Friday 28 November 2014

Patchsmith's Christmas Mug Rugs in Paperback

Good news – the Patchsmith’s Christmas Mug Rugs is now available in paperback.

More good news for all USA readers – Amazon are giving a 5% discount on this product – just click Patchsmith’s Christmas Mug Rugs USA (or the picture above) for details.  They also have an extra 30% off any one book up until the end of November 2014 (details on their website).

And if you live in the UK – just click Patchsmith’s Christmas Mug Rugs UK (or the link below).

If you prefer instant availability then you will want the Craftsy PDF edition – available for immediate automatic download from my Craftsy Pattern Store (along with all Patchsmith downloadable patterns).

And remember - the Patchsmith's Christmas Mug Rugs are not just for Christmas - many of the patterns will work all year round.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Relax with Row 3 of the Nordic Mini Quilt Along

Time is in such short supply for everybody but, when you have Thanksgiving and Christmas within a month of each other, the minutes seem to tick by much faster.  But it is still possible to find time for a little bit of pure-pleasure sewing.   If anything, it is essential at this time of the year to find an hour or two – just you and your sewing machine.   
There's still time for some fun with the Crafty Quilter
And the Nordic Mini QAL from the Crafty Quilter is just the thing if you are looking for relaxation in amongst little rows of patchwork pleasure.

Row 1 was a teeny-tiny (under 5") patchwork block .....

Then we gaggled some geese for a chevron row ......

before slicing and dicing a set of on-point patch blocks for row 3 .....

Julie’s method for making the four-patch blocks and getting them to line up perfectly is so easy and foolproof.   

The fabric I have chosen has a touch of grey in it which I am hoping will blend nicely with the grey that is yet-to-come. 

Just one more row before I decide the final order of the rows.  Sew until then .......

Sunday 23 November 2014

A Gaggle of Geese stop by the Nordic Mini Quilt Sew Along

Patchsmith Rows 1 and 2 of the Nordic Mini QAL.
I saw a flock of flying geese heading south over Farlington Marshes yesterday.  And today I have seen another flock of geese sitting on my workdesk – fourteen of them all in a row - row 2 of the Nordic Mini quilt-along is a chevron row of geese.  
Julie provides an excellent tutorial on how to make the geese quickly and easily.  However, I like things quicker and easier, so my geese are 3D flying geese.  It all starts with a goose sandwich.....
One Goose Sandwich
I love this method as I only need stitch one seam per goose. 
A Gaggle of Geese - just one seam each.
And when I’ve pressed the backs I can see clearly where the points are.  
I can see easily where the points are when stitching the blocks together.
This is so helpful for stitching two geese together into one chevron.   
Two geese - one chevron.
We all have our favourite method of gaggling our geese but if you want to give 3D flying geese a go then here is a 3D FLYING GEESE PDF print out to help you on your way. 

I am looking forward to the next row later this week, but for now I must get on with my last two Patchique blocks.   

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

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Nordic Mini Quilt Sew Along

Have you heard?  Julie over at Crafty Quilter is having a little mini sew-along.  Just three weeks and three little rows of Nordic fun.
Crafty Quilter QAL
Week one is an itsy-bitsy patchwork block measuring just 4¾" square when made.
Of course there is red gingham in my version!
I would be lying if I didn’t say that this was a challenging block to make.  It is not the putting together of the patchwork that is tricky but what to do with those seams.   I pressed them to one side, to the other side, open and shut – I pressed them any way I could to get the points as flat as possible. 

I have two tips for you when making this first row.  Firstly don’t use steam to press the seams on such a small block as you will burn yourself.  Use a dry iron or a little quilting iron.  Secondly – don’t go for perfection – it will make the process frustrating.  Expect a little bit of mismatch and remember that the finished product will still look good due to the fabrics you choose and the patterns you make – not the seams that you match!

Three blocks, sewn together with lattice makes a row measuring 14½” x 4¾”.  So how about it?  Are you in? 

Sunday 9 November 2014

Patchiqué Blocks 60 and 121

This is the penultimate pair of blocks as we approach the end of the Patchiqué journey.  Soon it will be time to put all the blocks together, ready for quilting.
Block 60 from Japanese Taupe Quilts
This week's blocks were surprisingly easy.  I say surprisingly because block 60 ‘Yotsume guruma’ (quadruple wheel) uses a template for the patchwork and all triangles are cut on the bias – two of my least favourite ways to construct patchwork.  But it worked really well and the finished block is one of my favourites (you may know this block as Flying Kite).
Patchique Block 60 - Patchsmith Style
To make the finished 9½” block you first create four 5” blocks and then stitch them together.  My block is just shy of 9½” but the sashing should accommodate this small discrepancy.  As I am coming to the end of my fabric stash I had to pick fabrics where I had enough to cut the necessary pieces.  I love making-do and I am very pleased with how this block turned out.

Block 121 from Japanese Taupe Quilts
Next up was block 121 ‘Kaku kuyo’ (translated as nine squares).  This block combines patchwork and appliqué and I patched the block before adding quick-fuse appliqué circles.  Making the block in this way, I had to remember to allow for the block's seam allowance when placing the circles.  

However, the instructions suggest appliquéing the circles onto each patch before sewing the block together.  This is a better way as you can centre the circles without having to take into account seam allowances.  Even so, this is another block I enjoyed as it was very quick and very easy.
Patchique Block 121 - Patchsmith Style 
You will require 2½” diameter circles and I have produced a 2½” circle PDF for you to use.  I traced the circles onto the paper side of my fusible webbing (Bondaweb or Wonder Under) and then fused it to the back of my chosen fabrics.  As you can see I fussy-fused (is that even a term?) to make good use of the fabric print.

Next fortnight will be the last time I post two blocks for this quilt as they will be the last two blocks.  I have chosen patchwork block 38 and appliqué block 104.

Sew until then .............

Thursday 6 November 2014

Snowman Mug Rug Hats and Mittens

What a difference a pair of mitts can make
This summer I was asked if I would do another Christmas pattern and article for the Online Quilting Magazine .  I love this magazine - it's full of useful information - so naturally I jumped at the chance.  And just to make my article a little different from last year, I focused on alternative uses for mug rug patterns.

It was whilst creating the projects for the article that I came up with some little additions to my Snowman Mug Rug – hats and mittens. 
All three snowmen are the same - it is just their attire that has changed.
Now you can dress up your snowman in top hat and mitts .....

..... or bobble hat and mitts .....
Buttons in place of bobbles - time-saving!

One pattern - many different looks.  The alternative headwear and mittens are included with the Snowman Mug Rug pattern when purchased through my Etsy Store.

Until next time .....

Saturday 1 November 2014

Across the Pond for a Good Read

It is that time of year when I just want to curl up on the sofa, warm and cosy with a cup of tea and a good book.  So I was thrilled when Susie picked this month’s Across the Pond sew-along project – BOOKMARKS.  

Quilting and sewing has its roots in the make-do-and-mend era, when every last scrap was put to good use. Susie has embraced this tradition by creating a wonderful little pattern that is created from scraps that we would normally throw away – fabric selvages and zipper trimmings.   
Susie's FREE Selvage Bookmark
As soon as Susie's FREE Selvage Bookmark pattern landed in my inbox I knew I had to make it.  I always have lots of selvages that I save for my Tea-and-Books mug rug so I had all the trimmings to hand. For this project I pulled some of my green selvages.
Half an hour of simple quilt-as-you-go sewing and hey-presto – a super little present to accompany a quilt book for a sewing friend this Christmas.  
I love the little zippered tail - such a cute idea.

But my designer mind wouldn’t leave this month’s theme alone and one morning I woke with a little FREE bookmark pattern all of my own – the Country Heart Bookmark.   
The Country Heart Bookmark available FREE in my Craftsy Store

First I made two in country checks and gingham .....  

Then I decided grey felt always looks nice with a touch of red and another two were made .... 

Which got me thinking it might be quite nice to patch the inner fabric from 2½” squares ...... 

And what about Christmas red  ....... 

Playing with fabric, felt, selvages and trimmings has never been so much fun (or addictive).  You’ve gotta try it.  

And when you are done be sure to post your finished bookmarks to Instagram and tag me in @thepatchsmith so we can all ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ at your creations.  

Until next time.........