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Handpiecing A Tumbling Blocks Quilt with Valerie Nesbitt

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Workshop Notes

Make a diamond template out of something robust – cardboard is fine for a template you are going to use a couple of times but as this one will be  WELL used in your quilt using template plastic is a good idea.

Also if you use template plastic you can see through this and place your template perhaps to give you a nice flower or other motive within your  diamond.

Make the template the FINISHED size so that when you draw round it on the back of your fabric this will be the sewing line.

Draw round with a pencil  on the WRONG side of the fabric;   DO NOT USE A BALL POINT PEN.   If a pencil doesn’t show up try something  else that creates a thin but removable line and doesn’t bleed through your fabric  - check with your quilting shop for alternatives.

TIP: to stop the template slipping you could place a piece of double sided selotape on the wrong side of the template in the centre.

Cut out the fabric approx ¼” larger all the way round your sewing line;   you could use a rotary cutter or scissors – try and keep the seam allowance the same on ALL pieces.

To create the tumbling block unit you need:

One each of three fabrics:  a light, a medium and a dark;

These can be three different colours or three shades – if you don’t have this distinction you will loose the 3D effect of the light striking one of the diamonds.

Sew the three diamonds into a hexagon shape:

Pin two of the diamonds together along one edge and then sew along the drawn line, making sure that you are also sewing along the drawn line of the one underneath.   Also make sure your starting and stopping stitches are secure.

The sewing is done with a simple, small running stitch along the drawn sewing line in a thread that tones  - shades of grey work well.

Fingerpress the seams CLOSED and to one side – as this is handwork the seams MUST BE CLOSED to be strong.

Make LOTS – make sure that all the diamonds within the hexagon are the same orientation – i.e. the light is always in the same place to the medium and the dark (in the same way you would if you were creating a pinwheel block that spins).

Once you have made lots you can start to put the quilt together  - lay out on the floor or table and admire and then sew the hexagon shapes together ;   you don’t have to do this in long lines – just sections – again making sure that the light is always in the right place.

When you have enough you can make small templates for the edge pieces to straighten the quilt and then add a simple border; layer, quilt and bind.

Make Templates and Create the 3D Look

In this video Valerie shows you how to make  the template;  select the fabrics to create the tumbling block effect and then a couple of tricks to help make the sewing really tough at the corners.

Traditional Patchwork

Traditional sewing means that it is very portable and may suit your lifestyle well if you hang around in cars waiting to collect someone - kids or husband!   Also if you commute - what a great way to use the time and create a quilt without really seeming to have spent hours at it!

Scraps and History

Sort out your scraps too and create a wonderful heirloom quilt - Jo used lots of fabrics that had meaning to her family and their life.

No Papers involved

Handpiecing the traditional (American) way is by using a simple small running stitch;  you do however need to have a template and mark your sewing line on the back of your fabric.

This is NOT over papers.

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