The Sweetest Things Sampler – the story behind the quilt

Sweetest Things Sampler - Dawn - Honeybee Cloths

It’s very nearly complete, just quilting on the border, the binding and label to sew on 🙂  – I have really loved making this quilt, so many lovely stories bound up in it, both in terms of the things which inspired it, and the lovely friendships formed throughout the course of our year long quilt-along. I’ve especially loved seeing your Sweetest Things Sampler quilts grow 💛 and how sweet this past year has been! So many stories come to mind – where to begin? 

Community

Key to this quilts story is the lovely sewing community which has grown round it, as without you, and you’re being part of it, there would’t be a quilt-along.

Over the past year my heart has skipped several beats seeing the stunning Sweetest Things Sampler blocks and quilts online friends have been making in places I can only dream of visiting one day – Australia to Alaska, and lots of places in between!

Our shared #SweetestThingsSampler page fetches together the beautiful quilts we’ve been busy making – it’s a real pleasure to see your quilts growing, and friendships forming on the way – doesn’t the internet make the whole wide world a much more reachable place! 

As well as our lovely online friends, four legged and feathered friends are very much part of our Samplers too. Block 4 – Nest  is inspired by our little feathered friends’ who put so much care and effort into nest building, weaving twigs, moss, and feathers together, just like the loving care which goes into making our quilts….

Nest block - Honeybee Cloths

While the little hedgehog in Block 8 – Prairie Point Hedgehog is actually inspired by a lovely Instagram friends @JenthePiecemaker, and the beautiful photos of her visiting hedgehog. 

Prairie Point hedgehog by Dawn


Helping, inspiring, encouraging

One of the most precious parts of the Samplers story is how much makers have helped, inspired and encouraged each other. It’s been a very strong thread running throughout our year long quilt-along.

Both myself and Michelle at CreativeBlonde designed six Sampler blocks each, for the Sweetest Things Sampler. Having Michelle along to co-host, as well as design and prepare tutorials for six beautiful blocks made the world of difference to me, and our quilt-along – a huge, huge thanks to Michelle from CreativeBlonde blog  💛

I thoroughly enjoyed each of the blocks and Michelle’s January block, the 12th Sampler in our sew-along with it’s lovely little sewing machine, and cotton reels (that seem to me, to be doing a joyful jig) really is the essence of “sewing a little happiness.” 🙂

Block 12 – Sew Happy

Block 12 made by Dawn, designed by Michelle Roberts

Little moments of wonder

Another theme which pops up time and time again throughout the Sampler blocks, is finding happiness in the simple things, those little moments of wonder, which happen when you’re least expecting them. 

Like, in winter, when trees have shed their leaves, there’s something kind of wonderful in the big bunches of mistletoe, hugging the tree branches…

Block 10 – Mistletoe and Mittens

Mistletoe and mittens by Honeybee Cloths

And how, even in the depths of winter, you can still find those little moments of wonder. It might be the bright winter sunshine, shimmering snow, the shy doe in the woods, or perhaps the little snow globe which shimmers when shaken….

Block 11 – Deer in the Snow

Deer in the snow

While Michelle’s blocks “Basket of Strawberry Sweetness”  and “Quench your thirst” reminds me of the nice warm, sunny days to look forward to….

dsc_5320.jpg
Basket of Strawberry sweetness, designed by Michelle. Made by Dawn

 

Busy little bees

Going back to the very beginning, when the quilt-along was just a twinkle in the eye – a certain day in the height of summer, sitting quietly and listening to the little bees busily buzzing and thinking how lovely it would be to make a quilt, have a quilt-along.

Block 6 – From our little hive to yours

cropped-from-our-little-hive-to-yours-x-honeybee-cloths4.jpg

It’s over a year and a half since that light-bulb moment – seeing the quilts makers have made, is for me the sweetest thing, seeing them pop up online is an absolute joy, brightening up the days. Thank you so much for following, it’s really truly lovely to have you along. 

Sending a quilted hug to each and everyone.

From our little hive to yours

Happy sewing

Dawn x X

Honeybee Cloths
Sweetest Things Sampler

ps. You can still find our free templates and tutorials for each block on the Sweetest Things Sampler page of Honeybee Cloths. 

Just one week to go!

Dawn's Sweetest Things Sampler quilt - joining rows 3 and 4

Our little hive has been buzzing, blocks are being joined and seams being sewn, as we complete our quilts for a very special date in our diaries…

The BIG reveal of Sweetest Things Samplers on Friday 8th March! 

Both myself, Dawn (Honeybee Cloths) and Michelle from CreativeBlonde blog are super excited to see the beautiful quilt’s you’ve been making.

To join in simply post a photo of your quilt on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, using the hashtag #SweetestThingsSampler. You’ll then be entered in the Sweetest Things Sampler Big Reveal Giveaway prize draw.

March 2019 Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a super-sweet bundle of sewing pretties. Including two beautiful Brenda Riddle Charm packs, Fat Eighth bundle and gorgeous Gutermann Threads.

The draw will take place on the 9th March, so let’s hop to it, and sew those samplers….

If you’re making the Quilt As You Go version of the Sampler, there are tips for completing your quilt in this blog post.

We’ll be posting a few sneek peeks of our quilts over the coming few days, so make sure to follow both myself dawn_HoneybeeCloths and Michelle @creativeblonde66

Till the next time, from our little hive to yours.

Happy sewing x X

Dawn

Honeybee Cloths

One year on, 12 Sampler blocks and almost there…

It’s growing – in quiet moments I’ve been piecing Irish Chain and Sampler blocks for the Sweetest Things Sampler, which we begun a year ago.

dawn's sweetest things sampler quilt - joining the blocks

I’m especially loving the little beehive peeking out there, and Michelle’s strawberry basket – reminding me of warm, sunny days 🙂

Both myself and Michelle at CreativeBlonde have designed 6 Sampler blocks each, for the Sweetest Things Sampler. You can find our free templates and tutorials for each block on the Sweetest Things Sampler page of Honeybee Cloths. Including the twelfth block – “Sew happy” by Michelle, which is especially sweet.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each of the blocks and Michelle’s block, with it’s lovely little sewing machine, and cotton reels (that seem to me, to be doing a joyful jig) really is the essence of “sewing a little happiness.” 🙂

Block 12 made by Dawn, designed by Michelle Roberts

Now all 12 Sampler blocks and 13 Irish Chain blocks are complete, it’s time to join them together.

In preparation, lay the Sampler blocks out in order you’d like them, interspersing them with Irish Chain blocks.

COMPLETE Sweetest things Sampler Title sheet cropped

 

Next, working from the top row down, we’re going to sew the 10.5″ blocks in each of the rows together, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

If you’re using the Quilt As You Go technique using a 3 Layer Quilt sandwich, (Method 2 in the Quilt Construction notes PDF). Then blocks are joined in 3 steps….

Step. 1 Peel back the top layer of each quilt sandwich along the edges to be joined. Pin top layers right sides together and sew.

1. Joining top layer of quilt sandwich

(I used a couple of safety pins, to keep the wadding / backing away from the edge being joined.)

Now, the top layers of both blocks are joined, press the seam.

2. Pressing seam QAYG

Step 2. Next, smooth the wadding over the seam. You’ll find the wadding overlaps, so trim one edge of wadding so that when smoothed flat the edges of the wadding touch. Overstitch the edges to hold in place.

7. Joining quilted panels

Step 3. Finally, smooth over the backing pieces, folding under the backing edge of one block so that it overlaps the backing of the neighbouring block. Pin, then hand-stitch the backing in place.

3. QAYG Sewing quilt sandwich

Join the 2nd row, and subsequent rows in turn, till you have 5 rows, each measuring approx. 10.5″ x 50.5″

2 rows

Using the same technique (Steps 1 to 3) sew the rows together, to form a quilt top, measuring approx. 50.5″ x 50.5″

dsc_5034-e1550701417112.jpg

If you choose, you can add borders to make a 60″ x 60″ quilt, cut:

  • Border fabric
    (4) 5.5 ” x 62” strips
    (4) 5.5 x 52″ strips
  • Cotton wadding
    (2) 6″ x 62″ strips
    (2) 6″ x 52″

To sew the borders on the quilt, I used the following shortcut, for each of the 4 border sections, attaching the shorter border sections to either side of the quilt first:

  1. Pin both front and back borders along the edge of the quilt sandwich, both front and back, making sure border pieces and quilt sandwich are right sides together.
  2. Next machine through all layers (borders and quilt sandwich in one go.)
  3. Sew the wadding onto the seam allowance, then fold top and lower border over the  wadding.

We are almost there. Just the binding left to do, which is for next time 🙂

Till then, from our little hive to yours

Happy sewing,

Dawn  x X

 

Block 11 – Deer in the Snow, little moments of wonder

Even in the middle of winter, you can still find little moments of wonder. It might be the bright winter sunshine, shimmering snow, the shy doe in the woods, or perhaps the little snow globe which shimmers when shaken, that comes out this time each year.

Hope this season is full of lovely little wonders that bring joy, and peace, and contentment x x

Sampler Block Eleven measures 10 1/2” square before joining to other blocks. Includes fusible machine applique, and heirloom stitching make a flurry of snowflakes.

Please read through all the instructions, before starting on your block x

 

Materials:

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

6” x 6” 15cm x 15cm) plain brown (e.g. Moda Bella Solids Taupe – 9900 310)

Fat Sixteenth Ivory buds (Caroline 18653 11)

Fat Sixteenth Snow flurry – Winterberry No. 13146 12 – Snow flurry (mint)

Small pieces of green material for trees (Caroline 18653 14 & Caroline 18654 15)

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

Optional: 5 inches of 1” wide white glittery voile ribbon. Applique glue. Stabiliser.

Thread: Gutermann Sew-all thread in Dark grey (col. 701) and taupe (col. 854). Mettler Silk Finish cotton Green col. 1147 (for applique). Gutermann Sulky Metallic thread 7021 (Prism white) and Mettler metallic Silver (for the snowflakes)

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

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

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:

Print out the Deer in the Snow templates [2 page PDF] or

Print out the full Deer in the Snow tutorial and templates [9 page PDF]

Shapes have already been reversed, ready for tracing onto fusible webbing.

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

Trace the upper and lower halves of the background, deer and trees, with Bondaweb paper side up.

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

Pair up the bondaweb pieces with fabrics, as follows:

1. Upper background on the Snow Flurry fabric

2. Lower background on the Ivory print.

3. Deer on the Taupe Solid.

4. Trees on the green print.

• Place fusible side down on wrong side of fabric (with smooth paper side up). Press for a few seconds, using a medium heat, no steam.

• Using a pair of sharp scissors, cut out upper and lower circle, deer, and trees. Peel away the paper backing by making a fold near one edge, the paper backing should begin to separate.

Once the fusible pieces are cut….

• Place the upper circle first, fusible side down. Then the lower circle so it overlaps slightly. Forming a circle, centred in the middle of the block.

• Press for a few seconds, using a medium heat, no steam.

So let’s stitch….

• For the block shown in the photos, I used a walking foot, though a basic presser foot works equally well. Set stitch length to 2mm.

• Using metallic white thread stitch just inside the circle, then the snowy horizon.

• Sew a few contours on the snowy ground.

• Continue slowly building up the picture, adding the trees. Next place the deer just inside the circle, with back legs just outside (as if they are stepping into the winter scene).

• Once you are happy with the placement of deer and trees. Press for a second, to bond to the background, taking care not to press for too long as metallic polyester thread does melt.

To machine applique the deer

If you prefer you can also use an open toe foot (feed dogs down), or darning foot, to outline the deer or stick with the basic presser foot, whichever you feel most comfortable with.

• To outline the deer, use taupe or dark grey thread. Stitch just inside the edge of the deer shape (approx. 1/8”). Proceed slowly where you need to be precise – for the few stitches around the head I took my foot of the pedal, and used just the hand control.

• To pivot at tight curves, check your needle is in the down position before lifting the foot to pivot.

Machine sew tree trunks, on zig-zag stitch setting (width 3, length 0.2) using taupe thread.

The eye of the deer is hand sewn using satin stitch and black thread.

Your snowy scene is nearly complete! Just one more thing to add…

A flurry of snowflakes….

• Position the hexagon template, on the background, mark a dot at each of the 6 corners.

Using a water erasable pen and ruler, draw a snowflake pattern centered on the hexagon, (3 lines connecting opposite corners of the hexagon) and a “v” on each of the 6 arms.

• Repeat till you have 6 or 7 snowflakes marked, making sure they fit inside the blocks 10” design window.

Optional – To give an iridescent effect to the snowflakes

• Trace 3 or 4 hexagons onto glittery voile ribbon.

• Cut out the voile hexagons, and use a dab of applique glue in the centre and corners to secure the hexie to the block.

Using a water erasable pen and ruler, draw a snowflake pattern centred on the hexagon.

Stitching snowflakes

• Machine or hand-sew using metallic thread. Stitching the 3 lines in turn. If you have embroidery stitches on your machine, you may want to try one of the fancier hemstitch or heirloom stitches. Make sure to practice first on a scrap, to find the stitch and settings that works best.

• The stitch used to sew snowflakes on the block pictured is one of a number of hemstitches (also known as heirloom stitch) – I chose no 21 on my Janome machine (please see pic 1 below) set the width to 2.5 and Length 2. (Ethel – my hardworking little Janome machine is over 20 years old. Nowadays many machines have dozens of decorative stitches, so it’s worth trying out the different stitches available).

• Before beginning each new line check the machine needle is in it’s centered neutral position, ready to follow the straight line marked on the fabric. Stitch along the guidelines see pics 2-4. To complete the snowflake hand sew “v” onto each arm (pic 5.)

Preparing to quilt

Remove markings with a little water, and press using a pressing cloth, to avoid melting metallic threads.

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.

• 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.

Quilt around the deer and beginning from the leg of the deer, quilt all the way round the circle.

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 Block 11 – “Deer in the snow” is now complete !

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

Have a happy and peaceful season, and happy sewing

Dawn x X

Honeybee Cloths

Block 9 – Birthday treats by Michelle of CreativeBlonde

A heartfelt welcome to our Sweetest Things Sampler Block of the Month, both myself (Dawn) and Michelle from CreativeBlonde are truly delighted to have you along. We’ve been taking turns designing the blocks, and this months’ beautiful block and tutorial is by Michelle, inspired by a special birthday tea, to which you’re invited too, we are in for a real treat 🙂

Block 9 – Birthday Treats by Michelle, is the prettiest block, a birthday cake filled with the loveliest little details – truly comfort sewing. So make yourself a cuppa, and enjoy a slice of Michelle’s beautiful birthday cake. (Also,” a very happy birthday to Michelle, from all of us busy little sewing bees xx!”)

Enjoy x X

Block 9 – Birthday treat by Michelle of CreativeBlonde

Tutorial and templates by Michelle Roberts from CreativeBlonde

Designed for the Sweetest Things Sampler

10 ½” Finished appliqued block, before joining to other blocks

Downloadable PDF including templates [9 pages] – or Template only [2 pages]

Please read through all the instructions, before starting on your block x

Materials (available from Honeybee Cloths – http://www.honeybeecloths.co.uk)

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

11” square for the backing (if doing QAYG)

Scraps of Caroline pink, green, floral, and brown

11” square of wadding (if doing QAYG)

10” square of Vlieseline Bondaweb

Gutermann threads colours: 1001,336,650 and 624

Cutting – from the templates

1 Brown cupcake wrapper – Caroline 18652-16

3 pink hearts – Caroline 18654-14

1 small florals on cream for icing Caroline 18653-11

1 large floral – fussy cut for cup Caroline 18650-11

1 green for plate and saucer Caroline 18655 73

Haberdashery items

Template sheets – download here

16” pretty ribbon

Erasable marker pen

Iron

Basic sewing supplies

505 basting spray or pins

Quilting ruler, rotary cutter/scissors, cutting mat

Assembly

Apart from the bunting triangle, trace all the templates, from both sheets onto Bondaweb (templates have been reversed already for you) using a pencil. Cut them out roughly, and fuse to the chosen fabrics, and cut out accurately.

Take your 11” Ivory fabric, and begin by fusing all the applique pieces in place. When you add the icing to the cupcake wrapper, overlap it slightly when fusing to the main block.

Using the erasable marker pen, draw on the cupcake wrapper details.

Use the brown thread to sew over the cupcake wrapper markings.

Add detail to the icing using the same method, use a metallic pink thread to sew over the icing marks and pink hearts.

Using a cream thread, sew around the outline of the icing (1/8” from raw edge), continue with cream thread to sew around the cup.

Cut a 5” piece from the ribbon, and pin in place in the cupcake wrapper, sew 1/8” all the way around, you could add a little bit of anti-fray glue to the ends of the ribbon at this point.

Create a small bow, and sew a few stitches in the centre to hold in place. Add to the centre of the piece of ribbon on the cupcake wrapper, and sew a few stitches in the centre to hold, this can be done by hand if you find it easier.

Sew a few small stitches on each of the four pieces of the bow to hold in place on your block.

Your block is now complete.

If you want to go ahead with the 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 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.

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

Cut out the triangle and draw around it, using your fabric marker to give the appearance of bunting, in the top right-hand corner, and underneath the cup and saucer – see photo below for placement. With the metallic pink thread, quilt the bunting. Remove all markings.

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 you’ve finished Block 9 – Birthday Treat

Please share your gorgeous blocks on Instagram using the hashtag #sweetestthingssampler, both myself (Michelle) and Dawn (Honeybee Cloths) are so excited to see your blocks.

You can find me on Instagram @creativeblonde66 and on Facebook @creativeblonde66 .

Come on over and visit my blog for more sewing tutorials at www.creativeblonde.co.uk

Thanks for joining in with exciting quilt-a-long.

Happy sewing

x creativeblonde x