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



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


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



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.


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’.


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


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

Town Alleyways and City Streets

Today I did something I haven’t done for a long time. I went around town on my own.  Anyone with small people will understand how fantastic and freeing this is.  No one pulling you in the opposite direction just when you get to where you want to be, no one wanting a wee when you are standing in a queue waiting to buy that special something,  no-one  moaning when you go into a fabric shop,  etc etc

It was a lovely sunny and peaceful morning as I ambled around town.  I think I walked miles.

Our town is not a big shopping centre, but it is an old historic town that has evolved over hundreds of years. The layout is strongly molded by the huge loop in the river and the hill that sits within the loop. It’s detailed layout was determined by the desire to protect the town from all invaders : be it the Welsh to the East or the English to the West.


From Google Maps

Getting from place to place can be particularly difficult if you are not used to the town.  We all know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So being rational, you aim up one of the narrow streets, only to find it twists and turns and you end up back near where you started or on the river bank – always the river bank.

There are many ways to get from A to B if you know how, but the unwary visitor could get lost for days… amongst the haunted alleyways of Ye Olde Shrewsbury Towne. 


From Google Maps

Modern towns are built on open land. Built not for historic strategy but to provide housing, work areas, modern and clinical shopping areas, etc, for a rapidly growing population.

These layouts consist of straight lines all in a grid.  Easy to navigate, easy to follow and, to me at least, totally lacking in character and atmosphere. 

The patchwork quilt block ‘City Streets’ is a more modern quilt block based upon this second type of town.  Lots of straight lines to reflect the modern town layout, rather than looking like a drunken spider let loose with a pot of paint like the roads in my home town.

cs-blockI have searched to try and find who first designed this block, but have only found conflicting answers. If you know please let me know so credit can be given where credit is due. 

Meanwhile, here is a link to the tutorial of this, my newest video.  I hope you enjoy it.  It is wonderfully simple to sew and yet very gorgeous. With some small changes a huge variety of results can be achieved, as shown at the end of the video.

I’m now off to hide my newest stash of fabric before husband notices it…

Bye for now


ps. In case you are following the symmetry issue (click here for a re-cap) this block has two lines of symmetry!

pps. Note to self : don’t write that you are hiding things from husband in a blog that you know he always reads!!!