Friday, April 15, 2016

Cathedral the round?

A number of years ago, I saw a finished quilt that was a two sided appeared to be done using a modified version of a Cathedral Windows block...unfortunately, I never did learn the maker of the quilt or what the technique was called.....but.....back then, I did set out to figure out how it had been created, I posted my experimental resulting blocks  here
Over the years, I have received many requests for a tutorial on this technique. is my attempt to show you what I did ....Warning! this is a long and photo laden post.

Like most quilts, it starts with templates and or patterns.....In this post, I will walk you through the general steps to creating the separate blocks and for those who want to give it a go, you will find a link to a PDF containing printable templates here
You will be cutting a variety of bits and pieces and circles to assemble into blocks....the more you make, the more variety you make, the more patterns you will be able to create with them when you stitch them all together.  This is a "quilt as you go" type of project.....AND while there is some machine work, the bulk of it is done by hand.

you will start by making a set of templates (thin cereal box cardboard works great for the "pressing" templates)

If you want to try a few different looks, cut several 6" circles, 2" squares, 3.5" squares as well as some 2" x 3.5" pieces (I also include a pattern to create that "split"circle)

in the photo above, you see the cut pieces ready to assemble (seam allowances are included in the pattern) and in the photo below....the machine piecing is done, the bits pressed flat

The goal is to end up with a variety of 3.5" squares and 6" circles (pieced and solid)
then we can begin the pressing, folding and stitching process

take one of the circles, (wrong side facing) knot the thread and then do a running stitch just in from the edge, once you get all the way around and back to the knot you are ready for the next step

 Place the cardboard template (5.5" circle) from the needle end, gently tug on the thread to pull in the circle...evenly distributing the fullness

It is time to go to the this well and remove the cardboard should look like this

now you want to press those rounded edges in toward the center to give you a place for your 3.5" square (remember, to make this cardboard pressing template 3.75" square as the pattern file shows you)

Once again we head to the iron

can you see where you are headed? remove the cardboard template and in this cavity, place a 3.5" square of thin batting (I actually used flannel instead, it is that solid white you are seeing under the 4 patch) so you have 3 layers happening...the folded circle, a piece of batt or flannel and a 3.5" square (solid or pieced)

those "flaps" will be hand stitched in place. I chose to use small applique stitches, but you could just as easily use big Sashiko stitching or possibly a blanket stitch for an even more interesting look.

here is another combination of circle - square layering (this time using a split circle)

Every time you change the circle - square combination, you will have a "different" looking block....the combination of different blocks will create a large variety of larger patterns.

below, is a close up look at my stitching, when you have made a number of blocks and determined a layout you want to make into a quilt, simply place the blocks right sides together and ladder or whip stitch just as one would with English Paper Pieced Hexagons

so....that is the you can see below, there is quite the variety you can make with just a few pattern pieces, let your imagination roam free and see what you can come up with.

keep in mind that the whole thing is reversible too.....depending on which way you assemble the completed blocks you will have two different looking quilts, front and back.

If you are like me, you need to get the fabric in your hands and manipulate it to fully understand the process......hopefully I have shown and explained it well enough to get you started.  I would LOVE to see what you create!

the nice weather is finally arriving, this would make a great project to have on hand for sitting and stitching out on the porch or perhaps for on those shop hop road trips  :-)

Friday, April 8, 2016


Can one have too many pincushions?
I have several, but of course, there are plenty of times that one is not always immediately, I thought I would like to make up a little sewing "kit" that could sit by my chair in the living room, but have it not look like a sewing kit.
The project got started when I came across this perfect trinket box at a second hand shop.

I began fashioning some simple pincushions by tightly rolling strips of wool felt, held together by a couple of stitches

A piece of wool felt stitched to the underside of the lid, allows a variety of hand sewing needles and needle threader to be stored.

there is room for a stitch ripper, thimbles and scissors and should I require a little extra room, one of those rolled pincushions could easily be removed for supply substitution

 Would you have initially guessed what this pretty box contained?

I also find that often, when I am at my dress form, the nearest pincushion is generally on the other side of the room.  I easily found a solution to take care of that reoccurring problem.

It was a pretty basic fix. A "pattern" was made by tracing the shape of the top of the dress form, I cut one piece (the bottom) from felt and another about a 1/2" bigger all around from the same knit fabric that the dress form cover had been made with. (see my last post)  A few hand stitches around the outside edge of the larger piece allowed it to be drawn in to fit the smaller piece, while also creating  room for filling....the two were stitched together, turned right side out and the cavity firmly stuffed.

The resulting pincushion was first pinned to the top of the dress form cover,

 and finally, hand stitched securely in place

Pins are now always exactly where I need them...........when I need them.

Copyright Jill Buckley