Monday, 19 March 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 3 - Watermelon Block

Block 3 - Watermelon

Week 3 of the Patchsmith’s Sampler sew-along introduces quick corner triangles to create a juicy Watermelon Block.

A quick corner triangle is a simple way of adding a contrasting triangle to a corner of fabric,  To make a quick corner you first need to mark a diagonal line onto the WRONG SIDE of a square of fabric. 
I use a Frixion pen to draw lines onto fabric. It disappears when ironed. 

Next place the marked square, right sides together, onto the relevant corner of a rectangle or square according to the pattern. The marked square should be facing up. 
Place the marked squares right sides together onto the rectangle
Stitch along the marked line. Then, using your quilters ruler, trim ¼” away from the stitched line (Be sure to trim ¼” on the outer edge of the stitching as shown.)  
Stitch along the marked line before trimming 1/4" from the stitching

Press the triangle open.  The finished patched rectangle/square should measure the same as the original rectangle or square before you applied the quick corners (you may need to trim it slightly).
Press the corner triangles open to create quick corner triangles
The secret to getting a quick corner triangle right is in the marking and stitching of the diagonal line. Take your time with the marking – make sure the diagonal line goes from corner to corner and stitch along the line.  

The fun thing with quick corner triangles is you can make quick corner triangles on top of a quick corner triangle to create fun patterns. We do this on the bottom two corners of the Watermelon Block.
Layering quick corner triangles on top of each other

It is also the method used when making Block 23 – Stained Glass Cross. 
Block 23 - Stained Glass Cross

If you are new to quick corner triangles the Watermelon Block is a great practise block. Do not worry if your corners are not even – watermelon flesh or rind is never perfectly oval. Just have fun learning this new patchworking technique.
Union Jack Blocks and Runner pattern using Quick Corner Triangles 

Before I go, here is a little appliqueing tip for those watermelon pips.  Once you have fused the pips onto the wrong side of your fabric, and before you have cut them out, slightly peel the top edge of the fusible webbing paper back. 
Peel back top edge of fusible webbing paper
prior to cutting out the pips
Finger press the paper back down and cut the pips out.  Then use the peeled top edge to remove the backing paper from each pip.
Peeling the paper off each pip is easy as you have
the top edge already started

Of course, you may prefer to use buttons instead of applique for the pips .......
If using buttons do not add them until all quilting is completed.

Next week we will be looking at seam pressing with Block 4.  Until then I would love for you to post your Watermelon Blocks over on Instagram (#block3watermelonblock) or in the Flickr Group.  Until then ......  

Monday, 12 March 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 2 - Guiding Star and the HST

Block 2 ‘Guiding Star’ is made up of four 'Friendship Stars'. This block uses 1½" half-square-triangles (HSTs) making it an ideal block for experienced patchers.  However, don’t be put off if you are new to patchwork – I have a helpful tip for making those small HSTs. (Experienced patchers may wish to scroll down to the end of this post for pressing tips for this week's block.)
A Friendship Star Block made using four HSTs

A half-square-triangle (HST) is a square made up of two triangle halves. They are great for creating all sorts of patchwork block patterns so making them to size is a good skill to master.
Nine HSTs come together for this pretty block.

There are many ways to make them but the simplest is to mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of one square of fabric. Lay the marked square, right sides together onto a contrasting fabric square and stitch along the marked line. Finally trim ¼” away from the stitched line and press open to create a HST.
I use a Frixion pen to draw lines onto fabric.
It disappears when ironed. 

However, making small 1½” HSTs can be fiddly so my tip for new quilters is to make the HSTs larger than needed and trim them down to size. (You will need a quilter’s ruler with ¼” or ½” markings, a rotary cutter and a cutting mat.)  

1.         Make a HST using the method detailed above using one 2½” square of background fabric and one 2½” square of contrasting fabric .  The HST should measure approximately 2½” square.  Don’t worry if it doesn't measure exactly 2½” square as we are going to trim it to size.
2.         Position the HST onto the cutting mat so that the seam is aligned with a 45° diagonal marking on the mat and the left-hand edge overlaps slightly one of the vertical lines on your mat.  If your mat doesn’t have 45° markings position the HST as straight as possible onto the mat.
I use a Fiskars small rotating cutting mat for my sampler blocks.

3.         Trim the left-hand side of your HST by lining up the ruler with a vertical line on the cutting mat.  (I trimmed the left-hand side but you can trim either side.)
 Trim one side of the HST using a line on the cutting mat.

4.         Next line up the 1½” line on your ruler (indicated by the arrow below) with the trimmed side and trim the right-hand side. 
The black arrow indicates the 1½" line on the ruler.

5.         The HST is now a rectangle measuring 1½” wide. Turn the rectangle on its side for the next step. 
You no longer need to keep the seam aligned with the 45° mark.

6.         Line up a horizontal line from your ruler the bottom straight edge of the HST as indicated by the black arrow. The cutting edge of the ruler should be positioned at the point where the seam meets the cutting board as indicated by the red arrow.  Trim as shown.
The black arrow shows the bottom edge aligned with the ruler.
The red arrow shows the point where the HST seam meets the cutting board.

7.         Finally turn the HST a half turn and line up the ruler as you did at step 5 so that the cutting edge is at the point where the seam meets the cutting board (as indicated by the black arrow) and the 1½” line on the ruler aligns with the left-hand side of the HST as indicated by the red arrow.
The red arrow shows the side edge aligned with the 1½" line on the ruler.
The black arrow shows the point where the HST seam meets the cutting board.

8.         Make that final cut to create a HST measuring 1½” square.
A perfect  1½" HST.

Before I finish just a quick tip for pressing the seams for this block.......

In the book I have recommended seam pressing for the individual Friendship Stars as shown below. This helps with seam matching and reducing bulk.   

However, when putting the four Friendship Stars together to create the Guiding Star block you will find it easier if you press the seams of the top right and the bottom left Friendship Stars in the opposite direction to that shown above.  You will then be able to nest the seams.  Alternatively you could press all seams open.

Pretty in pastels.

Next week is the turn of the mouth watering Watermelon block when I shall introduce quick corner triangles. Until then don't forget to post your block photos over on Instagram (#block2guidingstar) or in the Flickr Group.  Until then ......  

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Blocks Book Correction (PDF Version)


There is so much information in The Patchsmith’s Sampler Blocks book that a small amendment was almost inevitable.  For all those who purchased prior to midday today, March 7th 2018 you can download the updated version from your Craftsy pattern library.  To purchasers from midday March 7th 2018 - the book is correct.

You do not need to reprint the whole book.  The changes affect just two pages – page 52 and page 54.
The updated version includes a small change to Block 45 (St Louis Star) on page 52.  The diagram is correct but the instructions for paragraph 4 now read “place a marked (E) background square onto the top left-hand corner.”

Block 47 - Counterpane.  (Diagrams and cutting are all correct.
However, the letter sequencing in the directions is incorrect.)
The other change is to Block 47 (Counterpane) on page 54.  The cutting sequence and diagrams for this block are correct.  However, the letter sequencing throughout the instructions on this page in the earlier version were incorrect.  They have now been corrected.

Thank you for your patience.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 1 - Brick Wall

Block 1 - Brick Wall
Welcome to the first block in The Patchsmith’s Sampler sew-along and it is a nice easy block to start. 

Stitching a block-a-week throughout 2018

Block 1 ‘Brick Wall’ requires no seam matching and it doesn't even matter which way you press your seams!

Building your Brick Wall is very simple – two different rows combine to make a 6” (finished size) block.  
Block 1 is a great scrap buster block.

Resizing the block is easy too. Just add more rows of bricks, staggering each row.

Tip:    To make a 12" Brick Wall block using bigger bricks cut the A rectangles 4½" x 2½" each and the B squares 2½" each.

This block is a great filler allowing you to turn those fabric scraps into a useful patchwork block.  And there may be times when only a rectangle block will do as I found out recently in the Bee Happy sew-along.  
I replaced an embroidered part of the Bee Happy quilt with a gingham Brick Road.

So there you are – a nice easy Block from The Patchsmith’s Sampler Quilt Blocks pattern book
Just $12.99 (PDF Format)

I would love to see your blocks over on Instagram (#block1brickwall). I have also set up a Flickr group where you can post your block photos, meet and make friends and just hang out. Feel free to ask a question in the Flickr group or below.  
Moonlit Cat Mug Rug Pattern - the inspiration for Block 1

Next week I will show you cheat for making little half-square triangles for Block 2 ‘Guiding Star’.  

Until then .......

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Printing The Patchsmith's Sampler Blocks book

Once you’ve purchased The Patchsmith’s Sampler Blocks pattern book the very first thing you should do is download the book and save it to your computer.   It is important that you open the pattern from the saved copy on your computer as this pattern will open in your PDF reader.
Tip:  To view and print PDF files you will need Adobe reader which can be downloaded free from Adobe.   (Alternatively you can use a different PDF reader.) 

Next you need to decide whether you want to print the whole book or just the block you want to work on.     

If you like to work from a paper copy you could go ahead and print the whole book (there are seventy-one pages including the front sheet and applique sheets - that's a lot of pages so make sure you have enough ink and paper before starting).
Your screen may look slightly different.
1.         Click on the print icon on the bar at the top of the screen which will bring up the ‘print’ screen (you can also press the ‘Ctrl’ and ‘p’ keys at the same time);
2.         Make sure ‘all’ is selected in the ‘pages to print’ section.
3.         Check the 'Actual size' box in the 'Page size' section to ensure the applique sheets print to the correct size.  If you're not using Adobe this may be referred to as ‘scaling’ in which case you should select ‘none’.
That's it – you now have a hard copy.  

If you are quite happy to work from the screen you may just want to print the applique pages.  
All the applique templates can be found on pages 59-67
4.         Select ’59-67’ in the ‘pages to print’ section;
5.         Make sure you select ‘Actual size’ in the ‘page size' section.  If you not using Adobe this may be referred to as ‘scaling’ in which case you should select ‘none’.  Once printed you can use the print check boxes on each applique page to ensure the applique templates print to the correct size.  

If you don’t want to print the complete book at this stage (you may not have enough ink or you may only want one or two specific blocks for a project) you can select just the block pattern pages that you want: 
I am printing pages 8-10 - enough for Blocks 1, 2, 3 and 4

Tip:   You will find the page numbers for each block in the 'Contents' section of the book (pages 4 and 5).

Whether working from the screen or from a printed copy I hope you enjoy the many blocks in the book.  To see them all just click on the 'Patchsmith Sampler Blocks' tab at the top of the page.   I shall be showcasing the first block 'Brick Wall' on Monday 5th March 2018. 

Until then .........

Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Patchsmith's Sampler Block Patterns

Here it is – The Patchsmith’s Sampler Quilt Blocks - a book chock full of fifty fun 6” block patterns.  The book is available in PDF format only at present (the paperback will be out in a couple of months).  BUT ..... this is so much more than a book – it is a year of fabric fun with me, the Patchsmith.

Just a selection of The Patchsmith's Sampler blocks

Each week I will be focussing on one block from the book (yep – I shall start at Block 1 and work through them in order).  There are forty-three patchwork blocks and seven applique blocks – so something for everything.

Some of the blocks are really easy (such as Block 32 – 'Chunky Log Cabin'). 
Block 32 - Chunky Log Cabin

Whilst others, such as Block 43 - 'Chain Link' are a little more tricky.  But don’t worry – I will be here to help you with hints and tips every week from 4th March throughout 2018.   
Block 43 - Chain Link

(If you can’t sew along with me you can still access the hints and tips for the blocks by clicking on the ‘Patchsmith Sampler Blocks’ tab at the top of this page but they will only appear as I sew each block so check back regularly.)

This is a great book for honing your patchwork and applique skills – and the really good news is you can use whatever fabrics you have to hand – after all elephants don’t have to be grey – who wouldn’t love a ‘pink elephant’ or two?
Block 37 - Elephant
So what are you waiting for – The Patchsmith’s Sampler Quilt Blocks pattern book is only $12.99 for fifty really fun patterns that you can download immediately.  Just pop over to Craftsy and download it.  (Don’t forget to save it to your computer and ALWAYS work from the saved file – this applies to any PDF patternyou download – not just mine.) 

Block 1 - Brick Wall
You have a whole week to buy The Patchsmith's Sampler Quilt Blocks book and select some fabric scraps for the very first block - Block 1 – Brick Wall if you want to sew-along with me.  This first block is a great filler block for any quilt, runner or project – but more on that on Monday 5th March.

In the meantime check my hints and tips for printing Patchsmith pattern books.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Valentine Day Connection

English Rose Mug Rug
February is the month of love which is great fun.  

However, there are many people who do not have a romantic connection, such as single parents, newly divorced, widowed or separated or those who choose a life on their own.
Heart Sidebar from my One Block Book

This year, I am suggesting we connect with somebody new by giving a handmade gift to a colleague, relative or neighbour who might not otherwise receive a Valentine treat.  Giving a mug rug is such a great way of doing this.

Ladybird Mug Rug

I have many great designs which are perfect for gifting on Valentine’s Day - not all of them include hearts - such as:

Half-Hearted Mug Rug

Hexden Mug Rug

Use my Mug Rug Alphabet 

Heart Banner Mug Rug

Love Hearts Mug Rug

Russian Doll Mug Rug

Whales Mug Rug

Tea and Cake Mug Rug

All these patterns are just $1.99 from my Craftsy store.  

However, if pennies are in short supply then how about making a small bookmark.  The pattern is a free download, is very quick and easy and you can find it by clicking on the photo below. 
Country Hearts Bookmark FREE Pattern

So join with me today and make a gift of love for somebody who may need some love in their lives right now.  You can always give the gift anonymously by leaving it on a workfriend’s desk or posting it through their door with a little note.