Friday 28 February 2014

Across the Pond for a free Shamrock Pattern
I love the first of the month – there are so many wonderful things to do and a whole month spread out in which to do them.  And March has a couple of extra special days in it.  At the end of the month it is Mother’s Day here in the UK - - but more about that next week.  First though there is St. Patrick’s Day. 

Celebrated on the 17th March, St Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland.  Not so here in England but London marks the day with a HUGE parade and celebration in Trafalgar Square on the Sunday before.
Click HERE to find out more about the London celebrations
But don’t worry if you can’t get there.  You can still celebrate because the Across-the-Pond-sew-along group has chosen Shamrocks for this month’s theme.  Pop over to Susie’s Sunroom to find ideas and suggestions on how to create a quilted celebration (St. Patrick’s Day is a huge day in America too) - like this free Irish block-of-the-month by McCall's.
McCall's have 12 delicious FREE Irish blocks
And I have a treat for you too . . . a free Shamrock Coaster pattern – the perfect resting place for your warming Irish Coffee or that pint of Guinness.
This patchwork jewel of a pattern uses flying geese blocks to mimic a luscious, crisp shamrock.  The pattern includes two methods for making the flying geese together with colour diagrams and easy-to-follow instructions. 

Come on-board and join hands 'Across the Pond' as we bring the seasons and celebrations into our homes through stitching, quilting and patchwork.  And if you should find yourself with time to make a trinket or two then please share a photo with us over at the Flickr group. 
Sew until next time .......

Sunday 16 February 2014

Patchiqué Week 10 – Blocks 17 and 84
I have been working on the layout design for the finished Patchiqué bed quilt and I will publish it shortly.  But until then it is onwards along the Patchiqué trail.

Block 17 from Japanese Taupe Quilts
This week’s patchwork block is Block 17 ‘Kasuri taikaku’ (translated as Kasuri diagonal).   Kasuri is a Japanese fabric that uses dye to create pattern.  Susan Briscoe has rated this block as 'easy' and I agree although it is not a block I would recommend for a beginner patcher.
Patchiqué Block 17 - Patchsmith Style
I took it slowly, used a scant ¼” on ALL seams and the block went relatively well.  It worked so well that it measures exactly 9½” and didn’t need any trimming.  My handwritten note in the book reads ‘nice, neat block’ and so it is.

The appliqué block, Block 84 ‘Yamabuki’ (Kerria rose) was also a very simple block to put together using quick fuse appliqué. 

Block 84 from Japanese Taupe Quilts
The templates are to size for quick fuse applique but it does use quite a lot of fusible webbing.  In order to cut this down (it is so, so expensive) I cut out the middle section from the fusible webbing tracing of the largest circular template and used it for the small centre template.  What I also found a little surprising was how difficult it was to cut so many curves accurately.
Patchiqué Block 84 - Patchsmith Style
I fussy cut the centre section and, unlike the traditional yellow Japanese rose, I have created a rare raspberry pink flower.  The pattern in the book includes additional stitching but I have left it plain so that feature quilting can be added later on.   

So nothing much to report on the trail this weekend – no tigers or bears - just another two blocks - making twenty Patchiqué blocks to date.  I laid them out to see how they would go together and I was pleasantly surprised by the prettiness of this quilt.  The addition of sashing and posts will bring the whole thing together but more about that next time.

Sew until next fortnight  when I will be stitching Blocks 16 and 94 .....

Monday 10 February 2014

Sochi 2014 Mug Rugs

The Winter Olympics are underway in Sochi.  And just in case you find a spare hour between events, for a little sewing, I thought I'd share some of my mug rug patterns that are in keeping with the games (just click on the pictures to find out more about the patterns).
Winter Dove Mug Rug
Peace, hope and unity in one little mini quilt
Russian Doll Mug Rug
The theme of the Sochi Olympics is Russian Art -
nothing says it quite like a Matryoshka doll.
Union Jack Mug Rug
for Jenny Jones and the British Team
Stars and Stripes Mug Rug
for Sage Kotsenburg and the American Team

Flag Holidays (from Special Days Pattern Booklet)
Can be made in your own country's colours
for all of the 87 nations participating in the Winter Games

Or perhaps you prefer a reminder that there’s no place like home as we curl up in the warm to watch the wonder that is the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Winter Home
Wherever you are, whatever your sport, whoever you cheer - enjoy!

Special Days Booklet Update

I have updated pages 14 and 15 of this booklet on CRAFTSY today (House and Home Appliqué Sheets).  The print-check box on these two pages has been corrected – the appliqué templates themselves are unchanged and to the correct size. 
All other pages are unchanged.
This update only applies to purchases made prior to 10th February 2014. 

Sunday 9 February 2014

Sew Alongs for 2014

Have you heard?  January and February are the busiest months ever for sew-alongs (no real surprise there).  And there are plenty to be had.  Here are just a few of my favourites (click on the picture to find out more):
Wishes Sew Along
(FREE although a donation to the Make-a-Wish foundation wouldn't go amiss.
This is my February block by-the-way.)
Debbie Mumm's 2014 Block of the Month (FREE)
Civil War Threads of Memory BOM 2014
(FREE - perfect if you like a dose of history with your patchwork)
Sugar Block Club 2014
(Small Charge but perfect if you like a dose of cake with your patchwork!)
Don't Call Me Betsy's Block Club 2014
(Small charge - paper-piecing at its best)
And if you can’t commit just now then how about a beautiful blue-and-white mystery quilt block.  There is a charge but it is very reasonable as it includes fabric, pattern and postage.  It doesn't start until June but be warned - they often stop subscriptions in February or March due to demand.
Fat Quarter Shop Mystery Block 2014
I am working my way through the Quilty Fun sew along which started in 2013.  I am a little bored of stitching small squares onto corners of fabric but when they turn out as lovely as this week’s Tulip block it is all worth it.

Sew there you have it - a few projects to get you thinking.  If they all seem like too much commitment then jump aboard the Across the Pond Sew Along - it is very relaxed - you don't even have to make anything as you can sit in the 'crows-nest' and keep a look-out at all the projects made by other members.  Find out more by clicking on the tab above.

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

Sunday 2 February 2014

Patchiqué Blocks 24 and 69

This week I found myself with two blocks that looked interesting but didn’t turn out that way.  Firstly the patched Block 24 ‘Hira izutsu ni kugi’ (translated as ‘flat well curb nail’ - which might as well be Japanese because I still haven't got a clue!).
Block 24 from Japanese Taupe Quilts
The book constructs the center square unit of Block 24 using triangles and trapezoids (templates provided in the book).  But I hate sewing fabric cut on the diagonal so instead I made four half-square-triangles from two green and two beige 3½” squares before trimming them to 3”. 
I then placed a 1¾” green square on the inner corner of each block (right sides together) and stitched across the diagonal. 
The corner square was then trimmed and pressed to create the middle block.   It was quick and painless and I'm pleased with how it turned out.  But if I'm honest it was a little dull to make - I'm not sure why as it went together well and all the seams matched up.
Patchiqué Block 24 - Patchsmith Style
As for the appliqué block – Block 69 ‘Kawari kazaguruma’ (translation ‘Windmill variation’) – this was a fiddly block to make and I didn’t enjoy it at all. 
Block 69 from Japanese Taupe Quilts
Susan has rated it as ‘easy’ in the book using the turned-appliqué method.  She is either a glutton for punishment or very, very skilled (I would go with the latter looking at her work).  I would rate this block a medium difficulty and that is using quick-fuse appliqué. 

Note, if using fusible webbing - the measurements given include a ¼” for turned appliqué so you need to deduct ½” from each of the squares with the smallest square cut at just ½”.  Thankfully the placement of the pieces was easy enough once the background square has the vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines marked.
Patchiqué Block 69 - Patchsmith Style
The block looks better in real life and reminds me of a snowflake but it was not enjoyable to make and my handwritten notes in the book read “awful, fiddly and not worth it”.  It is something of nothing - maybe it is the fabric I chose - I don't know but it is not one I intend to make again so it stays.  But be warned - you need to be fairly patient making this block, whatever appliqué method you use. 

So there you have it.  Another two blocks on the Patchiqué trail.  Check out the Flickr group for some of the other blocks.   Some of them would make a great table runner if you are joining in with the Across the Pond Sew Along this month.

Until next time ......

Saturday 1 February 2014

Valentine Table Runners

Across the Pond Sew Along
Are you all ready for the Across the Pond Sew Along this month? For all you new members, welcome.  This is a very relaxed sew-along where Susie, Amy and I share free patterns and cool ideas from around the globe.  We try to make one or two of the free patterns each month and hope you will find time to join us. 

The theme for February 2014 is table runners – old and new.  But we are not just talking table runners – we are including  table toppers and placemats as well.    Susie has created a very versatile Fussy Cut table runner tutorial over at Susie’s Sunroom.
Susie's Free Table Runner Tutorial
I on the other hand, have chosen a Valentine selection of my favourite HEART table runner and topper patterns (just click on the pattern title and it will open a new page to the free pattern or tutorial).
Simply Hearts by Cottage Quilt Designs
Huggable Hearts by the Fat Quarter Shop
McCalls Heart Block 
Hearts A Flutter by the Little Lady Patchwork
Flirtatious Hearts by the Crafty Quilter
And here is one I made earlier – a long time earlier.  It is my Country Stars (and Hearts) table runner.  I thought you might like the pattern!
Country Stars (and hearts)  by the Patchsmith
So pop on over to the Flickr group and show us your favourite table quilt – no matter how big or small, old or new.  After all, we’re all friends here - no matter what side of the pond we are on!