In class this week, our ‘5 minute lesson’ was all about HSTs (Half Square Triangles), QSTs (Quarter Square Triangles) and HRTs (no not that type of HRT! Half Rectangle Triangles!).
These versatile and clever units form the many building blocks of quilt and quilt block design!
They are component parts that follow the same construction principles but with their many design possibilities, they just keep on giving!
Sewing with triangles can be tricky, especially as those naughty bias edges can flex and stretch! But despite the word ‘triangle’ being mentioned in the names of all of these techniques, at no point are individual triangles sewn together! How cool is that!
Let’s start with the humble Half Square Triangle.
Half Square Triangles (HSTs):
Method 1 (yields 2 identical hsts):
Start off by putting 2 squares right sides together.
Draw a pencil line corner to corner on the wrong side of one of the squares and sew 1/4″ either side of the line.
Cut along the line to create 2 identical half square triangle units. Press the seams open (always press bias seams open where possible).
How easy was that!
Method 2 (yields 4 identical hsts):
Place 2 squares right sides together and sew 1/4″ around all four sides.
Cut in half from corner to corner, and then into quarters through the opposite corners.
As before, press the seams open.
And now that you have cracked hsts, the design possibilities are endless! Here are a couple of my own HST quilts, but for lots more variations, including sizing charts, check out my HST Pinterest Board!
Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs):
This time you need 2 lots of half square triangles. You can work with 2 fabrics, or like I’m doing here, 4 different fabrics.
Now take 1 hst from each pair and place them right sides together so that their seams are lying on top of each other.
Draw a line corner to corner perpendicular to the existing seam. Sew 1/4″ either side of the line.
Cut along the line to separate and press the seams open. Now you have 2 identical QST blocks, with each of the 4 fabrics in each unit.
See if you can spot the QSTs in my friend Susan’s gorgeous ‘Blue Moon’ quilt.
I have a little QST quilt in the works, but I can only show you this sneaky peak for now ……..
So when Popular Patchwork said they were going for a colourful and cheery February issue, I had an idea!
This is Log Cabin Bouquet!
With a few adjustments, the log cabin block can be turned into a heart shape. And when you put the hearts together, you get a flower shape! Neat!
If, like me, you have a ‘Fabric Bucket List’ it’s always a joy when you finally get the opportunity to work with some long desired collection or fabric line.
When Art Gallery launched their Denim Studio, I swooned! Already a long time lover of all things denim, my heart skipped a beat when I saw how creative Art Gallery got with this unassuming textile. Oh boy! The different weights, patterns and textures – so many to choose from.
Imagine my delight when the Editor of Popular Patchwork approved my design! I stuck to denims that were 4oz or 5oz and I thought I’d go braver with the background this time.
The background is Painterly Wash and the backing Ragged Daisies. Wouldn’t these make beautiful tunic dresses (that’ll be another addition to the bucket list then!).
If you are considering Denim Studio, I recommend using the 4-5 oz ones for quilting and the 10 oz ones for bag making and soft furnishings.
So that’s another fabric itch scratched! I definitely see more Denim Studio in my future!
I’m happy to see the actual frost (& snow) on the ground disappear this week! And instead show you my scrappy quilt in icy blues, which is featured in the January issue of Quilt Now.
As you know, I LOVE using scraps. Sticking to a particular colourway while just using scraps is a little more challenging than just using a random selection of colours. Scraptastic challenge accepted!
I started with a spikey block (my trust Sizzix helped me out with the cutting), then dropped the pale aqua and soft blues into it. I only needed to beg a small amount of blue from a willing friend!
You can get a better idea of the block from the cushion above. Katy the editor asked for a cushion of the same block, but in a different colourway. I used Kona solids for the cushion, and went for a more masculine vibe. This is to give the readers an alternative way of seeing the versatility of the block.
My background & binding is Kiss Dot by Michael Miller, and the backing is Vintage Market by Lori Holt.
The weather never matches the quilts when I’m photographing them!
So that’s Frost. I hope you like my scrappy quilt.
I’m in the process of making my very last quilt of 2017. Sadly you won’t get to see it until March ’18.
And with less than one week until the ‘big day’ I hope you are a lot more organised than me!
Didn’t that week go quickly? My feet have hardly touched the ground it’s been so busy here! I’m getting ready to make an important announcement next Tuesday, so it’s full steam ahead here.
In the meantime I can show you a quilt I made for British Patchwork & Quilting, using Tilda’s beautiful Cabbage Rose collection:
The Tilda Cabbage Rose collection is one of my favourites so far. In fact, I’ve thrown in a couple of greens from their Memory Lane collection too!
I’ve called this quilt ‘Garden Steps’, because of the combination of pretty floral prints and the Courthouse Steps quilt block.
The Courthouse Steps block works a little like a Log Cabin block. Cleverly, it’s the main block design which becomes the secondary pattern here.
Can you spot the blocks?
The backing and binding are more Tilda prints from other collections.
This was the first quilt I made in my new Sewing Room. It’s been an interesting journey re-orientating myself to a much smaller space. For example, learning the best way to photograph items and discovering where the light is best.
It was lovely working with pretty, colourful fabrics on a dull day!
I’m getting a little behind schedule in showing you my recent magazine commissions.
The September issue of Quilt Now will be released very soon, but first I need to show you what made front cover of their August issue.
This is my Sun, Sea and Sky scrap buster quilt. I had so much fun making this, and rummaging through scraps and fat quarters to get a colour scheme that evoked the warm aquas and teals of the summer sea and sky, with little hits of bright sunshiney yellow!
I designed a pieced block, which would give me a connecting secondary pattern (not unlike my daughter’s Around the World quilt).
If you look closely, you will see an alternating colour pattern, between the placement of the aqua and teal fabrics in each block, rather like the way the sea reflects the sky and vice versa.
Small scale prints or tone-on-tone fabrics will work best here. That meant I had to discount one or two of my scraps and ‘borrow’ a couple from a fellow fabric addict quilter!
I decided on organic wavy lines for the quilting, to create some movement through the blocks and maintain a fluid theme.
The quilt finishes at 61″ x 73″ and is backed with a fresh aqua polka dot. A blue and white striped binding finished off the coastal feel.
So that finishes my July round up of magazine commissions. The September issues are being released in the next week or so and I will have 3 more exciting quilts to show you!
In the meantime, my sewing room is almost finished, so I might actually be able to show you some photos soon!
In the Siblings Together Quilting Bee (2) I took a 2nd turn at Queen Bee for February.
Spurred on by Sue’s donated wonky star blocks, we all embraced our inner ‘wonk’ and made lots more bright and beautiful star blocks.
And here is the finished quilt:
What a blast of colour!
I’ve a few thank you’s to mention with regards to this quilt.
Firstly a big thank you goes out to Sue and my bee mates for contributing lots of blocks to make this colourful quilt a possibility.
And also thanks to a good friend for quilting it so beautifully too!
Finally, thank you to Sarah (Narcoleptic in a Cupboard) for contributing the Ikea backing. It was the perfect backing for the scrappy mix of colours in the front!
Measuring 60″ x 72″, this quilt will be going in the post this week well in time for this year’s summer camps. It is sent with our love and blessings, knowing that it will bring comfort to a young person separated from her siblings by the care system.
It has been my absolute joy and privilege to be part of an amazingly talented, caring and funny group of quilters called ‘Brit Bee’.
We formed in 2011 from the ‘Brit Quilt’ Flickr Group, and despite 3 member changes, we haven’t stopped sewing for each other since!
Our very first ‘meet up’ at Fat Quarterly Retreat, London, 2012. (I’m on top of a table, just in case you thought I was freakishly tall!)
Although we are spread across the UK, we try to meet up at least once a year (more if we can!). I have missed out on the last 2 retreats, and so was determined to make it to Bedfordshire for our 2017 retreat.
This year, 9 Brit Bee-ers and Cindy (a special friend of Brit Bee) spent the last weekend eating, chatting, sewing, eating, more sewing, considerably more eating, minimal sleeping and lots more sewing!
We may not see each other more than once or twice a year, but we fit so easily together again, like a well worn pair of much loved slippers!
It was such an easy atmosphere, we could wake up, grab a cuppa, and head straight to the sewing machines in our pjs, bleary eyes and dishevelled hair!
We also inspired and ‘nutured’ each other’s creativity, getting caught up on bee blocks, consulting on quilt design, helping out with tricky paper piecing. All the while getting caught up on life, our hopes, dreams, struggles and triumphs.
As always, the weekend goes too quickly, but the inspiration and refreshment from our time together lasts much longer.
I got lots of sewing done too, and will blog about these projects separately.
In the meantime, I will leave you with a picture of the Brit Bee R4 blocks I have received so far.
I get to be ‘Queen Bee’ again for February in Siblings Together Bee 2.
And thanks to Sue (a fellow bee mate), I hit on the perfect idea for which block to set.
A while a go Sue offered up her UFO (unfinished objects) pile of wonky star blocks, some made and some still in pieces.
I happily relieved them from her as a potential Siblings Together quilt!
These are super quick and easy blocks to make. And here is the tutorial for my ST peeps and anyone else who fancies making this scrappy block.
Makes 1 x 12.5″ unfinished block
Use 1/4″ seam allowance
4 x 4.5″ squares of dark fabrics
4 x 4.5″ squares of light fabrics (same colourway as dark fabrics)
1 x 4.5″ square of white fabric (centre square)
4 x 4.5″ squares of white fabric, cut in half diagonally (star points)
1. Put the 4 light squares to one side. These will become the 4 corners.
2. Take a dark square and position a white triangle on it as shown (doesn’t have to be exact positioning). Sew along the diagonal edge of the white triangle, taking care not to stretch the bias edge.
3. Cut away the excess dark fabric at the corner, level with the white fabric.
4. Press the seam towards the dark fabric.
5. Position the 2nd white triangle diagonally across the first white triangle as shown (make sure the lower tip of the 2nd triangle extends past the bottom edge of the dark square). Again sew along the diagonal edge of the 2nd triangle.
6. Cut away the excess of both dark and white fabrics at the corner, level with the 2nd triangle.
7. Press the seam towards the dark fabric.
8. Place the unit onto your cutting mat, with the white triangles positioned at the top. Place a small square ruler on top, aligning the bottom & right hand edges of the block with the 4.5″ lines on the ruler. Trim the top and right hand edges of the block.
9. Turn the unit 180 degrees and repeat the trimming for the ‘new’ right hand edge. The unit should now measure 4.5″ square.
10. Repeat steps 2 – 9 3 more times.
11. Layout the block units in 3 rows as shown. Sew the units right sides together in each row.
12. Press the seams of rows 1 and 3 AWAY from the centre. Press the seams of row 2 TOWARDS the centre.
13. Join the rows right sides together, taking care to butt/nest the intersecting seams. Press all new seams open. The block should measure 12.5″ square.
Thanking my ST buddies in advance! Looking forward to receiving these colourful scrappy blocks.
After a wee break in December, we were back making bee blocks in January for Siblings Together (Bee 2).
Sue was queen bee for January, and set this Tic Tac Toe block, with black on white backgrounds and colourful prints for the rest. (here is the tutorial if you fancy having a go at this easy block)
I was queen bee in September, and set the Canvas block. Last week I managed to get them all sewn together into a sizeable flimsy!
I’m taking a 2nd stint as Queen bee, so its my turn again in February! Watch this space!
In September 2015, Brit Bee started our 4th round. If you’ve been keeping up with us, you will know we never stick to the annual schedule! But we are a forgiving and patient lot, forged by longevity and great friendships!
By some miracle I have managed to keep up with the schedule (ish!) and earlier this month I made the last block! Woohoo!
This one is for Katy, in her chosen solids, and the block was designed by Hadley.
As the first one finished, I’ll try hard not to capitalise on bragging rights at our Brit Bee retreat next month!
One of our traditions in Brit Bee is to exchange Secret Santa gifts at Christmas. In previous years we’ve done things like, cushions, decorations, pin-cushions.
This year we went for zippy pouches – you can see what I made for Katy here.
And what did I get?
Only this gorgeous package of cuteness from Ange!
Isn’t it adorable! And I have a feeling it will come in handy for travelling to our retreat!
A few months back when I was planning a commission for the January issue of Popular Patchwork, I knew I wanted to use cool, icey colours.
(And wouldn’t you know it, just when I post about this little quilt, it starts snowing outside!! Brrrrr!)
This block is called The Rolling Stone block (or Broken Wheel).
My icey colours of choice are ‘Littlest’ by Art Gallery, ‘Oh Boy’ Swirls in Aqua by Riley Blake & Kiss Dot Snow by Michael Miller (background), but despite their coolness, there’s also a cute warmth about them too.
Cot quilts should be rectangular in my opinion, so little 1″ square inserts top and bottom soon sorted that out.
This little quilt comes in at 50″ x 56″ and is in the January issue of Popular Patchwork.
Hi everyone, I hope you are having a great November so far!
Outside of my normal teaching, sewing and pattern writing hours, I’ve been keeping up with my bee block commitments.
In Siblings Together this month, we have been making ‘boy’ blocks for Doti:
Also for Siblings Together, I made 4 more canvas blocks. It was my month in September, where I set the Canvas block. I was only 4 blcoks short and now that I have 30 blocks, I can get the quilt completed.
For Brit Bee this month, I had to make a block for Jo, which was designed by Angie! These are the colours Jo has chosen for her quilt – I hope she likes it!
So that’s my block round-up for November.
And I hope to have some really exciting news to announce here soon! Watch this space!
I support 2 charity quilting groups – Bee Blessed and Siblings Together.
This means making different blocks for them each month, which is a non-demanding way of supporting these wonderful causes.
Here is a wee round up of my recent bee blocks.
In Bee Blessed, we were making Woven blocks in pastels for September …..
…. and Wonky Cross blocks in ‘male appropriate’ colours for October.
In Siblings Together Bee 2 I got to set the block for September, and requested Canvas blocks, in any 2 colour-ways. Here are what I have received from the other ladies in the bee:
I only need to make 5 more blocks, and after putting it out for consultation (asking a few sewing friends on FB!) it was decided that I should make the remaining blocks in purple, yellow, pink & green!
October’s blocks in STB2 are these fabulously scrappy 16″ blocks. These were so much fun to make, because they were scrappy (my fav) and the irregular improv angles meant they were super quick too!
So that’s me up-to-date with my bee commitments!
And it’s half-way through October already! So I’ll leave you with a few of my recent Autumn pics!
The particular corner today was Rowallane House and Gardens, owned by National Trust.
A truly inspiring place with the ‘all time’ best climbing tree ever!
Not too many bees around yet, but here are some ‘bee’ blocks I’ve been making.
First up, Corner Log Cabin blocks for Siblings Together Bee 2. The special request from Charlo on these blocks were reds, blues and greys. Another boy quilt perhaps?
And the Bee Blessed Blocks for May are Sarah’s Frame Box Blocks (try saying all of that after a glass of wine!).
Sarah has written a brill tutorial for these super quick and scrappy friendly blocks here. And to see more about the wonderful ladies behind Bee Blessed, see some rare footage here. They are doing an amazing job, and blessing so many people and families. If you can support this great work by making a block or two I know they would love to hear from you.
A few weeks back I was offered an industrial Singer Sewing machine!
She was originally a factory girl, retired long ago!
I call her ‘The Beast’!
She weighs an absolute tonne (it took 3 men to carry her upstairs!) and sounds like a jumbo jet taking off (I hope the neighbours don’t mind)!
But boy can she sew, through super thick layers like denim! And she’s fast too, so I’d better keep my fingers well out of the way!
And the latest Brit Bee block I’ve been working on, was a complete Beast to make (!) but turns out is a Beauty for who I was making it for.
30″ x 15″
This block was designed by our Brit Bee Mama Laura Jane (who has just recently become a mama herself!!) and took a lot of patience, unpicking and even more patience! It is by far the most involved block we have made in Brit Bee so far and my attempt is perfectly imperfect!
Love these wee doggies!
I was making for Fiona, in her choice of colours, and I’ve had the thumbs up from Fi (phew!).
So it looks like my ‘beasts’ have inner beauty after all!!
Since I started blogging over 5 years ago, I quickly became part of a wonderfully giving and generous community of quilters.
I have made friends with folks around the world, we have laughed and cried together, shared our achievements, disasters, tips and tricks!
And now and again I get to meet some of these wonderful people in the flesh!
This is an old pic of me and Marie, who comes to Belfast each year, all the way from Oz!
I’m so privileged to call Marie a friend, she is a talented quilter and a truly generous and inspirational person. Today we met again for coffee, and our short time together always goes too quickly!
And she ALWAYS has a gift for me!
Thank you Marie for my pretty roses, and your smiling and passionate heart!
Another way to be a part of this amazing online quilting community is to donate blocks.
(Message for Rosemary/Nellieduclos: I’m unable to reply to you directly as your email address doesn’t register with your comment. The tutorial you are looking for is here on my Tutorials page.)
We’ve had some beautiful sunny days here this week! And March seemed to go out like a lamb yesterday! A perfect end to the Easter holidays.
But the Lion seemed to come back today! Boo!
Nevermind, it’s a new month, which means new seasons to come! Yay!
Here is my round up mosaic for March:
I also got these bee blocks done for Siblings Together Bee 2 …
…and some scrappy rail-fence blocks for Bee Blessed.
Bee Blessed is back at the production wheel tomorrow! You can keep up to date with all our progress and monthly block requests over on the Bee Blessed Blog! And check out the 2 quilts Bee Blessed are donating to Siblings Together this year!
Despite the rather damp and dull day today, it’s so lovely to officially start spring!
February may have been a shorter month, but it was a busy one for me!
Mostly sneak peeks here again I’m afraid, and one or two of these not made (but published) in February. But I will tell you about them all in time.
And here are my bee blocks for February:
L-R: Brit Bee R4 block for Ceri; Hedgehog blocks for Anne/Siblings Together Bee 2
So that’s my round-up for February!
And before I go, a wee shout out for donations of fat quarters for my bloggy friend Sheila, who is raising funds for Yorkhill Children’s Hospital in Glasgow, and a special little girl called Beth. You can read more about Beth’s story and Sheila’s fund raiser here.
The theme this month in the Siblings Together Bee 2 is Hedgehogs!
These cute little fellas are the brain child of Melly and Me!
This is the original pattern by Melly and Me, which you can purchase here.
(As you can see, in Siblings Together we are going for a more ‘brights and scrappy’ look with our blocks!)
I know some people adore hedgehogs, so get ready for some cuteness overload!
Meet Hollie! Isn’t she a cutie (and also made and designed by Melly and Me)!
To make your very own Hollie the Hedgehog go here to get the Melly and Me pattern.
Now if you know me well, you may know that I haven’t always had such positive encounters with said ‘hogs’! Suffice to say, several early morning experiences involving my dog, a large mixing bowl, and airborne hogs into the local school grounds will just about cover it! ‘Nuff said!
(No hedgehogs were injured in said relocation – I know because THEY KEPT COMING BACK INTO MY GARDEN!)