Monday 28 May 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 13 - Slice and Dice

Block 13 - Slice and Dice

This week brings us to an unusual block - Block 13 'Slice and Dice'.  The most important thing about this block is NOT TO TRIM IT UNTIL IT IS COMPLETE.   I use the slice-and-dice method for many different patchwork blocks and we will come across it again for Block 41 – Checkerboard.
Slicing and dicing makes quick work of Block 41

But back to this week's block.  Firstly you need to cut an A strip from two different fabrics and two background strips.  When choosing fabrics remember that the A fabrics will be alongside each other so try to make them contrasting. 
Use two different fabrics for your A strips

The first step requires you to stitch a B background strip to each of the A strips.  Press the seams open. 
Join a background strip to each A strip.
Then we make our first slice by cutting each of the A/B units in half to create four 4” squares.
Four 4" squares

On the back of two identical squares mark a diagonal line making sure the diagonal line runs the same way on both squares.

Place the marked square, right-sides together onto an unmarked square so that the B background fabric lies against the A fabric as shown.  
The B strips should lie against the A strips as shown.

Stitch a scant ¼” either side of the marked line.  Slice along the marked line and press open to create four units that look like this ....
Your spliced squares may be mishapened but DO NOT TRIM.

Each unit should measure at least 3½” but DO NOT TRIM THEM.  This is very important.

Arrange the four blocks as shown in the book and stitch them together.  Press.  Now you can trim the block to size.   (I used a very scant ¼” when stitching along the diagonal so I had a fair amount to trim.)  
NOW YOU CAN TRIM - once the block is complete. 

I think you will agree, a tricky block but well worth the effort.
A very pretty 6½ Slice & Dice block
I look forward to seeing your Slice & Dice blocks over on Instagram (#block13sliceanddice) and in the Flickr Group. 

Monday 21 May 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 12 - Schoolhouse

Block 12 - Schoolhouse
We are going back to school for this week’s sew-along block – the Schoolhouse.

This block is available in my Sampler Block pattern book providing instructions for the 6” block . 
The Schoolhouse Block Pattern

The Schoolhouse block looks difficult but it really isn’t – the only tricky bits are the flying geese ‘pitched’ roofs above the bell tower and above the door. But a flying geese unit is just two quick corners which we  first met with the Watermelon block.

Geometric prints make up the Math Schoolhouse

Making the flying geese isn’t hard but you need to pay attention when stitching the roof onto the house so that you don’t lose the point of the pitched roof.  
Pitching the roof
The best way to do this is to place the two sections right sides together with the the bottom part of the house on top.  This will help you see where the point of the pitched roof is. (Try it and you’ll see what I mean).

So pull out those fun fabrics and have a play around - you can use any building materials you like - from checks to florals to plains. 
And don’t forget to share your blocks with us on Instagram (#block12schoolhouse) and in the Flickr Group. 

Until next time .....

Monday 14 May 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 11 - Buttons and Spools

This week’s block from the Patchsmith’s Sampler pattern book is the Block 11 – “Buttons and Spools”.  It looks a little unbalanced when made due to the seam allowances but don't worry - once it is stitched into a project or quilt it will look perfect.

I would rate this block as 'difficult' and suitable for experienced patchers as you are dealing with small pieces of fabric.  However, if you are new to patchwork I have two larger blocks to share with you - either of which can be used in place of the trickier Block 11.

If  ‘Spools’ are your thing then you can substitute a Large Spool Block for Block 11.
Large Spools are easier and you can have fun with the thread section

To make a Large Spool block you will need to cut the pattern pieces as follows:
A – Two 6½” x 2” rectangles (spool fabric)
B – One 3½” square (thread fabric)
C – Two 2 x 3½” background rectangles
D – Four 2” background squares.

You can add an extra touch by constructing the thread square (piece B) from three 3½” x 1½” strips of fabric as I did for the large yellow spool.
Create a fun three-thread middle for the Large Spool Block

Or you could go one step further and stitch six 3½” x 1” strips together to create a more detailed thread square (piece B).
It really is quite simple to add interest to the Large Spool block.

Whichever thread option you choose, just follow the ‘Spool Block’ instructions for Block 11 and you should end up with a Large Spool block measuring 6½” square. 

When it comes to the ‘Buttons’ for Block 11 you will find that the construction is made a tad easier using my stitch-and-slice method for making the buttonholes.  Even so, the small buttonholes finish at just ¼” each.  
Those small buttonholes measure just ¼” each!

So if you are new to patchwork or your ¼” seams are not quite there yet I would recommend making a Large Button Block instead. 

To make the Large Button Block you will need to cut your pieces as follows:
E – Two 1¼” x 2½” black (buttonhole) rectangles
F – Two 1” x 2½” rectangles (button fabric)
G – Two 2½” squares (button fabric)
H – Two 6½” x 2½” rectangles (button fabric)
J –  Four 2¼” background squares.   

Follow step 4 of the pattern to create a buttonhole unit measuring 2½” square.  Cut this unit in half to create two buttonhole units each measuring 1¼” x 2½”.  Follow step 5 to create the middle buttonhole section measuring 2½” square.  
The 'large' buttonhole unit should measure 2½" square
Continue with the pattern to make a Large Button Block which measures 6½" square once step 8 is completed.

And as an extra bonus if you make two Large Spool and two Large Button blocks.....
Four Large Blocks come together can stitch them together to create one big 12" (finished size) Buttons and Spools block.  Now that really is an awful lot of fun to be had from one little block pattern.
A 12" Buttons and Spools Block.
You can find all the blocks from the book HERE or by clicking on the tab at the top of the page.  

UntiI next time I look forward to seeing your blocks on Instagram (block11buttonsandspools) or in the Flickr Group.  

Thursday 10 May 2018

Sampler Quilt Block Mug Rugs

Block 10 - Boxed In

The Patchsmith's Sampler Blocks aren't just for quilts – they can be used in all sorts of projects and a mug rug is the perfect little project for trying out a new sampler block.
You can trial a collection of fabrics, a new piecing technique or a new quilting/binding technique before embarking on a larger quilt. 
And did I mention that mug rugs are great fun to make?

Monday 7 May 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 10 - Boxed In

Block 10 - Boxed In

Another week and another easy block – ‘Boxed In’. Block 10 is quick, easy and very versatile.

This block was designed to represent a center square 'boxed in' by three frames. And it looks good made up this week - you can use the tutorial from Block 5 to fussy cut the middle as I have done if you wish.
Boxing in a small motif

But I did say it was versatile - block 10 can easily become a Courthouse Steps block by cutting pieces B, D and F from fabrics from one colourway and pieces C, E and G from fabric in another colourway. 
Block 10 - Boxed In Courthouse Steps

Find out how I combined Block 10 with Blossom Heart's lovely Kokeshi doll paper-pieced pattern to create a very pretty mug rug HERE.
Blossom Heart Patterns Kokeshi Doll Pattern

And come back next week when I will have two bonus blocks for you as we make Block 11 - Buttons and Spools.
Block 11 - Large Button (bonus block)

You can find all the blocks from the book HERE or by clicking on the tab at the top of the page.  

UntiI next time I look forward to seeing your blocks on Instagram (block10boxedin) or in the Flickr Group.