Block 8 – Prairie Point hedgehog

Spending time in the outdoors, among the little wonders of nature is lovely any time of year, but a fine autumn day, when the fruits are ripening, the leaves turning colour and the possums making themselves a cosy spot to overwinter, is especially sweet.

Prairie points give the hedgehog a 3D-effect, which is lovely to touch. While an applique pear or two, and quilted oak leaves and acorns provide food and shelter.

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

To make the block you’ll need:

Materials:

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

Fat Eighth (10″x 22″) – Brown fine stripes (Caroline no. 18652 16 )

4” x 4” – Moda Bella Solids Taupe (MBS 9900 310 )

Small pieces of green fabrics (Caroline no. 18653-14, Caroline no. 18652-14, Caroline no.18654-15)

Green, dark grey, and taupe thread for applique, stems and hedgehogs face.

4” x 6“ wadding or padding (for the pears)

Optional: Stabiliser or lightweight interfacing

Equipment: Sewing machine; Iron and ironing board; rotary cutter, mat and ruler.

Notions: Clover water erasable pen (or similar), Small sharp scissors, Applique pins.

Spray starch, freezer paper, small fine brush (needed for the spray starch method of applique).

If you plan to Quilt As You Go*, you’ll need an 11” square of wadding, and Quilting thread e.g. Gutermann Sulky Cotton (30 weight). Depending on which QAYG method you’ll also need an 11” square of backing fabric.

(*For more information on the QAYG method, please see Quilt Construction notes)

So let’s begin:

Print out the Hedgehog and Pear template [1 page PDF] or

Print the full tutorial below including template [8 page PDF]

• Fuse the stabiliser or lightweight interfacing to the wrong side of the 11” square of off-white fabric.

• Draw a 10” square in the centre of the 11” square, into which the design fits.

• Use this window to position and the hedgehog outline, approx 2” inch from the right hand side, and 1” from the bottom of the square.

Optional: If using the Quilt as You Go method, you may want to layer the wadding at this point, and work the next few steps using a 2 layer quilt sandwich of top layer and wadding.

Prepare the prairie points

From the Brown stripy Fat Eighth Cut – (25) – 2” squares; and (7) – 1 5/8” squares (4 cm)

• Fold in half along the diagonal, press. Fold in half again along the diagonal.

• Position the smaller prairie points along the top edge of the hedgehog. If using a stripy print place stripes in the same direction, so they point outwards from the centre of the hedgehog.

• Slot one prairie point inside the opening of the next. (see pic)

• Line up the trough between the prairie points so you can just see the outline of the hedgehog. Hold in place with pins and tack along the lower edge.

Now you’re ready to machine sew the prairie points in place.

• Using blanket stitch, sew along the lower edge of the prairie points.

TIP: Fitting a Walking foot to the machine, makes it easier to sew through multiple layers of fabric.

• Working from the rear end of the hedgehog, position the next three prairie points, slotting them one inside the other. Place, so they overlap the previous points, and curve slightly.

TIP: Use an ironing board to pin and hold the points, while positioning the row of prairie points.

• Baste, then machine sew along the raw edge using blanket stitch to secure.

• Next slot four prairie points together, as before overlapping the previous row, curving slightly. Machine sew to secure.

Repeat for the remaining prairie points, positioning 3, 4 or 5 points in a row. Slowly building up the body of the hedgehog. Blanket stitch each row in place as you go. You may need to add a little hand-stitch here and there to hold in place.

Making the Snout

Now the body of the hedgehog has taken shape, it’s time to make the head and snout. In this tutorial the starch method of applique, using Freezer Paper and starch is used. This gives a firm crisp edge and well-defined shape that is already to applique to the hedgehog block. (Or use your preferred method of applique).

• Trace the snout onto the shiny side of freezer paper, cut out.

• Place Freezer paper template shiny side down on wrong side of fabric. Press using a hot iron till the Freezer paper sticks to the fabric.

• Cut out, leaving ¼” margin right the way round, cutting the tips off the pointy bits, and clipping curves every 1cm (½”)

• Using a small brush apply a little starch to the ¼” margin around the template.

• Turn the edges over the freezer paper template and press using an iron.

• Remove the paper template.

• Position the snout so it covers the raw edge of the prairie points.

Pin and sew snout in place.

• Draw an eye, nose and a smile, using a water erasable pen.

• Satin stitch the eye and nose in dark grey or black thread.

• Use back-stitch to sew the hedgehogs smile.

NB. It is possible to make the applique shapes without freezer paper using ordinary paper, place several pins in place to hold the paper in place, and take care when ironing to avoid the pins.

Pear applique

Using the pear and leaf templates, prepare the applique pieces for applique using your preferred method. The tutorial below shows the starch method of applique.

• For the block shown you’ll need 1 large and 1 small pear; and 2 pear leaves.

• Use the pear templates to cut wadding for each pear. Slip the wadding inside the starched and folded edge of the pears, ready for applique to the block.

• Position and pin the pears and leaves, inside the 10” design window. Sew in place using small close together slip-stitches.

• Using a water-erasable pen, draw stalks from each of the pears Machine stitch the stems.

Well done! Your block is now complete!

If you choose you can continue and Quilt your block as you go, follow steps below.

Quilting options – If using the Quilt As You Go (QAYG) method.

(For information on QAYG methods, please see Quilt Construction notes.)

• Layer your block, using an 11” square of cotton wadding, and an 11” square of backing fabric, if following the 3 layer sandwich method 2.

• For the 3 layer sandwich, also leave a small margin un-quilted inside the 10” design window, to make it easier to peel back the layers when joining blocks.

Secure the layers using safety pins. Transfer the oak leaf and acorns outlines onto your block, using your preferred method of marking, and quilt either by machine or hand.

Quilt around oak leaves and acorns.

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! Block 8 – “Prairie point Hedgehog” is complete!

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

Till next time, enjoy the little wonders of nature

From our little hive to yours,

Happy sewing x X

Dawn – Honeybee Cloths

2018-09-16T17:04:00Z 2018-09-18T12:26:00Z

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

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