Monday, 21 October 2013

Charm Star

I had a very enjoyable day a couple of Saturdays ago, teaching my Charm Star quilt to a group of six lovely ladies at my local quilt shop.  Here are the blocks made by Marian, Jo, Hilary, Helen, Sarah and Jenny :

One of the pleasures of teaching a class is seeing just how different everyone's work turns out because of their choice of fabric.

 It was also a delight because everyone worked really hard and achieved excellent results.  I hope they will power on and finish their quilts.

As a teacher I always dread the class putting the project in a bag at the back of the cupboard, because I know that's what I have done with some of the things I have started in workshops in the past.

However, I am now finally resurrecting and finishing some of my UFO's and it is very rewarding.  So if you are in the same boat, challenge yourself to finish something soon.

The block is designed to use the delicious packs of 5" Charm squares we are (or is that just me?) so often tempted to pick up.

The Sawtooth Star has a 16 patch middle; the small squares finish 1" - but with quick cutting and, yes, chain piecing, the block centres go together accurately.

It is surprisingly satisfying to make a block on a smaller than usual scale; the only drawback being that you make twenty of them and you still only have a cot size quilt!

But the design could be scaled up to use Layer Cakes (10" squares) and that would make a BIG quilt.

This is a block which benefits from good pressing at every stage, and particularly pressing open the seams which join the flying geese units to the pieced centres.

I find that pressing open helps to show off the star points really well - they can get lost in the bulk of the fold if the fabric is pressed to one side.

And if you have great points you should show them off!

Here is my completed quilt, which measures  37" x 46", simply quilted with a walking foot.  I used a couple of Charm packs I had had in the cupboard for a while: Old Fashioned Charm by Blackbird Designs for Moda,  plus some co-ordinating spots for the star points.

I am making a bright version which I will blog about when I have finished it.


Friday, 4 October 2013

The Joy of Chain Piecing

At last, some chain piecing:  Over the past few weeks I have managed to work on traditional Log Cabin blocks: these have been made from the leftovers from my Washington Medallion block of the month, plus a few extra bits of blue, brown and cream from my stash.  The slightly tedious part was cutting all the 1 ½” strips to the right lengths for the logs, but as I had decided to be fairly random in my placement, even that became a challenge to see what different sizes I could squeeze out of the various scraps.

Then the fun started: I really do love to chain piece, sitting at the machine, just feeding in strips without too much thought required, and ending up with a delightful ‘bunting’ chain on the floor under the machine, ready to take to the ironing board.  Can anyone tell me why the pieces arrange themselves in a circle, and does the circle go the opposite way round the clock in the southern hemisphere, like water down the plughole?  Or is that another modern myth?

Anyway, in a few spare minutes here and there during the past month I have been able to piece and press 168 x 8” blocks (unfinished size) which I have joined to make a huge top (12 blocks by 14 the top measures 90” x 105”).  This will be great on a double bed and, when I have chosen a backing fabric, I am going to have it long arm quilted by my dear friend Susie Green as it is just too big for me to tackle.  It won’t quite be something for nothing by the time it is finished, but I have had the satisfaction of using my scraps - and the joy of chain piecing.