Block 4 – Nest

Hope you’re having a lovely springtime (or splendid autumn to friends on the other side of the world.) It is so lovely to have you along, and share this months block with you.

Inspired by our little feathered friends’ who put so much care and effort into nest building, weaving twigs, moss, and feathers together – it reminds me of the loving care which goes into making our quilts.

Sampler Block Four – “Nest” can be made using a quick and easy fusible machine applique technique (shown in the tutorial)

Or if you prefer to sit in the sunshine and handsew, the block can be made using the needle-turn applique technique. Templates for both methods provided.

So let’s begin making our nests….

Block 4 measures 10 1/2” square before joining to other blocks.

Materials:

11” square Off-white or Low volume fabric Moda Bella Solids 9900 200

8” x 6” (20cm x 15cm) plain brown Moda Bella Solids Taupe – 9900 310

2 or 3 Fat Sixteenths in blue and brown Caroline prints

5” x 5” pieces in pinks, peaches, green, blue for the buds, blossom, eggs

Gutermann Sulky Cotton (30 weight) col. 4001 – Parchment for hand-quilting

For fusible applique

8” x 12” (20cm x 30cm) Paper backed fusible webbing (Bondaweb or similar)

Thread: Gutermann Sew-all thread in Dark grey (col. 701) and Taupe (col. 854).

For needle-turn applique

Gutermann Cotton (50 weight) col. 919

Equipment: Sewing machine; Iron, ironing board and pressing cloth.

Notions: Clover water erasable pen (or similar), Small sharp scissors, thimble, small fine quilting needle, safety pins.

Optional: Stabiliser – If using a lightweight fabric for the background, for instance Pima cotton, use a stabiliser on the wrong side of the background fabric, to prevent puckering when machine appliqued.

If you plan to Quilt As You Go*, you’ll need an 11” square of wadding, and depending on which QAYG method you use, an 11” square of backing fabric. (*For more information on the QAYG method, please read through Quilt Construction notes)

So let’s begin:

Depending on the applique method you’re using print out one of the following templates:

Fusible machine applique templates [2 page PDF]
Shapes have already been reversed, ready for tracing onto fusible webbing.

Needle-turn applique template [2 page PDF]
You can find tips on the needle-turn technique over on Block 2 tutorial – a spring basket for you x

If you prefer print the full tutorial below including Fusible applique template [9 page PDF], or read on….

Prepare the background

Using the Fusible applique template (the shapes have already been reversed – ready for tracing onto fusible webbing.)

Cut out the circle template, fold in half then quarters. Next, fold the 11” background off-white square in half, then quarters, creasing lightly to mark the centre. Match the centres of paper circle and fabric square.

Draw round the circle template, using a water erasable pen or similar – to make a guideline for placing the nest design and feather.

Prepare the fusible applique….

• Place the paper backed Bondaweb on the PDF template, paper side up. Trace twigs, buds, blossom and eggs.

• Cut out, leaving approx. ¼” margin around each of the traced shapes.

• Place each twig, fusible side down (with smooth paper side up) on wrong side of the taupe fabric.

• To bond the fusible webbing to the fabric, place a pressing cloth on top, and press for a few seconds, using a medium heat, no steam.

• Using a pair of sharp scissors, cut out the twigs.

Then peel away the paper backing, by making a fold near one edge, the paper backing should begin to separate.

• Repeat for the birds – tracing the birds, their wings and the chest patch separately.

• Fuse the baby birds body and wing, and the chest patch to the blue fabric.

• Fuse the bigger birds body and wing to the brown fabric – each time checking the rough side of the webbing is placed on the wrong side of the fabric, before pressing.

TIP: When peeling the paper backing from the birds, peel from the tail end, so the beak stays sharp and doesn’t fray. Keep the paper bird shapes, as these can be used to mark position to sew the eye (page 5.)

Repeat for the remaining shapes – buds, blossom, leaves and eggs.

Once the fusible pieces are cut, position them on the background, using the circle as a guide.

• Place the twigs in the lower half of the circle, roughly matching the curves of the twigs to the outline.

• Next place the birds bodies, adding the chest patch to the big bird, and the wing to the little bird. (The wing on the big bird is added after the body and chest have been machine appliqued.)

• Using an erasable marker trace the position of the legs.

• Continue slowly building up the picture, adding the buds, blossom and little eggs. Check the design elements of the block fit inside a 10” window, so when blocks are sewn together, the design isn’t affected.

• Once you are happy with the placement. Press, to bond the shapes to the background.

• Avoid pressing the circle guideline drawn on the background, as heat makes some erasable pens permanent.

Now you’re ready to machine applique….

For the block shown in the photos, I used a basic machine presser foot (the same one I use when doing any straight line sewing, piecing or general sewing) Set stitch length to 2mm. To pivot at corners and tight curves, check your needle is in the down position before lifting the foot to pivot.

If you prefer you can also use an open toe foot (feed dogs down), or darning foot, whichever you feel most comfortable with.

So lets’ stitch…

• Stitch just inside the edge of each shape (approx. 1/8”). Proceed slowly where you need to be precise – for the few stitches around the beak I took my foot of the pedal, and used just the hand control.

• Stitch the legs, going down to the foot, then doubling back again to the body.

• Machine around the body shape twice or more, don’t worry if the line of stitching is wobbly it will give a sketchy feel to your design.

• Position the big birds wing, press to fuse and hold in place. Stitch as above.

• Pull loose threads through to the back – knot and weave into the line of stitches, so the dark grey thread ends don’t show through to the front of the block.

• Use the paper backing from the birds to help when marking the position of the eye. Then using dark grey thread and a satin stitch, hand-sew the eyes onto both birds.

• Remove the erasable guideline from lower part of block and press.

Your nest is now complete, just one more thing to add…

Preparing to quilt

• First trace the feather motif, using a water erasable pen – Place page 2 of the template on a lightbox, or tape to a brightly lit window.

Position the block on top of the template, so the feather is in the upper half of the block.(see photo)

• Use tape to hold the block in place while tracing.

If using the Quilt As You Go (QAYG) method

• Layer your block, using an 11” square of cotton wadding, and an 11” square of backing fabric, if following the 3 layer sandwich method. (For more information on QAYG, please see Quilt Construction notes.)

• Secure layers using safety pins, or preferred method of basting.

Hand-quilting

If using Quilt As You Go method 2, leave a small margin un-quilted inside the 10” design window, to make it easier to peel back the layers when joining blocks.

Thread a small fine quilting needle with Gutermann Sulky cotton 30wt. This is a thicker thread than used for applique or piecing. The ecru colour is not too dark, and doesn’t show through the light coloured background.

• Beginning at the bottom of the feather sew a line of evenly sized running stitches up and down the shaft (marked yellow in the diagram).

• Then beginning at point A continue the evenly size running stitches to point B.

• Now insert the needle at point B into the quilt sandwich and push through beneath the surface till it reaches point C.

Repeat for each plume – burying the thread (marked green below) to move from the end of one plume, to the next, so avoiding lots of knots.

Once hand-quilted remove markings with a little water, you’re nearly there. Finally in preparation for joining Sampler block to Irish Chain blocks, trim a sliver of each side of the Sampler square, till it measures 10.5” square, to match the other blocks.

Congratulations your Nest block is now complete !

We’d love to see the Sampler blocks you make, so please do post them on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag – # SweetestThingsSampler.

Have a lovely springtime, and happy sewing x x

Dawn (Honeybee Cloths)


2018-05-11T21:02:00Z

Block 2 – a spring basket for you x

It’s lovely to have you along on our Sampler quilt adventure, and share this months block – a spring basket for you x

Seeing the daffodils and primroses peek out from the melting snow means spring is here, so this month’s Sweetest Things Sampler block is an Easter basket, full of springtime wonders.

The first Easter baskets I remember were little paper and glue ones, made in primary school. When we returned from lessons, they’d been filled with speckled candy eggs. So now whenever I see little Easter baskets, I’m reminded of this and how little acts of kindness, mean a lot.

Block 2 can be pieced either as a simple basket (Option 1), or using Right Hand Triangles (Option 2).

Instructions for both available in downloadable PDF. Or applique basket directly onto background. Feel free to use your preferred method of applique for the eggs and bow. Perhaps even add a sprinkling of little spring flowers too.

So let’s hop to it… download template and tutorial

Or read on for more about the making of these blocks….

The fresh springtime colours of Caroline and Bespoke Blooms by Brenda Riddle, left me completely spoilt for choice selecting prints to use in this block. So much so, I ended up making two blocks – with a third one in the pipeline, cut and ready to be sewn, as we speak 🙂

The little speckled floral from Bespoke Blooms made perfect little eggs

While the brown ticking stripe from Caroline cut on the bias made an ideal handle.

For the applique, I used a mixture of blanket stitch and needleturn applique – using the tip of the needle to tuck the raw edges under. If your new to needleturn applique, you’ll find tips in the downloadable PDF tutorial.

Handsewing is really relaxing, and so any opportunity to hand applique, or hand quilt and I’ll find some way of fitting it in.

Do you have a favourite technique? We’d love to hear.

Also, we love seeing the Sampler blocks you make, so please share on Instagram using the hashtag #SweetestThingsSampler

The next Giveaway will be along soon, more to follow on Instagram and Facebook

Happy sewing, happy springtime

Dawn x X

2018-03-11T11:57:00Z 2018-03-17T16:56:00Z

Little autumn leaves

Yellowing birch leaves in our corner of the world means autumn is truly here. Every year, I love seeing their return, the colours so pretty against the backdrop of the sky.

On bright, sunny days, they become golden….

From these little leaves grew the idea for the “Little leaves” mini-kit.

Each kit contains a sprinkling of 10 bondaweb backed leaves and a few cloudberry coloured berries.

Perfect for making mini-quilts, totes, trimming T-shirts and clothes, or making table-runners, like the one in our post. We can’t wait to see how you use your “little leaves” – if you’re sharing on social media, please use the hashtag #AutumnLeavesKit

From our little kit, we made a table runner to brighten up the dining table, teaming it up with some left-over strips, in low volume duck egg blue prints, and white on white – to represent the misty autumn skies 🙂

If you’re making a table runner from your kit you will need:

• Light coloured cotton strips 2 ½” wide

• Little leaves mini-kit (found in the autumn section of the store)

• Lightweight Iron-on interfacing

• Insulating wadding (optional)

• Backing fabric

• Thread

The length and width of your runner can be as long or short as you need it to be, so amounts of backing, wadding, interfacing, and strips will vary depending on the size of your runner. If you’re making a long table runner, and need more than one pack of 10 leaves, additional Autumn leaves Mini-kits are available in store for just £2.

Low volume prints - Lotta Jansdotter (Mormor); Sweetwater; Cotton & Steel

To make the background:

• Sew 2 ½” wide strips of different length end to end, till you have at least 5 long strips measuring the length of your finished item, plus ½” allowance. Press seams open.

• Place the long strips alongside each other, sew together and press seams open.

• Apply the lightweight iron-on interfacing to the back of the block.

Applying the little leaves:

• Simply peel off the bondaweb backing and scatter the leaves on top of the block.

• Once the leaves are in position press for a few seconds using a hot iron.

Then over to the sewing machine….

• Stitch close to the edge of the leaves using either straight stitch or blanket stitch.

• Dark grey thread is used to stitch the centre vein on each leaf and twigs.

To complete the runner

• Simply place quilt top and backing right sides together.

• Sew ¼” from the edge, leaving a small gap through which to turn the runner right side out.

• Using thumb and forefingers, pinch the edges, shaping them to give a nice crisp edge, then press.

• Slip stitch the gap closed.

• Topstitch as close as possible to the edge.

Alternatively, if you prefer the runner can be padded, simply layer your top and bottom layer, right sides together, then insulating wadding. Sew around the edges and leave a slightly bigger gap through which to turn right side out. Quilt to complete.

Now your runners complete, time to pop the kettle on 🙂

Hope you enjoy the little wonders of autumn.

Happy sewing x X


2016-10-30T17:11:00Z 2017-09-28T14:17:00Z

A little piece of linen needle and thread….

Hand sewing is perhaps the type of sewing I like most, whether it’s paper piecing, quilting, hemming and, yes I don’t even mind darning socks too! It really helps me relax and put my thoughts in order. I guess you could really say it’s a kind of mindfulness therapy of sorts.

It can be done practically anywhere, and is perfect for spending long winter evenings cuddled up to some sewing, which is how this mini-project begun in early January – simply a small piece of linen, needle, thread and hoop – and often a cat too!

Pip loves nothing more than to cuddle up on a comfy lap, so hand-sewing is perfect, it doesn’t disturb her routine. Having spent 15 months in a rescue centre, before being spotted on a rehoming website, if there were any saying meant for Pip, perhaps it’s this one….

Life takes you to unexpected places, love brings you home

Pip’s a really good supervisor, and spends her days, busily checking the beds have been made properly; the clean laundry, still warm from the dryer is pressed; and if I leave my sewing lying around, she’s exceptionally good at un-picking too 🙂

Pip in our sewing corner under the stairs

The first step for our little handsewn project is to print out the quote and trace onto linen – dowload quote here.

I traced the quote onto the linen using a water erasable pen, able to see the quote through the linen simply by laying it on top of the quote. Alternatively tape the quote to a window in good daylight, tape linen on top, and it’s a lot easier to see quote through the linen – you have your very own improvised lightbox!

I chose not to use embroidery floss for the lettering, prefering instead to use plain simple dark grey Gutermann sew all thread. I doubled the thread and used a backstitch to sew the lettering.

Once your lettering is sewn, dampen the linen, to remove the water erasable pen. As some pen marks won’t erase once they’ve been pressed. Only once the marks have been removed press.

To complete the project a rough circle and some leaves is traced onto bondaweb – (the little leaves are really meant to be pussy willow – oops!)

Once the bondaweb is fused to the wrong side of fabric, the hoop and leaves, are cut out and positioned onto linen. Pressed, so each piece fuses to the linen.

If you’d like the template for the hoop and pussy willow, email me and I’ll forward it on.

In choosing materials for the pussy willow and hoop I went for those which had a subtle texture to them similar to a willow hoop, or pussy willow.

Lotta Jansdotter’s “Mormor” reminded me of the almost luminescent colour of fully opened buds, and Basic Grey “Fresh Cut” the grey unopened buds. For the hoop, Janet Clare’s A Field Guide no.1366-15 provided a subtle texture, for the woody hoop. It’s a really lovely versatile print, which would be equally perfect for the little wren I have in mind for a future block 🙂

Once the pieces have been fused in place either hand or machine sew around hoop and leaves.

It was one of those projects you could easily pick up and do for a few minutes, here and there and by the end of January, it was complete. I’m still deciding whether to make into a pillow, or use it in the larger nature themed quilt I’ve been planning for a while, which includes the little wren mentioned earlier – but that’s for another time 🙂

Till next time, stay snug and happy sewing x X
2016-02-06T23:01:00Z 2016-02-09T10:49:00Z