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It’s Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas…!!

November 12, 2020

Hi!

Thanks so much for all the feedback we received from our last email for our Christmas project this year.

It’s been long year, this year, and it’s been a difficult and at times downright horrible year, and that’s for a number of different reasons.  But we’re excited to be looking forward again now, and we’re looking forward to this Christmas season for a time of fun, family and festivity.

For us, it was a different Christmas last year…

You may remember the huge bushfires that were spread around much of Australia at this time last year.  I was feeling all excited about Christmas and the end of the year until the 19th December last year, when the bushfires got too close.

Less than a week before Christmas, the fires arrived in our village.  This was the view from the neighbouring town, looking back towards ours on the day we evacuated.  We grabbed kids, pets, photos and to be honest, a very random assortment of clothes and stuff, piled it in the cars and left for what was to be three days away.  Our town was blocked off, and on that first afternoon, many houses were lost.

We were lucky, and we are forever grateful for those that stayed to fight, but when we returned a few days before Christmas, there wasn’t a lot of the usual festivity, and frankly we all felt a bit flat.

Having said that, I do love that in the midst of all the drama last year, that someone did try to keep Christmas festive, and decorated a couple of trees on the road back in to our town.

In this past year, the trees have started growing again, and people are rebuilding, and we’re all ready to enjoy Christmas properly this year.

So why all this now?

For us, and I’m sure for you too, a big part of Christmas is the gift-giving, and enjoying time with family and friends.

We’re excited about Christmas this year, and we want to share the excitement of counting down through December to Christmas Day with you.  It’s time for a Quilty Advent Calendar!

My kids still love their chocolate advent calendars, and my husband usually enjoys his beer advent calendar too, but I usually miss out. This year, we thought it was time to do something for us quilters, so we could receive a daily treat too. Our treats come in the form of patterns – things to make for you, things to make for your family, and plenty of things to make for gifts for everyone!

As you know, we’ve been designing quilts and publishing patterns for more than 10 years through our Online Quilt Magazines, and it’s time to ramp it up now.  Rather than having to wait for one set of patterns each month in the magazine, this Christmas we’re launching our Quilter’s Christmas Advent Calendar, where we’ll send out a new quilty treat each day through December in the countdown to Christmas.  Opening your email will be exciting!

With so much to share, we’re starting now, and today we’re sure you’ll find these tips and tricks for making Half Square Triangles useful.

You can make half square triangles by simply joining two right angled triangles together to form a square unit.  When you’ve got a quilt full of them though, it’s quicker to ramp it up and make several at the same time.

Here’s how to make two at once:

Start with two squares cut the same size.

Place them with right sides together, and the edges lined up.

Mark a diagonal line as shown. (Pencil or fabric marking pen is fine.)

Sew a ¼ inch seam either side of the drawn line.

(You can chain piece these if you need to make several.)

Cut on the line.

Open out and press, and you’ve made two Half Square Triangle units!

And when you want to make 4 at a time:

Start with two squares the same size.

Pair them up with right sides together,

And sew a ¼ inch seam around all four sides.

Cut across the squares diagonally once.

Very carefully, without moving the squares, cut across the other diagonal.

Ta dah! You now have four triangles joined with a seam across the long straight edge.

Open out and press your four half square triangle units well.

And is there any increase on four?  How about eight???  This is where it all gets really fun!

You will need a larger pair of squares for this method.

On the wrong side of one square, use a pen or marking pencil and rule the two diagonal lines from corner to corner, as shown.

Place with right sides together, and make sure the edges are all aligned.

Pin the layers together and sew a ¼ inch either side of each of the marked diagonal lines. (Like you did to make a pair of half square triangles)

You will have 4 rows of sewing in total, and you can chain piece these too.

Now for the fun part!

Cut each sewn square in half vertically.

Don’t move the pieces, and cut again in half horizontally.

Now cut diagonally on the marked line (between your stitched rows)…

…and again in the other direction.

Ta dah!

Eight half square triangle units, just like that!!

Open out and press them all well.

You can use this technique for lots of different quilt patterns, but you’ll use this eight-at-a-time one in our “Summer Garden” quilt, that’s included as part of our Quilter’s Advent Calendar.

And since we’re on the topic, what about quarter square triangles?

Once you’ve got half square triangles, they’re super quick and easy.

You’ll need two half square triangle units.

This is done in the same way as making a pair of half square triangle units.

With right sides together, lay two different blocks together, taking care to line up the seams accurately across the diagonal.

(If you have the seams pressed in opposite directions, you can nest the seams really well, and this gives perfect points to your quarter square triangle blocks.)

Rule a line as shown on the other diagonal of the block – the opposite diagonal to where the seams are.

Sew a ¼ inch either side.

Cut on the line.

And open out and press your two quarter square triangle blocks.

This makes scrappy quilts so easy!

You’ll be able to practise this technique on our Kaleidoscope Quilt, that is also included in our Quilter’s Advent Calendar this year.

Phew! That’s a lot of information, but half square triangles made in this way are really quick and easy to do, and it’s worth trying these techniques out if you haven’t yet.

There’s still so much more that we have to share with you. Like you, we love projects that are Christmassy, and we love making special hand-made projects that we can gift to others as well.

Our Quilter’s Christmas Advent Calendar will have all this and more.  Each day through December, you’ll count down to Christmas with a surprise downloadable mystery pattern, sent straight to your Inbox.

There will be a great range of projects including quilts, bags, Christmassy projects, and others that are great for gifts, and these projects are suitable for all skill levels to make.  Each project has easy to understand instructions and lots of photos, and full-size templates are included if needed. Many of these patterns will be perfect for year-round use too, so you can build yourself a go-to pattern library for when you need gift ideas to make.

We’ll be launching our Quilter’s Christmas Advent Calendar next week, but until then, keep an eye out for our next email, where we’ll show you a great technique for making bags, baskets, placemats or tablemats in an easy and really fun way.  Gather some scraps or 2½ inch pre-cuts and watch this space!!

We hope you enjoyed this information, and as always, we’d love to hear any feedback from you.  Please comment below this post and let us know what you think.

Chat again soon,

Regards,

26 responses to “It’s Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas…!!”

  1. edie says:

    looks interesting

  2. Anita Brundrige says:

    Thank you for this tip. Glad you survived the fires. I am from British Columbia, Canada & 2017 we were evacuated from our home town for 6 weeks because of forest fires. Grateful our home was okay & the Australian Firefighters that came to our rescue! Merry Christmas!

  3. Vivian Oaks says:

    Thanks so much! I’ll save those instructions, especially for the quarter-square triangles, for future reference. I know how to do them, but get started on something and forget in the moment! 🙂 I love the idea of a quilter’s advent calendar!! Brialliant!! 🙂

  4. Jenny Sawyer says:

    Thank you for the great tips. Let’s all hope 2021 is a better year for all.

  5. Donna Hawley says:

    thank you so much. What a great idea.

  6. Margaret Harmon says:

    Thank you for this post. Here in Maine, US, Corona virus cases ramping up again. We all await the vaccine. We have been through a difficult and tumultuous election cycle and it promises to be a cold winter. My quilt groups are all on hiatus. But as a quilter, I can still take joy in creating, family and the friends I can still see ocassionally. Your post reminded me that with fires, earthquakes, shootings, terrorist attacks etc. elsewhere, I still have so much to be thankful for. Thank you for gift of above and the opportunity to share in the premium magazine editions! Merry Christmas!

  7. Mary Anne says:

    I love this idea! We’re all searching for quick and easy (and nice) things we can put together for giving, whether the occasion be Christmas or not. Looking forward to seeing what happens next!

  8. CHRISTINE GANT says:

    Thanks for those handy tricks. I didn’t know about the 8 at a time trick, but it makes sense. Do you have a chart for how big we cut the initial squares, and what the corresponding finished sizes would be?

  9. Sue Browne says:

    Thankyou for all the information and the tips! The advent calendar idea sounds like lots of fun….Thankyou for that too.
    We drove through one of the bushfire affected areas recently, saw the devastation and marvelled at the terrific job the firefighters did as many burnt areas were very close to homes! I guess nature gives inspiration and just like the trees have regenerated humans too will “ recover”. So glad you were safe.

  10. Lyn Foster says:

    DEar Jody, Todya is my 76th birthday & I have been quilting for at least 20 years & sewing for more than 60 years, but that info about triangles is the best article I think I have ever seen. You are never too old to learn something new, Lyn

  11. Tina Miller says:

    Thanks for the tips. I was recently shown how to do the 4 half square method. Making 8 at one time would save a lot of time.

  12. Sharon Kerslake-Klein says:

    Thank you Jody for these clever tips. I am still very much a learner & your clear instructions make it extremely easy to understand & learn.

  13. Karen Funk says:

    Great information on all the different half and half quarter squares. The Quilter’s Christmas Advent Calendar sounds like fun. Thank you for your excellent e-magazine.

  14. Marilyn Larkin says:

    Oh boy, Jodi, I had no idea how close you were to the fires. It is amazing that you managed to keep all the monthly magazine coming to us as if nothing was happening in your world. I wish you and all your family including your wonderful Mum the very best of Christmases and thank-you for everything you have shared with us this year. Roll on 2021 with all the positive things that we can all imagine. That is for the whole world. For those in Europe and America, we wish you well with COVID 19 and pray for an effective vaccine very soon. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE and a healthy and happy New Year.

  15. Jan says:

    Glad things are getting a bit more on track for you. Thanks for the half square triangle tips. Looking forward to what is to come.

  16. Sandy says:

    Love the idea of a advent calendar for quilters. Enjoy your magazine

  17. JULIE COOK says:

    Thank you so much for your newsletter. I am really interested in your latest project as I am really badly in need of some inspiration to get back to my love of patchwork. When my life changed greatly after the death of my husband nearly 5 years ago, somehow I just couldn’t cope with sewing anymore and reverted to knitting. I now feel I’ve had my fill of that and want to return to the quilting world!

  18. Trish Drinkwater says:

    What a lovely idea for the Advent calendar, Jody. You deserve to be pampered!!

  19. EILEEN Elms says:

    Enjoy you ideas, with the shutdown

  20. Edelmire Sainz says:

    I’m old but still trying to hang in there but I love to see new ideas and do appreciate yours. I will try one of them at least. I hated triangles until I pretty much got the hang of them. I still have a little trouble with them but I’m ok with them.

  21. Kaylene Morgan says:

    Thanks so much for these tips, they are the best and simplest I’ve seen for creating triangles and so easily remembered. Best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas free from bushfires.

  22. Mary Vanderford says:

    Love the email magazine!!!

  23. Carol Monetta says:

    I really appreciate seeing your very clear instructions and can’t wait to try out these easy methods in the Advent Calendar. Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

  24. Kaylene Morgan says:

    How can I change the address that this great service is sent to pleas

  25. Angelle says:

    I love the way you have it shown on display it’s easy to understand thanks and will look forward to seeing you on next emails 😀

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