Quilt Spot March 2020

I had a feeling that being in lockdown, and spending more time at home, would somehow mean more time for watching telly (and hence more quilt spots) or for learning a new craft or skill, more time for baking, cleaning, and/or gardening. But I was wrong. I don’t have more time; if anything, I have less, as I’m working from home and homeschooling. So I’m not learning a new skill, or baking dozens of cakes, or spending ages in the garden… or watching telly for that matter. So my quilt spots this month are comparable in number to previous months. And this month, it’s just the one. But what a one.

The movie was the gritty drama ‘Mudbound’, based on the novel by Hilary Jordan, set in rural Mississippi from 1939 to the years following World War II. The movie mainly focuses on the lives of two young veterans, one white, one black, Jamie and Ronsel, and the issues they face on their return home, including post traumatic stress and racism. It’s a very powerful and moving story, and also very bleak at times, with some harrowing scenes depicting racial violence.

The other main characters are Jamie’s brother Henry and his young wife Laura, played by Carey Mulligan, who move from the suburbs to the Mississipi Delta to live and work on their new farm.

Laura may have had romantic notions of what life in the country would be like, but these ideas are quickly quashed when she gets there, as the following passage from the book describes:

“… I often felt overwhelmed: by the work and the heat, the mosquitoes and the mud, and most of all, the brutality of rural life. Like most city people, I’d had a ridiculous, goldenlit idea of the country. I’d pictured rain falling softly upon verdant fields, barefoot boys fishing with thistles dangling from their mouths, women quilting in cozy little log cabins while their men smoked corncob pipes on the porch. You have to get closer to the picture to see the wretched shacks scattered throughout those fields, where families clad in ragged flour-sack clothes sleep ten to a room on dirt floors; the hookworm rashes on the boy’s feet and the hideous red pellagra scales on their hands and arms; the bruises on the faces of the women, and the rage and hopelessness in the eyes of the men.” (‘Mudbound’, Hillary Jordan)

I spotted a quilt on the bed in Ronsel’s family’s shack. His dad lies on the bed, incapacitated after a nasty fall, but keeps himself busy making a basket. The quilt on the bed features course dark fabrics, probably scraps from some sort of utility cloth, in reds, blues and cream, with decorative hand stitches sewing the various patches together forming what looks like large radial sunburst patterns.

Quilt Spot – ‘Mudbound’
Quilt Spot – ‘Mudbound’, quilt detail

It’s a hard-hitting story which may not be top of your list of must-see movies at the moment, but well worth seeing at some point.

Have you spotted any quilts in movies, series or on the telly? Let me know! Share your spots with me.

Till next time!

Mel x

Click here for an A-Z list of my quilt spots.

Block of the Month – April 2020

Block D – April 2020 features 7 narrow strips and a larger rectangle set against a background of contrasting fabric. The strips and rectangle can be cut from the same fabric or you can choose different fabrics and colours for each piece, the choice is yours.

You can use the colour-in sheets at the end of this blog post to try out different ideas. You will need a different fabric background, and preferably one that will make the strips stand out.

Block D – April 2020

Click here for all the ‘Block of the Month’ blocks published so far.

Materials:

All measurements below include a seam allowance of 0.25″.

For the strips (pieces A) from patterned/solid fabric:

A – 7 x (3.5″ x 1″)

For the rectangle (piece D) from patterned/solid fabric:

D – 2″ x 5.5″

For the background (pieces B, C, E), ALL cut from the same fabric, ideally from a contrasting fabric to the strips and rectangle:

B – 6 x (3.5″ x 0.75″)
C – 3 x (1″ x 5.5″)
E – 2 x (6.5″ x 1″)

The finished block should measure 6.5″ square including seam allowances.

Piecing:

Sew your cut pieces as indicated below, sewing right sides together and pressing seams to one side as you go.

Quilt layouts

Below are some ideas of quilts you can make using this simple block and also combining it with blocks from previous months (January 2020, February 2020 and March 2020). You can play around with your colour/fabric choices to achieve some stunning effects.

The designs featured below are based on either a 5 x 5 or a 6 x 6 grid, which would result in quilts with a finished size (not including binding) of 30″ x 30″ or 36″ x 36″, respectively.

Whatever size you go for, when you come to piecing the quilt, first sew together the blocks in each row. Press seams in each row in alternating directions, and then sew the rows together. Create a quilt sandwich with wadding and backing fabric, then quilt as desired, bind and add a label to complete it.

Colouring-in sheets

Try out different colour schemes with the colouring-in sheets below. To print the sheets, right click on the image and select ‘open image in new tab’. Then you can print the page – make sure your print settings are set to what you want. My preference is to fit the image to the page so I get a full sheet with the picture.

You can also enjoy my other free patterns on my blog:

Happiness quilt and Pirate quilt.

Small patchwork bag charm and Small bag charm with Suffolk Puff centre.

Keeping busy during lockdown…

Well that’s the first week done! It hasn’t been easy. Combining working from home and home schooling is proving to be extremely challenging! And I’m also missing my friends, and all the groups I usually attend. But I’ve managed and we’ve managed. And it’s fine. And every other family is in the same boat!

Usually I equate staying at home with having more time on my hands. But I’m finding that that isn’t necessarily the case. Despite this, I am determined to save some time for myself, to work on my sewing projects. With this in mind, I have started a new quilt.

I’ve already named it ‘Blossom’ as I’m using my own fabrics from my ‘Blossom‘ range and the blocks featured are ones I’m publishing as ‘Block of the Month‘ this year.

Fabrics in my ‘Blossom’ range – available in my Melony Patch Etsy shop

Today I managed to squeeze in some time for myself and I’ve completed the first block. Because it’s not a block I’ve already published, I’m only providing a sneak peak photo!

My new ‘Bloom’ quilt – first block complete!

Whilst you’re in lockdown, you may be looking for a new project to get your hands on. Remember that there are some free quilt and craft projects on my blog, as well as the before mentioned ‘Block of the Month‘ to keep you busy.

I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

Till next time,

Mel x

Slowly adjusting to the current situation… whilst making progress on the wellbeing quilt

Across the globe people are having to make adjustments to their daily lives to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus. This week has seen a dramatic change for me and my family. For me, at work we’ve had to suspend all of our wellbeing activities because of the need to avoid all unnecessary social contact, and we are all now mostly working from home.

With regard to schools, my eldest’s secondary school closed from Wednesday as a number of staff were unable to go into work, all for Covid-19 related reasons, and since then, we decided to also keep our youngest away from her primary school. So both girls have been home schooled since then. And then there was the flood of cancellations of clubs, socials, events, etc. All of a sudden our lives seem very different.

In an attempt to keep positive, and organised, I had in mind a very clear vision of what our new ‘life’ – or routine – would look like. But it’s proving harder than I thought to stick to the plan!

It’s fair to say that I’m going to find it hard combining working from home with home schooling, finding family time – and having ‘my own time’ too (!), making time for exercise, etc, etc. I’m sure it’ll get easier, though the situation itself may get harder. No-one knows or can predict how this pandemic is going to evolve.

As always I’d like to finish on a positive note. Working from home has given me the opportunity to focus on projects that have been on the back burner for a while, simply because there are always other matters more pressing to get on with.

Panels for the Wellbeing Quilt

One of these projects is the Wellbeing Quilt which I started last year. This week I’ve had the chance to really start making progress on this quilt and am really pleased with what I’ve done so far. I won’t say much, or show many photos of work in progress, as I’d like to reveal the final quilt when it’s finished. But it’s been a good day today for me, combining work with my hobby. The temptation is to carry on working (as it’s a quilt!) but I must remember to put it aside now so I can enjoy the weekend with my family.

Hope you all keep safe and healthy.

Mel x

Label done, quilt washed… and now ready to use…

Whenever I finish working on a quilt, I like to wash it before I actually use it. This is for two reasons. Whilst working on a quilt – ie doing the sewing and quilting – the quilt is either in my sewing room or in the living room, and probably gathers a lot dirt from all the handling and lying around. So it probably needs a good wash before use! And secondly, I love the ‘puffy’ feel you get from a freshly washed quilt.

Lovely ‘puffy’ look and feel of my freshly washed Happiness quilt.

Although I actually finished my ‘Happiness’ quilt a little while ago, I did not completely finish until a few weeks ago… as it still needed a label!

For my quilt labels, I like to add a little phrase that gives a little insight into what the quilt means to me or how I was feeling when I made it.

I found it harder than usual to come up with a phrase I was happy with for this quilt. I had designed it years ago, but the years that followed, which were when I started piecing the quilt, were marked by some difficult events. Initially I felt like I had to make reference to that in the label, as working on the quilt was a little escape for me. However, I didn’t want a ‘sad’ message on a ‘happy’ quilt.

Given that I think, that on the whole, I am quite a positive person – I try to find the good in everyone and everything – in the end I decided to make reference to that positivity; I felt this would honour the meaning behind my quilt, whilst also acknowledging that experiences we may face on a day-to-day basis, or over a period of time, are not always easy.

The phrase I settled on was: “Look for the good in every day… and happiness is sure to come your way.”

A positive message on my Happiness quilt label.

Do you write messages on your labels? I’d love to know, share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Till next time (I’m off to snuggle under my quilt!)

Mel x

Click here for the full instructions to make ‘Happiness’ quilt.

Block of the Month – March 2020

Block C – March 2020 features 7 strips of increasing widths, arranged in pyramidal form. As with previous Blocks A (January 2020) and B (February 2020) the strips are of a patterned or solid colour fabric set against a background of contrasting fabric.

The strips can be cut from the same fabric or you can choose different fabrics and colours for each strip, the choice is yours. You can use the colour-in sheets at the end of this blog post to try out different ideas. You will need a different fabric to the one/s used for the strips, for the background, and preferably one that will make the strips stand out.

Block C – March 2020

Click here for all the ‘Block of the Month’ blocks published so far.

Materials:

All measurements include seam allowance of 0.25″.

For the strips (pieces A1-A7) from patterned/solid fabric:

A1 – 1″ x 1″
A2 – 1.5″ x 1″
A3 – 2″ x 1″
A4 – 2.5″ x 1″
A5 – 3.5″ x 1″
A6 – 4.5″ x 1″
A7 – 5.5″ x 1″

For the background (pieces B1-B7, C, D), ALL cut from the same fabric, ideally from a contrasting fabric to the strips:

B1 – 2 x (3.25″ x 1″)
B2 – 2 x (3″ x 1″
B3 – 2 x (2.75″ x 1″)
B4 – 2 x (2.5″ x 1″)
B5 – 2 x (2″ x 1″)
B6 – 2 x (1.5″ x 1″)
B7 – 2 x (1″ x 1″)

C – 6 x (6.5″ x 0.75″)
D – 2 x (6.5″ x 1″)

The finished block should measure 6.5″ square including seam allowances.

Piecing:

Sew your cut pieces as indicated below, sewing right sides together and pressing seams to one side as you go.

Make sure the centres of the A shapes in each strip are lined up neatly to get the pyramidal effect of the block.

Quilt layouts

Below are some ideas of quilts you can make using this simple block, and one includes blocks from previous months. You can play around with your colour/fabric choices to achieve some stunning effects.

The designs featured below range from 6 x 6, 8 x 8 and 10 x 10 grids, which would result in quilts with a finished size (not including binding) of 36″ x 36″, 48″ x 48″ and 60″ x 60″ respectively.

Whatever size you go for, when you come to piecing the quilt, first sew together the blocks in each row. Press seams in each row in alternating directions, and then sew the rows together. Create a quilt sandwich with wadding and backing fabric, then quilt as desired, bind and add a label to complete it.

Colouring-in sheets

Try out different colour schemes with the colouring-in sheets below. To print the sheets, right click on the image and select ‘open image in new tab’. Then you can print the page – make sure your print settings are set to what you want. My preference is to fit the image to the page so I get a full sheet with the picture.

You can also enjoy my other free patterns on my blog:

Happiness quilt and Pirate quilt.

Small patchwork bag charm and Small bag charm with Suffolk Puff centre.

Quilt Spot February 2020

It’s been another ‘bumper’ month for quilt spots.

First up a movie I’ve seen before a number of times, ‘The Parent Trap’ – the 1998 version. My kids love this film; it is a feel good movie, though the premise is a little strange. Identical twins, Annie and Hallie, are separated at birth and each is raised by one of their biological parents, the mum lives in England and the dad in the US. The twins ‘discover’ each other at a summer camp and plot together to reunite their parents. Although it’s charming and funny, it’s also a bit odd and I wonder if in real life the characters would be so balanced and happy-happy given the situation they are in?!

Quilt Spot February 2020 – The Parent Trap

I spotted a lovely patchwork quilt on one of the girl’s bed (Annie’s? Or Hallie’s? Not sure) – the quilt is very feminine, featuring soft pink and blue florals teamed with white fabric, in square and quarter-square triangle patches.

Next was ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, PS I Still Love You’ – sequel to ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’, a teen romance drama. (These are not my movie choices I hasten to add..!) Again, my kids love these movies and have watched them a number of times. I watched the sequel before watching the original, but guess what? It’s not hard to follow… In the first movie, the main character Lara writes letters to her crushes but decides not to send them. Her sister discovers the letters and decides to send them for her without her sister knowing… causing all sorts of trials and tribulations. It all ends well in the end, but in the sequel Lara receives a response to one of the letters that got sent in the first movie, leading to more trials and tribulations. It’s entertaining and there are some good lessons in there about being honest and true to yourself.

Lara has two lovely quilts in her room – both seem to be whole-cloth quilts and appear to be closely machine quilted, giving them a nice puffy look.

And lastly I finished watching the ‘Virgin River’ series I started watching in January. As expected there were plenty of lovely quilt spots, including one of a group of ladies piecing together patches of fabric to make a baby quilt. I love the variety of quilts that are displayed in this series, from simple ’round the world’ patterns to hexagons and crazy patchwork. The series ends on a cliff hanger and we’re promised that season two will be coming. It’s all very slow paced and quite sad sometimes as the main characters are dealing with loss, grief, betrayal – essentially all the usual ingredients of a soap/drama series. But it’s very enjoyable and I’m looking forward to seeing the new series when it’s out, even if it’s only for the quilts!

Have you spotted any quilts in movies, series or on the telly? Let me know! Share your spots with me.

Till next time!

Mel x

Click here for an A-Z list of my quilt spots.