Botanical Gardens – Tenerife – Photos

Botanical Gardens Tenerife

Botanical Gardens Tenerife

The Botanical Gardens in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, are stunning.  They were set up in 1788 by order of King Carlos III of Spain.  He wanted tropical plants from his overseas territories for his palace in Madrid.  These plants needed somewhere to get used to the colder climate of Spain and the Botanical Gardens were set up as a halfway point to allow them to acclimatise.  In fact, the gardens are still known as the Gardens of Acclimatisation.  The gardens are incredibly well stocked and are highly renowned – on a par with places like Kew Gardens.

These red hot pokers definitely beat any that I have ever grown!




Winter colour

Bougainvillea flowers

Bougainvillea flowers

The whole area of Puerto de la Cruz, where we were staying, is full of colour.  I’m familiar with bougainvillea from my childhood in Africa, but rather surprisingly I had never noticed the small white petals right in the middle.  I have since found out that the white forms the actual flower while the pink or purple petals surrounding it are actually leaves known as bract.

Fan shaped plants

Fan shaped plants

The variety of plants was amazing.  These fan shaped plants had similar leaves to a banana plant, but I have only ever seen bananas growing in a more tree like form.

All the plants were well labelled, which was a great help for me, but I wasn’t able to photograph asll the labels – and of course my memory isn’t up to remembering any of the names of the plants.

Muscular tree

Muscular tree

Unusual trees

Some of the trees looked completely different from the ones that I am used to.  This one had nodules along all the branches which reminded me of muscular arms – either that or balloon sculptures.

Adventitious roots

Adventitious roots

And this one was fascinating.  Those are all roots that you can see – known as adventitious roots.  they are also known as aerial prop roots and support the main structure of the tree.  It allows the tree to grow over a larger area than it would otherwise.

Feathery flowers

Feathery flowers

Glorious colour

Coming from cold and gloomy Birmingham, it was an absolute treat to see all these wonderful colours.  In this particular flower there were droplets of moisture collected between the petals – glistening like diamonds.

Calliandra

Calliandra

I’ve seen this plant as a houseplant in the UK.  It was lovely seeing it growing outdoors in great profusion.  From the labels that I did take photos of, I think that this is called Calliandra and comes originally from Bolivia.

Wallisia

Wallisia

This one was stunning – the flowers seemed almost to be a part of the leaf structure.  I’m guessing that the spikes turned purple along the whole length with time. Gorgeous.  It comes from Ecuador.

Water section

Water section

Water Plants

Behind a wall we nearly missed the steps up to this wonderful water section.  The water was very still so the reflections of the plants made a magnificent feature.

Bird of paradise

Bird of paradise

Finally my favourite flower – and I know that I always show you one of these when I head off to warmer climes.  It’s Strelizia, also known as Bird of Paradise.  They bring back wonderful childhood memories and I’m always thrilled when I find one during my holidays.

The Botanical Gardens are well worth a visit and I’m so pleased that we were able to spend a morning there.  I can quite understand why the King of Spain wanted to transfer some of these magnificent plants to his palace in Madrid back in the eighteenth century!

Rolling Star Quilt Pattern -My Variation

Rolling star quilt

Rolling star quilt

I had the Rolling Star quilt block in mind when I began this quilt design, but then I changed it so much that it’s probably no longer correct to call it a rolling star.  Do tell me if you can think of a better name!  I’m really pleased with the design – lots of secondary patterns to grab your attention when you look at it.  The quilt measures 48″ square and I have used four 20″ finished size blocks.

For the quilt I used 1/2 yard each of gold and white, 3/4 yard of brown, 1 yard of blue and 1.1/4 yards of red fabric.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed quilt block

Completed quilt block

Cutting requirements for the rolling star quilt

4.1/2″ squares:  four red

4.7/8″ squares:  sixteen each in blue and red, six each in red and gold, two each in red and white

2.1/2″ by 4.1/2″ rectangles:  thirty two brown

2.1/2″ squares:  sixteen white, sixteen gold

2.7/8″ squares:  sixteen each brown and white, sixteen each in brown and gold, sixteen each in red and white

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

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangle units

Use both the 2.7/8″ and the 4.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles in the colour combinations listed above.  Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This will produce two half square triangles which are now either 2.1/2″ or 4.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric and trim the two corners on each square where the fabric sticks out.  Sorry – there are quite a lot of half square triangles in this pattern!

Central star

Central star

Make the red star

The star in the middle of each block is a simple eight pointed star.  First place a 4.1/2″ red square in the middle. Then place a pair of red/white half square triangles on each edge of the red square.  Lay these so that the two white triangles are side by side and together they form a larger white triangle pointing towards the middle.  Now add a 2.1/2″ white square in each corner.

For this block I think that it’s more simple to sew sections together as you go rather than laying out the entire block and then sewing the pieces together.  So begin by sewing the pairs of half squares triangles together.  Sew one pair to the top of the red square and another to the bottom of the square.  Now sew the white squares to the other two pairs of half square triangles to make two columns.  Sew one to each side of the block.  This section now measures 8.1/2″ square.

First frame

First frame

Add the first frame

The next frame is mostly brown and gold.  Place a pair of brown/white half square triangles in the middle of each edge.  Lay them so that the two white triangles form a larger white triangle pointing away from the middle.  You’ll see that they now form white diamonds with the larger white triangles in the red star block.

Add a brown/gold half square triangle on each side of the brown/white ones – that’s two on each edge.  Make sure that the brown triangles are together so that they form a short stripe around the white large triangles.  Add a gold 2.1/2″ square in each corner.  Note that the corners are now large gold triangles – that’s another way to check that you have all the triangles correctly placed.

Sew together the four half square triangles at the top and sew them to the central section.  Repeat with the bottom four half square triangles.  Sew the patchwork pieces down the sides into two columns and sew one to each side of the block.  At this stage the block measures 12.1/2″ square.

Final frame

Final frame

The final frame

For this final frame I have increased the size of the squares to give 4″ finished size patches.  Place a pair of blue/red half square triangles in the middle of each edge.  Lay them so that the blue triangles lie together, forming a larger blue triangle pointing away from the middle.  Place a 2.1/2″ brown rectangle on either side of the half square triangles.

In three corners add a red/gold half square triangle with the gold on the outside, forming the corner of the block.  For the fourth corner use a red/white half square triangle.  As before, sew together the two half square triangles and the rectangles at the top and bottom and sew them to the central block.  Sew the squares on the sides together to form two columns and sew one column to each side of the block.

That completes the rolling star quilt block.  It measures 20.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make four of them.

Keep the white triangles in the middle

Keep the white triangles in the middle

Assemble the rolling star quilt

Sew the blocks together in two pairs and sew the pairs to each other.  Rotate the blocks so that the white triangle is always in the middle.  These together form the white diamond in the middle of the quilt.

I have added two borders, both made with 2.1/2″ strips of fabric.

Add the borders

Add the borders

For the first border use blue fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 40.1/2″ for the top and bottom, with two lengths of 44.1/2″ for the sides.  Make the second, red border with two lengths of 44.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the sides.

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/KIhNpvjkfzw

As a final thought I would love to hear your ideas for a better name for this quilt.  Let me know in the Comments section below.  There’s a pack of four fat quarters for the name that I like best from among your suggestions.

Fabric shop in Tenerife

Fabric shop in Tenerife

The weather seems to have turned very cold for those of us in the northern hemisphere so I am doubly glad that I spent nearly a week enjoying some winter sun in the Canary Islands.  To see my photos click here or click on the photo.  As you can see, I managed to find a wonderful fabric shop which sold every type of fabric imaginable!

 

Valentine Heart Lavender Cushion

Heart lavender cushion

Heart lavender cushion

This lavender heart cushion is perfect to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  I still have some dried lavender left from last summer so I thought that I would make a small cushion and fill it with a lavender mix.  Then I decided to put a ruffle on the cushion as well just to frame it.

Fabric requirements

Pink and red fabric

Pink and red fabric

8″ squares: two red

5″ strip of pink fabric cut across the width of fabric

Interfacing:  two 5″ squares

Small amount of lavender and toy stuffing




 

Make the cushion front and back

Satin stitch the hearts in place

Satin stitch the hearts in place

Cut two 5″ squares from the ends of the pink strip and back them with interfacing.  Draw a heart on the interfacing, cut the hearts out and place one right side up on the right side of each red square.  Zigzag around the edges of the hearts to secure them and then satin stitch all round.

Make the ruffle strip

Fold the pink strip in half

Fold the pink strip in half

Take the rest of the 5″ pink strip and cut down the middle to make two 2.1/2″ strips.  Sew these together at both ends to make a loop.  For a larger ruffle use the full 2.1/2″ strip – you will have to zigzag the outer edge at the end.  For a smaller ruffle that will be ready finished, fold in half along the length.  The fold will then be on the outside of the ruffle so you won’t need to do any more finishing.

 

 

Mark the quarters of the ruffle strip

Mark the quarters of the ruffle strip

 

Use pins to mark the quarters of the ruffle strip.  This way you can keep the gathering more even by having just one quarter of the ruffle strip going along each edge of the square.

 

 

 

Pull the thread to gather the strip

Pull the thread to gather the strip

 

Using the longest stitch length on your machine sew along the edge which is two raw edgese leaving a gap of a couple of inches between the beginning and end of the stitching.  Take hold of one of the threads from this line of stitching and gently push the fabric away from the end to start to gather the fabric into a ruffle.

 

Ease the ruffle round the corners

Ease the ruffle round the corners

,Pin the ruffle all the way roundPin the ruffle all the way round

Gather from both ends of the stitching.  The ruffle measures roughly 32″.  Pin the ruffle all round the edge of one of the cushion panels, easing it around the corners.  The gathered end should be in line with the edge of the cushion panel, the fold towards the middle.

 

Finish the lavender heart cushion

Turn right side out through the gap

Turn right side out through the gap

Lay the second red square on top of the ruffle with right side down.  Pin well and sew round three and a half edges of the square, leaving a gap through which to turn the cushion right side out.  Check that you have caught all layers of fabric in the stitching and then turn right side out.  Gently push the corners out, fill with a mixture of dried lavender and toy stuffing and stitch the gap closed.

This lavender heart cushion doesn’t take long to make and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

Here’s the video:

 

Puerto de la Cruz – Tenerife – Photos

Puerto de la Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz

Last week I visited Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife for some much needed winter sunshine.

The first thing that struck me (after the sunshine and the warmth) was the lovely colours used on the houses.  Many of them were delightful shades of ochre, with an odd blue or turquoise house amongst them.  Absolutely lovely.

I think that’s probably my abiding memory of Puerto de la Cruz (Port of the Cross) – the vibrant colours in both the flowers and the buildings.




Fisher Woman

Fisher Woman

Tenerife is one of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic.  Puerto de la Cruz was a fishing village in the 15th century – so it’s much older than I had realised.  This lovely statue of a fisher woman stands in the harbour area, reminding us of the island’s history.

The islands are so close to Europe that they are a popular destination for those seeking sunshine at any time of the year.  Originally they were visited only by the well off or by researchers – the plant life is amazing.

Church in Puerto de la Cruz

Church in Puerto de la Cruz

Church of Our Lady of the Rock of France

This church lies peacefully in a very attractive square.  You can’t miss it if you are meandering along the coast.  The inside of the church is stunning – very beautiful.

Church interior

Church interior

I couldn’t take photos inside because it was so dark so instead I can show you some of the beauty of the church in Buenavista that we visited.

We had hopped on a bus to take us to Buenavista (meaning good view) to see just how good the view was.  If I’m honest, the view there was no better than the views of the ocean from Puerto, but the church was magnificent.

Ocean view

Ocean view

The Atlantic Ocean

Puerto is set on the ocean front and I couldn’t resist taking lots of photos of the ocean.  I have some fabric that loos very similar to this, with the sea pounding the rocks.

Puerto lighthouse

Pouerto lighthouse

Given all the rocks, it was no surprise to see that a lighthouse was in place.  What was surprising was its unusual design.

According to Wikipedia it is 89 feet high, made of steel framework enclosing the red and white panels.  The light pattern of two flashes every 7 seconds can be seen up to 16 nautical miles away.

El Teide

El Teide

El Teide

This nearby volcano, El Tiede, dominates the skyline at Puerto de la Cruz.  I’m sure it dominates the skyline all over Tenerife.  It is the tallest mountain in Spain, which surprised me.

You can just see the peak in the top right part of the photo.  It is possible to take a cable car and walk to the top, but sadly we ran out of time.  I’ll have to take another trip to Tenerife!

Carved door

Carved door

Quilt inspiration

Obviously during my trip I was on the lookout for quilt designs.  This door had some lovely designs which I’m sure could be transferred to fabric.

I also managed to find an amazing fabric shop full of a huge range of different types of fabric.  I also saw a couple of things that I intend to make up for my craft stalls.

The Atlantic

The Atlantic

We also visited the renowned Botanical Gardens but I have so many photos from there that I’ll have to get them sorted in time for next week.

Seascape

Seascape

I’ll just leave you with some more seascapes.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Rose

 

 

 

Scottie Dog Quilt Pattern With Sashing

Scottie Dog Quilt

Scottie Dog Quilt

For this Scottie Dog quilt I wanted to design a really simple quilt block in order to showcase the sashing with stars that I have used.  The Scottie dog is obviously based on a dog!  The sashing is based on a floor tile design that I have adapted and simplified.  Thanks, Carol, for sending me the photo.  The quilt measures 57″ square, using four 24″ blocks finished size.

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

Original floor tile design

Original floor tile design

I needed 1.3/4 yards of the background fabric, 1 yard of the blue dog fabric, 3/4 yard of the dark brown for the sashing, together with 1/8 yard each of dark blue and white with 1/4 yard of the medium blue script fabric for the cornerstones.

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Cutting requirements for the Scottie Dog quilt

3.1/2″ strips in the following lengths:

24.1/2″ strips:  four light brown

18.1/2″  strips:  twelve dark brown for sashing

12.1/2″ strips:  eight light brown

9.1/2″ four light brown, eight blue dog fabic

15.1/2″ strips:  eight light brown, eight blue dog fabric

6.1/2″ strips:  twenty light brown, eight blue dog fabric

3.1/2″ squares:  twenty eight light brown, nine medium blue (cornerstones), eight blue dog fabric

4.1/4″ squares:  twelve white, six dark brown, six dark blue

Dog facing right layout

Dog facing right layout

Make the dog facing right

Lay the strips out in eight rows.  All the strips are 3.1/2″ wide so I’ll just list what’s needed in each row:

First row and row 8: one  24.1/2″ light brown strip

Row 2:  12.1/2″ light brown, blue square, 9.1/2″ light brown

Row 3:  12.1/2″ light brown, 9.1/2″ blue, light brown square

Fourth row:  brown square, blue square, 6.1/2″ brown, 9.1/2″ blue, brown square

Rows 5 and 6:  brown square, 15.1/2″ blue, 6.1/2″ brown

Row 7:  brown square, 6.1/2″ blue, brown square, 6.1/2″ blue, 6.1/2″ brown.

Sew the pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the block.  This now measures 24.1/2″ square and you need to make two of these.

Dog facing left

Dog facing left

Make the dog facing left

This is very similar to the first block, but the dog is facing the other way.

First row and row 8:  24.1/2″ brown strip.

Row 2:  9.1,2″ brown, blue square, 12.1/2″ brown

Row 3:  brown square, 9.1/2″ blue, 12.1/2″ brown

Fourth row:  brown square, 9.1/2″ blue, 6.1/2″ brown, blue square, brown square.

Rows 5 and 6:  6.1/2″ brown, 15.1/2″ blue, brown square

Row 7:  6.1/2″ brown, 6.1/2″ blue, brown square, 6.1/2″ blue, brown square.

Sew the pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  The block now measures 24.1/2″ square and you need to make two of this version also.

Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangle units

Make quarter square triangles

This is just a case of making half square triangles twice – honestly it’s not too difficult.  Place a white 4.1/4″ square with either a dark blue or a dark brown square, right sides together.  Mark a line along the diagonal and sew a seam 1/4″ either side of the marked line.

Cut along the line.  This produces two half square triangle units which are now 3.7/8″ square.

Make quarter square triangles

Make quarter square triangles

Now make further units as above, but starting this time with the half square triangles that you have just made.

Begin with one blue/white and one brown/white half square triangle.  Place them right sides together, making sure that the blue triangle on the top layer lies against the white on the bottom layer while the white on the top layer lies against the brown triangle on the bottom layer.  The seams of both of them run from bottom left to top right.

Draw a line along the diagonal that crosses the existing seam line, so going from bottom right to top left in my photo.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This produces a quarter square triangle unit which measures 3.1/2″ square.  Check that the two white triangles are opposite each other and the blue and brown triangles are opposite each other.

Sashing strips

Sashing strips

Make the sashing strips

Take an 18.1/2″ strip of dark brown fabric and place a quarter square triangle at each end.  Lay them so that the brown triangle lies against the brown strip.  It almost looks like a Christmas cracker now.

Make two of these strips and place one between each pair of Scottie dog quilt blocks.  This joins the pairs of blocks.  I have placed mine so that there is one right facing and one left facing dog in each pair.  They are looking at each other across the sashing strip.

Sashing strip across the middle

Sashing strip across the middle

Now you need sashing strips to lie across the quilt – three of them so that you can have one at the top of the quilt, one joining the two pairs of blocks across the middle of the quilt, and one at the bottom of the quilt.

For each strip make up two strips as above – an 18.1/2″ dark brown strip with a quarter square triangle at each end.  Join these two sections together with a medium blue 3.1/2″ square.  So in each row you have two brown strips, four quarter square triangles and one cornerstone (that’s the medium blue square).  Make three of these strips and sew one to the top of the quilt, one in the middle to join the two pairs of blocks together and one at the bottom of the quilt.

Side strips

Side strips

Sash the sides of the quilt

You now just need two strips for the sides of the quilt.  For each strip make up an 18.1/2″ dark brown strip with a quarter square triangle at each end as before.  Now place a 3.1/2″ medium blue square (cornerstone) at each end of the overall strip and in the middle.

Middle section

Middle section

In case that sounds confusing, the side strip should contain:  cornerstone, quarter square triangle, dark brown strip, quarter square triangle, cornerstone, quarter square triangle, dark brown strip, quarter square triangle, cornerstone.

Sew one of these strips to each side of the quilt.  Confession time:  my seams were obviously not as accurate as they should have been.  I found that my sashing didn’t always match the quilt top.  In one place I ended up trimming the quarter square triangle to make it fit.  I realise now that a far better option would have been to fold and stitch a small pleat in the dark brown fabric strip.  That way I could keep the stars intact.  I’m sure that your stitching is far more accurate than mine, but I just thought that I’d mention it as a way of correcting differences in length.

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/eM5yXRoPM3A

Ashby de la Zouch castle

Ashby de la Zouch castle

Last week I mentioned that I was visiting a friend for lunch.  On the way up I stopped in Ashby de la Zouch – the name has always fascinated me!  To see my photos, click here or click on the photo.

Ashby de la Zouch – Leicestershire – Photos

Ashby de la Zouch castle

Ashby de la Zouch castle

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

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




Ashby de la Zouch castle

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

Altar in St Helen's Church

Altar in St Helen’s Church

St Helen’s Church

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

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

Baptismal font

Baptismal font

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

Candle kneeler cushion

Candle kneeler cushion

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

Crown kneeler cushion

Crown kneeler cushion

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

Bargello style knee rest

Bargello style knee rest

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

Huntingdon tomb

Huntingdon tomb

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

Festive hay bales

Festive hay bales

East Leake

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

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

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

Rose

Pinwheel Diamond Quilt – Free Pattern

Pinwheel diamond quilt

Pinwheel diamond quilt

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

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

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




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the pinwheel diamond quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  forty lilac, forty gold

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

6.7/8″ squares  twenty lilac, twenty gold

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

Half square triangle units

Half square triangle units

Make half square triangles

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

Pinwheel quilt block layout

Pinwheel quilt block layout

Make the pinwheel block

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

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

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

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

Alternate block layout

Alternate block layout

Make the alternate block

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

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

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

Rows 1 and 5

Rows 1 and 5

Assemble the quilt

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

Rows 2,3,4

Rows 2,3,4

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

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

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

First border

First border

Add the borders

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

Second and third borders

Second and third borders

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

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

The pinwheel diamond quilt top is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the quilting for beginners section.

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/blLul-GZh9g

Owl and Pussycat table runner

owl and Pussycat table runner

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

Owl and Pussycat Table Runner Pattern

Owl and Pussycat table runner

Owl and Pussycat table runner

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

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




Completed blocks

Completed blocks

Cutting requirements for the Owl and Pussycat table runner

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

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

White fabric:  one 4.3/4 ” white square

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

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

For the cat template click here.

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

Cut the corners of the green rectangles

Cut the corners of the green rectangles

Make the central block

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

Make the boat sails

Make the boat sails

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

Central layout of the block

Central layout of the block

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

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

Complete layout of the block

Complete layout of the block

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

Make the applique blocks

Make the applique blocks

Make the applique blocks

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

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

Sew the blocks together

Sew the blocks together

Assemble the Owl and Pussycat table runner

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

First border

First border

Add the borders

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

Final border

Final border

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

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/2qz3r18BldI

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

New Dawn Wall Hanging – Free Pattern

New Dawn Wall Hanging

New Dawn Wall Hanging

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

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




Cut the fabrics

Cut the fabrics

Cutting requirements for the New Dawn wall hanging

One 15″ blue square

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

One 4.1/2″ white square backed with fusible interfacing

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

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

Add the sun and clouds

Add the sun and clouds

Prepare the applique

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

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

Place the triangles

Place the triangles

Add the triangles

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

Sew two triangles in place

Sew two triangles in place

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

Add the border

Add the border

Add the border

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

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

Quilt the middle first

Quilt the middle first

Quilt the New Dawn wall hanging

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

 

Quilting the sun's rays

Quilting the sun’s rays

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

Quilt the triangles

Quilt the triangles

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

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/9KhWvg4ouGs

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

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

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

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall – Wales – Photos

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

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

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

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

Seashell tree

Seashell tree

The Collections

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

Sewing machine collection

Sewing machine collection

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

Gold star

Gold star

Tree Decorations

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

Button Christmas wreath

Button Christmas wreath

Christmas Wreaths

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

Dolls house room

Dolls house room

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

Clothing room

Clothing room

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

Crocheted cakes

Crocheted cakes

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

Floral mural

Floral mural

Abbey Cwm Hir decorations

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

Paintings beside the stairs

Paintings beside the stairs

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

 

Angel tree

Angel tree

More Trees

Festive cheer

Festive cheer

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

Fabric ornaments

Fabric ornaments

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

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