Category Archives: patchwork & quilting

2nd Baby Quilt – Blue & Yellow

I have several lengths of fabric and dressmaking patterns set aside for projects in May but for the first make of the month I have ‘indulged’ in a second heart-themed quilt for the Special Baby Care Unit at Winchester Hospital. It is again inspired by the cushion from Cowslip Workshops but this time worked in a Blue & Yellow theme.

Again I raided the giant box of scraps and using a smaller, more traditionally shaped die, cut 25 heart shapes from the various blue coloured printed cotton fabrics. This time I cut the backing squares at just 4½ inches square so that I could utilise some of the fresh-looking Lemon and White striped fabric. Also, this time I did not use HeatnBond fusible web. I simply pressed all the fabrics with a light spray of starch prior to die cutting the shapes.

The squares were stitched together with a ¼inch seam allowance and then I went in search of some wadding. I could not find sufficient wadding in the same fibre combination but, what I did find, was a length of pre-quilted White Broderie Anglaise polyester cotton in my stash. I have used this for the quilt ‘sandwich’ and am pretty pleased with the end result.

The quilting was done on the machine using a 3.5 stitch length, a quilting needle and walking foot. The design is a grid of straight lines approximately ¼inch from each joining seam. The binding was cut from one of the other remnants in my scrap bin. I cut on the straight grain 2½ inches wide with diagonal seams. The binding was pressed in half wrong sides together before applying to the right side of the quilt. I mitred the corners and turned to the reverse of the quilt before hand stitching in place. The finished quilt measures 20½ inches square.

I am pleased with this quilt which has provided me with a ‘holiday’ from jersey sewing and the delights of ‘fitting’ cotton fabrics. I am now invigorated and inspired to go on with some more dressmaking in anticipation of a long, hot Spring & Summer.

‘Have a Heart’ Baby Quilt

At the Sprat & Winkle Quilters Group we have been asked to make small quilts for the Special Baby Care Unit at Winchester Hospital. This is something that we do usually every other year. The maximum size of the quilt should be 24 inches square and this year the theme is Hearts.

I remember a design used by Jo at Cowslip Workshops in Cornwall that featured squares with appliqué hearts and decided to base my quilt on that idea.


I checked my (giant!) box of scraps and selected several pieces in the Red colourway. These were pressed and the final selection was 3 different pieces to which I applied HeatnBond fusible web. I have a great ‘folk art’ style heart-shaped die for my Sissix machine and used that to cut 25 shapes from the prepared fabrics.

Using mostly plain calico (from Lady Sew & Sew) I cut some 5 inch squares to which I then applied the heart shapes. Then I arranged the squares/hearts in a symmetrical design before using a fine satin stitch around the edge of each heart shape.

The squares were sewn together using a 3/8th seam allowance and turnings were pressed open and flat. The quilt sandwich is made from some cotton/polyester wadding from my scrap plus more plain Calico for the backing.

The quilting was done on the machine using a 3.5 stitch length, a quilting needle and walking foot. The design is a grid straight lines 3/8th from each joining seam. The binding was cut from one of the other remnants in my scrap bin. I cut on the straight grain 2½ inches wide with diagonal seams. The binding was pressed in half wrong sides together before applying to the right side of the quilt. I mitred the corners and turned to the reverse of the quilt before hand stitching in place. The finished quilt measures just 21 inches square.

I am so pleased with the quilt that I intend to make another! Next time using remnants of Blue print cottons and possibly striped fabrics for the background squares as demonstrated in the Cowslip Workshops cushion.

A long time coming – A Vintage Nursery print Applecore Lap Quilt

At least 5 years ago (and probably more!) whilst on holiday in Cornwall, my husband and I visited Cowslip Workshops to browse their fantastic selection of all things patchwork and quilting.

Amongst other items, I purchased a selection of Fat Quarters featuring some charming 40’s and 50’s style nursery prints. Then, about 2 years ago I spent some time at our Friday morning House Group, hand stitching all the blocks together according to a Sudoku game plan. By using a Sudoku plan I was able to ensure that only on a couple of occasions was a print adjacent to another block of the same design.

Forward to this year, I was asked to make a quilt for a friend’s new grandson and I thought that the Applecore quilt may be appropriate. Here was the incentive to get the quilt finished.

A search through my stash of fabrics revealed a large piece of Blue/Mauve cotton that would be good for the reverse.

Reverse of the Quilt showing quilting lines

I also found a Fat Quarter of a pretty Duck Egg Blue background cotton featuring a print of school buses and animals waiting in line to ascend the bus to use as the binding.

Alas, on checking my stash I could not find a large enough piece of wadding. Infact I could not find much wadding at all! Off to New Threads Quilt Shop at Weyhill Fair on the trail of some polyester wadding. Unfortunately they had no stock of polyester wadding and instead recommended the Soft & Elegant “The Comfort Blend” of 80/20% cotton/polyester batting. This is the first time that I have used this particular blend and wow, it is great! I shall certainly use it again. Having bought 1 metre of the 90 inch wide there is sufficient remaining to make another lap quilt and I already have a plan for a Japanese Folded Patchwork ‘Quilt as you Go’ project.

The quilt was duly assembled and using my walking foot with  80 quilting needle in the machine was quilted ‘in the ditch’. I was at first undecided as to how to finish the binding but eventually decided to apply in a straight line and would forfeit a part of each of the applecores around the outside edge of the quilt. The double fold binding was cut 2½ inches wide and machined with a ¼ inch seam allowance. The binding was then turned to the reverse of the quilt and hand slip stitched in place.

Close ups of the various block prints

Sometime next week I will show the quilt and if acceptable will arrange an embroidered label for the reverse. So after a mere 5 plus years the quilt will be finished.

P.S. My projects don’t usually take this long!

Beginners Sewing Workshop

Saturday morning dawned and I was stationed at New Threads Quilt shop ready to meet and greet 3 students for the Beginners’ Workshop. The plan was to make a padded Scissors case that has 2 pockets together with a patchwork pin cushion in complimentary fabrics. Maria, Tina and Krystel arrived carrying their machines and fabrics, plus I think a little trepidation about what the day would bring. I hope that by the end of the day they had gained a lot more confidence in sewing and using their machines.

We started with an introduction so that I would have a ‘handle’ on just how much experience of sewing they each had and from then on we settled down to make the projects.

The padded scissors case is a hack from an original design that featured in Threads magazine many, many years ago. It is a fairly simple project that provides the opportunity to work with fusible wadding, ‘bagging out’ and lots of straight machine stitching. There are a variety of ways that the case closure can be finished – buttons, poppers, velcro. My three students elected to have plastic popper snaps which I applied using the special pliers that accompany the kit.

A short break for lunch and then we tackled a more ‘interesting’ project – the pin cushion which features a patchwork block called 3D bow tie/faux cathedral window. In hindsight this may have been a step too far for a first workshop but ‘the girls’ were game and having made the first block, were determined to ‘crack’ the fabric origami and so made a second block. By the end of the afternoon they had each completed the pincushion complete with polyester toy stuffing and hand (there’s that 4-letter word!) stitched closure.

It was lovely to meet 3 such enthusiastic ladies and I hope that they will enrol for other workshops in the future.

Mad March Hares

At Monday’s Patchwork & Quilting class based at Franklins, Salisbury we re-visited applique. Emma demonstrated the various ways of applique from needle-turned, raw edge applique and the various methods of machine stitching in place.

As I have great plans to make a new quilt featuring Mad March Hares, I practised using a “seated hare” applique on the bottom half of a tea towel as supplied by Emma.

I am now busy researching “Hare” outlines which will be used in random blocks on the quilt. Other blocks may feature flowers that are in bloom in the blustery month – but we shall wait and see what transpires. I may get side-tracked (yet again) and end up making something completely different!

Completed Winter theme Quilt

Winter theme Quilt Top

After an afternoon of quilting this quilt is now finished! In the end I decided to stick to what I knew and quilted the interlocking circles. I added a binding made from Light Grey Paisley print. This was added by machine and then “stitched in the ditch” so that the entire quilt has been made on the sewing machine. No hand sewing was involved in this project – my kind of sewing!

Winter theme quilt – Reverse

Valentine Hearts Quilt


I made this quilt a few years ago and like to ensure that it is on display on February 14th, Saint Valentine’s Day.

The quilt originally began as a practice in making layered hearts in raw edge applique but quickly grew into a cushion cover, then a lap quilt and finally a large quilt (60 inches square) for display on the piano.

As you can see, each block is made from 3 layered hearts in descending sizes. There are 8 blocks were made then cut into 4 before stitching back together in a random fashion. These were the original blocks and dictated the size of the remaining 16 blocks that surround the centre panel. As each heart applique was stitched I removed the backing so that I ended up with many more hearts than were required. I still have some stored in my stash awaiting another heart-theme project!

The quilt has a 2 oz polyester wadding backed with a plain pink polyester cotton bed sheet. The quilting is minimal – basically the squares and borders stitched “in the ditch”. If I were to make this design again, I would increase the amount of quilting but for now it is sufficient.

Tomorrow, the 15th February, the Valentine Hearts will be replaced with the “Winter” quilt (I managed to finish on Thursday of last week) – more of which is posted in the 3rd instalment of the project.


Continuing the Winter theme Quilt

I am still working on the “Winter” themed quilt but it is progressing well. I have now completed the top and made the “sandwich” of top, wadding (80/20 cotton and polyester from my stash) and backing.

The quilt “sandwich”

close up showing gradation of colour

Next step is the quilting. Last time I did free-motion interlocking circles and I may well do that again but before I settle to that design I will try some different patterns, possibly using a wide set twin needle.

I have been supervised by my cat who seems to think that this quilt is being made especially for her. She repeatedly tries to sleep on it when it is laid out on our beds!


I had to buy another charm pack of “Luster” as I was running out of sufficient 5 inch squares to make up the 36 blocks that I needed. I also purchased some “Burlap” by Benartex in the Silver colourway to make the 2½ inch border that brings the quilt to the required size for covering the grand piano.

The backing is made from 1744 Heartwood Scenic © The Henley Studio for Makower UK that I originally intended to make into a dress but on reflection I don’t think the colour would suit me so here it is to ensure that the reverse of the quilt is as interesting as the front.

I have decided on the text for the label that will be applied to the quilt once it is completed. It is a Haiku entitled “Winter Forest” by Nick Bagnall.

A winter forest

Frosted leaves lay heaped around

Hedgehog sleeps within

I think this is particularly appropriate as we have a wooded area next to the boundary of our property and there are many leaves falling into the garden. We also have our own hedgehog that makes regular visits during the Summer and is currently hibernating behind the garage.

Winter-theme Quilt

Today, as a change from dressmaking and the exacting requirements of “FIT” I have started work on a new quilt for my husband’s grand piano. At Christmas there was a Christmas-themed-prints log cabin quilt on the piano but that has now been put away. The next themed quilt is for Valentine’s Day – a quilt featuring lots of layered applique hearts in a variety of floral printed cottons. What we really need is something for the interim that will take us up to the “Springtime” quilt.

Taking inspiration from the colours of our surrounding countryside I had previously purchased two charm packs by Moda called Modern Backgrounds *Luster*. In addition I also purchased a variety of fat quarters in co-ordinating shades of Taupe and Blue/Grey together with a metre length of plain “Gold” lustre as the basic accent. At the time of purchasing the fabrics I had not yet made up my mind exactly which block design I would use. I was wavering between “Disappearing 9 patch” and “3D bow tie/faux Cathedral Window”.

Yesterday I was putting away a box of zips when I chanced upon a box of Blue-toned fabrics. On top of the selection was a short length (approximately ¾ yard) of a fine cotton lawn in lightest Sky Blue with White pin spots. Ah ha! Decision made! I would make the “3D bow tie/faux Cathedral Window” blocks and use this lovely Blue as the “window” accent to reflect the delicate shade of the sky at this time of year.

The quilt that I made in Autumn shades uses the same block design so I knew that I would need to make 36 blocks of 4 x 5 inch squares, each with the 3D bow tie/faux cathedral window.

Block showing the 3D bow tie = Cathedral window “frame”

Double row of blocks showing next row of blank 3D bow ties/cathedral window “frames”

Block with “Window” pinned into “frame”

First 2 rows  (part) of completed blocks

These are joined in rows of 6 blocks each with another “window” set in between the rows.

I am stitching entirely on the machine and so far have made 12 x blocks. The blocks are coming together nicely and I look forward to getting the quilt completed as soon as possible so that it takes centre stage on the piano until 21st March (excluding Valentine’s Day of course!) when the “Springtime” quilt will take over.

Beginners’ Sewing Accessories Workshop

After a meeting with Meg at New Threads Quilt Shop we have now agreed a programme of workshops to be run up to and including June 2017. The first is a Toile making class in January followed in February a class for absolute beginners, returners and improvers. In the class we will be making scissors cases and pin cushions. So…. I needed to make some samples.

Using a basic pattern from Threads magazine which then I adapted to make more appropriate for beginners, I used some lovely sewing themed fabric from Lewis & Irene called “Threaded with Love”. The scissors case is lightly quilted with fusible wadding and can be lined in the same or contrast fabric. The fastening can be a snap popper (I used my lovely new set of snaps and pliers!), velcro, button with buttonhole or loop, or popper. Depending on how you fold the case you end up with the 2 sections either small inside the large or small outside the large l. Personally I prefer the former which then leaves a large area for embellishment if required. I have made the large case in both permutations plus closures of snap poppers on one and button with elastic (hair bungee) on the other.

Long ago I hacked the pattern to make a small version of the scissors case which is just the right size for small embroidery scissors or snips. I made a co-ordinating case to accompany the larger cases.

Next, onto the pin cushion. As the scissors case is so basic, I decided that it would be a good idea to “stretch” the students a little and introduce them to one of my favourite patchwork blocks – 3D bow tie with faux cathedral window insert (what a mouthful – I need to come up with a shorter name for the block!).The block uses only small scraps of fabric and can be made uses some of the remnants from the scissors cases combined with a couple of other prints. I started out with basic 4 inch squares (subsequently made a second one with 3 inch squares) which made the “fiddling” of the 3D centrepiece a little easier to cope with. The resultant pin cushion is approximately 7 inches square – a good-sized piece of equipment that will not easily be lost or buried under sewing projects.

Lewis & Irene collection

From the left: Large case with small section outside & popper fastening, pincushion, small scissors case with popper, large case with small section Inside & button/loop fastening.

Having completed the samples for the workshop I then retrieved some Red Strawberry print fabric from my stash together with complimentary spot print and made a set to accompany my latest new Brother ® sewing machine.

My personal collection