Writing Patchwork Patterns and Dreaming of Dandelions

Hey! Ho! I spent Bank Holiday Monday in my sewing room pushing through writers/quilters block to get my latest pattern ‘done’. No surprise that the pattern isn’t DONE but – putting on positivity hat – progress has been made. It took a lot of concentration and what felt like endless rounds of jumping from a printed draft, to the laptop, to my sewing machine and over to the photographic light tent…

You do have permission to copy my meme and use it as many times as you like! Let’s spread the word!

…. Which leads me to this serious aside about patchwork quilt patterns. It takes a lot of time, thought, fabric and false starts to create a pattern. Respect to pattern writers who manage to create original designs, produce patterns and then market them. As patchwork quilters we know the value of a well written pattern – whether a stand alone item or one from a collection in a book. We really shouldn’t be making ‘free’ copies of these patterns to share with friends, to use for workshops, or Guild get togethers. If the pattern writer hasn’t given permission for copying then any copies are in effect stolen – copying without permission is THEFT. Do we really want to be handing out stolen goods to our friends? As well as resisting the temptation to make copies we need to find polite ways of pointing out this issue of theft whilst saying ‘no thank you’ to copied patterns whenever they are offered to us. That may mean having awkward conversations with friends and Guild workshop organisers. I know from experience this is difficult and now I feel guilty when I look through my collection of patterns and find some which were most likely copied without permission. In fact it’s about time I destroyed those dubious copies and looked out for originals to purchase (direct from the designer if possible).

Time to step down from my soap box…

Those who follow this blog will know I’m more of a ‘starter’ than a ‘finisher’ so won’t be surprised to learn that even whilst concentrating hard on writing the pattern there’s been a bit of my mind considering new projects πŸ˜€ After a day of working on the pattern I was too tired to continue so the ‘shiny new project’ part of my mind got free-rein. I have a drawer (well! two drawers actually) filled with speciality rulers, some bought with projects in mind, others acquired as magazine freebies. I’ve been toying with the idea of making a row-by-row quilt using each of these rulers in turn. Maybe in doing this I’ll find real treasure in some and be able to part with others that really don’t cut the mustard?

As I’ve recently been seeing quite a few machine pieced hexagon quilts showing up in my social media feeds I was inevitably drawn to the multi-size Hexagon Cutter I’d acquired with an issue of Today’s Quilter magazine. And lo and behold! I found a 60ΒΊ triangle ruler too! Perfect!

What about fabric? Ah! Ha! Just the job – a Charm Pack I’ve been eyeing for a while now. There’ll be a bit of waste from the 5″ charm squares as I’ll have to cut hexagons measuring 4″ by 4Β½” but much better to use the squares than have them languishing in my stash! For the triangles I auditioned several solid fabrics before choosing the blue (it is a Kona Solid, maybe ‘Evening’?).

As I was drifting off to sleep I mused about introducing negative space into the design, which led me to think of Dandelion clocks against a blue sky… 😴

This morning I tested out the rulers on a couple of spare charm squares. Hum! Correct angles but sizes not quite compatible, doh!

The triangles were slightly too big. I had to centre them by making a crease in the hexagon block. Once I’d sewn the seams I trimmed down the triangle on the left. Back to the drawing board…

Just as well this shiny new project idea isn’t too straightforward because I really MUST FINISH writing that pattern before I start another project! πŸ˜€

Linking with Judy for Design Wall Monday and Beth for Monday Making.

Allison

 

Salmon Pink Blues

I’ve given myself a bit of colour bother! I went for a pick-n-mix tour of my local quilt store. I picked a fabric from the ‘Fantasy’ collection by Sally Kelly. I chose to mix it with a print from the Wildflower collection by Kelly Ventura.

The Fantasy fabric has a variety of dusky colour shades on a dusky lavender/grey background – I tried to find a colour match on a Kona colour card but can’t find one – something between Kona Lavender and Slate. The fantastical flowers and foliage are coloured in shades amongst others, of salmon, orange and pink. Three colours I have difficulty putting together despite them being adjacent to one another on

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Finding my sew-jo during lockdown

My planned 8 x 10 block layout for RSC21

Well! We’re not in our first or even our second lockdown here in the UK. Nope! We are settling into our third. I don’t know why this one has hit me hard. Perhaps the announcement last Monday, 4th January, came just a bit too soon after all the emotional re-adjusting we went through in the run up to Christmas? Plans to see family and friends petered away to a quiet, stay in your household, affair.

Whatever the reason my sew-jo disappeared. It took me ’til the weekend to uncover Julie the Juki ready to power through some patchwork piecing. During the week I did visit my sewing room a few times and fiddled about sorting pink strips, pressing them and cutting foundation papers to size (or what in my fuddled state I thought was ‘to size’).

Halfway through the first string block the bobbin thread ran out…. Then nearing completion of the block it suddenly dawned on me that the foundation paper was 8″ square. My plan was to have 8″ finished blocks! *Groan*! The papers should have been cut with a seam allowance, making them 8Β½” square. Rookie mistake! After a quick look at the scruffy, untrimmed edges of the block I felt the fabric strips were long enough and the seams stitched far enough beyond the paper that I would be able to square the block to 8Β½ inches. Thankfully that worked. For the remaining seven blocks I made sure to extend the strips and the seams well beyond the edge of the foundation papers and trimmed them all to the correct size πŸ™‚ So glad I only cut the eight paper squares needed for this months Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks and didn’t get carried away cutting loads of papers, the wrong size, for future use.

These eight blocks will form one row of my RSC21 quilt. Thought I’d leave my pink slippers peaking in the photo!

The lockdown no-sew-jo has been broken, all be it a rather shaky break-through. Just as well I chose a forgiving block – no accurate cutting or seam matching required – whew!

Now I’m attempting to re-engage my brain cells by writing and testing a new pattern. It involves hearts… Will it be ready for this years Valentines Day or 14th Feb 2022? πŸ˜€

If your sew-jo has been missing I hope you re-discover it very soon πŸ™‚

Linking with Cynthia for Oh! Scrap (she’s making pink blocks for several rainbow scrap quilts) and Judy for Design Wall Monday (she is making Drunkard’s Path blocks).

Allison

 

Building a Log Cabin Workshop

The Log Cabin block is one of my favourites to piece. I find the huge range of layouts that can be made just by re-orientating a few of these blocks quite fascinating. So when a quilt group friend expressed an interest in learning how to make a Log Cabin quilt my little brain cogs starting whirring!

Whirligig Log Cabin by Allison Reid
Log Cabin blocks arranged in a ‘Whirligig’ pattern – I made this quilt way back in 2015
Another of my Log Cabin quilts. The blocks are arranged in a ‘Fields and Furrows’ layout

First of all I gave some thought to the skills and techniques I could teach using the Log Cabin block. I decided to teach a basic square-in-the-middle block using speedy strip piecing techniques for part of the workshop and then switch to the slower, but more precise, individual rotary cut piece technique to make curved Log Cabin blocks.

Log Cabin Class Quilt (1) by Allison ReidNext step was to draw up the blocks and play around with layouts on EQ7…

The blocks are 10″ finished and the quilt top with borders measures 68″ square. Once I started getting down to the nitty-gritty math of the quilt I was pleased to find this pattern will be ‘Jelly Roll friendly’. I was even more pleased when I found a Moda French General Jelly Roll listed on Lucy’s ‘Secret Garden Quilting’ website that looked to have the limited colour palette I had in mind for my sample quilt πŸ™‚

And whoopie-do when the Jelly Roll arrived – and I did that brave thing and unrolled it – I found just the right number of blue strips and red strips required for the quilt top πŸ™‚ There are a few beige strips too and theseΒ  can be used as background. The beige strips helped me to colour-match low-volume fabrics from my stash to make up the 2m of background fabric I’ve calculated is needed to complete the design . We shall see! Obviously making up a sample quilt is a good and necessary part of testing a pattern but it’s fun too; seeing an idea move from paper or a screen to being realised in fabrics.

Stars and Moons jelly roll by Allison Reid
Moda ‘Vive La France’ Jelly Roll
Stars and Moons jelly roll strips by Allison Reid
Vive La France Jelly Roll strips decorating my design wall πŸ™‚

This morning I spent a couple of hours making a start writing the pattern on my lap top. It takes me quite a while to do this. As I’m writing I think through the logical steps in choosing fabrics, cutting the fabrics, making the blocks and putting the quilt top together. I enjoy teaching workshops using my own patterns as I get to see them being used and I learn more about the different ways patchwork quilters read and interpret patterns.

I’m planning to schedule the ‘Build a Log Cabin Workshop’ for early in the New Year. Keep an eye on the Workshop of this blog for a date and venue πŸ™‚

While the Log Cabin workshop pattern has some way to go before publication you can find my other patterns by clicking on to my Etsy Shop, www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AllisonsPatchworks . Most are available as instant download PDFs, a few are hard copy paper patterns for sale in the UK only.

Linking with Judy for Design Wall Monday. Judy has a teeny-tiny Apple Core quilt in the making. Also linking with Beth for Monday Making, she shares the beautiful square-in-a-square applique quilt she has been busy working on the past week.

Allison