Blockdown Quilt – Part 2

April 19, 2021

I hope you all had fun with last weeks block. I know I did. My three (yes of course I am doing the biggest size) are done, and not at all what I thought I was going to do. Well perhaps it is more accurate to say I had forgotten to think very much about what I was doing and my choice of blocks last week made some decisions for me. I decided I wanted to do dutchmans puzzle, but as a 12″ block that means some pretty large pieces of fabric. That put me off using either solids or fabrics that read as solid I wanted something more interesting. I think I may also have still had my head in the quilt I had been working on the week before in my holiday retreat (yup I should blog that). So it seems my blockdown quilt will involve fussy cutting. I think as there aren’t too many blocks each week that shouldn’t be an issue and I have a stack of fabrics I can use for this, they were just sitting in my stash maturing good to get them some exercise. The block that caused this decision came out like this,

dutchmans_puzzle_1_small

It is not the traditional colouring, but I felt the fabrics looked more interesting in pairs like this so I went with it. I have a feeling this may have some other name but I will claim my intention was dutchman’s puzzle so it counts. My second block is star puzzle. This isn’t I block I had heard of before this week, which was rather the point of the exercise, and I do really like it. I found a lot of different ways to colour it and chose this one because to me it felt rather like the star was glowing , making the black background grey. Look closely at the center, it is alternating colours of the same fabric.

star_puzzle_1_small

I was very pleased with how the center worked. I was hoping to give the illusion of a single design from the fabric and that has mostly worked out, despite me being a little slapdash on picking where to cut. My final block for part 1 is the yankee puzzle. This one caused me some concern on the fabric placement, but actually turned out to be very simple, I just had to wrap my head around how stripes work on triangles. It did give me much more confidence for future blocks with these fabrics.

yankee_puzzle_1

When we had our discussion group last Tuesday we found a huge number of blocks, I have notes on about 30. I sort of regretted having already picked my three. On the other hand it did stop me procrastinating, which was really useful. So I will be doing the same this week, to keep this as quick and simple as I can. It does mean I miss out on some great blocks but I am also building my own notebook of things I would like to revisit. So in the future I can go back to some of these. Even within this quilt there is scope for some of the blocks I missed first time around within other weeks.  I am expecting to do less fussy cutting on smaller blocks too, not just so they will be simpler and quicker but also because I don’t think the fussy cutting will be as worthwhile on smaller pieces.

I guess it is time to tell you what we will be making this week, 6″ blocks on the theme 9 patch.

  • For the small quilt you will need 1 block and it will be position red 1
  • For the small quilt you will need 2 blocks and they will be positions red 1 and 29
  • For the small quilt you will need 3 blocks and they will be positions red 1, 29 and 40

Remember that any block made of a 3×3 grid is essentially a 9 patch. Many books will list blocks by their underlying grid which might be helpful for this one. Equally draw yourself some grids and have a play, maybe you can come up with a new block.

If you are playing along and are happy to share your blocks, I would love to put up some photos each week to show the variety of blocks and colours that are possible. Email me photogrpahs of your blocks and I will try to get up a collection each week. It would be great if you could include the block name (if known) and let me know how you want me to credit the photo.

Blockdown Quilt – Part 1

April 12, 2021

Exciting day today, we start a new project. Having had a lot of fun with the Covid quilts last year I have designed a similar concept for this year. The big difference is this year we are only making one quilt. We can also pick the size at the beginning. Every week we will be working on a block or blocks with a theme. For those who are subscribed to me classes there will be is a layout and each week will say where the weeks blocks fit in that. There is no need to use my layout, you can just play along here and make your own layout with however many blocks you make. There will be 46 parts giving block details. For those in classes we will then have assembly sessions. I am hoping there will be a bit less work needed most weeks so those of us with day jobs will have a better chance of keeping up. I strongly suggest that you have a dedicated notebook for this quilt so each week you can add the block designs you want to make, then if you do have a busy week and can’t do the sewing you are still prepared when you do have time to play. There is still time to join the classes, we have a meeting (google meet) on Tuesday afternoons to discuss then design options and to resolve any other issues people may have. You will also get a copy of the layout (they will be sent tomorrow morning for those already enrolled). The price for the year is £50 if you are interested please  comment below or email me.

The quilt has three sizes, small 60″x 60″, medium 90″x 90″ and large 90″x 108″. Each week there will be a number of blocks for each size, along with the finished block size and location.  There will also be a theme to base the blocks on. Many I have chosen to fit in with traditional block names, but as with last year all technicalities count. If you feel your block fits then that is fine. Some weeks I will suggest a theme or your alternate. This will be for weeks when I know a technique may be tricky for some people. For example I will struggle with any that need hand work, so my alternate will probably be stars. I suggest you pick a type of block you love and use that if you find a week you cannot do. At the same time, do try to challenge yourself and have a go at new things, you never know you may find a new passion.

This week we will be making 12″ blocks on the theme puzzle.

  • For the small quilt you need 1 and it will be position green 1.
  • For the medium quilt you need 2 and they will be positions green 1 and 10.
  • For the large quilt you need 3 and they will be positions green 1,  10 and 16.

Any block that fits the idea puzzle will be ideal, maybe try searching online for blocks with the word puzzle in and see what you can find. Maybe you can work out a puzzling block of your own.

Time off is time to get things done

March 29, 2021

As some of the next couple of weeks is nominally holiday I have been busy this weekend. I am trying to clear some old projects. When I say old, I think they were all started over 15 years ago. For my class project I have a dug out a star quilt. I think it was supposed to be 12 blocks although I can only identify 11 at them moment. They are big blocks and the cutting is not as good as I can manage now, but it would be nice to have it done if not perfect. This weekend I dug out 2 projects, one is a mystery quilt in purples which is looking good, and a kit from fabrics I clearly won. To say they aren’t my colours would be an understatement. However it is currently taking up space, and it could be a reasonable dog quilt. The plan is to work on it in small doses as it really isn’t much fun. I have 3 of the 6 blocks done. The other 3 are cut (badly) and ready to sew. They are about 15″ blocks when done so with a little sashing and a border (do I have any fabrics this sludgy) I will have enough to be a floor quilt for the animals. I also hope these tops might become test pieces at some point in the not too distant future for another longarm, but that depends on the government.

This week I want to get some customer quilting done and also keep moving the purple quilt along. I think it needs about 15 hours work to get the top together and it is pretty easy work at that. If i intersperse it with the longarming it should be done in no time more or less.

 

Monday Myster Solo Robin

March 22, 2021

Unless someone tells me otherwise, this is the last week of this quilt series. It feels an appropriate time to end as tomorrow is the anniversary of the first lockdown in the UK which started this. I thought I would post something for quilters to think about every week while in lockdown. When the lockdown did eventually end (it did take longer than I expected) I was pretty sure we weren’t in the clear and felt I should carry on, besides we were having fun. Here we are a year later, I have just had my first dose of the vaccine, and we have run through all the cards bar one. We are still in a lockdown, Europe is in the midst of a third wave, so I feel we still need a healthy distraction. Who knows this may become a long term legacy, a weekly quilt challenge. I feel we are due some healthy long term outcomes. Next week I will be taking the week off.  Then there will be a special design class for those who joined me in this challenge. On the 12th April we will start the next challenge. It will be one quilt that we work on block by block during the year.  It could be thought of as a modern style sampler with an irregular layout, but depending on fabric choices and the designs of the blocks you may end up with a quite traditional effect. for a one off payment of £50 you can have my layout chart and join the Tuesday discussion groups, alternatively you can follow along for free again and design your own layout for the quilt. Really my goal is the same, I want people to have something creative to think about and a reason to keep crafting. This quilt has taken a lot more work to put together but I an really pleased with how it has worked out. Unlike this last quilt I am planning for it to have scope for me to take a week off here ant there. I have split the quilt into 46 parts rather than 52. For those working with my design we will have at least one session on assembly at the end of the year. If we are able I would also like to have a discussion on quilting the quilt at the end of the year, though that will depend a lot on how people get on with the project and of course other circumstances. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments or drop me an email.

Back to this week, what is our last design challenge,

Pieced Squares

I can hear the sighs already. I hope people will consider what that actually says and play accordingly. Yes, vague yet unhelpful, what can I say I am feeling playful. How much bigger will this last quilt be getting then,

Add a total of 12″ to two opposite sides of your quilt.

Hmm, well that is more than I was expecting. Honestly I had a great plan for 3″ ho hum. I suppose this is probably more proportional though. That gives us a nice space for pieced squares. Have fun, and I hope you have enjoyed this last year and will join me again for the next project.

 

Monday Mystery Solo Robin

March 15, 2021

Another Monday another step closer to finishing these quilts (maybe). This is the penultimate step of this one but don’t worry, there is a new plan. I have been working on the project for the next year and I have to say I am getting very excited. It will be block based rather than borders and will start mid April. I am taking a week or 2 off in between projects. There will be an actual layout design next year,  and I will still have the design sessions. The design posts like this one will still be free, but if you wish to join the design classes on a Tuesday there will be a fee next year. The fee will also cover the layout for three sizes of quilt. There will be less sewing next year but just as might thinking and designing. I would recommend some way to organize your design and cutting notes, so if you come up with a plan but don’t get it made in the right week you will be all set to make it when you can.

I guess we should get on with this week, the design technique is

Circles

I had to go back and check, I have done a lot of circles on the quilts, but apparently that was my choice not the quilts. Now it HAS to be circles. I wonder if I can come up with another way to do them. How many of these circles do I need,

Add 6″ to one side of your quilt.

That is quite nice enough space to play but not too much. Hopefully a way to start babancing things out on my oddity.

 

Monday Mystery Solo Robin

March 8, 2021

Yay, after a power outage last night I was worried the computer would be problematic. Turned it on and it came straight up so that’s a win. Something in the house seems to throw our trip switch sometimes which is a very annoying fault. Unlikely even a very good electrician is going to catch it unless it becomes a lot more regular. So for now we live with it and hope the computers behave. Don’t worry it won’t upset the longarm, I have that on a UPS. Yes that does say a lot about my priorities :) The computer will probably cope but I do not want the longarm stopping suddenly while I am working, that could be a disaster.

Last week we found a lot more options that I ever imagined for house and home. I can’t wait to see where this weeks takes us. For me this is still more important than the actual making. Having a design problem to ponder is great for keeping my brain busy and the discussion sessions always take me routes I don’t expect. So this week we will be considering,

Letters and text

Oooh another fun one. It reminds me of one of the things that came up in Celtic week, Ogham. Oh or the squares week when I suggested morse code. Oh yes this can be a lot of fun. Wonder how brave people will be with this. Let’s see how much space we are filling.

Add 8″ to two opposite sides of your quilt.

Um, well that is a bit more than I expected but I guess that really does open up the options. I was hoping for maybe 4″ on one side. I guess it doesn’t all have to be text, or maybe it is time to fit a whole story onto a quilt.

 

Monday Mystery Solo Robin

March 1, 2021

I am loving this early spring, I am worried what it will do for my harvest this year but the bright cool days are wonderful. We have managed to do some work in the garden including putting down grass stabilising mats in the swampy bits and planting the rest of the hedgerow for this year. My top excitement this week though was putting washing out on the line to dry. That is not something I expect to be able to be able to do that early in the year.  OK maybe not exciting to most people, but it was to me, it feels somehow illicit being able to dry things for free at the wrong time of the year.

We are now getting very close to running out of techniques, it makes the cards MUCH harder to pick they stick together now. I have managed to extract one, no help from the supervisor feline. This week we will be working on,

House and Home

This is one I would have liked much earlier in the quilt. I really fancied a line or maybe even a ring of houses. At this point I think one border would be enough. I just love all the quilts with rings (squares) of houses. Let us see what the cards think about how many borders we need.

Add a total of 6″ to two opposite sides of your quilt

Hmmm, OK better than all around but quite tight for some of the ideas I have. I have never made the traditional house blocks and I am not sure that is enough space to now. I guess I can look into it.

Monday mystery solo robin

February 22, 2021

So, you may notice this isn’t Monday morning. Today started with the other half telling me his computer was dead and he needed to use mine for his calls, not what I had planned but fair enough. 10 minutes later he comes back to ask if there is a knack to turning my machine on…Now the proud owners of 2 dead computers. We are working on it but this was delayed and is now happening on the tablet. At least I have that option. Today’s design prompt is,

Celtic

Ooooh, I have been looking forward to this and just been playing Irish themed special events in games, perfect timing. I just hope we don’t get another 2″, I know that is possible but I would like more space to play. Our border size is,

 

Add 6″ to one side of your quilt

 

That will do, being greedy I would have liked more but that is far from bad. So folks over to you, what can we do with this one, and in my case in shades of blue.

Monday Mystery Solo Robin

February 15, 2021

Having completed the massive spam clean up again. Seriously does spamming blogs really work? No vaccines cant be replace by plump fruit such as cherries and cranberries nor can a dog be replaced by maple syrup or honey. I admit those 2 did amuse me at least. The spammers also seem sure we all sign ourselves with three names every time. That is not only wrong but particularly funny when it is my blog :)

Having done that tidying up I think we should have some quilting. We are getting very close to a years worth now and I am busy with the plan for next year. Next year will be a slightly different format and you will start with some ideas how big your quilt will be and what shape it will be. I say some idea as I will leave it flexible enough for you to change your mind mid year. There will be access to the Tuesday sessions and some design sheets. If you are interested in signing up please do comment below, but don’t suggest I substitute honey for a dog :)

This week our design technique will be

Include squares

OK, now that really should be simple. So many quilt designs include squares. I guess if you wanted to be clever you could try to hide the squares, maybe some sort of block that looks curved but isn’t. Really this sounds like scope to do almost anything you want, but we will see what people come up with tomorrow. Our border size is,

Add 2″ to at least 2 sides of your quilt

Ahh, giving with one hand taking away with the other. That does make it a little more challenging but there are still some interesting options. Now I am very curious what people can come up with.  It just got a lot more interesting I think.

 

 

Monday Mystery Solo Robin

February 8, 2021

Slow start today. Other half stayed up to watch superbowl and I let Fenrir stay up late too as he was being very calm and good. He has come on a lot recently. We think a lot of it is age but we will take the results whatever. I hope by letting him have more of what he wants when he is good it will reinforce that behaviour. On the other hand we were very mean this morning, he got a very healthy breakfast no fun stuff. Having had a very party weekend he needed a grounded breakfast (it did have his favourite healthy food though). We have a lovely dusting of snow. Not enough to be really fun, just enough to be pretty. Mind you it is still falling and the flakes are getting bigger so maybe by afternoon exercise it will be settling a bit more.

Now time for our mystery quilt. Our technique deck is getting very small now, I can really see the end coming. Our technique this week will be,

On Point

Another very open technique. This might be the time for the blocks you haven’t managed to fit in on another week. I love blocks on point, but it can give scope for confusion and distortion so a nice one to practice. The borders this week will be,

Add 8″ to two opposite sides of your quilt

That’s decent. I was worried we might get 3″ which is possible but much more restrictive. Honestly I quite like working out how to do the really tricky ones but I think more options is really good for most people. So time to start thinking, what blocks would you set on point, or is there a more interesting interpretation of that?