OAKSHOTT BLOG HOP AND A ‘MOUNTAINS FROM A MOLE HILL’ QUILT

Welcome new visitors and old!  How exciting that you’re all here to join me on my stop of the Oakshott Scandinavia Blog Hop!  The perfectly curated bundle of eight new shot cottons from Oakshott had the same effect on me as the Autumn bundle from last year.  There’s something about a folded pile of fabric that gets the brain cogs turning, and this time was no exception.

The collection draws inspiration from an airy colour palette and clean Scandinavian interiors.  A milky white warp combines with 8 different weft tones to create a collection that is unassuming, yet full of depth.  In all the past projects in which I have used Oakshott fabrics, none have caught the light in different ways so much as these colours. They really are amazing to work with and only an up-close-and-personal look will do them justice.  Hopefully, once you get to the end of this post you’ll all be inspired to go and get some!

Whilst I was waiting for my bundle to arrive, I began to brainstorm some ideas I thought might work for these, the subtlest fabrics I’ve used to date.  Much like the fabrics themselves, I wanted to take inspiration from Scandinavia and began looking at Danish and Swedish art, design and architecture.  Several ideas began taking shape, each more elaborate than the last, until my mind was overflowing with creative thoughts.  I was making things too complicated! I went back to the drawing board and the fabrics themselves.  They were crying out for something simple.  Then, probably through a combination of my teaching a HST class at the time and the fact that my creativity was getting out of control, I happened upon the idea I eventually ran with.  A quilt, inspired by Scandinavian landscapes and the idea of making something out of nothing or, more specifically, mountains from mole hills!

With simplicity being the key, I settled on HSTs with the odd quarter circle thrown in for good measure.  My original design saw a lot more quarter circles topping the ends of the ‘pillars’, but after some thought I decided that the quilt would be more impactful if the ‘mountains’ sprung from just one ‘mole hill’.  I used my trusty Sizzix Big Shot to cut the drunkards path pieces (which I did before revising my idea, so don’t be surprised to see a Oakshott mini quilt in the not too distant future) and used new dies, the 4.5″ (659838) and 5″ (657626) square to cut the pieces for the rest of the quilt.  My preferred method for making HSTs is to place 2 over-sized squares together and sew either side of the diagonal line using a scant quarter-inch seam allowance, making 2 at once. I then trim the units down and find this method to give me better accuracy when it comes to joining the blocks.  If you have a Sizzix machine, then the process can be sped up by using the HST die.

In terms of piecing, this is a really simple quilt to make.  A little fore-thought is needed to cut and pair up the fabrics so that the pattern forms correctly.  There are many great online tutorials for both HST and quarter circles, so I won’t cover old ground here.  If you’d like to make your own ‘Mountains From A Mole Hill’ quilt, then use the follow cutting list.  Once you’ve cut and pieced all the required squares, HSTs and quarter circles, use the photograph as a guide to piece them, the squares and the quarter circle units into rows before sewing the rows together to complete the quilt top, which finishes at 48″ square.  When joining the blocks, be sure to alternate the direction in which you press the seams in each row, i.e, press all the seam in row 1 to the left, all the seam in row 2 to the right, all the seams in row 3 to the left, etc.  Doing so will enable you to nest and better match the seams when it comes to sewing the rows together.

Materials:

1 FQ bundle of Oakshott Scandinavia as well as an additional half yard of Bergen (cream), Uppsala (light grey) and Stockholm (dark grey).  You will have some fabric left over, but that’s never a bad thing!

Cut the following:

Cream           17 4.5″ squares and 7 5″ squares

Light Grey     24 4.5″ squares and 13 5″ squares

Dark Grey     28 4.5″ squares and 14 5″ squares

Green           7 4.5″ squares and 6 5″ squares

Yellow           9 4.5″ squares and 4 5″ squares

Blue              6 4.5″ squares and 4 5″ squares

Pink              3 4.5″ squares and 3 5″ squares

Purples         5 4.5″ squares and 3 5″ squares.

Use the 5″ squares to make the following number of HST.  Due to the method of making a pair at once, you’ll have some left over, which you can piece into the back or use in another project.

11 light grey and dark grey

10 cream and light grey

4 dark grey and yellow

3 dark grey and green

2 dark grey and blue

2 dark grey and purple

2 pink and purple

1 cream and dark grey

1 cream and green

1 light grey and green

1 light grey and blue

1 dark grey and pink

1 yellow and blue

1 yellow and green

1 purple and blue

1 green and pink

Cut 2 quarter circles in green, an arch in yellow and an arch in purple.  What ever method you use to cut your drunkard’s path pieces, ensure they finish at the same size as the squares and HST units, i.e 4.5″.

As you can see, my quilt isn’t quite finished.  I was all ready to quilt this using wavy, edge-to-edge lines but a spark of inspiration at the 11th hour had me reaching for paper on which I scribbled furiously.  I’m not sure if my idea may be a tad ambitious.  If so, I apologise for making you wait to see this quilt finished; I just thought that the idea was worth a little more pondering.  So watch this space…it may fail miserable and I’ll end up using my original quilting plan!  In any case, I’m glad I get to enjoy the simplicity of the pieced top for a little while longer.

This fabric really is amazingly versatile.  Be sure to check out all the stops on the Oakshott Scandinavia Blog Hop. Eight projects from eight different bloggers.  You can find links to all the stops below.  Thank you all for visiting, and to Lynne and Michael for allowing me to indulge my creativity.

 4th  May – Sarah Sharp
 5th  May – Heather Scrimnscher 
 6th  May – Amy Sinibaldi
 7th  May – Rossie Hutchinson
11th May – Elaine Poplin
12th May – Sarah Fielke
13th May – Nicholas Ball
14th May – Lori Landerberger

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A SECOND HALF SQUARE TRIANGLE QUILT

It’s officially October, my favorite month, and this latest finish is woefully late.  You see, back in June a work colleague and his wife brought home their newborn son.  Another colleague and I decided it would be a nice gesture to make a baby quilt for them. We had a collection and went shopping.  My friend is a student of fashion design and has similar tastes to me when it comes to fabrics.  We like the same colours and designs so the whole process was blissfully easy.  It’s not the first time we’ve collaborated on a project, having made a graduation quilt a few years earlier, and it was fun to teach her some new things, like half square triangles.

We chose a simple chevron layout, alternating the rows between light and dark fabrics.  We knew the sex of the baby before we pulled fabric, but wanted to stay away from the traditional blue palette, instead opting for something a bit more modern.  We chose low volume prints, including some Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander, paired with mustards and blacks.  We used a variety of fabrics including some Robert Kauffman Essex linen and some double gauze.  This was my first time sewing with some Cotton and Steel basics.  They are so much nicer in person!  Some might think black an unusual choice for a baby quilt, but we were both sold and really like the bold statement it makes.  We pieced the top together in a day before I took it home to finish.

With a simple layout we opted for some equally simple quilting, wavy lines across the entire quilt top.  The quilting was a joy to do and I really dig the texture this type gives.  The backing was some Ikea Britten print that I had in my stash, whilst the solid black  binding continues the simple feel of the quilt.  This was the first time I’ve cut my binding strips two inches wide.  I really like the look of a skinny binding and I think this works better than my usual two and a quarter-inch strips.  The quilt finishes at 37″ square.

We’re both really pleased with how this one turned out and can’t wait to gift it, even if it is a little late!

A HALF SQUARE TRIANGLE QUILT

Merry Christmas!  I hope everyone had a fun and festive day yesterday.  As dictated by tradition, ours was full of far too much food and enough hastily torn wrapping paper to redecorate a small bedroom.  If it were any other way then it wouldn’t really be Christmas, would it?  I was spoilt by no less than seven quilting books which will see me stocked up on inspiration for years to come, as well as fabric given to me months before so that I might “look at it” before it was wrapped.  Let’s just say some wrapping paper was saved…

Now that the man in red has delivered his wares I can finally reveal the quilt I completed a few weeks ago.  As I said in this post, this quilt came about quite spontaneously and wasn’t something that was on my to-do list.  I was asked to make it for a new addition to our family and with the deadline being Christmas, I knew it had to be something quick and easy.

Half Square triangles are one of my favourite block components.  They’re simple to make on mass and can be arranged in so many different ways.  I really enjoyed pulling fabrics for this quilt.  Whilst I wanted to stick to the traditional masculine colours, I love the orange for the zesty pop of colour it adds to the quilt.  The mix of solids, tone-on-tone prints and fussy cut pieces really works for this baby quilt, and there are lots of cute images for the recipient to “I spy” in a few years time.  I couldn’t resist some Heather Ross goldfish and dogs from her Lightening Bugs and other Mysteries collection for this very reason.

The quilting was kept simple, an edge-to-edge stipple, as was the backing fabric, which was the bargain I secured a few months back.  The binding is one of my favourite prints from Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander, crosshatch in black, which finishes off the quilt perfectly.  I’ve already been told that the quilt was the favourite present of the day and is to be cherished forever.  What more reward could us quilters ask for?

BINDING BITS

The half square triangle quilt I blogged about in my last post is almost finished.  As well as chasing the dog through drifts of fallen leaves and drinking more coffee than I really should, I’ve spent the morning making the  binding that will see this particular quilt finished in about, oh, I don’t know, a few hours.

Binding is my favourite part of the whole quilt making process.  This brazen confession caused some controversy on Instagram a few days ago.  A few of my followers weren’t convinced.  In fact, they likened the process to nothing more than a signal that they were almost done.  I’ll admit that when I first embarked on my quilting journey I wasn’t too enamoured with this step and some of my earliest attempts are destined to never see the bright lights of the blogsphere!  I’m happy to say I’ve improved and whilst binding a quilt is a something we all do, the processes by which we do it differ greatly.  Here are some binding tidbits I’ve learnt along the way.

Binding is not big, but it is bold

I think the biding strips I cut for the first quilt I made were 4″wide!  Enormous things.  I now prefer a thinner binding, cutting my strips at 2.25″.  Though in essence binding is something to finish the edges of a quilt it doesn’t mean it can’t make a statement.  I’m drawn to strong, graphic prints for my binding, particularly monochromatic colourways.  Be daring with your fabric choices, as you would be when making the quilt top.  The binding is the last chance for a splash of colour or a snippet of a favourite print.

Do unto binding as you do to your blocks

Going back to that first quilt I ever bound, using the 4″ strips, I was so eager to finish that I didn’t even press the seams, just folded the thing in half and stitched it down.  I’m now meticulous in my pressing, opening the seams to reduce bulk, much like I’d do on quilt blocks.  The binding’s happy, and so are my fingers when I don’t have to wrestle a needle through a mass of fabric when hand stitching!

Make it your own monster

Like Frankenstein and his monster, don’t be afraid to use different body parts fabrics in your binding.  Sometimes a quilt needs a single, solid binding, other times it doesn’t.  Scrappy can work, as can small snippets of colour, as I’ve done in my last few quilts.  There’s no rule that says it has to all be the same.

Pretty simple

As basic as binding is, it looks really nice all rolled up and lit like a diva.

Less is not more

Believe me when I say it’s better to add and extra 8-10″ to your require binding length.  This is something I usually do, though today an extra 1.5″ was closer to it.  I’m not sure how I managed such a major miscalculation but am grateful to the quilting gods for their understanding.  Phewww!

Press and pin and press

photo 5

Once I’ve got my binding pressed, I like to pin it to the entire quilt before I begin stitching it down.  I start on one side, leaving a tail of about 4-5″, then pin at regular intervals, mitering the corners until I’m back where I stared.  Then it’s over to the machine to stitch the ends together before finishing with a few more pins.  I like this method as it enables me to stitch quicker, without having to stop to line the binding up to the raw quilt edge.  A quick press to the side gives me a nice crisp seam ready for hand stitching down.

Not just for hair

Though they look like something a 6-year-old girl might have, these clips are invaluable for holding the binding down as I sew.  There are many different types available, though these ones make a nice sound when you tip them onto the table.  Just as I pin the binding to the entire quilt, I similarly use these all the way around before I begin to sew, keeping the pot to hand for when they’ve served their purpose.

Stitch in good company

Finally, as enjoyable as I find the final stage of hand stitching, the inches go quicker if you’re being festively crooned.

I’d love to hear any binding bits you might have!

A HALF SQUARE TRIANGLE QUILT – WIP

I can’t believe it’s the 4th December already!  I wish I could be a kid again.  Back then, school holidays seemed to last months not weeks and Christmas took forever to arrive.  Now, I blink and a week’s passed!  There’s barely time to fill a bobbin before something or someone is clawing for my attention, be it tree decorating, jam making or opening the advent calender for an ever-demanding dog.  Today however, it’s my half square triangle quilt.

With the Lighthouse Quilt having fled the WIP nest, I was itching to get back to the Gossip quilt.  I’ve been hoarding that backing fabric for such a long time and it was great to finally make progress on the blocks a few weeks back.  All the logs are cut and waiting patiently for me.  Well, I hope they don’t mind waiting a little longer as this has to be the next thing I finish…

This half square triangle quilt was something that happened rather spontaneously and has been a bit of a cloak and dagger project.  I impressed myself when I didn’t have to buy a single piece of fabric for it.  Everything came from stash; handy considering the looming festive deadline.  There are lots of favourites in here, including some of my coveted Heather Ross.  If all goes to plan,  I hope to baste this over the weekend and quilt it early next week.

I could really do with some of those elves right now!