procrastination, quilting, Travel

Stitching away

News is in from the Overseas Office that some stitching is actually happening, just not in the expected quantities. An orphan block has been rescued from oblivion** –

– and some simple outline quilting has been added since the above picture was taken. More quilting may yet be done.

** oblivion = one of several boxes of stash

One or two other projects are being similarly progressed with just the very essentials of outline quilting to begin with. The small unplanned wrinkles on the Sugar Loaf remake should quilt out and the Friendship Star/Nine Patch is going to feature easy straight lines.

The Project Inspection Department at C&B Towers expects to see considerable progress by the end of this month!

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

We couldn’t have Stellar Sampler without our favourite block – the Ohio Star. But it has many, many names depending on how you place the colours, which book or magazine you found it in and even when you read that book or magazine. These blocks below all look like Ohio Star – they have the four corner squares, a plain square in the centre and quarter-square triangles as the star points. Download cutting instructions etc here.

However – the first one is usually known as Mosaic and the second as Ohio Star. On the second row we have multiple names for the first two. According to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Block Patterns Block 1 is (has been) known as Eight-Point Design, Lone Star, Star Design, Texas Star, Tippecanoe and Tyler Too, Texas, Eastern Star, Eight Point Star, Shoofly, and just Star. Block 2 is often known as Variable Star as well as Texas, Star Spangled, Western Star, Star of the West, Henry of the West, Star of Hope and Lone Star. The final block is usually known just as Flying Crow. Having said all that most of us refer to them all as either Variable Star or, more often, Ohio Star so as not to confuse it with the 4-patch Variable Star block.

By using different units in the centre or corners you can alter the block to make a new one, and there are many variations to be found. Today we have just a few with altered corners starting with Swamp Angel – sometimes known as The Four-X Quilt depending on the colour placement. This just has half-square triangles in the corners instead of squares.

The Ornate Star has altered corners too

This next variation doesn’t have a name

and if you turn the corner units round you get another variation

Yet another variation without a name is this one

If you don’t fancy making just one block but want to turn one or more of these into a quilt, what would those quilts look like? Perhaps something like these –

Your download this week has cutting instructions / foundation papers for all the variations we’ve shown this week as well blocks to colour and some quilt settings to colour too. There are so many ways to play with Ohio Star so next month we will have found some more ideas.

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities

May’s blocks on Meadowside

Over on Meadowside Designs, as you have probably gathered by now, we are working our way through the alphabet with a sampler series of six-inch blocks. May sees us arrive at H (and later I and even J). This week our H blocks include Hour Glass. There are (literally) dozens of blocks that have been given this name or contain these words. We chose four similar ones to feature on Meadowside

but here’s just a few of the others simply called Hour Glass that we found –

That last one was designed by Carlie Sexton and published in 1928 (Barbara Brackman) and we rather thought some of you might fancy making it, so you can download the templates to make a 12 inch (six inch seemed a little small?) block. It might fit in quite well with some of the other star blocks we are featuring here at Chris & Barbara this year.

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May Doodles

We’ve chosen a favourite traditional block to feature in our Doodles for May – Martha Washington Star. We’ve been looking at a number of red and white quilts in the picture vaults of C&B Towers and the following Doodles rather reflect that – here’s the EQ8 default colouring of the block to begin with.

Even these simple variations and colour switches can produce striking results in straight settings of the blocks – see if you can work out the various combinations.

You can download resources to make your own Martha Washington Star block(s) here.

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Tropical touch

We were looking back through the photo vault not so long ago and were reminded of a very successful class we did on Hawaiian style patterns and machine applique. Barbara ventured into a colourful palette for one of the class samples –

Chris was of the opinion that the machine stitching was none too bad for a hand quilter! Here’s Barbara’s first Hawaiian hand stitched sample from way back when (ie 1983) –

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

Browsing through a book of blocks the other day we came across a couple that we have made before (but don’t seem to have pictures of!) and realised that they are related to another block we do have a picture of . . . and then one thing led to another and with the aid of Electric Quilt we had some more related blocks that we may, or may not, make. You can download a PDF of the templates to make all these blocks at 12 inches, foundation piecing is a possibility but they didn’t fit onto A4 paper so they haven’t been included, but you do get a picture of each block to colour in.

So what are these blocks? First of all is Wheel of Destiny and then the star points were made slimmer and the colour kept the same

At which point it began to resemble Starry Path

And then with a bit of tweaking of the outer triangles Starry Path became Interwoven Star.

But you could join the centres of those two stars so they form a quarter-square triangle unit in the centre and make these two blocks – which we’ve called Spinning Stars 1 and 2.

But what happens if we go back to Starry Path and change the outer triangles again and make them a different shape?

And then if we add a tiny triangle to those new ones it almost looks as if the points have folded over (with a bit of clever colouring).

Join us next month for some more stellar blocks.

Free patterns

It’s April

And over on Meadowside Designs this week it’s all about the flowers. We’ve moved onto F in our alphabet soup of six-inch blocks and, as it’s April we’ve chosen Flower Petals as our first block – pieced or applique, your choice –

Our second block this week is Flower Garden Path which we couldn’t help but recolour from the pale pastels of the original EQ colouring to green grass, a lavender border instead of a path and colourful flowers!

You’ll find cutting instructions, templates and blocks to colour ready to download at Meadowside. Meanwhile here’s a little tulip inspiration

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Doodles for April

Our block for this month is Temple Court – another one of our traditional style favourites. Here’s the block as it appears in the EQ8 Library

And here’s a variation of the Temple Court block with an adjustment at the centre making it much easier to piece – we’ve twiddled the colouring so that you can see the adjustment clearly.

We’ve played first with the block as it appears in EQ8, switching colours and moving them around the block –

And then there were the quilts from these blocks, just in straight settings, no sashings –

We had to pause at this point and remember to show the easier-to-piece variation, starting with the block and moving on to quilts.

So, some interesting options from simple changes – and changes that are so easy to make in EQ8 so that you can review before committing to cloth! Download a pdf with a Temple Court block to colour, templates, EQ8s rotary cutting instructions here. Our Technical Department has also produced a pdf to download for the Temple Court variation so you have the best of both worlds!

possibilities, Travel

Somewhat random …

. . . . and somewhat less than organised is the current state of play over at the Rural Office. There’s another transition to the Overseas Office due so there are decisions to be made as to which tech stuff needs to go, which files and folders, which projects to finish, which templates and rulers and so on and so on. Hopefully when everything is gathered up it will all pack into a reasonable amount of space in the car!