Tag Archives: paper piecing

Kaleidostar cushion complete

I’ve spent the last three days working on this cushion, sometimes paper piecing triangular sections for hours. I actually sewed and¬†listened all the way through from Chris Evan’s Breakfast Show to the end of Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Monday whilst OH was sleeping as he’d just finished a night shift at 7am. Ken Bruce’s show always reminds me of being at my grandma’s house and the taste of roast pork with salty cabbage as it was on in the background. This is a good thing ūüôā

Sorry for the lower quality pictures- I’m saving the good stuff for the magazine that the tutorial will be printed in. More on that when it happens.

Do you remember this post back in August where I showed you the mock up design? Well I took Simone‘s suggestion on board and called it the Kaleidostar cushion- thanks Simone!

The whole cushion is constructed from Oakshott shot cottons, specifically it’s the Oxblood, Apricot, Haematite and White Marble colours. They’re really nice to cut and to sew. I must say the Haematite grey is my favourite, I love the dimension in the different tone weft and weave threads.

I even put a fancy zip in with a flap for the very first time. I used this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew and adapted it ever so slightly to position the zip differently. It was easier than I thought!

Day 10 of Blogtoberfest today… are you getting bored of me yet?! 21 more posts to go!


Pretty patterns over on Craftsy

I’ve started a small patterns shop on Craftsy (link is now in my top bar of the blog) which I’m going to add my free blocks to too, but I thought it would be worth giving a nod to some other pattern seller on there so you can see what fantastic patchwork patterns are on there, it’s definitely worth a look!

I actually bought this one and it’s what I’m using to make the main feature of my mini quilt for the Brit Swap…

Good Luck Star by Banner Creek Designs – $5

But I have my eye on these too!

Cross Star Paper Pieced Block by Bubblestitch – $2.90

Star and Crescent Quilt Pattern by Shell Bees Treasures – $4

Flowers in Vintage Bottles by Charise Creates – $5

How do you like this pattern?

I’ve just been having a play with Electric Quilt 7 again and come up with a paper pieced block that looks like this…

Which when made into a cushion panel will look like this- pretty!

Once I’ve sewn one up I’m thinking of submitting it to a magazine as a pattern.

But I can’t think of a name for the block! Any ideas? Stars are so hard to name!

Free Paper Piecing Pattern: Daisy Star Block

I drew this up the other day on Electric Quilt. Of course it is unfinished, so the edges will meet the side points. It’s actually quite an easy block¬†to do and consists of four pieces. There are loads of tutorials on the internet for how to paper piece so I’m not even going to attempt to talk you through it as it would be rubbish in comparison, however I will say that to match the four main segments up after piecing the other bits, I like to keep the paper in, trim to an exact 1/4″ seam allowance along the edges to be joined, pin through the layers at the points to make sure they match and then pull out the paper before stitching them together.

For the template, just click here, it’s sized to a 6″ block but feel free to size it to whatever you like!

You will need Adobe Reader to open this file. Go ahead,¬†make this block into quilts, bags¬†or anything you wish, just please don’t sell my actual pattern, cos I’m letting you have it for free…

And because I haven’t shared a picture of my animals for a bit, here’s Fletcher in my sewing room…

Tutorial: Lazy English Paper Piecing Hexagons

I know a lot of you already know about stitching together hexies by hand. However I am surprised at the “conventional” way of doing it- so I’ve adapted it to work best for me (i.e. the laziest way possible). My way means you don’t stitch through the papers which makes them easy to remove- and reuse, and also it means you don’t need to have as many as you can remove paper as you go rather than all in one big time-consuming debarcle at the end.

Hopefully this will make quilts such as Grandmother’s Flower Garden a lot more accessible and you won’t get bored before you even start putting the pieces together!

So here we go.

Take your first¬†paper hexagon (I print off my own and make maybe 20, but you might have shop bought ones or however you plan on doing it) and a square of fabric at least 1/4″ bigger on all sides. The fabric doesn’t need to be perfectly square or indeed perfectly hexagonal! Have a needle and thread ready.

Pin together with your fabric facing down and your paper on top. Or you could just grip it well like I have. Fold the fabric over the paper on one straight edge, then fold an adjacent edge over to wrap one of the corners. Stitch through the fabric that has been wrapped over at the corner (and the fabric only!). Whip over and stitch again so there’s two stitches. This is crucial to holding the fabric together in the correct shape.

Fold the next flat side down and stretch your thread over, making two stitches again in the same way. Continue all the way around. You might need to remove your pin halfway so you can work round the pin head but you’re sensible enough to figure that out ūüėČ

So now you have your hexagon, you might want to make a few so we can join them. I tend to get bored after making about four or five.



Take two hexagons and decide what side you want them to join at. Place them faces together and with a teeny running stitch, sew them together as close to the fabric folds as possible. Pay extra special attention to the points where three hexagons meet- you may need a few extra stitches in there. Repeat with further hexagons. Make more of them if you like.

Once you get to the point where you have a hexagon completely surrounded by others and all six sides have another hexagon attached, you can slip out the paper of that hexagon and reuse it for another hexagon as you work outwards. No cutting, no tearing, no fuss!

(just pretend that the photo above has more hexagons round the edge)

My giveaway ends in just under 6 hours- if you happen to be reading this in time (which you probably aren’t given the length of time this tutorial will remain on the internet) then here’s that post if you want to try your luck!

Weekend sewing

I had planned to spend Sunday finishing my goldfinch quilt finally. I then got distracted by the Tova sewalong over at VeryKerryBerry and finished this in about 4 hours…

Sorry for the crap photo- lighting was not good and my camera doesn’t cope well with high ISO (though Fujis used to back when I worked at a camera shop, sort it out Fujifilm!).

I don’t like baggy clothes much, so I decided to pair it with a belt- the same one as the dress from the other day- and it’s much improved. I’m wearing it today!

The fabric used is from Kate Spain’s Terrain collection produced by Moda and this is a flannel which is nice and soft ūüôā

I also started to befriend paper piecing. We didn’t see eye to eye at first, but I managed to do another hedgehog without any hiccups(!)… check out the hand painted fabric for the quills…

And I’ve started a quilt I am making for my new baby cousin due in June. They know whether it is a boy or a girl but I don’t- and I hate the “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” rubbish. Next you’ll be telling me that boys can’t learn to¬†sew and girls can’t play football. Did you know pink used to be a solely masculine colour until the last 150 years or so? Anyway I digress, so this hasn’t affected what I would have done as a quilt at all, I’m making a 4×4 square of birdies (alternating between looking left and right)¬†and then bordering and sashing it with a simple cream or yellow that I’ve not found yet. I’m going to border the blocks with blue and red solids- I’ve started the blue here but not finished it yet- I think I might unpick and use a darker blue so that it doesn’t look like an extension of the sky…¬†All the birds are made with Pezzy Print by American Jane for Moda and from a charm pack. The pattern is from Piece by Number and it’s a lot simpler than the hedgehog.

And this is the order I’m going to use for the Pezzy Birds colours, just for reference so I don’t forget!

And here’s a gratuitous hedgehog photograph as your reward¬†since you managed to read down this far…

Twenty Hedgehogs

Well I managed it, with minimal unpicking and swearing… but with a lot of patience… it’s the first of Twenty Hedgehogs!

This is a “platinum” variety of african pygmy hedgehog – it has a heavy mottled tummy, a black face and very white quills. The eye is painted on with acrylic paint. I’ve tried to machine embroidery “platinum” below it in gold thread but it doesn’t show very well so I think I’m going to do it again by hand with black perle cotton. Only 19 more to go! The plan is for 20 different ones, there’s some snowflake, pinto and algerian varieties mixed up with the standard colour ones (for you hedgehog nerds out there). This took me a few hours to do but I should speed up with time. For now I think I am going to finish my goldfinch quilt and also the footstool I am supposed to be finishing for the end of the month for the Finish-a-long before I do any more!

The Twenty Hedgehogs quilt will be echo quilted when I’m done and hung on the wall above my sewing machine. My workspace currently looks like this. iPhone (for the radio), iron and board, hedgehog underneath, plug in air freshener to counteract stinky hedgehog,¬†and then sewing machine. I do have some pictures on the wall a bit higher up over the ironing board but above my machine the wall’s a bit bare.

I really want a machine with a longer arm and bigger workspace for quilting, it looks so small in this picture!

Art quilt inspiration

I’ve recently been admiring Art Quilts because I love patchwork, applique, scrapbooking and I’m intrigued by surface design and this encompasses it all! I have discovered Quilting Arts magazine and I love it, I bought a book which combines a lot of the techniques shown in the magazine over the years- I read it this weekend¬†and I can thoroughly recommend it if surface design, textile art and art quilts is your thing!

I got into the idea after looking at another great- but out of print- book called Photo Album Quilts by Wendy Butler Berns that I found in turn via a blog hop promoting a book by the same author. I wanted to have a go at something pictoral and not to abstract as these are the quilts I like most¬†and so I made a sketch (late at night on a friday, as you do)¬†which I now need to simplify and blow up huge, and then just get stuck in! I’ve decided to quilt a large picture of my boys- minus the OH (collectively all living creatures in our house are “my boys”).

Here’s some of my favourite ones I’ve found on the internet so far, it’s amazing what you can do with fabric!

This evening I will be getting an old toothbrush and some acrylic paint and splattering some white cotton ready to be used in a paper piecing project so I can get the perfect match for something. Hopefully I will have a finished block to show you tomorrow- after a coule of sessions I still only have two little pieces stitched together because I keep cutting the fabric wrong or stitching things upside down so that they don’t fit over the whole piece it’s supposed to. Let it be known that I still hate paper piecing but I’m not going to let it beat me, and I think I’m nearly there with understanding it!

This image is by Bed Sheet In My Kitchen- I didn't make this, she did!

Don’t forget my button giveaway is still on ’til Friday!

Sewing Snow-in

After last year’s car accident, I decided it wouldn’t be wise to venture out in the snow we had this weekend, other than to take Fletcher to the park. This meant I had a lot of time in the house, and as¬†OH had to go to bed mid afternoon both days ready for his night shifts, I had a lot of time on my own to get on with quiet stuff- meaning I had an excuse not to hoover the living room or set up my noisy chocolate tempering machine!

So happily I spent many an hour in the garage conversion. I have nearly finished ironing and folding my fabric collection, and I only really started doing it properly on Friday night… About 5 or 6 BIG pieces of fabric to do and I’m¬†done- I even ironed my scraps! Still plenty of space on these two shelves to grow into ūüėČ

Also, do¬†you remember that finish-a-long I’m doing? I have finished one of the 5 sides. I did a few more pinwheels as well but I got bored quickly, but I will get there. I just don’t find making tons of pinwheels that exciting… I’m writing it up as a tutorial as I go as I’m hoping to sell the project to a magazine as it’s been ages since I did that kind of thing and I want to get a lot more involved in writing this year.

Next, I love to infringe a bit of copyright as much as the next girl… I was asked by OH’s brother to make a Lady Googoo for his stepdaughter for her birthday in a couple of weeks. I drafted a pattern, found the body was too long on more than one occasion, snipped and restitched and came up with this… I’m going to make her a microphone out of felt too as I still think the body is a bit too long. If you don’t know what this is- join the club! It’s called a “Moshi Monster” apparently. The skin colour was really difficult to match as everything was too bright pink or too orange, but the fleece blanket I bought to line my hedgehog’s enclosure was perfect- and I had a spare bit big enough. Yey for upcycling!

Next, I discovered that I hate paper piecing! This is my first attempt and I just couldn’t see through the fabric to line things up properly, which resulted in a helluva lot of excess fabric to cut off and unpicking and starting again. I really didn’t enjoy it, but maybe it’s something to stick at and I might grow to like it as it becomes easier. I also need to try the freezer paper method, I just can’t get my head around how that works, this was hard enough! It¬†is baggy in places too as I only finger pressed, I could have done with the iron downstairs and pressed along the way and I certainly will next time…. which will be after I buy a tabletop ironing board and cheapy iron to keep in my room.¬†This tree is part of a cushion project with 3 different trees by Lynne Goldsworthy in the latest issue of Fat Quarterly.

Lastly, I did a bit more quilting on the Goldfinch¬†quilt, then¬†I cut and pieced the patchwork squares for my Mouthy Stitches pouch swap. I’m going to do a trial run on the construction with other fabric to see how it works (and to practise my zips!) before I put this into the pattern. I *finally* get to start my dressmaking class this week as I was working away last week and it was cancelled due to teacher illness the week before. maybe I will get some zip pointers then!