Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Spinning Star* assembly tutorial

Anna Maria Horner has this great block that she has named Spinning Star*, and she has assembled a quilt using her fabrics and 9 of these blocks.   Not only is this block easy to sew together but it measures 18 inches square when finished which means you don't need too many of them to make a nice size quilt.

When I sewed the test block I ended up with a very fabric-congested and raised centre.  Having discussed this issue previously with a very competent quilter I knew it was time for the seam ripper.   After unpicking the centre and trimming and tidying up and then restitching the seams, it lay beautifully flat.


In an attempt to help prevent other sewers ending up with the same problem, I've put together this assembly tutorial and hope it helps you.

If you had to unpick the entire block you would this is how it would go:
First you'd have two halves, then four quarters, eight segments which in turn are made up of three pieces.

To make the block you will need to print out the pattern and templates.  Using the templates cut 8 of each of the three pattern pieces for the block = a total of 24 pieces.   (In the pattern these pieces are referred to as A, B and C.) Then lay out the pieces so that you are happy with the placement of your fabrics.  
 


Start assembling your block by taking the pieces that make up a segment and sewing them together. 

 When you place the pieces together you will see that when they are correctly placed rights sides together, there are little rabbit ears that stick out on both the start and the end of the seam.


 Next you'll sew two of these segments together.  Before you do that there is the matter of whether you iron seams open or iron them side ways.  I'm not willing to enter into a debate about the rights or wrongs of either.  For the purpose of this tutorial we will use my personal preference which is to press the seams so that they lie sideways.  This means that one segments seams should be ironed upwards and the other segments seams lie down toward the centre.  When you lay the two segments rights sides together the seams will nestle cosily against each other and you can push your pin through both top and bottom seamlines quite comfortably.



 Starting from the outside edge, sew toward the centre and stop sewing 1/4 inch from the edge.  Press your seams to set them and lay the seam to once side.  For this example you will see that all these seams lie in an anti-clockwise direction.



When you turn this corner quarter  piece over you'll see some rabbit ears sticking out on the edges. 



When all four corners / quarters are sewn together and you lay them face up then these little rabbit ears in the centre are very easy to spot. 


Now, it is time to get rid of them and any other ears sticking out at seam intersections. 


Now it is time to sew each 'corner / quarter section' to it's neighbour.  Again you will be able to nestle the seams against each other and pin them through the stitching line.


When you've done this you will have two halves.

Two things are important:
Firstly, when sewing the segments together, stop when you get to 1/4 inch from the edge;
and
Secondly, It is very important to trim off rabbit ears as it will lessen the bulk of fabric when you finally lay the completed block out and press it.


In the pictures above and below you will see how the seams are pressed to lie anti-clockwise and how the seams on each segment alternately lie up and down.

Next, pin the two halves together and sew the seams, again from the outside toward the centre, stopping 1/4 inch from the centre.



When it's finished, this is what your view of the back of the block should look like. 


The centre of the block where the seams all meet lies nice and flat and when you turn it over it is not raised.

 

Time now to stand back and admire your work.  It's a lovely block for a cushion cover or if you want, make a few more and you have a quilt.

If there are any questions or you'd like clarity on a point, please don't hesitate to ask.

*At first this tutorial post was named Spinning Wheel assembly tutorial.  It has since been amended to the correct block name - Spinning Star. 



Sunday, 20 January 2013

Getting buzzy

Since the last quarter of 2012 I've been lucky enough to be one of a group of 12 international quilters enjoying making blocks for each other each month.  The Bee is named Sew Buzzy and February 2013 is my turn to ask the others to sew a block for me.


This was the first block we made.  It was fun, quick and easy.  
 Then we were asked to make this style of block, resembling books on a bookshelf.  Most of us added nick nacks or ornaments.  The names of the books, embroidered or sewn onto the spines of the books are some of my favourites from when I was a young girl.

For January Ursi asked us to make the plus times block and sent us some Tula Pink fabric to use.  Oh my goodness it is just the most fabulous design and colour scheme.  Again, I thoroughly enjoyed fussy cutting the fabric and making a block that pleased the eye.


There was enough fabric left over to make a second block and so I did.  The fabric made me do it ..... it really is such fun fabric.

So, knowing that February is my turn I looked at the long list of bookmarked favourite blocks and had to make a decision as to which one would be best suitable for my fabric 'collection' and for a group quilt.  What appealed to me the most was this quilt made using a quilt block pattern by Anna Maria Horner called Spinning Stars which you can find here and there is a Flickr group that was started last year for a Spinning Stars Quilt along if you want to have a look at some of the other quilters blocks and quilts.


I made a test block because I was worried about all the points meeting in the middle.  A very clever quilter told me to sew the seam from the outside edge up to 1/4 inch from the middle point seam.  So I did.  I prefer to lay the seams to one side rather then open them up.  Then when all the bits were sewn together I did have problems ending up with it sticking up like a circus tent in the middle and not lying flat. 

After unpicking the block so that I had it in four quarters I repressed each quarter with the seams pressed toward the floral fabric and trimmed the rabbit ears off the centre points.  Then I sewed two sets of quarters together so that the block was now two half pieces.  I made sure that the join in the centre had no ears.  Then I laid the two halves together facing each other and sewed it together.  This time, when I opened it up it lay nice and flat. 



Confident that it is a managable block I got out the blue/green collection of Denyse Schmidt fabrics, started cutting and laid them out on top of the bed to make sure I've got the mix right. 
 
This picture shows 9 spinning wheels whereas the finished quilt will hopefully be 3 rows of  4 blocks = 12 blocks in total.  Each block finishes at 18" resulting in a respectable 54" x 72" size quilt. 

Edit:  In the daylight tomorrow I'll sew my block and take photo's as I go, then I'll be able to show you what I mean.



Friday, 18 January 2013

Everybody loves a sale

Including me.       Over Christmas and the New Year when my voice did a disappearing trick I spent a lot of time flipping internet channels and ended up going on a bit of a shopping spree.


In the past you would never have found yellow or red in my stash but I'm learning to live with it and am slowly getting braver and braver.

I'm also collecting pieces of Aneela Hoey's fabrics to make a girly quilt for this year's contribution to Siblings Together.  If you want to see some of the lovely quilts that were made and donated in 2012 you can look through the Flickr group here



Included in this little group is my growing collection of Denyse Schmidt's pinks and oranges which are earmarked for a Farmers Wife quilt.



 Lastly, for today,  I'm a blue and green girl and when I saw these I fell in love with them.  In reality the pattern is a larger scale than what it appeared, but that doesn't matter as they're still great.






Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Something new for 2013

By end of my shift on 24th December my voice was gone.  Yesterday it started to come back and although it doesn't sound like me, at least I have a voice - Yay!

So, during the last few days I've had the chance to surf the net a little and read some lovely blogs and found some patterns that I like the look of and are mostly free.  One of these was by McCalls and it's a wall hanging called Ring of Hearts.  Deciding to make the wall hanging also allows me to link up with Lee at Freshly Pieced, for her Work in Progress Wednesday.

Now, to help you follow my thought train, you need to be reminded that although the silly season is now behind us, Valentines Day is only six weeks away!


To make sure they were evenly spaced we (yes, he was watching over my shoulder), put a pin in the centre of the square and used the tape measure to place each heart the same distance away from the pin.


Right now, it is up on the board and I need to sort out a backing and some left over batting.  The pattern allows for some handquilting but I'm now sure I'll go that far. I'm loving the richness of the colours, maybe it's because they make me feel warmer in the grey light of the last few days.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

And this folks, is my current, new, Work in Progress.  This does not mean there are no UFO's, just that but for now, I'm focusing on this one to make sure it's ready in less than six weeks.




Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Achievements in 2012

Happy New Year everyone.   

At the start of a new year it's always good to reflect on the past year.  Here's my recap.

2012 has been a year of ups and downs and laughter and tears.   Having started 2012 by carrying on with studies toward higher achievements and qualifications in social welfare and care of those with all forms of dementia, specifically acute complex dementia.  Some days were tough and long but in the end I won and now have three extra qualifications which have also led to a new job with a new company.

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In all of that there were times when I was stressed and desperately unhappy, and the only remedy was to hole up at the sewing machine and my cutting table. Over the years I had collected some fabrics that no longer fitted in with anything and it was time to use or lose them. After some time with a new friend I set about rather randomly putting fabrics together and making churndash blocks. I’d always wanted a quilt made using the churndash block and for an unplanned quilt, it has turned out pretty good. Chris quilted it for me, using a winter flannel sheet I bought from a well known home decor store. The quilting pattern is called Maggie Rose and it shows up nicely on the flannel sheet on the back of the quilt. Enman really likes this quilt. So do I because it is made to be used, snuggled up and wrapped around knees or shoulders, not hung on a wall.

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This sixteen block quilt top was also made with the purpose of using up old fabric stash and the top is now complete.  It’s number two in the pile of tops to be quilted.

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This embroidery I saw in an Australian magazine and it’s been on my to-do list forever.  I’ve thorougly enjoyed making it and again it’s been a stress buster.
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I joined two, three by six bees and got to make some blocks in designs I’ve not sewn before and enjoyed that opportunity.  The first group was for Stars in colours chosen by the receiver.
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The second group was for traditional blocks with the colours also being chosen by the receiver.  I think a quilt made with either the stars or the bowtie blocks would look lovely.
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I saw venticular clouds for the first time ever.  As the day progressed they became more defined and separated from each other creating such a stunning display that they even made the evening news on telly.
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We didn’t really get much warm sunshine in the garden but when we did nature certainly rewarded our efforts. 
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I got to make my first really modern quilt, a mini quilt for a doll quilt swap.  I really really enjoyed that and was grateful for the suggestions when I wasn’t sure in how to quilt it.
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In an attempt to hopefully confuse everyone during the swap, I also made this quilt using scrappy leftovers.  It’s turned out quite nicely thank you and looks great on our upstairs wall.
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While the flower garden is mine (so I’ve been told), the veg / kitchen garden is his and so I was very impressed to get home from work one day and find these on the pantry shelf.
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I also got to make a scrap dresden plate quilt.  It also has a cream flannel sheet for it’s backing, making it snuggly too.  Chris quilted it for me, she really is good and has won many awards for her work.   The weather has made all surfaces outside impossible for laying a cream quilt on for photo’s of the finished item.   Roll on spring!
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We also adopted Beatrice and Eugenie, as they were rescue battery chickens.  Almost every day we have two eggs and when they don’t produce we whisper ‘chicken soup’ and the next day we get eggs again.

What I haven’t shown you is evidence of how fortunate I am that I was able to attend this years Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, Great North Quilt Show at the show grounds in Harrogate and the Harrogate  Knitting and Stitching Show.   Nor the non-quilty photo’s taken from outings to Morecombe Bay, York, Ripon, Skipton, a trip on a canal boat (narrow boat) and my old home town in the Nidderdale.

Clearly, it was actually a good year.  Here’s wishing that 2013 will bring good health, prosperity, happiness, much love, and also be as productive as the last year, if not more so.   I’d love to study some more but maybe this year I’ll give it a rest and focus more on home life.

Just so you know, I'm linking in with Lynn (of Lily's Quilts) for both her

Lily's Quilts

and

Lily's Quilts

Edit:  The post was written in Windows Live Writer and I've only just seen that the pictures look faded and blurry.  If you click on each one they open up to a decent size, focused and with clearer vibrant colour.

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