Tag Archives: Quilt Along

Sew Intertwined QAL: Borders

Hello! Welcome to the border edition of the Sew Intertwined Quilt Along! If you’re just starting, come on over and say hi to everyone in the Flickr group – we’re all super nice. Also, Melissa over at SewBitterSweet Designs is posting a tutorial on joining your blocks, so you’ll probably want to read that first! Oh, and here’s the QAL info page for more details.

I’ll give you directions to do 2 different borders – one a plain border, and the other with cornerstones. All seam allowances are 1/4″. The image below is of roughly 2″ finished sized plain borders, so here’s how to do it:

You’ll need to cut 7 strips of fabric – 2.5″ x WOF (width of fabric). Carefully cut off the selvedge because it doesn’t look pretty in your quilt.

The quilt by itself measures about 60″. Yours may be slightly bigger or even slightly smaller. That’s ok.

Take ONE of the strips and cut it in half, so you have TWO pieces, each 2.5″ x approx 22″. Sew each of those shorter strips to one of your 44″ length strips.

Now simply sew a strip each to the top and the bottom. Trim even with the edges of your blocks.

Then, sew TWO of the remaining four strips together to make a very long strip. Repeat with the remaining two strips.

Sew those longer strips, one to each side. Trim the ends so everything lines up. Now baste, quilt and bind! (There are some links about that at the end if you need them.)

For borders with cornerstones that finish at about 2″ wide, you’ll need 4 squares cut to 2.5″ x 2.5″ to put in the corners.

Also cut SIX strips, 2.5″ x WOF. Carefully trim the selvedges.

Cut TWO of the strips in half so they’re 22″ long – you’ll have four pieces.

Sew a 22″ long piece to one of the 44″ long pieces. Repeat with another set of one short and one long. Sew those, one each, to the top and bottom of your quilt. Trim the edges so they’re even with the blocks.

You should have TWO long (44″), TWO short (22″), and FOUR squares (2.5″ x 2.5″). Sew one long piece to one short piece. Repeat with the other strips.

Now we need to know exactly how long those strips need to be before you sew your cornerstones to the edges of them. Measure the distance that the long strip will have to cover. It should be right around 60″ (remember we’ll be adding the cornerstones to the ends, so the strip only needs to ‘cover’ the actual blocks in between the cornerstones.). Now ADD .5″ to that measurement, and cut your strips to that length.

Sew TWO cornerstones, one to each end,  to one of the strips. Repeat with the other two cornerstones and strip. Now you just have to sew them to the edges, and you’re done!

Baste, quilt and bind!

If you need a basting tutorial, Crazy Mom Quilts has a good tutorial, as does Chasing Cottons.

If you need suggestions for quilting, check out Tallgrass Prairie Studio, or if you want to see what my version of random straight line quilting looks like, I have a pic in my Flickr of a baby quilt I made.

If you need a binding tutorial, I wrote one a while ago that might help.

Have fun and don’t forget to add your pics to the Flickr group!

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in UK craft blog | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Sew Intertwined QAL: Dresden Fan Tutorial

Ok, it’s time for the first tutorial of the Sew Intertwined Quilt Along! I promise this isn’t very difficult, and if you participated in my last QAL you already know how to make it. But there are a few downloads, and I’ll explain them.

This is the tutorial for the whole Dresden Fan block – everyone needs this whether they’re joining their diamonds up, such as this:

Sew Intertwined Quilt - Stockholm Fabrics by Robin Singone

or not joining them up (this is the option I’m taking):

SewIntertwined with NO corners

Dresden Fan Block tutorial

Here’s the dresden blade and circle template, which everyone will need unless you have a dresden ruler, in which case you can just use that.

Dresden_Mystery_QAL (Dresden template)

If you’re doing the corners to complete the diamond, here’s the template to paper piece that section:

DresdenFanBackgroundSquareTemplate

Set your printer to Landscape, and double check the size is 10″ when it prints. You may have to get it to print at, say, 104% or so to get it just right. For some reason Cute PDF makes things a tiny bit smaller when it converts them into pdfs.

Be sure to post your progress pics in the Flickr group!

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Sew Intertwined QAL: Planning Your Quilt

Sew Intertwined QAL
If you haven’t heard about the Sew Intertwined Quilt Along, have a look at the page for more information.  We are gonna have us a good ol’ time. :)

If you’re already deciding how you’ll plan and make your quilt, I’ve got some helpful goodies for you. Below are two pdf downloads, one of the entire quilt (but without any colours), and the other of the woven blocks (without any colours). PLEASE NOTE that the blank quilt Dresden fan features 24 blades, but if you use the 18 degree template from the tutorial you will ONLY need 20 blades to make a full dresden fan.

I’ll give you the pdfs first, then explain how to use them:

Sew_Intertwined_Blank_Quilt

Sew Intertwined woven block outlines

As you can see, the outside blocks are all the same – 2 Half Square Triangles and 2 Four-Patch. No biggie there.

However, the woven blocks are a bit trickier. Because we are evil and like to confuse people at every opportunity. Because it looks really damn cool. Actually, if you set yours up the way we have, there are three blocks to keep track of. In mine, the central ‘diamond’ is all one colour (light purple). The almost-but-not-quite-a-square coming out of the corners of the Dresden plate block are also all the same colour (mine are that darker aqua colour).  And if you set up the triangle things in the same way (where I’ve used dark purple for some, then split the others evenly between light and dark orange, you’ll have:

  • 4 Corner blocks to make which are identical. They may not look identical because they’re oriented this way and that. But I promise, they are.
  • 4 Block A blocks which are also all identical in the same way
  • 4 Block B blocks which are all identical.

So if you use the Woven Block Outlines download above, you can colour in your Corner, Block A and Block B, because there are three blanks on the page. We’ll sort out how to actually make the blocks later. For now, it only matters what colours you’re using where.

For me, my one yard cut was that dark aqua because I featured it in the HSTs of the outside block, and again in every block of the woven blocks, plus I used some in the dresden wheel too. I also bought a 1 metre cut of the purple too, so I could use it in all three types of blocks, plus I think I have enough left over to do a border.

Anyway, I hope that helps a bit. :)

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in UK craft blog | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Sew Intertwined Quilt Along – Come Join Us!

Sew Intertwined Quilt

Hello and welcome to my 2nd Quilt Along! I’ve teamed up with Melissa of SewBitterSweet Designs and we’ve got a beautiful quilt for you to make. It’s my first collaboration design and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

The woven blocks in the middle are a little more complicated, and we’ll be sharing two methods for making them. So you’ll be able to experiment and choose which works for you – I pieced mine using traditional methods, and Melissa paper pieced hers. For most of you, this is less of a piecing challenge than a planning challenge, and we will give you the tools you’ll need to be able to plan it. That makes it sound really hard, but actually, the hardest bit is choosing which colours go where.

Finished size: 60″ x 60″ without border.

How to Join: All you have to do is head over to Flickr and join the Sew Intertwined QAL Group. We are going to take our time with this QAL, so you will have until September 6th to get your quilt top into the Flickr group to be eligible for prizes. We’ve listed the prizes we’ve got lined up so far, but we’ll try to add to this as time goes by. Please visit the official QAL page for the prize information.

Fabric Requirements:

I am using all solids for this quilt – two shades each of grey, purple, aqua and orange. My fabric was supplied by the lovely Mandy at Simply Solids – if you’re in the UK and need solids, she’s got free shipping over £15, plus there’s a 10% off discount code too.



You will need:
five 2/3 yard/.5m cuts, plus a 1 yard/1 metre cut (mine was the darker aqua) and 2 yds/ 2 metres of background fabric (dark grey in my case). If you want to do the border, you’ll need a 1/2yd/.5m cut for that too. You may have a bit of extra background left over, but you can always use that in the back! Binding requires 1/2 yard/.5m.

We have arranged discounts for you at some of our favorite fabric shops!


Intrepid Thread20% off your fabricJulie has a custom listing set up for this QAL

Stitches ‘N Giggles10% off fabrics your fabric with code qal2012 good through July 31st

Contemporary Cloth 20% off your fabrics with coupon code SewIntertwined

Eclectic Maker (UK)- 10% Discount Code available for one use until 5 August – QALGEEK


Pink Castle Fabrics: 15% off Discount Code – SEWINT15

QuiltingLodgeQuilting Lodge20% off your fabrics with code SIQAL20.

Schedule:

16 July: Quilt Design and Requirements – on SewHappyGeek and SewBitterSweet Designs

26 July: Dresden Fan Tutorial by Jen Excell of SewHappyGeek

6 August: Outside blocks tutorial by Melissa of SewBitterSweet Designs

16 August: Woven blocks tutorial. Paper piecing technique by Melissa of SewBitterSweet Designs and traditional piecing technique by Jen of SewHappyGeek

27 August: Joining the blocks by Melissa of SewBitterSweet Designs and border by Jen of SewHappyGeek

6 September: Last day to enter completed quilt top into Flickr group

7 September: Prizes awarded! Yay!

If you want a button for your blog, the code is just over on the right:

Sew Intertwined QAL
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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in UK craft blog | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Sneak Peek – Next Quilt Along

Yep, you read that correctly. There’s another QAL on the way. This time I’ve teamed up with Melissa of SewBitterSweet Designs and starting next Monday, the Sew Intertwined QAL will be rockin’ your way!

And here’s your sneak peek:

So get ready – it’s coming your way on Monday! :)

P.S. Because the Google Overlords want to force the entire planet into using their crazy social application, my Google Friend Connect widget has been cancelled. But you can still get me in your Google Reader (or any other reader) by clicking on the Feedburner (RSS) link below. :)

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in UK craft blog | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along Top Progress

I’ve put together this mosaic of some of the finished quilt tops in the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to see so many beautiful quilt tops made by the lovely ladies who climbed on my crazy bandwagon to join in my first ever quilt along. Their feedback has been unbelievably enthusiastic and positive, and has given me the confidence to start planning my first mini-quilt competition (more details soon, I promise!) and begin sorting out the next quilt along!

So I really want to thank you ladies, and let you know how much you’ve made me smile over the last couple of months. I’m torn between being thrilled to see the quilt top pictures rolling into the group and feeling very sad that it’s all coming to an end…
Sew Happy Quilt QAL Top Progress
1. Finished QAL Top, 2. Completed quilt top, 3. Sew Happy Quilt, 4. Sew Happy Quilt Top, 5. Finished Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL top!, 6. Dino Quilt Top, 7. Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Finished Quilt Top, 8. Sew Happy Geek QAL Finished, 9. Finished quilt top

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in UK craft blog | Tagged , | 13 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 , , , , , , | 24 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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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 , | 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