18 April 2019

Revisiting Hand Embroidery



I really am, never happier than when I am hand stitching.  In recent years primarily, that has been either English paper piecing, applique or hand quilting.  However, I also adore hand embroidery and I have always loved including little hints of it in my mini quilts.   It has been on my mind for some time now to re introduce some of my earlier embroidery designs in to a new range of kits to add to my portfolio.

A few weeks ago I decided to drop everything and make it happen.  I had a lovely time going through my folders and looking back at my previous work from a few years ago.  Like everything though, over time, how you do things develops and naturally I think you add a little bit more of yourself.  For the new kits, rather than being embroidery alone, I decided that I wanted to incorporate all my favourite hand stitches in to the new range.

I am so thrilled with how the new kits have turned out.  Initially, there are two new designs, Posie, which includes gorgeous Liberty Tana Lawns in muted colours combined with a lovely Linen.  The colours in the embroidery pick up from those in the fabrics.  Also I should mention that the lovely fabric used for the embroidery, is a linen/cotton mix and I have had the design printed on to it, so there will be no need to transfer.


I also wanted to indulge my love of faded florals and chose a selection of fabrics in the pretties palest pinks and ivory, with thread colours to match.......


 If you are new to English Paper Piecing, the Chrysanthemum Plates are constructed in the same way as the Dresden, for which you can find a little happy tutorial for HERE.

 For both kits, I've kept the embroidery stitches nice and simple and again there are tutorials for some HERE, there are also instructions included with the kits.

Both 'Posie' and 'Faded Floral' Embroidered Mini Quilt Kits are available on the website HERE.

Obviously, you know me by now.... my sketchbook and head are full of ideas, so I also couldn't resist starting a third project.  This one, which I've called the 'The Summer Sampler' really does combine all my loves, with a pretty mix of pieced and embroidered blocks.  

Again, I'm using the beautiful Liberty Tana Lawns, along side a mix of low volumes, together with the linen/cotton fabric for the embroideries.  The overall feel is light and airy, with little splashes of colour... like a cottage garden in full bloom.......



 I'm also adding pretty ribbons and lace, along with my favourite vintage Mother of Pearl buttons, which I just can not get enough of..ever!

This is going to be a 'mini' 4 month Block of the Month club, which will run over the summer months and will include all the fabric, trims, wadding, backing fabric, plus the embroidery and quilting thread...so everything except your choice of piecing thread.  As always, I use Aurifil 50wt in my machine and for the EPP and 80wt for the applique.

Sign ups will be opening on Easter Monday via the website.


I hope that you have a lovely Easter weekend, what ever you plans! 


Happy Stitches

18 February 2019

A little happy tutorial ~ Rainbow Kisses Quilt Part 3


Today I am sharing the final instalment of the Rainbow Kisses quilt.  I hope that you enjoyed sewing the centre applique panel, which I shared HERE.   If you would like to catch up and sew this pretty quilt, you can find the first instalment HERE.


BEFORE STARTING Always Remember to:

1. Read all instructions before you begin.
2. RST means right sides together.
3. All seam allowances are  1/4”.
4. FWOF means width of fabric.
5. If you need help, please do get in touch!

To complete your quilt top, you need to first decide on your lay out...... are you going to go for a scrappy random look, like this.........



 or perhaps a more orderly lay out like this.......


To complete, the instructions are the same for both options, you will just vary the positioning of your 9 patch blocks accordingly.

You will need to cut:

From your Background Fabric:
(84) 5" squares
(8) 2" x  32" rectangles
(12) 2" squares
(4) 2" x 5" rectangles
(8) 5" x FWOF rectangles

From a grey fabric:
(4) 2" x 32" rectangles
(4) 2" squares
(4) 2" x 3 1/2" rectangles

Right..... lets get sewing!

First off, we're going to construct the Inner 9 Patch borders.  Using the reference diagrams of the completed quilt above as a guide (Random or Orderly), layout the inner 9 patch units and (12) Background fabric 5" squares into a Top, Bottom, Left and Right side border.

With RST sew the units together. Remember to use a 1/4" seam allowance and as usual I had Aurifil 50wt in #2311 in my machine.

Press the stitches to 'set' them , then press with the seams open.

The Left and Right Side units should measure 5" x 23"

The Top and Bottom units should measure 5" x 32"



--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next, we're going to add the units to the Applique Centre.

With RST, pin and sew the Left and Right side borders.   Press on top of the stitches to ‘set’ them, then press the seams open.

With RST, pin and sew the Top and Bottom borders.   Press on top of the stitches to ‘set’ them, then press the seams open.

The Centre unit should measure 32" x 32”. 



--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now for the Grey Stripe border.  Lay out (2) Background and (1) Grey 2" x 32" rectangles as shown in the diagram below.

With RST sew the 3 rectangles together.   Press on top of the stitches to ‘set’ them, then press the seams open.

This unit should measure 5" x 32".

Repeat with the remaining Background and Grey 2" x 32" rectangles to make 4 units in total.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------

For the Grey Stripe Corner blocks, layout a (1) 2" x 5"  Background rectangle, (3) 2"  Background square units, (1) 2" x 3 1/2" Grey rectangle and (1) 2" Grey square as shown in the diagram below.

First sew in to 3 rows and then, sew the rows together.  Press the stitches to 'set' them , then press with all the seams open. The completed Corner unit should measure 5" square.

Repeat to make a total of 4 Corner blocks.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------

With RST, sew the Corner blocks to (2) of the Grey Stripe units as shown.

These units should measure 5" x 41".


--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Next, we're going to add the Grey Stripe units to the Centre unit.

With RST, pin and sew the Left and Right side borders.   Press on top of the stitches to ‘set’ them, then press the seams open.

With RST, pin and sew the Top and Bottom borders.   Press on top of the stitches to ‘set’ them, then press the seams open.

The Centre unit should measure 41" x 41”. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Moving on to the 9 Patch Outer borders.  As you did for the Inner 9 Patch borders, using the reference diagrams of the completed quilt above as a guide (Random or Orderly), layout the 9 Patch units and remaining (72) Background fabric 5" squares into a Top, Bottom, Left and Right side border.

With RST sew the units in to rows and then the rows together.  Press the stitches to 'set' them , then press with the seams open.

The Left and Right Side units should measure 41" x 14"

The Top and Bottom units should measure 41" x 68"


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

With RST, pin and sew the Left and Right side borders to the Centre unit.   Press on top of the stitches to ‘set’ them, then press the seams open.

With RST, pin and sew the Top and Bottom borders.   Press on top of the stitches to ‘set’ them, then press the seams open.

The Centre unit should measure 68" x 68”.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Finally, for the outer Background fabric border, sew (2) 5" x FWOF rectangles together.  Subcut this to yield (1) 5" x 68" rectangle.

Repeat to yield a second 5" x 68" rectangle.

Repeat the process again a further two times to yield (2) 5" x 77" rectangles.

With RST, pin and sew the Left and Right side borders.   Press on top of the stitches to ‘set’ them, then press the seams open.

With RST, pin and sew the Top and Bottom borders.   Press on top of the stitches to ‘set’ them, then press the seams open.




The quilt top should measure 77" square.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

To complete your quilt, sandwich the batting/wadding between the backing fabric and the quilt top.  Baste.  I use a spray glue baste but you can pin or tack the three layers together.

Machine or Hand Quilt as desired.  You could choose an all over quilt design or alternatively if you fancy hand quilting, I would first quilt in a cross hatch through all the 9 patches.  Then in a square following the grey stripe border and then for the centre applique, I would shadow quilt around all the applique shapes approx. 1/8" from the applique edges.

Once quilted trim away the excess batting & backing.

Finally, add the binding. 

I hope that you have enjoyed sewing your Rainbow Kisses Quilt and enjoyed this FREE pattern..... a little happy thank you from me to you!

Happy Stitches

29 November 2018

A little happy tutorial ~ Rainbow Kisses Quilt Part 2


Today, I'm sharing the second instalment of the 'a little happy' tutorial for the Rainbow Kisses Quilt.  You can read all about this pretty quilt and find step one HERE.  Hopefully you've all been busy and enjoying making your 9 patch units.  Today I'll be sharing the templates and instructions for the centre applique panel.

Before sharing the pattern, here are some notes that may assist you.  I am using the Freezer Paper method of applique, you can read all about this method HERE.  Feel free however, to use your own preferred method, for example, interfacing method or raw edge applique.  Remember the Applique Templates are the finished size and do not include seam allowances.  

Here's a reminder of the quilt that we're making.......



BEFORE STARTING Always Remember to:

1. Read all instructions before you begin.
2. RST means right sides together.
3. All seam allowances are  1/4”.
4. FWOF means width of fabric.
5. If you need help, please do get in touch!

So to start, you will need to print THIS SHEET, which includes the applique templates.  You'll also need to gather your applique supplies for your chosen method, threads (I'm using Aurifil 80wt thread with a Clover Black/Gold applique/sharp needle) and of course your pretty fabrics.

Rather than going to scrappy for this element of the quilt, I've chosen three shades of green for the leaves and stems, and two different fabrics in red, yellow, blue and purple for each flower.  You could of course be as colourful and scrappy as you wish!  The background fabric I've used is Bella Solid in Off White.


CUTTING INSTRUCTIONS

  • From the background fabric cut (1) 24" square
  • From the stem fabric cut (4) 5/8" x 10" rectangles

For the appliques, prepare in your chosen method:
  • From each of (4) fabrics prepare (1) centre petal 
  • From each of (4) fabrics prepare (1) left petal and (1) right petal 
  • From each of (2) fabrics prepare (4) left leaves and (4) right leaves 


PIECING INSTRUCTIONS....Let’s get stitching!

First off prepare your background fabric.   Fold the square on the diagonal from corner to corner and finger crease the fold.  Repeat on the opposite diagonal.  Please note: This will be trimmed to 23" once you have appliqued the flowers.  You can if you wish draw the 23" square on the fabric, taking care to keep it centred. 

Next prepare 4 stems, then trim these to 9 1/2" long.  I used a Clover 1/4" Bias Maker.....for a detailed 'a little happy' tutorial click HERE.  Please note for the Rainbow Kisses quilt the stems are straight, therefore unlike those in the tutorial, it does not need to be cut on the bias.

Position and applique* the stems on the diagonal, using the crease marks on the background fabric as a guide.  Tuck under the raw edge nearest the centre and once appliqued the stem should be positioned 2" from centre.  You don't need to worry about tucking under the raw edge at the other end as it will be concealed under the flower.

Remember for a neat finish, colour match your thread to the applique fabric rather than the background fabric.


Using the photo below as a guide, you can now position and applique the leaves and flowers.


For the flowers, first applique the centre petal, then the left hand petal and finally the right hand petal.


For the leaves, I chose to overlap the stems, but you could position them either side if you prefer. 




Once everything has been appliqued, trim the background fabric to 23" square, taking care to keep your appliques centred.

The next instalment of the Rainbow Kisses quilt will be in January 2019, when I'll be sharing the instructions for the grey border and putting it all together.  I'll also be thinking about quilting ideas.  

Wishing you as always, lots of happy stitches!

9 November 2018

Liberty Periodical ~ Block of the Month Club

Today, I'm sharing my brand new quilt design which I've called the 'Liberty Periodical', which we will be offering as a Block of the Month club starting in January.  I have become more and more in love with applique in recent years and with the arrival of Liberty Tana Lawns in to the Pretty Fabrics and Trims workshop stash, the time seemed right to design an applique dominent quilt.  The first stitch went in to this quilt back in January and throughout the year I have savoured each and every stitch.... it really has been a complete pleasure to design and sew.  My plan now, is to hand quilt it throughout the winter months, I'm not really in a rush as to be honest, part of me doesn't want the process of making it to end.

As the name suggests, the quilt will take you on a monthly journey celebrating the seasons, events and special holidays that we enjoy throughout the year.  Each month is represented by a pretty appliqued block, nestled amongst a machine pieced Irish chain block.   The feature fabrics will be all Liberty of London Tana Lawns, combined with a super soft Art Gallery Pure Elements 'off white' background......a perfect foil to set off all the beautiful tana lawns ... the absolute stars of the show!

Here's some close up pictures of my completed quilt top.......

  



If you love lots of happy hand hand stitches, you will absolutely love sewing this quilt.  As I have done before, I thought it would be useful to do a Q&A to cover some of the questions that you may have about the Block of the Month......

What is a Block Of The Month (BOM) Club and how does it work?

A block of the month is a monthly parcel full of loveliness that you will receive directly through your letterbox. It will include all the fabrics and if required, applique templates or English Paper Pieces for you to sew that months blocks, plus of course detailed instructions for how to piece the block will also be included. Don't forget there are also various 'a little happy tutorials' and handy tips on the blog to help you along the way.

The 'Liberty Periodical' Block of the Month, is a 12 Month subscription running from January 2019 up to and including December 2019.   Each month you will make one applique block and one chain block (in the final month you will also make a extra chain block).  At the end of the term you will have received enough pretty fabric and instructions to make your very own 'Liberty Periodical' Quilt Top.  

How big is the finished Quilt?

The Quilt measures 60" x 60"

What techniques will be used?

The quilt combines a mix of Applique*, a little English Paper Piecing and Machine Piecing.

*I used the Needle Turn method for the applique, for which you can find a detailed 'little happy' tutorial HERE which shows my preferred method.  


Will I receive exactly the same fabrics as used in the sample?

I made my quilt top from my personal collection of Liberty Tana Lawns which I have collected over the years.  Mum and I will be selecting beautiful Tana Lawns from the current Classics and Seasonal collections for the Club... but rest assured they will be equally as scrumptious!

What other supplies will I need?

~ EPP Supplies, for example glue pen & glue refills if you wish to glue baste or thread if you plan on thread basting, however all the papers are supplied.

~ Thread, I used Aurifil 50wt #2311 in my machine and then switched to alternative colours to match the Liberty fabrics for the English Paper Piecing.  For the Applique, I used Aurifil 80wt in shades to match the Liberty fabrics

~ Tools, 1/4" Bias Binding maker and your usual patchwork and sewing related tools.

~ To complete your quilt, you will need wadding, backing fabric and binding fabric of your choice.

Can I purchase the pattern on its own?

No, not at this moment in time......many hours have been spent designing this quilt specifically for our inaugural Block of the Month Club......Sorry!

How much does the Club cost?
  
The monthly Club cost including postage is:

UK Club Price ~ £18.75 (Via 1st Class Mail)

EU Club Price ~ £21.75 (Via Standard Airmail*)  

International Club Price ~ £23.25 (Via Standard Airmail*)

*Should you wish to upgrade to Priority Mail for your parcel full of loveliness please do get in touch.

HOW CAN I JOIN?

Places for the club are limited and all our friends and customers from across the world are invited.




If that wasn't enough, we're also re running our popular 'A Little Happy Christmas' Block of the Month, in a fresh new colour scheme........




Mum and I hope that you will join us in stitching along and if in the meanwhile, you have any questions, as always please do not hesitate to get in touch!

26 October 2018

A little happy tutorial ~ Warm and Cozy Mini Quilt FREE PATTERN


I am really happy today, to share the FREE pattern for my Warm and Cozy Mini Quilt.  I had so much fun making this mini and I hope that you do too!  Mum and I also just wanted to say a thank you so much, to everyone who has purchased fabric kits from us!  If you haven't already, but would like to purchase a fabric kit, you can do so HERE.  However to raid your stash and make your own version!

Before sharing the pattern, here are some notes that may assist you whilst making your mini quilt.  For the applique elements, I used the Freezer Paper method of applique, for which I shared all the details of in last weeks, ‘a little happy’ tutorial.....if you missed it you can read all about it HERE.  Feel free, to use your own preferred method, for example, interfacing method or raw edge applique.  Remember the Applique Templates are the finished size and do not include seam allowances unless otherwise specified.  For the English Paper Pieced Star, if you are new to this technique or would like a refresher, again take a peek at THIS 'a little happy tutorial'. 


BEFORE STARTING Always Remember to:
1. Read all instructions before you begin.
2. RST means right sides together.
3. All seam allowances are 1/4”.
4. FWOF means width of fabric.
5. If you need any help, please do get in touch!

You will also need to print THIS SHEET, which includes the embroidery and applique templates that are required.

CUTTING INSTRUCTIONS



A from each of (5) fabrics cut (1) 3” square 

B from (1) fabric cut (1) 3 ½” x 12 ½” rectangle 

C from (1) fabric cut (1) 6 ½” square 

D from each of (3) fabrics prepare (2) EPP 1 ½” 6 Point diamonds 

E from (1) fabric cut (1) 3 ½” x 6 ½” rectangle 

F from each of (3) fabrics prepare (1) toadstool head (2 small and 1 large) ready for applique

G from Off White solid prepare (3) toadstool stalks (2 small and 1 large) ready for applique

H from each of (4) fabrics cut (1) 1 ½” x 2” rectangle 

I from each of (3) fabrics cut (2) 2 ½” squares 

J from each of (6) fabrics cut (1) 2 ½” square 

K from (1) fabric cut (1) 2 ½” x 6 ½” rectangle 

L from (1) fabric cut (1) 4 ½” x 12 ½” rectangle 

M from each of (6) fabrics prepare (2) leaves ready for applique

N from (1) fabric cut (1) 5/8” x 9” rectangle 

O from (1) fabric cut (2) 2 ½” x FWOF 

in addition, you will also need:

For the Wadding/Batting 14 ½” x 17 ½”

For the Backing fabric 16 ½” x 19 ½” 

(2) buttons

a selection of threads for piecing and quilting

plus your usual patchwork and quilting tools and notions


PIECING INSTRUCTIONS....Let’s get stitching!

To start, we're going to piece the background of the mini quilt, starting with the fabric I and fabric J Half Square Triangle (HST) units.

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of all the fabric I squares.

With RST, lay a fabric I square on the top of a fabric J square as shown.  Stitch on the drawn line and trim ¼” away from the seam.  Press the stitches to 'set' them, then press the seams in the direction as indicated by the arrows.  This unit should measure 2 1/2" square.


Repeat for the remaining (5) pairs.  Note from the diagram below, that the seam is pressed in the opposite direction on the HST units on the top and bottom rows.  This will help reduce bulk at the seams when sewing them together.


With RST, sew the HST units together in to (2) rows. Press the stitches to 'set' them, then press the seams open.  Each row should measure 2 1/2" x 6 1/2".     


With RST, sew the rows together. Press the stitches to 'set' them, then press the seam open.  The completed HST unit should measure 4 1/2" x 6 1/2"

Moving on the fabric H rectangles.  With RST, sew the (4) fabric H rectangles together in to a row.  Press the stitches to 'set' them, then press the seams open.  This unit should measure 1 1/2" x 6 1/2". 


To piece the centre section, with RST sew the fabric C square and fabric K rectangle together.  Press the stitches to 'set' them, then press the seam open.  This unit should measure 8 1/2" x 6 1/2". 

Repeat with the fabric E rectangle, the fabric H unit and the HST unit.  


With RST, sew the the two centre sections together.  Press the stitches to 'set' them, then press the seam open.  The centre unit should measure 8 1/2" x 12 1/2".


To complete the background, with RST sew the fabric B rectangle to the top of the centre unit and the fabric L rectangle to the bottom.  Press the stitches to 'set' them, then press the seams open.  The completed mini quilt background should measure 15 1/2" x 12 1/2". 


Moving on to the decorative details....my favourite part!

We'll start with the 'Warm and Cozy' embroidery.......

I used 12 wt Aurifil #2360 a lovely warm brown for my embroidery and a Clover Gold Eye Embroidery Needle.  You can switch the 12wt for stranded embroidery cotton if you prefer, I would go for 3 strands.  I did not hoop up the mini quilt, I simply held the fabric and stitched.

If your new to embroidery, you may find these 'a little happy tutorials' useful:

For how to transfer the embroidery pattern, take a look HERE and for how to stitch Back Stitch, take a look HERE.

Now for the applique...... for the leaf garland, first make a 1/4" bias stem from the fabric N rectangle, then cut to 8" in length.  I used a Clover 1/4" bias maker, for which you can find a little happy tutorial HEREPlease note for the warm and cozy mini quilt the stem is straight, therefore unlike those in the tutorial, it does not need to be cut on the bias.

Position the stem at the centre of the fabric L rectangle, taking in to account the seam allowance of 1/4" along the bottom edge, which will be taken when the binding is attached.

Applique* in place, turning under the raw edges a 1/4" seam allowance at each end.

*For all the applique elements, I used Aurifil 80wt and a Clover Black Gold Applique/Sharp needle.  Aurifil 50wt is a great alternative!   Remember for a neat finish, colour match your thread to the applique fabric rather than the background fabric.

Next, using the photo as a guide, applique the leaves....... (remember there is a detailed tutorial for the Freezer Paper method I used HERE)
...then add the toadstools, to the centre of the fabric E rectangle.  Applique the two smaller mushrooms first, then the centre one.  NOTE: the toadstool heads overlap the stalks by approx 1/4".
For the English Paper Pieced star, I used Aurifil 50wt thread.   The star is made up of (6) 1 1/2" 6 point diamonds, made using 3 different fabrics.

Baste the fabric to the papers in your preferred method.

Hand sew the diamonds together to form the star.  Again, I used a colour of thread to match the fabrics when sewing them together.  This helps the stitches blend and become almost invisible.

Give the star a press and then remove the papers.

Applique the star to the centre of the background fabric C square, remember to match your thread colour to the flower rather than the background fabric.



I knew from the outset that I wanted to incorporate Prairie Points into this mini quilt.  They are surprisingly very easy to make!

With RST fold the fabric A squares in half on the diagonal, as indicated by the blue dashed line, to make a triangle.

Then fold it in half again.
Then using the photo below as a guide, position and pin the Prairie Points with the raw long edge butted up against the top edge of the fabric A rectangle.  Position the triangles, with the fold to the left and the opening on the right.  The points will overlap, by approx 1/4" which you can sandwich in the gap.

Unlike applique, which is sewn around all the edges to the background, the Prairie Points are secured along the top edge only.  They will eventually be held in place by the binding, but it in the short term, run a line of basting stitches across the top, a scant 1/4" from the edge.  You want to ensure that once the binding is in place, the basting stitches are hidden.

To complete the mini quilt, sandwich the batting/wadding between the backing fabric and the quilt top.  Baste.  I use a spray glue baste but you can pin or tack the three layers together and then quilt.

I chose to hand quilt using a mix of colours in Aurifil 12wt (#2311, #2230, #2214 and #2847).  You could of course use just one colour or if you prefer machine quilt.  I shadow quilted around the shapes approx 1/8" away from the edge.   

Finally add the binding.  Again..... both layering and binding tutorials can be found HERE.


I hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial and feel inspired to make your own version.  Just a polite notice, as with all my tutorials and patterns, please remember that this is for Personal Use only.

Mum and I love to see what you have made, so please do use the following hashtags, so that we can take a peek:

warmandcozyminiquilt and /or prettyfabricsandtrims

Finally, if you haven't already, please do make sure that you have added me to your Blog list so you do not miss out on my future posts!!  (You can sign up for automatic email notifications when I have by posted, by adding your email address to the little box in the right hand column)

Wishing you lots of happy stitches!