Japanese Sampler – Set Squares (Post 13)

I’m not sure if ‘Set Squares’ is the right name for this block. I saw a picture online and I just wanted to see what it would look like in my Japanese fabrics.

So I made up my own pattern for the block and tried it out…


I like it. It might not be a traditional Japanese motif but this block was more about me experimenting with my fabric choices and just having the bravery to mix and match my own ideas. I fussy cut the flower in the centre square and had to be careful when cutting the outer triangle to make the black in the patterned fabric didn’t just blend into the black of my background fabric. I only lost one point with black-on-black so I’m happy with that. This block will make it on the front of the quilt. Whoop.

Repurposed towels for the kitchen 

Recently my sister-in-law gifted me a huge pile of old towels. A strange present you may think, but she knows me well. I regularly use old bedding and linen to make dog beds, either for our dog Archer or for the dog daycare and boarding service he regularly visits. I combine them with all of the teeny tiny offcuts and threads from my sewing to make the stuffing for beds. Bigger towels are useful for making washable covers for the beds. This time however, I had a slightly different plan…

We’ve just redecorated our kitchen so I thought this might be the perfect time to make some new (co-ordinated) items for the kitchen. I bought a couple of packs of dark green fabric dye and chucked the donated towels and some of my old and grungy looking kitchen tea towels into the washing machine. A few cycles later I had a wealth of beautifully matching green towels. My old tea towels suddenly looked brand new and went straight back into the drawer ready for use. The donated towels came with me to my sewing room and emerged a couple of days later as a pair of oven gloves.


I also made a heat pad, which is really useful next to the kettle and for getting things out of the microwave. I made a couple of these while I was in the mood

I did then actually make something for the intended beneficiary of the towels. Archer got a nice new cover for his kitchen bed. It’s already been washed twice and it holding its colour really well. 

I’ll probably make some more heat pads and another cover for Archer’s bed at some point soon. 

This experiment with fabric dye worked so well I’m sure I’ll be dyeing more stuff again soon. It’s just such a fun way to create new fabric out of stuff that just looks too dull or stained to keep using. Great fun

Japanese Sampler – Plum Blossom Sashiko (Post 10)

Time to take a break from playing with fabric choices and make another sashiko block for my Japanese Sampler quilt.

This is also from Susan Briscoe’s book and is a simple comma style plum blossom.


Compared to other embroidery styles, sashiko is quick. I’m really enjoying practicing this technique and I think it will work well in my ever growing Japanese sampler.

Jigsaw Quilt – washable

Just a quick update today. 

I wanted to let you know that yesterday I successfully machine washed and tumble dried the I Spy Jigsaw Quilt for my godson. It was pretty nerve wracking but no colour runs, no ripped seams, and no weird distortions. Complete success. 
It’s the first time I’ve ever machine washed a quilt and I’m completely delighted I can confidently tell his mother it is safe to use and wash whenever needed. Whoo hoo!

Maybe there will be more quilt washing in my future. You never know 🙂

Happy quilting people. 

Starting a postage stamp quilt

For a couple of years now I have been cutting my small scraps into 2 1/2″ squares and organising them by colour. My plan was that in 20 years or so I’d have enough for a truly scrappy quilt, the making of which would officially make me a real patchworker.

Earlier this week I was supposed to be writing a paper. It it was really hard and I kept shying away from my laptop in fear of the blank page. I hate academic writing!

While avoiding my laptop I decided to do a cutting session and sort out my messy overflowing scrap basket into squares. Some time later the box I had been using to store my squares was too small to hold them all. I figured I didn’t need to wait 20years, I could start my postage stamp quilt now.

I started pairing lights and dark squares together and just chain pieced away merrily.

I pressed them all to the dark side. I loosely tried to have an even mix of all colour combinations (e.g light blue and dark red). Some of my mid tone fabrics snuck in there, and others just had to be put to one side.

I then paired my pairs to make string of four squares. This time I ignored the pale colours and just made sure I had a even mix of the bright/dark colours in each pair, with an even mix of each bright/dark colour on the end of the rows. More pressing followed (sooo much pressing!). I pressed each row the same way, which meant the new middle seam was pressed towards the light fabric.

Then I joined two strips together, this time I made sure I had an even mix of the dark/bright colours at the corners of the 8-square block.

It’s starting to look as scrappy as I’d hoped. The checkerboard effect of placing lights next to dark is not as pronounced as I expected, but that’s ok. I still really like the way it’s coming together.

Next up I’ll combine the 8-square patches to makes 16 patch squares. That will be my ‘finished’ block size and I’ll then be able to layout the quilt and see how big it is and how many more squares I’ll need to cut. Somehow I don’t think this quilt will take 20 years to make at the rate I seem to generate scraps.

It feels great to be doing real patchwork with whatever fabrics come to hand.

Laying out the Jigsaw Quilt

With a rainbow colour scheme chosen, I went full steam on making the blocks. When I thought I might be getting close to have enough (not actually sure what the final size will be yet) I started to lay them out to see what colours I needed to balance out the quilt. Then I hit another design dilemma…

Should I go for a random placement or a gradient rainbow effect?

Apologies for the shadows in the images and the funny colours. It was late at night when I took these photos. Random colour placement above and rainbow layout below

I don’t want to ask Christopher’s mum to make this decision. I want some of the blocks to be a surprise so I can’t show her a picture of the full layout in advance.

Can you help? What should my layout be?


Pieces for the Jigsaw Quilt

About 6 months ago our dear friends welcomed their first child into world, a beautiful and happy little boy. I’ve been sort of gently gathering child friendly fabric pictures and building 5″ blocks with them since he was born with the idea that an i-spy or jigsaw type quilt could be fun.

In just two months time he will be Christened and I will officially become his godmother. I’m now on a mission to get this quilt finished in time for the Christening. Eek! Not much time at all.

Last month his mum gave me some of her favourites from his newborn clothes to incorporate into the quilt. Some of the motifs meant I needed bigger blocks to catch the full image, but actually I really liked that effect.


I left the “Little Wingman” pocket open so it still works. It was the bit of the outfit that my friend liked the most so I thought it would be fun to keep the function even in a quilt. I’m a teeny bit worried about small fingers and toes getting caught in the pocket while he rolls around but I’ll always have the option to tack it shut later on so I’ll keep it open for now and just fix if there is actually a problem.

Now I just need to get some time to quilt so I can get this pile of bright pictures turned into a functional quilt / playmat type thing.

At this stage I have mainly yellow blues and greens. The stray reds and oranges seemed to really pull the focus and I wasn’t sure what to go with as a colour scheme. My friend made an excellent executive decision as mum and decided it should be a rainbow quilt. I better get to work making some red, orange and purple blocks to balance things up…