Thursday 31 March 2016

Boxy or Square Stars

I'm definitely on the scrap band wagon, sorting my scraps and then creating something that inspires me to use them, or even to be bold and cut into some fat quarters I've had in my stash for years! Its such a good feeling and as blocks come together I don't even feel slightly, (well Ok then, maybe just slightly) bad about cutting into them, but I know now I'll just use them to make something else.

So this is what I'm currently working on, Boxy stars (thanks to Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville free patterns). The blocks are made from 2½" strips and come together so easily and quickly. 

Pieces required: 
  • Three 2½" background (cream/white) pieces
  • For the corner pieces, one 2½" square and one 4½" piece, (so a total 7" strip, it was handy to remind myself of that as I was collecting the fabrics)
  • The longest piece for the 'star arm' is 6½", the other arm, 4½" (so a total 11" strip).

The stars require four smaller blocks as below:
  1. To a background 2½"piece, add one of the darker/corner pieces, 2½".
  2. Keeping the background square on the left of the 2 sewn pieces, attach the  4½" darker/corner piece below.

  1. Again keeping the background piece on your left, attach the short (4½") piece of the star arm. 
  2. Attach the longer (6½") piece of the star arm to the top to complete the quarter of the whole block. 
  3. To create the star points, mark the remaining background squares in whatever way you usually do (draw a diagonal line, or if you prefer a slightly lazier method like me, just press them in half). 
  4. Place these on opposite corners of the block and either cut away the excess, (or save it for another project with 2 inch half square triangles).
I tended to keep my stars to one colour family - whether yellow, gold, orange or a rusty peach. The corners I used greens, navy or browns. 

I'm also doing a quilt as you go method, so here is one block given a little quilting, outlining the star and then doing some cross hatching in the background areas. 

I used a cream coloured thread, I guess I could have used a darker one to make it stand out a little more, something to bear in mind for next time.  I need to work on the sashing, then it will all come together well I hope. 
A fun way to use up some of those scraps!

Until next time, 

Wednesday 16 March 2016


There's something about the simple layout of these strips of colour that reminds me of the childhood game of hopscotch - the one where you put a marker on a paving stone and then hopped around the other pavers on one foot to pick up your marker.
I pieced the yellow, teal and grey pieces a few months ago but hadn't got to do the quilting until more recently.
Thanks to the inspiration of Leah Day - (she has a quilting pattern like a scroll that then goes off in different directions), I did a double circle instead, that looks a little like balloons heading off into the sky.
Balloons headed for the sky

I also tried something Leah recommends/uses herself when it comes to quilting - leaves the feed dogs up and simply puts the stitch length on zero. I tried this and sure enough, works like a dream. While I can't say I've ever had much in the way of tension issues anyway, this method would eliminate those.

I've backed it with a piece of batik that I've also had for a couple of years I think.
Backed with a piece of batik from my stash

And so tonight I'll be completing that binding. I like to do that by hand, especially on a smaller quilt. It's very relaxing and satisfying to finish a quilt in that way.
This one is probably destined for a baby - (I seem to come across quite a few) though not a particular one as yet.
This is one finish for the year that I've had on my list for a while so it's good to complete one and cross it off the list. Now, onto the next thing!
Until next time,

Saturday 12 March 2016

Flimsy almost finish

It's Autumn here in Australia, not that you'd guess from today's temperature - it's still 30 degrees Celsius at 4:30pm! While I know that for many people you might really appreciate such warm sun, when it's been pretty warm since before Christmas, I'm well and truly ready for more low 20 degree temperatures.

But it does mean that staying in the air-conditioning sewing gets things moving along if not completed. So I've been busy on the string X scrap top and the flimsy is almost finished.
I say almost as I'm deciding whether to just put a narrow cream border around the whole thing (like the sashing strips) and then a final bluish border, or whether to just bind? Suggestions welcome! I took it onto the grass to try to get a shot there but as you can see from the top, the wind wasn't playing nicely. I even had the corners pinned. So we moved to the brick paving. A bit boring, but it stayed put. 
It does wash out the blues rather though, doesn't it? In typical scrap quilt fashion, I wasn't sure whether I had sufficient plain blue to complete all the 'squares' that are created when the string blocks come together. Fortunately I laid it out first and could see I would be just a few short - and had some similar value blue fleck on hand. So this is absolutely all from the stash. It does feel good to use up some scraps and have a joyful result. 
I may be ready to break into some new solid fat quarters I have for my next project, but scrap quilts are rather addictive so who knows? 
It is fun when you see things just come together like the small triangles of mostly primary colours: 
And while my seams are not always 100% matching, they're pretty close and certainly enough for me. This quilt may be destined for our local hospice where I've given a few quilts already. There is enough brightness there to bring some cheer and maybe some talking points too. 

Until next time,

Thursday 3 March 2016

String X quilt

Hi there,

What to do with all the scraps is just the perennial question once you have made even a small number of quilts. I keep trying various patterns, from small squares, to tumblers, and the latest is one I came across in various places (Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville pages are very helpful) but here is how I've begun my string cross quilt.

Take an assortment of 3 ½" strips of various widths from around 1"-2½"; some 1" strips of white and some 5" squares of a contrasting colour. I used blue, but really whatever colour you prefer to go with your strips, whether it's grey, white, or a bright yellow etc. your personal preference.

Sew the 3 ½" pieces together to form a long strip 10½"

You can see in the photo above that I've also laid out a 1" white strip to either side of one of the strips. Attach a strip like this to each/all of the 10½ strips you're going to use. 
Once the white strips are attached on either side, cut a triangle off each of the corners. 

I used a normal ruler, put the 45 degree line along the edge of my white strip, there's a corner that is 1½" from the side and from the top of the ruler, (this corner touches the edge of the white fabric of the block) on mine there are small black dashes that show where those two 1 ½" lines intersect and create the cutting angle. A diagonal line runs from the white strip down to the 3" mark of the 3 ½" strips. you can see the 3" mark touches that edge. Cut along that diagonal edge of the ruler. Thankfully photos should clarify the instructions above.

Once you've done that, your 5" squares come into play. These are cross cut so that you have two triangles which you attach to either side of the white strips. 

Once the triangles are attached, square up the block to 7½". Finally place the blocks in an arrangement that is pleasing to you and join them together. As you can see below I'm only just putting some of my blocks together, but I enjoy seeing the progress. It also gives me a bit of inspiration in joining all those little 3 ½" strips together!

I've got a ways to go, but this is the next project, or one of them, that I'm currently working on. 
Until next time,