Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Chicken's have come home to roost!

During April as part of the Kohatu Patterns Farm Animal Quilt Along, we created some awesome looking Chooks for our quilts. I couldn't decide on a favourite this month, as they all looked great!

I loved the yellow chicken which Julia created below. She's a bit scrappy and yet also has a bit of a subtle look against the white background:

 Truus made her chicken a beautiful spotty Brown:

 My chicken was a bit of Yellow mixed with some Orange Solids:

and Donna also made a Brown Hen, but with a little more contrast: 

The Chicken Pattern is in my Etsy store now and is already proving to be quite a popular pattern.

The next animal we are tackling is a Billy-Goat, and so far he is proving to be quite gorgeous! I'm looking forward to seeing what my lovely Quilt-Along buddies come up with for next month's Goat Pattern too!

Happy Piecing!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

I'd like to introduce you to a Lady in Red... Guest Blog Post byNessie505


I am Nessie and I have taken this blog hostage for the day! I am a Foundation Paper-Piecing pattern designer. Today I am going to go over the basic steps in the FPP pattern making process. I have a new pattern, “Lady in Red,” and will use that quilt pattern as an example! 

Steps to making a Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) Pattern:
  1. Choosing inspiration
  2. Design the pattern 
  3. Make the template pieces
  4. Template Layout
  5. Piecing Diagrams and Directions
  6. Pattern Testing
  7. Publishing

Choosing Inspiration

This is one of my favorite steps! My artistic mind goes crazy with ideas. I have to reign it in while I do research because there are several important things to remember.

  1. Choose something you like! I tried making custom patterns for others, and honestly, it was hard because I just didn’t feel like it was mine.
  2. Copyright. If you are using copyrighted artwork, you could be breaking the law. If you are designing a Star Wars quilt for your grandson, no big deal. If you want to publish the pattern, do research and make your own sketch to use as inspiration.
  3. Keep it simple! Few colors, for me I try to keep it at around 5-8 colors max, though I have seen plenty of quilts that use much more. The less detail the easier it is to design.
For ‘Lady in Red’ I used a digital sketch I drew, avoiding any copyright issues. The sketch is also fairly simple with only 5-6 colors.  

Pattern Design

There are two main ways to do this. Using software like Adobe Illustrator or using tracing paper. The basic steps are the same using both methods. 

1.     Decide on the size of your block – I use Adobe Illustrator and my favorite block size is 18 X 18 inches. The blocks turn out big, and the template pieces usually fit really well on 8.5 X 11 letter paper. If you are using tracing paper you can go with the size of paper you have or tape pieces together to get to the desired size.
2.     Block your paper piecing pattern – I use 3 line sizes (some patterns may need more or less but I found this works for all my patterns so far). Large lines to block the biggest blocks, medium lines to denote the smaller blocks, and small lines denote the sewing lines within each block.
3.     Color and get feedback on the first draft –Color your first draft. Does it look right, do you need to make changes? Ask friends if they like it and listen to what they say.
4.     Final Draft!

Template Pieces

This part takes some time so buckle up:

As you can see in the diagram above, I have labeled the template pieces from “Lady in Red.” Notice I used numbers and letters to aid in piecing. I also used a pattern fill as a fabric color guide on the pattern. 

  1. Number and label your template pieces in the order you will piece them. 
  2. Color code your pattern – you can use symbols, patterns, even colors. 
  3. Seam Allowance? – I like having a ¼ inch seam allowance on my patterns, others don’t.

It’s your pattern, so decide what works for you. This will require a few extra steps if you are using tracing paper.

Template Layout

If you are using tracing paper, this step can be skipped. If you are using software like Adobe illustrator there are a few options:

1.       There are 3-4 main sizes of paper you can print your templates on.
a.      Letter and Legal (A4) Paper – Pro: can be printed on most home computers. Con: larger paper template pieces may need to pieced and taped. 
b.     Poster paper up to 36 inches in width and unlimited length found in most copy shops. Pro: No need to piece large template pieces. Con: extra cost in printing at a copy shop.
2.       Use marks to aid in joining paper template pieces.

Pattern Instructions and Piecing Diagrams

Above is a template piece layout example with ¼ inch seam allowance (dashed line) and marks (thick black lines) on the template where the template piece needs to be taped. 

Piecing diagrams and directions are both important.

1.  Who is your audience?
a.       You - what do you need to make sense of a pattern? If you are experienced and it’s your own design, you may only need piecing diagrams.
b.      Publishing – is it for beginners or experienced quilters? I consider FPP a hard skill, therefore, I never recommend a beginner to try my patterns.
2.   Skills required? – Do you want to teach how to do FPP in the pattern or do you just want to focus on the pattern? I tend to focus on the pattern and skip the teaching.
3.  Fabric yardage considerations – FPP patterns are interesting in that often you need yardage of a couple fabrics, and scraps or fat eighths is enough for the other colors.

Testing the Pattern

You are always the first tester! Depending on your future use you may need more testers!
1.      I always find mistakes in my patterns!
2.     Others may notice mistakes you didn’t.
3.     Versatility and Feedback
4.     How long? Give them some amount of time and expect them to take at least twice that amount of time.
5.     Incorporating feedback

In my design, I made the background and face the same color. When I got quilts back from testers, almost all of them had the background and skin different colors. Do I need to rewrite the pattern? No, I instead included a page at the end with instructions on how to label your template pieces if you want to change the color of the sky, earrings, or hat.


There are few easy ways to self-publish your patterns:
1.       Etsy – downloadable PDFs (This is where I started publishing)
2.       PayHip – downloadable PDFs
3.       Wordpress – downloadable PDFs
4.       Printing and Selling – great for pop-ups and vending

Thanks for reading. I really hope some of you are inspired to make your own FPP patterns! I would love to see your creations so please give me a like and follow on Facebook and Instagram @ByNessie505, and tag me in your FPP photos!

Lady in Red is available in Nessie's Etsy Shop from 24th of May 2019

Thursday, April 11, 2019

When it's not a quilt pattern... it's still art.

This post is something a bit different, and not so much about quilting, as it is about my artistic process...

Like a lot of Quilters and Artists, I have a million designs and ideas running through my head every moment of the day (and at night they permeate my dreams) and it can be the oddest things that inspire me. That's why you might often find me doodling with a crayon, pen or pencil or taking photos. Where do most of these end up?
Obviously some of them become quilt patterns, however, the majority end up in the trash. One of my big problems is that not everything works the way I want it to for a quilt pattern.  But recently I have drawn some things that are too cool for the trash and too complex for a quilt pattern.

When I designed Lion Brave, for example, I looked at it and thought he was just too complex for a quilt - Until I decided to scale him up to the large block size.

That's why I also have a Society 6 store. There's not much in it as yet - but you will find I add a new design every now and then. Some of them may eventually become a quilt pattern (like the Lion Brave) Others are destined to be solely available as Artwork. 

My Butterfly Garden design is one of these. I drew it and then looked at it closely and decided it was just too complex for a Quilt Pattern. So instead it's now in my Society 6 Store on a number of products including wall art, mugs, and stationery, but one of my favourites is definitely this tote bag:

There are so many other talented artists at Society 6, and you can get so many different products, like mugs, stationeryart work, backpacks, home decor etc. It's really worth a look. 

Happy Piecing!


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Perfect Easter Quilt Block! Kerry from Sew-Ichigo tells us about their Hatching Chick Pattern!

Hi, I'm Kerry and RJ kindly invited me to write a guest post for Kohatu Patterns - I love it when the quilting community reaches out like that!

I co-run a foundation paper piecing pattern company called Sew-Ichigo with Penny.  We met as sewing bloggers back in the days of Flickr groups and were drawn together through a mutual love of paper piecing and retro kitchenware!  Penny is based in the USA and I am in the UK and we started Sew-Ichigo in 2012 focusing on graphic, quirky, cute designs.  We sell our PDFs on Payhip and Etsy and we're currently working on updating all our patterns including this Hatching Chick, a quick FPP sew in three sections, perfect for Easter!

This block has some simple embroidery to create the chick's eyes and here are some of my top tips...
Firstly, leave the paper pattern in place, it helps with placement.  Next, take a double thread of embroidery floss- I 've used Aurifil 12wt.  Thread the two ends through the eye of the needle and leave the loop at the end of the thread.

Next, push the point of the needle from the right side to the wrong side through the centre of the eye- don't pull the loop through, hold it on the right side.  

Now push the needle tip through the eye to the right side- just a small space from where you first came up  (there should be a small stitch on the wrong side).  Pass the tip of the needle through the loop- this anchors the thread in place without a knot on the back!

With your thread firmly in place, make your embroidery knot.  I used a Colonial knot but a French Knot would work too. 

One eye is complete.  Your thread is now on the wrong side.  You could take your thread over to work the other eye, but this will leave some dark thread floating on the back which may show through your fabric.  To avoid this, I worked each eye separately and tidied the thread ends away.  The easiest way to do this is to pass the needle through to the beak seam allowance (orange fabric below) as this has other layers underneath it and the black won't show on the right side.   Repeat for the other eye. 

Thank you for the invitation RJ! 

You can find Kerry and Penny on Instagram @sewichigo, @verykerryberry, @sewtakeahike and find lots of tips and tricks for FPP at the Sew-ichigo blog.