Candy Stripe Binding Courthouse Steps Quilt

Candy stripe binding

Candy stripe binding

In this quilt pattern I have used candy stripe binding to make a simple quilt into something that bit different.  I used seven fabrics within the quilt and then used all seven of them in the binding.  Each quilt block is  14″ square finished size.  The Courthouse Steps is a variation on the log cabin style of block and the alternate block was made with large half square triangle units.

The quilt measures 46″ square and I needed 1.1/4 yards of dark blue, 1 yard of light blue, 3/4 yard of red, 1/2 yard each of medium blue and brown, with 1/4 yard each of orange and natural.  As ever, you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.

In order to show you the binding I had to finish the quilting so for once I can show you the quilting as well!




Completed blocks

Completed blocks

Cutting requirements for the candy stripe binding quilt

2.1/2″ squares:  five red, ten natural

6.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ rectangles:  ten light blue, ten orange

10.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ rectangles:  ten medium blue, ten brown

14.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ rectangles:  ten dark blue

15.1/4″ squares:  two dark blue, two light blue

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

For the binding you will need an additional 2.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric of each of the seven fabrics.

Central area

Central area

Make the Courthouse Steps quilt block

Courthouse steps is a variation on log cabin blocks but you add opposite logs at the same time rather than working round the central square.  All the pieces are 2.1/2″ wide so that you can use jelly rolls if you wish.

So place a 2.1/2″ red square in the middle with a natural square on either side.  Sew these three pieces together in a row.  Add a 6.1/2″ light blue strip to the top and bottom.

Press the seam allowances away from the red square

Press the seam allowances away from the red square

You need to press the block at each stage and it is best to press all the seam allowances away from the red square.

I have shaded the colours away from the central square – light, medium and dark blue in one direction and natural, orange and brown in the other direction.

Second round

Second round

Make the second round with a 6.1/2″ orange strip on either side and a 10.1/2″ medium blue strip on top and bottom.

Full layout

Full layout

For the third and final round, you need to sew a 10.1/2″ brown strip to each side with a 14.1/2″ dark blue strip to the top and bottom.

At this stage the block measures 14.1/2″ square and you need to make five of these.

Cut along both diagonals

Cut along both diagonals

Make the alternate block

Cut the 15.1/4″ dark and light blue squares along both diagonals to create four triangles from each square.

Alternate block layout

Alternate block layout

Place two dark blue triangles with two light blue triangles to re form the square shape.  Make sure that the colours alternate.

Sew the triangles together in two pairs and then sew the pairs to each other.  The block measures 14.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make four of them.

Row one

Row one

Assemble the quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  Row one contains an alternate block in the middle with a courthouse steps block on either side.  Place the alternate block so that the dark blue runs from top to bottom of the block.

Row two

Row two

In row two place a courthouse steps block in the middle with an alternate block on either side of it.  This time the dark blue in the alternate blocks should run from side to side.  Together the blocks form a shape almost like a sweetie or a Christmas cracker.

The third row is the same as the first row – an alternate block in the middle with a courthouse steps block on either side.  The dark blue in the alternate block runs from top to bottom.

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

Quilt border

Quilt border

Add the border

For the border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of red fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 42.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 46.1/2″ for the sides.

Embroidered quilting

Embroidered quilting

Quilting the quilt

As I wanted to show you the candy stripe binding I had to complete this quilt, so I chose a simple embroidery stitch for the quilting.  I used a contrasting thread (red) rather than a matching one and used the stemstitch option.  I quilted around the central area of each Courthouse Steps block, round the central blue diamond and round the edges of the light blue star shape.

Sew a strip of each fabric

Sew a strip of each fabric

Cut the candy stripe quilt binding strips

Sew together one 2.1/2″ strip of each fabric along the length.  This will give you a panel 14.1/2″ wide by about 42″ long.  Press all the seam allowances open.  Place your ruler so that the 45 degree line runs up one edge of the panel (where my fingers are in the photo).  Cut that bottom triangle off at somewhere round the 4 to 5″ mark.  This triangle can be discarded as it’s too small to be of any use.

Cut the first strip

Cut the first strip

Now move your ruler up so that the 2.1/2″ line runs along the edge that you just cut – where my thumb is in the photo.  Cut along the edge of the ruler.  This will give you a strip 2.1/2″ wide.

Continue cutting strips

Continue cutting strips

Continue moving your ruler up 2.1/2″ at a time, cutting more candy stripe binding strips.  These will get longer and then start getting shorter again as you reach the end of the panel.

Join the strips to make one long strip

Join the strips to make one long strip

Join the binding strips

When you place the binding strips side by side you’ll see that you have two 45 degree edges to join together.

Sew them at right angles to each other

Sew them at right angles to each other

In order to sew these together, you need to place one at right angles to the other.

To make sure that you end up with a straight line you need to offset the two strips against each other.

This happens if you don't offset the strips

This happens if you don’t offset the strips

In the photo above the blue sticks out above the red at the top and the red sticks out below the blue at the bottom.  If you don’t do this your line of binding will not be straight – as you can see in the photo on the side.  When you have joined all the strips together, fold and press the entire strip in half along the length.

It should now resemble an ordinary binding strip and you can sew it to the quilt in the normal way.  Full details of this step can be found in the beginner quilting section.

Here’s the video:

My personal favourite

My personal favourite

Last week I spent a wonderful day at the Festival of Quilts – much more easy for me to get to now that I live in Birmingham.  All the quilts were wonderful, as always, but there were two that really caught my eye.  This one was probably my overall favourite.

Beautiful design

Beautiful design

This one was very cleverly designed and really striking.

Neither of my choices matched with the overall Visitors’ Choice quilt.  After it was announced at the end of the show I looked in my photos and found that I hadn’t even taken a photo of that one to show you.

Best miniature quilt

Best miniature quilt

There was one more which was quite breathtaking – a miniature quilt by Philippa Naylor which was quite out of this world – compasses and prairie points in a quilt that probably only measured about 10″ square!  It well deserved to be winner of that category.

Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park

And finally.  I visited an extraordinary place recently – Bletchley Park, home of the codebreakers.  This was the home of all the people who worked on breaking codes during the war.  It’s a fascinating place and very visitor-friendly.  You can see more about my trip by clicking here or click on the photo.

Bletchley Park – Bucks UK – Photos

Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park

My visit to Bletchley Park was absolutely fascinating – but it also destroyed some of my illusions.  As I’m sure you know, Bletchley Park was the home of our code breaking efforts during the war.  It has now been preserved as a heritage site and is well worth a visit.  The whole site is well set out with plenty of information, loads of stewards to answer questions and some fun activities for children – and me!

This view of the country house set beside a lake with fountains fitted well with my somewhat romantic image of the place.  Inside the mansion you can visit the rooms that were used as offices by the senior codebreakers.




The workshops

The workshops

The Workshops

It was in the other sections of the operation that my illusions were somewhat tarnished.  Obviously there must have been many other buildings to accommodate the offices and workshops of all the people working on breaking codes – thousands of them.  These long low buildings were filled with people – mostly young women – listening in to messages and decoding them before they were passed on for distribution.  Now working at Bletchley had always sounded quite glamorous to me – working on top secret codes and messages to help the war effort.

The reality was somewhat different – these buildings had no heating or cooling so they were too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.  The floors were of unsealed concrete which made the rooms dusty.  The girls sometimes worked 30 to 40 hour shifts if required.  Wow!

Code breakers

Code breakers

The Machinery

Everyone has heard of the Enigma code and the machines that broke this code.  In fact they were surprisingly ordinary looking.  They looked like souped up manual typewriteres, but of course they performed a much more complex operation than simply typing.

Not your ordinary typewriter

Not your ordinary typewriter

The enemy messages were intercepted at various radio listening stations in many places.  They were then delivered by courier to Bletchley Park.  Here they were not just decoded but also interpreted.  They had to be categorised so that they could be linked to other messages and then sent to the sections of government or the armed forces that needed to see them.  This again was done by courier – how different the world was without computers.

The Cottages

The Cottages

Computers

Alan Turing, considered to be the father of computer science, worked at Bletchley Park.  A lot of his work on computers and other groundbreaking ideas took place here in the Cottages.  He developed many techniques to speed up the breaking of codes.  The cottages are used for admin now so aren’t open to the public, but it was fascinating to imagine how they must have felt during the war.

Swans

Swans

The swans

I have always been taught to be wary of swans because they are so strong and can be fiercely territorial.  So it was quite a surprise to see these swans in the picnic area going right up to people at the tables.  It left me with a far more tranquil view of Bletchley that took me back to my romanticised vision of the place.

 

Coffin Works – Birmingham – Photos

 

Coffin Works Birmingham

Coffin Works Birmingham

I have been meaning to visit the Coffin Works in Birmingham for a long time and I finally made the trip recently.  It’s situated in the Jewellery Quarter and is a delightfully quirky place to visit.  They didn’t actually make coffins there – just the handles and plates and such like.

Coffin furniture

Coffin furniture

Coffin Works History

The factory is actually called Newman Brothers and was established in 1882.  At first they made cabinet furniture and then moved on to coffin furniture.  They finally had to call it a day in 1988, facing stiff competition from abroad.  The last owner, Joyce Green, sold the building at a reduced price on condition that it would not be used for houses – she wanted the site to become a museum celebrating the work that had taken place there for the last century.




Silverware for coffins

Silverware for coffins

What they made

As well as the larger items like breastplates shown in the photo above, Newman Brothers also produced any metalwork used on coffins.  The wonder of the museum is that all the original stock of crosses, handles and everything else is still on show in the museum – lying on work tables as if ready to be used any day.

The walls are covered with photos of famous people whose coffins were adorned with Newman Brothers furniture – among them Sir Winston Churchill.

Machinery in the workshop

Machinery in the workshop

How they made it

Much of the machinery in the workshops is still in good working order.  This was one of the smaller presses, but there were some other much larger ones.  Blank silver or brass plates were placed beneath the press and then the arm of the press would be released to stamp a design out.  It must have been an incredibly noisy work environment.

Modified sewing machine

Modified sewing machine

Sewing at the Coffin Works

Obviously I was thrilled to see all the sewing machines and very old fabric and trimmings on the shelves.  There were about a dozen sewing machines which were originally treadle but had been adapted to use electricity.

Newman Brothers would buy the coffins in and then do everything necessary to them – the fabric linings as well as the silverware.  They also made shrouds and there were lots of them there in their packaging as if ready to be sold.

The Coffin Works factory is run by the Birmingham Conservation Trust, largely with friendly and cheerful volunteer helpers.  It really is a step back in time and I found it absolutely fascinating.

Spool and Bobbin Quilt – Free Pattern

Spool and Bobbin Quilt

Spool and Bobbin Quilt

I have used the spool and bobbin quilt block along with the Belle’s Favourite block for this quilt and I think that it gives a lovely quilt.  The quilt measures 40″ square, a good size for a lap quilt and I have used 3/4 yard each of purple, lilac and green fabrics, with 1/4 yard of white fabric.

You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.

There are nine blocks,  all 12″ square finished size.  They are all very simple four patch blocks.

Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the spool and bobbin quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  twenty purple, sixteen white

3.7/8″ squares:  ten purple, sixteen lilac, twenty six green

6.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  eight purple

6.1/2″ squares:  ten lilac

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




Half square triangle units

Half square triangle units

Make the half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make the half square triangle units.  Place a green square with either a purple or a lilac square, right sides together.  Mark a line along the diagonal and sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line.

Cut along the line to produce two half square triangle units.  These are now 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric and trim the two corners where fabric sticks out.

Spool and bobbin quilt block layout

Spool and bobbin quilt block layout

Make the spool and bobbin quilt block

Lay the patchwork pieces out as a four patch unit.  In the top right and bottom left segments place a 6.1/2″ lilac square.  In the remaining two spaces lay out small four patch units with two purple squares and two purple/green half square triangles in each section.  Place the purple squares so that they form the diagonal running from top left to bottom right of the quilt block.  Place the half square triangles in the remaining spaces.  In the top left corner the green triangles are placed top left while in the bottom right corner the green triangles lie in the bottom right of the square.

Sew the small squares together within each four patch unit first.  Then sew each four patch unit to the lilac square next to it.  Finally sew the two rows to each other to complete the block.  This block measures 12.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make five of them.

Belle's Favourite layout

Belle’s Favourite layout

Make the Belle’s Favourite quilt block

This block is also a simple block to make.  For the first and fourth rows place a white square at each end with a purple rectangle between them.  I know that the white fabric I have used is more pink than white, but I think of it as white.

For rows two and three use lilac/green half square triangles only.  In row two the green triangles together form two larger green triangles pointing upwards while in row three the green triangles form two larger green triangles pointing downwards.  Together they form two green diamonds.

Sew the patchwork pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the quilt block.  At this stage it also measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make four of these.

Row one

Row one

Assemble the spool and bobbin quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  Form row one with a spool and bobbin quilt block at each end and a Belle’s Favourite block in the middle.  Note that the lilac squares lie in the top corners of the row and the green triangles lie horizontally in the middle.

Row two

Row two

In row two you need a bobbin and spool block in the middle with a Belle’s Favourite on either side of it.  Note that the two green diamonds are placed vertically in the end blocks and the lilac squares are top right and bottom left in the central block.

Row three

Row three

For row three place a spool and bobbin block at each end with a Belle’s Favourite between them,  This time the two green diamonds are placed horizontally as in the first row.  The lilac squares in the end blocks are placed so that they lie in the bottom corners of the row.

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

Green for the border

Green for the border

Add the border

For the border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of green fabric.  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 spool and bobbin 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:

Wimbledon

Wimbledon

Last week I had a wonderful day at Wimbledon.  Our tickets were for No. 1 Court and on that day we saw two men’s double matches and one mixed doubles match (Jamie Murray).  I hadn’t realised how much more entertaining doubles matches are than singles matches.  The tennis was absolutely spellbinding – fast rallies racquet to racquet when the ball didn’t touch the ground for several shots.  I found it difficult even to see the ball, so can’t comprehend how they had time to react to the ball!

The whole experience was amazing – so well organised and such a lovely atmosphere.

Blue star quilt

Blue star quilt

In between my travels I have been continuing to work on my unfinished projects and if you want to see some of my work click here or click on the photo.

Work in Progress July 2018

Blue star quilt

Blue star quilt

My work in progress is at a wonderful stage at the moment – some quilts are still just tops only, some have been layered, some quilted, some bound and some just waiting for a hanging sleeve or something else minor.

Now that I have given myself more time to work on these projects, I thought that I would share with you what I’m doing and how I am quilting some projects.  As ever, I’m not saying that my way is the correct way – I just hope that it will give you some ideas for your own quilting.




Blue star quilt

This was a quilt that I made to use up some leftover blue fabrics.  I have stitched in the ditch on each diamond within the star sections and then echo quilted 1/4″ in from the seams.  For the blue/pink fabric forming a frame around the central star, I have machine embroidered a star stitch in pink along the middle of each section.  This was to highlight the circular shape of the frame.

Using a bendy ruler

Using a bendy ruler

Palm Tree Hawaiian wall hanging

This one is now complete bar the hanging sleeve.  I used machine embroidery – a blanket stitch – to sew the applique to the wall hanging.  Then I quilted a sort of feather wreath on the background.  There are four sections – one across each corner – but I tried to make them look more like palm fronds than feathers.  I used one of those bendy rulers (technical term that!) so that I could be sure that I had the same shaped curve in each segment.  The yellow section in the middle will have to be hand quilted as I wouldn’t be able to machine sew such a small section.

Sunflower wall hanging

Sunflower wall hanging

Sunflower wall hanging

This now also just needs a hanging sleeve.  I stitched in the ditch around the central sunflower square and then ran a curve between each pair of corners to emphasise that sunflower.  The three petals in all the triangles with some echo quilting in each petal is a great way to quilt triangles – particularly when the project has a floral theme.

Dragon moon wall hanging

Dragon moon wall hanging

Dragon Moon wall hanging

Are you beginning to see a trend here?  I began with small projects so that I could get several finished and then really feel that I was progressing!  This particular wall hanging is just delightful.  I used one of Kona Bay’s dragon moon panels and put several borders on it, using Christmas fabrics with a gold thread running through them.

Quilting detail

Quilting detail

I cut out white circles for moons and hand sewed them to the red border.  Then, using a gold quilting thread I stitched in the ditch between all the borders.  For the central section I used one of the embroidery stitches on my sewing machine – the stemstitch – to create a central diamond and some straight lines across the corners.  I had agonised for ages over how to quilt the central section because I didn’t want to take attention away from the gorgeous panel itself.

I’m pleased with the way it has turned out.

Altogether I have used hand quilting, machine quilting and machine embroidery in this wall hanging – you don’t have to stick to just one type of sewing when you quilt a project.

Longarm quilting

Longarm quilting

Longarm quilting

Obviously Minnie is being kept very busy as well.  If you haven’t come across her before, Minnie is my longarm quilting frame.  I am in the fortunate position where I can have a large quilt set up on Minnie and I can also work on smaller projects on my domestic sewing machine.

On this particular quilt I am meander quilting all the background sections first.  Then I will decide how to use quilting to emphasise the main design.

Practice square

Practice square

Practice squares

I’ve always suggested plenty of practice to help your quilting.  I tend to use individual quilt blocks for this.  I usually have plenty of these lying around from my quilt block patterns.  This gives you a small section to play on and you don’t have to worry about large quantities of fabric.

On this particular one I have tried out different machine embroidery stitches, different shapes for feathers and also different threads – specifically the gold thread that I used above.  Then when the square is full I bind it and use it as a shelf liner.

My pile of UFO’s is still enormous, but I do at last feel that I can make some inroads on it.  I hope you find these suggestions helpful.

Here’s the video:

 

Piano Keys Star Quilt Free Pattern

Piano Keys Star quilt

Piano Keys Star quilt

When I designed the Piano Keys Star quilt my original intention was to place a piano keys border around each block.  However as I went along I decided to use the piano keys sections as sashing rather than complete borders around each block.

I had hoped to create a look where the light blue background to the star blocks blended with the light blue piano keys, while the dark blue plain blocks blended with the dark blue piano keys.  I think that I have achieved this.

I’ve used ten simple star blocks with ten plain squares, all 9″ square finished size.  The piano keys sections are 3″ by 9″ finished size and I made thirty of them.

The quilt measures 49″ by 61″, another rectangular quilt.  I have used 1 yard of red, 1.1/2 yards of light blue and 1.3/4 yards of dark blue fabric.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Quilt components

Quilt components

Cutting requirements for the piano keys star quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  ten dark blue, forty light blue, twelve red

3.7/8″ squares:  twenty dark blue, twenty light blue

9.1/2″ squares:  ten dark blue

1.1/2″ strips:  fifteen light blue, twelve dark blue – all cut across the width of fabric

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

Half square triangle units

Half square triangle units

Make the half square triangles

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Place a light blue and a dark blue 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 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the dark blue and clip the two corners where the triangle tips stick out.

Star quilt block layout

Star quilt block layout

Make the star quilt blocks

I’ve used a very simple nine patch star quilt block pattern.  Place a dark blue square in the middle and a light blue square in each corner.  Place a half square triangle unit in each of the remaining spaces.  Check the photo to be sure that you have them placed correctly.

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

Make three panels

Make three panels

Make the piano keys sections

Sew together five light blue and four dark blue 1.1/2″ strips.  This will give you a panel 9.1/2″ wide and around 42″ long.  Make three of these panels.  Cut the panels at 3.1/2″ intervals to make rectangles 3.1/2″ by 9.1/2″.  You will need thirty of these.

Basic rows of the quilt

Basic rows of the quilt

Assemble the piano keys star quilt

Each row of the quilt contains two star blocks, two dark blue plain squares and three piano keys sections.  Each sashing row contains four sashing strips and three red cornerstone squares.

Make three rows as the top row shown, with star, plain, star, plain blocks.  Make four of the sashing rows shown in the middle of the photo.  You need to make just two of the final row shown with plain, star, plain, star blocks.

Sew the blocks together across each row.  Sew the rows together alternating the star rows with the plain block rows and placing a sashing row after every row.

Use red for the border

Use red for the border

Add the piano keys star quilt border

I have used simple 2.1/2″ strips of red fabric to tie in with the red cornerstones.  You’ll need two lengths of 45.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt with two lengths of 61.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the piano keys 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:

Washington DC

Washington DC

I have finally written up the Washington part of my American trip.  To see the photos you can click here or click on the photo.

Hawaiian quilt

Hawaiian quilt

I have also been busy finishing quilts and I have found it really satisfying.  I began with a couple of wall hangings that have been waiting in the UFO pile for quite a while.  For this Hawaiian quilt I used a blanket stitch machine embroidery to edge the palm trees.

Sunflower wall hanging

Sunflower wall hanging

I am really pleased with the Sunflower wall hanging.  I drew three petals in each triangle and then sewed each petal shape with a second petal echo quilted just inside the first one.  It’s a very simple design but looks great, I think.

Before the next quilt pattern in two weeks’ time I will write a full article showing you how I have finished various projects.  I’m not suggesting that my quilting is the right way, but I hope that it will give you ideas for your own quilting.

Washington DC – America – Photos

Reflecting pool Washington

Reflecting pool Washington

I took the train to Washington DC from Philadelphia.  It’s an amazing city and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.  The grid system for the streets makes it so easy to find your way around.  I didn’t realise until I was just leaving that the numbering system begins at the Capitol so you can always tell where you are.  That’s a real bonus for me as I get lost so easily!

When I booked the trip I hadn’t realised that I would be in Washington on Memorial Day.  That turned out to be a real treat.




Lincoln Memorial

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

I chose to begin at the Lincoln Memorial and walked up the Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol.  The photo above shows the Washington Momument being reflected in the pool.  It is possible to go to the top of the Monument and the view from there must be extraordinary.  My time was limited so I didn’t take advantage of that.

The Lincoln Memorial itself is really impressive.  I am so pleased that I have had the opportunity to visit it.

European Memorial

European Memorial

Not far away the European Memorial obviously attracted my attention.  Very peaceful.

Bikers parading

Bikers parading

Memorial Day

The central streets are all closed to traffic on Memorial Day.  Bikers from all over the country fill the city.

They parade from the Pentagon to the Capitol and there are so many of them that the parade seems to last forever.  The air is filled with the sound of motor bikes and the atmosphere is amazing.

White House

White House

White House

I had to include a photo of the White House even though it’s probably the most photographed building in the world.  There’s a lovely park in front of it with lots of statues and trees.  As it was a really hot day it was good to be able to sit in the shade for a short while before continuing my exploring.

Sculpture garden - insect

Sculpture garden – insect

My stay in Washington was all too short, but I thought I’d leave you with two images from the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.  These were really striking.

Sculpture garden - tree

Sculpture garden – tree

This silver coloured tree is called ‘Graft’.  I loved it.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Church Tile Quilt – Free Pattern

Church Tile Quilt

Church Tile Quilt

My design for the Church Tile quilt is based on a panel behind the altar in a church that I visited last weekend.  It’s an incredibly quick quilt to make, using mostly squares only.  I don’t have a photo of the panel itself – I didn’t take my phone with me in case it went off during the service and then of course when I saw the tiling I wished that I had it with me.

The quilt measures 46″ by 55″, using 1.1/4 yards of purple, 1/2 yard of green and 3/4 yard each of lilac and gold fabrics.  I’ve used a diagonal setting to create the effect that I wanted and there are very few triangles in the quilt – just round the edges.  The beauty of a diagonal setting is that you can create a design that looks like diamonds but use only squares – nice and easy to sew together.

You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Cutting requirements for the church tile quilt

6.1/2″ squares:  four gold, thirty four purple, four lilac, eight green

6.7/8″ squares:  nine lilac

7.1/4″ squares:  one lilac

For the border you need to cut five 2.1/2″ strips of gold fabric across the width of fabric.

Cut the triangles

Cut the triangles

Cut the triangles

To make the corner triangles, cut the 7.1/4″ square along both diagonals.  Make the edge triangles by cutting the 6.7/8″ squares along one diagonal only – two from each square.  These are the only triangles used within the pattern – the rest of the quilt is made using squares only.

Assemble the quilt – top half

Begin the layout in the top lefthand corner of the quilt with one corner triangle – cut from the 7.1/4″ lilac square.

First three rows

First three rows

Beneath that for the second row place an edge triangle on either side of a purple square.  Place the edge triangles (cut from 6.7/8″ squares) so that the right angled corner (the square corner) lies against the square between them.  So it’s bottom right in the first triangle and bottom left in the other one at the end of the row.  The longest edge of the triangle lies on the outside, forming the edge of the quilt.

In the third row place an edge triangle at each end of the row, with a purple, gold and purple square between them.  Place the edge triangles in the same way as those in the row above.  As you can see, the rows are increasing in length.  Each row has two more squares than the row above it.

Rows four and five

Rows four and five

I find it easiest to sew the patches across each row and sew the rows together as I go along – I’m less likely to get in a muddle that way.

In rows four and five place an edge triangle at each end of the rows.  The fourth row contains purple and green alternating squares, beginning and ending with purple.

The fifth row contains five purple squares followed by one green and then another purple square.

Assemble the quilt – middle section

Rows six and seven

Rows six and seven

By now I hope you can see the design of the quilt starting to take shape.  The lilac triangles are forming the left hand and the top edges of the quilt.  Rows six and seven use the same squares as each other, but placed in the opposite order to each other.

Bottom left corner of the quilt

Bottom left corner of the quilt

For row six you need them in this order:  purple, green, purple, lilac, green, two purple, gold, purple.  Place an edge triangle at the beginning of this row and a corner triangle at the end of the row.

This will form the top right hand corner of the quilt.

Other end of rows six and seven

Other end of rows six and seven

In row seven begin with a corner triangle.  Following this place the squares in the reverse order from row six:  purple, gold, two purple, green, lilac, purple, green, purple.  Finish this row with an edge triangle.

As this row begins to form the right hand edge of the quilt, you need to place the final edge triangle in a different way from all the previous rows.  In this case the square corner of the triangle must be placed at the top rather than the bottom of the square next to it.  You can see from the photo that this begins to form a straight line down the side of the quilt.  From now on all the edge triangles will be placed in this way as we work towards the bottom right hand corner of the quilt.

Assemble the quilt – bottom section

The rows now begin to reduce in length.  From row one the number of squares increased by two squares in each row.  Rows six and seven had the same number of squares as each other but from row eight the rows begin to decrease with two squares less in each row.

Bottom right hand corner

Bottom right hand corner

In row eight place an edge triangle at each end of the row.  Between them lay a purple, green and five purple squares.  This is the same as row five but with the squares in reverse order.

For row nine place an edge triangle at each end with purple and green squares alternating between them – purple, green, purple, green, purple.

Row ten contains only three squares between the edge triangles – purple, gold, purple.

Now you can form the bottom right hand corner of the quilt – for row eleven place just one purple square between two edge triangles.  For row twelve use the final corner triangle.  That completes the layout of the rows – continue sewing them to each other as you go along.

Use gold for the border

Use gold for the border

Add the quilt border

As all the edges of this quilt are cut on the bias, having been cut from the diagonals of the squares, it’s a good idea to get the border on as quickly as you can.  This will help prevent the fabric from stretching.  Use 2.1/2″ strips of gold fabric – two lengths of 42.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 55.1/2″ for the sides.

Trim the edges

Trim the edges

Before you sew the border on, trim the edges of the quilt where the triangle tips stick out.

That completes the Church Tile 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:

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey

Last week I mentioned that I was going to Wiltshire for the weekend.  To see my photos of the area, click here or click on the photo.

Over the years I have accumulated vast quantities of part finished quilts, never having time to complete them.  My cupboards are filled with PHD’s (project half done).

After a lot of thought I have decided that it’s time to give myself time to start completing these quilts.  So from now on I am only going to send out one new pattern every other Friday rather than every Friday.  That means that the next pattern will come to you on Friday 6th July rather than next Friday – and I hope I’ll be able to bring you some news of finished quilts then!

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.