Christmas Doodles

The December Doodles are here on our Doodles page and Barbara was feeling a little festive when she started colouring these in! The blocks used are Rolling Star and Five-Patch Chain.

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You can download a colouring sheet to design your quilts – festive or otherwise – here.

If you head over to Meadowside Designs you will find the templates for a 10 inch Rolling Star block and the cutting instructions for a 10 inch Five-Patch Chain block in case you fancy recreating your design in real fabric.

Scrappy Sundays – any old hexagons

Over at the Rural Office Barbara’s store of vintage quilts continues to offer some scrappy inspiration – today we are showing details from an unfinished top that was offered to Barbara on her teaching travels.  Yes, we are back with our old friend the hexagon but this top is a little different from many vintage hexagon pieces – the fabrics are not dress cottons but slub weave furnishing fabrics, some wools, some mixes.  Dark colours predominate and Barbara was intrigued to find a wide range of green prints scattered throughout. Dating this piece is still at the “considering” and research stage but it may turn out to be somewhere around 1900. The hexagons are small – 1inch sides – and appear to have been folded over the papers from rough chunks and squares of fabric rather than cut hexagonal shapes.  We thought you might enjoy a few close-ups of the various green prints –

Scrappy Sundays – in the pink

Barbara is still stuck in the groove of looking at vintage quilts that link to our Scrappy theme and this is her latest offering.  It’s an interesting US quilt dating from maybe 1890s with some earlier fabrics.  The block is a C&B favourite and we refer to it as Sawtooth Star.  There’s a real mix of scraps in this quilt and plenty of piecing of scraps together to make bigger scraps as you can see from some of the details below.  The scrappy hand pieced blocks have been set with alternating squares of a classic “double pink” print which becomes dominant by repetition.  A great example of pulling random scrappiness together into a coherent whole.  Diagonal lines of machine stitching hold top and back together, edges are bound.  If you feel inspired to try something similar with your own scraps you’ll find a pattern guide for this quilt over on our sister blog Meadowside Designs – look under the Heritage Quilts tab.

Scrappy Sundays – machine hexagons

Chris has been loving the pictures of Barbara’s  hexagon ideas and vintage quilts, but . . . . they are all hand-pieced – which Barbara loves doing and Chris cannot get her head (or more importantly: hands) around.

But it is possible with a bit of thought to make hexagon-style quilts by machine without having to do those dreaded Y-seams. How? By splitting the hexagon into half or into triangles. Ann Jermey started Chris off with her quilt – Hidden Hexagons

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There was also a craze for cutting up cushion panels and rearranging them – a sort of ‘stack and wack’ precursor – which led Chris to make this little wallhanging

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There were probably six cushion panels to start with which were then cut into 60degree triangles which were arranged to make hexagon kaleidoscope-style designs with the remaining triangles filling in the gaps. You can see a little better from the close-up photos

half hexagonsAnn’s hexagons were made from strips split on a 60degree angle but you could just just make half hexagons and join them in strips to make a honeycomb-style quilt on the machine.

Making your hexagons from triangles however opens up all sorts of new design opportunities. Instead of joining the triangles into hexagons as you would if hand-piecing though you need to think and plan ahead – a design wall or pet-free floor helps here so you can lay all the pieces out – as you will be stitching  row by row.

You can now make Tumbling Blocks

or even Tumbling Boxes by machine

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You can see in the first picture that the gaps were filled with plain triangles, by the second and third ones these had been replaced with plain strips – much easier! The triangles for these last three quilts were also cut from pre-stripped fabrics too.

We’ve probably strayed a bit from ‘scrappy’ at this point because the Tumbling quilts do need quite large pieces of fabric rather than scraps, although the last one with only three boxes didn’t use much.

We’ll be back next Sunday with yet more scrappy ideas.

Scrappy Sundays – more triangles

Barbara has branched out into other shapes and her collection of vintage quilts. Chris meanwhile is still playing with half-square triangles and Electric Quilt. This hasn’t been helped by Ann Jermey giving a talk on her quilts the other night – many of which featured scraps, and triangles in particular. She even made a quilt featuring different ways to put triangles together –

 

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So Chris came home and played around with EQ and some triangles, turning them this way and that, adding squares in or not . . .

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But these triangles have also been a feature of recent quilts. The other week at The Corner Patch Chris was teaching Roman Stripe – and what is it but half-square triangles. One half of the square is pieced with diagonal strips and the other is a ‘plain’ triangle. Just like the simple HST units these blocks can be put together in a variety of ways with or without plain squares and will create interesting designs.  Note that you can cheat and use a striped fabric instead of creating your own from strips.

By the way – the pattern for the Roman Stripe quilt used during the workshop is available from the Meadowside Pattern Store.

Another quilt Chris has been completing is one started several years ago when demonstrating ideas for 2 1/2 inch strips. These batik strips were paired with a white on white print. The problem was choosing a setting.

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You can cut up 10 inch (or other size) squares, join them back together in a random sort of way and then pair those resulting squares with a plain one to make HST units as well.

In fact the possibilities are a bit endless.

And so we leave you with another couple of Ann’s quilts . . . .

. . . . the first is just ordinary half-square triangles but sorted into colour families and arranged to make stars across the quilt (sorry its not a brilliant photo but I had to snatch an opportunity after the talk)

 

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This last one is another take on the strips plus plain triangle –

 

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More scrappy quilts and ideas next week.

PS We will play around with ‘crumb’ quilting and ‘improv’ piecing in future posts but we’d just like to point you to a blog with instructions for making crumb blocks using your scraps which will then go to the charity Siblings Together. Read all about it here.

Scrappy Sundays – a little bit of vintage

Barbara was recently rummaging through The Cupboard which houses her vintage quilt collection and brought out a patchwork top which seems to fit our Scrappy theme very well.  The patchwork has been made from a wide and charming variety of scrap fabrics and it looks as if the 60 degree diamonds might have first been made up into hexagon units and then put together.

Larger hexagons have been added in at the edges and the hexagon rosette at the centre is, in fact, composed of diamonds (see final pic below).  All very eclectic!

First, a detail of the reverse side – you can see both diamonds and hexagons here.

Notice that the fabric has not always been cut to a hexagon shape before being tacked over the papers;  in some instances there is almost as much fabric on the reverse as there is on the front.  It is possible that the maker began with appropriately sized squares of fabric to make her hexagons which would have involved less initial cutting and preparation of the patches.

Here’s roughly half of the quilt top showing the scrappy random arrangement of pieces and the unexpected selection of fabrics for the centre rosette –

and some details of the many different prints –

 

You can see from the above detail that this is a truly scrappy piece with very little organisation – lower right corner is one of the larger hexagons.

More vintage scrappiness at a later date …

Scrappy Sundays What If?

Barbara’s post last week got me thinking. What if I took some of those HST blocks and cut them up, then rearranged the bits? Fiddly, yes . . . but I had to try it. Think of Disappearing 4-patch or 9-patch but with variations! There were several orphan blocks and HSTs lurking in the scrap bags to play with so I hunted them out and got cutting.

I started with the Pinwheel block as I had two of those. I could have cut them somewhat randomly but because I thought I might mix up the bits from the two blocks I was a bit more considered in my cutting. The blocks were roughly 4 inches square so I measured and cut 2 inches from the centre seams.

I made all these variations with just the orange block and leaving the centre mini Pinwheel where it was. I didn’t get around to moving that centre to a corner or to one side and playing around again.

Then I added in the bits from the purple Pinwheel to make this block. Again there were so many other ways to play with all these bits, I shall have to set aside a day (or two).

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Next I found a Broken Dishes block and some more triangles to make a second. Again I measured 2 inches from the centre seams to cut them up.

Then mixed the bits around a little.

Plus the other Broken Dishes block.

I could mix up the two different blocks (Pinwheels and Broken Dishes) couldn’t I?They were the same size (more or less) to start with.

What other blocks could I cut up and mix about? And I have only cut horizontal and vertical lines.

The Broken Dishes block could be divided in half along a diagonal and then the two halves of different blocks put together – especially if you cut the diagonal one way on one block and the other way on the next.

Some other blocks might lend themselves more to diagonal lines – like the 9-patch blocks I was playing with a few posts ago to make my bag.  I’m off to hunt in the orphan blocks bag – it could be the beginning of a whole new scrappy quilt, one that doesn’t look like a lot of orphan blocks in random fabrics squidged into an almost coherent design.  Or am I merely going to create yet more little bits for the scrap bag?!

Yet more happy scrappy ideas next week!