Sewing a Patchwork Block Twice? You’re Kidding, Right??

I’m the kind of person who likes to do something once and then move on.  That’s why housework is such a problem because it’s a dejavu experience. Dull. Repetitive. Tedious. Well one of the reasons anyway.

I wrote a book once, and for me the idea of editing and a re-write was to make sure everything was spelled (spelt) correctly and that my grammar was ok. The thought of altering the text around a bit or re-writing a whole chapter differently… you’re joking, right!? (Link to book here – includes a murder!) ((For some reason the book cover picture has vanished – I’ll try and find it sometime!))

That’s why in patchwork I tend to sew more challenging block patterns so that I don’t drown under blocks of repeat, repeat, repeat. Zzzzzz.

Reminds me of an old 1980s advert for video recording tape here in the U.K… “rerecord not fade away, rerecord not fade away, rerecord…” You get the idea!

I like to have to think while sewing every block whether I have the colours in the right order or the symmetry right.

The very idea of carefully cutting and sewing together a block to then cut it up again and sew it AGAIN is

totally bonkers. Yet…

d9p-03If you sew a Disappearing Nine-patch Block then this is exactly what you do. You can get so many stunning effects and they look, at first appearance, really hard to do and yet it’s fairly easy. This is one of those blocks where you could get lost for many quilts as you experiment with different colours and layouts.

Here’s a link to a video tutorial on sewing the disappearing nine patch.

I’m now off to remind elder son to do his homework, again. Talk about dejavu!

Bye for now

Alison

Unexpected Surprises

20161126_105003It’s Saturday today and as always we went into town for our stroll and coffee. Being creatures of habit we always go to the same place. 

But, just to freak out the toddler, we often vary our walk into town. However, we always come back the same way so that we can do our shopping at the nearest supermarket on the way home.

This tour takes us past a small corner coffee shop. It has been open for only four months and has an unusual Olde Worlde look to it. The barista wears a proper tweed peaked cap, and is a true barista not just some person who serves coffee. The shop also claims to be an antique shop, and yet when you peer through the windows it is a very, VERY tiny space.

So small, in fact, that it’s called “The Shed”

Every time we get near it husband says…

“I’ll get a take-out coffee next time. But not today.”

Every time!

That’s over a dozen Saturdays so far of ‘next time’.

Today the young ones seemed particularly mellow so when the comment came, as expected, a hundred yards before we got there, I said…

“I’ll have one too and the boys can have a cake. Let’s go in and sit properly.”

So we did.

temIt was a lovely quirky little place and the boys instantly loved it. Toddler was straight onto the leather sofa and rearranging the suitcase table so he could reach it. Husband and elder son read and reread the chalk board drinks menu. The cake was fantastic, toddler could see the buses and trains go past, elder son enjoyed reading some local information magazines and husband enjoyed talking coffee with someone who really knew their art.

And as for me…

Feeling a little like Alice in Wonderland, I went for a wander through a little gap next to the fridge of cold drinks, following a rustic sign that declared ‘more this way’.

Hmmm. Curious-er and curious-er.

I like surprises. And this was a very unexpected surprise. A whole ‘nother tiny room full of surprise.

unnamed-1The photos show what I found.  Curiosities.  Antiques.  Wonder and joy.  A mumble jumble of history and art. And a clock face made from old keys.

unnamed-2I had discovered, feeling a bit like Lucy in a wardrobe, something I had not even thought existed. The hidden secret room that you can’t see from outside. Blissful.

I’m now off to see if there are any ‘secrets’ left hidden in the biscuit tin…

Bye for now

Alison

West Virginia Star Block

Yesterday I spoke about keeping things simple in patchwork. You know, fewer colors, simple shapes and well-honed skills. So, in honor of this, today’s blog connects to a patchwork block video that at first glance looks really really complicated.

wvs-03And that’s because it is! 

Well not really.

You could sew this block completely out of Half Square Triangles, and there are many people who would choose this method… or you could use this pattern to improve and/or learn lots of basic skills.

For example this block requires…

And if that isn’t enough, there are plenty of points and corners to line up, as well as making sure each piece is in the right place and at the right angle.

Is this Video suitable for an absolute novice? – no.

But it is suitable for a beginner all the way to advanced.  For every skill level this block involves a different challenge from just sewing it to sewing it perfectly.

I hope you enjoy this one.  Here’s the link to the West Virginia Star Block video tutorial.

I’m now off to see just how much more complicated I can make this hobby… Only kidding!

Bye for now

Alison

 
 
 
 

Keeping Things Simple in Patchwork

Due to the arrival of storm ‘Doris’, it’s yet another rainy British half-term day. We have reached the mid-way point of this holiday now, not that I’m counting or anything! 

20160916_165603

Another poorly quilt day.

Toddler has yet another bug and is rather sad and glum. The idea of hand-making a pie for dinner tonight when constant hugs are in demand was a no starter, and so the meal had to under- go a rethink. 

I surveyed the troops and the vote was an overwhelming victory for cheese on toast. Now there’s adventurous for you! 

 

As a species I think we humans like to make things complicated. We think it demonstrates how terribly clever we are. The truth, though, is that simple and strait forward is usually all that’s required (as well as using up far less energy). Now I’m not saying some fine and interesting meal isn’t a nice thing occasionally, but there’s also not a lot wrong with a simple casserole or stew.

20160729_090403Patchwork can be the same. Some of the most visually stunning quilts are made of a very basic pattern and with a minimum amount of colors or fabric choices. 

It’s the way you plan it and sew it that makes all the difference. 

When we are doing a hobby the temptation is to get more and more complicated and ‘clever’ when perhaps refining and improving our basic skills would be a much more useful and beneficial investment.

I’m (slowly) working on a series of ‘How to’ articles about the search for the perfect point. Click the orange text to view part 1 – preparing your fabric. This is a largely over-looked part of patchwork, especially for people like me who prefer to take short-cuts!

Keeping it simple is a wonderful guide to most things in life. After all you can’t run until you can walk.

I’m now off to see if I can come up with a difficult and exciting pudding to follow the cheese on toast… That’ll be a chopped up apple then!

Bye for now

Alison

Sewing Equipment for Patchwork

nonsenseHusband and I never quite agree on anything. Don’t get me wrong, we have the same objectives, values and dreams and together we are a formidable alliance. However, we have very different ways of getting anything done and we are both always right! 

Scarily, last night, we almost approached a problem the same way.

“By golly”, says I “we were on the same page there.”

“If we’re not careful”, says he “we might actually agree on something!” 

There then followed that shocked, stunned, eerie silence that seems to last forever as we let this bizarre idea sink in. Then, simultaneously, we both said:

“Nah! Never happen!”

The same goes for patchwork. There are many ways to achieve the same result, which is why there are so many different tutorials about the same pattern. But we are all aiming for the same thing.  A beautiful sewn work of art. 

When you start out though, this can be really confusing.

If you have never sewn patchwork before then the idea of it is quite simple. You get several pieces of fabric, cut them into bits and then sew them together again.

Simple? Yes? Definitely… but

The thing is, these days the beginner can start hunting on the Internet and reading hundreds of tutorials and watch thousands of films and soon you are being told about all sorts of things, all of which apparently matter.

20170218_150836Like thread strengths and types, cutting mats, templates, pins, starch, machines,  fabric types,  jelly rolls,  snowballs, in the ditch stitching,  tailors chalk…

Thus follows confusion and information over-load. 

So, what do you really need to start sewing a patchwork project?

Well, actually, not that much.

What you need is a simple and straightforward guide to the equipment you need to get going, so that instead of spending all your energy and brain-cells on choosing the right type of sewing thread, you can use them for the fun stuff like deciding which pattern to sew and what fabrics to use.

Below, in orange, is a link to such an equipment list. It doesn’t include any fancy stuff… just the basic information to get going. 

CLICK HERE to go to article.

If you get addicted to this hobby, as many do, then there’s plenty of time to get technical later, but to start you only need this lot. Meaning that you buy less equipment, so have more money to buy more fabric to sew more patchwork – which is the fun bit and why we do this hobby anyway. 

20170207_102549After all, what is the point of a well-equipped sewing room if you can’t afford the fabric to sew – and there’s so much of it to choose from? Follow some equipment guides and you’ll find that half the stuff you will never use, and the other half you won’t know how to use!

I’m now off to use my decision making brain-cells to decide how many different shades of blue fabric I really do need for the next project…

Bye for now

Alison