Back in March, I seem to recall rather hazily that we actually enjoyed some pleasant Spring-like weather? At this point, as happens every year, I became super-interested in the garden and gardening as a whole, buying up plants, potting plugs on, booking tickets for flower shows; I know some of you know what I am talking about! Back from holiday, most of my teeny plants have been eaten by snails and the garden is pretty much swimming. I'm very much a Spring/Summer and fair weather person so I do detest all this awful weather. A few years ago,the Winter used to get me down as I couldn't spend my time in the garden. What to do? I'm really not good at sitting watching telly or just sitting really, during the day. It was around this time that I found sewing. Oh praise the Lord , cue choir of angels. Ok, so this does mean I do a lot of sitting but it's happy sitting and even productive sitting. I rather like that term.
For you see, now I have the opposite predicament. When the good weather does arrive, I'm then torn. I want to sew, sew, sew but I want to be out enjoying the good weather too. Yes, I know you can hand sew in the garden but it's not the same. I have to spend some time on my beloved machine. When I do go outside, if I'm not gardening, I do tend to just flop and not an awful lot of hand sewing gets done! So, whilst I really do wish we were enjoying some sunny weather in May right now, I am making the most of this precious indoor sewing time. Who knows, sun may be just round the corner??? Hmmm, errrm, yes.
Back into the swing of things then, I've just finished a second flannel quilt. To reward myself, I'm now sewing something just for us, for keeps. Oooh, too exciting, time to choose a new quilty project. I mooched through the files on my computer, where I tuck away images and references to things I've seen online which interest me. Whenever I need a little inspiration, I can have a look. What I found was this pattern. I'm liking the look of that, I think.
I didn't want to produce exactly the same quilt as in that pattern, so I just worked out the cutting requirements for the same sort of block. The block has a 1930's look to me and made me wonder if this is actually an historical block pattern. Anyone recognise it? I want the quilt to have that 1930's feel, so I headed for my stash of reproduction ditsy florals, in particular I started with some particularly fetching Japanese numbers by Atsuko Matsuyama.
Oooh, I'm getting ahead of myself. First, the less exciting and nice and easy bit of making those green and white HSTs. No boys, I do not refer to high speed trains but half square triangles. Such a great block, you can use it to make so many designs, windmills, stars, broken dishes and so on. Just sandwich a square of the white fabric on top of the green, draw a line diagonally through the middle and sew a seam a quarter inch either side of that drawn line. Press, chop along the drawn line..
Now the magic, press each triangle (with the green on top so that the seam will be pressed away from the light fabric), open it out and you have a "HST". The best bit is so long as you make them a little oversized, you can them trim them down to the exact measurement you want so the block will be lovely and square. Ah, these little things bring me pleasure. (To calculate the size of the square you need to cut, take the height of your finished triangle and add 7/8".)
Right, back to the pretty flowery bits, it's time for a bit of speed stripping, ooh err missus! What I wanted to end up with was a nine-patch block with each square measuring 1.25" finished. Instead of laboriously cutting out zillions of tiny squares and painstakingly patching them all together, I cut longer strips of fabric (in multiples of 1.75", that's 1.25" plus two seams of 1/4") and sewed them together in sets of three. See?
These you can then cross-cut into 1.75" wide slices. Some as you see, have a white strip in the middle with coloured ones either side; the other variety has a coloured strip with white either side. So far so good.
I'm inordinately pleased with my little buffet of flowery slices, just ready for me to then stitch together in a chain-pieced speedy fashion. What's the rush Hen? This is the way I like to work. I love every second of the sewing but I just cannot do things slowly. Slow is not me.
I even have my own furry "keeper of the slices".
So now you're getting the picture and after a morning's sewing I have all my component parts ready to make up my final block. There are the green and white HSTs, the cute flowery nine-patches and also a plain white square.
Time to take nine of those pieces then, set them into three rows of three and as if by magic, a block appears!
Having done all the leg work of making the slices and squares, it's now a relatively quick and easy process to sew the blocks up and before long I have a little pile. I make enough of the "component parts" to finally make up about eight blocks at a time.
Oooh, loving this quilt so far.
Have a super long weekend all you folks in Blighty and a super two-days everyone else. Next week, we're talking kitchens...
P.S. I hope the link works as I couldn't get it to paste in using this new Blogger format, grr. If it ain't broke, Blogger...