The Beginners Classes I’m teaching this term are nearly through. During the penultimate session last Saturday students tried out walking foot quilting techniques and learnt how to pin baste their quilt sandwich. I’m looking forward to seeing all the near complete quilts on Saturday 23rd when I’ll be teaching the making of straight grain binding and demonstrating how to attach binding to a quilt. I have my homework cut out as I’ve yet to sandwich and quilt my own version of the Dashing Stars quilt! 😀
But, rewinding to Session One of the Beginners Course, I’ve been giving some thought to what should be included in a Rotary Cutting Starter Kit. Ours is not a cheap hobby but having the right tools makes a
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I had a fruitful sewing day with friends on Thursday. I made most of the blocks for my latest version of ‘Dashing Stars’, the quilt pattern written by Viv Poon especially for the Beginners Course run in her shop Purple Stitches. I’m
You might like to sit down and take a few deep breaths as I am announcing another finished project :-O I know! That’s three in three weeks! But don’t worry, normal slow progress will be resumed very shortly!
The finish I’m sharing is this very cute cot quilt commissioned by a friend for her Granddaughter’s first birthday. My friend found the cotton pillow cover with the Snoopy picture on the front and the saying, ‘Sleeping is an art’ printed on the back. The rest was up to me 🙂 I just happened to have some scraps of the text print ‘Friendship’ backing fabric lying around. It looked so good with the Peanuts cartoon style and as friendship is a key theme running through Schulz’s little world the fabric seemed the perfect choice for the background of the patchwork blocks. Fortunately the bolt was still available at Purple Stitches so I bought another metre to use for the backing of the cot quilt too 🙂
It took me a little while to plan the quilt. Obviously the Snoopy picture needed to be the centre panel. I thought bright cartoon-like flowers would make a good border for a girls quilt. I hope the blocks look like flowers? With the help of my daughter we chose fabrics with bold colours that worked well with the bright red of Snoopy’s dog house roof. These are mainly 1930’s repro fabrics with ditsy patterns.
I spent some time with squared paper, pencil and eraser figuring out block design and size. It was a bit tricky trying to stretch the design into a rectangle (I guess it’s no surprise that patchwork blocks readily create square quilt tops but often need a bit of persuading to arrange themselves into a bed sized rectangle?). The most suitable finished block size was six inches. I cut the Snoopy panel down to 22″ by 18″ and spaced the two styles of flower blocks (Snowball and Eight-Point Star) around it using 2″ borders and either 1″ or 2″ sashing strips.
The ‘Snowball Flower’ blocks are each made of four Snowball units. I made a test block as I have a history of issues with distorting Snowball corners. The test block is by no means perfect but it did help me to develop strategies to improve accuracy:
Draw the diagonal stitching lines on the little corner squares with a very fine marker pen rather than an ordinary pencil.
Switch from a general needle plate on my machine to a single-hole needle plate. I found the machine needle was pushing the fabrics down into the machine at the start of the stitching line causing them to get a bit ‘chewed’ and the stitching line to shift away from the central diagonal I was aiming for. This didn’t happen when the single-hole needle plate was used.
I could have starched the fabrics to further reduce distortion but I was reluctant to do this as I wasn’t planning to wash the quilt before handing it on to my friend.
Having figured out these strategies to improve accuracy I thought I’d share them with you and also write a Snowball Flower Block pattern that you are welcome to download and use.
To complete the quilt I pieced the back and used Quilters Dream Green wadding (I really like the smooth texture of this polyester wadding made from recycled plastic bottles). I machine quilted in the ditch around the Snowball Flower blocks, echoed quilted the Star Flowers and then used black thread to follow the outline of Snoopy and his roof. I finished with a bit of free-motion meandering in the white background surrounding Snoopy. Finally I machine stitched a double binding around the quilt.
I really enjoyed designing and making this bold and bright quilt. I hope it proves a long-term winner with it’s young recipient and her family.
Whew! It’s Thursday morning and I’m struggling to get going today. I slept well until the local mob of Gulls decided to kick up a bit of ruckus well before 6am. These pesky birds have set up residence here, some 50 miles from the coast, making up for being low in numbers with their high volume calling. They are constantly patrolling the skies, chasing off Red Kites and Buzzards and skirmishing with the local crows.
My main goal this week has been preparation for the Patchwork Workshop tomorrow. On Tuesday I made the final adjustments to the pattern for the ‘Into the Woods’ table runner. Yesterday I printed out the foundation paper piecing patterns and made some part-finished examples for the demonstrations I’ll give in class.