Author: Chris Franses

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. . . . Stunning Quilts – the title of Stuart Hillards’s new book says it all. The five main chapters each take a simple shape (or combination of those shapes) to make twenty very different blocks and quilts. Whether you are a beginner or just looking for new ideas and inspiration you will find…

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Strippy quilts have been around for a long time and are essentially wide(ish) long strips of fabric joined lengthwise to make a quilt top, in other words they were quick and easy to make. They could also be quilted easily in a quilt frame – just start at one end of the strip nearest to…

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Last month we looked at designing your own blocks by taking a traditional block and adding or subtracting a few lines. This month we will look at drawing what you might call ‘skewed’ blocks using graph paper with a different (not square) grid as well as just drawing a few random lines across a square,…

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Actually I did kind of know I possessed it, I just hadn’t seen it since I moved some years ago and couldn’t think what I might have done with it. Several of my old quilts went to Barbara Chainey for safekeeping but I knew I hadn’t handed this one over. During the Christmas holidays my…

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The simplest way to design your own block is to take a traditional block and add or subtract a few lines. The Ohio Star block for instance can be changed into Swamp Angel by turning the corner squares into half-square triangles. But you could turn those triangles around. Or put a small simple block in…

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Sampler quilts are a great way to learn a lot of different techniques and still end up with something useful rather than a random collection of blocks stuffed in a drawer (or a folder with notes if you are truly organised). Over the years a great many books have been published about making sampler quilts…

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That moment when you are pressing a quilt top – from the back – removing stray threads and preparing to layer it up for quilting . . . and you find a seam that is hanging on by a few threads. What to do? There’s no way you can re-stitch it without distorting that part…

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There are many reasons for needing to make templates for cutting shapes. Some shapes simply cannot be easily cut with a rotary cutter and although you can buy acrylic templates for many of these shapes it can get a bit expensive as you need a separate template for each size. Sometimes you may want to…

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The octagon and its tessellating square was a popular design in tiled floors as well as quilts – the kitchen floor in my last (Victorian) house had such a design with terracotta octagons and black squares. In Hannah Hauxwell’s collection of quilts was a red, white and blue one made from large octagons and squares.…

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Where to start?! In my last blog about re-creating a quilt I looked at the stars quilt I had made using lots of left-over bits and explained how you could deconstruct it to work out how it might have been made. I lightly tossed in words like ‘Variable Star’, ‘Sawtooth Star’ and ‘Ohio Star’ and…

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Making a quilt is not just about cutting up perfectly decent fabric into tiny bits and then sewing it back together again – despite what our other half may think – there is a lot more to it. The first thing we need is either a pattern or an idea. Then we need to find…

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When is a frame quilt not a frame quilt? When it is a medallion quilt. In fairness the terms are interchangeable, although ‘frame’ is often used to describe British quilts made using fabric scraps and left over bits of patchwork stitched around a centre while ‘medallion’ seems to be applied to more ordered quilts with…