Another block I wanted to try out was the twisted hexagon. It’s a very fun little block to stitch, made up of one hexagon and six “other half” hexagons of the same size. As I had some of the other … Continue reading
When piecing by hand, I’ve always tried to get my quilter’s knot slightly away from the end of a seam so that I don’t have to deal with it at an intersection when joining other pieces. A while ago, a friend … Continue reading
The block that has 112 pieces is finished. Baxter was inspecting it. It’s a variation of the Flying Swallows block, measures 10.86″ finished and was made using shapes from the Inklingo Free Diamond Square Triangle Collection. If you have the … Continue reading
What’s in the box?
Loads and loads of printed sheets for the New York Beauty blocks, both those from Collection 1 and Collection 2. Impossible for me to resist these. As though she knew, a very special friend sent me another one of these marvellous box books but this one is huge! Some of the sheets in that box are 8.5 x 12.5 inches and they aren’t folded over or cramped in there at all. The book box is that enormous and it’s deep so I can print as many sheets of fabric as I want for these blocks. It’s pretty clear now that the Tiffany Lamp quilt is going to be larger than I originally thought. I’m adding some batiks and a few other metallic prints that play nicely.
So on to hand piecing a New York Beauty block from Collection 2. I stitch the two bands of triangles and the small arc to the corner piece. When stitching the two bands of triangles, I take advantage of the continuous stitching possibilities so they’re done in next to no time.
At this stage, I press it. As the triangle intersections don’t meet when the two bands are joined together I’m quite happy to press both bands in the same direction.
Now all that’s left is to join the four units and the block is done. And it’s really that easy. With the perfect matching points and stitching lines, piecing a New York Beauty is fast, simple and oh, so gratifying as each block is done! Getting perfect sharp points takes nothing more than stitching on the stitching lines. The finished block will be shown tomorrow.
For a great tutorial on how to machine piece one of these beauties, check out this post on the All About Inklingo blog.
Baxter was ignoring the camera so Mr. Q.O. was making some very weird noises to get his attention. I think the look on his face says it, “What the heck?!” He had just been drinking in his wonderfully funny style, so the fur on the right side of his face is still quite damp.
A bright summery block of flying swallows seemed right for this little tutorial. Mr. Q.O. calls them bats, but …
There are a number of pieces in the block, but it really is an eight-point star made up of pieced 90-degree diamonds. Each of the pieced 90-degree diamonds is made up of 3 diamonds and 4 triangles. First piece the 3 diamonds together.
Then take advantage of the continuous stitching opportunity offered when adding the 4 triangles to the diamond unit as shown in this photo. Following the arrows, it’s possible to stitch all the triangles to the diamonds without breaking the thread.
Make sure the top and bottom triangles are placed the right way so that you end up with a larger 90-degree diamond.
Join the 90-degree diamonds to create the eight-point star, making sure all the swallows are flying in the same direction.
Add the setting squares and triangles and the block is done. This block finishes at about 15″ and is destined to be part of a stitching book cover. I made it using the 6″ LeMoyne Star Inklingo collection, which has all the shapes to make the block other than the outer setting triangle.
Smudge found this whole process so calming that he fell asleep with some soft stuffed toys to keep him company!
It seems that our ISP is bouncing some e-mails from friends. If you have e-mailed me in the past day or two and haven’t heard back, please let me know in a comment.
It was inevitable. I had to try out a Yin Yang block in my favourite of fabrics, shabby chic. As I have been asked some questions about how I put these together, I decided to do this little tutorial. The block is composed of four pieces of one identical shape. All the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.
This shows the back of one piece and, if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see the matching points. They are what make this block go together like magic. I tried doing them before the Inklingo collection came out, and no matter how fine a line I drew or the matching points I put on, it just wasn’t fine or precise enough. With Inklingo printed matching points and crosshairs, there’s no worries at all — it all just fits together like a dream. I clip between the matching points on each concave curve to a few threads above the stitching line.
There are other ways to stitch these. My method is to start at the large curved end of the piece. I use two #12 sharps and pin at the crosshair and then at the first matching point.
I start by making my quilter’s knot and inserting the needle a stitch length over from the crosshair. I’ve found this works well when joining other pieces as the knot is not right at the crosshair. Then I take the needle to the back, back through to the front at the crosshair, make a quick back-stitch and carry on down to the first pin/needle. There are a lot of matching points and they are the secret to making the curve as smooth as can be.
As each matching point is reached, I take a little back-stitch and keep stitching. With a curve like this, I try to use the smallest stitches I can.
This photo shows the clips into the seam allowance done on the concave seam allowance of one of the pieces.
Once the first two pieces are stitched together, this is what they look like. As I’m hand piecing, I leave the pressing until the end.
Having stitched a few of these blocks, I’ve found that stitching them together into pairs and then joining those pairs works best for me.
The next step is joining the two pairs together. Once again, I start at the large, curved end and pin with two #12 sharps — one at the crosshair and one at the first matching point.
After stitching the third seam, the block now looks like this.
I line up the fourth and final seam and pin through the crosshair and first matching point.
Start with the thread slightly over from the crosshair and take the needle to the back.
As this is the last of the seams to stitch, I circle the intersection by inserting the needle through the first pair of fabrics at the crosshair and drawing it through. Circling the intersection ensures that there’s not a little hole at the intersection of all four shapes.
Then the needle is drawn through the next pair at the crosshairs.
The needle is drawn through the final pair at the crosshairs, a quick back-stitch is made and all that’s left to stitch is the final seam.
Daphne, who hasn’t been seen often since her flapper adventure on the roof garden a few years ago, showed up to see the block when the stitching was finished. At this point, the block hasn’t yet been pressed.
The block presses like a dream and the magic happens again. The block lies perfectly flat. No bump in the centre, no distortion.
The back of the block after pressing. Don’t you think it would be fun to stitch one of these? Be warned, though. They’re addictive as can be to stitch. You can’t stitch just one. I’ll be back with another post this afternoon with a giveaway that’s related to this tutorial.
Smudge wasn’t all that interested and decided to have a nap on my desk chair.
There were a couple of inquiries about how I piece the little 2-piece units that are used in Drunkard’s Path blocks, so I thought I’d put together a short tutorial on my method. Smudge is wide awake and watching.
I’ve always loved making Drunkard’s Path blocks and before Inklingo would trace them and then add the quarter-inch seam allowance. Since the Inklingo Drunkard’s Path collection came out, it’s so much more enjoyable. No tracing, no adding the quarter-inch seam allowance. Just print, cut and stitch. Now I never want to stop making these. They’re quick and, thanks to the perfect matching points and stitching lines, very simple to stitch.
The first thing step is clipping slightly into the seam allowance of the piece with the concave curve. You can see one clip in this picture. I clip between every matching point that’s printed on my fabric. In the above picture you can see the stitching line and the matching points that have printed on to the back of my fabric.
Then I line up the pieces and, using #12 sharps as pins, pin the first and second matching points. I pin the first to hold it in place when I insert the threaded needle a bit over from the beginning of the seam.
Then I bring the threaded needle back up through the matching point at the beginning of the seam, effectively taking a back stitch.
Then, taking the smallest stitches I can, I load the needle with stitches up to the next matching point.
Before I pull the needle through, I move the sharp from that first matching point along the seam to the next.
Pull the needle through, make a small back stitch and proceed by loading the needle with more stitches up to the next matching point. Then it’s simply a matter of repeating the last 2 steps until the end of the seam.
I’ve reached the end of the seam. At that point I make a back stitch, turn the piece over and make a small knot, once again away from the end of the seam so that the knot won’t interfere when adding other pieces.
The little Drunkard’s Path unit is finished.
They really only take a few minutes to stitch. For fun, I decided to see just how long it takes me to stitch one. It’s just over 5 minutes from start to finish.
Lester hopes you found this relaxing.
I’ve been having fun putting these finger pincushions together and have had a few questions about the method to make them, so thought I’d do this quickie tutorial. Lester is alert and ready to watch.
Start with a 4.5″ square. Because you’re going to be wearing this on your finger, next to your skin, I think it’s really important to wash the fabric first and get rid of the residual chemicals from the fabric manufacturing process.
Fold it in half, into a triangle shape.
Set your machine to a short stitch length. In my case I used a 2. Start stitching at one end of the triangle, carry on to a quarter of an inch before the end of that side, pivot and start down the other side for about an inch. Secure and cut your thread. Leave an area of approximately 1.5″ open and then begin sewing again and go right to the end. This is what your triangle will look like.
This next step is optional, but I think it helps a lot when stitching the pincushion closed at the end. I fold the two sides over, where the opening is, and then press them. I find it makes it a lot easier and faster to do the final stitching by hand to close the pincushion.
Gently turn your triangle right side out. Use something like That Purple Thang to push out the corners and tip. This is what it will look like at this stage.
After some experimentation, I’ve found that using a combination of batting scraps torn up and some polyester filling to stuff the little pincushions makes them firm but not too firm. Using only batting scraps can result in rather lumpy pincushions. I start out with a large handful of the polyester fill and some batting scraps. Almost all of what’s showing in this picture will be used to stuff this pincushion.
Start by putting some of the polyester filling in, and push it down to both ends of the triangle. Keep adding polyester filling until it’s about 1/3 full. Then start adding some batting scraps, bit by bit. Push them down into the polyester filling. Then add more of the polyester filling and keep adding it and the batting scraps and pushing them down to ensure a firm pincushion. Bear in mind that you will have to stitch up the opening in the seam and fold the ends over to make the ring, so make sure that you don’t fill it too full. This is what mine looks like after I’ve finished stuffing it along with the few remaining scraps of batting that I didn’t use.
Using a very small ladder stitch or your favourite applique stitch and a thread colour to match your fabric, stitch the opening closed. The final step is joining the two ends of the triangle together to form the ring.
Although it’s awkward, try overlapping the ends on your finger before you start stitching them together so you can get a rough idea of how large a ring you need to leave to make it comfortable to wear on your finger. Then just stitch to secure.
It’s a bit difficult until you get the first 3 or 4 stitches in, and then becomes much easier. Overlap the two ends and start stitching by once again using a thread that matches your fabric. I make a quilter’s knot, and then bury it in the pincushion stuffing, much like you’d bury your knot when beginning to quilt. Bring the needle out at one of the ends and start stitching them together.
Try to stitch around both ends; the one that ends up on top and the one beneath it. It’s rather difficult to get a decent picture of the joining, but I hope you can see that I’ve basically tacked the ends down by stitching around them.
Next step? Start using and enjoying your new finger pincushion. But make yourself a couple because, once you get used to using these, you will never want to be without one. You might just want to make a few for friends too.
Or you could contact Just Jennifer, and buy some of these pincushions directly from her. I understand that her company will have a booth at the Paducah show in April.
Smudge found the whole thing so relaxing that he stretched out!
A friend asked me how I’d make one of the Carpenter’s Wheel blocks so I decided to do a mini tutorial on it. Smudge is watching intently.
The first thing I did was figure out what I needed to print, which was 8 diamonds for the centre star, 8 squares in the background fabric to surround the centre star, a total of 24 other diamonds for the frame around the star/square centre, 8 QSTs and 8 more squares in the background fabric, and 4 squares in another colour for the corners. Once that was done, it took only minutes to print and then cut out my pieces.
The first step was to make the centre star.
The next step is to add the 8 squares around the centre star. As I hand piece, I look for these continuous stitching possibilities. Two lengths of thread later and all the squares were added.
Pressing after each round isn’t normally something I do, but this time I did.
The next step is to make the frame of diamonds that will surround the centre star/squares. As I was using two colours, I first stitched the purple diamond pairs and then added the orange diamonds in between and continued joining them until I had the frame ready.
Another opportunity for lots of continuous stitching and a few threads later, the frame is added. In fact, it went so fast that I had started to add the final squares and QSTs around the block before I remembered to take this picture.
The final step is to add the background squares and QSTs around the perimeter. Again, lots of continuous stitching. When adding the squares and QSTs, I left the corner squares until the end so that I could take advantage of the continuous stitching opportunities and then went back and added the 4 final squares.
It presses beautifully and lies flat as can be. Because of the perfect stitching lines and matching points printed with Inklingo, making this block is not difficult at all. I used the 6 inch LeMoyne Star collection to make my block, which finishes at 12″.
The fabrics I used for this block really had me out of my normal comfort zone as far as colour goes. It was interesting stitching and now that it’s done, it’s on its way to a friend.
Lester found this whole thing so relaxing that he fell asleep! He’s continuing to improve and has been playing with toys, is eating on his own and seems more like himself every day.
There were a couple of questions last week about how I pieced a Seven Sisters block so, rather than try to explain it in words, I thought I’d do this mini tutorial. Lester is hoping this is relaxing and easy to follow.
The first step is to make the seven 6-pointed stars that will be in the block. For each block, I need 18 white diamonds, 6 half elongated hexagons and 42 blue diamonds for the seven stars.
Once that’s done, the next most important step is to press them making sure that the seam allowances of each star are pressed the same way. This photo is of a star in a different fabric, which shows the seam allowances a bit better.
My next step is to surround one star, which will be the centre star in the block, with white diamonds.
Because I hand piece, the inset seams are something I look for as it offers the opportunity to continuously stitch around the star. To add the six white diamonds around the blue star, I used one length of thread.
In this photo you can see, on the white diamonds and half elongated hexagons, that each has the stitching line and crosshairs at the end of each seam. The lines are printed on my blue fabrics as well, but they don’t photograph as well. Because of the perfect stitching lines and crosshairs one gets when printing templates on to the fabric using Inklingo, it makes stitching a block like this a breeze. I simply match up my crosshairs, pin and stitch.
My next step is to join the six remaining stars with white diamonds so that they’re ready to stitch to the centre star.
Then I pin the first of the strip of six stars to one of the white diamonds surrounding the centre star and start to stitch. Again, lots and lots of continuous stitching.
A couple of threads are all it takes and the centre star is completely surrounded.
All that’s left to do now is add the six remaining white diamonds and six half elongated hexagons around the outside edge and the block will be done. Once again, lots and lots of continuous stitching.
The block is finished. While I didn’t really keep track of the time it took to make the block, I think that it took somewhere around 3 hours in total from making the seven stars to adding the final white diamonds around the outside of the block.
A quick press and it’s ready to be added to the stack of the blue and white Seven Sisters blocks that I am making.
Smudge hopes you found this as relaxing as he did. He had to go curl up with some softies and have a nap! He had lost a pound again when we went to the vet. So we’re continuing the syringe feeding for now and have gone back to the vet-suggested foods. Sunday night he finally started to eat hard food again for the first time in two months. We were really encouraged to see that.