Saturday, 30 March 2013

Tiptoe through the.....

.....HSTs....with me!?

I have found another block I can make with a charm square and I confess a little bit of trimming!

Cut a 2.5" strip from the charm square and pair with the background strip - in my case some white!   Make into four HSTs.  2 HSTs paired with a white and a print 2.25" square make a tulip style block!  I got two out of each charm.   These little sub-units are 3" square unfinished....

Make four in different prints - I've chosen purple,yellow, green, blue and pink for a bit of a Spring feeling.  

Add a bit of sashing in white with a central square and you get a block called butterfly at the crossroads among other names!  And a quilt like this!

Not sure if I'll follow this layout but I'm definitely loving the spring colours!  

Friday, 29 March 2013

Another charmer!

And here is another charmer!   Or a block made from charm squares - no waste, just a few extra scraps added in...

Just need two contrasting charms this time after all we don't always get two the same in a pack of charms do we!?

I like the X+ block and I think these blocks have a similar feel to them!  

Start with your two charms face to face and sew round the edge as yesterday! Cut into four just the same as before!   You are making a pinwheel with a bit extra.

Dive into your scraps and find some strips.   Cut 4 x one and three quarter inch squares from two different fabrics !   I picked some colours out of my HST fabrics and repeated them.  Plus one more square of a third fabric the same size!   Nine little squares in total...

And put them together like this

So simple it doesn't warrant a tutorial really!  Hardest thing was choosing the fabrics ....but I loved doing it so much this happened....

Looks like I'm making a quilt or something....

I enjoyed using some DS fabric and others that had a vintage look about them.  Was going to stick to blue and green but then pink and orange sneaked in to join colours do that to you or is it just me?

Of course if you want more of a X+ look and to make life easier you can replace the three squares in the middle of the horizontal strip with a piece which measures one and three quarters by four and a quarter inches (1.75x4.25")!  

I found this block in a lovely Japanese book - yes all words in Japanese - but photos and diagrams to show you how to put your blocks together 

Get it here from   Have to say it helps having EQ to draw up the blocks but graph paper and pencils work too!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

How charming!

Yes I have signed up to another charm swap!

But actually I have piles of charms sitting, waiting for something to happen to them....are you the same!?  If so I may have an answer for you.

Struck by this dilemma and wondering what block to ask my bee mates for in Scrappy? Sew bee it!, I decided to use a block made from charms.

It is a variation from the book 5,500 Quilt Block Designs - no 39, p 45 if you want to look it up!  

I replaced the centre HST with a square.  That was tough wasn't it but it means I don't need a third charm square of each fabric just an extra small square from one!  I do cut charms from my own stash fabrics with the idea of actually using them - haha!  So I use a stash charm as the one that I need that extra square for.

So here is a tutorial - it is very easy though, I'm sure you could work it out yourselves!


You need four charms or 5" squares plus one 3 and a quarter inch square!  And that's it!  


Using  Jenny Doan's video on how to make 4 HSTs out of two charms I stacked my two charms right sides together - one light, one dark x 2!

I then stitched a quarter inch seam around the edge of both of my charm square pairs

Cut the squares first on one diagonal and then the other

Hey presto - 4 little HSTs from each charm pair!  Total of 8!

This comes with a warning
these HSTs are on the bias and will s-t-r-e-t-c-h if pulled so be careful sewing them together!  And if you use directional fabric you will get them going every which way but as you see here I don't mind that!

Now we need our extra square and here is the layout

And here they are sewn together

My HSTs came out at three and a quarter inches.  My block is eight and a half inches square or thereabouts!

I have tried these in prints with white, print and low volume - the centre square being the light colour!  But I have also made them with the middle square as the dark one!  I have used solid, text fabric, geometrics, dots and a large scale print, low contrast, high contrast - I love them all!  

Most of all I like trying out different combinations!   Some I have to say have been unpicked and re-assigned!  

It seems I like rainbow colours and two quite complimentary colours in the same block but with a different value!   Though there are exceptions - the lime and purple one for instance !

Here is my little ensemble so far!   15..... and counting!  

Think I may need at least 41 in total for my quilt!   Luckily I have my bee mates to help and lots of charm squares.... 

Actually I am having so much fun I am being kind to my bee mates letting them join in!!  I used to hate HSTs and now I love them....sigh!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Who loves a rainbow charm swap?!

Me of course!

And a few other friends!

If you do too then why not sign up with the Fluffiest Sheep Cindy for some swapping fun!

Better be quick as there are about twelve places left .....and counting

Friday, 22 March 2013

Goosed out!

The KISS rule didn't apply apparently as my second geese block for Diane is as complicated as the first fact almost the same....

I have changed the colours round and added a cornerstone.  And I made it by paper piecing most of it!  So it is a bit more accurate and the right size!

I managed to use my EQ6 software to draft the block and print the paper pieces.  Not done that before so I am happy to have learnt a lot while making the second block.

Now I want to make some for me!  Diane what have you done!?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Goosey, goosey...

After much fiddling around I have finished a geese block for Diane in the Modern Stitching Bee!  

I have managed to sneak in a few imposter or HST units but I think the overall look is geese-like!!

Think I'll need to follow the KISS rule for the second one as this took so long to do!

If I were to make another I'd be tempted to paper piece it for greater accuracy - but from a distance with one eye shut, hoping up and down on one leg I don't think it looks too bad!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

In the post today....

Just wanted to show you what arrived in the post today!

.....The Grinch !

Normally that's not such a good thing really - after all he did steal Christmas!

But this is another of my Star of Africa blocks from Jen so it is wonderful! After all green is my favourite colour....

Not only did she send this wonderful block but also a few charms and a beautifully covered notebook.

Here is what she wrote inside

Thanks Jen!   I love it all!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Don't like mustard...or do I?

It's true I don't like mustard the condiment - only good use for it is in a barbecue sauce or French dressing as far as I'm concerned but I am loving Bella in Mustard!

I bought these two fabrics as my backing fabric for my spools quilt and I love them!  A perfect pair!

And now I have started quilting the spools quilt in a quick (I hope) and simple fashion - in the ditch round half my block and echoing that a few times!  Want it to show just a bit.  It keeps the graphic look of the solids and may even be my first 'modern' quilt....but then the block is as traditional as they come...

Shows up better on the mustard solid backing...

I may quilt at right angles to these lines too....time will tell but I'm hoping for a quick finish.  As stuff is piling up here!  And the Easter hols are coming up way too quickly!

As it is, I have had some company today as my wee girl is feeling poorly and it turns out she has been getting migraines in the last two weeks !  Let's hope the medication keeps those nasty headaches at bay but the puppy is definitely enjoying the attention...though you may not think so here?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

When are geese not geese!?

This is a question I am trying to answer ....

Diane in my Modern Stitching Bee asked for Geese this month and I picked a block I liked and started cutting but then observed that my 'geese' are imposters as they are actually HST !  

I liked my chosen block so much that I made it anyway!  I love it now and am thinking of setting it as a bock for one of my bees - though it may drive them crazy if they don't like HSTs!

The essential thing is careful choice of your middle square - it needs predominantly two colours which are then repeated in the HSTs to either side!

My solid is Kona Iron which I think I prefer to Ash I have to say!

I found the tutorial here @ made during quiet time in case you are in my bee and want to practice!  Or you just like it!

Since then I have been looking at several traditional blocks with geese in the name and find that they are made with HSTs too!   

Here is another colourway I tried out!   Prefer the other one though..

But the good news is that I have found other blocks that are made with real geese!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

More Wonkiness!

I have quilted another strip of my wonky house quilt and joined the two strips together.

I am enjoying quilting this and trying to bring out the details in 'my' blocks and in some cases add a few more just for fun!   [ I say 'my' but most of these came to me in a swap so are not of my making]

And here are my two strips joined together

And some details!

Just two more strips to quilt and then I am hoping I'll have enough of my cord backing fabric to make an outer border with some words inset in it!  I have only made one of those so far but I think some of you realised I was going with a madness - or should I say Madness  - theme!

Friday, 15 March 2013

post from Guatemala!

I have been showing you a few blocks that I have made for my Star of Africa bee!  

It is often the most challenging bee to make for as we have a theme given to us by our Queen Bee and then need to work out how we can represent our country in that theme!

Well it seems like I set the girls quite a challenge too as I asked for children's story characters, myths, legend or fairy tales typical of your country!  

I have shown you some I have received in past posts but now I have just received one from Irene in Guatemala   Isn't that cool!?  

Guatemala is in Central America bordering Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador!   I did have a vague idea but I'm glad I looked it up!  The Mayans once populated this country and there are many Mayan sites there still.  If you want to know more then look here!

Here is the block from Irene

The story behind it :

Manuela came to the city and got a reputation as a healer, witch and fortune teller.  She was known as Manuelita la Tatuana.  Someone told the authorities and she was arrested for practicing witchcraft, imprisoned and sentenced to death by burning even though she had helped many people!

She asked her jailer for a piece of coal and drew a ship on the wall to his great amusment.  She wove some magic and the ship became real and took her through a tiny cell window to freedom. No-one saw her in the city again!

I think the moral is - don't go to the city girls especially if you are young, beautiful and a bit magical!

And here is a cute wee purse that came with it and some beautiful woven fabrics too!

Thank you so much Irene!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Shall I show you mine ....?

I entered the modern scrappy bits swap with glee as it is a relatively low stress swap and is fun to make for!

I made a frame purse in my first go and then the birdy pouch this time around.  Both were a pleasure to make - I do like that in a swap when my taste co-incides with my partner's!  Still waiting for the birdy to arrive but I am hopeful that he will get a warm welcome (wink, wink!)

Last time round I received a cute hexagon pieced purse from Grammypat but I have not shown you what I received yet this time and there is no excuse as it arrived on the same day I bid farewell to birdy!  That certainly lifted my spirits!

Here is my lovely fabric basket with cute fairy tale fabrics - I may have mentioned that I like those somewhere and my lovely partner Sarah picked up on that and my love of green, and text fabric!  

I can have lots of fun playing I-spy with it as I turn it round on my sewing table where it already has a place.   And it is huge so it will help me to be a bit more tidy - always a problem for me until I have had enough and do a spot of cleaning!

Not only that but I got some great scraps to go with, including some adorable Japanese fairytales - I do so love those!  In fact I find them irresistible  - just ask Helen, Sarah and Trudi - they followed my passion during the japanesecharmswap!  

Some fab wee pieces of HR (Heather Ross) are there too, some Echino and lots I don't know yet!

I am keeping these special little treats in the basket at the moment but I may have to make something soon with some of those particular favs!

Thank you so much Sarah - you caught my inner child and made it into a basket!   Not as painful as it sounds!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Bit happier now...

.....with that block for Sana!

I have added a bit of embroidery so Sana's little house has a Scottish garden.

First up is a tiny thistle - an emblem of Scotland and the reason why this is so is given here!    Or is could just reflect our prickly nature - who knows!

The second is a purple heather - you see so many flowering on our Scottish hills that the hills look purple.   It is a useful and decorative plant and in the past has been cut and used as a mattress, as roofing material, as a broom, as a dye plant, and as a medicinal plant!

Next is a favourite of mine - you can keep your strawberries my friends - I'd much rather have a bowl of raspberries which grow ever so well in our Scottish climate!  My father kept quite a few canes at our family home and I was often to be found scoffing a whole lot of raspberries!  Better than the blackbirds getting them!

I've named them here as my stitching is not botanically correct I'm sure!

After the raspberry comes the bluebell of Scotland - and in England it is called the harebell - a delicate looking plant from the Campanula family!   I do prefer them to English bluebells in looks but they do not look so spectacular as an English bluebell wood en masse as they tend to be less gregarious!  And are unscented too.

Following on is another favourite fruit of mine - I used to call it a blaeberry or blueberry but I believe it is called a bilberry in England.  These are short growing shrubs with blueberry like fruit!  I used to walk a short distance up the hill from my home to scoff a lot of these wild fruit!  My mother knew what I'd been up to just by looking at me as my fingers, lips, teeth and tongue were stained dark blue!

Last of all comes the lucky white heather - something to include in your bridal bouquet!  A legend explaining it's lucky nature can be found here!

And so this block does truly remind me of my homeland and can therefore wing it's way finally to Sana!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Falling bee-hind!

I may have mentioned that I'm currently in five bees at the moment and I am keeping up just except with my Star of Africa Bee as we are making up our own blocks representing our country - and for me that is Scotland!

I have had a bit of quilter's block for December - yes December !  I feel bad as the Queen for December is the lovely Sana who asked for blocks relating to the theme Home Sweet Home!  I just haven't been able to think of something suitable/doable but may have hit on something now!

I saw this block on Jennifer's blog and quickly made a tartan version of it !  I hope this is acceptable as otherwise I'm really stumped!

Still have January and February to do but for January at least I have an idea - just not sure whether I can fulfill it or not - Tina wants shoes!   And I thought of the only Scottish shoes I could - dance pumps!

Like these

I will try to piece something but if that doesn't work it will be applique...

Fiona, Miss February, wants a house block so I may end up making .......a castle!?  Wish me luck!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Cliff Hanger!

Did she do it in time?  You betcha!  A cushion each for two birthday girls!

There are four views here but actually only two cushions - I'm not Superwoman, not yet anyhow!  I just like looking at them....this is definitely my go to birthday pressie!

And here is a tip for you...

Not sure how big to make your cushion cover!?  No time for fancy measuring?  Well make it a bit bigger than you need but still square.  These both had envelope backs so quick and easy to put together.  Turn it the right way out and iron it nicely.

Try it on for size - is it a bit bigger, looser than you like then remove the insert and top stitch a bit in from the edge - I went with about a half inch in!  

Then try it on again.   Got the fit you want?  Yes thank you !  And now you have an Oxford edge to your cushion as well as a good fit!

Still a bit too loose - then I'd go round again stitching till I had it just right.   

You have to love something that can be made to fit as you go!

I copied the heart idea from my friend Karen over here, my HSTs are just a bit smaller...2.5" I think!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

More birthday cushions!

A little more cushionage required for the weekend - another joint birthday party !

Just two this time - in baby blue

And baby pink!

Just got to quilt these and make up the cushion covers - and I have four hours to do it ...the clock is ticking!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Birdy has taken wing!

I paper pieced a birdy panel to make a pouch for my scrappy swap victim partner in the modernscrappybitsswap - she liked it!

Now I hope she likes the pouch - front and back

Cos if she doesn't absolutey love it I think I'll cry!   Waaahhhhh!   

I feel a bit like that anyway as I think this is the BEST pouch I have ever made - sigh!

Never mind Nicky keep telling yourself you can make another one!

And send it away with these scraps leftover from the birdy Tweet Tweet quilt!

Job done!

Bird on the front  - pattern by Kirsty @ quietplay -you can buy her pattern here!
Feather on the back adapted from the Anna Maria Horner pattern Feather.Bed.Quilt

Sneaky peeky...

A fair amount of this.....

And this....

has been going on around here....with more to do - sorry can't stop now, think I'm on a roll.....

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Thinking of summer...

That is what Jan asked us to do in the Bee a Brit Stingy Bee!  So here is my summer thinking...

Lighthouses, elephants in the zoo, lavender blooming, sandy beaches, strawberry ice cream, mown grass, daisy chains, red sundresses, sandy beaches, trips to Paris, lots of sewing, birds, typing postcards and portholes!

Making this Road to Tennessee block ....

And stitched together...

Now just got to make another one!

What are your thoughts of summer?


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