Friday, 21 February 2014

Bunting for Baby Connie

Ten days ago a very precious baby was born into our family - Connie Hope. Her heart had not grown properly and her young parents knew there was a long road ahead of them. Despite being shifted from one hospital to another, and waiting a long time for the first operation, this little girl had her first major heart surgery yesterday, and all went as planned.
As soon as she was born, I set to work making some bunting for her. I pulled all my favourite organic fabrics and chose the colours I knew her Mum and Dad would love. Fortunately, when I saw them at Christmas, they had told me the colours of the nursery, so I knew which ones to pick. I didn't have the right organic solid for the lettering, so I had to choose some Sketch that went well. A little disappointing for me, I would have loved it to be entirely organic, but that will be the very last thing on their minds right now!
I had a fun day cutting and fusing the letters.

Sewing them in place with a zig zag stitch

and adding the tape.

I made two separate strings as Constance is so much longer than Hope, and it just wouldn't balance well if I joined it all together.

I also made the strings ridiculously long !!

They will spend the next month in a guest room provided by the hospital, whilst little Connie recovers in intensive care. I'm guessing it's not a very homely looking place, so this is something to brighten the room and remind them that she is not far away. When they get home, they can shorten the ties to suit wherever they hang it.
This little girl still has a long road ahead of her, but hopefully I'm going to be able to make a lot more items for her in the future.
I have a tutorial for making the bunting here

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Quilted Heart Cushion Tutorial

Right on cue for Valentine's Day, I have a quilted cushion to show you. This was great fun to make and brightened up my sewing room no end. With the radio on and this bright fabric by my side I almost managed to ignore the storms that brought lashing rain and wind howling round the house last night.

I've used the same heart block that I showed you in my last Block Buster Sunday  post and have given it an envelope style back complete with a little border made from the offcuts of the heart blocks.

Just incase you want to make one too, I've written a tutorial for it:

To make one cushion you will need:
Scraps of 6 different printed fabrics for the heart blocks
1/8th yard background fabric for the heart blocks. (I used Kona Snow)
4 1/2" x Width of fabric (WOF) for the grey sashing (I used Kona Ash)
5" x WOF for the red border
19" square of wadding
19" square of backing for the wadding (optional)
3/4 yard fabric for the cushion back.

Follow the instructions here to make four 6" scrappy heart blocks, but when you come to the trimming of the corner pieces, instead of trimming after sewing from corner to corner, sew another line 1/2" further out than the first first. 

Cut between the two lines of sewing. Repeat for the other side of the block. Store these little off-cut pieces safely. They are 8 tiny half square triangle blocks and we are going to use them on the back of the cushion. Yay!  a good way to use up those scraps!

 Cut three 1 1/2" wide WOF strips from the light grey fabric.
Use these to sash the blocks, first horizontally

Then vertically

Cut two 2 1/2" wide x WOF strips of the outer border fabric and create a border all round the cushion front.
I make a proper quilt sandwich at this stage, placing a 19" square of lining fabric down first, then the wadding and then the cushion front on top and baste with pins in the normal way.

I think the lining fabric protects the wadding and makes it easier to take the cover off and on again when you want to wash it, but its fine to just use the cushion front and wadding if you prefer.

Quilt the top in the normal way. I quilted diagonal lines 1"apart.

Trim the cushion front to 19" square.

Take the little off cut half square triangle units and trim the to 2 1/2"square. 

Join together in one long strip and add a 2 1/2"square of border fabric to either end.

Cut 3 rectangles from your background fabric:
1.  25" x 19"
2.  19" x 14"
3.  19" 9 1/2"

Centre and pin the offcuts border to the long edge of the 19" x 9 1/2" rectangle.

Attach and press open.

Join the 19" x 14" rectangle to the opposite edge.

Fold in half and press.

Top stitch on either side of the border.

Place the right side of the piece you have just completed against the right side of the cushion front, so that the raw edge is level with the top edge of the cushion front with the back border towards the middle.

Take the final rectangle of backing fabric and fold in half and press so that it measures 19" x 12 1/2".
Place on top of the other section so that the raw edges of the back piece are level with the base of the quilted front (folded edge towards the centre).
Pin all layers in place.

Sew around all four edges with a 1/2" seam allowance. Trim the corners.

Turn the cushion cover the right way out through the envelope opening.
Fill with a cushion, snuggle up and enjoy !!
It is Valentine's Day after all :-)

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Block Buster Sunday #4 Scrappy Heart Block Tutorial

It's Block Buster Sunday, and it's nearly Valentine's Day, so I thought I'd go all lovey and choose a heart block to share today. This is  a scrappy heart, so root out all those scraps. They don't have to be colour co-ordinated, any multi colours will do. And the good news…. this is a really easy block to make!!

I've given cutting instructions for 2 sizes, a 6" finished, and a 9" finished block.

For a 6" finished block you need:
2     1 1/2" x 3 1/2" strips of patterned fabric
5     1 1/2" x 6 1/2" strips of patterned fabric
4     1 1/2" squares of background fabric
2     3 1/2" squares of background fabric

For a 9" finished block you need:
2     2" x 5" strips of patterned fabric
5     2" x 9 1/2" strips of patterned fabric
4     2" squares of background fabric
2     5" squares of background fabric

Note: The photographs show the construction of a 6" block
Use a 1/4" seam throughout

Sew the 5 long patterned strips together. It doesn't matter which way you press the. seams

Draw a diagonal pencil line from across the centre of each of the small background squares.
Place on the 2 smaller patterned strips as shown.

Sew along the pencil lines. Trim the outside edge to a 1/4" seam allowance.

 Press  open.

Sew the 2 sections together along the shorter edge.

I press this centre seam open rather than to one side, so that it lies flat.
Attach to the top of the 5 strip unit.

Draw a diagonal pencil line through the centre of the 2 remaining large background squares.
Place one in the bottom left corner of the unit as shown.

Sew along the pencil line. Trim the outside edge to a 1/4" seam allowance. Press open.

Repeat for the other side. Make sure the pencil line slopes down to the centre base of the unit to create the point at the bottom of the heart. The 2 background squares should overlap 1/4" from the base of the unit.

Press open and trim the block to 6 1/2" square if necessary.

Easy, Peasy eh? I love this block.
I'm part way through a tutorial for a cushion cover (that's "pillow" for US peeps) using this block.
Poor light stopped play, but it should be ready in the next couple of days, so check back soon if you're interested.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Farmers Wife Quilt Blocks # 5 - 8

Farmers Wife Quilt Blocks # 5 - 8
This week I've been making progress on my Farmers Wife Quilt. I'm aiming to make 4 blocks in a session.
All started off well.
Farmers Wife Quilt Block # 5 Bat Wing
Block # 5 worked out just fine. I used the templates provided, but I decided I don't like them all that much and decided this would have been much easier if I'd just made two flying geese in the usual way and then added the other components.

Farmers Wife Quilt Block #6 Big Dipper
So for block # 6 I didn't use the templates, I just made 4 quarter square triangle blocks. My decision to press all seams open in this quilt seems to be paying off too.

The back of my work doesn't often look this neat. At this stage I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself!

Farmers Wife Quilt Block # 7 Birds In The Air
Aah! When I turned the page and saw what # 7 was I started to make excuses to myself. I've always been in awe of this block and my resolution to make all the blocks in order nearly flew right out the window. I started telling myself  "I haven't got time to make this one now" and "the light isn't good enough". Anyway, after a stern talking to, I did make the block.
I dispensed with the templates and made 12 teeny, tiny 1"(finished) half square triangle blocks.

I starched the fabric well, made them oversized and trimmed them. These looked so cute!
I assembled the 4 sections and was just about to sew them together when I noticed I had done this to one of them!

What on earth happened here I shall never know, but at least I spotted it before I sewed the sections together. 
Then it was time for block # 8. It didn't look too difficult, I ploughed on….

…..except, what on earth happened to the points on the flower? There was no seam allowance left, so they would be totally truncated when I joined the blocks together. I couldn't understand what I'd done wrong. I was tempted to leave it at is was. I was getting pretty tired of it at this point and wasn't sure that a second attempt would be any better than the first. I walked away and had a cup of tea. tea makes everything better, don't you think?
In the end I decided to paper piece this block.
i drew out the layout at the correct scale.

Then I photocopied it several times and cut it up into sections.
The paper piecing worked a lot better, although it was very time consuming in preparation time.

Farmers Wife Quilt Block # 8 Bouquet

Although I was totally fed up with all things Farmers Wife by the time I'd finished it, I actually like this version of the block, with a patterned background, much more than my first attempt.
So 8 blocks now complete, and put together, they look like this:


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