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.

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.

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.

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!

Free patterns, possibilities

More blocks

Just in case you are need of yet more blocks / inspiration this year we are running a Six-Inch Sampler every Saturday over on our sister blog – Meadowside Designs. A rummage through various boxes / cupboards / bags produced a quantity of six-inch blocks looking for a quilt (or two) and some new ideas.

This one goes with our Doodles theme quite nicely – it features the blocks from the Little Book Of Stars put together into a mini quilt with an attic windows setting.

The blocks being featured on Meadowside can be put together into one big(ish) sampler quilt

or you could choose a theme such as stars (as the attic windows one) or cakes-and-pies perhaps – there seem to be quite a few blocks with ‘sweet’ names.

Being only six-inches square they are ideal for using up those smaller scraps and can be put together with any of the 12 inch blocks you end up making from our doodles or the twelve inch star blocks coming here from next week!

We seem to be planning a stellar year!

Free patterns, Mystery Monday, possibilities, quilting

Mystery Monday Finale

Having hunted out your units we look at putting them together this week. The version shown on the worksheet isn’t the only possibility and Chris has played around with her units turning them this way and that

before deciding on one, sewing it all together and adding a couple of borders.

Then there is the matter of quilting. In the ditch? Something a little more adventurous? In the end it was a mixture of the two. The birds in the border fabric were traced and turned into quilting stencils and stitched in various bits of the quilt. A variegated thread was used to stitch in the ditch around some more prominent parts of the design and a wiggly line was quilted in the borders –

And the finished quilt – (which possibly needs more quilting in the border . . . . one day)

We hope we will get to see photos of your finished Mystery Quilts – email them or post on Instagram and tag us!