Chequer Star quilt block

chequer star quilt block

Chequer Star, also known as Scrappy Star, is block 16 (of 80!) from issue 17 ‘Art of Quilting’. 20 pieces no less! This one is a close relative of the Sawtooth Star block, the only difference being the single square in the centre. It is a favourite design with quilters as it utilises the smallest scraps and offcuts.

It wasn’t particular tricky but did take some ‘get up and go’ to even get started! The weather is far too beautiful in London to be sitting in and sewing, as much as I love it. I am seriously going to have to come up with some outdoor-friendly projects. Perhaps some traditional hand quilting. Does anyone else craft al fresco?

Block Facts:

Name: Chequer Star
History: This block dates from the 1900s.
Level: Some experience needed to line up the triangle points with the square seams.
No. of pieces: 20

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block
Block 13: The Basket of Flowers block
Block 14: Susannah
Block 15: Road to Oklhahoma
Block 16: Chequer Star

Is it a bird . . . ?

Yup!

tilda hen toy in linen

Meet Elsie the chicken,  or ‘chook’ as my friend might say! Elsie – well, not Elise in particular – but a chicken toy of sorts was going to be a gift for my friend Elina way back in June when we were invited to her summer garden party.

We were so looking forward to going and spending a lovely afternoon in Oxford at a quintessential English garden party. I even had plans on a rose-print tea dress, but the date was usurped by my daughter’s own birthday celebrations and so, in the end, we missed out on what looked to be such a gorgeous event.

Whilst flicking through the photos of the party on Facebook, I clocked a great picture of Elsie the (real) chicken in Elina’s garden. Fabulous reference! Just because we didn’t go, didn’t mean I couldn’t still send her a chicken!

tilda linen hen

And so armed with my copy of Tilda’s Crafting Springtime Gifts, (The self same book that inspired my Tilda bunnies!) a small pile of linen and a big bag of stuffing, I set to work.

A fiddly little thing to put together but nonetheless hugely rewarding. I love that you sew around the shapes before cutting them out, with a small seam allowance. Makes for much more accuracy. There was still lots of hand sewing, however, which, once I’d relaxed about it and told myself I had all the time in the world,  was actually enjoyable. And in case I haven’t mentioned it in a while…. I love linen! I love the way it moulds and feels and creates something that feels instantly nostalgic!

Collage of tilda hen

I’m so glad that real Elsie is white because it’s so difficult finding a light brown linen! She started to look like a duck at one point but of course, her ‘tiara’ and ‘wobbly bits’ under the chin are all she needs to confirm her identity, hey?! I should have used red really, for her contrasting details but the orange linen looked far too good to ignore… artistic license and all that!

I do hope that Elina will like her. I hope too that Elsie arrives before she notices this post too! I’m just far too impatient these days!

Road to Oklahoma quilt block

road to oklahoma quilt block

Road to Oklahoma is my latest quilt block from issue 16 ‘Art of Quilting’. A grand total of 18 pieces involved in this little one. I think that’s quite enough pieces for one block, don’t you?!

Seems like ages ago that I did one of these and it goes without saying that I am still eons away from the finished article. But these little fellas are always a good filler of time. Today a mini thunderstorm hit to remind us that one should not get complacent with days of glorious sunshine as it is so not the norm! Mini showers did not dampen spirits though, and gave rise to a couple of hours of quilt making instead!

This block is very similar in design and fabric choice to the first block I made, the Double Four-patch, but just involved a little variation. You can see how it breaks down into four smaller blocks here:

road to oklahoma quilt block

It did take a little longer than the others. Wasn’t timing I’m afraid. I try not to clock watch when I’m sewing nowadays. I do enough of that in my day job!

Of course there is always someone who will try and get in on the action. I mostly don’t post photos of Socksy as she is always hidden underneath the dressmaking fabric or the pattern paper but here she is trying to pretend she doesn’t know what the problem is!

socksy sitting on the oklahoma block

Block Facts:

Name: Road to Oklahoma
History: This block first appeared in print in 1897, but it predates that record by several decades. It is also known as Arkansas Crossroads and New Four Patch; the latter name reflects its similarity to the classic Four Patch block. It produces a pattern of stars and squares when repeated and recalls the early days of quilting in America and the pioneer trail towards the west.
Level: Set in seams require experience.
No. of pieces: 18

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block
Block 13: The Basket of Flowers block
Block 14: Susannah
Block 15: Road to Oklhahoma

Susannah quilt block

quilt block susannah

Say hello to Susannah, my latest quilt block from issue 15 ‘Art of Quilting’. She looked to be a little complicated from the instructions but as with most things it made sense when the pieces were cut and under the foot!

This was another opportunity to practice those set-in seams. To begin with, the green gingham rectangles and the red floral tapered rectangles were joined in pairs to make the four double patches that occupy the corners. The first double patch was sewn to one side of the orange central square. Then the next double patch is sewn to the first, and again to the central square.

Before sewing I marked the 6mm seam line on the wrong side of the central square to ensure that the set in seams started and finished from the point of seamlines crossing and not the edge of the fabric like the other seams.

All went swimmingly until the last and final seam, which simply didn’t match up. Took me a while to figure but it was easily resolved by unpicking a couple of stitches and restitching to fit. I’d over stepped the corner seam and it had thrown out the position of the last piece!

This seemed like such an easy one from the start, and it is, really, but a lot of care is needed to make it work accurately.

Block Facts:

Name: Susannah
History: This is a variation of a block known as ‘Oh Susannah’, the popular song which was first published in America in 1848.
Level: Set in seams require experience.
No. of pieces: 9

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block
Block 13: The Basket of Flowers block
Block 14: Susannah

Basket of Flowers quilt block

basket of flowers quilt block

Introducing the Basket of Flowers block, from issue 14 ‘Art of Quilting’. And what a little trickster this was! Just when you get the hang of ‘chaining’ and running seams from top to bottom, this little bunch of pieces involved set-in seams, meaning the seams meet at the same point rather than the lines of stitching crossing over.

Though my quarter inch foot is still my best friend when it comes to quilting, in this instance it is also advisable to draw on the seam lines so you can accurately pin point where the seams will meet.

The red flower diamond shape and the orange daisy diamond shape are seamed together, starting and ending at the seam points. This is repeated for the second set.

The small white triangles are then positioned between the diamond pairs, and each side sewn from edge to seam point.

These two sets are then joined along the long edges of the diamonds from seam point to edge.

The white square then is inserted between the two sets, being careful to meet at the seam points.

Then it starts to get a little easier as the big green paisley triangle is sewn along the long edge. No seam points to meet just edge to edge seam.

The little green paisley triangles are then seamed to the white rectangles and seamed to each side.

One last big white triangle to sew across the bottom… a good old press … et voilà!

This one did take a little more time than the others but it was still a pleasure to make and its a lovely one to add to the set.

Block Facts:

Name: ‘Basket of Flowers’ or ‘Lily Basket’ or ‘Flower Basket’
History: This design was ideally suited to the dress and feedsack prints of 1930s America, where it was a particular favourite
Level: Set in seams require experience.
No. of pieces:13

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block
Block 13: The Basket of Flowers block

The Windmill Sails block

Windmill sails quilt block

Quilt block number 12, the Windmill Sails block, from issue 13 ‘Art of Quilting’. I appear to have mislaid issue 12 but there’s no real urgency… I’ve still got 69 others to do!

I totally recognised the order of piecing this time, purposefully not looking at the instructions to test how much I have learned so far. I think in fairness, even though there are a fair few pieces, it was a pretty easy one to work out:

The 2 smaller triangles were sewn to the diagonals of the larger red triangles to make 4 rectangles. The blue gingham then sewn to the side of the red fabric point to make a small block. Then the four blocks sewn together. I thought I was going to have to seek reference on which way to press the seams but even that seemed pretty natural, until I got to the last centre seam where I had to check to find out that it must be pressed open to get it to lay flat.

windmill sails block reverse

I had a bit of a mare with the blue gingham though. The grain of the fabric wasn’t in tune with the checks and I had to decide whether to go for straight grain or straight pattern. I opted for the first even though it is hugely annoying that the pattern isn’t totally straight and I think I did the right thing because when I pressed it at the end it made for a perfect square. Might have been a different story if I’d have gone against the grain. Oh my! I really didn’t think these little things would have me thinking so much!

Block Facts:

Name: ‘Windmill sails’ or ‘Louisiana’
History: Each of the fifty states that make up the USA has its own embematic quilt block. This represents the southern state of Louisiana
Level: Some experience needed to make the centre seams converge neatly.
No. of pieces:16

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block

The Sawtooth Star block

sawtooth star quilt block

Quilt block number 10, the Sawtooth Star block and more importantly, one whole column’s worth of the final quilt! Not that these first 10 do actually sit in the same column but it is still an eight of the way there, all the same! It helps a lot that my lovely neighbour has subscribed me to the ‘Art of Quilting’. There is of course an obligation but it is the nicest kind of pressure!

It’s becoming easier to recognise the order in which these block pieces should be assembled. I just find it a bit tricky knowing the best way to press the seams. It’s not always towards the darker fabric, as I thought. So I am still very much paying attention to the instructions for that advice. Hopefully that will become second nature eventually.

To make this one, two smaller triangles were attached either side to the diagonals of the larger triangle to form a rectangle. Four sets of these were made. Two of these rectangles were sewn east and west side of the large central square. The smaller squares were attached each end of the other two rectangles, which were then sewn north and south of the block.

As with most of the blocks that contain small triangles, there is a necessity to watch those points and keep those seams to exactly 6mm. I was very concsious of how much room there was for error in this one but took it extra slow. Well, for the duration of Little Miss Ooobop’s flute lesson, actually!

Block Facts:

Name: Sawtooth Star block
History: This block gets it’s name from the triangles that are reminiscent of a saw’s cutting edge. It has appeared on very early quilts in the US, dating back to 1860.
Level: Slightly more advanced as accuracy is vital to create the points of the star
No. of pieces:17

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star

The Cactus Pot block

quilt block cactus pot

So here is block 9, The Cactus Pot. Apparently very popular in the 1930’s but, despite it’s Art Deco appearance, it actually dates back to the quilts of the 1800s. If the colour balance is altered it becomes more ‘Basket’ or ‘Cake Stand’!

I really like the fabric choice on this one. And with its white background, to be bordered by white, this little cactus is sure to be a pretty thorn among the ‘roses’!

I didn’t have too much trouble putting it together. I just took my time and repeatedly thanked my quarter inch foot! The small triangles were pieced together first, forming squares. Two sets of these were joined to make 2 rectangles. The first of these rectangles was sewn to the diagonal of the large yellow print triangle. A small white square was sewn to the second of the ‘rectangles’ to make a longer rectangle and this was then joined to the other diagonal of the triangle (and the edge of the first made rectangle)

Next up, the large red print triangle was joined to the yellow large yellow print triangle edge. Then the two small red print triangles were sewn to the short edge of the white rectangles. These were then joined to the sides of the block to create a ‘base’ to the pot. The last piece to be added was the large white triangle, across the bottom of the ‘base’.

Lots of pressing in between, and lots of satisfaction when this one was complete!

Block Facts:

Name: Cactus Pot block
History: The block was first published under this name in America, in the Oklaholma Farmer Stockman magazine in 1930. Also known as the Flower Pot.
Level: Some experience necessary for accurate piecing
No. of pieces:16

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot