Friday, 27 June 2014

Disappearing 4 Patch Variation

Hi again!

Some time ago I saw Jenny Doan's tutorial on the Disappearing 4 Patch (D4P). If you're into using precuts, check out her other tutorials, but be aware that your to-do-list might easily double. Click at your own risk, don't blame me, I was nice enough to warn you!

Anyway, the finished D4P block looks like this:

This tutorial is a variation on that block, which I call DD4P (Diagonal Disappearing 4 Patch).

And here is how you make it:

Fabrics Needed

You need at least two different fabrics. But if you have a nice charm pack or even a layer cake at home, that'll look great combined with a matching solid.

Cutting and Sewing

If you're using yardage, cut 5" strips the width of the fabric and sew two strips together. Press the seam to the dark side. Then cut 5" pieces from these strips.

Take two of these pieces, flip one over, so that it forms a 4 patch. Sew them together and press to one side (it doesn't matter which one). I then squared them up (4.5" from the middle) just to make sure they're all the same size.

If you're using charm packs or layer cakes, you'll have to sew them together individually, but you can at least chain piece them.

Now to the trickiest part: Make four cuts (red lines) 1" away from the diagonal (blue lines). Check at least twice that your ruler is lined up properly before cutting, as you can't uncut it!

Take the four long corner pieces and exchange them:

Now sew the block back together. Be careful when handling these pieces, as you are working on the bias. So no excessive tugging!
First, sew the white longer strips to the small hourglass in the middle, then the two triangles to the black strips. Make sure that they line up on top. Don't worry about the bottom, we'll get to that in a bit!
Press the seams on the two triangles towards the black middle strip and the seams on the middle piece outwards. Now you can nestle the seams, when you sew the three pieces together. I pressed the final two seams open to reduce the bulk in the middle of the block.

Now for the final squaring up: Line up the middle seam at the 3.5" mark and also make sure that the vertical seam is perpendicular. Then cut off the fabric on the side. Rinse and repeat on all sides.

And here is your finished block. It's 7" unfinished and 6.5" finished.

Tipps and Tricks

There are just a few things that I'd like to add:
  • Make sure you don't handle the pieces too much, as everything is on the bias.
  • Press carefully, you don't want to distort the pieces.
  • Don't cut too many blocks at once, it'll just cause chaos and you don't really want to waste time finding the matching pieces.
  • Use pins when sewing together the three pieces of the block. The seams do nestle nicely, but the ends aren't straight, so you don't want them slipping around.
  • You can basically adapt the size of the block to any measurement you like, be it 6" or 10" or even bigger. Just be aware that a 4 patch with 10" squares gets quite big and easily outgrows your cutting mat or ruler! Also, if you choose bigger squares, you might want to adjust the width of the diagonal cuts. I personally wouldn't go much smaller than 5" squares, as it might get quite fiddly and practically make the hourglass in the middle disappear.


Layout Ideas

There are two possible ways to lay out your block. This is the first one:

Here is a mock up with these colours for a bigger quilt:

Or maybe you prefer a more colourful option:

Or how about a more pastelly approach:
Here is the example for the second layout:
You just have to turn two of the blocks around so that the same colour meets up in the middle and forms a secondary design.
That's how it would look like on a bigger scale and with some more colour:

I couldn't resist and also made a mock up with borders:

As Jenny Doan would say: Isn't that a darling quilt?!
I hope you like it and try it. I'd love to see a quilt with this pattern!
All the best,

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

My First Quilt

I decided to show you the quilts I've made so far. I only started quilting this January, so there are not that many to share yet (but I have a little booklet where I collect quilting ideas, I'm at a whopping 20 new design ideas!).

The Fabric

I picked up two batik jelly rolls in Walmart when I was in New Orleans last Christmas. I actually wanted to go to Michael's or JoAnn's. However, they were a bit too far out and not really reachable with public transport so I had to make due with Walmart's. It certainly wasn't the best quality quilting cotton, but I figured it was good enough to start with. Who wants to spend a fortune when you don't even know it'll turn out ok? Besides I'd already spent a lot on a cutting mat, a rotary cutter and a couple rulers.
And this is what I came up with for my first ever finished quilt:
"First Rainbow"
I called it "First Rainbow". It's about 36"x36".

The Piecing

It wasn't actually the first quilt top I pieced, I made a Strip 'n Flip top first, but then realised that it was rather big, so I decided to make a smaller baby quilt with the leftover fabrics. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to wrangle such a big quilt through my machine for all the quilting and wanted to have a smaller practise piece. Turns out it worked just fine!

I used one strip of each colour and added a thinner black strip, then cut them into three pieces, so that it would end up in a square. If you look closely, you realise the blocks are not exactly square. I didn't use a 1/4" foot at the time, but my normal presser foot and anyway, I was very knew to the whole inch concept. I am happy to report that I've gotten better - both with the 1/4" seam and the calculations with inches!

In the making - late at night

When joining the blocks I ran into another problem: on some sides I had additional black strips, on others there was none...It took some re-arranging and thinking, but in the end I only had to rip two seams. The Quilting Police would probably have stuck me into Quilting Camp for 5 years, no probation. Luckily, I escaped that fate!

The Quilting

I used plain black fabric as backing and a fleece throw from Ikea for batting. Batting is quiet expensive around here (even when ordering in the US online, the shipping costs always floor me). That's why it turned out rather thick and should probably be called a play mat.

I bought specially waxed quilting thread (66% poly, 33% cotton) for the quilting and it worked fine. It is mostly quilted in the ditch - or I should say in, next to, over and in the vicinity of the ditch. :D

The border is quilted rather heavily and I used my foot as guidance. As you can see (don't look that closely, leave me some dignity here, please!) they are not that regular and there were a few puckers, too. Oh well, who cares? Non-quilters won't look that closely anyway! Right? Right?!

Detail of the quilted border
Adding the binding was the only frustrating part for me. First, I mucked up the joining of the two strips (they were twisted) and of course, I had already cut off the ends. So after trying and re-trying, the only thing that I could to was cut off the ends and join them in a straight seam. I also blame this unfortunate event - I secretly call it The Big Binding Bind of 2014 - for now being very obsessive when joining binding strips. I at least check 10 times before cutting anything off.

I tried to sew on the binding by machine, but after doing one side I realised that there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that it would look good. So I ripped it all and hand sewed it. It sure took more time, but the result isn't bad at all!

As of now, this little quilt is still waiting for a new owner. I hope some family member or friend will get pregnant soon! :D

All the best,

Monday, 23 June 2014

Lady Edith's Rectangles


When Inspiration Hits

I was surfing the other day and of course I ended up oggling all the pretty fabrics that can be found online. One fabric line that always catches my eye is Andover's Downton Abbey. This time when looking at Lady Edith's line (which I find to be a bit too modern to fit in with the rest, but that's not the point here) I found the Patches Blue fabric:

And I suddenly realised that this would make a terrific quilt pattern!

So here is a quick and dirty tutorial:


Fabrics Needed

You'll need three different fabrics. One with a beautiful print, two with small ones or solids. I would choose at least one solid fabric, just to let your eyes have a resting point.


Cutting and Sewing

Cut 4" strips WOF from the small prints/solids.

Take one strip each and sew them together lengthwise. Then cut 6" pieces crosswise from the strips. If you're lucky, you'll get 7 pieces from one strip set. But just to be on the safe side, calculate with 6 per strip set when buying your fabric.

Now take two of the pieces, flip one of them and sew them into a rectangular 4 patch.

And that is the first finished block! Once you finished them all, measure them (they should be 7.5"x11.5") and square - or rectangle as the case might be - them up. Only then cut the focus fabric to this size as well. This way you can make sure that you won't have to recut your fabric.
And now you have the two blocks necessary to complete the quilt top:

As the focus fabric I chose Kaffe Fassett's Millefiore Blue for this mock-up.
And here is how the completed top would look like:

As you can see, it's a really fast and easy way of making a quilt. You can choose an equal number of rows and columns and it will still end up as a rectangular due to the form of the blocks. Of course you can also vary the size of the strips at the beginning and make the blocks as big or as small as you want!
You can make the cutest baby quilts with this pattern (especially if you have to have it done by tomorrow, because of the last minute invite to the baby shower), or display the colours of your favourite sports team.
Maybe even finally cut into that wonderful fabric you bought that is far too pretty to cut into, because it is just so beautiful and you don't really want to cut it up into small pieces (Come on, you know The One, it's been in your stash for a while now and you secretly get up in the night, take it out of your closet, pet it lovingly and whisper breathlessly "My precioussssss!").
With these big blocks your fabric will be displayed beautifully!
Let me know if something is unclear to you. I am happy to help!
As always, I would love to see your quilt if you decide to use this pattern.

Update:  Fellow blogger Preeti Harris actually used this design idea to create an adorable baby quilt. How cool is that?! I felt like Christmas in July!

Here is a sneak peak:

Preeti's Pretty Giraffe Baby Quilt

Head on over to her blog to read Lady Edith rides a Giraffe (how's that for a creative blog post name?!). But be prepared to spend some time there, 'cause you'll find some interesting stuff!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Argyle Pattern with Precuts

Welcome to another quilt tutorial I came up with a while ago.

This time it's for a square argyle with precuts. Let's get to it!

Fabrics Needed

You'll need three fabrics. I think it would look best if you used solids or near solids (marbles, tiny polka dots, very small non-directional prints). I used - what a surprise! - blue, red and black from my Ikea fabric stash for this sample block.

Cutting and Sewing

Cut 2 1/2" WOF (width of fabric) from your blue and red fabrics.
Cut 1" WOF from your black fabric.
If you want to use precuts, get two solid jelly rolls and one solid honey bun. Even though the honey bun is 1 1/2" wide, this would still work for this pattern, as the black strip would still look good a little wider (see finished block further down).

First sew the red and blue strips together lengthwise. Set the seam and press to the dark side. Then cut 2 1/2" pieces crosswise.

Take two of the pieces, flip one over so that if you lay them next to each other it forms a checkerboard. Sew together. The seams will nest nicely and you can chain piece them all! When you press them open, you'll end up with classic 4 patches:

Take two of the 4 patches and lay them next to each other with the same colours touching. Then sew the black strip to the top of them both. Again, you can chain piece all of them. Cut the pieces and press. It doesn't really matter which way, there won't be any more nesting seams.

Take two more 4 patches and sew them on the other side of the black strip. Make sure that the same colours are "neighbours" again.

Now take one of the double 4 patches and sew on a black strip lengthwise. It doesn't really matter on which side, just make sure that you do all your blocks the same way! You can chain piece all of your blocks again. Cut them off and press.

Then add another double 4 patch on the other side. The colours should be "neighbours" again. Press.

And voilĂ , here's your finished block:

Its size is 9" unfinished and 8 1/2" finished.

Tipps and Tricks

  • When you chain piece, make sure you don't chain piece all the pieces. You usually need one half of them to add to the other side of the black strip.
  • Make sure you have music ready, your favourite radio station, audiobook or even TV show, because you'll be sitting there a while just chain piecing and chain piecing and chain piecing...
  • When adding the two sides of the block (or the two quadrants) together, you should make sure that the black cross lines up. Here is how I do it:
Take the piece with the added black strip and with a ruler and your fabric pen, elongate the seams to the edge.

Then measure 1/4" from the top of both sides. You now have 4 points you need to pin: the two intersections of the seams with the orange line on the top and the two orange crosses on the bottom. These are the ones we need to line up with each other.

Take a pin and stick it through the orange cross on the right, then through the orange/seam cross from the unmarked front to the marked back on the other piece. That way your right sides of the fabrics lay on top of each other. Repeat on the other side. These two positioning pins help you hold the fabrics together so you can pin left, right and middle. Before sewing, take out the two positioning pins.

Layout Ideas

You best set your blocks on point, joining them with more black strips like this:

In a finished quilt, it will look like this:
It would make a great baby quilt, maybe with softer colours.
If you want to make the squares bigger, just cut the strips wider. You can also use precuts such as charm packs or layer cakes, but than you might want to do it this way. But I think it is easier to use my strip method, as you have to cut less and also match less.

If you have any questions, just ask!


Friday, 20 June 2014

Arundel Tile Quilt Pattern

Hi there!

Today I'm sharing with you a little tutorial for an Arundel Tile Quilt pattern. It's apparently mostly used in hallways in Victorian homes (there aren't any around where I live unfortunately). Some examples of the tile pattern can be found on the Original Tile and Bathroom site.

So let's cut right to the chase!

Fabrics Needed

You start off with three different solids. I chose a rather classic combination: red, black and white. Firstly, that's because I quite like them. Secondly, well...I often use the cheapest fabric I can find to test out new ideas. And that happens to be Ikea's Ditte fabrics, which are only available in black, white, red and blue. So prepare yourself to see a lot of those colours around here! *lol*

Cutting and Sewing

Cut the white fabric into 6 1/2" squares.
Cut the black and red fabrics into 1 1/2" strips.

Make 4 patches with the black and red strips. I didn't take a picture of that, so here is a very, very short explanation: Sew a black to a red strip lengthwise, press to the black side, cut 1 1/2" pieces from the strip, take two of these, flip one around, lay them right sides together. The seams should nest nicely. Sew them all together, press open (this will make further construction easier). If you're new to this and have never made 4 patches, google it. Many tutorials will pop up.

For one block, you'll need one white square and four 4 patches:

Finger press the 4 patches diagonally.  You can also draw the line with a fabric pen or use your iron to do this. I like it quick and I prefer my fingers to be non-blistery, so I did it by hand. Whichever way is easiest for you, make sure you do them all along the same colour. I chose to fold them along the black squares.

Lay the four 4 patches along the corners of your square and sew them on along the fold line. Again, make sure that all of them point the same way - preferably before sewing them on!

Trim back the edges to 1/4"...

...and press the corners back:

And that's your finished block! Not too tricky, is it?

Tipps and Tricks

Just a few pointers to make your life easier when making this block:

  • I wouldn't make the block smaller, it already gets quiet nibbly with this size 4 patch.
  • If you press the middle seam of the 4 patch open, it is less thick when you're sewing them on. However, you have to actually sew straight over the fattest part of it, so hold tight.
  • Also, sew a little bit to the right of the line (towards the corner), especially in the middle. That way you won't loose your points - hopefully! :P
  • Trim the 4 patches before sewing them on and sew them on as accurately as possible. Otherwise your squares in a square won't line up properly and sewing the blocks together will be very frustrating!
  • Be careful not to distort your fabric when pressing. You might also want to starch your white fabric heavily. This way it is less floppy and will hold the heavy corners and thick seams better.
  • Make sure you use pins when sewing the blocks together (Yeah, I'm not really a fan of the added work either, but I really rather pin than frog!).

Layout Ideas

Here is a simple layout of four blocks:

You don't need them to be on point actually, as the middle naturally appears to be set on point.

I was faced with a triple threat when sewing these blocks together:
  1. I was very excited about the idea and wanted to get it done quickly.
  2. My iron chose this moment to be very stubborn and steamy (That's also the day it got the nickname "McSteamy"!).
  3. I had a serious problem with the tension on my machine and the whole middle seam got crunched together. And I was too lazy to re-do everything...
Oh, well, it was just a test block anyway. So don't you dare look too closely! :P

So that's what four blocks look like. Now let's see how it looks on a bigger scale:

It looks even better with some fancy borders:

Very classy look, don't you think?
If somebody tries it, please let me know how it is going!
All the best,

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Hello and welcome!

Hi everybody out there!

Great that you found your way to my little corner of the www!

I plan to give you a few insights in what I'm up to when I'm being creative. Right now, I'm very much into quilting (and petting fabric, but shush! :D). I like to come up with new (to me, maybe also to you) quilt designs and ideas.I enjoy the process from the original idea, to the actual design, to a viable pattern to the finished quilt.

So hopefully, you will soon find some of my recent ideas and finished quilts on here, sprinkled with a few adventures from my kitchen activities.

Feel free to leave me questions or other comments, I'd love to hear what you think!

Hope you'll enjoy it and hang around!