Dare I say it?? Christmas is approaching!

I subscribe to Quilters Newsletter magazine.

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They had a ‘good deal’ on their subscription last year, and so I treated myself to a one year term.  It has proven to be a good read as well as a good deal.   The most recent issue had a foundation pieced Christmas tree that caught my eye.

020 As it can be done week by week, it made me think it could be a do-able project, and if I caught up with the sewing I could complete it by the end of October.

I decided to download the weekly patterns, and use the Christmas fabrics in my stash – of which I have quite a few acquired over the years.

011 It is interesting looking back on the ones I have accumulated – from the ‘traditional’ reds and greens and golds to the more modern and the ‘country’ look.

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They will all work – I hope.

For the past few weeks I have been foundation piecing like mad.

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It is a messy business!!

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It’s made me search out some small prints and not use the bigger ones in this project.

022But the results are fun!

008 I have been searching out some very tiny ‘conversation’ prints:

016And I have been sewing with Aurifil Ne 40 (the green spool).  For me it has the strength to cope with patterns printed on paper.

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I hope to be able to show the completed top by the end of the year.  I guess this means I have started another project – darn!

Tuesday Treats: Still time to add a special handmade treat for Easter

I decided that there was no need to re-invent the wheel block when there are so many clever ideas floating around on the internet, starting with a couple of decorator ideas from our previous blogs:

Ladybirdee suggested using beautiful fabric to make appliqued egg shapes  to create a feature panel for a bag or table mat.

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Judysew4th used paper piecing to make a basket feature to add to a guest towel.

Quick and Easy Guest Towel

Quick and Easy Guest Towel

Both the above ideas were stitched with Cotton Mako’ 50, the finest of the threads in the Cotton Mako’ range. This is the best thread to use to achieve hidden applique stitches or a flat finish for foundation or paper piecing.

More Resources for Quick Easter Decorations:

Please travel safely over the Easter weekend.

Birthday Blocks Again!

In the middle of last year, we made a ‘Birthday Bag’ for someone special who works at Always Quilting.

Completed Birthday Bag

Completed Birthday Bag

You can read about it in our blog posts on 3 August 201210 November 2012 and 11 January 2013  where there are excellent descriptions of how each person went about their ‘row’ for the bag.

"Skewed" square in a square block

“Skewed” square in a square block

I made a row of six, 6-1/2″ blocks (three for each side of the bag). In the picture below you can see the braid and the sashing strips.

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After all these months I have forgotten where I found the pattern !!  I have looked and looked for the pattern in some of my favourite foundation pieced books . It was relatively simple to make  if you are experienced with foundation piecing. If you aren’t – have a read of Judy’s excellent step by step instructions on the January post. Foundation piecing just takes time and patience (like most things with patchwork!).  Even though it doesn’t look like it from the photos, the rows were straight – and sewing accurate!

The Birthday Bag Instructions Continue

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Last year we made a patchwork bag for a special birthday . We have had several requests for the instructions with the French Braid instructions provided back in November .

The following instructions are for the paper-pieced Crocus block pictured.

For purposes of instruction I have made a 6” block and used a printed block illustrating the numbered sewing order from my EQ7 program.

Crocus Foundation from EQ7

I also have pre-cut the fabrics adding ¾” to the square patch. The triangles are achieved by cutting a rectangle ¾” larger than the widest point.

Eight blocks were required for the Crocus Flower strip. You can create all the blocks for foundation piecing following the directions from our blog Making Quick Foundations for Paper Piecing.

The 50wt. Aurifil thread  is being used in black so the stitching is easy to see.

Important Note. All the fabric is placed on the unmarked side of the paper. Your numbered side is the side of the paper you will see when sewing.Patch #1

Place patch #1 and #2 with right sides together . Center these over the area mark #1 making sure you have a seam allowance on all sides. You can use large pieces of fabric until you become comfortable with the foundation technique. Patch #1 and Patch #2 rightsides togetherYour seam allowances can be trimmed to ¼” after each addition is sewn if needed. Sew on line beginning a few stitches outside the patch line.

Patch #2 and seam allowance

Patch #2 and seam allowance

Sewing line for Patch #1 and #2

Press fabric open.

Patch #3 ready to press

Patch #3 ready to press

Place fabric for #3 right sides together and stitch as before.Press the fabric open checking the seam allowance as before.

Continue placing the patches in numerical order, right sides together; checking seam allowances; stitching; trimming seam allowances to ¼” until all the patches have been added .

Patch #4 cut rectangle

Patch #4 cut rectangle

Patch #4 cut retangle for a triangle patch

Patch #4 cut rectangle for a triangle patch

Patch #5 cut same size as patch #4

Patch #5 cut same size as patch #4

Patch #5 pressed open

Patch #5 pressed open

Sew Patch #6 check seam allowances

Sew Patch #6 check seam allowances

Seam allowances will be trimmed to 1/4"

Seam allowances will be trimmed to 1/4″

Patch #7 cut rectangle

Patch #7 cut rectangle

Patch #7 pressed open

Patch #7 pressed open

Patch is placed on diagonal

Patch is placed on diagonal

Patch #9 Alternate method

Patch #9 Alternate method

Patch is sewn and seam allowance trimmed

Patch is sewn and seam allowance trimmed

I cut my rectangles 3/4″ larger than the widest part of the triangle I am creating. If unsure of the placement of the rectangle, place straight pins through the corners from the printed side to insure your patch seam allowance. The fabric is pinned for sewing. The ‘positioning’ pins are removed; the piece is turned over and the patch is sewn on the stitching line.

Block ready for last patch

Block ready for last patch

Patch #11

After all the patches have been sewn I trim the block INCLUDING the seam allowance.

Back of foundation for precise trimmimg

Easy removal of papersThe papers are removed once the blocks have been sewn together and secured in the bag row. REMOVE ALL PAPERS BEFORE LINING THE BAG.

This method can be used for any foundation block.Front of finished block

Check back for the final instructions and finishing directions so you can sew your version of our Birthday Bag.