Zig-Zags

It’s my turn to be Head Blockhead this week! And we’re going to be making zig-zag blocks.

I’ve kept the pieces small because it’s important to have a variety of sizes and scales in a sampler quilt so it’s interesting to make and also to look at. Our zig-zag blocks will add energy and a sense of fun!

Space

I chose to make the half square triangles using the ‘8 at a time’ method, which really speeds things up. You’ll have half square triangles leftover but I’m sure they’ll come in handy for later blocks.

The following tutorial is for one inch finished half square triangles. This method of making half square triangles leaves you with a lot of bias edges which can stretch out of shape very easily. Starching your fabric before you begin will help enormously as will handling your half square triangles as little as possible.

To make 8 half square triangles take two x 4 inch squares (one dark, one light or as you wish)

Draw both the diagonal lines on the reverse of the palest square.

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Put pretty sides together and stitch a scant quarter inch away on both sides of the drawn diagonal lines.

Space

Now cut your squares in half vertically and half again horizontally.

Space

Cut again on each of your drawn diagonal lines. You will now have 8 half square triangles.

Space

Press well. Trim to 1 1/2 inches unfinished.

Arrange your half square triangles as you wish and stitch carefully together.

Space

Stand back and admire your handiwork and never point out your mistakes!

Download Block 26 – Zig Zags here

It’s so much fun stitching along with you all! I’m really happy with my blocks so far! I haven’t got a layout planned, I’m just going to see where this adventure takes me and make it work from there.

The indigo and cream rows above my Blockhead blocks is ‘Twenty twenty’ my free quilt-along for all members of my email club.

You can sign up here

Janet Clare's free 'Twenty Twenty' quilt-along and her Mood BlockHeads3 Blocks
My free ‘Twenty Twenty’ quilt-along with my Moda BlockHeads3 Blocks

Keep up to date with all that is happening at Janet Clare on Instagram.

Spoondrift

May 4th, 2020 | Other | No Comments

My quilt ‘Spoondrift’ as featured in current block of the month ‘Today’s Quilter’ has been really enjoyable to design, but a challenge in terms of calculating fabric requirements when we are not that many blocks further ahead than you.

We are currently up to month 7 of 12 and we try really hard to get things right but we are sorry to say that we have made a few mistakes along the way.

Here is what we should have said:

Month 1 and 2

The requirements list includes ‘Seaweed Sky’ as one of the fabrics, but it is in fact ‘Seaweed Ocean’, which is just a little darker in tone. No ‘Seaweed Sky’ is used in the quilt which is reflected in the full requirements list.

Month 6

There are four things to be aware of in Month 6:

1. ‘You will need’

In the ‘You will need’ section Stripe Dark Ocean – 19in x 8in is listed, it should be 19in x 9in as the British Isles block calls for a 9in square to be cut.

2. Cutting out, step one

After cutting the 13” Starfish Pearl square into four 6 ½”squares, do not cut these on the diagonal, this will result in triangles which are not quite big enough to cover foundation piece A2 and B2.

Instead take the four 6 ½” squares and position the foundation templates as follows to enable you to get all the fabric pieces required and the directionality of fabrics aligned. Make sure your foundation templates include the seam allowance all around.

As you can see in these photos from Pippa, she has made additional copies of the templates and cut out the sections she is working on. You will need the complete foundation template with all three sections on one piece of paper when stitching the block.

In general, this approach of making extra copies of the foundation templates and cutting out the individual sections with a generous ¼” seam allowance all around, will allow you to play with their position on larger pieces of fabric and get the directionality as you wish before marking and cutting to size.

Note: If you cut accurate sections of fabric, it will require more accurate piecing!

Here is another example with the striped fabric used on the compass point.

Working with larger sections of fabric can also help get directionality as you require

3. Foundation Templates

The A and B labelling on the ‘Foundation Templates’ is round the wrong way and will result in fabrics being swapped in your compass points – this is what it looks like when the fabrics are swapped – it doesn’t change the look of the block significantly and would still look great in the final quilt this way!

Spoondrift Compass Block - Swapped colours
Compass block looks great even with the colours swapped!

The template labelled A1, A2, A3 should be B1, B2 and B3 and vice versa. To achieve the same fabric position as the photo in the magazine, just re-label your foundation templates as shown below, then follow the piecing instructions.

Swap the labels on the templates to reverse the colours

4. UK Map Appliqué Templates

A Today’s Quilter reader Heide pointed out that we had omitted her home the Isle of Man from the appliqué templates. Sorry about that, it wasn’t intentional, the Isle of Man did appear on Janet’s much loved ‘Good Old Blighty’ quilt from her book ‘Hearty Good Wishes’!

'Good Old Blighty' by Janet Clare, otherwise know as 'The Shipping Forecast' quilt.

Whilst the map in ‘Spoondrift’ is a much smaller generic representation of the UK, the Isle of Man has now been added and you can download the updated templates here if you wish.

Some General Tips

In addition here are a few general tips to consider as you make your blocks:

1. In the first article (Issue 55) a fabric grid with little fabric swatches for the entire ‘Ebb and Flow’ collection was published. The design did not ultimately use all of these, but uses 20 fabrics to piece the blocks and for sashing. The full requirements list can be downloaded here.

2. At the start of each month, a section called ‘You will need’ is included. This provides guidance on the amount of fabric you need to make both blocks featured in that month. Do not beginning cutting based on this list! Follow the cutting instructions for each block and you will be able to be as thrifty as possible with your fabric, look to use your remnants first.

3. The instructions tell you how I made the blocks. As you know, there is more than one way to do everything, so if you know a better way or just prefer to do things your way then feel free.

4. Read through all the instructions before cutting. Then plan carefully and consider the orientation of your prints, the appliqué templates and any sections you may wish to fussy cut. If in doubt, practice a little with some scrap fabric first before you go ahead and cut the fabric for your actual block.

5. Look after all your scraps, they will most likely come in useful for future blocks! There are some tiny pieces used for appliqué throughout the design.

Drawing

April 28th, 2020 | Other | No Comments

It’s Spring here in the UK and working from home these last few strange weeks has given me the opportunity to spend more time in our garden. We are not gardeners by any stretch- so there are weeds, patchy grass and bare fences and poppies, wisteria and a few beautiful bluebells.

I’ve been drawing them in my favourite dipping pen and indigo ink.

A few moments of delightful calm and a sketchbook fast filling up with memories of Spring.

Block Heads 3

Block 12 – ‘Hampshire Star’

Welcome Block Headers!

Let me introduce myself;  I’m Janet and live in Hampshire, England with my husband, Tony, our teenage sons and a dog called Betty. Tony runs our quilting design business and is affectionately known as ‘Chief of Everything’ because that’s what he does!

Betty, Janet and the Chief of Everything at the studio

We are lucky to live an hour from London and the seaside and can be in open countryside in half an hour. Hampshire has also had some very famous residents including Jane Austen who wrote ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and made a quilt here:

Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire

Equally famous but completely fictitious residents also live close by at Highclere Castle (the real Downton Abbey)

Highclere Castle - home to Downton Abbey residents

It’s a very nice place to call home!

You can see what we get up to, our beautiful studio and all my creative projects on Facebook and Instagram. And do join our email club and get a free block of the month! This year’s quilt is called ‘Twenty Twenty’ and currently looks like this:

Janet Clare -TwentyTwenty - First Three Sections - Sign up!

And now, on to the reason you’re all here! I’m really enjoying seeing all your blocks on the Block Heads Facebook group page and one thing I keep noticing is how very different the same block looks depending on the placement of the fabrics chosen. You can really change the whole effect of a block just by switching the tonal placements.

So, I thought it would be fun to cut my squares and make my half square triangles (HST) and then keep re-arranging them to see what variations I could come up with. I am using my upcoming ‘Geometry’ fabric collection which we hope will be available to purchase later this month (April 2020). You need four distinct tones to make the most striking blocks.

I have used the same set of units for each the following designs though in some cases I have shuffled and rotated some of the squares and HSTs so two of the layouts do differ a little from the one shown in the pattern. Here they are:

Block Heads 3 - Block 12 - 'Hampshire Star' -  Layout 1
This follows the pattern layout
Block Heads 3 - Block 12 - 'Hampshire Star' -  Layout 2
and so does this one
Block Heads 3 - Block 12 - 'Hampshire Star' -  Layout 3
In this layout, some squares and HSTs have been shuffled and rotated
Block Heads 3 - Block 12 - 'Hampshire Star' -  Layout 4
This layout differs from pattern too, but still uses all the same units!

In the end, I settled on this design!

Block Heads 3 - Block 12 - 'Hampshire Star' -  Final Layout
This is close to the unit layout in pattern, with just eight HSTs rotated!

I’ve popped this onto my design wall in the studio along with the other Block Head 3 blocks and my ‘Twenty Twenty’ quilt-along.

Janet Clare's Studio Design Wall

I’m also thinking about making a ‘Hampshire Star’ quilt, I will post some ideas when I have given it a bit more thought. You can follow my progress on Instagram.

Thank you for being a Moda Block Head!

All in a Row Again

November 14th, 2017 | Other | 192 Comments


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Once again, the Moda designers and Martingale have combined creative forces to bring you ‘All in a Row’ volume 2- a book packed with original and fun ideas for row- by- row quilts!

My row was inspired by the two beautiful Oak trees we have growing in our back garden (that sentence conjures up images of vast rolling acres, doesn’t it? So not the case!).

The trees provide shade and shelter for so many birds, bugs and bats and are such a pleasure to live alongside in our busy, town garden.

 

 

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All proceeds from the book are being donated to a very worthy cause, ‘Give Kids the World Village‘ which gives very sick children and their families a much needed free holiday.

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Quilting inspiration and doing good in the world all by treating yourself to a new book!

To join in the fun and have a chance to win some of the goodies generously donated by Moda and Martingale be sure to visit the All in a Row Facebook page.

And I have a free e-book of ‘All in a Row Again’ for one lucky reader- just leave me a comment!

Now, pop over to my Moda friends Corey and Pat for more fun and chances to win!

 

 

And the winner is…

February 21st, 2017 | Other | No Comments

GiveawayI so enjoyed reading all your comments about the amazing Splendid Sampler learning curve!

The winner (as chosen by the random number generator website) of the Aubade charm squares is comment 76 from Erika.

Congratulations Erika!

 

Aurifil Designer Challenge

February 18th, 2017 | Other | No Comments

The Aurifil designer for February is Maureen Cracknell, pop over to Auribuzz to hear all about her and to download your free copy of this lovely tulip block ‘Dutch Treat’.

 

 

DutchPattern  

This year all the designers are being given a colour from the colour wheel rainbow to be inspired by. Maureen was given purple.

 

I made my block yesterday using my brand new ‘Aubade’ fabrics.

 

Thread AubadeFabric

 

After all these years I’m still amazed by how different a block can look in different colours!

 

DutchQuarter DutchTreat

 

When you make your Dutch Treat block, share a photo on Pat Sloan’s website and you could win a fabulous Aurifil thread pack!

 

I designed a cat block for January. I think 2017’s Aurifil Designer Challenge quilt is going to be stunning!

 

JanCat

The Splendid Sampler

February 14th, 2017 | Other | 148 Comments

blocks febHappy Splendid Sampler Day!

 

Exactly a year ago today we all started on a splendidly challenging patchwork adventure.

 

Where ever did that year go? It’s not every year you get two presents a week, but that is exactly what happened during our Splendid Sampler year!

 

I have made about 40 of the blocks and some have been a real challenge I must say! This is block 100, designed by Kate Spain.

 

I am going to make all 100 blocks (in my own sweet time) and am looking forward to completing my very first sampler quilt.

 

100If you are just learning about the Splendid Sampler, don’t worry it’s never too late to get started!

 

Join the Facebook group and buy yourself a copy of the book and you’ll be a ‘Splenderette’ in no time!

 

Now, I have a little giveaway for you all:

 

Giveawaytell me something the Splendid Sampler quilt-along has taught you

 

and in a week I’ll pick a random name to win a 5″ charm pack of my latest fabric collection for Moda ‘Aubade: a song to the dawn’.

 

‘Aubade’ was inspired by the sunrise and the promise of a whole new day, everyday.

I designed three quilts specifically for this collection and here they are enjoying the dawn on a Texan beach.

QuiltsDawnI also designed an embroidery thread collection with Lecien which matches my favourite colours and fabric lines beautifully.

My ‘Sky’ embroidery floss collection will be available from quilt shops soon- pop in and ask for it!

Thread

And there will be many more chances to win- pop over to the Splendid Sampler to find out more!

 

 

Aurifil Designer of the month

January 15th, 2017 | Other | 2 Comments

me420wHello and welcome!

I am pleased to tell you that I am Aurifil’s designer of the month for January 2017. The year is off to a great start!

Every year Aurifil and Pat Sloan invite twelve designers to create a special, unique block for you and host a quilt-a- long for the whole year.

And if last years is anything to go by (and it is!) we are in for a treat, and here’s the best part: it’s free too.

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aurifil1420wI’m going to be stitching along with you all this year and am really looking forward to seeing what the other eleven blocks look like!

Now, please pop over to Aurifil to see my January block!

Pat’s mega fun book tour

November 22nd, 2016 | Other | 6 Comments

machinequiltlogo410Hello and a very warm welcome to my stop on Pat’s mega fun book tour!

I’ve known Pat for a few years now and she is one of the kindest, generous, supportive and encouraging quilters I know.

Pat has written another (her 33rd!) book which sets out to teach us all how to machine quilt.

Even if you have been happily machine quilting for years this book will still teach you a thing or two, and if you’re just starting out do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy!

I thought you might like to see my very first attempt at machine quilting. Far from perfect!

But, I enjoyed every stitch and I have a warm and beautiful quilt to sleep under.

Just remember we all have to start somewhere and perfection is vastly over-rated in my opinion!

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Nowadays free motion quilting is my favourite! I love to write and draw with my sewing machine.

Pat has a great chapter on free motion quilting which is easy to do, and needs minimal special equipment (just a darning foot) but requires lots of practice and patience.

Practice and patience- the answer to pretty much anything.

freemo410freemofaces410Head on over to all these other lovely people to learn more about ‘Pat Sloan’s teach me to Machine Quilt’:

and then pop over to Pat herself for your chance to win a copy of the book.