Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities - Lesson #2

It is time for the next block in our Toronto to Yokohama wall hanging. This one is called "Friendship Star". It is a fairly easy block. It belongs in the nine-patch category. Can you see why? In this lesson you will continue to sew squares together and also learn how to piece triangles.

Here is the block:

You will need some template plastic. Cut the pattern piece to measure 3 inches by 3 inches. You will need one of these. Then cut another piece of template plastic to measure 3 inches by 3 inches, then cut this piece diagonally to create a triangle. (This will make two pieces, but you really only need one)

  1. background fabric: Trace and cut 4 squares from the fabric you have chosen for the background. As in the first lesson, make sure you leave enough space as you trace around each piece for a 1/4in. seam allowance.
  2. centre of block fabric: Trace and cut 1 square from the fabric you have chosen for the centre of you block.
  3. star points fabric: Trace and cut 4 triangle pieces from the fabric you have chosen for the star points.
  4. background fabric: Trace and cut 4 triangle pieces from the fabric you have chosen for the background.

You should now be ready to sew the pieces together. Pin in the same manner as lesson #1.
Start with the triangle pieces. Sew a star point piece to a background piece. Repeat for the other three star points.
Now sew pieces together in rows as shown in photo.
Sew rows together and you have a finished block.

You will only need to make one block.

Good luck! Happy Sewing!
Email me if you have any questions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities - Lesson #1

We are about to embark on a journey - a quilting journey from Canada to Japan! I call this quilted wall hanging, "A Tale of Two Cities - Toronto to Yokohama". It is a beginner quilt. You can join in if you want to. It will be fun. For the time being this will be a sort of mystery quilt. That is because I have not totally finished all the blocks for this wall hanging. I will post a photo as soon as I do. But don't hold your breath! It may take awhile.
First place the fabric you wish to use, right side down, on a piece of fine sandpaper. This is so that the fabric won't slide too much as you trace your pattern pieces.

Now place the template on top of the back of the fabric. For this first lesson you will use the 1 1/2 inch square. Trace around the template using a very sharp pencil or one of those mechanical pencils with a very thin lead. You do not want a lot of dark pencil lines on your fabric. They may or may not wash out, so press lightly - just enough so that you can see the line.
Leave about half an inch of space between your pattern pieces. This is the seam allowance. The pencil line will be the stitching line. Then cut your pieces apart through the centre of the space between the pieces. This will give you a 1/4 in seam allowance on all sides of the piece.

Take two of whatever colour you like and pin them. Right sides must be together. You will use the pencil line to place the pins.

Thread a needle and knot the end. Start at one corner. Take a small backstitch if you like. This will help to keep the knot from pulling through the fabric. Now do a line of running stitches as small as you are comfortable with. Check every now and then to make sure you are stitching on the pencil line on both the front and the back fabric. If not, take the stitches out, adjust the pins and try again. When you get to the end of the pencil line, finish off by doing a couple of small stitches while catching the thread in order to make a sort of knot.

You now have two pieces sewn together. Sew another two pieces in the same manner and then pin these two blocks together and sew on the line to create a 4-patch block.

Press the seams in one direction.

Continue in this manner until you have 3 4-patch units. Now sew these together to get a block measuring 3in. by 9in.

You're done! Make three more blocks like this. That is the end of lesson 1.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I am going to continue my blue journey through the garden. The plant I am going to show you is called Pulmonaria.

Family: Boraginaceae. Genus: Pulmonaria. Species: Pulmonaria officinalis
Common name: Lungwort

This plant gets its name from the Latin word 'pulmo' or lung. The common name of this plant is Lungwort. The spotted leaves of the plant reminded early healers of a diseased lung and Pulmonaria was originally used to treat pulmonary infections. Pulmonaria is a herbaceous perennial. It prefers a partly shaded spot in the garden. It is one of the earliest blooming perennials. This is what it looks like in my garden. It is so nice to see this pretty colour so early in the season.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blue Spring Flowers

This is my first post on this blog.
In the future it will become my teaching and tutorial blog. I plan to provide patterns and instructions for some quilts that I will design myself. Come join me in this fibre journey.
I will also post about the occasional plant that interests me. This will be more a way of keeping track of what is growing in my garden or in my home, than anything else. I hope to keep a sort of gardening diary in addition to the quilting tutorials.

So here is the first plant.
My sister was wondering what those lovely blue flowers are that are blooming everywhere - in gardens, lawns, hillsides and parks in our city at this time of the year. I believe the plant she is referring to is called Scilla siberica
Scilla siberica is a perennial and belongs to the lily family. It is native to Siberia and likes cool conditions. That's why they do so well in our climate. It grows from a small bulb, which can be planted in the fall and left in the ground to continue to come up year after year. It can also be lifted in the spring and transplanted. They are very hardy and do wonderfully when planted in a lawn. The common name for this plant is Wood Squill or Spring Beauty, but it is more often called by its scientific name of Scilla siberica.
This photo is from the internet.
And below are some Scilla siberica that are growing in my front lawn rght at the moment. I took this photo this morning. A few years ago I discovered these beautiful blue flowers growing in a local ravine. They were beginning to grow into the path and looked like they were being stepped on. I dug some up and planted them on my front lawn. They looked a bit sad during that first spring, but they established themselves nicely and keep coming up faithfully every spring. They multiply rapidly and mine are beginning to cover a good part of the front lawn. By early summer they die down and have no detrimental effect on the lawn. I love the colour blue, especially when it comes to flowers. So these are some of my favourites. I also love the fact that they are one of the earliest flowers in spring.

Family: Lilium. Genus: Scilla. Species: S. sibericaCommon name: Squill, Wood Squill, Spring Beauty