Next in Line – Cafeteria Line 

At least three to four years ago, I had cut out the fabric to make a very simple but striking  quilt, Cafeteria Line by Modern Relish. I had even started the piecing, before I got side tracked into something else. I especially loved the quilting on the original quilt. 

Today I dug out the UFO ( unfinished object, for non-quilters) finally. Here is the fabric, Geometric Bundle from Joann for my project.  The red  and brown fabrics with those tiny flowers are from my stash.  

Browns and reds with white. The background will be white.


I hope this will be a quick project and I will be back here soon with the finished quilt! Those of you who are lazy, can see a screenshot of the blogpost showcasing the original quilt here!

Cafeteria Line Quilt – screenshot of the Modern Relish blogpost.


Isn’t it pretty? I may need to modify it somewhat, let’s see! 

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Cupcakes and Tea with Jack – A Mini Quilt

The Jack’s Chain quilt block is one that has always fascinated me. I used it as Block Twelve, Dozens Squared, in my Dreamcatcher Round the Year BOM quilt too. But what intrigued me was the way the whole quilt comes together. I could not see myself making a full quilt but a mini appeared quite doable.

So here is my miniquilt, all of 10″ by 10″!

A cup of tea, anyone?

You have seen those 3/4″ ninepatches, of course, in my previous post.  I do not recommend this quilt in this size, unless you are seriously crazy about miniatures, which is why I did consider calling this quilt The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

Here are some pictures of the process.

First I machine sewed the nine-patches.  This method had given me two sets of nine-patches in reverse combinations, half with the pink in centre and halfwith the white in the centre. So, I  designed the quilt to make best use of the nine-patches. I also made six lime green and white nine-patches, to add some zing to the pink quilt.

I made 48 nine-patch blocks of 3/4″, half with 5 whites and half with 5 pinks.

Then I fussy cut 3/4″ triangles, with freezer paper at the back to make pieces for English paper piecing. 24 of them had a green flower in the centre and 18 of them had a white flower in the centre. Again, this was to make best use of my fabric where white flowers alternated with green on a pink background.  I needed 13 hexagons for my original design; these were also fussy cut, with freezer paper.

Now I was ready to put together the blocks. I am not sure I used the most efficient method, but it appeared to be the best when I embarked on it. I tried English paper piecing some of the blocks, but gave up and resorted to machine sewing, appliqueing and even hand sewing!

I began with the centre block.

I joined the surrounding pieces, before appliquéing a tea-cup hexagon in the centre.

Once this was done, I expanded on it by adding the surrounding hexagons with their teapots and more nine-patches…

The centre piece of the quilt.

I then made the six blocks that were planned for the edge and started to put everything together…

Added the six blocks around the centre

Realized the perfect match between my dress and the mini!

Ah! Finally done! But wait…

This was the original design, but it appeared incomplete!

It needed something more! Back to the drawing board …er…Quilt Assistant software on my laptop. More fussy cutting and six more hexagons.  This time the cupcakes. Well, what is a tea-party without cakes, in any case?

I appliqued the whole piece to a white background, and cut away a circle from the background centre. Next, I added two layers of thin polyester batting. cut away a circle from the inner layer so that only the white background had a double layer.

I did think of hand-quilting it, but it was too much of an effort. So stitch in the ditch it was! I started echo quilting it, but soon got bored of that so just finished off with some straight lines. My Husqvarna Viking does not need a change to a walking foot, so the entire quilting was done with the regular B foot!

 

This is seriously crazy piecing, I tell you!

A picture of the back. The binding was also fussy cut from a fat quarter and done in four pieces; I finished it to give a mitered look on the front.

The back

As usual, I had to do a mathematical check of the number of pieces! That is 548 pieces, excluding the binding and backing.

A close up of the tea party!

But all in all, I am quite happy with how this finally turned out. I am in the mood for another crazy mini. What do you suggest? I would like it to finish at the same size. Happy Quilting to you all, while I go and make myself a cup of…coffee. I am not a tea person.

A Diwali Gift

Today, finally, I got around to opening my Diwali gift from Aditya Gupta, the Husqavarna Viking , Pfaff and Handiquilter man in India, who has become a dear friend over the years. Actually, the package had arrived more than a week ago, but I had not been able to even open it. October, so far, has been a crazy time for me, with two emergency trips to the hospital with my daughter. She is better now, thank you! 

 I had to share the pictures of this wonderfully thoughtful gift with you immediately that I saw it myself.

Husqavarna Viking Sewing Bag and Embroidery Unit bag, with strolley!


There is this bag in which I can store my Topaz 30 sewing machine when I am sewing on my Opal 690Q, or carry it along with me when travelling, for it also has a detachable telescopic strolley. The bigger bag, Aditya tells me, is for the embroidery unit; I think it may be able to fit in my quilting table as well, which is difficult to store when not in use. And don’t you just love that smart red? Here is another pic; as you can see, the machine carry bag has a sleeve which slides into the trolley and holds it there. The larger bag has a similar sleeve. 

Each bag has a sleeve at the back which holds it on the trolley.


What better gift could a sewist ask for?  

Quick and Easy Nine-Patch Quilt Blocks

The Quick and Easy Nine Patch Block…

After several weeks, I finally got around to a little bit of sewing and I decided to try out a YouTube tute on an easy and quick method for a nine-patch block, which I had seen long, long ago!  In fact, almost five years ago, I had adapted this method to test and write one of my most popular tutorials, the one on how to sew an easy and perfect four-patch. So without much ado, here we go on my adaptation of the same tute to make several nine-patch blocks in a batch!

I will do this tute in two parts. In the first I will show you how I made several nine-patch blocks in one go.  In the second part I will give you Maths for various sizes and some tips, including those for perfectly matched points on your blocks.

The Method

For my project, I need several nine-patch blocks of 0.75″. Yes, you read that right, 3/4″ blocks! Almost impossible to manage by the regular methods, one would think, since each of the nine square patches would be 3/4″ to start with, and end at 1/4″!

1. I begin with 2 strips of 2.5″ width in the fabrics I will be using for my block. Actually 2.25″ would have been sufficient, but remember a good rule to follow when working with miniature blocks is wherever possible,  sew bigger and then trim to size.  I will discuss the length of the strips later.

Begin with 2 strips 2.5″ wide

2. I sew a scant 1/4″ seam on both long edges.

Sew 1/4″ seam on both long edges

3. Now  I do something one doesn’t usually do! I trim the seams by about 1/16″ or 4-5 threads. Remember the final size of the pieces is only 1/4″? Unless I trim the seams, things are going to get difficult and messy at the back!

Trim the seams by about 1/16″

4. Measuring from just inside the seam, I make a long cut 1/2″ inside on the joined strips. ( 1/4″ is the size of the final patch, plus 1/4″ for the seam. ) Similarly inside the other seam.

Cut 1/2″ inside both the seam lines…Note the placement of the ruler. The 1/2″ mark is just inside of the seam line.

5. I now have this:

Two pink-white strips and  one each of pink and white strips about 1″ wide.

One pink strip, one white strip and two joined pink-white strips

6. I press open the two pink-white strips…

Important: Do not iron open the seams. Instead, press them to one side. I ironed them to the darker, pink side.

Press the seams on both strips to one side, towards the same colour. I chose to press mine to the pink.

7. I now sew the pink strip and the white strip to these, to get one pink-white-pink and the other white-pink-white strips and press it open, seams are again pressed to the darker ( pink) side.

Iron open the pink-white strips. Do not press open the seams; instead, press the seam to one side. Again, be consistent. I press the seams to the pink as I did on the previous stage.

8. Measuring from just beyond the seam, I trim the newly added pink strip to 1/2″. Had I worked with 2.25″ strips, this would not have not been required, as my recently added strip would have been 3/4″ instead of 1″.

Trim newly added strip to 1/2″ width.

9. And similarly, the white strip.  The final white-pink-white strip will be just the scantiest bit wider than 1.25″, as will be the pink-white-pink strip.

Trim white strip to 1/2″ width from just beyond seam.

10. I now cut 2.5″ long pieces from the lengths of the two strips.

Cut 2.5″ long pieces from the strips…

I had begun with 10″ long strips, so I have 4 pairs of 2.5″ long strips at the end of this stage. ( I now made another 5 sets of these readied strip pairs, using 12.5″ strips, so don’t let the coming pictures confuse you!)

11. Now comes the most exciting part, where the magic starts to reveal! I pick up each pair, right sides together, and sew 1/4″ seams along the shorter edges. I had pressed the seams towards one colour; this ensures that the seams ‘lock’ and my points match beautifully. 

Pair the pink-white-pink strip with the the white-pink-white strip and sew 1/4″ seams along the shorter edges.

Remember, chain stitching makes things move really fast!

12. You may have guessed what comes next? A cut 1/2″ from inside both seams. I could, of course, measure 3/4″ from the edge. But measuring from the seamline ensures accuracy of my ready size, because it takes into account that my 1/4″ seam may be a tad more or less than 1/4″!

13. Have we forgotten something here? Yes. We had to trim the seam (allowance) by 1/16″.

Cut 1/2″ within seam. Can you see that my seam is uneven? Measuring from the seam ensures my final strip will be accurate and the correct width!

14.  Press open the (6-patch) side pieces; again, seam to one side – do not press seam open.  Which side? I pressed half of them on one side and the remaining nine on the other and made two separate piles of these 6-patches. I realised later this could get a little complicated with regular sized blocks! How?  I will try to answer this later in the “Tips” section.
I joined the centre strips to side pieces appropriately. the white-pink-white to one pile and the pink-whie pink to the other.

Almost there!

15. Once sewn, I first press the seams towards the edge and am ready for the last step …

18 nine-patches in no time at all! All pressed. Just one more step…

16. …the last strip joined has to be trimmed to 3/4″.

Trim to 1/2″ from the seam. This is a good time to check all edges and trim them as necessary to get an accurate 1.25″ square.

Here we are, the final eighteen!

Nine blocks have white squares in the corners and centre. The other nine are reversed.

The Maths

Width of Strips

The Maths is very simple. Just add 1.5″ (for 6 seam allowances of 1/4″ each) to the size of your ready nine-patch, to get the width of your strips. So if you want a 6″ patch, begin with 7.5″ strips, if you want a 3″ strip, start with  4.5″  wide strips.

Length of Strips

This will depend on the number of blocks you need.  The minimum nine-patches you can make by this method is two, one the colour reversal of the other.

If you need just two blocks, begin with 2 squares. The size of the square? Easy! Size of ready nine-patch plus 1.5″ . So for a pair of  6″ nine-patches, you need two squares of 7.5″. And, if you need a pair of nine-patches of 3″, start with two 4.5″ squares.

If you have a set of 5″ charm squares lying around and are wondering what to do with them, it may be a great idea to pair up contrasting colours and make  3″ nine-patches with them.  The strips will have to be cut at 1.25″ from the seam at Stage4 and the centre strip will require trimming as it will be 2″ wide.

Add one width to the length,  for each extra pair that you require.  For two pairs of 6″ squares, the two strips will be 7.5″ x 15″. For 3 pairs, 7.5″ x 22.5″, for 4 pairs 7.5″ x 30″ and so on…

Tips 

  1. Caution: This method gives you two sets of nine-patches, which are colour reversals of each other. It will not work if you want identical nine-patches. Of course, you could put away the unwanted 9-patches for another project or use them in a border or something. If doing miniature blocks like I am making, I recommend this method every time. You can always use up the extra blocks.
  2. I am repeating myself: press the seams to one side, consistently. Like  I said, things get complicated when we reach the last stage of assembling the nine patch.

a) If making mini-blocks, press towards the strip which will be on the edge. Thus if you are making a block with 5 pink patches and 4 white ones, press towards the strip which has pink-white-pink patches. And vice versa with the colour reversal patch. In other words, half of them to one side and the other half to the other, like I did. Your finished nine-patches will look like this from the back. The last two seams face the edges.

The two patches from the back…

b) If making regular sized blocks, which will be attached to other nine-patch blocks to make perhaps a border or larger units, I would follow the traditional method. Press seams on the blocks in one direction consistently, towards the pink-white-pink strip. In half of these blocks ( 5W-4P) the two last seams will end up facing each other towards the centre, in the other half  (5P-4W) towards the edge. Then when these nine-patches are being joined together, seams will lock in to give you perfectly matched points.

c) If making regular-sized blocks which will not be attached to other nine patches,  press seam towards edge like in a) above.

Well, I really can’t think of anything else, so…

Are you wondering what I am going to do with all these miniature 9-patches? What is coming up next? Well, you’ll just have to wait and watch, won’t you?

I sign off wishing all my friends across the world a Very Happy Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights! May our Earth see the victory of prosperity over want, of peace over war, of good over evil,  of health over disease, of hope over despair, of love and compassion over hatred…of light over darkness, everywhere and for all its inhabitants.

 


धूप छाँव

बेपर्दा खिड़की पाकर, बेख़ौफ़ मेरे आँगन में आती हैं

सुबह सुबह सूरज की किरणें
तमाशा बहुत दिखाती हैं,
बेपर्दा खिड़की पाकर, बेख़ौफ़,
मेरे आँगन में आती हैं।

फ़र्श पर इठलाती कहीं,
मेज़-कुर्सी का रूप बनाती हैं।
कभी, अलमारी के शीशे में अपनी
छबी देख इतराती हैं।

खाने की मेज़ की काँच पर, क्या-क्या डिज़ाइन बनाती हैं?

खाने की मेज़ के काँच पर
क्या-क्या डिज़ाइन बनाती हैं!
और सोफ़े के नीचे घुसकर
सफ़ाई याद दिलाती हैं।

अब तो ये अति हुई!
छत पर चढ़, कैसा स्वाँग रचाया है?
शायद लाइट जल रही है,
ऐसा भरम दिलाया है।

अब तो ये अति हुई! छत पर चढ़, कैसा स्वाँग रचाया है? शायद लाइट जल रही है, ऐसा भरम दिलाया है।


कुछ दिन की मनमानी ये,
कर लो तुमको जो करना है!
अभी तो सर्दी के दिन हैं,
तुमसे हमको क्या डरना है?

अच्छा लगता यह खेल तुम्हारा,
हर अदा तुम्हारी भाती है।
कुछ दिन की यह हठखेली,
जल्दी ही गरमी आती है।

धूप-छाँव की तुम कर्ता,
तुमने शायद भुलाया है।
आज अपनाया, कल बिसराया!
इस जग की ये ही माया है।

हम भी, पर्दे मोटे डालकर
तुमसे बचना चाहेंगे।
नर्म हो, तब तक अच्छी लगतीं,
वरना आँख चुराएँगे!

बेतुकबंदी, नवम्बर २०११

(This poem, about the games young rays of the sun play on an early winter morning, written in November 2011, was originally posted here in the Roman script in February 2012. I translated it into English for my son, here! With Hindi transliteration now available from my iPad keyboard, I finally got around to posting it in the Devanagari script) 

Boxed them! Cathedral Window Patchwork Cushions

A Modern Look to Traditional Cathedral Windows

A finish after a long time…

Cushions for my library bench…

This project seemed ill-fated from the beginning and one that would end up in my long list of UFOs ( unfinished objects). The first roadblock was when I made wrong calculations and ran short of the turquoise fabric! That was sorted out by adding a strip of the printed black and white fabric at the back.

The printed strip at the back…

The problem with measurements did not end there. The original covers were thick upholstery material and finished at 17″. When I stitched my cover that size, it turned out to be 1/2″ too big and had to be re-done.

Ripped, trimmed and re-stitched. This is much smarter!

Then the zipper for the next cushion cover misbehaved and I switched to a Velcro closing for the other two.

The Velcro closing on the box cushion…

Well, all is well that ends well! I am quite happy with how my study/library looks now.

The bench sitting between two bookshelves…

I like that!

A cathedral window runner in the reverse combination on the table across the room and my Palat! mini on the wall.

The Palat! quilt has also found its place on the wall…

I placed my Octopus quilt on the chair where the Husband’s guitar usually rests, to add some orange zing to the room!

My Octopus quilt adds a zing to the study!

An old piece of embroidery in the same colour to complete the picture…

This was moved from kitchen to the study because it matched so well with my colour theme!

So now I need to take up one of the other bedrooms. After the re-painting of my flat, which starts tomorrow…

The Modern ‘Traditional’ Cathedral Windows

Prisma Fun in the Study!

Time now to give the study area a makeover. Changing the beige furnishings for a bright modern turquoise green ( it looks more like aqua in these pics; it isn’t!) contrasted with black and white modern prints…

Cathedral windows, again, and using the traditional method too! ( I made a small table runner almost five years ago using this method and did a tutorial in two parts…) This time, I had made up my mind to stitch the blocks entirely by machine, but I finally resorted to hand sewing the few stitches in the centre (after folding in the background square)after getting very wonky results by machine on the first few! There are more learnings from this quilt, I will share them soon. 

I also added a contrasting white square inside the second fold of the background turquoise, so that the white popped out of the ‘petalled’ window ‘frame’. I am sewing cushion covers in the reverse colour scheme to place on a bench sitting across the room from this table. The tops are ready, the covers will be sewn once I am back from my summer vacation. ( I am getting away on Wednesday morning to the cool, green Himalayas for a week; far, far away from my dusty city which seethes at 45 degree Celsius!) 

The process is tedious, but I love the end product!


The table was 58″ x 14.5″  so I worked on a 3 x 15 configuration of blocks just under 5″. For that I began with 10″ squares. However, after sewing, the final quilt turned out to be just 45″ x 13.5″! Is it because I haven’t ironed the final quilt flat? 

The solids are Umaid Mills poplins and the print, if I remember correctly,  is Cosmopolitan by Benartex.

Something old (Hand embroidery 1979 on wall), some things ( miniquilt with machine thread sketching and table runner -2017)new!


Did you notice, my Palat! miniquilt is framed? Till I find an appropriate place to hang or place it, it rests on this table.

It is framed between two sheets of glass so that back is also visible!

The Palat! mini quilt


I love to hear from you all, so do tell me what you think of my modern ‘traditional’ cathedral windows!