Thursday 28 May 2015

WIP: This Hexy addiction is becoming ridiculous

Isn’t it strange when you come across a quilter’s blog, and your eye is caught by the beautiful designs, the stunning simplicity of the fabrics, and the colours used that are so you… you then click on their quilt gallery only to realise you’ve been admiring their quilts all year, why you even own their book.

This is exactly what happened when the latest WIP Wednesday blog from Freshly Pieced popped up in my Bloglovin' feed. I’ve been coveting Lee Heinrich’s quilts at QuiltCon in Austin, in magazines, and off course online for a long time. Plus, her book, Vintage Quilt Revival, happily sits on my bookshelf crying out to be browsed and used… more quilts to add to my ‘must do’ list!

This is my first time linking up with WIP Wednesday - I do think these linkies are such a great idea to get fellow quilters to meet each other out there in the big wide world, and also to gain feedback and encouragement from each other. My other favourite linky is Molli Sparkles’Sunday Stash, any excuse to get those fabrics out!

So today I’d like to share one of my many WIPs, another to add to my hexagon obsession! At the moment this one is called Floating Lilies as the hexagons seem to float in a sea of white, much like waterlilies. I loved piecing the front - the 60degree triangles are much easier to piece than fiddly Y-seams! This was also a great quilt to use my precious Mimosa fat quarters I bought in Austin as you don't need to use a lot of them!

Even though I had enough white for the whole the back, I thought that would be a little boring, so decided on more partial-seamed hexies, this time white with coloured borders. 

As for the quilting, I will probably have parallel lines through the white and then refer to Angela Walter’s Shape by Shape book again for something to do in the hexagons. Watch this space as they say! This is another of my own designs, and there will be a pattern available to purchase soon… once I’ve finished this baby. And guess what.. the postman has just delivered my white wadding, so must get on!

I hope you've enjoyed this blog, if you have any queries or comments, I would love to hear from you. For more inspiration go and have a peek at some great blogs on Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday.

Thursday 21 May 2015

Square Dance Pattern Release

I'm so happy to announce another pattern release, let me introduce you to Square Dance.

This pattern is a part of my skill building collection, and is ideal for beginners. Based on the disappearing four patch technique, you use 5” charm squares, sewn in a four patch, then cut up and re-sewn into this cute block. The real magic happens when you place them next to each other to create this grid like effect.

This 7-page pattern includes full colour-instructions with diagrams on the cutting and sewing. Plus, there are my Helping Hand tips featuring hints and links to my online tutorials to guide you along to way.

I have also included fabric requirements for different sized quilts, including Lap, Single, Double & King.

The PDF version will be emailed to you on payment, while the paper pattern will be posted first class by Royal Mail.

Click on the pattern below to be taken to my Folksy shop.

Sunday 17 May 2015

Sunday Stash #7

On a recent visit back to Doughty’s in Hereford, I spotted these beauties and couldn’t resist a purchase or two! These retro floral prints are from John Louden, are 60” wide and 100% cotton – perfect for quilting, backings for small quilts, and for pretty little dresses. I know I’m a little biased, for Louden’s really are coming out with some lovely designs at the moment.

I’ve only bought half metres for now just to have a play with, but will definitely be back for more, the birdies are so cute!
For my first project, I went for my favourite colours – why am I always drawn to blue and red?? 

I wanted to make a simple quilt, (which will hopefully become a pattern available to buy soon,) and I’ve always loved the effect made by the Snowball block, and what’s more, its so simple to put together! So, this weekend, among many other projects, I intend to make up lots of these blocks, and then play around with the layout to see what happens. Don’t you just love how different placements can give you so many looks?! 
On about ‘other projects’, I thought I’d share a sneaky peak of another quilt I’ve been working on, and guess what… its hexies again!! This really is becoming an obsession, or maybe I just love to drive the maths side of my brain crazy! I can’t wait to quilt this…
Finally, just a reminder that I have a new pattern available to buy – Hazy Hexies – again this one taxed my brain with foundation piecing templates and layout diagrams. This is definitely one for the more accomplished quilter, but its so fun to make, and if you need a refresher, my online tutorials will help you along the way. I do think this quilt would look great in solid colours, why not give it a go? For full details, check out my Folksy shop.
Thank you for stopping by, your comments are always welcome. For even more inspiration, please go and have a peak at some great blogs over on Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash. Have a great quilty week everyone.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

A guide to Foundation Piecing

I think I mentioned in an old post how long it took me to get my head around foundation piecing - a long time!! Now me being me, having learnt the technique I then felt the need to design my own foundation pieced templates and started out with one of my favourite shapes, the 60deg triangle.
I just love the way these can turn into large hexagons without having to play with annoying Y-seams.

I designed the block below together with a second triangle which turned into my first quilt pattern for sale, Hazy Hexies. This new pattern includes all the cutting and sewing instructions you need to complete the quilt top, but also expects you to know the basics of foundation piecing... just in case you don't, this blog post is going to help!

So, here's what you need - a cutting mat and rotary cutter, an Add A Quarter ruler (more on this in a minute), a piece of medium-weight card, your paper template, and the fabric pieces - measurements for these will be in your pattern.

An Add A Quarter ruler is a very handy tool when foundation piecing as it has a slight lip ¼”  in from the edge that sits up against the folded fabric when cutting your seam allowance. You'll see what I mean in a minute. If you don't have one of these, if you're careful you can use a normal quilter's ruler, just use a steady firm hand to keep it in place when cutting.

Foundation piecing is kinda sewn back to front, you pin the fabric on the reverse of the template and sew on the marked lines on the front, you'll get the hang of it, promise!

1. Firstly turn your template over and pin your first square in place, right side up, ensuring that it covers Triangle 1 completely with at least a  ¼” overhang on each side of the triangle. A handy tip is to hold your triangle and fabric up to the light with the paper facing you so you can see the fabric edges through the paper. Pin your fabric in place.

2. Flip over your template and place your piece of card to the left of the first sewing line - the line between Triangle 1 and 2. Fold back your template over the card to reveal your fabric underneath. Now place your Add a Quarter ruler so that it's lip sits up against the card and trim the excess fabric.

3. Turn your template over again, and place your second fabric piece on top of the first, aligning it with the edge you just trimmed and pin. Go to your sewing machine, reduce your stitch length to about 1.4 or 1.5 – this helps you get the papers out afterwards. Starting in the seam allowance, sew along the drawn line, ending in the opposite seam allowance. Turn over and either finger-press or gently iron the seam flat.

4.  Flip over again, and as before, place your card to the left of the line between Triangle 2 and 3, fold back the paper template to reveal the fabric, butt the Add a Quarter ruler up to the card and trim the excess fabric.

5.  Flip over, place your third fabric piece along the seam you have just trimmed, checking that the fabric edges will cover the whole of Triangle 3, pin into place (the more experienced you get, you'll find you can just hold the pieces in place and won't need to pin) and sew along the drawn line, again starting and finishing in the seam allowance.

6. As your third triangle doesn't touch the fourth, you don't need to trim this just yet. Do the same with Triangle 4 and press seams flat. When you're folding your paper template back you may find that you have stitches from when you stitched over into the seam allowance holding you back. Simply pull the fabric away to loosen the stitches so the paper can lay flat.

7. You just need to trim your template now - I tend to use my quilter's ruler and line up a ¼” mark with the edge of the template, then trim, rather than using the dotted line on the paper, just to be sure I get an accurate seam allowance.

Congratulations! You have completed your first foundation-pieced block! Why not have a go my Hazy Hexies pattern which features this and another triangle, together with solid triangles which are sewn into rows to create large hexagons!

Linking up with Late Night Quilter's Tips & Tutorials Tuesday

Sunday 3 May 2015

Sunday Stash #6 - My Very Own Colourwall!

What an insanely busy couple of weeks! Three quilts finished in one week! A definite first! The first two were featured in my last blog, and I’m very pleased to say the recipient was as happy as I was with the finished pieces, they do look perfect on her sofas!  The third quilt is my Hazy Hexy quilt, which I intend being my first quilt pattern for sale, hopefully more on this next week, but here is a sneak peak…

Then last weekend I ran a quilting workshop for Doughty’s in Hereford, on how to make my Louden Whirldwind of Colour quilt. As this was my first class, I was a little nervous – actually more nervous than I realised as I was completely shattered afterwards! Thankfully, it went really well, mostly down to the ladies being so easy to teach and a lot of fun to sew with. Unfortunately we were having so much fun I forgot to take a photo of all the hard sewing being done! Hopefully there will be more classes to come, it was such a joy to pass on sewing tips and quilting tricks and to just spend time sewing with like-minded people.

So this week, after all that sewing, I decided it was time to sort out my stash. Obviously as I was at Doughty’s I had to buy some fabric… but rather than just dumping it in a box not to be seen again for at least 6 months, I decided it was high time I got my stash out on display, if for no other reason than just so I can sit there and gaze at it… I just can’t help it!

Through my adventures around Pinterest, I had come across various methods of displaying fabric, but this one caught my eye from Angela Pingel of Cut To Pieces, who recommended using comic backboards. Now, unlike my sis and her boys, I’m really not into comics, so I had to do a little research, and who would have known it, Forbidden Planet sell them, and I have a shop just around the corner! Amazing! That’s Christmas presents sorted!

Anyway, these boards are just medium weight card, approx. 7 x 10”. Unfortunately my shop were actually out of stock of this size, so I ended up getting the slightly bigger size and cutting them down, so hardship with a paper cutter. I won’t go on about how I folded my fabric, I’ll leave that to Angela’s great tutorial, but I also went on to dig out a pile of unused A6 card blanks, cut them in half, and folded my fat quarters around these also. So now I have my very own colourwall, so happy! I also managed to pinch some full size boards from Doughty’s for my metreage of backings.

I have to say, it really does surprise me how my tastes have changed over the years. When I first started quilting, and then worked for Doughty’s, I loved the soft greens and browns, akin to a William Morris palette I guess, and I have plenty. However, now I seem to like the bright modern designs, vivid greens, yellows and reds, and of course grey! I’m hoping that by putting all my fabrics in colour order, some of my recent purchases will liven up my old pieces, if not, they’re gonna have to go! Eek!

I’ve been quite ruthless throughout this process, putting anything smaller than a fat eighth into a scrap pile, which I am now working on cutting up into 5”, 2½” and 2” squares – I can now finally get my Scraptherapy – Cut the Scraps book out and have a play!  

I hope my colour wall inspires you to get that stash out on display, if you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you. For even more inspiration, please go and have a peak at some great blogs over on Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash.