city of Washington was being built.  It was during a fascinating period when more and more states were signing up to the United States.  Kentucky, Vermont and Tennessee all signed up and ratified the Constitution during this period.

Betsy Ross House

Betsy Ross House

Betsy Ross House

The first American flag ever was sewn in the Betsy Ross House.  I would have loved to see inside this house, but about five school groups turned up at the same time as I did.  I guessed there wouldn’t be room to breathe inside with all those children, so I went on by.

Design ideas

Design ideas

Quilt Inspiration

Of course there are always suggestions of ideas wherever you look in any city, but this rug in the Congress Hall definitely took my fancy.

Now all I need to do is figure out a way of simplifying the design to make it into a quilt.

Statue in the park

Statue against trees

Statue against trees

I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember whose statue this is.  I just thought that it was really striking with those trees providing a backdrop for the statue.

All in all I had a thoroughly memorable visit to Philadelphia – and I learned a huge amount as well.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

 

 

New York Flooring Quilt Pattern

New York flooring quilt

New York flooring quilt

My New York flooring quilt is based on a design of tiles that I saw in a New York diner.  I have of course changed the design quite a bit, but that was the basis for the design.  There were many, many more quilt inspirations during my American holiday but this is a nice easy pattern to begin with.

Original tile design

Original tile design

I have kept to the original design for the tile block but then I have added a star block in place of the open spaces of white tiles.  I have rotated the blocks so that the medium blue diagonals change direction half way down the quilt.  The same happens with the light blue diagonals so that I have created two intersecting sideways V shapes forming a small diamond in the middle of the quilt.

The quilt measures 58″ by 76″, using 2.1/2 yards of white fabric, 1.1/2 yards of dark blue, 1 yard of medium blue and just 1/2 yard of the light blue fabric.  I have made twelve blocks, all 18″ square finished size.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed tile block

Completed tile block

Cutting requirements for the New York flooring quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  thirty six light blue, thirty six medium blue, twenty four dark blue, seventy two white

3.7/8″ squares:  twenty four medium blue, twenty four white

6.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  twelve dark blue, twelve medium blue, twenty four white

12.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  twelve white

18.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  twelve white

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

Make a 4 patch unit

Make a 4 patch unit

Make the tile quilt block

Begin with a simple four patch unit using two medium blue and two light blue squares.

Add the next frame

Add the next frame

Now for the next frame add a medium blue square in two corners and a light blue square in the other two corners.  Make sure that you place them so that one diagonal is all medium blue while the other diagonal is all light blue.  Between the corners on the top and bottom rows place a 6.1/2″ dark blue rectangle.

On each side place a dark blue square on each end of the two middle rows.

New York flooring quilt block layout

New York flooring quilt block layout

Complete the layout with two medium blue and two light blue squares in the corners of the final frame.  Between these place a 12.1/2″ white rectangle in the top and bottom rows.  Use four white squares down each side, so that these rows begin and end with a white square.

Sew the patchwork pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  The block now measures 18.1/2″ square and you need to make six of them.

Half square triangles

Half square triangles

Make the half square triangle units

I’ve used a simple star block to replace the open spaces in the original tile design and for this I need half square triangle units.  Use the 3.7/8″ squares.  Place a medium 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.  Cut along the line to produce two half square triangle units.

These are now 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the blue and trim the two corners where fabric sticks out.

Central section of star block

Central section of star block

Make the star quilt blocks

Begin with two 6.1/2″ medium blue rectangles in the middle.  On each edge of this central square place two half square triangle units.  Make sure that the two white triangles together form a larger white triangle pointing towards the middle of the block.  In each corner place a 6.1/2″ white rectangle.  I know that these stick out beyond the other squares, but it just saves a bit of time when sewing the rows together.

Star quilt block layout

Star quilt block layout

For the final frame, add two white squares to the ends of the central rows, one at each end.  As you can see, this evens up the lengths of the rows.

Finally add an 18.1/2″ white rectangle to the top and the bottom of the block.  Sew the pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

The star block now measures 18.1/2″ square and you need to make six of these as well.

Rows 1 and 2

Rows 1 and 2

Assemble the New York flooring quilt

Sew the blocks together in four rows of three.  In row one place a tile block at each end with a star block in the middle.  For the second row place a star block at each end with a tile block in the middle.  Note that the medium blue diagonal runs from top left to bottom right in each of the tile blocks.

Rows 3 and 4

Rows 3 and 4

In row three place a star block in the middle with a tile block at each end.  This time place them so that the medium blue diagonal runs from bottom left left to top right.

For row four lay a star block in the middle with a tile block at each end.

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

Add the border

Add the border

Add the quilt border

I have used 2.1/2″ strips of dark blue fabric for the border.  You’ll need two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 76.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the New York flooring 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:

Rockefeller square in the rain

Rockefeller square in the rain

As you know by now, I have just returned from a wonderful trip to the USA.  I have pulled together some photos from the New York part of the trip and to see them click here or click on the photo.

I had set the two last patterns to publish automatically while I was away and I gather that the links didn’t work for everyone, so my apologies for that.  As many of you pointed out, I had forgotten to include the fabric requirement for the Columbian  Star quilt – they are 4.3/4 yards of white, 4 yards of purple and 3/4 yard of the floral border fabric.  I have added them to the pattern now and if I can’t get the waterfall video to work I will have to delete it.  Apologies again!

New York – America – Photos

New York skyline

New York skyline

My trip to New York was a wonderful experience.  I also took in Philadelphia and Washington, but I’ll keep those photos for another time.  The flight that I had booked was cancelled so I had to go a day early – what a hardship!  I’m starting with an image of the Observation Tower at Ground Zero – after all the New York skyline has always been amazing and this is obviously a new addition to the skyline.

I’m not going to try and show you photos of places like Times Square because my photos can’t compete with all the wonderful images that professional photographers produce.  Instead I’ll try and bring you some of the less well known places, or of quirky things that I saw.




Inside the 911 museum

Inside the 911 museum

Ground Zero

I visited the museum at Ground Zero.  Last time I was in New York I just visited the area without going inside the museum.  However I was really pleased to see inside the museum this time.  It was a very moving experience.

The quote ‘No day shall erase you from the memory of time’ is  from Virgil and what appears to be blue tiling behind it is in fact thousands of blue cards.  Each one of them is a different shade of blue.

Fashion district entrance

Fashion district entrance

New York fashion district

Obviously I had to take a wander around the fashion district and these sculptures seemed very appropriate at the entrance to the area.  The tailor at his sewing machine and the needle through the button were very striking.

Along 7th Avenue the pavements are decorated with a walk of fame with plaques giving brief outlines of some of the major designers and their work.  I found them really interesting.

Highline New York

Highline New York

New York Highline

What a wonderful idea this is!  A disused high level train track has been turned into a 1.1/2 mile walk high above street level.

What is this tree?

What is this tree?

The walk is just beside the tracks and the entire length has been planted with flowerbeds, shrubs and trees.  It’s a real oasis in a very busy city.

The tree shown was not one I had ever seen before – in the top right hand part of the photo there is a huge white flower.  So if anybody knows what the tree is I would be really interested to know.

Union Jack sweet

Union Jack sweet

Sweets in the bus terminal

In the Port Authority bus terminal there were sweeties everywhere.  That’s not as weird as it sounds!

The terminal is hosting an exhibition and a popup shop devoted to the work of Laurence Jenkell.  These sculptured candies are everywhere, with each one designed around the flag of a different country.  Obviously I had to take a photo of the Union Jack sweet.

Candy Stars and Stripes

Candy Stars and Stripes

In the popup shop there were many more items made from that candy shape which is her trademark.  This flag is made from red, white and blue sweet shapes.

Sewing machine on rock

Sewing machine on rock

Another sewing machine

This sewing machine sculpture appeared on a street corner which I passed on my way back to my hotel.

There was nothing with it to explain it, so I can’t tell you why it’s there, but it certainly grabbed my attention.

Bronx zoo

Family of baboons

Family of baboons

Towards the end of my holiday I needed something calm and restful as I was exhausted.  The Bronx Zoo fitted the bill beautifully.  This family of baboons looked very calm and peaceful – especially the one on the right lying along the trunk of the tree.  If you’re ever near the zoo, it is well worth a visit and it’s much cheaper on Wednesdays.

Monkey

Monkey

This cheeky monkey was a complete contrast to the baboons.  Hasn’t he got a pretty face?

I’m sorry that I can’t remember which type of monkey he is.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

 

Columbian Star Quilt Pattern

Columbian star quilt

Columbian star quilt

The Columbian Star quilt block is the centrepiece of this quilt pattern.  I have tried to use elements from this block in the surrounding blocks.  The nine blocks are all huge – 30″ square finished size – giving an enormous 94″ square quilt.  This should cover any size of bed comfortably.

I needed 4.3/4 yards of white fabric, 4 yards of purple and 3/4 yard of the floral border fabric.

Completed Columbian star quilt block

Completed Columbian star quilt block

Cutting requirements for the Columbian star quilt

6.1/2″ squares:  four white

12.1/2″ squares:  one purple

3.1/2″ by 12.1/2″ rectangles:  four white

3.7/8″ squares:  twenty white, twenty purple

3.1/2″ squares:  four purple, eight white

15.7/8″ squares:  four purple, four white

15.1/2″ squares:  four purple

8″ squares:  sixteen white

8.3/8″ squares:  sixteen purple, sixteen white

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




Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangle units

Make the half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Place a purple and a white square 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 purple and trim the two corners where fabric sticks out.

You will also need to make half square triangle units from the 15.7/8″ and 8.3/8″ squares, but for these I have simply cut the squares along one diagonal and then sewn one white and one white purple triangle together along the diagonals.

Top section

Top section

Make the Columbian star quilt block top

I am showing you this layout in three sections for clarity.  Place a 6.1/2″ white square at each end with two half square triangles on two edges of each square.  Lay a 3.1/2″ purple square diagonally in from the corner of each white square.  Between these corner sections place a 12.1/2″ white rectangle at the top with a row of four half square triangles beneath it.  Underneath these place two 3.1/2″ white squares with a pair of half square triangles betwen them.  Check the photo carefully to be sure which way to place all the half square triangles.  In the middle they need to form a V shape pointing downwards.

Partially sewn section

Partially sewn section

Sew the squares together across the two rows between the white squares.  Then sew the two rows to each other.  Now add the large white square on each end.  Sew all the squares together across the third row and add this to the bottom of the section.

Central section

Central section

Middle section of block

Begin this section with the 12.1/2″ purple square.  For the column on either side of the square place four half square triangles.  Lay them so that the purple triangles start to form a V shape pointing towards the central square.  For the next column out you need two white squares with a half square triangle at each end of the column.  For the third column out place one 12.1/2″ white rectangle.  Sew the patchwork pieces together down each column, sew the columns to each other and then sew these sections to the central square.

Bottom third of the block

Bottom third of the block

Lower third of the block

The bottom section of the block is more or less the same as the top section, just the other way up.  The first row of this section contains four half square triangles in the middle with a purple square outside of these and then two more half square triangle units.

Make the second row with two white squares in the middle and a pair of half square triangles on either side of the squares.  Use the final 12.1/2″ white rectangle with a half square triangle at each end for the third row.  Add a 6.1/2″ white square at each end of these last two rows.  Once again sew the small squares together across each row, sew the bottom two rows to each other and then sew them to the white squares at the ends.  Sew this section to the first row.

Finally sew all three sections together to complete the Columbian star quilt block.  This measures 30.1/2″ square at this stage and you just need to make one.

Corner block layout

Corner block layout

Make the corner blocks

For the corner blocks I have used the rosebud shape that appears in the Columbian star quilt block – but made it a lot bigger.  Make half square triangles using the 15.7/8″ squares.  Cut the squares in half along one diagonal and then sew a purple triangle to a white triangle.

Place a white and a purple 15.1/2″ square diagonally opposite each other.  Lay two half square triangles diagonally opposite each other so that the purple triangles form a butterfly shape.

Sew the pieces together in pairs and then sew the pairs to each other.  This block now measures 30.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Third block layout

Third block layout

Make the third block

In the third block I have taken the V shapes in the Columbian star quilt block and again supersized them.  Make half square triangles using the 8.3/8″ squares.  In the first row use four half square triangles placed so that the white triangles form a larger triangle pointing downwards and the purple triangles begin to form the stripes of the V shape.  In the second row place two half square triangles in the middle with an 8″ white square at each end.  Repeat these two rows to form the third and fourth rows.

Sew the pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  This block now measures 30.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Row one

Row one

Assemble the quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  In row one place a rosebud block at each end with a V block in the middle.  Place the rosebuds so that they point towards the corner, with the white square forming the corner of the quilt.

Row two

Row two

For the second row place the Columbian star quilt block in the middle with a V block at each end.  Place these so that the V shapes are horizontal, pointing towards the middle.

Row three

Row three

In row three place a rosebud block at each end with a V block in the middle.  The V shapes point upwards towards the middle while the rosebuds point towards the corners.

Add the top border

Add the top border

Finishing the quilt

Normally now I would add the border, sew the blocks to each other and then sew the three rows to each other.  However this quilt is so large that I am going to sew it together using quilt as you go in rows.  I have added the border strip of a contrasting fabric to the top of the first row and the bottom of the third row.  Then I added wadding and backing fabric to each row, making sure that I left a good 3″ of these at either side.  Now I am going to quilt each row separately, sew the rows to each other using qayg and then add the side borders as a final step.  I haven’t had time to do these steps yet, but I will show you the photos when I have completed the quilt.

Here’s the video:

 

Swallow Falls

Swallow Falls

Last week I spent a few days in North Wales.  On the way back I stopped to see the Swallow Falls which I have always intended to visit.  The falls are just outside a small town called Betws-y-Coed.  They were absolutely stunning, but it was almost impossible to take a photo that did them justice.  They weren’t very wide but seemed to go on in stages for a great distance.  My photos looked terribly flat and didn’t show the force of the falls so I put together a short video which gives more of a feeling of the water thundering down.

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Sunflower Wall Hanging Pattern

Sunflower wall hanging

Sunflower wall hanging

I made the Sunflower Wall Hanging partly because it’s pretty and very appropriate for the time of year and partly to show you how easy it is to keep adding frames of triangles to a central square.  Below I have given details of two methods for calculating the size of the squares from which to cut the triangles.  I would also like to say a big thank you for all the lovely birthday wishes that I received last week. The wall hanging measures 31″ square and I have used 1/2 yard each of sunflower fabric and yellow background fabric together with 1/4 yard each of two other fabrics from the sunflower range.  

Central area

Central area

Cutting requirements for the sunflower wall hanging

Sunflower fabric: one 4.1/2″ square, three 4.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric for the border Yellow fabric:  two 3.3/4″ squares, two 6.1/2″ squares, two 12.1/4″ squares Turquoise fabric:  two 4.7/8″ squares Sunflower silhouette fabric:  two 8.7/8″ squares.

Fussy cut a sunflower

Fussy cut a sunflower

Cut the central square

Cut a 4.1/2″ strip of sunflower fabric and cut a square that gives a complete sunflower for the middle of the wall hanging.  You can do this with any suitable fabric and you can vary the size of this central square to suit the fabric.

One triangle on each edge

One triangle on each edge

Add the first triangles

Cut the 3.3/4″ squares along one diagonal to form triangles.  Place one triangle on each edge of the central square.

Sew two triangles in place and then press

Sew two triangles in place and then press

You need to sew these triangles to the square in pairs.  Sew the top and bottom triangles and press them open.  Press the seam allowances away from the square.  Then sew the remaining two triangles to the sides and press open. You’ll notice that each triangle is longer than the edge of the square.  Make sure that the triangles extend the same distance beyond the square on each side. Trim the middle of each edge where the triangle tips stick out and if necessary trim the square to 6.1/2″.

How to measure the triangles

How to measure the triangles

How to measure the triangles

Now what happens if you want to use a larger (or smaller) central square?  I use two different methods so that I can check up on myself.  The first method is a simple calculation.  Using a calculator, divide the size of the square edge (4.1/2) by 1.41.  Add 1/2″ to this measurement and cut the square to that size. For the second method I use a tape measure placed across the corner of my cutting mat.  I place the end of the measure on the top line and the 4.1/2″ mark on the right hand line of the mat.  Make sure that these two ends of the tape measure are both the same distance from the corner.  In this case they are both 3.1/4″ from the corner.  Add 1/2″ and you have the measurement of 3.3/4″ which I have used for the squares to make the first round of triangles. Personally I prefer the tape measure method because it gives the result in 1/8″ intervals whereas the calculator gives decimal figures.  Whichever way you use, I hope this will help you to make this design using any size of central square.

The second round

The second round

Add the second frame

In order to make the second round of triangles I have used another sunflower fabric.  Overall I have alternated sunflower fabrics with plain yellow so that you can see what I’ve done more easily.  This time the triangles are cut from 4.7/8″ squares.  Add them two at a time as before and trim the edges.  Your square should now measure 8.1/2″ on each edge.

Sew with the square on top

Sew with the square on top

One thing that I do find useful is to sew the triangles on with the triangle underneath and the square on top.  This means that you can see the stitch lines of the previous frame in the middle of each edge.  You can then make sure that the seam you are now sewing passes just across the corner of the previous seam.  This means that your diamonds keep their points as you build up the rounds.

Add yellow triangles

Add yellow triangles

Another yellow frame

For the next frame cut the triangles from 6.1/2″ yellow squares.  Place one on each edge of the square and sew them on two at a time as before. Trim the edges of the square, which should now measure 11.1/2″.

Third round

Third round

Add the black frame

I have used 8.7/8″ squares to make the triangles for the next round.  Sew the triangles to the yellow square.  Your square should now measure 16.1/2″ on each edge.

Add a final yellow frame

Add a final yellow frame

One final round of triangles

I had intended to finish the wall hanging with the black frame shown above, but I realised that the central square is upright at this stage.  I want it to finish on point, in a diamond shape, so I need one more round of triangles. Use triangles cut from 12.1/4″ yellow squares.  Trim your square to 23″ along each edge.

Sunflower border

Sunflower border

Add the border

I have used 4.1/2″ strips of the same sunflower fabric as that used in the middle for the border. You’ll need two lengths of 23″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 31″ for the sides. That completes the sunflower wall hanging top.  It can now be layered, quilted and bound as for any quilt.  Full details of these steps can be found in the quilting for beginners section. Here’s the video: https://youtu.be/TFg7qW2HHGo

Telford

Telford

Thanks for all the comments on my new privacy policy.  I mentioned last week that I had been to a workshop to check that I am doing it correctly.  The workshop took place in Telford in one of the museums of the Ironbridge Gorge.  It’s a beautiful area and it was a lovely day.  This park area combined the new and the old beautifully.

Telford's Iron Bridge

Telford’s Iron Bridge

I would have loved to bring you a photo of Thomas Telford’s original Iron Bridge but it was shrouded in scaffolding while they do some major work on it.  However I managed to find an old photo of it that I took many years ago.  

Vote or no vote

Vote or no vote

This area really took my fancy.  It celebrates the fact that in February 1918 women were first given the vote in Parliamentary elections.  However not all women were allowed the vote – of approximately 160 women working in that area of Ironbridge Gorge at the time only 37 were given the vote.

Wonderful imagery

Wonderful imagery

Each one of those 37 women is remembered with an individual silhouette showing their name.  Wonderful imagery!

Pillar of friendship

Pillar of friendship

The Pillar of Friendship was created when a conference of Master Blacksmiths took place there.  Each panel represents one blacksmith’s idea of friendship.  That was really interesting.  

Butterfly Star Quilt – Free Pattern

Butterfly star quilt

Butterfly star quilt

For the Butterfly Star quilt my aim was to find a design where the butterflies and stars appeared to be floating randomly within the quilt.  In order to achieve this I made the butterflies and stars off centre so that when I rotated the blocks they would look like random placements rather than straight lines.  Both of the blocks are very easy to make so this quilt goes together really quickly.  I have used sixteen blocks which are all 12″ square finished size.  The quilt measures 52″ square, using 2 yards of the blue sky background fabric, 3/4 yard of green star and 1/2 yard of lilac floral fabric.




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the butterfly star quilt

4.1/2″ squares:  sixteen blue

4.7/8″ squares:  eight blue, eight lilac

8.1/2″ by 4.1/2″ rectangles:  eight blue

12.1/2″ by 4.1/2″ rectangles:  eight blue

3.1/2″ squares:  eight green, thirty two blue

3.7/8″ squares:  sixteen green, sixteen blue

9.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  eight blue

12.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  eight blue

For the border you will need to cut five 2.1/2″ lengths of green star fabric across the width of fabric.

Half square triangle units

Half square triangle units

Make the half square triangle units.

Use both the 3.7/8″ and 4.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Place either a lilac or a green square right sides together with a blue square and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.

This will produce two half square triangle units which are either 3.1/2″ or 4.1/2″ square.   Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric and trim the two corners where the triangle tips stick out.

Butterfly block layout

Butterfly block layout

Make the butterfly quilt block

Lay two lilac/blue half square triangles and two 4.1/2″ blue squares diagonally opposite each other.

Lay an 8.1/2″ blue rectangle down the right hand side of the four patch unit, with a 12.1/2″ blue rectangle across the bottom.  Sew the squares and half square triangles together in pairs and then sew the pairs together.  Add the rectangle to the right and then sew the 12.1/2″ rectangle across the bottom.

The block measures 12.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make eight of them.

Star block layout

Star block layout

Make the star quilt block

Lay the nine pieces of the star in three rows of three.  Place a green star square in the middle with a green/blue half square triangle on each edge of the central square.  Lay these so that the triangles form the points of the star.  Place a 3.1/2″ blue square in each corner of this nine patch section.

Sew the three squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  Now add a 3.1/2″ by 9.1/2″ blue rectangle on the right hand side and then a 3.1/2″ by 12.1/2″ blue rectangle across the bottom of the block.

At this stage the block also measures 12.1/2″ square and you also need to make eight of them.

Rows one and two

Rows one and two

Assemble the butterfly star quilt

There are many different ways of arranging these blocks.  I have chosen to alternate the butterflies and stars across the rows and down the columns, rotating them to give the random placement effect.

In row one begin with a butterfly placed top right of the block.  Follow this with a star placed bottom right, a butterfly placed top left and a star also placed top left.

For row two you need to place a star top left, a butterfly placed top right, a star placed bottom right and a butterfly placed top right.

Rows three and four

Rows three and four

In row three I have begun with a butterfly placed top right, a star placed top right, followed by a butterfly placed bottom right and a star placed placed top left.

For row four begin with a star placed top left followed by a butterfly placed bottom left, a star placed top left and a butterfly placed top right.

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

Green stars for the border

Green stars for the border

Add the quilt border

I have used 2.1/2″ strips of the green star fabric for the border.  You’ll need two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom with a 52.1/2″ length for each side.

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

Here’s the video:

 

 

Himley Hall

Himley Hall

And I have also been exploring this week.  I visited (accidentally) Himley Hall and spent a wonderful morning touring the exhibitions and the parkland.  You can read about it here or just click on the photo.

Himley Hall – Dudley – Photos

Himley Hall

Himley Hall

I visited Himley Hall by accident – I was on my way somewhere else and noticed the signs so I dropped in and had a wonderful morning looking around.  The magnolia trees surrounding the hall were absolutely magnificent.  They were in full bloom and really stunning.

The hall is 18th century and it is set in 180 acres of parkland designed by Capability Brown.  Obviously I didn’t get to explore all of it!  It used to be home to the Earls of Dudley but now is used for weddings and special events.  There were a couple of exhibitions on the day that I visited and they were really interesting.




Winter birdlife

Winter birdlife

Himley Hall Art Exhibitions

The first exhibition that I came across was the wildlife art of David Spencer.  This bird was beautifully represented – almost ready to fly off the canvas.  David is based in Staffordshire but his works cover wildlife from all over the world.

Ladybird by David Spencer

Ladybird by David Spencer

This ladybird makes a beautiful picture – this is the sort of content that would look great in a quilt.

It was behind glass so I apologise for the reflection of myself taking the photo.

Sydney Opera House in lego

Sydney Opera House in lego

Lego Exhibition

Lego was something that my children never really played with much.  However this exhibition definitely changed my view of lego projects.  I would never have dreamed that something so intricate could be made from lego bricks.

Yoda in lego

Yoda in lego

Yoda was even more striking.  What a beautifully made project.  There were quite a few Star Wars projects on display and the intricacy was really impressive.

Still waters run deep

Still waters run deep

Outside Himley Hall

The parkland was magnificent and I’m sure I’ll be going back to Himley Hall for longer walks.  On this occasion I restricted myself to a walk round the lake.

What struck me about this little inlet was how still the water was.  The reflection of the trees was crystal clear.  Once again my thoughts turned to quilts – what a lovely landscape quilt this would make.  One day when time allows ….

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Fabric Yoyo Lion Toy Pattern

Fabric yoyo lion

Fabric yoyo lion

My fabric yoyo lion is a sweetie.  I had seen fabric yoyo toys before now without ever working out just how they are made.  In fact it’s very easy to make them.  It took me a bit longer to make than I had anticipated, but it certainly wasn’t difficult.

I used three different fabrics all within a lion range:  brown,yellow, light brown, and I used two different sizes of yoyo.  I should probably have used a greater range of sizes but I was trying to keep it simple.  The circles that I used were 6.1/2″ and 4.1/2″ diameter and I think that it would have become too fiddly if I had tried to use smaller circle sizes.

You can buy the kit for this project at this week’s special offer.




Cutting requirements for the fabric yoyo lion

6.1/2″ circles:  six each in three different colours (eighteen in total)

4.1/2″ circles:  sixteen each in two of the colours and eight in the third colour (forty in total).  In addition you will need two more circles for the lion head.

Thin elastic (I used 1/4″):  about 1 yard.

Cut the circles

Cut the circles

Make the fabric yoyos

For the templates I just chose kitchen crockery that was roughly the right size.  Draw around them to make a paper template and then cut out the required quantity in each fabric that’s eighteen 6.1/2″ circles and forty 4.1/2″ circles.

Stitch around the edge

Stitch around the edge

Adjust your sewing machine to give the longest possible stitch length and sew round the edge of each circle.  Try to keep to about 1/4″ from the edge of the circle.  That really just means taking it nice and slowly and lifting the presser foot often in order to straighten out the fabric.  Leave a good 6″ thread at the beginning and end of the seams.

Pull the threads to gather the edge

Pull the threads to gather the edge

The seam will begin to gather as you are sewing the circle edges.  Now take the outer two threads and pull gently to continue the gathering.  Ease the gathering so that it is even all the way round.  Continue until the gathering is quite tight.  Tie the ends of the thread to hold the gathering in place.  I try to use a triple knot just to be safe.

Flatten the centre with fingers only – don’t iron the yoyo.  It should now look like the shape in the top right of the photo.  Keep going with all the circles, keeping the two sizes separate from each other.

Make the body for the fabric yoyo lion

Make the central holes

Make the central holes

Use the larger yoyos for the body.  Thread the end of the elastic on to a hair grip or a thick needle.  Begin to make the central hole in each yoyo.  For this I use a large needle, a very large needle and then a knitting needle.

Use a knitting needle

Use a knitting needle

You can judge the middle of the yoyo quite easily.  You want the needles to go through one layer of fabric only, so the needle needs to pass through the hole at the centre of the gathering on the back.  Push through the first needle and move it back and forth to create a small hole.  Then push through the next size needle to enlarge the hole.  Finally push through the knitting needle to enlarge the hole enough for the elastic to be threaded through it.

Body and tail section

Body and tail section

Now you can thread the elastic through the hole and push the yoyo up next to the others on the elastic.   Add all eighteen large yoyos in this way.  The first ones should be threaded with the smooth side on the left.  The final one should be threaded with the smooth side on the right so that you have a smooth end at each end.

Select eight of the smaller yoyos to use for the tail and add these to the elastic immediately after the larger ones which form the body.  Measure the length of this body and tail section.  Add 1.1/2″ at each end for fastening and cut the elastic to length.

Sew elastic loops

Sew elastic loops

Finish the elastic ends

My first instinct would have been to tie a knot in the elastic ends to secure them.  However this is not the best method as the knot could be pulled through the fabric, enlarging the hole and causing the whole thing to disintegrate.

Instead, fold the end of the elastic over to form a loop and sew in place.  This is shown on the left hand end in the photo.  Then flatten the loop by pressing down the middle to give a section of elastic on either side of the middle.  Sew this in place to form a bar of elastic as shown on the right hand end in the photo.  This provides a larger surface area which is unlikely to pull through the fabric.

One pair of legs

One pair of legs

Make the fabric yoyo lion legs

The legs are made in a similar fashion but they are made in pairs with a length of elastic between each pair of legs.  Divide the remaining yoyos into four piles of varying colours.  Thread eight on to the elastic then leave a gap of 2″ of elastic and add another eight yoyos.  Make sure that each leg has a smooth yoyo side at each end.

Cut the elastic and finish each end in the same way as above for the body.  Make another pair of legs using the remaining yoyos.

Sew the leg elastic to the body

Sew the leg elastic to the body

Join the body and legs

Fold up the first yoyo of the body so that you can work on the second yoyo.  Sew the elastic between two legs across  the bottom of this second yoyo.  This joins the first pair of legs to the body.

Now fold up the last yoyo of the body – the one before the smaller yoyos of the tail.  Sew the second pair of legs to the second to last body yoyo.

Use a small amount of stuffing

Use a small amount of stuffing

Make the lion head

For the head cut two more 4.1/2″ circles from scraps.  With right sides together sew around the edge, leaving a gap of about 2″ to turn the head right side out.  Clip into the seam and turn right side out through the gap.  Add a small amount of toy stuffing through the gap – just enough to make the head softly rounded.  Slipstitch across the gap to close it.

Add facial features

Add facial features

I had planned to embroider the facial features but I ran out of time so I have just marked the head using felt tip for now.  I had also planned to make two ears and sew them to the head.

Sew the back of the head to the first yoyo of the body.  From scraps cut five small rectangles or circles and use them to cover the elastic ends on the legs and the tail.

That completes the fabric yoyo lion toy.  How could I have improved it?  Hindsight being a wonderful thing, I think that I would have used a bigger contrast in the sizes of the yoyos if I was making this again – and I would have allowed myself more time so that I could embroider the head!

Here’s the video:

Globe Theatre

Globe Theatre

Last week I mentioned that I was going to London.  I saw The Play That Went Wrong at the Duchess Theatre.  It was very funny and we had a lovely evening.  The next morning we all met up for brunch at a restaurant just beside the Thames before moving on to a wine tasting festival.

On the way there I passed the wonderful Globe Theatre.  This amazing round theatre was built to re create a theatre where  Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed.  The whole project was masterminded by Sam Wanamaker so we have a lot to thank him for.

Golden Hind

Golden Hind

Further along the riverside walk I came across the Golden Hinde.  This is a re construction of the galleon used by Sir Francis Drake in the sixteenth century to circumnavigate the world.  It is a fully working ship.  You can just see the figurehead of a golden hind (female deer) at the front of the ship.

What a fascinating city London is.  So much to explore!