Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A Little Happy Patchy Heart Quilt Along ~ Week 1 Cutting and 4 Patches



Thank you so much for joining me for part one of the Patchy Heart Quilt Along.  As I said last week, this is a totally achievable quilt for first timers, alternatively its a a fun and enjoyable quick quilt for the more experienced. 

Just in case you missed them, you find the materials required list HERE.

Cutting

Before we get cutting, here's a few notes for you.  All instructions from now on use imperial measurements rather than metric.  I personally use a Rotary Cutter, Quilters Ruler and Cutting Mat. If you do not have them, you can still make this quilt by marking out the pieces on your fabric using your favourite fabric marker and cutting out with scissors.  You just need to ensure that you mark accurately and that your angles are true.

From each of your 15 'mini' pieces, cut out:
Four x 4" squares.

PLEASE NOTE It is very important that you cut them as positioned on the graphic below, to ensure that you will have sufficient fabric left over for the scrappy heart, which we will cut next week. (The pink represents each 'mini' piece and the fabric should be placed landscape, cutting the four squares from the bottom left hand side.  The fabric to the right, where we will cut out the heart should be at least 5" across)


From the Kona Cotton, cut out:
Fifteen x 7 1/2" squares
Four x 2 1/4" strips, full width of fabric

From the Binding Fabric cut out:
Four x 2 1/2" strips, full width of fabric

'A little happy' tip on cutting if you're using a cutting mat and quilters ruler.....


You should now have a beautiful stack of perfectly cut pieces ready to piece together.

Sewing

Before we get stitching, a few notes on piecing your fabrics.  A few years ago I invested in a 1/4" foot for my sewing machine, which is the standard seam allowance used for patchwork....... however (purists look away now)  if this is your first quilt and your machine does not have a specific quilting foot, do not worry, simply use your standard machine foot, BUT whatever you do, ensure that you use a consistent seam allowance throughout.  The larger seam allowance will mean that your quilt overall will end up slightly smaller, but rest assured it will still look gorgeous!

Right are you ready, lets get sewing........

Gather up all your 4" square's that you cut from your 'mini size' pieces, there should be sixty squares in total.  The first step that we're going to do is to randomly pair up the 4" squares and stitch together. Now it has to be said I am not terribly good at random, but I simply kept picking my squares, trying to ensure that I didn't have the same colour or patterns where possible touching, but honestly just keep going and it will look super!

Chain stitching speeds up the process no end, which basically means that you take your first pair of squares and stitch together, once you get to the end of the square, do not break your thread, stitch a few more stitches and then insert your next pair of squares and so on.  You can read more about chain piecing HERE.


This is what your chain looks like.....

Take your chain of squares (2 patches) over to your ironing board and then press the sewn seam as shown on the picture below, this sets the stitches.  Snip the thread in between the squares and then open out the squares, but do not press the seam open at this stage.

A little happy note on pressing.... rather than a gliding motion that you would use for pressing clothes, use more of a gentle downward pressing motion, this prevents the fabric from distorting.  It is also where possible better to use your iron without steam.

Take your 2 patches over to your work space and now match them up into pairs, these will become your 4 patches, there will be fifteen 4 patches in total. When matching mine I made sure that I used four different fabrics for each 4 patch and tried to get an even distribution of the colours.
Once you're happy with your pairings, carefully take them over to your ironing board to be pressed open.   The idea is that you press the seam on each pair in alternate directions, this enables to them to nest together when you join them to form the 4 patch.  If you prefer you can also press the seams open.


This is what it looks like after pressing



Repeat for the remaining sets, then stitch along the pinned seam, chain sewing as you did before.

Press the seam to set the stitches and snip the thread in between the blocks.
Open out the 4 patch and press the seam to one side.
This is what the back of the 4 patch should look like......
and on the front you should have a lovely neat join where the 4 squares meet.....however sometimes despite all your best efforts this isn't always the case,  so grab your seam ripper and try again.

That's it for this week you should now have fifteen very pretty 4 patch blocks.   As always, if you have any questions, please do pop me an email or leave a comment below and I'll do all that I can to help.

Next week we'll be working on the heart blocks and stitching the quilt top together, so I look forward to seeing you then and don't forget so that I can take a peek, if you share any pictures on Instagram or Facebook please do use the hashtag:

#alittlehappyqal

Happy Quilting!

Monday, 27 October 2014

An Autumn Cowl Ta dah!

I am sooo excited to have finished my latest crochet project, a lovely Autumnal cowl (can a girl ever have to many scarves!)  I started off using this pattern, but I made my foundation chain far to tight so I had to add about 15 extra chains stitches.  I've subsequently read, but sorry I can not for the life of me remember where,  it's a good idea to use a hook one size up.  I'll definitely try this next time.

I decided to stop at 30 rows, the pattern says 45 and on the face of it, all was going swimmingly well.......

...... that is until you looked at the join in the back.....humm I need a lot more practice.  So what to do....I pondered for a few days..... and a few days more.....
.....then I had a little brainwave.  I made a little strip and found a pattern for some crochet flowers in an old Molly Makes, and ta dah......
 no more gappy seam!
 I am so pleased with it!!!  
I used Drops Muskat from my stash in the following colours:

09 Light brown
34 Pink
39 Heather
40 Coral
41 Bordeaux
51 Warm Yellow
61 Light Beige

I am also pleased to report that it is very soft and snuggly to wear...look away now if you're of a nervous disposition, awful selfie coming up!

Thanks as always for visiting my blog and for all your lovely comments on my Patchy Heart Quilt Along.  I'll be back on Wednesday with the first installment.

Hope to see you then!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A little happy..... Patchy Heart Quilt Along

Hooray, my low volume, patchy heart quilt is finished,  so as I mentioned in my last post if anyone would like to join me, lets have a little happy Quilt Along.   There's going to be lots of pictures and tips of how I made this it so even if this is your very first quilt I hope you may feel encouraged to give it a go!

So if you would like to join in, here's what we're going to make.......

It's a very simple design, made up of alternate blocks of 4 patches (4 small squares stitched together to form a larger square) and plain blocks, each one with the addition of a raw edged appliqued heart. The quilting is in straight lines following the edges of each block and to finish I've added one of my favourite stripey bindings.
So how is the Quilt Along going to work, I hear you asking.... well for the next four weeks, I'll break down the making of the quilt into four easy stages....

In week 1, we'll cut out all that we need for the quilt top and stitch the 4 patch blocks.

In week 2, we'll make the heart blocks and stitch the quilt top together.

In week 3, we'll layer and tackle the quilting.
Finally in week 4, we'll add the binding.


Obviously you can choose to make the quilt at what ever pace you like, there's no pressure to keep up at all.  My intention is that at whatever speed you go at, you ultimately enjoy the experience, with the added bonus that you'll end up with something pretty.

To give you an idea of size, the finished quilt measures 38" (97cm) by 44 1/2" (113cm), making it a little lap quilt or baby quilt.

So if you fancy joining me, these are the materials that you will need:

For the quilt top
  • 15 x 'mini size' pieces or a selection of patterned fabrics of an equivalent size (25cm x 35cm) from your stash
  • 1m of Kona Cotton or a complimentary fabric, you will have a little left over for future projects 
(If you would like to use the same fabrics as me, Mum (Penny) and I have put together a quilt top pack, which includes the exact same Low Volume mini pieces, plus 1m of Kona Snow, you can find it HERE)


For the binding
  • 4 x 2 1/2" strips by the full width of fabric (If you are purchasing fabric, you will need just over a quarter of a metre, so to ensure that you have enough, you will need to purchase 1/2 metre of fabric, leaving you with just under a quarter of a metre of fabric for future projects, I used THIS ONE)


For the backing
  • 1.25m of  fabric, at least 110cm wide. ( If you are purchasing fabric from the website, you will need to add 5 Fat Quarters to your basket, I used THIS ONE)


You will also need
  • 110 x 125cm piece wadding/batting  ( If you are purchasing wadding, THIS is my wadding of choice and you will need to add 3 units to your basket, giving you a piece measuring aprox  225cm wide by 150cm long.  Cut carefully, you will use half for this project leaving you enough to make a second similar size quilt)
  • 25 cm x 90cm wide Bondaweb

Here's some other fabric ideas for you for the quilt top and backing....

Why not pick some pretty Tilda fabrics from the new collection Happiness is Homemade and Tiny Treasures


Kona Snow again is the perfect co-ordinate with these and Leaf Garland Blue would make a super binding.

or for something brighter, Lecien Flower Sugar, would be gorgeous

again Kona Snow is just lovely with these and for the binding, the Sevenberry Stripe in Red would be stunning!

If you would like any help putting together any combinations from the website, just give me a shout and I'll happily send over some pictures of fabrics all together so that you can see how they work.

So here's the schedule for the weekly posts (I'll update these to include links as we go) :

29th October ~ Cutting and 4 Patch
5th November ~ Appliqued Hearts and Piecing the Quilt Front
12th November ~ Layering and Quilting
19th November ~ Binding

I hope that you'll join me and if at any time you need any help, just get in touch and I'll do all that I can to assist.  Oh and so that I can take a peek, if you share any pictures on Instagram or Facebook please do use the hashtag:

#alittlehappyqal

Back soon!


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Quilty Fun


Hello my name is Sarah and I am a quiltaholic.......... or so it would seem from the number of works in progress I currently have....... I blame the fact that I am surrounded by gorgeous fabric everyday.... I mean just look at this.......


For weeks and weeks I have been seeing snippets of Miss Kate on Instagram being sewn into the most beautiful quilts and pretty things.  So when our bolts (all 16 of them!) arrived last Friday, it was inevitable that I would just have to snaffle some of it and get stitching.  I have been promising Poppy a new snack mat for ages, so I grabbed my Quilt Fun book which I got back here, and chose the super cute Tulip Block.....

I used in the main Miss Kate, the green in the middle is Pam Kitty Picnic, those gorgeous aqua dots are Tilda and the binding is Sevenberry.  The off white is Kona Snow and it is my absolute favourite shade ever!!  Oh and look, (she says patting herself on the back) a completed project!
Ok..... so we won't talk about this then..........
or maybe we should.......those new Tilda's have been taunting...yes taunting me.... since they arrived a few weeks ago.  I was showing so much self control......I had talked very sternly to myself and had no intention of starting a new quilt until firstly my scrappy trip along was finished, secondly those teeny hexies that I started on holiday had been turned into something pretty and thirdly I had made a few more Farmers Wives Blocks....... but then this happened........
........ honestly they jumped into that basket all by themselves and before I knew it, were cut up  and stitched into a new brick quilt.  Ok so not a finish as such, but that's a quilt front all done...... whooppee......
So as I was stitching the bricks together, I thought to myself wouldn't it be fun to have a bit of a Quilt-a-long kind of thing.......nothing complicated and really aimed for newbie / want-to-be quilters..... so before I knew it, I had bought home yet more fabric...... this time a selection of pretty low volume prints.....
and after a happy few hours yesterday of cutting, stitching, bondawebbing and a little more stitching, this is what I came up with.......
a pretty small size lap / baby quilt.  As you can see it's not finished yet, there's a border to be added, some quilting and finally a binding around the edge.  My thoughts are, that I'll publish some detailed step by step stages, with lots and lots of photo's so that if you've always dreamed of a making a quilt, you may be encouraged to give it a go.

Right I'm off now to write out 100 times......

I must not start another quilty project until these ones are done and dusted
I must not start ano....... Do you think a new crochet project would be ok????

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Saturday Shop News

This week has all been about pretty trims. Just when you thought you've found the prettiest ones available, you stumble on yet more that you just NEED to stock...sorry, look away now if you're a bit of a button, ribbon and lace addict.........
I've long been a huge fan on using linen and lace together, so it was with great excitement to discover the two together in one combination......  Linen and Lace Bias Binding,  we've currently got two lovely colours in stock.  We also added some more variations of your favourites, so you can now find a narrow version of our extremely popular Cotton/Hemp ribbon, Ivory Edged Hopsack ribbon in two widths, double edge lace in Pewter and Aubergine and some super wooden handmade buttons.  (if you click on the product names, you'll be taken straight to them on the website)

And whilst we're on the subject of the lace, we have another new Berties Bows design, in 8 very lovely colours, now in stock. Find it HERE.

Buttons are another passion of mine and I just love these pretty matt pastel buttons.  I was sat at my kitchen table whilst I was adding them to the website and couldn't resist tipping them out...don't they look pretty on my tablecloth.  

We also added some more polka dot ribbons...can you ever have to many polka dots?
On the fabric front, there are some gorgeous new Lecien Flower Sugar bundles now available.... these and all our perfectly co-ordinated fabric bundles can be found HERE.  Choose as always from our Fat Quarter Bundles or our unique Small or Mini size Bundles.
To finish, here's a few new additions to our Christmas Shop......

Thank you as always for your lovely comments and support.....have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Kiss me under the mistletoe.......




On the day Mum and I opened Pretty Fabrics and Trims we published our very first tutorial, which was for a pretty pocket heart.  The heart was something that I made back in my Little Kitten Homemade days and after my bunting was one of the most popular products available.  The original tutorial can be found on the old shop blog and has proved to be one of the most popular tutorials I've written.  Fast forward two and half years and this morning as I photographed this new mistletoe ribbon, it came to mind wouldn't it it look lovely on a Christmassy themed pocket heart.



So after a quick cheese and marmite toasty for lunch (yummy!!) I dashed up to the sewing room and rustled one up.....they're super quick and easy....... I used, Essex Linen in Putty (the grey would look lovely too!), White Teeth Lace, Mistletoe Ribbon and 6mm Rusty Tin Bells.  I simply wrote KISS! free hand using one of these and then embroidered over the top using back stitch.


 all the instructions including step by step photo's can be found HERE and if you're not quite ready for Christmas crafting, here's one of the originals I made.......
You can find links to all my other tutorials HERE and if you do make something using them, please do send me a picture, I would love to see.  Alternatively, I've just thought of a little hashtag #alittlehappytutorial  that you can use to tag your photo's on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter...... get me I am finally getting with it!

Finally, don't forget, it's 30% Thursday and on offer today (until 9pm GMT) are a selection of scrummy Farbenmix ribbons..... find them HERE

Back soon.....