Saturday 29 January 2011

Quilt-a-long: Making the corner blocks

Today we will make 2 corner blocks for your circle of wonky stars baby quilt, but first a quick note on materials.  I originally said that you will need to prepare at least 36 triangles for your star points, well yes 36 to start and then 36 more.  You are going to need 72 in total- 9 stars, 8 points per star.  I had to cut a whole load of extras! I had a question from Amy, would charm squares work for the points and centres?  Good question- yes providing they are 5 inch square charms, nice idea Amy!  Cutting your triangles from  bigger squares just gives you a bit of extra wiggle room but not essential.   Some of the triangle points will be quite small and I have used all sizes of scraps for the triangles.  Before we start, how about some handy labels to pin on your blocks? 
Prefer them as a PDF?  Click here!
Now, cutting your solid background for the top 2 corner blocks.  This is where it helps to have a solid back ground as we are going to save a bit of time.  Place your 2 solid squares exactly on top of each other, you can see my pins which tell me which is the top of each square.  If your fabric is not a solid and therefore not the same on both sides you will need to put the right sides together, as you cut it you will be looking at the wrong side of the fabric on the top square.
The first cut will be horizontal and 3.5 inches up from the bottom of the square (see pic)
Cutting lines Corner blocks
The second cut is also horizontal, this time 3.5 inches up from the last cut- or if you prefer 5.5 inches from the top of the square.  The 3rd cut is vertical, 3.5 inches from the right edge and the 4th cut, vertical again and 5.5 inches from the left edge.  The square in the centre should measure 3.5 inches on each side-have a check! 
You should now be able to peel off the top layer of each piece and lay it out in a mirror image so you have 2 blocks cut, one for each of the top corners.   Fix your fancy new block labels on with a pin.
Take the centre square of the left block and use it as the template to fussy cut the centre triangle fabric.  Repeat for the right block.  Assemble your blocks using the same tutorial as before, courtesy of Victoria. Your end quilt will look better and wonky stars more like a circle if you keep the triangle points of the stars on the small side.  Here are my 2 blocks to give you an idea of the sizes. 

And I think it helps to see what the back looks like too. 
 Back soon with the next tutorial for the bottom corner blocks,  it is awfully similar to what we've just done! And maybe I'll organise a Flickr group so we share our efforts?  If you are quilting-a-long and I haven't got you in my blog roll at the side, let me know and I'll update it.
sib blog

Friday 28 January 2011


Just a quickie post, I read in google reader this morning that Buttonberry UK online fabric shop is closing down, for happy reasons- 2 babies on the way!  All stock 30% off.  It is worth searching around this site in each category to find all the bargains- Moda charm packs- e.g. Nest, City Weekend etc, plus Lecien fabrics and range of patterns.  Work is calling me....back over the weekend with next quilt-a-long post
sib blog

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Washing day

The weather may be dreary but the washing is a sunshine find.

  Vintage goodies for pennies at the carboot this weekend.  The white skirt, Arc de Triomphe print, fits perfectly!
sib blog

Monday 24 January 2011

What to choose?

Today I will choose decongestant... I am under the weather so a rare day off work, there is nothing like being self employed to make you 'well' nearly all the time!  Today I couldn't quite achieve that but I can't stay in bed all day and I need to be upright so a quick blog is my medication- along with the aspirin.
I'm not planning on spitting by the way... Brief thoughts on how I choose fabrics for a new project.  I am going to use the wonky star baby quilt form my quilt-a-long as an example but I do this pretty much everytime I make something and more than one fabric is involved.   I rely on having a picture in my head which sometimes I sketch out but  generally don't- I know this may not be the most helpful start.  Back to sharing.  Pink is going to be the dominant colour in this quilt, set against a background of creamy white- Kona cotton in Snow.  So, I pull out all the pinks in my stash and lay them on a white canvas art board.  
These fabrics are for the triangle points so I am looking for pinks that will contrast with the white solid and the white based square centres of the stars. Immediately you can see that some are wrong- too blue, wrong shade not pink enough, too much white.  I pull them out and look at what's left.  Sometimes I might go back to the reject pile and reconsider, reassess- nothing is set in stone.  In the pile of rejects I can get an idea for a futre project- there is a lot of gentle apricot pinks in here that would look good together.
This is what I went for.  Sometimes this process stretches out.  If I am doing log cabin  I keep the inital pile of fabrics out and dip in and resort and cut as I am going along.  A bit messy but works for me!
How do you choose?
sib blog

Sunday 23 January 2011

Quilt-a-long Cutting and block One

Ready to start, lets go!
You will need to cut your solid fabric first.  I am using Kona Snow.  Place selvedges together and cut 3 strips, each 12 and half inches long.  I use a 12 half inch quilter's square otherwise I can never get the accuracy!  Now cut 3 blocks from each strip 12 half inches square.  You should have 9 equal 12 half inch squares of solid fabric.
I put a flat flower pin at the top of each square so I know the grain is running top to bottom on all my squares.  I find this makes assembly of the quilt easier.  If you are not sure about grain lines and what it means, check here with Kim at True Up
I did a rough layout of the fabrics I am using for the centres.  These are all prints that work well when fussy cuts and should make good focal points.  Mine also relate to the family who will receive it- she will be the 3rd of three girls and they have a busy life, a dog and love a camping holiday- its all in those fabrics in some way!  Some of my scraps are already cut as that's how they were and some I have left.  I lay them out on a artists canvas- the only clean flat space I can ever find!  Taking a photo is useful for quick ref. later on.
Prepare at least 36 triangles.  For this, I cut 18 squares each measuring 5 and half inches and cut either diagonal to diagonal or just a little bit off the diagonal- you can see in the triangles below. You are going to need 72 triangles for all the stars so if you can cut them all now!
Your triangle fabrics need to have a good level of contrast with the solid so they don't disappear into it.  

First Block- the centre of the quilt.  This star is going to have a larger central and square and be a bit off the centre of the quilt.  Cut a horizontal strip from the bottom of the square 4 inches wide.  Then cut a vertical strip from the left side at right angles from the bottom strip  4 inches wide.
The next strips will make the centre square, cut 5 inches wide from the last strip horizontally and repeat vertically.  Your centre square should be 5 inches square.

The last strips should measure 3 and half inches wide.  Cut your fussy cut centre fabric to replace the solid fabric centre square.  You can now either audution your triangles or just go random.  To assemble the wonky star the best tutorial I have found is Victoria's at Boo Dily.  Big thank you to her!
Use a label- to pin on your first finished centre block.  Have a cup of tea and a sit down, back again soon!
sib blog

Saturday 22 January 2011

Quilt-a-long- button

I have a Quilt-a-long button for you- just a little one for the side bar of your blog-here you go!
I have tried without success to match this with a code which will take you to the Quilt-a-long page here, just under the blog header.  To add it to your blog, (this is going to refer to blogger, sorry wordpress users, hope you can work it out) .  In blogger dashboard, go to Gadgets, choose Picture, in the Image section click on From the Web and paste the photobucket code below.  You will need to delete the http:// that is already in the box or paste over it otherwise there will be two http bits and it won't work!

Now, copy this link to the Quilt-a-along page below

and paste into the Link box, again you will need to paste over the http:// that is already in the box or delete that bit first.  Click save and check that it works!
If you know how to generate a code for a blog button that will take the user to a specific page rather than the homepage of the blog, let me know, it has been driving me nuts! 
 Let me know if you are quilting-a-long as I will add your name to a blog roll on the side bar.
sib blog

Thursday 20 January 2011

Quilt-a-long with me?

It was my friend Kathy's birthday.  She is a great friend, very supportive and lots of fun plus our dogs were from the same litter, so we have a bond!  Last year I made her a little log cabin coin purse/pouch,  it is wearing out a bit now so time for a new one.
I made the shape up so it was a bit experimental.  At one point it was way too big and like a toiletries purse- not the look I was aiming for. I free pieced the K with purple linen.  I squared off the bottom to give a bit of body to the shape so it can comfortably hold coins, this meant the fabric spelt out Cups Butt on the bottom, noticed of course by her teenage son-it had completely bypassed me.  The fabric is Suzuko Koseki cotton/linen cooking print, and there is a layer of cotton batting between that and the black polka lining.
 It is small enough to fit in your hand, large enough for notes.
Having used much of my solitarty FQ of Cosmo Early Bird Yellow plaid in a quilt block I knew I would need more.  When I bought this I thought I wouldn't use yellow much and now I can't get enough of it.  The teal and the exercise book stripes are a great accompaniment, all bought from Quilted Castle (USA), although I think stocks are going.  The cup is the most beautiful Le Cresuset graduating turquoise colour .
I yielded to that and having read Amber's blog One Shabby Chick this morning, I checked out the link to an etsy shop  and bought a pile of Ruby Star Rising at a price that is cheaper than it will be in the UK.  I already know what I plan to make so I can sort of justify this but no more buying, making instead.  I have been drawing inspiration together for DQS10, this is for shapes and form.
And I am working on another secret mini quilt for Favourite Little Quilt Swap.  I wish I could show you, I am so pleased with it but the swap works on secrecy even of pics so no sneaky peeks.  So in the mean time, I am starting on a wonky Circle of Stars Baby Quilt- care to join me?  I am going to make it a quilt-a-long.  I am not sure if any one wants to quilt-a-long with me but as I am going to blog it I thought it was worth putting the offer out!  It will be made of 9 wonky star blocks, easy peasy! You will need some scraps and other stuff, list below.  Mine will be pink, your will be...?

 You will need:
1.  At least one yard of solid fabric, or being more generous 1 meter- (equivalent to 1 yard and 3 inches)
2.  Scraps for the starts, I am fussy cutting centre squares so you will need  9 x 5 inch squares (larger to allow for the fussy cutting.
3.  Scraps for the triangle points-great scrap buster.  Scraps need to contrast with the solid.
4.  1 yard/1 meter cotton batting, I use warm and natural.
5.  Fabric for binding.  Could be pieced or all one fabric.  If you do the bias binding option the way I do it, 1 fat quarter will be ample.  If you do straightgrain binding. you would need under 1/2 yard or a 1/4 metre length which is cut selvedge to selvedge.
I will make a button in case you want to put it on your own blog- I am on it now!  In the meantime, the sketch above gives you an idea of the layout.  It will be very flexible and a lot of the choices are up to you but I will give you the instructions to make a circle out of 9 wonky star blocks.   I need to get this made for the end of February at the latest so I will post the first instructions asap. Leave me a comment if you are joining in, nice to know if you are x
sib blog

Monday 17 January 2011

Catch ups

At a very rainy car boot sale I picked up a bit of sunshine- 4 vintage sheet pillow slips.  I love vintage sheets but I can't abide any polyester in the mix, I am a fibre snob, but these lovelies drying off indoors are all cotton!  Love that yellow/orange on amidst the pink.
Finally, at 40, I have my first decent pair of curtains, made by professional curtain makers- full length curtains are my sewing bete noire.  This may not make the most exciting picture but if I say 100 % linen, thermal lined, I'm guessing some of you may get my joy.

Doll Quilt swap 10 has kicked off proper,
I have my partner and someone has me.  All I can say to you partner if you are reading this, there is a whole load of info in my profile on Flickr, a gallery and an inspiration mosaic but deep down creativity and freedom rules!
DQS10 Mosaic
And a big thankyou to Julianna who nominated me for a Liebster:) b;log award, for crafty blogs with less than 300 followers, the idea of the award is to encourage more visitors and discover bloggers you may not have seen before, and do visit Julianna's blog first-so I pass onto 
Three fantastically talented crafters who need more recognition!
sib blog

Friday 14 January 2011

Free Cut Floating Bricks Quilt Block Tutorial

To make a 13 inch quilt block I started with 16 wide x 15 inches tall rectangle of Kona solid in coal.  You will need a few fabric patterned fabric strips for your brick- size and number is up to you.  This is an improvised block so you can end up with lots of varieties of the same block. I free cut my strips and added some angles and wonk.  For a great tutorial about free cutting and piecing visit
Have a mess around with the placement.  It helps to take a pic as this time to remind yourself later what you had in mind.  You are aiming for space around each brick of fabric. Fussy cutting your bricks works well.  From your solid, free cut the first strip that will run across the block.  This needs to be at least 1.5 inches wide and if you cut it with a bit of diagonal it will immediately place your first brick at a wonky angle.
Put this strip to one side.  Now take the widest patterned brick you are going to use and lay it on top of theremaining solid.  Use it to guide the start of your cutting line, you are free cutting a solid strip about the same width as this brick. Cut right across the width of the solid.
This strip is to provide the floating solid fabric at either end of the brick.  If your brick has an angled end, place it right side up on top of one end of the strip and cut along the angled end.  when you flip the solid strip over to join to the brick right sides together they will fit together beautifully!
Add solid to both sides of each brick, varying the width according to your original plan- this is where the digital pic you took earlier will come in useful.  You will need to cut another solid strip as thick as the widest remaining patterned strip, just as before.  Your completed strips need to be at least 15 inches wide.
With the remaining solid, cut the strips that will go between the bricks.  I keep a check with my ruler that the block is going to be tall enought- remember you will lose a quarter inch for each seam.  You can always join strips of solid together if you run out of strips the right width.  Starting with the first solid strip you cut at the top, join the brick strips to the slid strips, press after each seam.
You should have a block which is wider that 13 inches square with higgledy piggledy sides all ready for squaring up.
If your squaring up ends up being a little on the short side- mine did, not an unusual occurrence, you can always add an extra strip of solid.
Each block is going to end up different, celebrate the variety! 
sib blog

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Blocks and Swaps

A new year brings new Flickr activities, swaps and Bees  I ran the lottery gaunlet for Doll Quilt Swap 10 and got in and I am very happy.  There is a very cool button designed by Amy, assisted by Smith and her miniature circle of geese.
DQS10 logo contest entry
I am also doing My Favorite Little Quilt Swap which you can join at any time as long as you make your quilt by beginning of February, it is a very flexible swap commitment, click the link to find out more.
I have 2 bee commitments and I am very happy with those.  February is my month in Bee (a Little Bit) Japanese so I have been devising a block and prepping fabrics to send.
Some of my all time favourites, Suzuko Koseki, Sevenberry, Lecien, Kokka, Kitchen rpints, sewing prints, I have an emotional relationship with each.
A pile of strips and a chunk of Kona coal ready to go.
This is the block design- i have called it Floating Bricks
It is designed to showcase the fabrics and is flexible and adaptable.  I did a lot of free cutting which frees up the shapes and creates nice seam lines too.  Here's another...
I will post a tutorial on how to make this but it is pretty easy.  Meanwhile for others I made, non wonky Drunk Love Denyse Schimdt inspired blocks for Tong in the same Bee

And a fun block for Lisa in Ringo Pie- here theme is Mid Century Modern doors- loved doing this and the other blocks have been amazing.  I was inspired by this photo on Flickr
It was a tricky one, quick unpic in use a few times but I was determined to get it how I wanted it.  The wall plate number 5 is the date of Lisa's birthday/  I loved the yellow- Cosmo Cricket Early Bird.  I loved it so much I had to buy a lot more whilst I could still find it.  I am definitely using it again, it makes me smile :)
sib blog