Looking for fun quilting projects to keep you busy at home? Then try Fast, Fun, Waste-free Quilting, our new series of video workshops. This series is an exciting collaboration between us and justhands-on.tv. It’s perfect for quilters at home, and during lockdown, because the three titles in the series are downloadable from our website (or you can order them on disk).
The three ebooks in the series are: Hopscotch by Anne Baxter, Magic 4-Patch by Anne Baxter and Take Nine by Valerie Nesbitt. Each one includes a full workshop on video (first shown on justhands-on.tv) plus instructions and diagrams that can be printed off on your home printer. In each case, the emphasis is on simple blocks that are fun to make and assemble into quilts or smaller projects. And they are designed for the most economical use of fabric, so that you waste as little fabric as possible.
In Hopscotch, Anne Baxter demonstrates how to make a couple of quilts with this attractive Hopscotch design, a simple block which uses just 12 fat quarters.
One version has a real country feel, with its fabrics in similar tones. The other quilt uses shirting fabrics with added sashing. For a smaller quilt, make fewer blocks.
Anne guides you through all the cutting – which is done through a pile of six fabrics using the rotary cutter to its best advantage. She has a great tip about drawing the cutting diagram on the top piece of the fabric pile, so you know you are going to get all the pieces out. (For the version with shirting fabric, Anne spent some considerable time cutting the pieces separately.)
The sewing is straightforward because the pieces are very simple. Anne shows how to chain piece the seams. Try not to overthink the colour selection; just pick up a piece and sew!
The Magic 4-Patch block/quilt can be seriously addictive – it is quick, easy and wonderfully unpredictable. It is one of those exciting techniques where you sew things together, cut them apart, then sew them together again, not really knowing just how great they will look. You need 5in or 10 in squares (charm packs and/or layer cakes work really well). Make just one cushion from a single block, or a whole quilt from 25 blocks.
Take Nine is a simple quilt, perfect for beginners as an introduction to rotary cutting and ¼ in seam piecing on the machine. It is a lovely design to use up those bundles of fabrics you couldn’t resist at the show or quilt shop.
You need exactly 9 fat quarters of fabric, which will make 9 blocks. Then you can decide on your setting and border. The pattern comes in two different sizes of block, but the overall design remains the same. Valerie gives you some alternative ideas for borders: Piano Keys and/or the use of flat piping.
Don’t worry too much about the fabrics for this pattern. If your 9 fat quarters look lovely together, they will be great in the quilt. And you can use fat quarters from metres (as in Europe) or fat quarters from yards (as in the USA) – either is fine. The sewing is easy. Valerie also guides you through layer cutting with the rotary cutter, designed to cut lots of pieces accurately and quickly.