Friday, 27 November 2015

Nordic November! Danish Heart Quiltlet

Nordic November is well under way and thank you guys for welcoming it (and continuing it) with me! Yes it is purely my own invention but it just seemed right.

Big Christmas Mystery Giveaway!
There is a new giveaway starting this week too! To be in with a chance of winning, simply leave me a comment at the bottom of this postThat's all there is too it.

And what will you win? I have a nice bundle of Makower fabrics for you including a few huge advent calenders, over fifty 10" squares, some labels and a few other surprises - it is a mystery bundle after all. Here is a sneak peek....

Quite a lot in there and not all Christmas stuff so you can enjoy it all year!
Entries close 23rd December 2015 and I will announce the winner on Christmas Eve!

Right! Back to busniness.....This time, we are stopping over in beautiful Denmark and I have a pretty Danish heart for you which I  translated into a block last post. This is an icon in Scandinavia and it is found in many places. It is also an instantly recognisable image. But what in the name of all that is holy is a quiltlet??

I made it up - which is why Wikipedia is being spectacularly unhelpful. Sorry. I keep doing this. First Nordic November and now quiltlets. It's like the last days of the Roman empire around here! 

Don't worry, a quiltlet is quite simply a very small quilt. In this case, it is a little quilted hanging with a sentiment on it. I was thinking about cards one day and the fact that we send them and love getting them and I wondered how this concept would translate to fabric. And to something lasting that we can hang in our house. 

I know that you can make quilted and embroidered cards but this is more. This is a little quilt. made the same way as a super king sized one but around the size of a dinner plate. And it's round. All the things that I like.

I hope that you do to and it is a cute way to make use of the BOM for this month of Nordic November. Take a look....

Now I love round things - my Grandfather did too so maybe there is a genetic I have decided that this little quiltlet will be round. Before we get into the whys and wherefores, what do we need for this week's make?

Gather these supplies:
-last week's Danish heart block
-scraps of red and white fabrics
-fat quarter 272 Thermolam wadding (Vilene) and you can find out about that here.
-black embroidery floss
-fat quarter of something for backing fabric
-something gorgeous to use as binding
-small ring (like a 10mm split ring) to hang
-red or grey bow
-water soluble marker
-thin card for a template
-your usual sewing needs

Here is your template. I have included the measurements for you to check when you print it out.

Print it out and then make a shape with your thin card. You can just trace around it onto the scraps and then cut them out - much easier!

Cut out 10 assorted red and white shapes and then sew them together to form a ring like this...

Iron the ring well, opening the seams. Lay your heart onto the fat quarter of wadding and then pin the ring over the top of the heart block, centring the heart perfectly....

Fold the inner edge of the patched ring under and stitch it with needle turn applique....

Don't worry, the outer ring will take care of itself. Folding the inner edges under like this opens up the circle a bit more and naturally gets rid of those pesky threads too. And you have done some of the quilting too. 

Time for the embroidery now. Thread a needle with one strand of the embroidery floss and make a herringbone stitch over the edge of the inner ring.

This is an easy stitch. You come up (see the black thread coming up through the fabric)...

Make a long stitch to the right and go down through the fabric and then up just to the left of it.

Make another long stitch to the right crossing over the other bit and come up again. Repeat around the circle. Once you get the hang of it, it is easy, there is a rhythm to it. And it really is sort of like an attractively distorted cross stitch.

Draw the words for your personal message around the heart with the water soluble marker. I haven't given a template for this for two reasons. One, I don't know what you want to write and secondly, it is better in your hand writing. More personal. Practise on a piece of paper and keep the message short. Don't clutter the space up too much. Embroider the words in a backstitch.

Here is what it looks like now

Time to finish that quilting off now. 
Lay the embroidered top onto the backing fabric and pin it. Quilt round the patched border in concentric circles like this....

I have machine quilted the circles but you can do them by hand if you prefer.
While you have your hand sewing thread handy, make a running stitch around the heart too...

Trim the three layers using the round top as a guide. Bind with your chosen bias binding

Now attach the hanging ring on the back 

and the bow to the front top

And there it is!

These make great and quick Christmas gifts. They are a wonderful alternative to a Christmas card (no trees wasted either) and they can be kept for generations. What's not to love there! 

Now don't forget the Christmas giveaway! I will look forward to seeing your comments and good luck!

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Nordic November Block of the Month - Danish Heart

It's BOM time and because it is Nordic November, it is also fitting that we use a block which has been inspired from that part of the world.

Enter the famous Danish Heart!

I am sure that you have seen these around but they don't occur too often as a quilt block. I have 'translated' this one and what I have come up with is very simple to make and super impactful (that is a thing I promise).....

So, what do we need?
-fat 8th of red fabric
-fat 8th of a second red/white fabric
-fat qu. of something for the background which will set the red and white off nicely. Grey is good as is white or linen. Have a look at the Essex yarn dyed linens around. A low volume white and grey or a text print would look fab too.

There is no template for this pattern, I will give you the measurements as we go along. There is an added dimension of applique this time too.

Begin by taking your two lots of red and red/white fabrics and cutting nine squares from them each square measuring 4.5cm x 4.5cm. You need five of one and four of the other. Sew them together to make a nine patch block....

Now make a circle template from thin card (like a cereal packet). the circle is 10cm diameter. Cut this template in half exactly. This shape forms the top sections of the heart. Cut one from each fabric...

You can see where this is going now!

Fold the half circle in half and crease it to get the centre mark and do the same on your nine patch. Line up the two creases and sew a semi circle to the top of two sides of your nine patch....

You will notice that you have a small gap each side of the heart top. This has to be there, it is the seam allowance for turning under....

This seam allowance is especially important where the two semi circles meet. The really important side for this is the left (it will become the middle); you can trim it off the outsides. My heart is now ready to applique...

The rest of this block is done with needle turn applique. Of course, you can use any sort of applique method you like - it might be quicker by machine if you are making a large quilt! Either way, mount it onto your grey or linen fabric. You will need about a 25cm piece.

Here it is again, all finished...

Just a heads up for next week's post, we are going to turn this into something round but you could also make a few of these blocks and use them in a larger project. They look cute as cushions too. Cannot wait to show you what I have dreamed up to make with this. I think that you will really love it. 'til next time then!

Oh, by the way....don't forget to check out my other blocks of the month in the drop down section (across the top of this page).

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Friday, 13 November 2015

Nordic November! Broderie Suisse runner

November 2015 in England has been touted as one of the warmest ever. Not sure if that is true but it certainly was nice yesterday when Rob and I ventured into the woods near our home. not sure what it means in terms of the coming winter either despite the much loved rumours at this time of the year (every single year) about the arctic blasts to which we can look forward. 

I would love a proper winter. This year the prediction is for 36 days of snow. Hmm, we'll see. In the mean time, the forest is looking its very best....

Beautiful beechwood forest.

Loving the way the sun rides the mist to the ground.

Perfect fairytale forest.

The pines look ghostly. Very suitable for around Halloween!

I cannot describe the stillness. I felt as though I was the only thing in the world that could move.
There was a bit of mist and the bluest of skies but it was the sort of temperature that you cannot actually feel - you know what I mean; when it is warm, you can feel that it is warm and a cold jag in the air can certainly be felt. But yesterday was beautiful. Still as still in the forest and the perfect temperature for some Nordic walking. Bliss!

Right, where were we this week? That's right, Swiss embroidery: Scandi stylie.

You will recognise the candle holder from last week's post and if you would like to make one. You will find the step by step instructions with all the usual photos here.

Okay, okay, purists will spot straight away that Broderie Suisse or Chicken Scratch embroidery isn't exactly Nordic! I promise that I am not one of those people who insist on getting Sweden and Switzerland mixed up either.  No this is a deliberate 'Nordification' (that is a thing I promise) of an old favourite. 

I have taken a grey and white gingham and some red perle 8 cotton thread and made it Scandi. A red pom-pom trim and a trademark label completes the pretty picture. What do you think....

Now you can make this as big or as small as you like and all you will need to do is to repeat the pattern. My runner is 50cm x 25cm when it is finished.

So, gather these supplies:
Grey and white gingham (1/2 cm squares)
red perle 8 cotton
something for backing fabric.
red pom-pom trim
water soluble marker (optional)
Your usual needlework/sewing needs

First of all, here is the pattern

It contains only one very simple stitch (a double cross stitch) taken from the repertoire of Broderie Suisse and I will talk you through it.

This is the same as a cross stitch that you would find anywhere else. The only difference here is that instead of having an even weave cloth, we are using the the gingham as a guide to make them neat. 
Consider using the water soluble marker to mark out the entire pattern before you start stitching. This saves a lot of counting and checking if you were after a relaxing project!

Anyway, let's look at this stitch properly. You stitch one way...

And then you come back and cross the stitches.....

Then you make a plus sign over the top. First one way...

Then the other....

Now you have the basics, you can make this pattern. If you like the look of this and want to try a project with a few more stitches, I have a cute bread cloth tutorial here. You will find the double cross stitch there plus a few others.

Here is a peek of what the embroidered hearts and diamonds look like...

I have chosen to make a row of embroidery up each side of the runner but you could also place the two rows in the middle back to back for a different look. Here it is with the embroidery done...

When you have finished, lay the embroidery right sides together onto your chosen backing fabric and pin. Sew all around leaving a gap. Turn out through the gap and then close it. Topstitch around the edge....

I like to put the pom-pom trim on by hand because I have more control but it is really up to you.
Cut your trim to the desired length (mine is going onto  the ends of my runner). Consider dabbing some fray stopper onto the cut ends too ebcause it is very difficult to hem this without it looking very clunky.
Attach the trim to the ends....

Add a label for fun....

Woo-hoo! A classic runner on holiday in the north! 

This goes rather well with last week's antler candle holder too...

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx