Wednesday Wanderings

Chris has been pulling on her boots and exploring various byways and roads less travelled. We really do live in a glorious place, but perhaps don’t always appreciate it. So every few weeks a photo or two . . Having said that – this road is often well travelled but fortunately the hedgerows and banks can accommodate a pedestrian (providing she clings to a handy branch) in the narrower parts.

These lanes though are much narrower – just about enough room for an SUV and a pedestrian to squeeze past each other – just don’t think about tractors and lorries!

And most of them are full of cow parsley which has been coming into full bloom this month – you can tell which side of the lane gets the most sun by the abundance, or otherwise, of the flowers.

Mystery Monday, possibilities, procrastination, quilt shows, Travel

A mystery and too many quilts

Way back at the beginning of the year (and how is it May already?) we promised a new Mystery quilt. At long last it has arrived – just a couple of months late. The Needs List is ready to download and we’ll post a ‘cutting plan’ towards the end of the month. ‘Mystery Mondays’ are back – just one step each month and ending in November so you could use Christmas colours perhaps.

In the meantime Chris is having a slight panic – giving a talk means emptying the cupboards, sorting out the quilts, deciding which ones to take, which to leave behind, which best illustrate the general theme of the talk – and just how many quilts will folk want to see before they get bored with ‘and here’s another one I made’. All of which means the quilt cupboards are (almost) empty and the floor downstairs is rather full. Too many quilts!

It will be alright on the night (as the saying goes)! In the meantime its back to sorting those heaps into different (smaller?) heaps, putting the rejects back in the cupboards and organising the others into some sort of order.

To add to all this excitement this week is Quilts UK! at Malvern. We’re both hoping to be there – just neither of us has decided which day to go – Barbara has to make it back from the Overseas Office and Chris is undecided whether to make a weekend of it and stay with ‘little sister’ not too far away and maybe drag her along too – she needs a hobby now she’s retired (and how is she old enough to retire?!). As ever, procrastination is our theme. Perhaps we’ll see you there, buying fabric to make our Mystery!

classes, Inspiration, Teaching

Pop-Up finishes

A few of the Mystery Pop-Up quilts have been finished (or nearly finished).

Mouse and Chris (although this had to be finished in time for the class, so we’re cheating a bit here!) have made runners

Meanwhile Margaret C has completed her little quilt top and Chris has put the ‘Blue Peters’ together to complete her top. Neither of them quilted yet – decisions have to be made!

How are yours progressing? Photos of finishes (or nearly-finished) always welcome!

The design was based (somewhat loosely) on one of the local Minton tiled doorsteps. Where do you find inspiration for designs?

classes, procrastination, Teaching

Long ago . . .

back in 2009 to be exact we ran a Chris and Barbara workshop called Stack and Switch where one of the ideas was to make what we called curvy pinwheels. Some of you may have dim recollections of it, some of you may even have made something after the workshop.

In sorting and tidying and general rummaging through cupboards and bags Chris came across the Blue Peters and complete blocks from that workshop. More rummaging produced some fabrics that ‘would do’ as sashing or borders. For some reason there were only three purple blocks but four multi-coloured blocks so finally two tops have been put together – a runner and a small square thingy –

Let’s hope it doesn’t take another thirteen years to quilt them!

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

It’s nearly the end of the year (how did that happen?) and we’ve reached the last few of our stellar blocks. These are more eight-pointed stars, somewhat akin to the Blazing Star blocks from last month. You can download the 12 inch patterns and blocks to colour for all the blocks featured today here – it is free remember)

We start with Key West

If you divide that up a bit you get Morning Star (we have dubbed this Morning Star 2 in the download – you’ll see why in a moment)

Take the centre points of Key West and add pointed corners to make April Star

If you then take those points and divide them you get Shadow Star

Divide just the corner points of April Star to make Star and Cone

Or make the centre points shorter (and thus fatter at the end) to make Guiding Star

Then we come to our other Morning Star – a Blazing Star / April Star / Key West with added bits!

But we couldn’t leave our stellar year without reminding you of the Tangled Star block

You can find a pattern to make a runner using this block over in our Payhip shop along with many other patterns for runners, quilts and table toppers.

We hope you have enjoyed our exploration of some of the multitude of star blocks – and please download the patterns (they are free) and play with the ‘block to colour’ pages – split up the various bits of the stars and design your own extra stellar blocks.

Block A Week, Electric Quilt

Over on Meadowside

All this year our sister blog has been posting six-inch blocks each week as we work our way steadily through an alphabet soup of designs.

We started back in January with an applique letter A and an Apple Pie

By April we had reached F and Flower Petal

In July it was M and a Merry Kite

And now at the beginning of December we have reached W and a found a Wandering Lover.

There’s still three more letters to go before the end of the year! If you downloaded all the block patterns you would have a total of 97 blocks plus 26 applique letters by New Year – enough to make a sampler quilt to fit on top of a bed (approx 60 inches square if you made 100 blocks).

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

Browsing through the star blocks in BlockBase and Electric Quilt Chris came across a star called Star and Dot which looks a bit like a Blazing Star with bits missing. Further browsing produced a few more stars in the same family.

Let’s start with Star and Dot

Then add a few lines to make New Star

Or add spiked corners to make Blazing Star

Split those corners to make another version of Blazing Star

Change the corner and centre to make the Emerald block

Or add in lots of extras to make Optical Illusion

You can download the cutting instructions for all these blocks (12 inches) and blank blocks to colour here. You could also use the blank Star and Dot block to design a block of your own.

colouring in, Free patterns, Inspiration, possibilities, scraps

Meadowside blocks

One of the blocks featured recently over on our Meadowside Designs blog was one called Thrifty – rather appropriate we felt in these times. It’s very simple – just lots of squares.

But you can make some interesting quilt designs with it by changing the lights and darks around

Then we thought what happens if you combine the 6 inch block from Meadowside with a 12 inch block? We called it Double Thrifty!

You can download the rotary cutting instructions for a 12 inch block here, for a 6 inch block from Meadowside Designs here and a Double Thrifty quilt to colour in and play with here.

Once you start moving the lights and darks around in a quilt design it gets very interesting indeed! As each Double Thrifty block is 24 inches you have a big quilt in no time at all. Here the quilts are set 3 x 3 instead of 4 x 4 (so 72 inches square instead of 96 inches) without borders.

To be very thrifty remember that you don’t have to use all the same fabrics throughout, just the same colours (more or less), so it worth hunting through the scrap bags to see what you can find.

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

We’ve another family of blocks to explore this month – the Eight-Pointed Stars, based on the LeMoyne Star

You can download cutting instructions for 12 inch blocks and blank blocks to play with here.

Taking Lemoyne Star as a starting point you could add some extra little points – we called this one Double Star

But those corner squares looked a bit plain so we added four-patches and, with our usual panache, called it Double Star Variation

Or you could start dividing the star points – to give a block often called Blazing Star

Another division of the star points and turning the corner squares into half-square triangles gives us EQ Star

The blocks above are all included in the download but there are lots of other variations to the basic star – dividing the star points in half lengthwise and adding half-square triangles in the corners gives us a block often called Silver and Gold

Using stripes – or strips – to make the star points can make Spiderweb Star

or Wrapped Star

If you go searching you will find dozens of other variations like these, or you can draw your own using the blank blocks in the download – the templates included should be enough to make many of the variations.

Electric Quilt, Free patterns

Meadowside Sampler blocks

Over on our sister blog our wander through the block alphabet has reached S. So far we have posted six-inch patterns for Schoolgirl’s Puzzle

Shoofly (and Snowball – just a different way to colour the same block)

Simple Basket

Six-Grid Chain

and (as it’s October) two Spiderweb blocks.

There will be another two blocks next Saturday before we explore blocks beginning with T.