Saturday 24 December 2022

Have a Happy Christmas

 Sending you Christmas wishes across the globe ….

… and wishing you peace and happiness for

the year ahead.

Friday 21 October 2022

Ghostly Coaster

Ghostly Coaster

Life is busy - I get it.  Even a mug rug just isn't possible - no problem.  But a coaster which can be stitched on the machine and finished by hand - eerily possible.  And here is how using The Patchsmith's Ghostly Duo mug rug pattern (also available in the Halloween & Thanksgiving pattern book) .......

1.   First - choose your fabric (the hardest part of any task for me!).  For each Ghostly coaster you will need:
                   One 6" square
                   Two 3½" x 6" rectangles
                   One 6" square of lightweight batting/wadding
                   One 6" square of fusible webbing
                   Fabric for your ghost 
                  Ghostly Duo mug rug pattern 

(Tip:  I cut my ghosts from an old white linen table cloth as it is a bit thicker than quilting fabric and I know it will wash well.  Felt also works well as it stops the background showing through.)

2.  Fold under 1/4" along the 6” edge of one of the rectangles of fabric as shown and press.

3.  Applique a ghost onto the center of the 6” fabric square following the instructions in the pattern.  Place lightweight batting behind the appliqued square and quilt around the ghost. 
4.  Next lay the two backing rectangles right sides facing upwards, so that the rectangle with the folded edge overlaps the other rectangle slightly, creating a 6” square (the folded edge should lie on top).

5.  Place the appliqu├ęd ghost square on top – right side facing downwards.  Pin to secure.
You should be able to see the quilted line quite easily.  

6.  Now stitch all the way around the ghost, approximately ½” outside of the quilted line.  Accuracy is not essential and smooth corners will work better than pointy ones. 

7.  Once you have stitched all the way around - trim all layers approximately ¼” from the outline stitching.  Take care not to snip any stitches.

8.  Turning out is simple because of the overlapping back.  

(I run my Clover Turner all along the inside of the seam to ensure it is fully turned out.) 
Pink Ghostly Coaster
9.  Give the ghoulish coaster a good pressing and slip-stitch the envelope back closed. 

Easy?  You bet.  So much so you could whip up a whole gang of ghoulish ghosts for your children, nephews, nieces, grandchildren and ... oh yes, yourself.  This method would also work well for other shapes.
Perfect for those Halloween cocktails
And if you would prefer a book of Halloween mug rug patterns you will find a paperback version on Amazon or a PDF version in my Etsy store

Halloween & Thanksgiving Mug Rug Booklet

Until next time ..... enjoy the Halloween fun and games and keep safe.

Monday 10 October 2022

Christmas Mug Rugs Paperback edition - REDUCED FOR A LIMITED TIME

 Amazon have reduced my 


in Great Britain and parts of Europe.

Click on the picture to grab yourself a copy 
before it reverts back to its normal price (which is still a bargain).  

All these patterns in one handy paperback book.

Thursday 8 September 2022

Scrappy September - Free 6" Paper-Pieced String Block Template

A quick and easy Autumn table runner

The Fat Quarter Shop is hosting a Scrappy September giveaway with free scrap happy block patterns and the chance to win a Fat Quarter Shop token.  So I thought I would join in.

I like to make small projects so I am using my scraps to make an autumnal table runner for my coffee table.  And here is how I did it.

A large scrappy pumpkin block

Firstly, you will need two 12" (finished size) pumpkin blocks of your choosing.  I chose to enlarge the 6" Orange Pumpkin block from my Sampler Quilt Block pattern book - if you want to resize the block from my book you will need to cut the block pieces as follows:

Piece A:         2½” x 10½” rectangles
Piece B:         2” x 2½” rectangle
Piece C:         2½” squares
Piece D:         3¾” x 2½”  rectangles
Piece E:         2½” squares
Piece F:         2” squares  

You will also need six 6" String Blocks (finished size). 
I have creased a FREE Paper-Pieced String Block Template which you can download by clicking on the image below.  Just print it onto ordinary printer paper or trace it onto baking parchment.  There are lots of tutorials and videos online showing how to paper-piece if you are new to this method.

The Patchsmith's 6" String Block Template

I  decided to keep my colour palette to autumnal greens and browns for this project.

You will need six string blocks for the runner

Then it was a simple case of putting the blocks together starting with stitching four of the string blocks together to create one large 12½" central string block.  You don't need to match seams but you can if you want.

One large block of scrappy strings

To make the side sections of the runner I stitched the two remaining 6" string blocks together to create one string rectangle measuring 6½ x 12½". 

Which I then cut in half lengthwise to create two 3¼” x 12½" rectangles.

Next I flipped one of the rectangles so the sidebars were a mirror image of each other.  

The finished table runner top measures 42" x 12½" and is all ready for quilting and binding. .

I love bringing the seasons into my home.

Even if you don't want to make a runner, it is worth putting together some scrappy blocks and posting them on Instagram with the hashtag #FQSScrappySeptember for a chance to win one of three $25 FQS tokens.  

And of course, tag me #thepatchsmith so I can see all your lovely scrapilicious blocks too.  Until next time .......

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Whales and Flying Geese

Sometimes it just takes a little addition to turn a mug rug into a slightly bigger mini quilt.  Here I have  added a rainbow of flying geese to the Whales mug rug pattern from my Animal and Pets pattern book.

The Whales Mug Rug pattern is also available from Etsy.

But these aren't just any flying geese - these are 3D Flying Geese which are super easy and super quick to make.

A rainbow of flying geese.

The 3D flying geese block requires only one seam and because of this, it is really easy to match up the geese without sewing off the point.  There is a very good You Tube tutorial  
showing how to make them but here is a basic run-through of the process for those who prefer a paper copy (click HERE for a PDF print out): 

(makes one goose measuring 2½” x 1½” raw/2” x 1” sewn in)

Cut one goose rectangle measuring 2½” x 1½”.
Cut two background squares measuring 1½”. 
Fold the goose rectangle in half with wrong sides together.  Finger press (do not press with an iron). 

You will now layer the goose between the two background squares as follows:

Lay one background square right side facing up.  Lay the folded goose rectangle on top with the raw edges lined up with the top of the background square as shown. 

Note the folded goose block is slightly shorter than the background square so you should have ¼” excess background square showing at the bottom. 
Next place the other background square on top of the goose, right side facing down so that it overlaps the bottom background square completely. 
In effect, you have a goose sandwich!

You stitch the unit together down one side of the sandwich as shown. 
Open up the sandwich so that the goose lies evenly on the front of the two background squares and press. 
Hey presto – one flying goose (measuring 2½” x 1½”). 

You can batch make a whole gaggle of flying geese using this method and when you come to stitch them together you will be able to see clearly where the tip of the goose is so there is no risk of losing your points!

So there you have it.  You can make the geese any size you like – fat, thin, long, short.  Play around and have fun.  But here are some measurements to get you started:
Goose            Cutting Sizes

2” x 1”             Cut one 2½” x 1½” goose and two 1½” background squares

4” x 2”             Cut one 4½” x 2½” goose and two 2½” background squares

5” x 2½”          Cut one 5½” x 3” goose and two 3” background squares 

6” x 3”             Cut one 6½” x 3½” goose and two 3½” background squares

Try it out and turn a little bit of fabric fun into a row of your own flying geese.  Or do as I have done and  add a row to any mug rug pattern of your choosing.  

Until next time .....

Monday 13 June 2022

Farmhouse Stars in Circles in Squares

Stars in Circles

This week in the Farmhouse Star Quilt SAL we start to applique the stars to circles and the circles to squares - and I am so glad I am using the quick fuse applique method.

Using Lori’s interfacing method you will sew each star/circle twice (once to the interfacing and the second time affixing it to the background).  With 55 stars and 15 circles - that's a lot of sewing.   However, with quick fuse applique you only need to sew once – half the sewing and a whole lot quicker.

The Pattern is available from The Fat Quarter Shop

Firstly, I replaced the recommended Lori Holt circular rulers with items from my kitchen saving myself quite a few pennies.  

No need for circular ruler - just scurry through your kitchen cupboards

And whilst we are talking circles – I would recommend you cut the circles ½” bigger than stated in the pattern, so that you can fit the stars into them (the circles will still fit onto the background squares).  Otherwise you will struggle to get the stars to fit neatly into the circle.  

You can trace and cut three circles in one by tracing the largest circle first (in this case 12½”) then trace a middling (10½”) circle inside it and finally trace a smaller (8½”) circle inside that as shown:

I cut all three circles ½" larger than the pattern stated

Then cut out each circle roughly (not along the traced lines) so that the circles became rings of fusible webbing, each measuring approximately 1” wide.  You will be left with a large inner circle of fusible webbing that can be used for some of the points/pentagons.

Circles become rings with a little extra in the middle

Then it is a simple case of fusing the rings to the back of your chosen fabrics .....

Three rings ready to morph into three circles

...... before cutting out each circle accurately along the traced line.

Ready for a star turn!

If following the pattern repeat this process four more times.  However, you will still need to cut two further 12½” circles but you can do so by creating a single ring of fusible webbing.  That way you can use the middle cut outs for the points and pentagons.  

A single large ring.

Next fuse the circles onto the background squares .  

A circle in a square - but where is the star?

And from thereon in it is a case of tracing and fusing the 
the stars and pentagons as detailed in the first post of this sew-along.  

Easy quick fused stars

Just remember to keep the backing paper on the pentagon until you have positioned points into place.  When I lift the paper-backed pentagon off it looks like this: 

It is looking a little messy right now ....

But all that untidiness is hidden again after I have fused the pentagon on top.

A star in a circle in a square - perfection!

Now I just need to stitch all those stars to the circles and the circles to the squares.  Until next time .....

Talking of fusible webbing – I use Bondaweb which I buy in a 30m roll via Amazon as I use a lot of it.  It is quite expensive initially but I save in the long run.  The roll I am currently using I purchased in 2017 and I still have lots left.  If you are making the quilt as detailed in the pattern I estimate you will need approximately 6m of 45cm wide fusible webbing.   

Monday 30 May 2022

A Quick-Fuse Farmhouse Star Block

A large 16" star gets the sew-along off to a flying start.

I love stars in the sky and stars in the workroom.  So I am thrilled to be sewing along with Lori Holt in her Farmhouse Star sew-along.  

The Fat Quarter Shop have patterns in stock

Whilst Lori has her own unique method of applique I much prefer quick fuse applique (a.k.a. raw edge), which I will be using for the large star in the center of the quilt and all the stars that sit in circles.  So I thought I might share with you some tips and pointers as I sew along.

The first star of the sew-along is the most important one.

The first star of the sew along is a huge 16” star which sits in the middle of the quilt.  It is created using pieces G-16c and G-16p from Lori's Star Sew Simple shapes.  But first we need to cut our background square.

In her You Tube videoLori cut the background square larger than required as she intended to trim it once the star had been stitched in place.  However, this is not needed with quick fuse applique so, straight away we can save a little bit of work by cutting the background square to the exact size needed - 18½” square. 

Choose your background fabric carefully.
If the print is not straight it will show!

With quick fuse applique you can then trace around the templates just as they are.  However, if you add a ¼” section to the bottom of each point tracing as shown below, you will reduce the amount of sewing needed and keep the applique neat. 

A little ¼” addition will reduce the amount of sewing needed

This extra ¼” allowance will sit under the center pentagon, eliminating the need to sew the bottom edge of each point as this will be secured at the same time as you stitch the pentagon into positon.

Tip:  Once your background fabric is cut and you have traced, fused and cut your shapes out, remove the paper from the back of your points but DO NOT remove the paper from the back of the pentagon at this time.

Position the pentagon centrally onto the background square and begin to place the points, one by one, around the pentagon, slipping the extra ¼” allowance under the edges of the pentagon.  (The paper backing on the pentagon should make it easier to slide the points under the pentagon.)

Slide the bottom edge of the points under the pentagon.

You will have to fiddle a little, here and there, but eventually all five points should sit neatly under the pentagon with the corners of the pentagon meeting roughly at the intersection of two points. 

The pentagon should sit atop the star points

But do not worry if they are slightly out – it won’t be noticeable on the finished quilt and, as Lori says "it is not about perfection". 

My points are slightly out here but it won't affect the finished quilt 

Make sure the tips of the two side star points (coloured aqua and pink in my star) are at least 1” in from the side edges of  the backgound square.  The top point (the yellow point in my star) should be approximately 1½”-1¾” down from the top edge.   

When you are happy with the layout carefully lift and remove the backing paper from the pentagon before placing it back into position.  Now you can fuse the star into place.  Stitch the pentagon first so that the bottom of each point is secured. Once this is done, you can stitch around each point.

The scrappy borders here are mirrored in the borders of the quilt

And there you have it …. the first star in the Farmhouse Star sew-along.  All that is left to do is to add the border rectangles and squares as per the pattern and congratulate yourself on making a huge start to a spectacular quilt. 

Next time I shall quick fuse applique stars onto circles and circles onto the squares so be sure to check back with me really soon.   Until then …..