patchwork block

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

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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! 

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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

Patchwork Discovery during Spring Cleaning

Snail TrailYou know it’s Spring when you hear the first dulcet tones of the ice cream van driving up the road. 

Last year, every-time we heard the twinkling twanging sound of the ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’, the toddler had hysterics! So maybe we are more sensitive to the van’s arrival as we try to obscure the sound with tuneless singing and dancing! Today we were all quick to notice it’s arrival, more so perhaps because the toddler’s reaction was to calmly declare that the ice cream man had come.

That was the total level of interest, apart from waving it goodbye as it drove away down the street. (Thankfully, he hasn’t realized that we can buy ice cream from the van – only I’m too tight!)

My sister was even sly-er than me with her excuses… She convinced her children that when the ice cream van drives around playing his music, it’s because he’s letting everyone know that he has sold out of ice cream so don’t bother asking for any. Pester-free existence!

All signs point to the fact that Spring is well on the way.

The washing is drying on the line more days than not,

Flowers are popping their heads through the leaves,

and the ice cream man has arrived.

So, today I felt inspired…

…to have a little Spring clean of my sewing stuff. This involves getting things out, going “Oh gosh I forgot I had that” and then putting it back for another day.

20170219_211345However, one crumpled bag stuffed at the bottom of my main sewing bag caught my attention.

20170219_211510It was full of bags of blue fabric, most cut into triangles of different sizes as well as a couple of sewn blocks. The design is the ‘Monkey Wrench’ or ‘Snail Trail’. A fairly common block – click HERE to learn more about this block.

20170219_211607Unusually for me, everything appears highly organised and apparently under control. Bags are even letter and color coded, my goodness! The problem, in this case, is my hand-written instructions.

I often sew things slightly different to the tutorials on the Internet/books/ etc. Instead I work out my own method and directions and sizes. This is the base process I use for all of the videos I share on the Internet. 

20170219_211757

The total effort of my instructions!

However, in this instance, I must have decided that this would be a private project so I made instructions for my eyes only. 

I guess it made sense when I was doing it but they are not so helpful now. Hence, I have a bit of a cryptic challenge on my hands. This has got me so puzzled that instead of putting this project back in the bag, I’m going to try and finish sewing it. I’ll let you know how I get on. Wish me luck!

I’m now off to persuade my husband that I can’t do the ironing this week on account of it not being Tuesday… Surely, when it comes to ironing, any excuse has got to be worth a try!!!

Bye for now

Alison

Snowball in Patchwork

tempOver the weekend a lot of places had some snow. We had about twenty snowflakes so not much of an event to shout about… unless of course you are three!

“Mummy mummy,” came the screaming voice on opening the bedroom curtains at silly’o’clock in the morning, “it’s snowing! “

“Yes dear.  Go back to sleep.”

“I can build a snowman.” he declared whilst bouncing up and down excitedly on our bed.

We watched out of the window together, waiting patiently for each snowflake to fall through the lit sky under the streetlight. Few of them, if any, reached the ground before melting.

“Darling,  there’s not even enough snow to make a snowball.”

“But it’s snowing.  We can make a snowman!” 

Any weather snowballs

In patchwork there is a well used pattern which is called a snowball.  It is when a small square of fabric is sewn over each corner of a large square, at a diagonal, and the corner trimmed resulting in a sort of circle shape that vaguely looks like a snowball. As usual words don’t do this process justice so below is a set of diagrams explaining the process a bit clearer.

snowball-01

Whenever we use this process to cut off a corner on a shape we call it ‘snowballing’. Below are some pictures of other shapes that have had 1 – 4 corners ‘snowballed’.

snowball-02

This can be really useful in a lot of patchwork block patterns (a lot of my video tutorials include this process). And ‘snowballing’ can be quicker than sewing together a lot of half square triangles (click here to learn about half square triangles)

snow-nine-01However, as pretty as a uniform snowball block looks, there are also a variety of patterns that you can make by using the full snowball block in different color variations, or by adding alternate solid or nine-patch blocks between them.

Here’s a link to my latest video tutorial… CLICK HERE.

I’m now off to make a ‘snowball’ pudding – a very rich and delicious desert – if not rather sickly and alcoholic! Hic!

Bye for now

Alison

ps. To access the recipe for snowball pudding ‘like wot my mam’ used to make –  (Click here!)