The Honey Pot Bee – Coral Crown Block

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Hello and welcome to Frankenstein’s Fabrics! My name is Marni Franks and I’ll be one of your Queens for November’s block party.

The block I’ve chosen is one I designed, taking inspiration from traditional star and crown style blocks adding a little twist here and there.

When I first designed this quilt it was for a magazine commissioned piece and was sea-themed so in my head it was all about the ‘crown’ feel of the block – like sea anemones and sea urchins.

WARNING: This block has 69 pieces in it. I made 25 of these blocks for my quilt and it can be tedious making so many but making one block is fairly straight forward.

So let’s get started!

Note: Fabric descriptions as per my block

You will need:
Four, 4 1/2in squares of halloween character print
Four, 2in squares of dark sludge green spider web print
Four, 2 1/2in squares of light purple plain batik
Five, 2 1/2in squares of dark purple tone-on-tone spot
Four, 2 1/2in squares of light sludge green tone-on-tone spot
Eight, 1 1/2in x 2 1/2in rectangles of dark purple tone-on-tone spot
Eight, 1 1/2in squares of dark dark sludge green spider web print
Four, 3 1/2in squares of dark dark sludge green spider web print
Four, 3 1/2in squares of light purple plain batik
Eight, 3 1/2in squares of light sludge green tone-on-tone spot

Here we go!

9-Patch centre 
Dark Unit: Take one square of 2 1/2in light purple and two squares of dark purple. Stitch one dark square to either side of the light purple square and press the seams to the darker fabric. Make 2 units like this.

Light Unit: Take one square of 2 1/2in dark purple and two squares of light purple. Stitch one light square to either side of the dark square and press the seams to the darker fabric. Make 1 unit like this.

 

Abutting the seams stitch one dark unit to the side of a light unit. Press the seams. Attach a second dark unit to the other side of the light unit. Press the seams and set aside.

Half-Square Triangles
Pair up 4, 3 1/2in squares of light green with 4, 3 1/2in squares of light purple. With right sides facing, draw a pencil line diagonally from corner to corner across the wrong side of the pairs of squares. Stitch 1/4in either side of the drawn line. Cut along the drawn line and press open. Trim the squares down to 2 1/2in.

Note: I always make my HST units a little bigger than I need so I can trim down to size without any dramas. If you don’t feel comfortable with cutting squares at 3 1/2in go up to the 4in mark.

Repeat this for the remaining 4, 3 1/2in squares of light green and the 4, 3 1/2in squares of dark green.

Corners – make 4
Take one 4 1/2in square of halloween character print and in one corner place with right sides facing, a 2in square of dark green. Stitch across the diagonal, trim away the excess, 1/4in from the seam and press the corner open. NOTE: Please make note of rotation of your 4 1/2in square before attaching your dark green corners, in case you have a directional print like I do.

Tails – make 8
NOTE: Separate your pieces in half (two lots of four). You need to do this so that when you stitch them together you create a left and right-hand unit. 

Take a 1 1/2in square of dark green and a 1 1/2in x 2 1/2in rectangle of dark purple. Place the dark green square, with right sides facing, at the top of the purple rectangle. Stitch across the diagonal (either left or right), trim away the excess, 1/4in from the seam and press the corner open. Make 4 left and 4 right units.

Crown Unit – make 4 of each
Using the photos as a guide lay out the units, checking their orientation.

Take one light green 2 1/2in square and attach a dark green/light green HST unit to either side (check rotation). Press the seams. Piece 4 green units like this.

Take two light green/light purple HST units and piece them together (check rotation). Press the seam. Attach one left and one right tail unit to either side of the paired HST. Check the rotation of the tail unit. Press the seams. Make 4 units this way. See photo above.

Join a pair of the above units together lengthways. Press the seams. Repeat for all 4 units.

Take 2 Crown units and join them to either side of each of the 9-Patch centre. Press the seams.

Finishing the block
Take one of the Crown units and two 4 1/2in halloween character/dark green corner squares and attach one to each end rotating so that the dark green corner is in the bottom corner, use the photo as a guide. Repeat pairing up corners and units to make 2.

Using the above photo as a guide join one corner/Crown row to the upper edge of the Crown/9-Patch row, press the seams. Repeat with another corner/Crown row on the lower edge ensuring you check the rotation is correct. Press the seams.

Ta da!

Below is the quilt I made for Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine – it’s actually the current issue Volume 27 No 8 and is available now. As you can see the use of just two colours in a light and dark tone really reveals the tertiary and secondary designs that the block creates.

If you have any questions about this block you can comment below, email frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com, ring me on 0416 023 637 or you can find me in the Honey Pot Bee group on FB.

I can’t wait to see your blocks!

Happy sewing!

Marni xx

 

 

 

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Mum’s First Quilt

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So this quilt-along will be a little different to your usual type of quilting instructions. Mainly because I’m letting Mum take the lead on this one. It’s her quilt and her learning pace, so there’s no rushing and no set timeframe.

Mum works from home for the most part of the week, working in our shared space, the craft room/office. As it’s on the top floor of the house it does get a bit warm but when the sun is around the back of the house first thing in the morning it is quite chilly. Mum decided she wanted to try and make a quilt for herself. Something small enough that she can give it a go without being too overwhelmed with its size, but big enough to drape over her legs while she works on the computer.

So the other night while we watched CSI (Saturday Crime Night) we pulled out every piece of fabric that Mum owns. Which was not a lot as she’s not really a sewer  to the extent I am (read craft hoarder), she used to dabble when my sister and I were little but she mainly painted ceramics and now does cake decorating and some knitting.

Having helped quilters choose fabrics for almost a decade I have created my own process when working with customers who struggle with fabric choice – getting them to tell me little things about the fabrics they’ve chosen so I can work my way through their selections and help nudge them in the right direction – whether that direction be a complete selection or a partial one with more things to find later – and then get the fabrics to speak its design to us.

So Mum’s fabrics were a bit random to say the least. She had a few themes which she’s picked up on but generally it wasn’t a cohesive group of fabrics. We started by dividing them into what groups we could see – blenders, black and whites, brights, small prints (mainly tone-on-tones) and miscellaneous. We also matched up fabrics that worked together, hoping that as we worked through the pile we would find something or enough little somethings that would spark an idea.

Once everything was sorted we stepped back and looked at what we’d done. Mum couldn’t quite see where I was going, she wasn’t really even clear with herself about what she wanted and was concerned that her random fabric purchases and mini raids on my stash had left her with a pile that couldn’t be used.

rsz_20140516_092938

Which is never the case. Because stash diving gives you the opportunity to see what you have (and how much of it), which means you can then either use what you have buying only a few bits to add in or you can see you have nothing that works and buy from scratch. Both are equally good but it all boils down to the timing, the project and your budget.

So I made her pick up the two fabrics that spoke to her the most and explain why they spoke to her.

20140516_025124   20140516_025246

The first one she finds calming, the softer colour palette is peaceful and contains her favourite colours. It’s not too bold but it’s still an interesting print.

The second one reminds her of a storm – the turbulent nature of it, the depth of colours in it and the movement in the print. She loves the strength in the colours but was concerned about matching them.

So we went through the shop’s stock, our local Spotlight and my stash. After trying to match the storm print and coming up with very little that Mum felt matched the vibrancy of the fabric, we ended up with the batik fat quarter and a handful of soft homespuns in matching tones.

Storm FQ and stash matching  fabrics   Floral FQ and matching homespuns

The design of the quilt also went through several permutations. Starting with the fact that Mum didn’t want to chop up the fat quarter too much and lose the impact of it. We sketched a few ideas, thinking that we were using the storm print. Mum thought about creating a window effect so that we’d be looking out the window at the storm – cutting it up into four squares to make the window panes – but then we were a tad trapped with that design, not having fabric to see how we could expand on the quilt into the border made it difficult. We thought about doing a colour wash – pulling the four main colours from the storm FQ and working with colour gradation, piecing blocks to surround the FQ, possibly edging it with a narrow border of black to frame it and contrast with it, but it all felt a little off so we changed plans. Again.

Because homespuns are a flat, solid colour you don’t want to use them as a large expanse (unless you plan on machine quilting it with detail, like many Modern quilters do), so for Mum’s quilt we decided on strip piecing blocks and as yet we have yet to decide on the width of the strips and in what direction they will go for each block.

Mum’s quilt is a simple layout. The FQ in the centre, trimmed to a square, with a narrow sashing, the 12 pieced blocks surrounding it, a second sashing and then a border.

Materials list for those who’d like to quilt along:

One feature fat quarter – a print that you can pull the other fabrics from

50cm each of 5 co-ordinating fabrics

2.5m of your border fabric (50cm of this will potentially go with the other five 50cm pieces)

60cm of your binding fabric (we have 4 FQs of this colour for Mum’s quilt)

Backing: will be pieced from remaining fabrics with anything extra needed purchased when we get to that stage

Wadding: this quilt’s estimated size will finish at 1.5m square so you can either purchase a 1.7m square of backing (enough for professional quilting needs) or make up a piece using any scraps of wadding you have in your stash.

Tools:

Sewing machine with 1/4in and walking feet

Rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat

Neutral thread for piecing

General sewing supplies: pins, scissors, marking pens etc

Note: Mum and I have over estimated on fabrics as I roughly calculated she needed about 30cm of each. As we were buying homespun which is generally anywhere from $5 – $10 per metre it was a more economical way to purchase for this particular quilt. If you would like more accurate quantities please hold off on your purchasing until the next post.

So now that we have all the fabrics and the design set what’s next?

Wash all your fabrics. I’ve discussed this before in this post and this is the only part of this whole process where it is up to you.

Then iron and if you like starch them to return them to pre-washed condition which makes for easier cutting. Purchase starch here.

Note: When you wash fabrics there will be fraying. You will lose some off your edges and be required to straighten them cutting into the amount of fabric needed for your quilt. BUY extra if you feel you will lose too much – 5cm extra purchased can save a whole heap of grief when cutting after washing. This is also spoken about in the washing blog post.

Once you have everything washed and ironed and ready to go meet back here for the second instalment of Quilting Along with Mum.

If you have any questions – such as fabrics choice issues – please feel free to post a photo or video of your dilemma and I’ll help you with that part of the process. You can also email me frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com.

Marni x

 

 

 

 

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