Thursday, 25 August 2011

Quilting Under the Rainbow Bee - September block tutorial

My block for the this bee is a foundation pieced pineapple block.

This tutorial is in two parts:  1)  general tips   2) step by step instructions


  • setup your cutting mat, ruler, cutter, iron surface and board within reach of the machine to save you getting up and down
  • use an open toe foot for a clear view of lines
  • set your stitch length to 1.5
  • use pins
  • use cream or light grey thread both top and bobbin
  • guesstimate the strip size, add an inch then trim before you sew (its easier)
  • line up fabric first to ensure it covers the pattern with seam allowance
  • pin vertical to the seam, and use multiple pins for longer strips
  • start and finish one or two stitches either side of the line
  • check tension is correct after first stitched line by pulling back on the fabric - if bobbin thread pops through easily, adjust accordingly
  • don't throw away any scraps
  • try to avoid unpicking - that 1.5 stitch length is unfriendly
  • if you do need to unpick, do it from the fabric side
  • folding gets easier, as you find its already creased once you've done the first one or two rounds
  • for the outside strips, check they go past the edge of the paper, not just the outside seam line



  • foundation template (I have written the colour guideline onto the template for you)
  • several 2" strips of fabric in various shades/patterns of cream
  • several 2" strips of fabric in red, brown, blue, green (see foundation template for your block colours)
  • 3" red square for centre
  • 4, 7" x 3.5" squares (or 6" square cut on the diagonal) one for each colour nominated on your foundation template

Step 1

  • Place the red square in the centre of the unprinted side of the foundation template (for this piece only, the fabric is face up)
  • hold it up to the light to ensure it extends beyond the square by at least 1/4"
  • pin in place

  • Turn the paper over and stitch around the 4 sides of the centre square

  • With paper printed side up, fold the paper back on the lines and trim the seam to 1/4"


Step 2
  • With fabric side up, lay a short cream strip face down along one edge of the red square (so fabrics are right side together)
  • Pin in place
  • Stitch along the line
  • Press fabric open

  • With paper printed side up, fold the paper back along the outside of the triangle line, trim seam to 1/4"
  • Repeat for opposite side

  • Continue for all four sides of red square     


Step 4 

  • With fabric side up, lay a colour strip (check foundation template for right colour)
  • Pin in place
  • Stitch along the line (make sure you are exactly on the line, especially over the point in the centre)
  • Press fabric open

  • With paper printed side up, fold the paper back along the outside of the angled line, trim seam to 1/4"
  • Repeat for opposite angled line
  • Repeat for top of strip


Step 5
  • Continue Step 4 alternating between light/cream and colour strips 


Step 6

  • When finished, stitch around the outside of the block, just outside of the border line of the block, using a stitch length of 3
  • Trim fabric to exact paper size (DO NOT cut any paper off)
  • Leave paper on
  • Finished!


Sunday, 3 July 2011

What I've been working on lately...

The income has dropped considerable since moving to part-time so I have moved onto finishing works in progress rather than buying anything new (that's the plan anyway).

So I've finally finished my sewing machine cover.  I started it around two years ago, from  book called Hooley Dooley designs.

Front and back view (I especially love the redback spider on the door of the backyard loo)

Another long work in progress that I've ticked off is a handbag for my eldest sister.  Again, I started this about 2 years ago.  But I'm very pleased with the end result, and perfect timing - her birthday is next week!

I also made a twin dresden cushion for one I made few years ago (I had bought the fabric for a second one when I made the first).  I was surprised at how much easier it was to do this time, I guess I have learnt some things over the past few years.

And finally today, I made the cutest little pin cushion.  I can't even remember where or when I bought it but I had a little kit for it at the bottom of a drawer.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Quilting Under the Rainbow Bee - July Block

Rainbow wheel, made for Monica.  After a fiddly start (its been a while since I did any foundation piecing) it was a nice quick block to complete, but very effective!

1. Making the templates (I had some quilting paper lying around so used that, as its basically just tissue paper).  I traced them from the supplied pattern:

2. Cutting done (thank you Monica for the tips of sizes for each piece)

3. First block pieced - only three unpicks I think (did I mention it had been a while since I foundation pieced), that bottom piece, it took me ages to get the fit right.  Also, the light blue and purple were my stash donations, so I started with them just incase as I had a fair bit more in the cupboard.

4.  Halfway there!  I took a break at this stage and left it for the next day.

5.  COMPLETE!!  Yay.  Looks really nice, I can't wait for pics of the complete quilt.

Next is a couple of border pieces to go with this before I send it back to Monica.....

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Inaugural Post

Welcome to my blog.

After a 5 1/2 month break, I have just returned to work and made the move to part-time for the first time in my life.  So now I have time to do more of the things that make me happy...  like patchwork and quilting, spending time with my family, reading, playing with my dogs,  I've even started some volunteer work (see the WOWgirls gadget).  And of course, I've joined a couple of online quilting bees - which is where I got the idea to start a blog in the first place.

There's a good chance I'll be the only one reading this, but nonetheless I'm having a crack at it!!!