Category Archives: beginners patchwork

Simple Blocks – Album

This is the first of our simple blocks which has Mary’s Triangles units and, as with most blocks with these units, they are in the corners.

album block alt colour

You can download the free pattern for this block here, along with a few ideas for quilts.

Just because the block has the triangles on the outside doesn’t mean that you can’t turn the units around and make a completely different block.

album block reversed

Notice that the colours have been reversed as well. If you mix these two colourings in a quilt  you get something far more interesting than just the blocks on their own.

album quilt a

Or you can put the blocks on point; all the same block but with a dark background –

album on point c

– it looks far more dramatic than the light background.

album on point b

But what happens if we turn those corner units so the triangles point outwards?

Album block 3

And then set into a quilt, with alternate colourings –

album quilt f

Its a very different quilt to the one we started out with.

The colouring (placement of lights and darks) of the block as well as the orientation of the corner units can have quite a dramatic effect on the appearance of the block and the quilts. Here’s a slide show of a few ideas –

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Springtime stitching

We have been promised that Spring is just around the corner – hard to believe with all the snow and ice – so yesterday when I found a couple of projects we had done with Young Quilters over the Easter holidays back in the 1990s I felt it was time to write them up properly and offer them as free patterns. They are both cushions, but could be little quilts as well, measuring 12 inches finished, without borders. As they were designed with Young Quilters in mind they are nice and simple and a quite young child could manage them with adult help here and there. They can be sewn by hand or machine, although I did them on the machine.

2018-03-19 17.28.38First of all we have a basket – which is actually a pocket on the front of the cushion. The original hand-written pattern says for keeping a book or small toy, these days it is more likely to be a phone or tablet perhaps. You can download the pattern here.

Although the pattern has lots of diagrams sometimes photos show things more clearly so here are the step-by-step photos I took when I made the basket pocket –

 

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2018-03-19 15.25.25The other pattern I found was a Snowball block turned into an animal – we apparently had dogs, cats, pigs and even hens, but the one I have chosen to do the ear templates for you today is the rabbit. Once you have made this one you might like to let your imagination run riot as our Young Quilters did on the day and see what you come up with. You could even add an appropriate tail to the back of your cushion or quilt.

You can download the pattern here.

Simple blocks – Mary’s Triangles

Jewel Box blockThis little unit crops up in a number of blocks but is also a block in its own right. It has a variety of names including Jewel Box (or Block), Squared Triangles, Square and Triangles and the one I’ve picked – Mary’s Triangles.

You can make these units one at a time by cutting the individual squares and triangles or you can make two at a time with a very nifty method I read about so long ago I can no longer where, or when, but it has become an accepted method – it involves no triangles! You can download the Tutorial sheet for the unit here.

As with all units based on Half-Square Triangles you can have great fun with colour placement, scrappy looks and turning those units round. Here’s just a few ideas to get you started.

Start off by just putting the units together in a straight set, then change the lights and darks around, turn the blocks around, add in another colour for a bit of contrast . . .

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And here’s one I made earlier

jewel quilt

What will you make? Download the instructions for Mary’s Triangles here – it has a few quilt ideas and a blank quilt for you to colour in or play with.

Simple Blocks – Monkey Wrench

There are several blocks called Monkey Wrench – this one is sometimes called Snail Trail and is essentially a 4-patch within several squares, so we’ve added it to the blocks associated with the Square-in-a-Square tutorial.

Monkey Wrench block 1

Just set on its own this two fabric block can look a bit so-so . . .

Monkey Wrench quilt 1

but turn alternate blocks around and you get the classic Snail Trail pattern.

Monkey Wrench quilt 2

But what if you add another colour?

Monkey Wrench block 2

The quilt could then look more like this

Monkey Wrench quilt 3

or this

Monkey Wrench quilt 6

Or add yet another colour

Monkey Wrench block 3

which gives you more opportunities for playing with the arrangements

Monkey Wrench quilt 4

or this – which reminds me of waves breaking on the shore

Monkey Wrench quilt 7

or this (which looks more like arm wrestling!)

Monkey Wrench quilt 8

You can download your free block pattern here.

 

 

 

Simple Blocks – Coxey’s Camp

This block comes under the heading of ‘Square in a Square’ although in reality it is a 4-patch turned on point and then given a fancy border.

Coxey's Camp block

 

There are many different ways to colour it in changing the emphasis of the block by changing the dark and light colours around.

Using the different colourings can add interest to the quilt setting too.

Coxey's Camp quilt 3

Coxey's Camp quilt 7

As does turning on point –

Coxey's Camp quilt 5

It makes a good block to alternate with other blocks – more complicated ones or much simpler ones. Have a play with some of the other blocks we’ve already featured.

Coxey's Camp quilt 6

You can download the block instructions here.

Quick Christmas makes . .

. . for children. The Christmas holidays are here and you are trying to find something (other than phones/tablets) to keep everyone amused? Here are two free patterns for you to download that first appeared as projects for Young Quilters some 20+ years ago (when we had Young Quilters).

The felt Christmas Pudding can be made (with a little help perhaps) by under 10s –

christmas pudding

whereas the Christmas Bells are more suitable for older children to make on their own, or younger ones with a bit more help.

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Of course there’s no reason why adults can’t make them – except possibly time!

xmas pudding

Christmas Bells

 

Simple Blocks – Susannah

This is a really simple block but so many design opportunities. Just one Square-in-a-Square unit surrounded by small squares –

You can download the instructions here. Don’t forget to check out the Tutorials page for further details on making the unit.

This is what happens when you change the emphasis of the dark and light blues around –

And when you put them into a quilt –

Mix the two blocks –

Put them on point –

Use striped fabric –

or a completely different colour –