Hexagon Waterfall Sew Along – WEEK FOUR

Welcome to the fourth week of the ‘Hexagon Waterfall’ English paper piecing sew along!
Some projects are really starting to take shape now which is brilliant to see. This week we are adding the background hexies to finish the panel.

Hexagon Waterfall Sew Along
Duration:  Week 4 (of 5)
Project Size:  Small wall hanging – 18″ x 15″

Materials needed:
11 Fat Eighths and 1 Fat Quarter
Backing fabric, wadding and binding
1″ hexagon EPPs

Follow along:
Follow along on Instagram using the hashtag #hexagonwaterfallsal
Sign up to receive the weekly newsletters; you’ll get an email every Sunday with the prompts for the week ahead. There will be a new blog post at the beginning of each week too.


Week Four

  • prep your background fabric hexagons (if you haven’t already done so)
  • sew the background hexies to the main waterfall section

Last week you were busy sewing your main waterfall section so now it’s time to finish the panel by adding on the background. Use the pattern diagram you used last week, for the placement within the waterfall, to see how many hexagons need adding above and below to create a rectangular-shaped panel.

Adding the background:

  • in the same way as when you put together the waterfall section, it doesn’t matter the order you choose to add the background hexagons…

you could add them in vertical rows above and then below the main section working from one side to the other or you could sew background hexagons together in small groups, add these to each other then attached them to the main section

  • if you are using more than one fabric in your background pieces (I’ve got two different white on white fabrics in my Christmas version) and would like the different fabrics to be randomly places this is my tip for getting them in a random order without trying too hard or over-thinking it…
    1. take all your prepped background hexies and jumble them up on a table
    2. tidy them into a neat pile and try not to look at them too closely; if you end up with quite a few of the same fabric together then that’s OK…that’s random too!
    3. sew them together (which ever way you prefer from the above ideas) and be strict with yourself to not re-arrange them!
  • you might have had enough of EPP sewing by now so you could just applique the main waterfall section to a piece of fabric; machine or hand applique then continue with the quilting and finishing.

Once you have added all the background hexagons you’ll be ready for week five…trimming, quilting and finishing!

Don’t forget to head over to Instagram and share with everyone taking part in the sew along using #hexagonwaterfallsal


 

There will be another Sew Along prize at the end of week four!
The fabulous Happy Hexies book by Boutique-Sha from Search Press.

The winner will be chosen and announced on Instagram so make sure you tag me and use #hexagonwaterfallsal.

 


 

Hexagon Waterfall Sew Along – WEEK THREE

Welcome to the third week of the ‘Hexagon Waterfall’ English paper piecing sew along!
I’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone’s prepped hexies over on Instagram and I’m excited to see the sewing stage.

Hexagon Waterfall Sew Along
Duration:  Week 3 (of 5)
Project Size:  Small wall hanging – 18″ x 15″

You can sign up for the sew along emails (if you haven’t already) so you don’t miss any of the fun.

Materials needed:
11 Fat Eighths and 1 Fat Quarter
Backing fabric, wadding and binding
1″ hexagon EPPs

Follow along:
Follow along on Instagram using the hashtag #hexagonwaterfallsal
Sign up to receive the weekly newsletters; you’ll get an email every Sunday with the prompts for the week ahead. There will be a new blog post at the beginning of each week too.


Week Three

  • arrange your hexagon pieces
  • sew the main waterfall section

Last week you prepared your EPP hexagons so now its time to work out the arrangement. In your pattern is a diagram to help you position each colour to create a nice flow on the waterfall; a sort of “random but purposeful” order of colours. But if you have chosen print fabrics you may want to play with the arrangement of where the hexagons in every colour groups sit relative to each other; if you have chosen plain fabric then you’ve got the easy job of just following my original rainbow diagram!

Tips for arranging your pieces:

1. I’d highly recommend labelling your paper pieces. I have labelled mine (in pencil so I can rub it out and re-use the papers for another project) using the A, B, C etc system from the pattern instructions. I always keep my hexagons together in the correct order anyway but I find it much quicker to have them labelled too, especially if some colours or prints are quite similar.

2. As well as labelling, a great way to keep track of your specific arrangement is to take a photo. This is even more useful if you can’t decide on the exact placement of some hexagons…take a photo of all your options and then you can easily compare them to choose your favourite.

 

3. If I am using print fabrics on the waterfall, like in my Christmas example, I like to make sure that the fabrics in each hexagon colour/print group aren’t identical in placement. With directional prints it isn’t always possible to have much variety so with these I try to ensure that I have cut my hexagons from a variety of places on the print. But for non-directional I try to mix it up a bit; this pattern is all about random placement so I want to keep doing that with each fabric as well as the overall look.
In my example below, the green-black plaid fabric has been cut with the hexagon placement in the same place on the fabric but by rotating each hexagon before sewing in place the look of the fabric has varied a little.

 

Time to sew!

With your fabric placement now sorted, you are ready to start sewing together your hexagons.
You could sew the entire panel in one go at this stage, including the background hexies, working from one side to the other but I have broken the sew along down into two weeks of sewing, separating the main section of the background. I always sew the main waterfall section first and then add the background after because…
  • if I am using thread colours to match my fabrics I find it easier to do the main section with all the chopping and changing of colours first and then the background (with the same colour) sews-up really quickly as there is no need to swap thread colours.
  • when sewing together the main section you need to keep an eye on your placement plan/photo and the letters on the back on each hexagon; once this is done the background is simply “filling in the gaps” and creating the rectangular shape of the finished panel so again this is a much quicker stage.
  • you might get to the end of sewing the main section and decide you want to applique this to a solid background rather than using the EPP technique for the whole panel.

Once you have sewn together your main waterfall section you’ll be ready to week four…prepping and sewing on the background hexagons!

Don’t forget to head over to Instagram and share with everyone taking part in the sew along using #hexagonwaterfallsal


The second prize of the Sew Along will be at the end of week three!
A fat 8th bundle of “succulents” Kona cotton (the same as the ones I’m using) and some Clover quilting needles from The Eternal Maker.

The winner will be chosen and announced on Instagram so make sure you tag me and use #hexagonwaterfallsal.

 


It’s not too late to get the pattern and catch-up with the sew along. I’m taking this one quite slow so there isn’t loads to do in the first couple of weeks.
Hexagon Waterfall is available as a paper pattern (inc EPP pieces) and a digital pattern (inc printable EPP sheet).

Hexagon Waterfall Sew Along – WEEK TWO

Welcome to the second week of the ‘Hexagon Waterfall’ English paper piecing sew along!
It has been wonderful to see everyone’s fabric pulls over on Instagram and I can’t wait to see how each project is going to come together.

Hexagon Waterfall Sew Along
Dates:  22 October 2018 – 25 November 2018
Duration:  5 weeks
Project Size:  Small wall hanging – 18″ x 15″

You can sign up for the sew along emails (if you haven’t already) so you don’t miss any of the fun.

Materials needed:
11 Fat Eighths and 1 Fat Quarter
Backing fabric, wadding and binding
1″ hexagon EPPs

Follow along:
Follow along on Instagram using the hashtag #hexagonwaterfallsal
Sign up to receive the weekly newsletters; you’ll get an email every Sunday with the prompts for the week ahead. There will be a new blog post at the beginning of each week too.


Week Two

  • prep your hexagon pieces
  • head over to Instagram to share a project update and remember to use #hexagonwaterfallsal

In week one you chose the 11 (or more for some people) fabrics you plan to use for the main waterfall section and hopefully you have also decided you order you want them in; whether that be by the colour order that looks best or perhaps the order of prints that flows the nicest.

EPP Prep – what do you need:
When preparing an English paper piecing project you can use a lot of tools or hardly any, it really is up to you. The technique dates back hundreds of years as a style of hand sewing that used fabric scraps and papers (like old newspapers) that were no longer needed…early recycling with the added joy of sewing!
Today it is more common to use pre-cut paper pieces in a heavier weight paper/card; mostly because not having to cut them yourself saves time, it improves the accuracy of the shape and heavier weight shapes can be re-used for other projects.

Keeping it simple all you need is:
– paper pieces
– fabric
– scissors
– pins
– needle and thread
You may also want to use:
– rotary cutter and quilting ruler (instead of scissors)
– glue stick (instead of pins)
– acrylic template
– light pad

ef1413c5-acd6-4593-8ec2-24fae56fde5b

EPP Prep – what do you do:
Firstly you need to decide if you would prefer to glue baste or thread baste your hexagons. There are pros and cons to both methods so it mostly comes down to personal opinion; I’m certainly not going to tell you that one method is “better” than the other.
I’m making two projects during the sew along as I wanted to directly compare the two basting methods, purely out of personal interest, so I’ll keep you updated as the weeks go on with my opinions change in anyway.

Glue Basting Vs Thread Basting…

159502dc-871c-453a-b04d-f86811deb4e5Glue Basting
Pros:
– I find it faster than thread basting
– the corners and edges seem crisper and more accurate
– you only need one “tool”
Cons:
– you need a glue stick (not everyone will have one in their sewing stash)
– I find you need to do it at a table, although that might just be me 😉
– slower to remove the papers once you’ve finished your project

fd4f2725-2cfe-4ec3-9d72-882c6a1eb46eThread Basting
Pros:
– you only need a needle and thread, almost everyone will have that to hand
– you can do it on your knee…which means you can do it on the sofa!
– the papers are very easy to remove once the project is finished
Cons:
– you need three “tools” (more than glue basting)
– I find it a lot slower than glue basting
– the fabric doesn’t fit as precisely to the corners and edges of the paper piece (but this may turn into a con once sewing begins)


154cac22-2357-4cd2-8cc0-126acc8fb8b2

With your preferred basting method chosen, you are ready to go ahead and prep your hexagons.Simply secure your paper piece to the fabric (using fabric glue or a pin), cut around leaving a 1/4″ to 3/8″ seam allowance and then baste the fabric to the hexagon paper piece.

Once you have a lovely little pile of hexies all done you’ll be ready to week three…arranging the hexies and sewing!
Don’t forget to head over to Instagram and share with everyone taking part in the sew along using #hexagonwaterfallsal

The first prize of the Sew Along will be at the end of week two!
Three fat quarters and a glue stick from Olive + Flo Handcraft
AND
English paper piecing bundle from Lina Patchwork

The winner will be chosen and announced on Instagram so make sure you tag me and use #hexagonwaterfallsal.


It’s not too late to get the pattern and catch-up with the sew along. I’m taking this one quite slow so there isn’t loads to do in the first couple of weeks.
Hexagon Waterfall is available as a paper pattern (inc EPP pieces) and a digital pattern (inc printable EPP sheet).

 

Hexagon Waterfall Sew Along – WEEK ONE

Welcome to the ‘Hexagon Waterfall’ English paper piecing sew along!
I’m so pleased you’ll be joining me for the next few weeks and can’t wait to see your projects coming together.
If you don’t already have the pattern then it’s not too late to get it and join in. Hexagon Waterfall is available as a paper pattern (inc EPP pieces) and a digital pattern (inc printable EPP sheet).

Hexagon Waterfall Sew Along

Dates:  22 October 2018 – 25 November 2018
Duration:  5 weeks
Project Size:  Small wall hanging – 18″ x 15″

You can sign up for the sew along emails (if you haven’t already) so you don’t miss any of the fun.

Materials needed:
11 Fat Eighths and 1 Fat Quarter
Backing fabric, wadding and binding
1″ hexagon EPPs

Follow along:
Follow along on Instagram using the hashtag #hexagonwaterfallsal
Sign up to receive the weekly newsletters; you’ll get an email every Sunday with the prompts for the week ahead. There will be a new blog post at the beginning of each week too.


Week One

  • say Hi over on Instagram and remember to use #hexagonwaterfallsal
  • gather your fabrics, pattern and other supplies
  • start to plan your fabric placement using your colouring page

The first week is nice and easy to ease you (and me!) into the sew along.

Choosing your fabric:
You’ve got plenty of time to sort out the fabric you want to use for this project, we won’t be prepping our pieces until week two.

You could use rainbow colours, ombre solids or blends of the same shade, your favourite colour coordinated scraps…so many options will work. All you need is 11 different fabrics, and something as a nice contrast for the background hexagons.

For my main waterfall section I’m using this “succulents” Kona bundle that has been curator by the team at The Eternal Maker, plus a dark grey blender.

fabric

Other useful supplies:

  • 1″ hexagon English paper pieces (you’ll get these included when you purchase the paper pattern and the digital pattern comes with a printable sheet)
  • cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter (you can use scissors to cut your fabric too if you prefer)
  • glue stick or needle/thread for basting
  • acrylic template if you plan to do any fussy cutting
  • needle and thread

Planning your fabric placement:

Towards the beginning of your pattern is a placement guide for the 11 main fabrics you’ll be using, marked with letters. You’ll use this to get the right variety and “flow” on the main waterfall section but it’s up to you which of each of your fabrics you use for each letter. The colouring page is a great way to try out a few different fabric placement combinations but don’t worry if you can’t decide on the placement at this stage, we’ll be talking about arranging our EPPs again in week three.

When I started to think about the placement of my succulents bundle I originally planned to have the greens at the top of the waterfall curve and the pinks and purples at the bottom but when I draw that up it didn’t look quite right. I reversed the order and it looked great!

christmas fabricDuring the sew along I’ll also be working on a Christmas version using Moda Sweetwater Hometown Christmas.

I think I’ll need to play around with the placement a lot more for this selection of fabrics because there is no obvious order to the colours or prints. I’ll show you my decision making process for this fabric collection in week three when we are arranging our main section and starting to sew.

Once you’ve chosen your fabric and gathered some supplies, head over to Instagram and share with everyone taking part in the sew along using #hexagonwaterfallsal

See you in week two for prepping the EPPs!

A heart cushion is for life, not just for Valentine’s Day

As it’s February, I thought it called for some sort of heart-themed pattern. And as 6th February commemorated 100 years since (some) women in the UK were given the vote, I wanted to find room for the classic purple and green colours of the Votes for Women campaign.
This project includes a few different techniques:
1. English paper piecing (my current love!)
2. Hand appliqué (a new skill for me; trying for the first time!)
3. Machine quilting (been there, done that, always worth doing again again!)

To make this cushion cover you will need:
• 1.75″ 60° jewel paper pieces (I bought my pre-cut from Lina Patchwork)
• Sewline glue stick
• pink, green and purple fabric scraps
• background fabric
• wadding
• cutting mat, rotary cutter, cutting ruler
• needle and thread

CUTTING AND BASTING
1. Place a paper jewel on the wrong side of the fabric. You can pin or dab a tiny amount of glue in the centre of the paper template to hold them in place while cutting out and basting.

2. Cut around the template leaving a ¼” seam allowance on every edge.

3. Run a line of glue along one edge of the paper template then fold up the seam allowance and stick to the glued edge. Hold it in place for a few seconds then repeat on the other edges. Baste the edges in order moving around the jewel rather than doing opposite sides first.

4. Repeat for all the jewels; to copy my design you’ll need one purple, one green, and two of four different shades of pink.

ASSEMBLY
5. Hold two jewels of the matching colour (or the purple and green) right sides together with one long edge (including the corners) lined up neatly.

4. whipping stitch
sew paper pieces together with a whipping stitch

Start at one end and sew a few tiny stitches in the corner to start off then continue along the edge using a tight whipping stitch. Take care to catch only a small amount of fabric from both jewels and don’t go through the paper template.

6. Keep going to create five heart shapes, always taking care to match up the edges and corners as neatly as possible. Then attached the five hearts together using the same method but now attaching 2 short sides, one heart to the next, to create a row.

 

QUILTING AND FINISHING
7. Iron your finished row of hearts and carefully remove all the paper templates, then iron again pressing out the seam allowances back to the inside so the hearts looks the way you did before removing the paper pieces; with crisp and straight edges.

11. Now its time to make a quilt sandwich. I’m making a 16″ square cushion so my measurements will work towards that but you can adapt if you want something larger or smaller. Cut your backing fabric, wadding and background fabric to about 17″ square.

12. Place you backing fabric with the wrong side facing up, then put your wadding on top of this, then finally add your background fabric with the right side facing towards you. Make sure all the layers are smooth and flat then baste the layers together using your preferred method.

13. Mark a guide line on your quilt sandwich so you get your row of hearts exactly where you want them. I’ve drawn a line in fabric pen about 5″ from the top. You could in the hearts in place but I have used a basting spray glue.

14. Now it’s time to hand appliqué the row of hearts onto the background fabric. There are lots of great tutorials on YouTube to help with this so I won’t go into a lot of details as I think watching a video explains it much better. I used Leah Day’s tutorial which I would highly recommend.

15. Once the hearts are attached to the cushion front you can then machine or hand quilt as desired. I have chosen to machine quilt with narrow vertical lines. To do this style find the middle point of the design (it should be the centre seam of the middle heart) and mark vertical lines 1/4″ either side of this seam, then mark vertical lines all the way across every 1/2″. 

16. Now trim your quilted quilt sandwich to 16″ square and add a cushion back style of your choice. And you’re done!

 

2018: aims for Aimes

Having sorted out my sewing resolution for 2018 (you can read all about it in my previous blog post), I still couldn’t resist the urge to make a list of all the things I want to sew and design this year…I’m a list person and its a compulsion too strong to fight at times! And if there could ever be anything better than a list it would be a list with subcategories, and I’ve got that too.

I’ve split my list into three types of projects:
1. small
2. big
3. unfinished

Happily the category with the most things under it is small projects so fingers crossed the list, as a whole, is vaguely achievable. And in the time between writing the list and getting round to writing this blog post, I’ve ticked off two makes from “unfinished”, one from “small projects”, I’m on the way to finishing something else from the “small” list and I made a cushion that wasn’t even on the list. Its actually been a rather productive January…long may it continue.

Writing a list of what I want to make this year also got me thinking about what I’d like to try and achieve too. But then I’m filled with self-doubt about whether I could ever achieve anything some of those things. I follow all these amazing people on Instagram (my favourite social medium) and find myself torn between thinking “if they can do it then why can’t I too?” and “they are all doing this so brilliantly, why would I be able to as well”. Its annoys me that my brain goes there but it does. When I start to think about achievements I have a tendency to think big. Whilst working as a Museum Curator, in a small museum in North Yorkshire, whenever we made changes to exhibitions I always said “what would The British Museum do” because it made sense to me to be the absolute best we could be…funny how that’s such a tough mantra for me to use on myself.

Sorry, this is turning into a bit of a heartfelt post when I’d meant it to just be about the list of things I want to sew this year. I don’t often do heartfelt so I’m going to go with it, for once. I’m not really a big believer in those positive affirmation type quotes like “you’ve got to dream big to achieve big” but maybe I should be! So, much like my idea of blogging about my sewing resolution in a bid to make it easier to stick with and see through, I’m just going to put out there what I’d like to achieve this year (I’m not brave enough to write what I’d like to achieve beyond this year…not yet anyway).

2018: aims for Aimes (that’s short for Amy if you didn’t know!)
1. work on new designs
2. get more designs published in magazines; I’ll try for 3
3. enter a quilt into a competition (I’m still on the fence with this but I will definitely be entering something sewn into a WI competition this year so that puts me part way there)

As well as my sewing machine and fabric stash, a really invaluable tool I use to help me plan and design is my quilting stationery from Stationery Geek. They have the “My Quilt Project Bible” (designed and printed by Stationery Geek with a little bit of help with the technical terms and content ideas from little old me!) and two sizes of Quilters plotting pads. They are fantastic for sketching out design ideas and also making note of fabric and other details; and best of all, its all together in one handy notebook.

To celebrate the start of a new sewing year, I have one Quilting Project Bible to giveaway (kindly donated by Stationery Geek) over on Instagram.

Let’s hear it for the boys

I had planned to write about my sewing resolutions for 2018 but it was just turning into a huge list of projects and ideas for things I want to design or make or finish this year so I thought I’d come at the whole “resolution” process from a slightly different angle. My hope is that if I set myself one big resolution it might actually be achievable and I won’t get to the end of the year with half my list still untouched and feel disappointed in myself. Well…that’s the theory anyway!

As my title not so subtly hinted, my sewing resolution is all about the boys. You do see masculine quilts and sewing projects but there is far more girly stuff out there, whether that be fabric collections, colours or patterns. Don’t get me wrong, I do love pretty colours and floral fabrics but I think if I had to assign a gender to my quilting tastes (that’s a weird thing to say!) it would be more male than female. So that’s why for 2018 I’m striving to create more masculine-style makes. I’m not going to say I’ll only make this style (who needs those sort of limitations in their crafty life?!) but that’s my aim for the year.

I’m all for gender neutrality, especially for children, but I’m specifically saying masculine rather than gender neutral on purpose because I think it is a more overlooked style when it comes to sewing. So watch out for lots of darker colours, denim, tweed, plaid and anything else you might stereotypically associated with men.

Whilst I’ve been writing this, a post from Love Patchwork and Quilting popped up on my Facebook newsfeed about the quilting trends of 2018. You can read the full article here but quite a few of them jumped out to me as having a chance to fit in quite nicely with my sewing resolution especially…blue and white quilts, lightning bolts (Harry Potter quilt eeeeek!) and the cosmos.

After a quick look on Wikipedia bit of online research I found that the basic definition of a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something”; pretty vague really which at least means that almost anything could be classed a resolution so that’s a point in my favour. And then I started to think about why people don’t manage to follow through with their New Year’s resolutions and it turns out the main reasons are setting unrealistic goals, not keeping track of progress, simply forgetting about them and having too many in the first place. So I’m thinking I’ve got a few more points in my favour because my resolution isn’t a goal at all (more of a mindset really) so that can’t be unrealistic, I’m writing about it so I’ve got you guys keeping track of my progress, I’m just not going to forget as its going to direct so much of my sewing this year and it’s just one resolution…and one can never be too many…can it?

Christmas Tree Cushion tutorial

A simple but effective Christmas Tree cushion cover, and a great way to practice getting your half-square triangles as accurate as possible.
To make this project you will need a selection of Christmas fabrics (I’m using a small selection from the Moda “The Cooke Exchange” collection), something relatively plain for the background and whatever you fancy for the cushion back.

Step One: Fabric cutting
You need to cut the following pieces:
2 7/8″ Christmas fabric squares (x12)
2 7/8″ background fabric squares (x12)
2 1/2″ background fabric squares (x20)
4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ tree trunk fabric rectangles (x2)
16 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ background fabric strips (x2)
16 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ background fabric strips (x2)
18 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ background fabric strips (x2)

1.fabric cuts

Step Two: Half-square triangles
Take all of your 2 7/8″ squares and separate them into pairs, each pair having 1 Christmas fabric square and 1 background fabric square. Arrange each set with the right sides of the fabric facing and with the four edges perfectly lined up. Draw a diagonal line, using a fabric pen, from one corner to the opposite on the wrong of the fabric. You only need the diagonal line on the top square of each set (so you are drawing a total of 12 lines).

Now its time to sew each pair of squares together. You can pin each pair to hold the two pieces together if you want to. Sew a straight line 1/4″ away from your drawn line, then turn the square around and sew another line 1/4″ away from the drawn line on the other side. Do this on all 12 square pairs.

Now cut along the drawn line on each one.

Fold one triangle of fabric back and press. Repeat for all 24 triangles. You now have 24 2 1/2″ squares.

TIP…be careful when you press the half-square triangles open then you don’t distort the shape by stretching the weave of the fabric.
Now is a good time to check they are all exactly 2 1/2″ square, and trim if they are not.

2.making halfsquare triangles

Step Three: The design
Now you need to arrange the half-square triangles you have just made, the 2 1/2″ background squares and the two rectangular pieces into the Christmas tree shape.

You can play around with your fabric positioning to get the “look”you want from the tree. I wanted my blend of greys and turquoise fabrics to be random but you may prefer a more uniform look.

Re-arrange as much as you like until you are happy. If you aren’t sure then walk away and come back to it later…it’s much easier to change your mind before you start sewing!

3.arrange the squares

Step Four: Sewing the tree
Now it’s time to start sewing again. The best way to sew all the little squares together is in horizontal rows. Just start with the top row first then work your way down one at a time. Sew the squares together using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Try to line up each edge as accurately as possible and pin to hold in place if you prefer.

After you have sewn each row you need to iron it. To help match up the squares neatly and get nice sharp points on your triangles I recommend using the “nesting” method for your seams…
On row 1 iron as follows:
– press open the middle seam (where the two triangle sides meet)
– all the other seams press to the left
Then on row 2 iron as follows:
– press open the middle seam 
– all other seams press to the right

On row 3 iron as follows:
– press open the middle seam 
– all other seams press to the left etc etc
Continue like this, pressing open the middle seam and alternating between pressing left and right for all the other seams.

Once you have finished all 8 rows, lay them out again to check the design is looking right.

4.piecing squares and rows
Now its time to sew all the rows together.

As you have ironed the seams alternating left and right, you can “nest” them which means matching the seam line with one seam allowances pressed one way and the other pressed the other. This avoids too much bulk and makes it easier to match the seam lines perfectly.

Sew all 8 rows together working from the top down. I highly recommend pinning at this stage to keep all the seam lines matches up as you sew. Press open all the horizontal seam allowances (again this helps to avoid bulk).

Now trim the edges of your Christmas tree.

5.ironing and trimming

Step Five: Adding the edging
Now its time to add the long edging strips to turn this rectangular tree into a square cushion front.

Start with the 16 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ pieces. Pin them along the two long edges of the tree and sew using a 1/4″ seam allowances. Press the pieces out.
Now pin the 16 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ pieces along the top and bottom edges of the tree and sew using a 1/4″ seam allowances. Press the pieces out.
Finally pin the 18 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ pieces along the sides of the tree and sew using a 1/4″ seam allowances. Press the pieces out.

You should now have a piece that is 18′ x 18″.

6.adding the edging

Step Six: Quilting
Now its time for the quilting!
Cut a piece of wadding/batting roughly 19″ square. It doesn’t have to be perfect as we will trim it later but it is a good idea for it to be slightly bigger than your cushion front at this stage. Place the Christmas tree on top of the wadding. Make sure it is smooth and even…this is very important! Pin the two layers together to secure them. I would recommend using quite a few pins because you don’t want the two layers to shift and cause bulges while you quilt.

Now its the really fun bit…quilting!
You can hand or machine quilt.
In my example I have used machine quilting (a quilting stitch is just a straight stitch but slightly longer stitch length than usual; all machines are different but as a guide, my default straight stitch length is 2.5 and I use 3 for machine quilting).

I have quilted with diagonal lines running from top left to bottom right. You can draw lines on as a guide before you start or just go for it! Its really up to you.

7.quilt sandwich

Step Seven: The last bits
To create the cushion back I am using an envelope opening as its quite quick and doesn’t involve messing around with button holes!

Cut two pieces of fabric 18″ x 14″.
Hem one long edge (18″) on each piece as follows:
turn the edge down 1/2″ and press
turn down again another 1/2″, press and pin
sew these edges down with a regular straight stitch.

Take one piece and lay it on top of your quilting cushion front, right rights facing. Match the raw edges of your backing piece with the top and two sides of the cushion front, pin in place. Then lay the second backing piece on top with the raw edges matching with the bottom and two sides, pin in place. These two pieces should overlap in the middle. Sew around the entire square using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

8.cushion back

Neatly trim the four corners and press the whole thing.
Turn the cushion cover out through your envelope back , gently poke the corners out as much as you and press again.
Add your cushion pad then sit back and admire your new Christmas cushion!

10.Christmas tree cushion

 

Temperature Quilt: big summer catch up

Temperature Quilt- progress until AugustIts well over halfway through this year-long project. I’ve been slacking rather a lot with my monthly update posts but I have mostly been keeping on track with making the actual blocks…until the school summer holidays hit! So this is a really big catch-up because I need to give you all the details on each block since week 16 (oops!) and yesterday I made four new blocks to catch-up on the sewing too. Now the summer is officially over, I think its safe to say I was rather over ambitious (and optimistic) about how hot it might get here in Harrogate. Unless we get a seriously hot Indian Summer, I won’t be using reds or oranges on this quilt. On the plus side, so far the blues, greens and yellows have blended really nicely so its not all bad news.

As in previous weeks and months, I am selecting each week’s block at random from Tula Pink’s “City Sampler Quilts: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks” book. The random selection is still very random and has given me the chance to try out most skills and techniques over the last few months.

Week Seventeen: block No. 78 from the squares section
Week Eighteen: block No. 65 from the stripes section
Week Nineteen: block No. 51 from the triangles section
Week Twenty: block No. 57 from the stripes section
Week Twenty-One: block No. 66 from the stripes section
Week Twenty-Two: block No. 95 from the Haiku section
Week Twenty-Three: block No. 21 from the rectangles section
Week Twenty-Four: block No. 67 from the stripes section
Week Twenty-Five: block No. 60 from the stripes sectionPile of quilt blocksWeek Twenty-Six : block No. 28 from the rectangles section
Week Twenty-Seven: block No. 44  from the triangles section
Week Twenty-Eight: block No. 72 from the squares section
Week Twenty-Nine: block No. 20 from the rectangles section
Week Thirty: block No. 42 from the triangles section
Week Thirty-One: block No. 12 from the crosses section
Week Thirty-Two: block No. 10 from the crosses section
Week Thirty-Three: block No. 41 from the triangles section
Week Thirty-Four: block No. 24 from the rectangles section
Week Thirty-Five: block No. 31 from the rectangles section

Don’t forget there are some great businesses supporting this sew-along.
Little T’s Haberdashery have everything from roller cutters to pins and have a lovely discount code to use too: Coffee&Make10 for 10% off.
Caboodle Textiles can cater for all your fabric needs. If you join their Facebook group there is a 10% discount code in there.

Check back on the previous catch-up blog posts here:
The Fourth Four Weeks
The Third Four Weeks
The Second Four Weeks
The First Four Weeks

If you subscribe to the blog you will get a notification of all the update posts, and don’t forget to check Instagram or Facebook for each weekly block so you can sew along with me. And please share your blocks with #coffeeandmakingtemperaturequilt so everyone can see everyone else’s creations.

Guilt trip

I don’t get “the guilt trip” very often from Fletcher; he usually just asks me to help him build his marble run or make him a new t-shirt. In fact I can’t think of the last time he said something that made be feel truly guilty about an action or decision…until last night. Picture the scene: he is shattered generally because he’s a week away from finishing his first full year at school (and one of the youngest too), he’s especially tired tonight because he had a friend over to play after school, and now he’s become so tired he doesn’t know whether he is coming or going. Tears and sobbing “I don’t know what I want to do” etc etc. We finally get him into bed and he’s still sobbing his little heart out…”Mummy come and snuggle with me”. Ordinarily I would, of course, get into bed with him but through this whole thing I’ve been clock watching because I was due to go out for a WI committee meeting.

Much like being a working mum, being a stay at home mum can be tough. As a stay at home mum there is only one thing to really feel guilty about because “mum” is your whole job title. Of course working mums will have “the guilt” for maybe being late home some times, or missing a school event in the middle of the day and their reason for that is they were busy doing their really important job. But as a stay at home mum its all built right into the title; you stay at home and you are a mum…so if you have to miss something or can’t be there…what on earth were you doing?! Yes there are other things I do with my day, Fletcher is out of the house for 6 hours a day and I don’t just sit around counting down the minutes (well, not anymore anyway!); housekeeping tasks, a little bit of admin work, sewing etc but everything can wait and be done tomorrow when I’m needed. Except for last night. Last night Fletcher wanted me to stay and I had to leave. Now obviously WI committee isn’t something that I would attend if there was some sort of crisis situation at home but generally speaking it is something I have chosen to be involved with and its important to me. A couple of years ago I joined one of my local WI branches for a little slice of “me” time, then a friend who was also a member talked me into joining the committee. Earlier this year, by some strange twist of fate, I ended up as the President. It’s a role I take seriously and to which I am fully committed.

People always talk about how isolating it can be when you have a young baby. But it hardly ever seems to be mentioned how isolating it can be at the other end of the scale; the stay at home mum with her child(ren) in school…like me. To be honest, I started to feel it even when Fletcher was still at home with me. Most of my “baby friends” had gone back to work by the time the babies turned one but I had decided to stay at home which meant that my adult contact really dwindled from that point onwards. A few weeks ago I was sitting in a cafe on a Friday morning having breakfast on my own. I was meant to be meeting my friend (with two babies) but she was ill poor thing. But as I had planned for a nice breakfast out, I decided to go on my own anyway. The cafe was quite busy, mostly with the older generations, but there was a group of mums with young babies in the corner. I couldn’t help but keep watching them (hopefully they didn’t see me and think I was a weird mummy stalker!) and listen to their conversation about nappies, feeding and tiredness.  I remember those days with fondness; I loved having a young baby, difficult though it can be, and the friendship groups that came with it. At that stage you have so much in common, especially when it’s your first child, and help each other through the process. They do say it takes a village to raise a child but perhaps when you are a mum on your own most of the day, it takes a tribe of mothers to raise a child.

…Maybe that’s why I used to run my own business, maybe that’s why I joined WI, maybe that’s why I now write a blog…they all create a new tribe.

Anyway, back to the guilt trip. So I had to leave because I’d made a commitment to something that wasn’t a “mum” job. And it was fine. But even when Fletcher came through this morning with a smile on his face his first words to me were “Why did you have to go to your meeting Mummy? I missed you.”…they get you every time. Damn that guilt trip!

good morning Fletcher