Category Archives: Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL

Double Tutorial Tue: Foundation Heart Mug Rug & Sew. Happy. Quilt. Block #9

Psst…did you want to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? You still can! And don’t forget to enter my awesome giveaway, which ends Thursday! At least 3 fabulous prizes to be given away!

Woohoo! I’ve got 2 tutorials to share with you today! One is the next block in my Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt AlongChurn Dash Redux, which can be found here, and the other is one I posted last week on my good friend Melissa’s blog, SewBitterSweet Designs. She has an AMAZING array of Valentine’s Day themed tutorials in her Valentine’s Day Showcase celebration - so go check the others out!

My daughter Savi is pretty enamoured with this mug rug, and she’s always so good and cheerful that this Valentine’s Day I’m giving her this special handmade gift. I’m really lucky to have such a great and supportive family, and it’s so nice to have a full time cheerleader in my corner. Life hasn’t always been easy for the two of us, but I think our closeness has given us both strength when we needed it most – and there really were times when my 10 year old daughter held me together. I’ve always treated her like an adult and it seems to have helped her become a clever and brave tween. Thanks, Savi. Mummy loves you!

Ingredients:

  • one printed heart pdf pattern from Carol Doak’s free patterns page (just scroll down till you see Crazy Patch Heart)
  • OPTIONAL: an 8″ x 8″ scrap of calico or thin white cotton fabric to make a foundation
  • assorted scraps for the heart foundation/paper piecing block
  • 4 strips of fabric 1.5″ x 6.5″
  • 2 strips of fabric 1.5″ x 10.5″
  • 2 strips of fabric 2″ x 10.5″
  • 2 strips of fabric 2″ x 11.5″
  • Wadding 12″ x 14″
  • Backing for 12″ x 14″
  • 55″ worth of binding (need a binding tute? No problem!)

Finished size: about 10″ x 12″ depending on how big the foundation pattern prints. Don’t freak out if it’s not exactly 6.5″ square. Mine wasn’t and I think it looks ok anyway. :)

Ok, right off the bat when you look at the next picture you’ll be wondering if I’ve gone crazy. Of course I have, but it has nearly nothing to do with the sewing. Nearly.

I take a class with a lovely lady named Jackie Sparks. She doesn’t have a blog but she’s the chair of my local quilt group, Romsey Quilters. (BTW I do their website too – that’s why it’s so crap). Anyway, she showed me a way to eliminate all the faff of paper piecing by turning it into foundation piecing. All you need is some masking tape, a ruler and a pencil and some calico.

As you can see, I’ve taped my printout down to my mat, then over it I’ve taped a big square of calico, which is so thin you can see right through it. (So it doesn’t add bulk!) Then you simply trace ALL the lines using a pencil and ruler. Make sure you do the outside 1/4″ lines so you have a seam allowance. And I promise you the extra effort is worth it – it makes life SO much easier!

So I’ve drawn all my lines and numbered the spaces in pencil too. That’s important. Do that now.

Clearly, if it’s numbered, we’ll start with #1. ***#s 1, 9, 10, 11 Cut a piece of fabric that’s larger than the space – it’s a tiny space so a square of whatever will do. Place it RIGHT SIDE UP on the BACK of the numbered side and pin in place. See how I’m holding it up to the light to make sure there is plenty of seam allowance on all sides? You should do that too.

Now I’ve cut a big piece for #2. I’ve place it RIGHT SIDE DOWN (Facing down) on top of the #1 piece. See how the only thing actually IN the #2 space is a tiny little seam allowance? That’s because we’ll be flipping it Right Side UP after sewing that line. Also you need to make sure that when you do flip and iron the square of fabric will cover all of the #2 space plus at least 1/4″.

Do what the picture says. Start stitching about 2 stitch lengths before, and stop about 2 stitch lengths after the line.

This is important. You MUST iron after every seam you sew. That keeps it crisp and sharp, which is why you’re doing a foundation in the first place.

Now fold back the calico and trim the seam allowance to 1/4″. MAKE SURE you don’t cut the calico!!!

Now we’re getting to larger pieces. Here’s how to deal with them: 1) Make sure you cut a piece large enough to cover #3 plus AT LEAST 1/4″ on all sides. Personally I cut much larger then trim down. 2) Place it face down on the front, positioning it so the seam allowance is roughly 1/4″ past the line between #’2 and #3. 3) Then pin the line to test your seam before you sew it. 4) Turn it so you’re looking at the numbered side and hold it up to the light as shown above to make sure that once you stitch the line, there is plenty of fabric to cover #3. In this case there’s more than enough.

5) Now reposition your pin so you’re not sewing it and you can sew that line between #1/#2 and #3. PRESS!!!

Here’s how it looks after you’ve added #4. I know it looks messy and awful, but you’ll trim so don’t worry about it. Just worry about the seams and making sure you have enough fabric. Just follow steps 1 through 5 as outlined above and you won’t go wrong.

Here it is after I sewed all the pieces. Doesn’t that look awful?

Here’s the back of that foundation piece. Now that looks all nice and neat, doesn’t it? AND NO TEARING (or tears!)!

Now you’re ready to trim the foundation along those outside lines and add your 2 6.5″ long strips to the sides. (Again, if yours printed out smaller, don’t fret. Just trim the edges of the strips and decide if you want to add more.)

Here she is all pieced, basted and quilted. I tried a fancy meandering heart FMQ. Some of it looks good, some of it looks like thread vomit as I showed you before. Now all you need to do is put the binding on and you’re good to go!


© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.

Posted in Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Tutorial: Flying Geese Pinwheel Block

Hello! Would you like to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? You still can! And please make sure you’ve entered into my Fat Quarter Shop fabric giveaway too!

Welcome to the next block in the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Sampler Quilt Along! Today’s block isn’t very hard – I promise! No bias exposed, no triangles. Just squares and rectangles.

 You’ll need 4 fabrics for this block, and here are the measurements:

  • {4x} 3.5″ x 3.5″ which will be your little pinwheel (mine are aqua)
  • {12x} 3.5″ x 3.5″ which will be your other ‘wings’ (mine are white)
  • {4x} 3.5″ x 6.5″ for your large pinwheel (mine are orange)
  • {4x} 3.5″ 6.5″ for your other geese (mine are grey)

First things first: With a pencil, draw a diagonal line on the back of ALL of your 3.5″ x 3.5″ squares. Then, because it always helps to lay things out, take your 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles and lay them out as shown above. Take your 4 little pinwheel squares and arrange them so the lines make an X – like in the picture.

If you’re really paranoid, you can test your layout by folding the squares over where you are planning to sew them just to make sure they’re all going the right way. Hint: You’ll be pressing them toward the outside edges of the block.

Then sew along those 4 lines. You can chain stitch these. After you’ve stitched the squares down, you can trim. I’ve only trimmed one edge here, but you can trim both edges if you’d like. (I leave mine in because I’m weird and it helps me sew more accurately.)

Now you’ll be adding the 12 other squares to all the corners. Once you get side done you MUST press and trim before moving on to the other side! Then you’ll overlap the centre with the next square, making sure that your pencil line is in the right direction, as shown above. Sew those squares, press and trim.

Here it is with all the squares attached, ready to be put together. Now you just need to sew them in blocks of two, and sew them into a square. SEAMS: I pressed to the outside, not open, when joining them to each other.

Here they are joined in blocks of 2 flying geese units.

Now you need to join them together as shown above.

And your block is complete! Well done!

Here’s the back of mine because I’m weird and happy to declare it. You can trim those if you want!

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, Tutorial Tuesday, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Fireflies Block #6 – Guest Tutorial Melissa of SewBitterSweet!

Did you want to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? It’s still open!

I’m really thrilled to present Block #6 of the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along! My friend Melissa agreed to do a tutorial for the Fireflies block, and I’m sure you are going to love it! If you’re wondering what I’m on about, here’s the Quilt Along information page. Most of the blocks are fairly simple, so anyone can join anytime.

Hi Everyone! My name is Melissa and I blog at Sew BitterSweet Designs. Last year I worked on a Vintage Christmas Sampler quilt and one of the blocks was the Fireflies block. When Jenna asked me if I would like to do the tutorial for her QAL – I was tickled and honored at the same time!

So here we go!

Let’s start with the cutting instructions:

Usually when I make HSTs I cut my squares larger, but for this block, I find my results are more accurate if I cut to these measurements and starch like crazy. (If you’re nervous about that, you can cut them 1/8″ larger than called for and then trim down. Eg cut the large red square to 7″ instead of 6 7/8″)

All seams: 1/4 inch

Start by Assembling your 6 blue & white HSTs – I like to chain piece. Sew section after section without cutting your threads until you are done.Then cut them all apart – for newer quilters – this will save you lots of time.

Next – take 2 of your HSTs and assemble your large triangle sections (make 2):

Next – take your large red triangles and assemble two 6.5″ blocks:

(Hint) – place the pieces right sides together – line up the points and sew – then trim down to 6.5″

Next assemble two 4-patch blocks:

Layout your block and sew together – voila – you’re done!

If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to ask! melissa (at) sewbittersweetdesigns (dot) com.

PS. If you are interested – I have a giveaway on my blog right now from Fat Quarter Shop – stop by and enter!

See? Wasn’t that easy? Ok, maybe not easy, but definitely not as hard as you might have thought. When you get your block done, pop a pic in the Flickr group!

Posted in Craft Tutorial, Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. Tutorial #3 – Template Star Quilt Block

Pssst…Manic Monday Linky Party is still open if you want to leave a link!

Hello! Welcome to the 3rd tutorial of Sew. Happy. Quilt. From now on, we’ll only be working on one block per week. This week’s block is fairly simple to put together, but you’ll be using a template to cut it out, and there is a bit of a trick to getting it to come out right when you sew it, so I’ve put this in the Slightly Advanced Beginner category.

SewHappyGeek

I have a Lazy Angle ruler which for you North Americans is available at Fat Quarter Shop, and for those UK/Europeans, it’s available at Creative Grids. I’m not saying you HAVE to have one, but if you like the look of this block, it might be worth investigating it.

First, you’ll need to print these PDFs I made. I don’t think you need any special settings on your printer, but you can check they’re the right size by making sure they’re 6.5″ high. Make sense? Here they are:

***UPDATE: Apparently, I screwed it up (what’s new?), so DH has fixed it – So when you print this, make sure you’ve got things set to NO SCALING . You can easily check that it’s right by checking that the template pieces are 6.5″ tall. The large S is toward the top of the skinny template piece, and the large B is toward the top of the background piece. Please read the whole tute before cutting as there are more pictures to help you below. If you have trouble, please email me at jenna@sewhappygeek.co.uk If you want to link to the template, that’s fine, but PLEASE link back to this page, NOT the PDF. And I’ll know if you’re cheating.***

Star_Templates

Then you’ll need 3 fabrics – one for the inner star, and two for the background parts of the block. (You could do it with just one background fabric if you want.)

From your inner star fabric, cut a piece measuring 6.5″ x 8.5″

From your background fabrics, cut a piece of each measuring 6.5″ x 10.5″ (or one 6.5″ x 21″)

A word about templates: if you were doing a whole quilt using these templates, I’d recommend you buy the plastic template sheets that are designed to do jobs like this. But you’re only doing one block, so I don’t think it’s necessary. Since you’ll only be needing to cut one side, you could use a little double sided tape or tape rolled up on the paper template piece. Then you can ‘stick’ the template to the fabric and use your regular ruler to make the cuts necessary. Then transfer the tape to the other side to make the next cut. This will make more sense when you’re doing it.

So here’s how you cut for the star. If you’re right handed, you’ll start at the left hand edge and cut 4 pieces, rotating the template piece to upside down so they come out like this. If you’re left handed, start at the right side. You may have an extra bit leftover from the 8.5″ length. That’s ok.:

Do the same with the larger piece on your background rectangles (6.5″ x 10.5″). You’ll need two of each fabric. You might have a bit leftover after cutting them, too. That’s ok.

You’ll need to sew the star pieces to the background pieces like this (Right Sides Together – I’m not sure if you can tell the from the picture & my crazy orange fabric). But there’s a trick to getting it to line up, so keep reading and reference the pictures below.

You only want the TOP (dog ear) of the STAR piece just barely above the top of the BACKGROUND piece:

And the bottom dog ear just barely goes past the bottom of the background piece, with the background just barely peeking out. If in doubt, use a long stitch so you can undo it. When you’re happy with it, stitch over it again with a smaller stitch setting.

When you’ve stitched it, press the star portion and seams to the right.

Repeat until you have 4 pieces:

Stitch them together into twos:

And stitch again, making sure to line up the middle seams:

That’s it! You’re done! You totally rock!

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.

 Subscribe in a reader

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL – I Feel Like Sally Field

…when she won her 1984 Oscar and said, “I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect…and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!!” in breathless astonishment. I designed the QAL Sampler quilt and I was quite pleased with it. I hoped it was balanced and covered difficulty and techniques from fairly simple to more challenging. Then I let it out into the world. I figured maybe 20 people would join. Seriously, I didn’t think many people would want to use up their fabric for my Sampler design.

I am nearly overwhelmed at the positive response I’ve gotten. There are nearly 100 people in the group right now! Holy cow! Some of these lovely ladies are breaking out precious, precious stashed fabric lines to do this QAL. Some of them are using up scraps and bits & bobs because they want to make it but don’t want to buy or can’t afford new fabric. For me, encountering such a positive response to something I created is simply amazing. I’m hoping to come up with more designs to share with you guys, and I’m really looking forward to doing this again!

But while we’re still in this one, I’d like to say Thank You to my new quilty friends and QALers. Here are some friendship blocks from the QAL photo pool:

 Thank you so much, ladies. You’ve made me smile every day. (OH! I almost forgot! I’ve opened a group up on Flickr where you can post about things you’ve made or are making in any QAL! Please visit!)

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

© J C Excell, 2011

Posted in Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, UK craft blog | Tagged | 9 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Tutorials: Friendship Star & QST Pinwheel Blocks

Welcome to the fourth week & second tutorial of Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL! I’m so glad you’re here! If you haven’t joined yet but are interested, this is the Flickr group and here’s the QAL info page with all the other links. This is the last week that we’ll be doing two blocks in one week, and they’re pretty easy so anyone can join at anytime.

Quick Note: I use starch enthusiastically when piecing. I starch everything after I’ve cut it. If I leave it overnight, I starch it again before sewing with it. It literally brought my piecing from zero to hero. So go get some. Use light coats, and iron it in. Small pieces of fabric are much easier to handle when they’re a bit stiff. And no, it doesn’t hurt your machine, or fabrics, or quilt.

Let’s tackle the Friendship Star first:

For this block you’ll need at least 3 fabrics. The number of squares and their measurements are above. You can set aside those 4.5″ squares for now, as we’re going to make HSTs (Half Square Triangles) with the 5″ x 5″ squares first:

Take two of your squares and draw (in pencil) a diagonal line DOWN THE BACK (not the front!!!) and then draw additional lines 1/4″ on either side as shown above. Then lay those RST (right sides together) with your other 5″ squares – if you look at the one on the left you can see the aqua square just peeking out.

 Sew on the 1/4″ lines you drew. In all you’ll do 2 seams per square. Then cut carefully along that middle diagonal line, as shown on the left. When you open them up and press the seams, they’ll look like the ones on the right.

A WORD ABOUT HSTs: Here’s the deal. If you want your HST to be, say, 4″ finished, you need to use squares cut one inch larger (it’s a little more complicated than that, but let’s not go there). Then, after you open them and press the seams, you need to trim them down to a perfect 4.5″. If you’re puzzled about trimming, there’s a picture in the next block that shows what I mean. Once you see the pic you’ll get what I’m on about. Honest.

 Now line up your HSTs and your 4.5″ squares so they look like this.

  Then sew them together in rows like this. Make sure your 1/4″ SA is as near perfect as possible so they line up in the next step.

Then sew the rows together to make your Friendship Star! Woohoo!

Now on to the QST Pinwheel Block:

 You’ll need 3 different fabrics for this one as well – and 4 squares in all. The measurements are above. I got ahead of myself and also cut my 7″ x 7″ squares on the diagonal. You can go ahead and do that too.

Now take your 7.5″ x 7.5″ squares and cut them diagonally. Cut them again diagonally to reveal 4 little triangles. CAUTION: You are now exposing the bias (horror!!) and therefore need to proceed carefully. Don’t pull the triangles in any direction. Do not steam. Do not rub back and forth with the iron. Starch like crazy if you have starch (or sizing, etc). Like 2 or 3 coats on the back of the fabric. That way your fabric and the bias will behave and perfect points will be MUCH easier to achieve.

 Lay your pieces out as shown above.

 Now sew those smaller triangles at the point shown above. Sew all 4 sets and press seams {open or whatever you prefer}. Lay them back in the formation, because it looks pretty and you’re proud.

 Here’s the back of mine for educational purposes. I press open. Because I’m a rebel.

 Ok, now you want to attach your seamed triangles with your unseamed ones (aqua in my case). Then open them up and press seams.

Le Pic De Trim: This is what you’ll end up with. Now, see how much I trimmed away? You pretty much have to trim down to exactly 6.5″ x 6.5″ if you want your points to line up. Lining up the diagonal with the line on your square ruler is good too.

And sew it all together. That’s it.

P.S. I’m sure there’s an easier way to make them, but it’s only one block so I did it this way.

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. (Buttons above) Thanks!! :)

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.
Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, UK craft blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt QAL Week 1 – Woven & Snowball Block Tutorials

Whoa! I can hardly believe it’s here! I’ve been looking forward to the Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL for so many weeks it kinda seems unreal. I really hope you like the first two blocks and for those beginners out there, I hope you find them fairly easy to construct.

SewHappyGeek
N.B. Seam Allowance in quilting is 1/4″. The better you are at maintaining a precise 1/4″ SA the better your blocks will turn out. Also, I use spray starch on all my pieces before I sew them because it makes precision MUCH easier. Try it!

First up is what I call the Woven Block. Like most of the blocks in this QAL, it’s made of four identical parts. Here are the cutting measurements:


4 background squares 3.5″ x 3.5″

From each of four fabrics: {1} 3.5″ x 3.5″ square and {1} 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangle

Construction: Lay out your fabrics and decide on placement. Sew your 3.5″ x 3.5″ background squares to the 3.5″ x 3.5″ feature fabric square next to it.

 Then you’ll sew those pairs to the rectangles.

Then sew those rectangles together as above.

And sew those rectangles together. Done!

Here’s the back – I gently press my seams open.

A WORD OF CAUTION FOR BEGINNERS: Let’s talk about what you do with your seams in quilting. When I say I GENTLY PRESS them open, I really mean gently press. You know how when you’re ironing your socks and underwear (isn’t that what people use irons for when they’re not quilting?) you use a back and forth, sweeping motion? You don’t do that when you’re piecing quilt blocks. The fabric is kinda flimsy and can easily stretch, which is what you really DON’T want! So if you are gentle and trust that the heat of your iron will do all the work, your patience will pay off. Now, many quilters will tell you that pressing your seams open is asking for disaster. The thinking is that if you press them to the side, there will be fabric underneath the seam. So if there’s any stress on the seam, the 2 layers of fabric under it will take most of the stress and the seam stays intact. What I don’t particularly like about pressing to the side is you always get this kind of fold thing. I’d rather everything lays flat, and it makes it easier for me to line seams up for blocks so they’re perfectly matched up.  So I guess it’s best to experiment to find what you prefer.

The next block is the Snowball Block.

You’ll need 4 fabrics.

From the snowball fabrics, cut {2} 6.5″ x 6.5″ squares of each as shown above.

From the two other fabrics, cut {4} 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares of each (for a total of 8 squares).

Draw diagonal lines across your squares and pin them in place as shown.

Sew along the diagonal line of each of the smaller squares. Then trim the excess to 1/4″. Press those squares to the outside as shown.

Sew the little snowballs together to make a bigger block.

When you’re lining them up to sew the two large pieces together, check your middle seams to make sure they’re lined up perfectly. Because that’s the centre, that’s where the eye will be drawn so you want to get it as close to perfect as possible.

Ta-Da! Remember to pop a pic into the Flickr group!

You’ve finished them both! I think they’re really quick to put together – even with all the picture faffing I was done fairly quickly, but I’m interested to know how you get on with them. So if you get a chance, leave me a comment letting me know! That makes future QALs easier to plan, time-wise.

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© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.
Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Sew Happy Quilt QAL – Great Fabric Deals & Sponsored Prizes!

Woohoo! This is the first post that really kicks the QAL off, or at least that’s how I feel. I’m so, so excited to be doing this first QAL, and I suspect if it goes well, I’ll be doing more of them in the future. If you are curious about the Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, here’s the QAL page. We’re going slow and anyone can join at any time. (Wheeeeee!).

So. I think some of you are still looking for fabric? Well, I’ve just secured a special deal with Julie at Intrepid Thread. She’s given us a coupon code – SHGQAL10 – for 10% off of anything in the shop. Seriously, that makes her fabric a ridonkulous $7.65 OR LESS per yard?! She’s got lots of fat quarter bundles that I just love. N.B.: Yes, you can still order fabric and participate, even though we start in a week. The first week is SUPER easy and there is extra time to catch up at the end, so no worries there.

And prizes: Looks like we’ve got 4 prizes for 4 random participants who finishes her quilt top by 18 March!

First up, Julie from Intrepid Thread is giving away a $25 gift certificate to her shop! Awesome!

Natasha from Skye Reve Fabrics is giving away a charm pack. Sweet! :)

Randi from Fresh Squeezed Fabrics is giving away this lovely red Fat Quarter Bundle. Woohoo!

And the grand prize is being generously provided by the ladies at Fat Quarter Shop: a $50 gift certificate! Fabulous!

So there’s really no reason for you to pass this up! Seriously, though, I do want to help people feel better and more confident about their piecing skills and I really hope this QAL gives participants a bit of knowledge and confidence. If I do that, my job is complete and my heart will be happy.

If you have ANY questions, please email me: jenna(at)sewhappygeek.co.uk. Or catch me on Twitter.

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© J C Excell, 2011

Posted in Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, UK craft blog | Tagged , | 12 Comments

SewHappyQuilt QAL – Join Up! {Fabric Choices}

I’m sorry I haven’t posted lately – I do have good excuses/reasons though! First there was Xmas, then yesterday, this happened:

 Yep. I had to have an ingrown toenail taken care of. So I’m hobbling around the house today, nervously anticipating taking the bandage off later. I’m scared it’ll be really gross and I’ll pass out. I am SUCH a wuss. Anyway, enough of that!

So if you haven’t heard about my upcoming QAL, go check out the info on the Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL page and then hop on over to the Flickr page to join up!

I got asked about fabric choices last week, so I thought I’d share with you my 2 bundles and explain why I chose the fabrics. It’s kind of a process/help your fabric choosing process post. Make sense? No, not for me either.  Well, let me explain:

So first of all, why the heck do I have TWO bundles of fabrics? Here’s the deal: one set is for the tutorials and the other set is for demonstrating to my students in my Cantell College class. So actually I’m gonna end up with two quilts. You’d think I’d have arranged things so that I use all the same fabrics and make one giant quilt, but no: A} I didn’t think that far ahead, and B} I have a tiny sewing machine so till Mama makes the £££ to buy a bigger one, lap quilts are what we’re stuck with.

So first up:

I bought these from Julie at The Intrepid Threadshe’s got a few Rendezvous fabrics left but I’m not sure about the FQ bundles. The reason I chose them is because aqua, red, grey and white is my favourite colour combo. Actually, anything aqua and red will do – remember that huge Quilted Fish HST quilt I made?

But you’ve probably noticed that the mock-up for the QAL is coloured in this colour combo – I knew I had those fabrics on the way, and also, it’s a modern enough combination that I figured it would look appealing to potential QAL-ers. I also wanted to make the mock-up focusing on the blocks themselves, not the fabrics I could plug in, so I used solid colours in the hopes that people could easily imagine their own fabrics in the blocks.

Here are the fabrics for the tutorials. I was really tempted to use some paler, less saturated colours, but in the end I went with bright, saturated colours because I want seams/placement to be really obvious in the tutorial pictures. I figured that if I used paler ones the camera would have a harder time picking up the differences that we see so well with our eyes.

And also, I should mention that I’ll be throwing in about a half metre of Kona white into the mix for both quilts. That’s totally optional, but I think if you have it on hand (or even if you buy some as solids are cheaper than prints) it does open up more possibilities for showing off the beautiful fabrics you worked so hard to put together.

If you’re looking for fabrics to use in the QAL, take a look at the upper right buttons – my sponsors will be happy to help you choose – and so will I! Email me at jenna(at)sewhappygeek.co.uk and I’ll help sort you out. :)

The block tutorials start next Tuesday, 3 January with the ‘Woven’ block and the ‘Snowball’ block, which are both very simple to make – honest! In the meantime I’ll be arranging more prizes for the 18 March draw.

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

© J C Excell, 2011

Posted in Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, UK craft blog | Tagged , | 7 Comments

The Official Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Post – or, let’s kick some fabric butt!

Manic Monday Linky Party is still open! 

I’m practically on clouds all day long, every day around here, ever since I finished designing this:

(Oh Yeah. Chicka Chaw. Oh Yeah. Chicka Chaw.) Ahem. Sorry. AND DON’T WORRY! WE DON’T START TILL JANUARY!

So. The design. We’ll start off with easier blocks, then progress to the more difficult ones, ending up with paper piecing and dresden blades (which actually aren’t as hard as you might think!) So if you’re nervous about your piecing and want to pick up some new skills within a supportive environment, head on over to the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Flickr group and start chatting and adding pics! This quilt is great for beginners as it walks you through each technique, and I hope it will appeal to experienced quilters as well with its mix of modern and traditional blocks.

All you need to do to sign up for the QAL is join the Flickr group. There’s also a button on the right sidebar for your blog if you want one. :) No pressure!

Anyway, down to business. What do you need to make this quilt?

Ingredients and Fabric Choices: I’d recommend starting with 11 or 12 FQs (total without border). For 4.5″ finished borders, you’ll need an ADDITIONAL 1 1/8 yards/1.1m.

My EQ7 software breaks it down like this: Red 5/8yd   Aqua 5/8yd  Grey 5/8  White 7/8yd Border Grey 1 1/8yd – You’ll notice that comes to exactly 11 – but the thing is, even if you only need two tiny 4″ squares in a fabric, EQ7 will calculate the fabric yardage at 1/8yd. So you may end up with a bit left over for the back, but at least you know you’re totally covered, with plenty of choice.

And if you want white where all the white is on the mock-up, then you just need to make sure you’ve got 4 FQs/.8metres/7/8yd of white AND around 8 other FQs, with maybe half of them dark and half lighter colours, along with your white.

And please feel free to play with solids/prints. I love solids – they’re much cheaper than prints and really look good (IMHO).  Also, please note the 10 – 12 FQs doesn’t include the border – you’ll need about 1 1/8yd/1metre for that. 

I’ve also been asked about balancing darks/lights or prints/solids. I’m no expert on colour (See Jeni of In Color Order’s Art Of Choosing series), but it’s likely that you’ll want some contrast, or else the piecing won’t show up. I’m using a limited palette for the 2 quilts that I’m making – one with all solids of orange, aqua, grey and maybe a bit of white, and the other with the red, aqua, grey and white as shown.

The quilt measures 36″ x 48″ WITHOUT a border, and it’s shown above with a 4″ border around it, making the final measurement 44″ x 56″ – a reasonable lap quilt size. That would require about 1 1/8 yd/1m extra to do that. Also, if you wanted to make a bigger version, you could add sashing, and even duplicate some of the blocks. If you have an idea but you’re not sure it’ll work, email me: jennaexcell(at)gmail.com and maybe I can mock it up for you on my quilt software.

If you want to do something smaller, you could just do a few of the blocks, or even just do one for a pillow. All are welcome!

Prizes: I’m kinda still lining them up, but I do know for sure that Fat Quarter Shop is sponsoring a $50 gift certificate to a random participant who gets their quilt top done by 18 March 2012. I also have a charm pack from Natasha at Skye Reve Fabrics, and I’ll update you when I get the others settled.

Here’s the schedule:

Week 1 (Dec 21): Fabric Requirements and Timetable

Week 2 (Dec 28): Sponsor and Giveaway Information

Week 3 (Jan 3): Start QAL with Blocks 1 & 2

Week 4 (Jan 10): Blocks 3 & 4

Week 5 (Jan 17): Block 5

Week 6 (Jan 24): Block 6, Guest Tutorial by Melissa at SewBittersweet Designs

Week 7 (Jan 31): Block 7

Week 8 (Feb 7): Block 8

Week 9 (Feb 14): Block 9

Week 10 (Feb 21): Block 10

Week 11 (Feb 28): Block 11

Week 12 (Mar 6): Block 12

18 March: Last Day To Post Completed Quilt Top Pics in the Sew. Happy. Quilt Flickr Group 

”SewHappyGeek”

If you have any questions, please email me: jennaexcell(at)gmail.com. Right now in the Flickr group we’re chatting about which fabrics we’re using – the ladies are so lovely and so much fun. I really hope you’ll join us in the New Year with my very first QAL.

If you need to buy fabric, please consider checking out my sponsors, up there on the right sidebar – they’ve got some fantastic Christmas deals going on right now!

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

© J C Excell, 2011

Posted in Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, UK craft blog | Tagged , | 6 Comments