Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year - New Projects and New Friends

Check out all the 2013 projects here.
I am pleased to announce that Margaret was chosen to receive a fat quarter bundle of pretty fabrics celebrating a year of fun and friends for the Across the Pond Sew Along group.  Don't worry if you didn't get a chance to join in - we will be continuing throughout 2014 and Susie will be announcing the first project for 2014 very shortly.

In the meantime I want to highlight two projects that may be the perfect start to 2014.
Firstly – you will have heard me chatter about the Quilty Fun sew-along group.  This is a relatively quick and easy sew-along to create a great wall quilt designed by Lori Holt using blocks from her Quilty Fun book.
Week 7 - Cups
We have just finished week 7 and week 8 doesn’t start until 6th January so if you haven’t started yet there is plenty of time to catch-up. 
Weeks 4 and 5 - Click on the picture for a quick way to make flying geese.
I say ‘plenty of time’ because the blocks are quick and simple, taking little more than an hour - with the exception of Week 4 (but I have some hints to make that block a little quicker which you can check out here).

You will need the book to join in with the Quilty Fun sew-along so if you want to join in something straight away you should check out my second sew-along choice for 2014 – the Wishes Quilt-Along.

Wishes Quilt Along

This sew-along is in support of the Make-A-Wish foundation and if you wish to make a donation as a thank-you for the patterns then you can via the Fat Quarter Shop blog but this is purely optional.  (The FQ Shop and Moda will match all donations to the tune of $10,000.)  

The Fat Quarter shop will post a FREE new block on the first of every month (for a glimpse at all the blocks click on the picture above).There is also a Flickr group where you will be able to see all the different blocks made by people from around the world.  This is the place to also join in discussions or ask questions via the group – a great way to make new friends and learn some new techniques. 

So there you have it – a couple of projects to keep you occupied in the New Year.  Which just leaves me to wish you all ......

A Healthy and Hearty New Year

Sew until next time .....

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Patchiqué Week 6 – Blocks 11 and 78

Well things have moved up a notch with Block 11.  The book details 49 pieces in this 9” square – phew!   But I took a shortcut as I so often do. 
Block 11 from Japanese Taupe Quilts
The block is called ‘Kasuri koshi’ (Kasuri check) and it is a lovely looking block.  To speed up the process and cut down the number of pieces I strip pieced two sections as follows:

Section 1:     
From A cut three 2” x 7” strips
From B cut two 1¾” x 7” and two 1½” x 7” strips 

Section 2:     
From B cut three 2” x 7” strips
From C cut two 1¾” x 7” and two 1½” x 7” strips 

Stitch the strips together as shown below before pressing all seams in one direction.  Then from Section 1 cross-cut three 2” strips and from Section 2 cut two 1¾” and two 1½” strips.

Then it is a simple case of stitching the strips together as shown below:
I say simple but it is only simple if your cutting is accurate and your seam allowances are accurate (scant ¼”).   My way is quicker and less fiddly but it still requires matching of seams.

Block 11 Patchiqué Style
I have to say, I wouldn't make this one again. 

This block is marked simple in the book yet I would mark it medium.  This is a little worrying as I haven’t even started on the ‘difficult’ blocks yet!

And so I turn to the appliqué block for this week, Block 78 ‘Rokuyō’ (translated as hexagonal flower). 
Block 78 Photo from the book
The template for this block requires you to fold a square of fusible webbing into quarter squares and cut it out as one would do when making a paper snowflake.  A little tricky but doable.  I have not added detailed stitching yet but I think I will add a running stitch outlining the center motif. 
Block 78 - Patchiqué Style
I like this block – it is detailed yet quite quick to do.  So the time spent on Block 11 was recovered on Block 78.  Oh and a little tip:  when cutting circles do not move the scissors to cut but keep them still and move the fabric.  This will create a smoother edge.

Well there you have it - the first twelve blocks in the Patchiqué project (you can check them all out here).  Next time I will be patching Block 15 and appliquéing Block 75. 

Which just leaves me wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a New Year full of fabric, fun and friends.
Sew until next time.....

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Patchiqué Week 5 – Blocks 10 and 110

Susie made me this lovely little button.
Click on it and you go through to the Flickr Group.
What a lovely week on the Patchiqué trail with Block 10 ‘Kasuri kawari hana' (a Kasuri flower variation). 
Block 10 from Japanese Taupe Quilts
This block contains a few more pieces – or so it seems on first sight.  But actually I loved making this block.  I didn’t know I would when I started to make it but it is really simple and very effective.  
Block 10 Patchsmith Style
It is rated as ‘easy’ by Susan Briscoe and I completely agree.  In fact, it my favourite block so far.  I used a Japanese print for the dark colour and a taupe for the light. 
The applique block for the week is Block 110 ‘Matsu guruma’ (translated as Pine Wheel). 
Block 110 from Japanese Taupe Quilts
At first I thought you stitched the stems to the leaves and then cut the six pieces out but this isn’t the case.  You actually construct the leaves from two pieces of bias cut fabric stitched together and then overlay some fusible bias tape.   I tend not to do ‘bias’ cutting – not for binding and not for applique so instead I cut the leaves from a directional-print fabric. 
In order to create all six leaves I stitched two 28” x 2½” strips together and then cut all six leaves from this piece – so much quicker than doing it individually.
I also don’t have fusible bias tape so I traced 4¼” x ¼” stems onto fusible webbing and fused them to contrasting fabric before fusing and stitching them over the seam of each leaf.
Block 110 Patchsmith Style
Finally I fused a circle in the middle in place of a yo-yo.  So a little Patchsmith variation but I am happy with the outcome.

That is ten blocks made so far and I lay some out together to get a feel for the finished quilt.  It still lacks some unity but I think this will come as I make more blocks and then add sashing. 
Nine of the ten blocks made so far.
Before I go, don’t forget to enter the free Across the Pond Give-Away.  You have until Christmas Eve.

Sew until next time ........

Friday, 6 December 2013

Quilty Fun Sew-Along - Baskets of Geese

To date the Quilty Fun sew-along (based on the book of the same name by Lori Holt) has been the perfect pre-Christmas sew-along with a quick and easy project each week.  The projects to date have been suitable for beginner and experienced quilters alike. 
Week 1 and 2 - Apples and Stars
However, not so week 5 where we are faced with the ominous task of making thirty-one 2½” x 1½” flying geese blocks.  These are teeny-tiny blocks and they need to be to exact size because they are going to fit into the finished project in three different places.  The method Lori uses in her book to make the geese is a method I first came across many years ago in a book called “Sew A Row Quilts” by Karen Hellaby. 
I didn’t like it then but that was a long time ago and to date, I have liked Lori's techniques.  So I decided to give the method another try.  After making twelve geese I was disappointed to find only half finished to the correct size.  I know some people love this method but I'm not one of them!  (Tip:  Be careful when using pencil markings as the pencil can come off onto the iron and transfer onto your fabric.)
Week 3 - Courthouse Steps
These geese were 'getting-my-goose' so I reverted back to my preferred method for making little geese blocks - the 3D flying geese method (tutorial here).  I love this method – it is quick (only one straight seam per goose) and I like that I can see where the goose point is when I stitch the units together. One hour later and my geese units are all stitched and finish at the correct size.  You need to make three units – one with six geese (6½” x 2½”), one with twelve geese (12½” x 2½”)and one with thirteen geese (13½” x 2½”).
Week 4 and 5 - Baskets and Geese
But that is the fun of a sew-along – everybody has a favourite way of working and we pool our knowledge and share our tips to get the job done - one way or another.  And as somebody recently posted in the Quilty Fun Flickr group - it is such a good way to try different methods and learn something new. 
Not a goose in site ..... or is there?
If you really can’t get the hang of the tiddly flying geese blocks you can always cut 2½” x 1½” rectangles and use those in the finished project – it will still look good.  In fact, you may not even notice that your geese have flown!

Sew until Sunday when I will be posting another two Patchiqué blocks ......