Joy Bell Block paper piecing style…

Last week saw the start of my new obsession… 12 inch classic blocks that use a simple square block.  This week I have been playing with another block which I have seen called Joy Bell, Salem and St Gregory’s Cross to name just a few….

joy bell quilt blockThis block is another easy one to put together.  You will need…

block componentsAll these components are 4 1/2 inches unfinished and you can find the pattern for the arrow blocks here….arrow block.  And of course the wonderful simple square, which will be in all the blocks here..WQ Simple square block.

When you have made the components the block is easy to put together, row by row.

block layout.When I was researching I found so many variations on this pattern… the simple layout above was usually called Joy Bell, and I also made a block using the layout referred to as a Salem block…

Salem quilt blockThere are so many possibilities with this block, so to help with the “playing” process I made a colouring sheet (joy bells color sheet), so that you can come up with your own combinations.  Download the sheet, grab some colour pencils and go to work…


Starry Night… the big reveal

Okay I finally managed to wrangle the Starry Night quilt top enough to get some photos. I must admit there are a few strangling pieces of paper still attached to the back…

stain glass

but I promised a reveal today so here goes…

Starry night quilt topAs you know, if you have followed this quilts progress, I did not have a plan of how to put this together.  I just went with the flow, putting pieces up on the design wall and jigsawing the blocks into a top (a technical maneuver I do not want to attempt again!).

starry night detail 4

My design wall was too small for it, so I had pieces hanging off the wall and laying on the floor….

starry night detail 2

My first step was to arrange the star blocks in a rough layout that made sure that they were as evenly distributed and as balanced as I could get them.

starry night detail 6

I carefully placed the bigger stars around the quilt making sure that the fractured stars were separated as well as the ringed stars. I wanted the eye to move around the top exploring and I felt this was the best way to do it.

Starry night detail 7

I then I placed the smaller stars in the gaps!

starry night detail 3

Finally I just filled all the spaces with scrappy blue blocks… and voila… you have a finished quilt top.  A scrappy, random, crazy quilt top.

Something new for Paper Piecing Monday

Over the next month or so I am going to try something a little different for Paper Piecing Monday.  I recently found an old book of quilting patterns at a local thrift store and fell in love with the simplicity but complexity of the blocks.  I was fascinated how many of the blocks used this simple square block …


So each week I am going to present a 12 x 12 inch classic block, and the pattern to make it…. starting with the Sawtooth Block.

sawtooth block version 1To make this block you will need 9 components all of which are 4 1/2 inches square unfinished…

what you need

You can find the paper piecing pattern for the simple square block, which will be using over the next couple of weeks here…WQ Simple square block   For the half square triangles you can easily make these traditionally or you can use a paper piecing pattern which you can find here….WQ Half Square triangle

You can also traditionally piece the simple square but I love the accuracy that you get from paper piecing for this.  It also allows you to get your fussy cut center just right .

fussy cutting alignment

When you have made all your components, lay the block out and then start piecing it together.

Block layout

You can remove the paper at this stage, particularly if you have traditionally pieced the half square triangle corners.  To complete my block I sewed the three blocks together in rows and then sewed those rows together.  Easy.

With all the blocks I will be showcasing over the coming weeks, there is so many ways to interpret the pattern.  I will be using Lizzy House’s Catnap fabric range for all my blocks, but the patterns work just as well with solids and scrappy colour play as they do with complete fabric lines.

You get different feeling blocks depending on how you choose to place your colours and fabrics….

Sawtooth block version 2 copy

there really is so many options and so much you can do with just this block….

Sawtooth block version 3This is definitely a pattern that I will be revisiting.  I already have a plan for a whole quilt just out of Sawtooth blocks.

So see you next week for another traditional block given the paper piecing treatment….

A fabulous finish for Friday…

This week I am pleased to share another Portland Modern Quilt Guild charity quilt… actually one of my favorite so far I must admit…

Finished PMQG charity quilt copy

The blocks for this top were made at one of our Charity Sew days (check out my original post for more details) and then shipped off to be quilted by one of our wonderful members. This time it was the amazing Nancy Stovall who did the long-arming.

pmqg charity quilt detail 2I love the pattern that Nancy chose for the quilting and extra love that she did it with yellow thread….

pmqg charity quilt detail

…it just pops against the grey and makes the whole quilt come alive.  I am constantly amazed at how the quilting and binding can bring a quilt together… you think I would have that figured by now, but no, every time total amazement.

binding detail

The quilt is backed with a mixture of Michael Miller challenge left over fabric and some very cool donated pieces.

quilt back detail

This quilt will be heading to Raphael House, a local women’s shelter here in Portland, hopefully to provide some warmth and comfort.

Quilt Details:

Block:  9 inch wonky pin wheel block
Quilt size:  45 x 54 inches
Fabric:  Riley Blake charcoal solid and lots of red/orange.yellow scraps

Lost in the infinite Starry Night…

Well that at least is what it has felt like the last couple of weeks.  My design wall has been home to just one thing…  my Starry Night quilt.  I was determined not to take it down until it was finished… and I didn’t…

design wall

Over the last weeks I have added more night sky bit by bit…

photo 3 (1)

The white bits of the design board became smaller and smaller…. and this week I finally finished all the sky blocks and wrangled all the pieces together…

completed top cu

Starry Night quilt top is now finished….It was quite a task to get this paper stiffened behemoth through my little old domestic machine but I did it… with only a few minor injuries.

completed starry night 2The most interesting view of this creation, I think is the back, with all the paper pieces still in tact.  You can see just how much variety there is in the night sky.  I had a blast playing with the EQ7 paper piecing library and I do not think this crazy would not have been possible without EQ.

completed paper back

I think if I had set out to do the sky this way in the beginning I am sure I would have found some way to talk myself out of it.

completed Starry NightAs it was I just did it bit by bit, not really fully understanding how insane I was being….

Top completed cu

Once the paper is off I will post photos of the complete top… at the moment it is just to stiff and unruly to handle…. next week I promise a full quilt top reveal.

Some little quilts for a good cause…

Last week Maryann, the PMQG President, and I dropped off a collection of darling little quilts for a new Neo-natal ICU unit that has just opened up locally.

We delivered nine quilts, and know that other PMQG members dropped off more during the week.  We picked the quilts up at Modern Domestic, who kindly allowed us to use their store as a backdrop for the photos.

The quilts included a couple I had made…. including a disappearing nine patch quilt using some lovely Hoffman Batiks that Sam at Hunter Design Studios had given me.

wq nine patch quiltA lovely little strip quilt I made using a Moda Scrap bag.

wq stip quilt 2

And a simple patchwork quilt using leftover Glitz fabric from Michael Miller.  I was so excited to see how well this fabric washed up.

wq glitz quiltThe fabulous Monica Solorio-Snow made two darling quilts using her Happy Mochi Yum Yum fabric.

Mochi quilt 1

Monica very kindly did up a free PDF pattern for this quilt which she shares on her website Happy Zombie.

Mochi quilt 2There were so many different techniques used to make these little quilts… Wonky low volume crosses by Mary Ann…

low volume quilt

Fussy cut bordered squares done by Susan Paris…

square quilt

Charming nine patches by Michael Ann….

nine patch quilt

And simple patchwork.

sweet quiltNot all the quilts had labels attached so please let me know if your quilt appears in this collection, so I can credit your lovely work.

The need for these quilts will be ongoing, so I already have a couple more in the works.  If you feel inspired to make a little (36 x 36)  quilt, most hospital NICU’s take quilty donations, or you can also drop a quilt off with your local Project Linus Chapter or other blanket charity.  It really is an easy way to make a difference.

So dust off those orphan blocks, pull out that novelty print you have that you do not know what to do with… go on make a quilt…you know you want to.