Springtime Quilt

T’was the winter before Covid…when I saw a row of flowers in a magazine that sent a creative spark like a bolt of lightning through me. First I picked out my background. I love tone on tone fabric so for this one I went white on white. Then it was time to go through fabrics looking for things that inspired more than just a flower. I auditioned every scrap and piece of fabric I had!

It took a few days getting them sorted. Just a piece or two of fabric. Little bits really because I wanted to make most of the block myself. I had no idea where I was heading with it other than testing my embroidery skills and my imagination.

While the television was making noise in the background I started with my first “flower”. The clock you might recognise from Eclectic Elements by Tim Holtz. I was off and running. Every night I would sit and work on my garden one flower at a time. Took me right through winter. I used Sulky threads for all my embroidery work. Didn’t know what I was going to do with them. I enjoyed making bugs, birds, critters, bees, ants…whatever came to mind. Bullion stitches are probably my favourite stitch, and they are sprinkled throughout the quilt. Then Covid hit. Between a few medical issues and lockdowns, I was pretty nearly working around the clock. Halfway through that first year, I thought to myself, “right, time to get my flowers put together before they live in a container forever”. I grabbed some fabric and started assembling. Came up with the four corner blocks and then quilted it myself. It’s definitely Amish. Not perfect and a few oopsies here and there, and my pride and joy….my Springtime Quilt.

my springtime quilt filled with all my handmade blocks of flowers and bugs.
Handmade is heaven!

Making the Perfect Quilt Block

We constantly see a lot of Beginner (and even experienced) Quilters and Patchworkers struggling to make their quilting block points correctly pointed. What this post does is explain the steps you should take to make sure that your block is as good as it could be. It is pretty simple so don’t be scared off. This is all about Good Habits! Like brushing your teeth. You want a nice finish on your project with all your points visible and no huge bumps where you have sewn your seams. These TIPs should help you in your process. I have chosen AUNT ELIZA’S STAR BLOCK to use in this example.

Aunt Elizas Star Quilt Block

Accuracy in Cutting

Using good quality cutting mats and rulers can make a difference on the outcome of your project. First important job is ACCURACY IN CUTTING.

Line up your ruler with the mat markings to make sure you have a straight line is one way of cutting your fabric. I personally don’t recommend cutting more than 4 layers and even then I would always stagger them or you get that pot belly shape through the fold area of your fabric. See the image below I have 2 double strips. By staggering them you get a good even cut without too much thickness. I’ve done up to 20 strips at one time! Works great. I use the markings on my mat to make sure the strips are evenly laid down.

Note: The other way of cutting fabric is strictly using your ruler on your fabric and no attention to the mat. I will need to do another tip for that way.

Creating Seams

“SEAMS are not as hard as they seem. Do not be daunted by them because as soon as you master it a lot of your problems will be over”

You have several ways of marking your fabric, with Frixion Pen, Pencil, or anything like that. If you have a ¼” foot that’s a huge help. If you do not you might consider getting one. The Best investment ever! Now these photos show you my ¼” foot and the short seam I sewed. There are many ways of marking your 1/4 in seam that we sell. Find our guides here!

I laid my ruler on top, so you can see its ¼ inch seam. If you must draw that line, then do so. I use Frixion pens for most markings, but I also use chalk and a regular pencil as well. Depends on the project and the fabric. Our Markers can you find here!

Seams & Pressing

Should you fold over and press to the dark side, or should you open flat and press?

Mostly always I will open flat and press. When you start a project, you read the directions first. Have a look at the seam intersections. Do you have just 2 seams coming together, or do you have 3 or 4 coming together? Again, depending on the fabric project, colours and weight of fabric.

For those of you who always press to the dark side when you flip over to the right side and iron, you find those hard bumps that usually cause you to dirty up the fabric, twist up the seam and sometimes scorch it because it is like trying to iron flat the Snowy Mountains!

Have a think about what you have in front of you and which way works best in that instance.

Sewing Sections Together & Pinning

Did you know there are different sized pins? Some are so much smaller like Dress Pins for example. If you would rather sew over the few pins you use, then that is something to think about.

 See that pin In Pic 1? Right up the middle. Not to the left or right. But should be in between stitches in the middle of the seam and not protruding through the fabric. Yes, it is fiddly I know, but it is worth the time. Remember it is about developing good habits. It is important that both points going through are centred. Because, unbelievably, if you have the point closet to the ball of the pin going through the fabric your whole piece will be cockeyed! It really anchors it properly. Now some of you may have your needle in the opposite direction pointing into the fabric. I just prefer my own this way.

Pins – which size fits best to your project. Silk, long pins, patchwork etc…have a look at the types of pins we have in our shop. Some you can iron on and not worry. Magnetic too. But again, have a look at the project and fabric to choose what’s best.

Marking your Fabric

Diagonal marking is from point to point. Not side of the point. So put your marker point on one corner point if you need to and then set your ruler next to it. Mark your solid line. If you do not have a machine ¼” foot and need to mark your ¼” lines, then do so like I did in the example below with a dashed line. The solid line is for cutting.

It is important to be corner to corner. Have you heard the term Scant 1/4 inch? That is a thread width difference from a 1/4in and sometimes you will need it.

Now For Pressing

First…with your cut pieces closed press the seam to set it. Then open flat and press. Gently because these are bias cuts on those triangles, and you do not want to stretch them out. Press means iron up and down. Not sliding across.

Use Starch! I’m a big believer in starch. I don’t drown the pieces but I can tell you that when you have a good starched piece it will behave for you under the needle and be a lot easier to handle.

Now to sew these together. Same as before These are small and one pin centre in the seam should be fine. Sew slowly. Do not sew quickly. Control it. I do not remove my pins. But I do sew slowly over them. As time goes by and experience is gained you may not bother with pins.

When you have sewn all your triangle pieces together and you have your four squares this would be an enjoyable time to clip those dog ears. Do not touch the square…just the little dog ears. You don’t need them throwing you off with sewing your ¼” seams together you certainly don’t need the extra bulk in your seams.

Start the Sewing Process

If you need to …two pins are plenty. Too many and they can make the entire process more difficult and cause distortion to the bias edges. NOTICE FLAT SEAMS. Sew slowly. This is not a race!

Here are two longer pieces and you can see where I have put needles into the joint areas Centred in the seam only. Now if you sew slowly enough to maintain good control these distances between pins are short. A firm press with your fingers should be fine. Truly, slow and steady wins the race!

When I opened it up look what I found! Those points should not be back so far. I unpicked it and did it again. Do not worry about having to unpick.  If you discover something not right straight off, take the time to fix it. Once you have a lot put together you might find that mistake really makes a difference. Other times quilting can take care of it and make it not so noticeable. But you won’t know that till it might be too late. Why take the chance…just unpick it 😉

These point gaps are not desirable but it shows how easy this can occur

FINISHED! Front and back. Yay! You have created your perfect Quilt Square. Just remember that practice makes perfect. If you do not get it right the first time keep trying. It is a bit like riding a bike. After you’ve fallen off a few times you get the idea and do all you can to avoid further pain.

Woohoo, not without me making mistakes in the process but it looks pretty Good
My Finished Eliza Star Block! Now you give it a go

Pear Table Runner

I love pears. Pear Cider included. This is a runner I made simply because I love pears. I found an image of a pear and increased the size a bit. I spent a good amount of time auditioning fabric and just couldn’t make it happen. Nothing worked. Then I remembered a collection of fabric we had in the shop and green was one of the colours. Honestly, there is so much one can do when using an ombre piece of fabric! Honeycomb Ombre Green . On to auditioning the background for my blocks and that was another not-so-easy-to-make choice. The most unexpected and last bolt worked a treat!

All four pears came out of one .25 piece of fabric and they all worked together wonderfully and still different shades. I didn’t have any pattern…just kind of worked it out as I went. It’s pretty good fun creating your own idea!!

finished Pear table runner.
Completed Pear Table Runner….Ta Da!!

Patchwork Apple Table Runner

Patchwork Apple Tree Runner was a really fun project to make. Time is usually rare for me, so I tend to choose projects that are quicker but not always. I do love apples and pears, so first I will share my apple runner. I thought reds would be easy to pick out but like I guess any colour, the tones need to work together. It did take me a while to work it out learning more about colours in the process. The reds were out of my stash. The background is a 5in Charm pack called Morning Mist by Robert Kaufman. Filled with grays, blues and creams it was perfect! I’m very into stripes for the time being and love working with them.

The apples are pieced and then the apple is appliqued. I love applique and have found that sewing whatever it is on to interfacing then turning right side out is a wonderful way of having smooth edges. I still use paper backed adhesive but only sometimes. As you can see, it’s finished and used!

photo of my Patchwork apple table runner that I made being displayed on a book case.

Harvest Haystack Quilt in the making

This is Harvest Haystack that I found in our Charming Jelly Roll Quilts book. I used Cheddar and Coal by Pam Buda, and it’s a perfect fit for this pattern! We’ve had the Jelly Roll in our shop Everything Fabric, and when I found this pattern I knew I had to make it. I’ve got the top done and found it really easy to make and quite surprised how quickly it came together. Now for the right borders. Looks like I will have to wait for it to come in to stock but will be worth the wait!

The Mug Rug

the image is of two mug rugs and the bolt of fabric I used to make them with.
Sew…it’s always like a 3 ring circus of housework, homework and shop. Somewhere in here I fight for the time to sew. My Accuquilt Big Go comes in super handy when I need it. Just gives me that bit of time to finish something small! Accuquilt Coffee mug and tea die finally came in and was perfect to use for mug rugs.

Our bolt of Black Spiced Pumpkin Latte came in, and I was so happy with it. Definitely my colours! Mug Rugs are always something I enjoy making. They sew up quick as you want, useful always and make great gifts too. I have them all over our home. Prevents a lot of spotted furniture! Sometimes I make squares ones, round ones and hexagon shaped. They are all fun and once you’ve made a few it’s fun to just make up your own design and scraps come in really handy too.

Birds of a Feather Wall Hanging

A book called Quilts from Paradise by Cynthia Tomaszewski is where my inspiration came from for this wall hanging. There were a few things I liked, and as what usually happens I take bits of this and that then start adding ideas I want to try and do my own thing. Isn’t creating just the best kind of fun! I am always looking for new ways to use the stitches on my machine. At the time I was using a Janome Horizon 7700( a great little work horse)and it’s pretty loaded with stitches. I may not always use them for what they were probably put there for….but they looked right to me! Learning how to use them and how to not over do…that can be tricky. I’ve since found some wonderful books on ideas for using machine stitches, but that is another post.

I enjoyed making the spidery type flowers and wanted to try stitching them but not with the usual blanket stitch. I zigzagged these and was really happy with the result. Tried different stitches for the bird wings. Now this has been washed and dried a lot of times, and it’s still just fabulous!

Here is the final result and one I’m quite proud of for my first go with quite a few new skills from Applique through to Quilting.

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