Friday 8 May 2020

Big Kiss Quilt tutorial

Welcome dear friends to
the Big Kiss quilt sew along.
My gift to you to keep you present.
This 50 inch quilt is made of 4 IDENTICAL blocks.
This is a tutorial for one block.
Sewing the quilt has now been added below.
The block is basically a 25 inch giant string pattern,
there will be waste fabric,
I do hope you think its worth it.

You can find my secret tip for choosing fabrics on my Instagram Big Kiss highlight.
(you dont need to join instagram to view)
You will need 12 fabrics, all different or alternating.
High contrast fabrics work well as do a mix of solids and patterns
Vintage fabrics, old bedding and unloved yardage can all be useful.
Don't be afraid to stitch fabrics together if you find you dont have enough.
You will need a quilters ruler with a 45 degree line
or the ability to make a square paper template with a 45 degree drawn line.
All measurements are in inches.

All the strips are 3.5 inches wide
with 1/4 inch seam allowance included.
The finished width once sewn will be 3 inches.
The above picture gives you the starting measurements in inches.  
You'll notice they come in pairs.
I like to cut strips in pairs.
Cut the fabric with the grain, cutting on the bias should be avoided.
*I highly recommend cutting one block at a time,
in case you want to tweak anything after sewing your first block.
Fold your strips in half and iron or mark with a water soluble pen

This gives you a temporary guide line for sewing your strips together accurately.
You might like to label your strips at this point or take a photograph for you to reference.

Starting with the two longest strips
pin wrongsides together at the fold/halfway point

You might want to pin the whole strip
depending on your machining skills.

Referring to your photograph or labels
continue pinning at the fold and sewing in the order with strips decreasing in size.
Sew with the usual 1/4 seam.
I always stitch with a 1/4 inch foot.
Do not iron until you've sewn the entire block,
otherwise you will lose your fold markers.
See how the fold lines all match.
Now you can iron your seams.
I pressed my seams open because my machine prefers less bulk.
I'm actually recommending you do that now
as its easier makes sewing the blocks together.

Cutting the block
(Full cutting the block tutorial video is now available
on my Instagram highlight circle
called Block cutting.)
The most important and satisfying part is cutting the block into a square.
The diagonal size of this block is approximately 36 inches
(see above)
You should mark either end before you cut.
I have been overly generous
with the strip lengths,
you could stretch your diagonal to 37"
you will waste less fabric and make a slightly bigger quilt.

Check that your cutting lines will make a square and that there is full coverage either side
and top and bottom of the block.
Do this with the opposite corner too.
Please don't cut until you understand!
This is where the 45 degree ruler is needed.
Line up your ruler with the mark you made before on the diagonal.
Always start with this part of the block.
If you are scared of cutting or are unsure you could mark with a water soluble pen, or pencil.
Line up the 45 degree line on the centre of your block and cut.
Continue lining up the 45 degree line as you cut your way along.

With the first side cut spin your ruler round to cut the next side,
once again lining up the 45 degree line.

Making sure that your cut side is always square with the ruler markings.

Ta dah!
Hopefully you have a beautiful big block that measures 25.5inches.
(or larger)
*Please note that it does not matter if your square isnt exactly 25.5
its only important that its square.
If you had trouble with the cutting you can always resquare your block with your ruler.
I have made this block with quite a generous fabric allowance,
you may find after sewing your first block that you could slightly reduce the lengths of your strips for less waste,
but that is entirely up to you.
All thats left for you to do is make 3 more exactly the same.
Now that you have the idea, you could easily enlarge or reduce this pattern.

I'm really looking forward to seeing your makes
and sewing our blocks together to make the quilt.
Please save all your kisses for me  #bigkissquiltsal

I have now added a full video tutorial on how to cut the block,
find it in my Instagram highlight circle labelled Block Cutting.

Stitching the blocks together

Now that you have four blocks
its time to make a quilt top!

Begin by pinning two blocks together
Place a pin at every seam taking care to match them both sides.
You may find they don't perfectly line up,
you should be able to wriggle the two so they do.

Simply sew together with a 1/4 inch seam
and press open.

Make sure you sew the right two matching sides
Its so east to pick up the blocks and sew the wrong ends together!

When joining the two halves together,
start pinning from the middle and work your way out.
I put a pin through both points to make sure I didnt sew over them.
Sew the halves together and press the final seam.

After pressing you may find your blocks have slight discrepencies
like I have here.

Dont worry!
Line your ruler up with the correct edge and cut off the extra fabric.
DO NOT get carried away with trimming
because if you cut too much you might lose your square
and have to resquare the whole quilt

Another small example.

Hopefully by now you have a finished quilt top
so sit back and admire your work.

Another variation using the same blocks is the Hug quilt
Or I quite like This way up

Thankyou for joining me on this journey
Blowing you lots of kisses.
Please remember to tag your quilts

Thursday 20 February 2020

to see or not to see your stitches

This one of six has been a lesson on finding the right thread.
Whether you're happy to show a few stitches
 or want them completely hidden is a personal preference.
Generally I use an offwhite or a pale grey thread,
which are usually okay if I'm piecing patterned fabrics.
I have used darker threads in the past when I'm stitching dark fabrics.
And so we have the dilemma of stitching dark and light together.
I am a pretty lazy stitcher, in that I like a long continuous thread with few knots.
 However I'm not keen on the white showing through the green.
I tried a medium blue but wasnt keen on the stitches showing on the paler fabrics.
 So I've taken the decision to sew quality stitches,
afterall I am in no rush,
so mindful stitches it is.
Apologies for the colour of my photographs
the green I have used is really green in real life.
Check out my Instagram page for true colour pictures

Tuesday 11 February 2020

lets start at the very beginning

 Last summer I went to the Festival of Quilts 
and met my friend Rachel.
Yep I met Rachel from Stitched in Color
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever actually meet
the lovely Rachel who I've known online for years.
Minutes after our meet
we were sat next to each other oohing over the antique quilts 
being shown by Christopher Tate from the
I partitculary loved the intricacies of the tiny hexagon quilts.
And so the seed was sown.
As you know I like to make my own templates,
 finding precut papers in tiny sizes from 
was a shortcut I was willing to take.
An idea began to form in my head,
the easy option would be to go for the 'pretty' route,
but you know thats not really me.
I began to struggle with the idea I had,
I knew what I wanted the quilt to look like, 
I just needed solid inspiration.
And so I have finally vowed to make a Charleston Farmhouse quilt
and stick faithfully to their colours and ethos.
Charleston Farmhouse is the beautifully hand decorated
home of Vanessa Bell and friends of 
The Bloomsbury Set.
The descriptive I'm working towards is 
a quilt that Vanessa Bell might have bought from
 I have chosen to sew purely with Kona cotton solids
(purchased from WoolWarehouse UK)
I feel this quilt will be busy enough without added patterns.

Colours for reference
Starting at the top left.
spice, wasabi, ballerina, kiwi, stone,
curry, parakeet, pepper, silver, holly,
creamsicle, cerise, pickle, candy green,
mango, mahogany, buttercup, gumdrop,
bluegrass, biscuit, maize, glacier.

There have been and will continue to be many decisions
regarding the design and colour.
I hope you will follow along with 
the rollercoaster ride I feel this quilt will take us on!
Calling this quilt 'The Vanessa' quilt for now.

Monday 3 February 2020

a new hope

I have missed this little space of mine.
I have been lost in the world of fast-o-gram
for too long!
I am still english paper piecing
and currently working on a 
half inch hexagon quilt.
This will be my quilt diary.
 I shall be sharing more details and decisions
but for now I just want to get this first post published
and get on with stitching!

Monday 27 November 2017

Christmas stocking embroidered label tutorial

When Mary aka Sunnydaysupply asked me to design a stocking 
that could be personalised,
this was my idea.
My Sleigh bells ring candy cane stocking 
is just my example.
You could embroider a name or a place,
whatever you fancy!
This is an embroidery tutorial,
not a stocking tutorial.
Pop over to Sunnydaysupply for a super easy stocking tutorial,
it will change the way you make stockings forever!
 Okay so to begin with I drew the diagonal lines as a guide,
and then used picmonkey on my phone,
as I did with my felt stars tutorial.
I lightly trace the words.
 As you can see I had a few issues with those 'gs' going over the lines.
I will adjust as I go.
I have already drawn diagonal lines on my stocking template
 (for a printout see sunnyday stocking tutorial)
I find writing the wording onto the paper stocking
a good idea for perfect placement.
I used a window to trace the words.

 Call me mad, but I did indeed English paper pieced
my stripes!
I find its less wasteful and for me quicker than messing around on my sewing machine.
I imagine in the future I will machine the stripe.
 Tip* its helpful to number your strips before you cut them up.
 Once you've assembled your stocking,
you will need to transfer the wording onto the fabric.
This is where that perfect placement on the paper template really helps.

 As with all my labels I use a water soluble fabric marker.

 Remove the paper templates,
and stitch away!
I have used a perle cotton 8 thread,
 stranded embroidery thread works well too.
The main idea here is to keep your stitches small,
especially round the curves.
They don't have to be perfect,
but if you find you've gone a little wonky
 Once all the stitching is complete,
dab the letters with water to remove the soluble pen.
Give a light press, making sure the lighter seams lay
on the darker side.
Now you are ready to make your stocking!
Hop on over to Sunnydaysupply
click on the link to their blog
where you will find their easy stocking tutorial
 along with lots of inspirational ideas.
I have hand quilted my stocking and added pom poms.
You can do whatever you fancy!
How about a couple of felt stars?
As an alternative to embroidery why not make felt letters
as seen in my previous tutorial
If you're on Instagram remember to share
with #sunnystockingsal
we love to see your ideas!