Ali Wilkinson

Long Time Gone BOM #3


It’s month 3 of Jen Kingwell’s Long Time Gone BOM and as usual I was super excited to receive the wee fabric and pattern package, and found it hard to stay concentrating at work for the rest of the day! I really ought not to have future subscriptions sent to work in future…

This week Jen had us making “English crosses”. Being British born I do take issue with her description. First off, the English flag is a St George cross, which looks like this:


Secondly, let’s assume she meant to have the block looking like a Union Jack flag (which also strictly speaking for the pedants around here is called the Union Flag…!), well even then there’re elements missing as each 1/8th triangle has a further triangle within. That is because the Union Jack is made up  of three flags – the George Cross (as above, red cross on white), the St Andrew’s saltire (blue background with white diagonal cross), and the St Patrick saltire (fine red diagonal cross on white).

But hey, who’s being picky?! I am not hung up on this at all, despite how it might seem (!!) but hope my little diversion there was interesting at least.

And so, back to the BOM. These blocks are so cute and come in at 4″ finished, and I was surprised how quickly they came together. I have to say that I am somewhat nervous about the extent of work to come in this BOM as after 3 months we have still got a significant number of blocks left to make and only 9 months remaining. I am wondering if we will find ourselves at the end with lots and lots of blocks to make.

Next weekend I’ll make the Liberty edition. It’s so hard to choose which of those yummy fabrics to use!


PS did you spot the cute pandas in the block top centre? So cute.

Ali Wilkinson

Long Time Gone BOM Month #2 and Mini Tutorial


The second month of Jen Kingwell’s year-long BOM, Long Time Gone, arrived last week. I think NZ and Australia Post were trying to bug me as the shipping took ages and I was very much postman-stalking waiting this delivery!

This month is a traditional block of a square in square star, measuring 12″ finished, and once again I made a duplicate using my Liberty stash – BOM supplied fabrics on the right and Liberty on the left in the image above.

My go-to method for making square in square blocks economically whilst preventing bias edge distortion is to make them using foundation piecing, so I drew up foundation patterns as below and then photocopied the correct number.


It’s really easy to make these templates. The outside box is sized to be the unfinished size, so in this case 3.5″ (as the squares need to be 3″ finished). I then measured 1/2″ inside the outside box and made a mark at the mid-point on each side, then joined those marks together to make the inside square. This means the square points will touch the finished edge of the block. For the half square in square blocks I did a similar process making the outside rectangle 2″ x 3.5″, but this time as the final joining seams will do the job of creating points at each end of the long side of the triangle (or half square), I only needed to make the mark on one long side of the rectangle and join them to the actual outside corners of the rectangle on the opposite side.

Of course, I ought to have drawn another rectangle to make optimal use of photocopying, but hey ho, I didn’t so I now have a bunch of templates of the square in square ready for another project!

For the fabric cutting I was semi-economical. For the square in squares I cut centre square fabric a little over 1/2″ larger than the actual square, and for the corner triangles I wanted a bit of wriggle room so cut squares at 2.75″ and then in half into triangles. I used my lightbox to place the centre square over the correct part of the template and then placed each triangle in turn onto the square using the lines on the template to position them, and then sewed them in place.

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Don;t forget to use a short stitch length with paper templates, or you will weaken or destroy seams when you remove the papers later on. Once all four corner triangles were sewn on I was able to trim on the outside lines of the square using an old rotary cutter blade (I keep one specifically for cutting paper templates) with the end result of a perfect square in square block. Here’s before and after trimming:

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This might seem a bit long winded and time consuming, but I find the end results are so much more accurate and there is no fighting bias seams or having to unpick and sew again when your corner triangle is not quite in the right place. There’s not a lot of wastage either even with the trimming down to size.

I made the flying geese half square in square blocks in a similar way. This time I used rectangles and sewed the triangles on top then trimmed the corners of the rectangle underneath at the end. That results in a bit more wastage. It is entirely possible to cut triangles instead of rectangles and follow the same process , but do make sure to cut the triangles a little larger than needed just to ensure super accuracy at the end.

In other news, my Hawthorne Threads order of Cloud 9 Cirrus Solids arrived on Friday and so I am now ready to work out what I am going to do with the centre of the medallion. I will report back next week (hopefully) on progress!

Ali Wilkinson

Mid Week Finishes


Hallelujah! I finally stopped hoarding Liberty and cut into it. It’s a miracle.

This is Long Time Gone block #1 for the Liberty edition. I am pretty happy with these and get a little smile on my face when I pass my sewing room door and catch a glimpse through the open door (they are pinned to the design wall for now).

I also made another Sofia pouch (pattern here), this time using Kaffe striped fabric for the lining and a lovely Japanese fabric for the exterior. I can’t recall the brand of the outer pocket fabric which I have used in a number of projects previously. I love the fussy cutting on the rear. Sofia pouches are so useful and are pretty easy to make even though they include piping. I think I might use this to transport my hand sewing projects around so I can work on them at a moment’s notice.

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And to cap off quite a productive Wednesday evening, I added the plain white fabric to the tropical cabins I assembled at Quiltcon Living Springs, made a backing and now it is ready for quilting. I don’t have a photo but will take it to the CBD with me tomorrow and look for a suitable photo venue so I can share.

Has your mid week been productive or dedicated to non-sewing activities?

Ali Wilkinson

Long Time Gone #1

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I signed up for Jen Kingwell’s BOM called Long Time Gone and, after what felt like forever, the first parcel arrived. I had forgotten I had put the delivery address as my office, so on Tuesday when the parcel arrived I found it a bit hard to stay motivated and not whip home right away to make the block!

The Bom comes with fabric and this month there were 9 low volume background pieces and 9 prints. The sizes of each piece of fabric was about 12″ x 10″ and there was a note that we will need to cut sparingly as fabrics will be reused in later months. I have set up a storage box dedicated to this project and all scraps will be put in there. I tend to do this for every project I have on the go and only once the quilt is bound do I gather the scraps and decide what to do with them – either add to the scrap basket or sew them together to make panels of fabric for use in making pouches or hot water bottle covers or other small projects at a later date.

Each of these blocks measures 10″ square. I think I mentioned that I was also going to make a Liberty/low volume version of this quilt at the same time, so I have done a pull from my extensive (and untouched – yikes!) stash of Liberty deliciousness, and also from my equally large and untouched stash of low volumes. Here’s the selection:

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If you read my Gypsy Wife posts you will know that I have previously had issues with Jen’s pattern accuracy, but I am happy to report that this month the instructions were very clear and the measurements very precise. I think the advantage here is that Jen has designed this specifically for rotary cutting and machine construction, and so the pattern fits well. Hurrah!

And in other news, I achieved a few firsts this week that had not been on my list of things to do. Firstly on Thursday I managed to sew my finger with my machine. I have always wondered how on earth people do this, well now I know! Luckily only one downward motion, no blood, and missed my nail. Second unintended first was slicing my finger with my rotary cutter. My excuse? It was very hot (upper 30s C) and I was thinking about the next step while doing the cutting and so I swiped my left pinkie finger across the blade as I cut right to left with my right hand. Doh! And it hurt! And boy did it bleed! I felt bone with the blade, which struck about 3/8″ from the tip. I ran to the kitchen and stuck it under cold water and my husband ran in to help. He was trying to find the butterfly plasters we know we have, but ended up going out to his workshop for his first aid kit, during which time I fainted, probably through the shock of it all and the cold water contrast to the heat around us! He came in, found me on the floor, completed the bandaging of my finger and stuck my head between my knees. And you know what? It’s actually Gary who can’t cope with blood! LOL. So now I am sporting a rather fetching ensemble of Hello Kitty and Cars Band Aids as his workshop kit also didn’t have butterfly plasters. I sense a trip to the pharmacy is in order.

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