Foundation Piecing a crazy patchwork block

In my last post I wrote about the piece I made for my Janome challenge group. This month it is my turn to lead the challenge and following on from last month’s project which was to create a stitch out of all our machine’s decorative stitches I am asking people to make a foundation pieced crazy patchwork block and then embellish it with decorative machine stitches. For those of you who are unfamiliar with foundation piecing I am providing a short tutorial. There are many different ways of doing foundation piecing but this is the method I find that works for me.

The completed block:

To start I took a block from EQ7 printed out the pattern on lightweight paper. I use Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper sheets, but there are other products available and it is even possible to use ordinary copy paper, just a little harder to tear out at the end. One tip is to use smaller machine stitches and a slightly larger machine needle.

I take my first piece of fabric and cut it approximately to size, making sure there is at least a quarter inch overlapping all seam lines. This is placed right side up on the unprinted side of the paper.

First fabric patch, right side up on unprinted side of paper.

You can hold the paper up to the light to make sure all the seam lines are covered. I pin this in place, and then working from the printed side of the paper I take a piece of card (a postcard is ideal) and fold back the paper along the seamline where patch one meets patch two.

Place card along the seam between patch 1 and 2

I then take my ruler and trim the exposed fabric to a quarter of an inch.

Next I get my fabric for patch two and again trim it to the approximate size, lay it right side down on top of the first piece of fabric, matching the trimmed seam, making sure there is a generous overlap on all seams. This is the tricky bit because you need to make sure that when you stitch the seam and flip the fabric back all the lines are still covered.

Stitch along the line between patch 1 and 2, starting and stopping your stitching a few stitches either side of the line.

Stitch along the line between patch 1 and 2 then flip the block over and press. I like to press each seam as I stitch it. Remember not to use steam though as it can distort your paper.

Next, use your piece of card, fold back the paper along your next stitching line which will be for block 3. Trim your fabric and lay on your patch 3. Continue doing this for all the patches until your block is complete.

laying on patch #3

I made four 6 inch blocks like this and then joined them all together, backed them with some Pellon fusible fleece and had a bit of fun embellishing them my machine’s decoartive stitches.

The finished block


Rain Forest Quilt 2012

After taking a break from sewing over the month of December I started work in January on a new rain forest inspired quilt which I have been commissioned to make. I started by gathering together all my fabrics in various shades of browns and greens which I will use for the foliage, trees and forest floor.

my inspiration photo

I used foundation pieced crazy blocks in several different designs to create the base of the design: the forest floor and the background foliage.

selection of fabrics and inspiration photo for forest floor

making the foundation pieced blocks for forest floor

The finished background still has too many straight lines and abrupt changes of colour, but the next process of the design will be to add small fabric snippets to create more subtle blending especially where the foliage and forest floor meet.

the pieced background which will form the basis for the design



Going Green Challenge

I belong to a yahoo challenge group linked to my Janome sewing machine and in March it was my turn to lead the challenge for that month. The theme I chose was ‘Going Green’ and it opened itself up to many different interpretations and it was interesting to see such a wide variety of different projects from within the group. Some people took an environmental slant and chose to use recycled goods and scraps. I was amazed to see how old pairs of jeans could be transformed into bags, book covers, dolls clothes and even cat and dog toys.


Other people chose to feature green fabrics in their work and I was one of those, as it’s my favourite colour and I enjoy working with greens. For my project I created a foundation pieced background of ‘crazy’ blocks which I printed out from EQ6. I then used invisible machine appliqué to add a jungle plant, spilling out into the borders. In the latter stages I was racing against the clock to get the challenge finished by the end of the month but I just managed.


Quilting with variegated and solid coloured cotton threads completes the design. Initially I started to quilt a trailing leaf design in the borders but then had to unpick what I’d done as I felt that it didn’t look right and drew too much attention away from the main design.


This week I started teaching a course at my local club on how to make a quillow. If you have never heard of a quillow before, a quillow is a small quilt that folds into a pillow. Before starting the course I needed to make another sample and rewrite my notes, so over the last few weeks, aside from my art quilt work, I have been making up my own quillow.

I bought some rather nice cat print fabric from the local fabric shop in town to use as the main feature fabric and then raided my fabric stash for the rest. The print fabric has lots of different cats in brown, black and grey on a light brown background so it was easy to find coordinating materials from amongst my stash of fabrics that I use for landscape quilts and geckos.

The quilt and pillow top is constructed from 8 inch ‘crazy’ foundation log cabin blocks which I printed out from Electric Quilt. The central patch is quite large so I was able to cut a square featuring a cat for the center of each block. I then applied strips of fabric around the central block to complete the square. I have included detailed instructions of how I made the foundation pieced log cabin blocks and completed the quillow on my web site in a new section entitled ‘Tips and Tutorials’. In time I hope to expand this section and include  lessons covering more different techniques and processes.

Brown is really one of my least favourite colours, but since I have been making art quilts I have accumulated a large collection of lovely batiks and blenders in all sorts of lovely shades and tints. I have grown to like using these colours a lot more and I was happy with the way the blocks turned out. I used a pale buttery yellow for the sashing to set off the blocks and this also brightened up the quilt a bit.

I used more of the cat print fabric for the outer border, being careful to remember to make sure everything was the right way up and the cats weren’t standing on their heads. The pillow top was made in the same way except that round the outside I used small strips of fabric sewn together in random order to make up the border with a square in each corner.

For the quilting I quilted in the ditch around the first row of the log cabin and around the outside edges of each quilt and the borders. The first time I made this quilt I didn’t do any more quilting but this time I wanted to practice my free motion quilting so quilted all around the blocks using a loop design and variegated cotton thread.

If you’re curious to see how the quilt turns into a pillow and becomes a quillow, chack out my web site for more photos: Anne Maundrell Designs

New Rain Forest Design

At the beginning of this month I started work on a new rain forest art quilt design and this time I decided to work on a slightly bigger scale than usual. To create the rain forest background I foundation pieced 48 4 inch blocks in greens and browns. I used two different foundation blocks and then reversed some of them too create greater variety of pattern.

foundation pieced art quilt background

foundation pieced background

 I used as many different fabrics as I could to convey the impression of the colours of the forest floor and the foliage, with darker greens in the area where the undergrowth meets the ground. Normally I wouldn’t add the borders at this stage but when I add the details I want dome of them to spill over into the borders.

Detail of foundation piecing

Detail of foundation piecing

The next stage is to add the trees and I used several different commercial striped batik fabrics for this.

fabrics for trees

fabrics for trees

Using various different fabrics for the trees gives greater depth to the design.

trees added

trees added

In the picture above I have started adding the trees. I have also applied some small snippets of fabric along the line where the green blocks meet the brown in order to blend the area where the two meet and avoid having too distinctive a line.

Let sleepiing cats lie

Let sleeping cats lie

The danger of leaving fabrics out on my table!

Rain Forest

I recently started work on a new rain forest design, but using different techniques to the ones I used in ‘Forest Giant’. This time I have made the background using foundation piecing, using mostly batik fabrics in varying shades of green for the foliage, and browns for the forest floor.

detail of foundation pieced background

The picture shows the foundation pieced background with some foliage and trees added. The trees in the background are fused in place and then the trees in the foreground have the edges turned under to raise them slightly and are stitched in place with invisible blind stitch. For the foliage and small jungle floor plants I have fussy cut shapes from a batik print, fused them in place and then stitched round the edges with invisible thread.

rain forest background

rain forest background