classes, possibilities, Teaching

Popping up in 2023

Even though 2023 has only just begun we are already looking ahead to our PopUp Mystery day on Saturday 18th March. Lots of office work and admin at C&B Towers and quite a bit of fabric cutting and stitching over at the Rural Office.

It’s going to be interesting to see all the different versions of the Mystery. And still on the topic of things mysterious we are going to respond to popular demand and post a vintage C&B Mystery here beginning in March – sharpen your rotary cutter, check your stash and dust off your sewing machine!

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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.

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.

classes, heritage quilts, Inspiration, possibilities

September bows out

We’ll be auditioning some possibilities for our new HQ very soon (see previous post) as staff transfer from the Overseas to the Rural Office. One of the topics high on the “discuss” agenda is – to pop up or not to pop up? and when to pop up? Our in person and virtual pop up classes have been immensely popular but it’s not always easy to match inclination with diaries and venue bookings. Another topic, lower down on the agenda, is linking “Ragged & Rescued” (Barbara’s 2023 theme for lectures and classes) to our Heritage Quilt series. There’s a fair amount of quilts and patchwork stored at the Rural Office which fall within the Ragged & Rescued category and make interesting viewing.

Looks like we might need several coffees!

possibilities, procrastination, Projects

Almost autumn

There’s something about September – back to school, back to classes, shortening days and making plans. We are currently searching for a new UK HQ where we can meet up, drink coffee and swap ideas – our old HQ has been refurbished and is under new management and has lost it’s comfortable vibe. Hopefully we’ll find just the right spot before too long.

Meanwhile it’s review and sorting time (again) at the Overseas Office – Barbara has been reviewing the Overseas Stash which only occupies one basket and two small boxes.

Compared to what is sitting in the Rural Office this is a mere drop in the ocean and yet it seems to have been more than sufficient for the past couple of years. From this we deduce that 1) Barbara doesn’t make much or 2) Barbara still has so many projects to finish that quantities of fabric are not actually required.

On with reviewing and planning!

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities

Over on Meadowside . .

We are continuing our jaunt through the alphabet with patterns for 6 inch blocks. This week we have reached Q. But are there any blocks beginning with Q? There are a few, many of them more suited to hand stitching over papers (which is very much not Chris’s ‘thing’) so we went for the one that can be rotary cut and machine pieced – Queens Petticoat.

But, looking at it, all Chris can see is a hat – with a feather!

What do you think?! How could you colour it so it looked more like a petticoat and less like a hat? Instructions, a block to colour, and more colourings of the block can be found on the Meadowside website.

colouring in, Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

Last month our stellar sampler looked at Ohio Star and some of its variations and this month we continue that theme – one of the reason we love the basic block is that are so many ways to alter it, colour it and create a new (or new-looking) block.

One variation we looked at was Swamp Angel, but what if you split those corner triangles, or use a wide stripe? The resulting block is called Jacknife or Treasure Chest

Or you could split the outer triangles into a square and two smaller triangles and make Aunt Dinah – note too the change of colouring in the ‘star’ units

Or divide the inner triangle into two smaller triangles to make Mystery Flower Garden

Or split the corner squares with a thin strip from the inner to the outer corners – which makes a block called Old Snowflake

You can download the cutting instructions to make all these blocks at 12 inches and we have included colouring pages for each one as well – the colours shown above are the EQ default colours but there are plenty of opportunities to make these blocks your own.

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities, star blocks

More six inch blocks

Our Saturday Sampler of six-inch blocks over on Meadowside has reached the letter J and this week’s blocks include one called Jewel Star

It really doesn’t look very star like but if you look at the colour versions that EQ and its magic wand came up with and then put sixteen blocks together in a 4 x 4 setting you start seeing stars – but it does depend very much on where the strongest colours are placed and on the contrast between those colours

The design also depends on which blocks you turn, and how far you turn them

That last pair illustrate the importance of where the strongest colours are placed – the centre brown and yellow dominate and the star is almost lost whereas in the pair above the contrast brightness of the yellow highlights the star.

If you fancy having a play with this block you can download the templates and a block to colour from our Meadowside blog.