Saturday, August 1, 2015

Hive 7 August tutorial

Hello! This is Carla from Granny Maud’s Girl, and it is my turn as queen bee. Hurrah!

I have chosen what I hope will be an easy block for all my hive mates. It is just a 16-patch block with pinwheels thrown in randomly. What I hope will make this block special is the fabric and colour choices.

I have only made the test blocks, but I have already got an idea for a name for this quilt: cool, calm and collected. It will be in cool colours, it will have a calm overall effect and it will have been collected from my lovely hive mates.

Here is one of my test blocks.
I drew a rough impression of what the finished quilt might look like.

Fabric and colour choices

I would like a quilt that coordinates with our bedroom. Using the Jose Barbera print on our wall as a starting point, I made a colour collage.

This print hangs in our bedroom and gives an idea of the soft colours I would like.

The main colours I would like to see are white, cream, sand/taupe, grey, blue and lavender. I would also be happy to see green. The colours of this print plus green appear elsewhere in the room.

Background fabrics:
  • white and cream, tone-on-tone or prints with these backgrounds
  • soft grey, taupe, blue, lavender and green prints on white, cream or pale grey backgrounds
Pinwheel fabrics:
  • mostly light blues and lavenders
  • occasionally a pale grey, taupe or pale green
Fresh, modern fabrics or timeless classics like spots, flowers and stripes are preferred.

Stay with cool colours and avoid warm colours like pinks, oranges and reds. Please avoid low-volume prints with black designs in favour of lighter colours. I fear the black will stand out and dominate among such pale colours. A tiny amount of yellow can sneak in, as you can see in the prints I have chosen.
You can see my stash is heavy on the background fabrics and greens but light on suitable blues and lavenders for the pinwheels. Perhaps you can help me with the sky blues and lavenders?
The pinwheels can have a bit of contrast between the background and the colour or be low contrast.

Please avoid over-using solids. One or two squares in each block is fine if you have nothing else, but a whole block of solids will not suit the effect I am trying to achieve.

Please completely avoid batiks, hand-dyed fabrics and novelty prints. I really do not like them.

Please avoid dark and saturated colours, and try to keep the colours really soft. It might seem wishy-washy, but wishy-washy and restful is what I hope to end up with. Think of a sun-bleached beach effect.

If you do not have enough fabrics, don’t go shopping. It is Stash Bee, after all! If you just have a few appropriate fabrics, send me unsewn squares and pinwheels in what you have and I will mix and match them with my unsewn squares and pinwheels to make up blocks full of variety.


The block is a 16-patch, and it has a finished size of 16½ inches. Each simple square or pinwheel is cut to 4½ inches and has a finished size of 4 inches. If you use a correct seam allowance, your block should finish at a perfect 16½ inches.

Cut as many plain 4½-inch squares (up to 16) from your background fabrics as you decide.

You can put in as many or as few pinwheels as you like. You can even send me a block without pinwheels.

Making pinwheels

Make pinwheels using your preferred method.
  • When making the pinwheels, you can press to the darker fabric or press your seams open.
  • Note the orientation of the dark and light in the pinwheels in my sample block.
  • Grain direction is important. Keep your HSTs on the square of the grain as in my sample block.
I made my pinwheels using the following method.
  1. Cut:
    two 3-inch squares of background fabric
    two 3-inch squares of coloured fabric.
  2. Cut each of the four squares in half on the diagonal.
  3. Sew the halves together in pairs, using a quarter-inch seam allowance. Press the seams.
  4. Trim each piece to 2½ inches square.
  5. Sew them together, paying extra attention to the centre join and checking that the direction of the pinwheels matches the picture.
  6. Press.
I use this simple method for making pinwheels, but you can use any method you like.

Block assembly

Assembling the block is easy. Sew the squares and pinwheels in rows of four and then sew the rows together.

To help me join all the blocks, please press them as shown in the picture. If you press the seams in the opposite direction, they will be harder to nest together when I join the blocks.

I have to warn you that my friends know I am a neat-freak. I like joins that join and points that point, but as long as everyone does their best, I will be happy.

Pressing correctly will help me join the blocks.

And here is another sample block.


As queen bee, I get to ask my hive mates a question. If you ever decided to get a tattoo, what would it be a picture of and where would you put it?

Whenever I see people with tattoos, this is the question that first pops into my mind. What meaning does that image have to them? What would I have tattooed if I were a rock chick and not such a pearls-and-cardigans kind of girl?

The closest I ever got to a real tattoo was a fake henna one, painted on my hip where it would not show. Years ago, I went on holiday to Bali with my mum, my mum’s best friend Pat and my grandmother. If this sounds like an episode of Absolutely Fabulous with me in the role of Saffron to you, you would not be far from the mark. Mum and I thought we would get henna ‘tattoos’, and I thought it would be fun to trick my husband into believing it was a real one when I got home. I could not decide what to have painted on, so eventually settled on the Japanese character for ‘woman’. (I am sure my husband had figured out already that I am a woman, so labelling was pointless.) All was fine, but a few days after my return home I woke up one morning with my whole body swollen like a blowfish. I had reacted to something in the paint. Thankfully, a trip to the doctor and antihistamines brought me back down to size straightaway, but the welt on my hip lingered, inflamed and itchy, for about 18 months, even though the paint washed off after a fortnight. I went through all that discomfort and my husband was not fooled for a second. He knew it was fake.

Today, I would probably ask for a tiny paw print. It is frightening how much I adore my little dog. However, given my reaction to a fake tattoo, I would never dream of having another – real or fake.

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