Half square triangle progress and other news

Whew! Here in the southern half of the UK we have, thankfully, come to the end of a heatwave. Daytime temperatures were getting above 30°C and at night only dropping to around 18°C. I know this isn’t much compared to what is experienced in other countries but really we are not used to it and here high temperatures often mean very high humidity and we had that in buckets – even a South African friend living in the UK was finding it uncomfortable and comparing conditions here to those in Durban.

Anyway the weather report above is by way of me explaining a lack of blog posts over the past couple of weeks. There are other reasons too, and I’ve found separating these out from my quilting news into another blog post a more appropriate way to share (I’ll publish that post in due course).

So, back-tracking to last weekend and the Roundabout Quilter’s show… Only our second show in the four years since the group was formed and it really was so well organised, making the most of the venue – ‘well done’ Show Committee 🙂 The bright sun provided lots of light through the windows of All Saints Church – the quilts all glowed as if they themselves were made of stained glass – but the accompanying heat and the clash with Father’s Day deterred some people from venturing out, sadly our visitor numbers on Sunday afternoon were quite low. Here are some photos of the show:

Before the temperatures and humidity rose to 30-stupid I did make a start on quilting the Candy Hearts quilt. I’m pleased with the free motion loopy pattern on the white background, not so enamoured of the larger scale flowers in the heart blocks but I think the overall effect will be fine.

Candy Hearts quilting

Tuesday evening found me leading a Block of the Month workshop at Purple Stitches. We made the most of being able to open out the large doorway and Viv provided plenty of chilled drinks as we worked on a rather fiddly star block from the Chocolatier BOM. ‘Fiddly’ in that the finished block size is just 6″ and the Kona Solids fabrics are a little heavier and more prone to fraying than some other quilting fabrics. This made the inevitable unpicking and readjusting of some seams a bit fraught but we survived! I found using starch spray before piecing helped to minimise distortion and keep fraying to manageable levels.

Chocolatier BOM block 1

Thursday proved to be a particularly sew-cial day. I enjoyed the cool of Brown Candover village hall and the good company of sewing friends. Working on the half square triangle project inspired by the cut-off corners from the Candy Heart blocks, I made 56 additional HSTs and stitched them all together to make 24 blocks. A very satisfying days work. I will make scrappy piano-key borders from the remaining pieces of the layer cake squares and left over Cherry On Top fabrics.

Candy Diamonds on design wall

Candy Diamond HST blocks on my design wall alongside the Chocolatier BOM blocks.

In the evening I took my laptop along to Purple Stitches for the Sewcial Evening. I needed to review the notes for the Beginners Course as the next class is due to begin on 8th July. And while I was there I did a bit of fabric shopping too. These Winter hued fabrics are from the new Dashwood Studio collection, ‘Norrland’ by Bethan Janine. Aren’t the animals with their leaf patterns just perfect? There’s a smattering of gold flecks on some of the fabrics to contrast with the icy colours. I’ll be using these fat quarters to make a new version of the Star table runner (see my 2016 Gallery page) ready for a class in the Autumn.

Norrland fabrics

That’s my quilting news up-to-date 🙂

Linking with Myra for Finished or Not Friday – she’s also sharing a HST project.

We are preparing for a bit of adventure today. Soon we will be catching the train to London, travelling to Wembley Stadium to see ELO in concert 🙂




Posted in Fabrics, Free Motion Quilting, Local Quilt Groups, Quilt Blocks, Quilt Exhibitions, Works In Progress | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Half Square Triangle Inspiration

I know! I know! Here I go again! A quilt in production and I’m diverting off into another project 😉


In my defence: 1. I would be quilting the Candy Hearts quillow but I need to take a trip to my not-so-local quilt shop to buy a reel of thread; 2. The quilt I’m planning is making use of the cut off half square triangles from the heart blocks, so really it’s just an extension of the quilt in progress! *Yeah! Right!*

Candy Heart half square trianglesAlong with the 42 HSTs saved from the construction of the Candy Heart blocks, I have 14 of the layer cake squares ‘left over’, a few strips of fabric and some reasonably large pieces of fabrics from the ‘Cherry on Top’ range that could be used either in the body of a quilt top, for borders or the backing along with a metre or so of the white on white background fabric. Looks like all the ingredients required for a quilt to me ;-)

Left overs from the Candy Hearts quilt

For inspiration I looked up the HST Quilt Projects board on my Pinterest page. Pretty quickly I decided on a pattern and set about recreating it on EQ7.



The pattern is created by rotating blocks and there is only one block design to make, made up of four HSTs. The blocks will be 6″ square when finished. I drew up a 6 x 8 layout with 5½” of border to make a 47″ x 59″ quilt top. This would require 192 half square triangles! Eeek! A quick calculation of the number of HSTs I could construct from the fabric available led me to revise my design to a smaller 4 x 6 layout that maintains the symmetry of the pattern. The completed quilt will measure 35″ x 47″ which is a bit small but better to have a completed quilt than add the fabric to my stash!

On to other news:

Music Star tote bagI do have a finish to share! My foundation paper pieced stars have become a tote bag called ‘Music Star’. It is on display, for sale, in my area of the All Our Own Crafts pop up shop in Basingstoke’s shopping centre, Festival Place.

If you are in the Basingstoke area this weekend please do visit the pop up shop – there are displays of items created by forty crafters – anything from delicate glassware to re-cycled drift wood, silver jewellery, stunning photographs and much more besides.

Also in Basingstoke this weekend: Roundabout Quilters second show 🙂 We have a great venue to display our quilts, All Saints Church, Southern Road. There are three local quilt traders setting up shop in the Church Hall next door alongside the refreshments area where homemade cakes will be on sale 🙂 Outdoor temperatures are set to rise to 30°C this weekend – step inside the Church and enjoy the cool while you browse the quilts, cushions, bags and wall hangings.

Linking with Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday.

Have a great weekend.


Posted in Bags, Computer Software, Fabrics, Foundation Paper Piecing, Local Quilt Groups, Quilt Blocks, Quilt Design, Quilt Exhibitions, Works In Progress | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Quilts and more at the American Museum, Bath UK

On Saturday we drove west to Bath to meet up with our daughter and take a look round the American Museum. On the way we passed the iconic World Heritage Site of Stonehenge. Apologies for the quality of photos taken through the car windscreen but it’s too amazing not to share :-)Stonehenge through the windscreen

Stonehenge June 2017 (2)

Thanks to the wonders of sat-nav we found the Museum without any bother. It is housed in Calverton Manor which was built in the early 1800s. The grounds are very pleasant with dramatic views across a green, wooded valley. There’s a statue of Lincoln in the gardens and a sheltered area reproducing George Washington’s garden in Mount Vernon.

The Museum was opened in 1961 as a place to display American decorative and folk art – the only such collection outside of the USA apparently. Inside the Manor we followed the route through rooms giving a chronological insight into North American history, displaying artifacts, reconstructed rooms along with contemporary pictures and clear, helpful information panels.

The museum houses a collection of quilts 🙂 They are displayed on a giant carousel, each quilt covered in a protective layer of plastic, in a room with no natural light. These conditions, plus the understandable restriction of ‘no flash photography’, mean the following photographs may not be of the best quality but I hope you will enjoy them. I’ve paired up each quilt with it’s information card.

The quilt room American Museum

The quilt ‘carousel’

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Finally a series of three red and white quilts. Check out Melanie’s recent posts about her quilt group’s show which included a red and white quilt category – lovely photos and some great information about the origins of the red and white tradition.

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There were many more quilts, all worthy of mention. I’m linking with Beth for Main Crush Monday ‘cos who wouldn’t crush on these quilts and their makers who got us patchwork quilters to where we are today? 🙂 This week Beth shares a lovely story of the generosity of a quilter.


Posted in Civil War quilts, English Paper Piecing, History, Inspiration, Quilt Exhibitions | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

How many projects?!

I won’t be coy: It’s my birthday today! Family and friends have lovely ways of making this day special for me; phone calls, visits, cards, gifts and days out, along with a lotta love 🙂 And, without intending to be morbid, life expectancy being what it is, knowing I have more birthdays behind me than ahead it would be very silly not to enjoy all the treats and good wishes being sent my way!

I’ve spent a pleasant half hour or so listening to the first disc of The Lord of the Rings soundtrack (thank you, A&T) whilst tidying and rearranging my sewing room. These past few months it has become increasingly important to me to maintain a bit of order in my room. I think this may be due to the rather ridiculous number of projects I have on the go. It really is essential to tidy away  group together the parts of one project after a burst of activity before spreading around the pieces of another project.

My ‘on the go’ projects include:

Easy Curve Runner, quiltedThe curved piece runner – I quilted it earlier this week and have attached the binding. I’m saving the hand stitching for my two hours at the craft shop on Monday. I’m pleased with the quilting, especially the free motion pebbling (read Jessica Skultety’s letter to quilted pebbles here).

I’m developing my foundation paper piecing skills by making a couple of star blocks to feature on a tote bag. I downloaded the free FPP pattern from a Carol Doak website and I’m referring to her Craftsy class – which is one of the very best classes I’ve purchased from Craftsy (it’s half price at the mo).

Foundation Paper Pieced Star

Viv at Purple Stitches is about to launch a block of the month – Chocolatier by gen X quilters – and has me testing the instructions and fabric quantities prior to leading monthly workshops for anyone who wants a bit of hands-on guidance.

Rainbow Chocolatier

Viv has created a rainbow version of the Chocolatier BOM. I made a test block using my own fabrics (bottom right)and then cut out all that’s needed for the first month’s blocks from the fabrics she’s providing (carefully sorted into sandwich bags!).

Candy Hearts quilt label

The ‘Candy Hearts’ label stitched on to the backing before quilting – how organised am I?

I’ve made a quilt sandwich of the Candy Hearts quilt – next steps: buy some white thread for the quilting and make the quillow ‘pocket’. I mentioned in my last post that I’ve decided to make the quilt into a quillow and what-do-you-know one of my birthday books has come up trumps 🙂 A quick flick through Allison Harris’ ‘Growing Up Modern’ and I found beautifully clear instructions for making a quillow (thank you for the book dear MIL).

Growing Up Modern by Allison Harris

The left over fabrics from the Candy Hearts quilt are calling to be made into a quilt top – not decided on the pattern yet…

Brown Candover Church and community hall

Isn’t this a beautiful place? Our monthly sew-in takes place in the hall behind the cricket pavilion/club room at Brown Candover.

During the last sewing day at Brown Candover, I pieced all the blocks for a new design using a Lewis & Irene 10″ Scrumptious Squares pack. Someone saw the blocks laid out and passed a helpful comment or two that sent me into complete self-doubting spin regarding my design. I took her advice and bought some plain fabric in a bright colour to ‘pull it all together’ but now have to tackle re-jigging the design on EQ7 or graph paper…

Tropicana block

I bought this dotty Layer Cake at the Malvern Show and have drafted a pattern on EQ7…

Just a Speck Layer Cake

Quilt sandwichAnd there’s a quilt sandwich lanquishing on the top bunk calling to be quilted and finished (I’ve even made the binding ready for this one!). From here we move onto the UFO pile and I don’t want to go there just now, I think my head would explode!




Tomorrow will be an opportunity to soak up a bit of history and receive more patchwork inspiration as we plan to visit the American Museum at Bath 🙂 It’ll be our first visit there and I’m looking forward to it, especially as we have the opportunity to meet up with DD and SIL. I have another birthday book which I think will tie in well with the quilts on show at the Museum, ‘Civil War Legacies’ by Carol Hopkins (thank you to A&S).

Civil War Legacies by Carol Hopkins

Birthdays when you are a ‘grown up’? ….. Not so bad 😀

Linking with Sarah for Can I get a Whoop Whoop Friday.





Posted in Birthdays, Civil War quilts, Curved Piecing, Fabrics, Foundation Paper Piecing, Free Motion Quilting, On-Line Classes, P&Q Books, Quillow, Tablerunners, Works In Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Candy Heart Quilt

I began this heart block quilt on a bit of a whim after purchasing the ‘Take Heart’ pattern as a pdf file from Mack & Mabel. The pattern has lovely clear instructions, which is just as well as I had to adapt it to use a 10″ layer cake rather than the intended jelly roll. My hearts are constructed from 2″ wide strips rather than 2½” wide strips; my finished block size is 9″ rather than the pattern’s 12″ size.

Candy Heart blocks

The first 16 of the 21 blocks

The brightly coloured layer cake, ‘Cherry on Top’ by Keiki for Moda, lent itself to the Take Heart pattern very well. I used thirty of the squares and some white-on-white fabric from my stash to make twenty one blocks in two colourways. I then stalled for a while – a bit overwhelmed by the bright colours and not sure how to arrange the blocks into a quilt top. The Take Heart pattern illustrated the blocks in straight rows and columns with sashing. Looking at my heart blocks I just couldn’t see this working (maybe because they were smaller and therefore looked ‘busier’?). Inspiration came via a blog post by Allison Harris (cluckclucksew); her ‘All the Hearts’ quilt was laid out in ‘wonky’ rows and columns. I arranged 20 of my heart blocks into four columns of five blocks, alternating the colourways of the blocks. I sewed a two inch sashing strip to the bottom edges of the blocks in columns 1 and 3 and to the top edges of the blocks in columns 2 and 4.

Csny Heart blocks arranged in columns

Beginning to sash the columns of blocks so they will alternate, up and down, across the quilt.

Once I’d joined the blocks in each column together I added strips of sashing fabric between the columns. Finally I added border strips using the white sashing fabric. I was going to add another border but I’m happy with the way the quilt top looks and it’s a good size already – 44″ wide by 56″ long.

Candy Hearts quilt top

Candy Hearts backing fabric

The quilt top and the super cute ‘Cherry on Top’ backing fabric

On my shopping list at the Quilts UK show last Saturday was backing fabric for this quilt. I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I discovered a bolt of one of the Cherry on Top fabrics reduced to half price 🙂 RESULT 🙂 I bought 3m and aim to make a pieced backing – I might use some or all of the remaining 10″ squares from the layer cake and I have some other pieces of fabric from the collection to play around with too.

I looked all round the stalls at the show for Quilters Dream poly batting but didn’t find any so I’ve ordered a pack that should arrive any day. It’s my favourite poly batting and I’d like to use it for this quilt as it will hopefully be well loved by a child and might need to be washed frequently ;-); and it’s bright white colouring will not dull the white fabrics on the front and back of the quilt.

One day later…

Of course delays in projects can result in alterations to the plan… I’ve been itching to have a try at making a quillow for some time; as I have plenty of fabric leftover from this project it would seem now is my chance! I spent some time looking for a written or filmed tutorial on line, this one by Michele Bilyeu with the cushion pocket sewn to the back of the quilt fits with what I have in mind and this one by Alicia answers lots of my questions re. measurements and attaching the pocket with the binding :-). I’d be very grateful for any tips you would care to share with regards to constructing a quillow. Thank you!

Linking with Myra for Finished or Not Friday.


Posted in Colour, Fabrics, Inspiration, Modern quilts, Quillow, Works In Progress | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments