Friday, 25 January 2019

Stash Bee June Block Tutorial - Flashback

That was my 2016 Bee Hive block request. Somehow, I never posted it on my own blog. So better do it now and be it only to serve as reminder of another unfinished project waiting for completion. 

Hello dear fellow bees across nine hives. I hope you enjoy the beginning of Summer and keep your sewing motivation up. Many beautiful designs have been chosen so far and I am excited to get to sew along and to marvel at all of your interpretations of the requested designs. I also love that we start to see finished quilt tops and quilts slowly appearing.

In my capacity as Queen Bee of June, I will ask my Hive 8 fellow bees to sew the super easy 'Double Square Star' design with me. We will do a loud and bright Summer interpretation of the block. We will be using a free tutorial by Jenny at 'Missouri Star Quilts' but beware (!) as we will work to different measurements AND include a further step prior to assembling the four subunits into the finished block.

Colour Inspiration:

Above: Sonia Sharma Events & Design, Below: Look I Was There Holi Festival

Look at these bright saturated colours (and notice the ornaments). Notice how there are next to no whites or neutrals in-between them? The bright pinks, oranges, yellows, purples, saffron and blues are placed right next to each other. Gorgeous! Therefore, we too will forgo whites and neutrals and revel in lush colours instead.

Fabric Requirements:

My hive mates have by now all received a teaser in the form of a letter that contained a 12 x 14.5 piece of Kona Cotton in the beautiful ‘Periwinkle Blue’. I am in love with this blue, which is just hinting at purple. It will serve as our background fabric for the Hive 8 June Block.

On top of the 'Periwinkle Blue' you need 4 feature fabrics in either hot pinks, fuscias, oranges, yellows, purples, saffron or gold with big, bold ornaments, flowers, wallpaper or tile imitations and geometric patterns.

Please avoid pastel colours, muted or muddy colours and batiks. Thank you.

To better understand what to look for in your stash, I would like you to have a closer look at my sample fabric pull in terms of type of prints and brilliancy of colours.

As in the finished Missouri Star Sample Quilt, the prints are big and bold and display big flowers, ornaments, geometric patterns or tile and wallpaper imitations. I think these big prints create movement, which is what we are looking for. The bold prints you choose should however still read as one overall colour.


Work with a 1/4 inch seam throughout. I am not fussy about which way you press the seams but prefer them to be ironed towards the dark fabric should a huge difference in tonal value arise.

Rehearse your feature fabric choices next to the ‘Periwinkle Blue’. Press your piece of ‘Periwinkle Blue’ and cut the fabric into pieces along the chalked on lines or measure anew to obtain four strips of 3 x 6 and four strips of 3 x 8.5 inches.

Of the four feature prints you chose, cut 1 rectangle of 6 x 9 inches each. Cut each rectangle further into pieces of 6 x 6 and 3 x 6 inches, and finally the 3 x 6 piece into two pieces of 3 x 3.

Once you have cut all the pieces, your should have arrived at the below.

Now have a look at the video tutorial for the assembly of the block (you can commence watching at 2:13, when Jenny starts assembling) BUT please remember that we will insert a further step prior to assembling the four subunits into the final block (!), so stop following the video at 5:48 and come back here.

Please note: Jenny does, what she calls 'snowballing the corners' at which point you will trimm off triangular scraps. Please hold on to those, as we will need some of them later.

Attach the short blue strip to the feature fabric square and take care to align the pieces correctly. Press the seam and attach the long blue fabric strip. Repeat the process with the remaining feature fabrics to form the four subunits of the block.

Once you have sewn the 4 subunits as below, we will pick four of the priviously trimmed off  blue triangles in order to sew those onto the corners of the subunits in such a way, as to form a wonky little blue diamond at the centre of the finished block.

Place a blue triangle in the corner of the subunit that will form part of the centre of the finished block. If you want to you, can fold the triangle at the base to mark the 1/4 seam line. Try to align the triangle sides evenly with the edges of the underlying fabric (as indicated by the arrows).

If it helps you, mark the edge of the underlying fabric with a soluble pen or chalk. to show you, where the triangle is suposed to go meet the underlying fabric (I have highlighted the points with circles in the below picture). This entire step is merely to gauge, where the triangle is supposed to end up.

Now for the tricky bit. In order to sew the triangle on you need to flip it over first. The points of the triangle should protrude over the edges of the underlying fabic by 1/4 of an inch or a little more. That is usually a good measure to ensure that the triangle, once sewn on and folded over, aligns evenly with the underlying edges as it should.

OK, now you either take a deep breath and sew the triangle on eyeballing it (top stitching) or you lengthen the stitch length of your sewing machine to 5 or 5.5 to baste carefully along the seam allowance line 1/4 of an inch from the edge without locking the start and end of the seam. Fold the triangle over and check if it is where you want it to be. If yes, shorten the stitch length again and re-sew the seam this time locking start and end of it as always. If the triangle is not where it is supposed to be, carefully rip out the basting stitches and try again.

Once you are happy, trimm off the protruding points of the triangle, as well as the bit of the feature fabric that is now going to be replaced with the blue fabric. Fold the blue triangle over, press and then repeat the process for all subunits.

Once your subunits look like this, you can assemble them into the finished block.

See, easy as pie. Feel free to ask questions. It took me 10 minutes to cut the fabirc and 45 minutes (checking back and forth) to sew the first block. The second one came together even faster. The finished block has a size of 16.5 x 16.5.

I expect the finished quilt to be either completely overwhelming or drop-dead-gorgeous, verging on possibly both. I hope all of this is not too restrictive and that you will have fun making this block.

Kind regards



Oh - by the way, this particular basic star shape has previously been requested by Stash Bee Queens, albeit in rather different interpretations. You can find the quilts here and here.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Fox Baby Quilt

Gosh, I commenced writing this post on the 6th of July... Looks like I really was not in the mood for blogging much. As this project has not progressed any further - yet - I might as well pick up here to continue writing. So what happened? I moved city - only with two suitcases and without sewing material mind you - to start a new job. Well that does cut down on sewing time available.  =)

On July 12th the most exciting thing happened. My nephew was born. And isn't he the cutest five-and-a-half months old baby by now. Which is why I need to get a move on with this baby quilt auntie had started making for him. The quilt top is long finished now on for the backing and quilting part.

I chose these fabulous selection of green and oranges to start with and build a bit of red in just for variety. The key fabric are these fabulous foxes that are just super cute and fun to fussy cut.

Since I discovered, by the way of working on one during the Rakish Needle Round Robin, that I actually like modern medallion quilts, I immensly enjoyed thinking up round after round of the little square baby quilt.

And being big on coherence always, I kept it simple but clever with the colour scheme. I ran out of that Kona 'Wasabi' at one point and had to bring another similar green. The two solids work well adding depth. And have you noticed the clever use of orange on white, green on white and red on white bits? Easy way to add interest while keeping it very cohesive.

I just noticed that this is not the final shot of the finished quilt top. There is one more round after this one. Ah well, lets save that shot for another blog post when I show you the finished quilt.

What else have I been sewing? Pillowcases galore and burp cloths for the baby and a book cover and just now, because I am also really, REALLY late with the round robin quilt, I am working on my last round robin contribution. I am improvising away. It will be good.

I wish a happy new year to all and everyone.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Once upon a time...

I just spent the morning sorting photographs, as in from a jumbled folder of miscellaneous pictures into properly labelled folders according to event and year. The picutres thus sorted came in a mix of sewing projects and life events. Of course I got to reminisce about past crafting and sewing projects. A lot of them never featured on this blog, which I started writing much later. So I thought it would be nice to take you along a trip down memory lane and show you some early projects that I completed with varying degrees of success. 

2009 - Earnest the Cat

Puppilalla, DIY, Soft Toy, Sewing

Does anyone remember the Toy Society? The idea was to make soft toys and leave them in public spaces to be found by someone passing by. In the vein of paying-it-forward and creating a something-for-nothing experience, crafters worldwide enthusiastically took to making and gifting toys. I still think it a lovely idea. The toys were put into zip bags with a note that explained the experience and invited finders to report the toy found at the Toy Society webpage. It has undergone a number of transformations over the years. I do not know whether the movement is still going at all but it had been going strongly for several years when I made this toy in 2009. 

So to get in on the fun, I too wanted to make a toy back then. Look at the pictures. Their quality tells you something about mobile phone cameras back when. =) A cat was designed and sewn and embroidered but in the end not hidden. See always that problem with the follow through. While I was busy doing other things and definitely not getting the toy ready to be hidden, my friend Tina fell in love with it. So in the end I gifted it to her and Earnest the Cat has been living in Cornwall, UK ever since. Incidentally, he still hails me from the pillow of the guest bed whenever I come to visit. 

2013 - Woodblock Printing

Puppilalla, DIY, Woodblock Printing, Druckstock

Do you like stamps and stamping? I do, as well as any sort of printing. And paper pop-ups and photo sessions and painting - to name but a few interests that never feature on this blog. Therefore, I did a wood cutting course to try my hand at something bigger than cutting small stamps into the surface of common erasers. At the time a friend attended a wood cutting workshop so I decided to tag along to try my hand as well. It was not easy. You need a steady hand and patience. The staedy hand I can do but the patience bit is harder. =) 

Puppilalla, DIY, Woodblock Printing, Druckstock

I dediced to make a fish print and prepared two printing plates, one for the motif and one for its surroundings. Try to match the outline of the two perfectly while cutting away at the wood. It is hard and then you have to print them in a way too that matches them preferably seamlessly. 

Puppilalla, DIY, Woodblock Printing, Holydruck, Fish, Fisch

We were meant to do only prints on paper but I also wanted to try the motif on fabric and brought some liquid fabric paint and fabric along to one session. The result is not all bad but the fish still wait patiently to shine in a sewing project. 


Puppilalla, DIY, Bunting

Oof - I do not even remember when I made this bunting. It was definitely before 2014 but I have no records left to tell me when exactly I made it. This is a fun project and - confess you too love bunting. It creates an instant party atmosphere. It is however notoriously hard to photograph. So here you see some attempts of mine to capture it in a photograph.

Puppilalla, DIY, Bunting

Now that is better =)

I just run out of steam. But it was fun to pull out these old photographs. Maybe we should do that again some time. There are plenty of more historic projects I could talk about. Have a nice weekend you all. 


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Briar Bear Pillowcase

Puppilalla, Patchwork, Pillowcase, Carolyn Friedlander, Thicket Fabric, Gingiber,

Order has been abandoned. Chaos is in ascend! I am still trying to catch up with the projects I have completed in the last six months post writing wise. Currently, the posts you are reading do not reflect the order in which the projects were worked on or completed. I find that I write on whatever pictures I have to happen to have edited at that moment in time. It does not matter too much really as long as my work gets recorded somewhere. This blog is still meant to be a some sort of official diary of the sewing projects I have created. As I am giving the majority of them away , it is nice to retain a shred of evidence of the working process and final project.

Puppilalla, Patchwork, Pillowcase, Carolyn Friedlander, Thicket Fabric, Gingiber,

Speaking of which, I have completed another pillowcase. I am clearly into those at the moment because the work needed to make one is manageable and you have a finished product on hand really quick. Furthermore, you can try many different styles and techniques, which is a bonus. This pillowcase is called ‘Briar Bear’ and I gifted it weeks ago but am still not done thinking about it. My bestest - as in very much loved person - friend Jens still had no sewn piece made by me in his household. I have gifted blankets and pillowcases all and sundry but Jens had yet to receive a little something. That was mostly due to wanting to make something extra perfect and fitting for him and thereby completely blocking myself.

Puppilalla, Patchwork, Pillowcase, Carolyn Friedlander, Thicket Fabric, Gingiber,

So in lieu of discussing the Thicket Fabric Baby Quilt, Jens mentioned that he liked the bear panels best of all the critters. As I had another one I made the snap decision to use it in a pillowcase, as Jens will have to wait a long time before he will get a quilt of his own - (too many WIPs). So one bear panel and some orange fabric because it is Jens’ favourite colour. I decided on a reduced colour palette of green and orange and looked for graphic prints. Carolyn Friedlander’s fabric line ‘Gleaned’ fit the bill marvellously. The criss-cross pattern of the bear is complemented by the dense graphic lines in the ‘Gleaned’ fabrics. To add some contrast I used rose vines on dark green background of a Sleeping Beauty print, I had used in the Tall Tales Throw Quilt.

Puppilalla, Patchwork, Pillowcase, Carolyn Friedlander, Thicket Fabric, Gingiber,

With all the leafs and vines and organic shapes going on, the project reminded me of Briar Rose and as the bear is the star of the show, I came to call him Briar Bear. Design wise, I tried something new with partial seams and a broken frame – sort of. I prepared foundation paper templates for the diamonds to the sides of the bear - but messed up. I had forgotten that two of the four would be inverted and as the templates were not square but rectangular that threw the design off. Obviously, it did not occur to me to just re-draw two of the templates, which would - in hindsight - have been easy and logical but instead got caught up in trying to make it work. In essence you have now a leaning bear framed by wonkily placed diamonds which throws the symmetry entirely.

Puppilalla, Patchwork, Pillowcase, Basic Grey Grunge

I think, this is what still bugs me. While, I am debating whether or not I like the ‘broken’ frame of green and orange around the bear, the wonkiness of the diamonds causes my eyes to twitch. Well, while we aim for perfect every time sometimes your work in progress leads you elsewhere.

Puppilalla, Patchwork, Pillowcase, Carolyn Friedlander, Thicket Fabric, Gingiber,

While wonky, I think Briar Bear still lovable and a nice adult version of a teddy bear. The limited colour palette also works very well in this context. Get ready to cuddle. =)

PS: I have not yet figured out, why blogger is no longer forwarding comments to my e-mail inbox. Likewise my comments on other people's blogs do not seem to be accepted and appearing when I write those. Does anyone know how to fix that? Happy to be advised.