From my sketchbook: Homely Joys...

December 2, 2016

I have a real soft spot for Homely Joys. I originally drafted the house block to make some Christmas gifts for my nieces. They live in a beautiful Victorian vicarage, which has been painstakingly restored by their parents, and I had the pleasure of helping to design the gardens which the girls now play in. The block is my interpretation of the front elevation of their home. I dipped into my considerable collection of Tilda fabrics to make cushions for their bedrooms, as the tiny prints work really well with pictorial blocks.

 

As I was sketching it I knew the block would make a lovely quilt, too. But first there were a few construction issues that I wanted to iron out. I used a special set of rulers - the Tri-recs Tool - to create the triangle-in-a-square blocks that form the roof and while I was happy with how they turned out, I wasn't looking forward to making a quilt-full. 

 

 

I scoured the internet looking for other methods for constructing the block. Ideally I wanted something that allowed me to sew first and trim later, to avoid dealing with bias edges: we're all so used to making our half-square & easy-corner triangles that way and it's a really successful method for me. I kept returning to Joanna Figueroa's technique for making Dresden blocks - which she taught in her fantastic Craftsy Class - which uses a template...not to cut with, but to mark a stitching line. It made total sense to me, so I applied it to the triangle-in-a-square block and was thrilled with the results {the full photo-tutorial is here}. I love this block and all the design possibilities it opens up, as I'll discuss in future posts...

 

 

As the House blocks are quite busy, I knew I wanted to alternate them with something 'quieter' that had plenty of negative space. My Sister-in-law has a pair of pretty topiary trees in tubs flanking her front door, so - rather fittingly - the Vicarage provided the final piece of inspiration for the quilt. The spring-like colours of Joanna's Avalon fabric - filled with roses and vintage cherry prints - perfectly captured a summer's day in the garden of an English country vicarage.

 

 

A line from Thomas Grey's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard provided the name.

 

 

But lovely old vicarages look rather wonderful at Christmas too, so I combined Elea Lutz's scrumptious Christmas fabric, Little Joys, with my favourite Tilda polka dots and stars and swapped the topiary for Christmas trees.

 

 

And each of those little trees is constructed from a trio of triangle-in-a-square blocks: told you they were useful ;-)

 

Nicola xx

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