Railfence Star Quilt Pattern

Railfence star quilt

Railfence star quilt

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

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




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the railfence star quilt

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

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

2.1/2″ squares:  six yellow twenty four blue

2.7/8″ squares:  twelve yellow, twelve blue

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

Make panels in blue and in purple

Make panels in blue and in purple

Make the railfence quilt blocks

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

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

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make the star blocks

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

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

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

Star quilt block layout

Star quilt block layout

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

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

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

Rows 1-3

Rows 1-3

Assemble the railfence star quilt

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

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

Rows 4-6

Rows 4-6

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

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

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

Rows 7-8

Rows 7-8

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

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

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

Add two borders

Add two borders

Add the railfence star quilt borders

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

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

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/GKdO5X03ecg

Ben Venom's quilts

Ben Venom’s quilts

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

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

All this mayhem

All this mayhem

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

Blue Bargello Quilt Pattern

Blue bargello quilt

Blue bargello quilt

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

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




Completed quilt block

Completed quilt block

Cutting requirements for the blue bargello quilt

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

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

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

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

First strip panel

First strip panel

Make the strip panels

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

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

Second strip panel

Second strip panel

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

Third panel

Third panel

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

Fourth panel

Fourth panel

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

Press the seam allowances in opposite directions

Press the seam allowances in opposite directions

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

Quilt block layout

Quilt block layout

Make the blue bargello quilt block

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

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

Rows one and two

Rows one and two

Assemble the blue bargello quilt

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

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

Rows three and four

Rows three and four

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

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

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

First border

First border

Add the borders

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

Use the remaining strip sets

Use the remaining strip sets

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

Second border

Second border

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

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

Third border

Third border

Third and final border

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

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/xOeQ6hhWdOM

Birmingham Peace Garden

Birmingham Peace Garden

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

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

Floor Tile Lap Quilt Pattern

Floor tile quilt

Floor tile quilt

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

Floor tile design

Floor tile design

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

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




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the floor tile quilt

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

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

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

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

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

Using strip piecing

Using strip piecing

Make the first block

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

Make the nine patch block

Make the nine patch block

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

Add a cream frame

Add a cream frame

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

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

Second quilt block layout

Second quilt block layout

Make the second quilt block

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

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

Use strip piecing again

Use strip piecing again

Make the central block

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

Sew together four squares

Sew together four squares

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

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

Sew the rows together

Sew the rows together

Assemble the floor tile lap quilt

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

Add the quilt borders

Add the quilt borders

Add the quilt borders

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

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/vw4NQua5vm8

Bradford by night

Bradford by night

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

Edgbaston cricket ground

Edgbaston cricket ground

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

Rose of Sharon Quilt – Free Pattern

Rose of Sharon quilt

Rose of Sharon quilt

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

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

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

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




Completed blocks

Completed blocks

Cutting requirements for the rose of Sharon quilt

12.1/2″ square:  one white

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

6.7/8″ squares:  eight red, eight green

4.1/2″ squares:  twelve white, four red

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

2.1/2″ squares:  four yellow, four white

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

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

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

Drawing the applique shapes

Drawing the applique shapes

Make the rose of Sharon quilt block

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

Draw the shapes on to your fabric and cut out.

Partial placement

Partial placement

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

Rose of Sharon quilt block

Rose of Sharon quilt block

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

Half square triangle units

Half square triangle units

Make the half square triangle block

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

Alternate blocks

Alternate block

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

Pieced rose quilt block

Pieced rose quilt block

Make the rose corner blocks

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

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

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

Rose one and two

Rows one and two

Assemble the rose of Sharon quilt

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

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

Row three

Row three

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

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

Yellow quilt border

Yellow quilt border

Add the quilt border

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

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/P5QN8MWuba0

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

Wrought iron work

Wrought iron work

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

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

What a dress!

What a dress!

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

Whirligig Cross Quilt Pattern

Whirligig cross quilt

Whirligig cross quilt

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

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




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the whirligig cross quilt

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

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

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

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

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units in the colour combinations listed above.  Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This produces two half square triangle units which are now 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric and trim the two corners where fabric sticks out.

Whirligig block layout

Whirligig block layout

Make the whirligig block

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

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

Corner blocks

Corner blocks

Make the corner blocks

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

First two rows

First two rows

Assemble the whirligig cross quilt

Lay the blocks out in three rows of three.

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

Row three

Row three

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

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

First border

First border

Add the quilt borders

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

Sew together blue and white strips

Sew together blue and white strips

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

Make strips of blue and white

Make strips of blue and white

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

Third border

Third border

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

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/od3hWa-rd70

Beautiful Prague

Beautiful Prague

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

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

Irish Chain Star Quilt Pattern

Irish chain star quilt

Irish chain star quilt

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

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




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the Irish star quilt

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

3.7/8″ squares:  eight cream, eight white

9.7/8″ squares:  four green, four blue

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

Strip piecing

Strip piecing

Make the nine patch units

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

Nine patch unit

Nine patch unit

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

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make the alternate block

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

Star block layout

Star block layout

Make the star blocks

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

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

Rows one and two

Rows one and two

Assemble the Irish chain star quilt

Sew the blocks together in five rows of five.

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

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

Rows three and four

Rows three and four

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

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

Row five

Row five

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

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

Add the borders

Add the borders

Add the quilt borders

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

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

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/ffqrXk512Mg

Prague patchwork 2019

Prague patchwork 2019

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

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

20% off all purchases over £6

Michigan Beauty Quilt Pattern

Michigan Beauty quilt

Michigan Beauty quilt

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

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




Completed blocks

Completed blocks

Cutting requirements for the Michigan Beauty quilt

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

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

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

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

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles in the colour combinations listed above.  Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This will produce two half square triangle units which are now 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric and trim the two corners where the fabric sticks out.

Central area

Central area

Make the Michigan Beauty quilt block

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

Michigan Beauty quilt block layout

Michigan Beauty quilt block layout

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

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

Alternate block centre

Alternate block centre

Make the alternate block

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

Add a lilac square in each corner.

Alternate block layout

Alternate block layout

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

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

Blue quilt border

Blue quilt border

Add the border

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

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

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/HSHboNtxEcU

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

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

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

Interlocking Squares Quilt Pattern

Interlocking squares

Interlocking squares quilt

For this Interlocking Squares quilt I have begun with the interlocking squares quilt block and then surrounded it with Millwheel quilt blocks.  I’ve used pink and blue which are not my usual colour choices and have decided that I should be more adventurous in my fabric choices.  The quilt measures 52″ square and I have used 1.1/4 yards of light pink fabric, 1/2 yard of dark pink, together with 1.1/2 yards of dark blue and 3/4 yard of light blue.  As usual you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.

The quilt blocks are all 16″ square finished size – one interlinked squares block and eight millwheel blocks.




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the interlocking squares quilt

4.7/8″ squares:  sixty four light pink, thirty two dark blue, sixteen light pink, sixteen dark pink

2.1/2″ squares:  eight dark blue, four light blue, four dark pink

2.7/8″ squares:  two each in dark pink and light blue, two each in dark pink and light pink, four each in light pink and light blue, four each in light pink and dark blue

4.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ rectangles:  two light blue

6.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ rectangles:  four dark blue

8.1/2″ by s.1/2″ rectangles:  two light blue

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

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make the millwheel quilt blocks

Use 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″ square either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This gives you two half square triangles which are now 4.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric and clip the two corners where fabric sticks out.

Millwheel block layout

Millwheel block layout

Lay these squares out in four rows of four.  Begin with four light pink/dark pink half square triangles in the middle.  Lay these so that the dark pink triangles form a diamond in the middle.  On each edge of this central square place a dark blue/pink and a light blue/pink half square triangle.  Lay these so that the pink triangles together form a larger light pink triangle pointing towards the middle.  Now add a dark blue/light pink half square triangle in each corner with the pink on the outside.  Check that the dark blue triangles come together in pairs to make larger blue triangles.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the block.  It measures 16.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make eight of them.

Central area

Central area

Make the interlocking squares quilt block

For this block I have made half square triangles using the 3.7/8″ squares made in the same way as those above.  Begin with two 8.1/2″ light blue strips in the middle.  Place a 4.1/2″ light blue strip above and below with a light blue/light pink half square triangle in each corner of this central area.  Place these so that the pink is on the outside.

First frame

First frame

Now add the first frame.  Across the top lay one light blue square followed by a light blue/dark pink  half square triangle, one dark pink square, one dark pink/light pink half square triangle, one light pink/light blue half square triangle and finish with a light blue square.  Notice that the dark pink patches form a mountain shape.  Repeat this sequence down the right hand side, across the bottom and up the left hand side of the block.

Complete layout

Complete layout

The final frame is very simple.  On the top and bottom rows place a 6.1/2″ dark blue strip on each end with a pair of dark blue/light pink half square triangles in the middle.  Place these so that the light pink triangles form a larger pink triangle pointing away from the middle.

On the sides place a pair of dark blue squares at each end with the pair of dark blue/light pink half square triangles in the middle.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the interlocking squares quilt block.  This now measures 16.1/2″ square and you just need to make the one.

Rows one and three

Rows one and three

Assemble the quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  Rows one and three are simply three millwheel blocks sewn together in a row.

Row two

Row two

In row two place a millwheel block at each end with an interlocking squares quilt block in the middle.

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

Blue border

Blue border

Add the border

Using the 2.1/2″ strips of dark blue, make two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 52.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the interlocking squares 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/sWPyD4MJpnU

Sitges quilt show 2019

Sitges quilt show 2019

Recently I visited the Sitges quilt show in Spain.  Quilt shows in other countries always have a different feel to them – as well as gorgeous quilts.  To see my photos of the show click on the photo or click here.

Recently the Sewing Quarter TV channel invited me to design and demonstrate for them.  I designed a quilt that I have called Floral Dance and I’ll be demonstrating it for them on Thursday 25th April.  If you can’t find their channel then there is always youtube.

Log Cabin Stained Glass Quilt Pattern

Log cabin stained glass quilt

Log cabin stained glass quilt

For my log cabin stained glass quilt pattern I have combined two of my favourite quilt techniques.  The quilt measures 36″ square, using nine blocks which are 10.1/2″ square finished size.  A square in square block forms the central block with some stained glass around the central diamond.  In the log cabin blocks I have used stained glass around each block but not within the blocks.  The colours run from lightest in the middle to darkest at the edges of the block.

I have used 1/8 yard each of white and light blue, 1/4 yard each of yellow, medium and dark blue, 1/2 yard each of cream and black, with 3/4 yard of red fabric.  As usual you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed blocks

Completed blocks

Cutting requirements for the log cabin stained glass quilt

All the strips are 2″ wide cut size, so for the log cabins I will just specify the lengths of the strips here:

2″:  eight red, eight light blue

3.1/2″:  eight light blue, eight white

5″:  eight white, eight medium blue

6.1/2″:  eight medium blue, eight yellow

8″:  eight yellow, eight dark blue

9.1/2″:  eight dark blue, eight cream (this is the darkest of the light fabrics)

11″:  eight cream

For the central square cut one 7.7/8″ square in cream and two 6.1/8″ red squares.

Cut 1.1/4″ strips of black across the width -for the stained glass sashing – you will need about nine strips.

For the border cut four 2.1/2″ red strips across the width of fabric.

First half of first frame

First half of first frame

Make the log cabin blocks

Begin with a 2″ red square.  Beneath it place a 2″ light blue square and on the right place a 3.1/2″ light blue strip.Sew the two squares together first and then add the light blue strip on the right.

Complete the first frame

Complete the first frame

Make the second half of the first frame with white strips.  Sew a 3.1/2″ white strip across the top with a 5″ strip down the left hand side.  Apologies if the white strips don’t show up too well in the photo.

Second frame

Second frame

Begin the second frame of logs with medium blue strips – a 5″ strip across the bottom and a 6.1/2″ strip on the right.  Follow these with a 6.1/2″ yellow strip across the top and an 8″ strip down the left hand side.

Third frame

Third frame

There are just three frames to these log cabin blocks.  Begin the third frame with an 8″ dark blue strip across the bottom, followed by a 9.1/2″ dark blue strip up the right hand side.  The final strips look brown in the photo although they are more cream in fact.  Sew a 9.1/2″ strip to the top and finish with an 11″ cream strip down the left hand side.

Trim the blocks if necessary.  They should now measure 11″ square and you need to make eight of them.

Central square layout

Central square layout

Make the central block

Place the 7.7/8″ cream square in the middle.  Cut the 6.1/8″ red squares along one diagonal to create two triangles from each square.  Place one triangle on each side of the square.  You now need to make sashing strips so that you can add sashing around the square before you sew the triangles to the square.

Sashing strips

Sashing strips

Cut four 1.1/4″ strips of black fabric 11″ long.  Fold them in half along the length and press to create a fold mark down the middle of the strip.  Open each strip up and line up the edge of the strip with the edge of the square.  Sew the strip to the square along the fold.  Now press the black strip across the sewing line so that it looks as it did when you first pressed it, but it is know sewn to the square.  Repeat with one strip on each edge of the square.

Sew the triangles on

Sew the triangles on

Next sew two of the red triangles to opposite edges of the square.  Press them open and then sew the remaining two triangles in place.

Trim the edges

Trim the edges

Trim the middle of the edges where the triangle tips stick out.

This block measures 11″ square and you just need to make the one.

Row one

Row one

Assemble the log cabin stained glass quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  In row one place three log cabin blocks.  Rotate them so that the blue triangle section of each block is placed top right, top left and then bottom right.

Seam partially sewn

Seam partially sewn

Cut two 11″ strips of black fabric for the sashing.  Prepare them as above, folding in half along the length to create a fold line to sew along.

Sew one sashing strip to the right hand edge of the first block.  Then sew the second block to the first block along the sashed edge.  Sew a sashing strip to the right hand side of the second block and sew the third block to the second block.

Rows two and three

Rows two and three

For row two place a log cabin block at each end with the central block in the middle.  Add two sashing strips between the blocks.  The blue triangles of the log cabins should be bottom left and then top right.

Make row three with three log cabin quilt blocks.  Place the blue triangles top left, bottom right and then bottom left.  My aim was to place the log cabins in pairs forming a sort of mountain shape pointing from the edge of the quilt towards the middle.  You’ll see one of these mountains on each edge of the quilt.

Sashing across the rows

Keep your eye on the needle

Keep your eye on the needle

When you are sewing the sashing on,  try to keep your eye on the needle to check that it’s coming down in the fold of the fabric each time.

Sew the blocks together across each row.  Trim the top and the bottom of each row to a straight line.  Your lines are probably already straight, but I find that I have to trim mine.  With a sashing this small it would be difficult to sew it to the row if there were ups and downs in the edges of the rows.  Your sewing is probably far more accurate than mine is!

Add sashing between the rows

Add sashing between the rows

Add the sashing between rows

Cut four 1.1/4″ strips of black fabric.  Fold and press them as before.  Sew one to the top of the first row, one each between the rows and one to bottom of the third row.  The actual length required is about 33.1/2″, but I tend to use a complete length and then trim it.

Now cut two further strips of black fabric, fold and press as before, and sew one to each side of the quilt.

You will no doubt notice that my vertical sashing is not always a straight line.  This would be for either of both these reasons:  either my seam allowances were not accurate or I didn’t trim the blocks to size accurately enough before joining them.  Just thought that I’d mention that so that you can avoid my mistakes.

Add the border

Add the border

Log cabin stained glass quilt border

In order to frame the quilt I have used 2.1/2″ strips of red fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 32.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 36.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the log cabin stained glass 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/Aun8OLGtPeo

Borough market and Southwark Cathedral

Borough market and Southwark Cathedral

Recently I spent some time in London.  I was lucky enough to have time to visit Southwark Cathedral – what a treat that was!  It’s right beside Borough Market, not far from London Bridge.  To see my photos click here or click on the image.

I have a stall at Moseley Arts Market tomorrow.  I’m hoping that the weather will be as warm as it has been so far this week.

Pinwheel Snail Trail Quilt Pattern

Pinwheel snail trail quilt

Pinwheel snail trail quilt

This pinwheel snail trail quilt pattern was quite easy to make and I love the way the design has turned out.  It’s another of those patterns than look quite complex but are quite easy to make.

The quilt measures 40″ square so it would make a good lap quilt or throw.  The blocks are all 12″ square finished size and I made five snail trail blocks with four pinwheel blocks.I’ve used 3/4 yard of lilac, 1 yard of purple and 1/2 yard of green fabric.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the pinwheel snail trail quilt

2.5/8″ squares:  ten purple, ten green

3.7/8″ squares:  fifteen purple, fifteen lilac

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

3.1/2″ squares:  twenty purple

6.7/8″ squares:  eight purple, eight lilac

Cut the four patch units

Cut the four patch units

Make the four patch units

You could make these units by just sewing together two green and two purple 2.5/8″ squares.  I chose to strip piece them to save time.  Sew together a 2.5/8″ strip of purple and of green fabric along the length.  Cut this panel at 2.5/8″ intervals.

Four patch units

Four patch units

Place the resulting strips together in pairs with the purple squares diagonally opposite each other.  Sew the pairs of squares together to create the four patch units for the middle of the block.

Add the purple triangles

Add the purple triangles

First section of the snail trail quilt block

Cut a 3.7/8″ purple and lilac square in half along one diagonal to create two triangles from each square.  Lay two purple triangles on opposite sides of the four patch units and two lilac triangles on the other two sides.  This section should measure 6.1/2″ square.

Half square triangle units

Half square triangle units

Make the half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles.  Place a purple and a lilac square with 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 and you will produce two half square triangle units.  Press the seam allowances towards the purple and trim the corners where fabric sticks out.  These are now 3.1/2″ squares.

Snail trail quilt block layout

Snail trail quilt block layout

Complete the snail trail quilt block

The central part of the block is now a square but the four patch in the middle has been turned on point so that it looks like a diamond.  Make sure that the green squares are side by side rather than above and below each other.  Now it is easy to add the remaining patches to complete the layout of the block.  I’ve realised that the main photo of the quilt was taken with the green squares above each other, but that’s just because I must have rotated the quilt before I hung it up for the photo.

Lay a 6.1/2″ lilac rectangle at the beginning of row one.  Place a half square triangle and a 3.1/2″ purple square at the end of the row.  Lay the half square triangle so that the purple is on top with the lilac between it.  Lay a purple square and a half square triangle on either side of the central area.  On the left the square is beneath the half square triangle and together they form a half-house shape.  On the right the square is above the half square triangle and the half-house shape is now upside down.

For the last row place a purple square and half square triangle at the beginning of the row with the remaining lilac rectangle at the end.

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

Alternate block pinwheels

Alternate block pinwheels

Pinwheel alternate block

I have used a simple pinwheel as the alternate block.  Using the 6.7/8″ squares, make half square triangles in exactly the same way as for the smaller squares above.

Lay these out in two pairs so that the colours alternate all the way round – check the photo.  Sew the pairs of squares together and then sew the pairs to each other.  This block also measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make four of these.

Rows one and three

Rows one and three

Assemble the pinwheel snail trail quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  Rows one and three are the same as each other:  a snail trail block at each end with a pinwheel in the middle.  Make sure that you keep the green squares side by side across the row.

Row two

Row two

In row two place a pinwheel at each end with a snail trail block in the middle.

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

Add the border

Add the border

Quilt border

I have used 2.1/2″ green strips for the border.  You’ll need two lengths of 36.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 40.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the pinwheel snail trail 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/9SWleUiri3Q

Jewellery Quarter

Jewellery Quarter

Last week I visited the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.  It’s a lovely vibrant area of the city with a wealth of history.  To see my photos click here or click on the photo.

I have a very old overlocker which was a basic model even when I bought it many years ago.  This week I have been trying to make scarves and my overlocker has really not been very helpful.  I’ve warned it that I will retire it if it doesn’t behave, but that doesn’t seem to have made any difference.