Monday 23 February 2015

Block 54 - A Blessing

Block 54 - Cupid's Arrow
I love days like today.  It started ordinarily enough – a full schedule of driving other people to appointments whilst I found somewhere warm to wait for them.  But then, something unexpected happened ......... a moment of bliss crept up on me.

I was sat, between appointments, in a warm supermarket cafe drinking coffee and sewing today’s block.   And I realised – I was content – more than content – I felt blessed.  It is surprising what a little bit of fabric and a needle-and-thread can add to a day full of commitments.

Thursday 19 February 2015

Red Elephants Never Forget

Red Elephants Mug Rug Pattern
I’m revisiting some of my early patterns as I create a book collection of animal and pet mug rug patterns.  This week I have been working on the Red Elephants mug rug. 

This pattern was the third mug rug pattern I designed and it came about after my sister, Lea, gave me a little notebook to write my ideas in.  It was this notebook that inspired the Red Elephant mug rug pattern. 
The inspiration behind Red Elephants
Two years later and my pattern making skills have much improved.  So I have updated Red Elephants to reflect this.  The hearts are a little more ‘heart-like’, the template slightly more defined and I have included a ‘print-to-size’ check box on the appliqué sheet.  The mug rug size and cuteness is just as it always was.
The Original 2012 Red Elephants Mug Rug
The original was hand-stitched and I love that soft look hand-stitching gives appliqué.  
Hand-stitched Elephant
But in the interests of balance I remade it this week using machine stitching.  Machine stitching gives it a crisper look and I love this look too.   
Machine-stitched Elephant
Isn’t that a sign of a good pattern – one that suits all sewists and methods?  I hope you enjoy the update. 

p.s.  If you purchased the original Red Elephants pattern then all you need do is re-download it from your Craftsy pattern library.  If you haven’t purchased this mug rug pattern then you’ll be pleased to know, it is available in my Craftsy store for the bargain price of $1.99 - or you could wait for me to complete the new book as this pattern will be included.

Monday 16 February 2015

Block 47 - Trim That Heart

Block 47 - Trim That Heart
As much as I like playing with fabric I also like to play with trim and notions (ribbon, rick-rack, buttons, etc).   And so it is with Block 47.

I created a very simple paper-pieced block which features a band across the heart.  (You can download the free 3" and 4" Band of Hearts template here.)  The band can be embroidered as shown here .....
I used Segoe Script font from Microsoft Work
sized at 32 for the words on this 3" heart.
or it can provide the perfect backdrop for a little bit of trim ....... 
Block 47 - I paper pieced a cream band to lie behind the trim.
So what are you waiting for?   Go play ....... 

p.s. If you are looking for a good use for the 3” heart blocks then check out Simple Striped Accent Pillow pattern by Susie's Sunroom – the accent strip is the perfect size for the 3” block.  I shall be joining in a blog hop at the beginning of March for this versatile pattern so 'watch this space' as they say.

Friday 13 February 2015

Half-Hearted Mug Rug and Block

Half Hearted Mug Rug Pattern
It is odd really – how we start off doing one thing and it leads on to another.  So it was with today’s block, Block 44 'Half Hearted' .......  
Block 44 - Half Hearted
The idea came to me whilst I was paper-piecing Block 43 (Patriotic Heart).  I thought how lovely an appliquéd heart would look using two different fabrics.  And it does look lovely in many different colourways.   
Block 44 in Yellow & Blue
From there it was just a short jump to a new Patchsmith pattern – the Half-Hearted Mug Rug pattern. 
Half Hearted Mug Rug in Yellow & Blue
Which just goes to show that if you do things you love then the ideas will follow. 

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Block-a-Day Block 41 - Diamond Ring

Block 41 - Diamond Ring
Today’s block marks a first for me in two respects.   Firstly (excuse the pun) I created a block from Kumiko Fujita’s “318 Patchwork Patterns” book.  This book is full of delightful little designs that you can copy and enlarge.  Most are then hand-stitched or patchworked.  However, I wanted to keep Kumiko’s block no. 89 at the original size (under 2½”) so I decided to paper-piece it.
Close up of the paper piecing of Block 41
And this brings me onto my second ‘first’ – I converted the patchwork pattern into a paper-pieced pattern.  Thankfully, it was quite a simple pattern to convert due to the limited number of pieces involved.  And the piecing went together really easily too.

I love a bit of glitz and glamour ..... and the odd diamond or two!

p.s. If you're looking for the Hashtag block tutorial - I have added it to the 'Tutorial and Freebies' tab at the top of this page.

Friday 6 February 2015

A Little Hashtag Block

Block 37 - Hashtag Block 
Block 37 on the Block-a-Day (BAD) project brings us to a quick and easy patchwork block – the Patchsmith’s Hashtag Heart.  It is a great way to use up a left-over heart novelty charm square.  Want to know how I did it?  Okay then ........

(4½” is the unfinished size and equates to a 4” finished (sewn in) block) 

Fabric Requirements/Cutting:
Three 1¼” x 3¾” BACKGROUND strips
Four 1” x 3¾” HASHTAG strips
Four 5" x 1” border strips
(All seam allowances are ¼”) 

1.         With right sides  together stitch the three BACKGROUND strips and two of the HASHTAG strips as shown to create a 3¾” square.  Press.
Alternate two HASHTAG strips with the three HEART strips 

2.         Cross cut this square into three 1¼” wide strips.
You should now have three 1¼" x 3¾"  strips

3.         Stitch the three patched strips together with the two remaining 1” x 3¾” HASHTAG strips to create a block measuring 3¾” square.  Press.
Just one more step to create the perfect #Heart Block
4.         Finally stitch 1” border strips all the way around the block.  Press and trim the block to measure 4½”.
Add a 1" border to the block and then trim to size.

And there you have it – the Patchsmith’s Hashtag block.  

Until next time ........

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Block 35 My Cheating Heart

Block 35 - My Cheating Heart
I love a deep, deep heart.  It exudes rustic, country charm.  But this deep heart is a Cheating Heart - so named because it is a cheat on the turned applique method.  Let me share with you my method ......

First I traced a heart shape onto the wrong side of a scrap of fabric before cutting ¼” outside of the traced line.  Next I placed the cut out, right sides together, onto a square of muslin before stitching all the way around on the traced line.
I quick-fused a little heart to the front
before I stitched the heart pieces together.
Then I trimmed 1/8”-1/4” away from the stitched line and carefully snipped into the deep center of the heart, taking care not to cut through the stitching line: 
Snip into the center of the heart and before trimming around the outside
(this one is snipped but not yet trimmed!)
Next, I turned the heart out the right way by cutting a slit in the back with my seam ripper (be careful not to cut through to the front):
Use a seam ripper to make a slit in the back.  It has to be big enough to turn heart through
The heart was turned right side out and pressed (with the help of my trusty chopstick):   
Turned right-side out and pressed.
I added some rustic hand-stitching before slip-stitching the heart in place not thinking that I could have stitched it in place USING the rustic hand-stitching - DOH!!
Even the pins co-ordinate!
This method wouldn’t work for an item that is going to be heavily quilted but it would be great for a pouch, purse or fabric box (ooh, there’s an idea – where’s my Zakka Style book?).
If I replace the leaf with my Cheating Heart I will have a Valentine Box
Of course, I could've just fused the heart onto my block but you never know when a Cheating Heart might come in handy.  Still not convinced?  Pop back soon to see what I mean.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Block 34 - Cluck Cluck Sew-a-Little-Heart

Block 34 - Cluck Cluck Sew Heart
Today’s block for my BAD project (and the ATPSAL February theme) is a 3” patchwork heart design from Cluck Cluck Sew.  Allison, over at Cluck Cluck Sew, has provided measurements for various block sizes ranging from 4” to 10” - you can find them all, together with the tutorial over at Cluck-Cluck-Sew’s blog. 

I wanted a 3” finished block (3½” before borders were added) and thanks to Allison’s clear details it was quite easy to work out that I would need to cut the following:

From HEART fabric two 2” x 3½” rectangles
From BACKGROUND fabric two 2” squares
From BACKGROUND fabric four 7/8” squares (although in all honesty you could cut the small squares to 1” and it won’t make much difference.)

And hey presto another Block is added to my growing BAD collection. 
Yesterday's Block - Block 33 - Love-me-not.
If I can tear myself away from the joy of making little blocks and writing up patterns I might pop back later in the week with a fun tutorial of my own.   

Until then ................

Sunday 1 February 2015

Hearts on both sides of the Pond

Who doesn't love a heart?
In case you hadn’t noticed I love hearts – big hearts, little hearts, patriotic hearts and especially gingerbread hearts.  So I am thrilled that Susie has chosen this classic theme for February’s Across the Pond Sew Along (ATPSAL) project.

I recently enlarged my Valentine Hearts mug rug pattern to create a very pretty table runner for my coffee table.  
You can find out how to enlarge a mug rug pattern in the Mug Rug Basics section (tab above) 
Well Susie has gone the other way and reduced the pattern – making it the perfect fit for her versatile Striped Accent Cushion.  Find out all about it over at Susie’s Sunroom
Susie's Valentine Accent Cushion
And if that is not enough Susie has also made the cutest heart shaped rag wreath.  (Rag wreaths were the ATPSAL project for October but we enjoyed them so much we just can’t stop making them.)  
Susie's Valentine Heart Wreath
Then, to top it all off, Susie got her paper-piecing mojo to make a lip-smacking block.
Susies' Lips - well not her real ones obviously!
On this side of the pond I haven't been nearly as busy but I will be focusing on little hearts and anything to do with LOVE for my Block-a-Day (BAD) project this month.  Yes, this will mean a lot of pink and red but not always – watch out for a couple of surprises.  

To start this month of blocky fun, I have gone pretty-pretty with one of Quilting Works’ free paper-pieced hearts.  This itty-bitty heart measures just 2” square before borders and I think you’ll agree it is as cute as can be.  
Block 32 - Heart 3
I've already made two heart blocks for my Block-a-day project - both from Carol Doak’s wonderful little book "50 Little Paper-Pieced Blocks".  
Block 1 - Heart 1
Block 3 - Heart 2
Expect more hearts throughout the month from many different designers - some patched, some paper-pieced and one or two appliqued via the Patchsmith.  In the meantime if you fancy paper-piecing a heart you really should check out Carol’s tutorial.  She has some free heart patterns on her website which I hope to make very soon. 

Be sure to check back here next week for a Patchsmith appliquéd heart block but in the meantime post any heart blocks or quilts you have made to the Across the Pond Flickr group so we can get inspiration for this month of love!