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.

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classes

Conference season

This is the time of year when we usually have several in-depth conferences at HQ and do what we cheerily call “forward planning”. Decisions and conversations regarding PopUp classes, virtual or actual; blog, maintain or discard; articles and patterns, do more or do less – and so on. Quantities of caffeine can be consumed at these conferences and there is much scribbling in notebooks. The first conference is a week away and we will be trying out our new HQ venue. Wish us luck!

Part of our conference preparation is to look back at bygone classes and projects – here are a few random memories from the Rural Office archive –

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.

Electric Quilt, star blocks

EQ Doodles -October

We slip into autumn with the spotlight on Pinwheel Square –

Scroll through the blocks and straight quilt settings below and enjoy the difference that simple changes of value or placement of value can make.

It’s always interesting to try out combinations of different versions of the same block –

And sometimes you just have to turn it all on point!

You’ll find a free pdf download with block to colour, rotary cutting directions and templates here.

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, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

This month we’ve been playing on EQ and exploring the family of star blocks that include 54-40 or Fight. The starting point is a block simply known as Eight-Pointed Star

Eight-pointed Star

but then various other units get added to the plain squares in the centre and/or the corners to make new blocks. Starting with just triangle corners and then adding something to the centre we end up with these four – The Eight-Pointed Star, Judy in Arabia, Doris’ Delight and an un-named block from the 1920s

Just adding a more complicated centre to the starting block gives us Dove at the Window

Dove at the Window

And then if we add four-patch units to the centre and corner squares, then change the lights and darks around you get 54-40 or Fight, Garden Patch and Bird of Paradise

The star point units (often called Peaky and Spike – and Chris can never remember which triangle is Peaky and which Spike) are probably most accurately made with foundation piecing so these are included in the download pack. Rotary cutting the equilateral (background) triangle is nigh on impossible so the other method is to use templates – also included in the pack. These plus rotary cutting instructions and a block to colour for each block mentioned in this post can be downloaded here.

As usual we then had a ‘what happens if . . ?’ moment and divided up the Peaky and Spike units too, adding a square on point to the centre.

If you print out a few plain Eight-Pointed Star blocks from your download you too can grab a pencil and play at designing a new-to-you block – you are not obliged to make it!

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.