looking back the years and starting something new (2x)

Looking back the years :

A friend of mine gave me  a couple of weeks ago some quilting books. I’ve looked through them and thought how much has changed in patchwork and quilting over the last 40 years .

My favourite one is “The Perfect Patchwork Primer” by Beth Gutcheon. It was first published in 1973. The issue is in black and white, includes a few photos and many block illustrations, designs or quilt assembly instructions. The author is a devotee of hand quilting. Machine piecing is OK, but machine or free-motion quilting is unthinkable. The other thing that surprised me, is that in those days there were no cutting mats, cutters or rulers. Only “home-made” templates were available and for cutting there were just scissors. Today we are very spoilt with all our sophisticated tools and various helpers.

Starting something new :

# One : From next week on I shall give classes in machine piecing and quilting. So last week I sew an easy sampler quilt top for beginners. At the same time I made tutorials about basic cutting and piecing of square and triangle units, blocks with flying geese units as well as sashing and borders, quilting and binding. I enjoyed preparing all information and I am looking forward to start with the classes!!!

# Two : While working on the computer I got an idea for a new quilt. A simple design with all the solids I love. It is based on the ideal proportion of the sides of a rectangle : golden ratio. As the top has also a “golden” solid fabric I named it Golden Ratio . Changed my mind, the name is Floating Colors  This one shall be quilted in straight lines in vertical and horizontal. The goal for next week (but more probably weekend) is to finish the quilt.

Happy quilting, B.

My Very First PDF Tutorial is Here –

Lost in Space Pillow

It has been some time since my last post. I did not have time to work on my quilt as I have started designing some tutorials in pdf.

I was playing with the design, how to place photos and text on a sheet. My very first pdf tutorial is now finished and I am working on the next one – a log cabin tutorial of my Abstract Dreaming Quilt. My next goal is to finish the quilt, take photos for the tutorial, revise and publish it. This is easier said as done or quicker said as done.

Please have a look on the tutorial and leave a comment if you like it (or not).

HST – Half Square Triangle Quilt Tutorial

HST – Half Square Triangle Quilt – the one I always wanted to make and never started. This easy pattern is ideal for practicing precise cutting, piecing and pressing. Since I was working with the wonderful batiks on my last project and liked them very much,  I decided to carry on with the same fabrics. They are so colourful and warm.

Quilt size : 42″ x 48 “

Distribution : 16 rows with each 14 HST blocks, all together 224 HST blocks.  I have decided to work with 4″ strips. After piecing and trimming the blocks have a size of 3,5″ x 3,5″.

Material :

Solid fabric : 1 1/2 yard from colour of your choice; cut in 4″ strips and then in 4″ x 4″ squares

Colour fabrics : all together 1 1/2 yard or 13 different colours; cut in 4″ strips and then in 4″ x 4″ squares

Backing fabric : 1 1/2 yard

Batting : 43″ x 50 ”

Binding : 3/8 yard, cut 5 strips each 2,5″

Assembly :

1. Prepare all pieces by cutting into squares

2. Draw a diagonal line on the left side of the solid fabric, pin together with a batik one

3. Sew all squares along the drawn line with a 1/4″ seam allowance (normally width of the presser foot) using the chain piece method.

4. Complete the piecing by sewing along the other side of the line.

5. Now cut the squares diagonal along the drawn line in

6. Press seams open

7. Trim the squares to 3,5″ x 3,5″

8. You are ready to work on the layout. Using a design wall you can distribute the colour squares according your imagination – see below

I have decided to subdivide the quilt into several sewing batches. Taking always 4 rows with 7 squares. First I sew each row together, then the rows and as last the batches.

Here the rows are pressed a ready for pinning :

Accurate pinning is the secret to a nice and tidy quilt top. So take time, don’t hurry and work on your skills :

Once more : I pressed all seams open

And this is the finished top :

Prepare a sandwich and quilt as you want. After a lot of straight line quilting I decided to go for free-motion quilting. Trim the quilt and add binding. My favorite machine binding tutorial.

The quilt is listed on Etsy and Dawanda S O L D ! !

Tutorial : Oven Mitts Chilli Pepper

First of all I am happy to be back in Spain. We have sunshine and mild temperatures for this time of the year. And imagine, in 2 weeks time we are already in 2012.

Anyway, back to the tutorial. Photo of the finished oven mitts :

Pair of Oven Mitts Chilli Pepper

Materials  – quantity for a pair of oven mitts:

  • 4x pieces of  decoration fabric, size 9,5″ x 10″ (I have opted for solid orange and a chilli pepper pattern fabric)
  • 4x Insul-Bright from the Warm Company or any other heat-resistant batting, size 9,5″ x 10″
  • 4x 100% cotton batting, size 9,5″ x 10
  • 4x cotton muslin or other cotton fabric for backing, size 9,5″ x 10″
  • approx. 1 yard ½ inch (1.27 cm) double fold bias tape for binding and hanging loops
  • coordinating cotton thread for sewing and quilting

Oven mitt pattern – see the proximate size on the cutting board:


Press and cut all fabrics and batting.

Making a sandwich: place first the backing fabric, wrong side up. Next cotton batting, than heat-resistant batting (check instructions from producer, which side up), finally the decoration fabric.


Baste the layers together and choose color of the quilting thread :


Check once more the size and think about the quilting pattern.


I have opted for vertical (on the chilli fabric) and horizontal (orange) lines :


Square both sandwiches, orange and chilli fabric facing each other on the inside and mark the oven mitt pattern. Bast all layers together :


Sew around the marked line, on the thumb side leave approx. 4″ open (no seam yet), trim both mitts.


Now take the bias tape and start at the thumb side, where the seam is still open. Fold it and make with it a binding around the mitt. Forgot to make pics – silly me!!

Cut approx 6″ of the bias tape, fold and sew together to make a hanging loop. Pin the loop on the inside of the mitt and finish sewing the still open seam on the thumb side.

Turn around – you have made it !!


Pink Summer Garden Quilt Tutorial

My very first tutorial. This is a great new experience for me. I wanted to do it for some time but did not dare to do so. So, lets start :

Quilt design

Quilt size finished 32″ x 30 1/2″. This is a pattern for a baby quilt that mixes squares and rectangles.

Fabric choice

Check your scrap basket. Select the colors you like – for my quilt I looked for warm shades: pink/red/orange. In case you do not have enough fabric rests, some shops sell scrap bags in different colors.

Backing : 1 yard

Batting : 35″ x 36″

Binding : 10″ from favorite color fabric. Cut 4 stripes each 2 1/2″


126 pieces size : 2″ x 2″

126 pieces size : 2″ x 4″

Cut carefully and precise so that you quilt lines up as desired.


Sew each 2″ x 2″ square to a 2″ x 4″ rectangle using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Chain piecing is the right solution, this saves thread and avoids thread jamming. I always use a small piece of fabric to start sewing.

For piecing I use cotton thread from Superior Threads – Masterpiece 50/2 in a natural color. I think white thread is too bright and can gleam through the seams after pressing.

Make random pairs by mixing the different fabrics together. Press the seams towards the square. Using a ruler check the correct unit size : 2″ x 5 1/2″; trim if needed.

Arrange the quilt layout row by row. Use your design wall or distribute the pair units on the floor to overlook the distribution. Rearrange pieces if you notice the same fabrics near to each other.

Sew 6 pair units together to make a unit A and check the size :  9 1/2″ x 5 1/2″; trim if needed. Press the seams in opposite directions.

Now sew 3 units A together to make a unit B and check the size : 9 1/2″ x 15 1/2″; trim if needed.

Use lots of pins to join the units and sew with an exact seam allowance of 1/4″.

Press the seams in each unit B in an opposite direction. Make altogether 6 units B with 6 rows (as shown on the photo) and 2 units with only 3 rows.

Join all units to a quilting top, press it well and check the size : 32″ x 30 1/2″. The edges should be straight and rectangular. Clean all threads on the wrong side of the quilt.

Now prepare the backing and batting. I used a solid pink and a stripe of pink fabric with a pattern. Lay out the pressed backing wrong side up, fix it with tape to the floor. Place batting on top it. Make sure both backing and batting are at least 2″ longer on each side then the quilt top.

Now it is time to place your top on the center. Straighten the top and start basting. I use safety pins to keep all layers aligned. Start pinning in the middle and work towards the edges. Check that the rows are straight line. Distance between the pins : approx 3″.

The sandwich is ready for quilting. Ordinary gloves from the garden center are a perfect help when moving the sandwich under the sewing machine.

I decided to quilt this piece with straight stitches following the vertical and horizontal seams. For machine quilting I use cotton thread :  Superior Thread King Tut 40/3 in Papyrus, walking foot and a stitch length of 3,5 mm on my Bernina.

Trim the extra backing and batting. The quilt is now ready for the last step : binding.

I found a good binding tutorial by Rita from Red Pepper Quilts.

You’ve made it – the quilt is now finished!

Hope you enjoyed this post. Please leave feedback and happy sewing, Barbora