BOM 2019: APRIL

Wow, it’s already the fourth month of my BOM and I’m really hoping that everyone who’s still sewing with me is having fun.

I’ve found last month rather difficult as I couldn’t sew or type as I was suffering from tendonitis. Everything’s more or less alright now, although I still have to be a little careful and take enough breaks. I just about managed to finish my March tile in March, finishing it on the 31st.

I love my last block which I did with Kona Honeysuckle, one of my favourite Kona colours. I’m already looking forward to this month’s colour which is Kona Banana, another firm favourite. I think the four blocks look quite good together, although I’m not sure if I’m going to keep the emerald block the way it is. I feel that the colour is too solid. However, I won’t do anything about it until I have a few more blocks and can judge it properly.

So without much ado, here are the templates for April’s block.

And here is the PDF for the entire tile, so you can do some planning.

Happy sewing!

By the way, I’m preparing a blog post about layouts. I’m using a very simple 3 x 4 layout as I’ve always said that I want to use the quilt-as-you-go method. I haven’t started quilting yet as I wasn’t sure about the background fabric. There are so many different possible layouts, though, that I thought it might be fun to show them here on the blog.

As for the background fabric I have now narrowed it down to two, one white with grey polka dots and one grey and white striped one. The second I’m sure which one to choose I’ll start working on appliquéing the tiles and quilting the first few blocks.

BOM 2019:March

This is what the next tile looks like:

And here are the templates for it:

Here you can download a pdf of the entire tile so you can colour it in and play with your fabric placement.

I hope you’re enjoying this Block of the Month as much as I am. Keep sewing!

BOM 2019: February

Hello! I finished my January blocks way too quickly and have been longing to continue with February’s tile. I did go for the black, grey and white with a pop of colour and I’m loving it so far. This is totally not what I would normally go for and it’s so nice to challenge myself in this way.

Here are the templates for February’s tile:

You only need one of the center squares from template 3a so you can discard the other three.

And here is the picture of the entire tile so you can colour it in and play with your fabric placement:

I hope you’re enjoying this Block of the Month as much as I am. Happy stitching!

Tips and Tricks

I love EPP and have over the years found lots of little tips and tricks that have helped me get more enjoyment out of sewing and I thought this is the perfect opportunity to pass some of them on.

RESIZING: It’s fairly simple to resize your templates if you feel that they are too big for your project. The tiles of my Block of the Month are 18.5″ from tip to tip because I wanted twelve large blocks for a large quilt. If I wanted them at 14.5″, for example, all I need to do is divide 100 by 18.5 and multiply the result by 14.5. This will give me the number, in this case 78,5, which I need to enter into my printer to scale the design down.

So if I wanted to scale the templates down to 12.5″ I would need to do the following: 100 : 18.5 x 12.5 = 67.5. For some reason my printer didn’t like the 67.5 and changed it to 68.

You could of course also scale the design up to 24.5″ by doing the same: 100 : 18.5 x 24.5 = 132.5. When you want to make your templates larger be aware that they may not fit on your A4 sheet anymore and you might have to glue them together.

PAPERS: I prefer to use paper that isn’t too thick; 80g/m3 is my go-to weight. Now, I like to thread baste my shapes going through the paper with the needle and therefore don’t like to have paper that is too thick.The thinner paper also makes it easier to fold shapes so as to slot them into the right place.

However, if I were glue basting I would use a heavier paper 100g/m3 or even 120g/m3 to be able to get the fabric off the paper more easily. For easy paper removal you can also punch a hole in the middle of your template.

TEMPLATES: As I often have various shapes in my designs where it’s not clear which way they need to be sewn, I like to mark my templates. You can do this before you cut the templates apart and it makes it easy to then sew the pieces together. Just make sure your marks are a little longer than your seam allowance.

THREAD: To baste I just use any old thread I have lying around, usually some colour I can’t see myself ever using again. To sew my shapes together I always use Aurifil 50wt. I find that it melts into the fabric and can hardly be seen once you’re finished.

Aurifil now also has a 80wt thread which I love for appliqué but find too thin for EPP. I’m quite a brutal thread tugger and have found that I get a lot of thread breaks when I’m using the finer thread. Having said that, I have friends who swear by Aurifil 80wt for EPP so I think the most important is to find the thread you are most comfortable with.

I like to use thread in different colours as this also helps the stitches to disappear. If you haven’t got the right shade of thread but have one that is lighter and one that is darker, always go with the darker one as that one will blend in better. If you haven’t got a specific colour, use grey thread as that will blend in with most colours.

If you’re using multiple colours to sew together two or three shapes, thread as many needles as you have colours. It’ll save thread and make your life a lot easier as you can simply switch needles rather than having to re-thread all the time.

NEEDLES: I use the Clover black and gold needles, a size 9 for thread basting and a size 11 or 12 for sewing the shapes together. They are very sharp and as I have problems with my thumbs due to hypermobility I need all the help I can get to make sewing as gentle as possible on my hands.

I’ve also heard that some quilters love Tulip needles but I haven’t tried them and can therefore not comment on them. Like with the thread I think the most important thing is to find a needle you’re happy and comfortable with.

THREAD BASTING: To make it easier for me to take the threads out once I’m finished I like to have the knot on the right side and finish off the basting with a backstitch that leaves the tail on the right side. When basting the same shapes I also try to start in the same place every time.

Once you start pulling out your threads it’s easy to find the knot, pull out the backstitch and continue pulling on the threads or when it’s a fairly small shape just pull on the knot to get rid of the thread. I use a pointy implement to pull out the basting stitches, either a crochet hook, knitting needle. a Purple Thang or one of my whittled sticks.

STITCHES: I like to use a whip stitch to sew together my shapes. I don’t mind if stitches can be seen on the front.

However, if you prefer not to see any stitches you can use a ladder stitch or lay your shapes next to each other on a flat surface and whip stitch them together like that.

I always start sewing by doing two back stitches in the seam allowance, then a quilter’s knot and finish sewing by making another quilter’s knot and two back stitches in the seam allowance. I also make a quilter’s knot every time I go around the corner. This may be complete overkill but I have never had a piece come undone and my cushions are used daily and washed a lot.

SEWING: I usually start sewing from the point to make sure my points stay pointy. I also like to sort smaller shapes into bigger ones that are easy to sew together.

If you find yourself with two shapes that don’t fit together perfectly, i.e. one edge is slightly longer than the other, make sure the shorter one faces you, then gently curve both edges around your thumb as you sew. As the longer edge has to fit around your thumb and the shorter one, they should start fitting together nicely.

FUSSY CUTTING: I usually use template plastic to fussy cut. I copy the shapes onto it, then add the quarter inch seam allowance. I then place it on the fabric and draw on the template with a pencil if I want to re-use the template or with a marker if I don’t.

If I can’t find my template plastic I use some card or a cereal box. I copy the shape onto the card, add the seam allowance then cut out the shape so I only have the seam allowance left. I then draw on the seam allowance.

These are the materials I like to use and a few tricks I’ve picked up along the way. If you have any questions or can think of more tips and tricks (I’m sure there are lots more), please let me know in the comments or by sending me an email. Thank you very much!

BOM 2019: January

Hello! I’m really excited to start the Block of the Month 2019 with templates for not one but two tiles. My thinking behind this is that first of all people are usually most enthusiastic about a project at the beginning of it and secondly you then have the whole of December to finish off the quilt.

First up are these two tiles:

To download the templates for the first two blocks click on the links below.

Template 1a, Template 1b

Template 2aTemplate 2bTemplate 2c

You need to print out each template four times. However, for tile 2 you can then discard three of the centre pieces as you only need one. When you’re printing, make sure your printer is set to 100% rather than ‘fit to page’ or any other setting as the tiles otherwise may end up different sizes.

If you’d like to print out the whole tile so you can colour it in and try different options you can click on the links below.

Tile 1

Tile 2

I’ve printed out my templates and can’t wait to start. I’m still dithering about fabrics and colours, though, which makes it rather difficult. I love scrappy, colourful quilts and I’ve already done a few so I’m wondering if this time I should go for a more uniform look. One of my ideas is to go for a black, white and grey theme, maybe with some colour thrown in for the background.

If you’re joining in and are on social media, could you please add the hashtag #sharksdinnerbom2019 to your pictures? It’ll make it easier for me to find your pictures and enjoy your progress. Thank you!

If you need any tips and tricks for EPP, check out my next blog post. The templates for the next tile will be uploaded on February 1st 2019. Get sewing!

Magical Diamonds

I like having an EPP (English Paper Piecing) project on the go at all times and I am constantly designing new ones in TouchDraw on my iPad. This summer I went off to Norway and decided to start ‘The Big One’, a quilt for me which Little Miss Bossy-Boots has named ‘Magical Diamonds’. It’s going to fit my queen size bed and I’m using some of my all time favourite fabrics, Denyse Schmydt’s Florence and Oakshott shot cottons in blues and greens.

Magical Diamonds

I wasn’t sure at first how to place the fabrics but then decided to use the Oakshotts as a sort of frame for the prints. I was so excited about this project that I started before travelling and ended up with two very quickly. Each segment is 10″ x 14″, so they’re quite big.

Once I arrived in our cabin in Norway I set up my little work station outside. I was blessed with the most wonderful weather.

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I continued sewing a little every day if I wasn’t reading or cycling to the shops or the beach.

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This is what they are going to look like: 48 of those segments sewn together like this. I’m still thinking about colour placement but as I have a few more – 41 to be exact- to do, I have some time to think about it.

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This, by the way, was my view while sewing. I have to admit that I was distracted every now and again. Especially when big boats were passing.

It was a most wonderful and relaxing holiday. I managed to sew five segments which was less than I had hoped for but I also read four books and cycled quite a few kilometres. Bliss!

 

Dancing Squares

English Paper Piecing (EPP) is my biggest love although I love sitting at my sewing machine too. Dancing Squares is a really easy pattern which I came up with because I wanted something simple that I could sew while watching tv as there are only two shapes.

I started off with the low volume octagons before filling in the squares. I thought I would use my Oakshott Rubies for the squares but as I was stitching I thought it would be fun with a rainbow of colours too. In the end I wasn’t sure which to use and asked people’s opinion on Instagram. Funnily enough the rainbow and the rubies got exactly the same amount of votes so I went for my first choice, the Oakshott Rubies.

Dancing Squares

I decided to only use the red and pink Oakshotts. In the end this little piece ended up at about 13″ x 13″ and I’m not sure what to do with it. Cushion cover? Mini quilt? Continue and turn it into a lap quilt? That could take a while.

Dancing Squares

For now, I’ll just gaze at it adoringly from time to time.

Would you like to make your own Dancing Squares mini/cushion?  Click on this link for the pdf in three different sizes:

Dancing Squares Original

Dancing Squares Bigger

Dancing Squares Biggest

Shingles

I can now attest to the fact that shingles are painful. It’s not something that was ever on my list of must-haves and I have to admit that I’m pretty tired of them now. Luckily I went to the doctor quite early so I’m hoping that the tablets he gave me ensure that the pain will subside soon. Furthermore, I was lucky that Little Miss Bossy-Boots was going to see her daddy for ten days. This meant that I could sit on the sofa all day with my Spring Carnival EPP, Charlie and The Gilmore Girls.

Lazing Around

Charlie loved the fact that I was there to talk to him and stroke him all day long and I got quite far with my sewing.Spring Carnival and CharlieEvery time I laid it on the floor he had to go and sit on it. I already knew that I didn’t have enough of the stripy ticking that I used for the hexagons and triangles to turn this into a large quilt. I sewed all the circles into rows but realised that if I squared it up I would lose a lot of the top and bottom circles. So I changed my plan and got the seam ripper out, took off a couple of the circles at the top and bottom, added them in different places and ended up with a giant oblong hexagon.

HexagonThe plan is to appliqué this onto a white background and then add some borders made up of 2.5″ or 3″ squares. I’m making them slightly bigger than the ones in the EPP panel as when I printed out more papers to finish it I realised that the original ones I used were all 1/8″ smaller than they should have been and I really don’t feel like cutting a million 2 3/8″ squares. I’m sure it wouldn’t take me long to get them wrong.

I know for sure that Charlie will love this quilt whatever the size of squares. Not that it’s for him. No, this one is for me, at least until Little Miss Bossy-Boots comes along and claims it as she has done with all the quilts I’ve made lately.

Charlie

Jewel Ta Dah!

That’s right, Jewel is finished. Maybe I should’ve changed the name as it doesn’t really look like a jewel but, hey ho, I can’t think of anything else.

JewelI love the hand quilting and will definitely do more of it. I also love the red binding. Little Miss Bossy-Boots was crying when I told her that she couldn’t keep this mini.

This mini quilt is off to its new home in America. Bye, bye, little quilt!

 

Jewel

When I designed this EPP pattern I named it ‘Jewel’ because I thought it looked like a square cut precious stone (very original, I know…).

Jewel

However, once I started sewing I really liked the way it looked without the corners and, thus, it now looks completely different.

Jewel You may also have noticed that I changed the way I used the colours. I often start with a plan and then deviate from it. It does mean the piece looks very different to what I had originally planned. I like both versions and may still go back to the rainbow version one day.

Jewel being hand quiltedThis is the first time I’ve hand quilted any of my EPP minis and I really like the look of it. I think there may be a few more in my future. I’m hoping to have this finished tomorrow as I need a few more colours of thread for the quilting. It’ll get its proper ‘ta dah’ moment then.