Monday, June 4, 2012

Pandemonium Quilt tutorial # 4, hand piecing, kitchen garden and the folly.

In this tutorial, I'll cover the handpiecing, the way I do it anyway, perhaps others have other methods? I'm going to copy sections of Basic Quilt Making in the book " The Fabrics of Societywhich I co-authored with Annette Gero:


The following photographs illustrate basic hand piecing. The important points to remember are: sew small stitches, back stitch every three or four stitches, check that the seam lines on both patches match and do not sew over seam lines as you would in machine sewing. In hand piecing, leave seam allowances free, trim seam allowances when the quilt is completed. Use matching thread or medium grey if there are a lot of patches in different colours. With hand piecing, it is perhaps best not to press seams as you go, the less it is handled, the less likely it is for the quilt to be stretched out of shape. I suggest press once before the quilt is basted with batting and backing fabric.


Mark patches, add seam allowance and cut pieces.

In the Pandemonium Pattern Pack, the instruction for the Variable Star block and the Pinwheel block give the accurate template free cutting instruction, in this case, measure and mark 1/4" from the edge of fabric. There are no templates given for these two blocks as it is assumed that you will be doing template free machine piecing.

Should you wish to mark with the template first, you will need to make the templates, follow below:

For the 3" pinwheel template, draw an accurate 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" square and draw a diagonal line, the triangle is template A with the short side of the triangle being 1 1/2"

For the 4" Variable Star templates:
Square A is 1"x 1"
Square D is 2" x 2" 
Template B: make an accurate 2"x 2" square and draw 2 diagonal lines and this will give you triangle B which has the hypoteneuse at 2"
Template C: make an accurate 1" x 1" square and draw  a diagonal line and this will give you triangle C, the short side is 1". 

 Arrange the pieces.

Place right sides of patches together, pin and sew. Backstitch every 3 to 4 stitches.

Look at the second patch at the back of work, check that the stitching is still on the sewing line.

Pin the patches at the intersection and at the last pinning point ( and in between if you wish)

 And sew towards the intersection.

Slip the needle at the intersection, don't sew over it as you would with machine piecing.
Finish sewing to the end, double stitch to knot.

For curved piecing:

Mark patches with the template, on the concave curve, clip the seam allowance.

Pin the right sides of patches together, then sew with tiny running stitch, and backstitch every 3 to 4 stitches. Check the other side also, to make sure the stitches are on the line.


If you are going to do lots of these Variable Stars and Pinwheels, gather your fabrics. I've used the shot cottons and prints.
For the stars, choose fabric for square D first as this is the focal fabric, then choose the star points - perhaps in a colour that is in the square D and then choose a contrast or coordinating colour in the shot cottons for the background of the star.

For the Pinwheel, choose the print and then the shot cotton in something that will go with the print.
The Kitchen Garden: 

I love this block! Those bias strips are meant to be the hedges. I've used BM "Shingles" - the green colour is probably better than the grey one I used, it's too light and used the Clover Bias Maker gadget to make the bias strips. Some stripey fabric would be great here too.
When stitching the bias strips onto the background fabric, make sure that they extend all the way to the edge of the background fabric. The last thing you need is for the hedges to be too short when you are at the stage of measuring the final block to cut off the excess seam allowance! ( I've done this, and I was not a happy camper!) 
Decide on the fabrics for the garden benches aka the cats' sleeping areas. Something that read solid like the "shell scape". ( Refer to last tutorial - see up the top under the banner for a link to previous tutorials)  For the cats and dog, look at the "feathers", "scallops" or "shell montage"-  there are lots of furry textures there. 
The vegetable plots - these are fun, choose the middle part of the vegie bits first and centre the motif of the fabric and then choose the leaves parts.  The animals in the middle, choose the bigger ones first and then use the smaller ones to balance out the colours. The applique pieces here are quite small, so you can use up the scraps. I don't think there is much of a problem here, lots of colours is the general idea. It's amazing how reds and pinks lift up the other colours.

Below this block is the panel " Rooster & Hen Vine". Choose the rooster & hen first and then gather the fabrics for the leaves and berries, line them up and look at the array first before you iron the templates. I used the "ombre" for the rooster and his tail is the PJ "Miami" - this fabric is really great - I also used it in the "Disc" block. Have a look at it and  see  what you can find! I've used BM " rings" for the hen, this fabric line is really useful, lots of rings for circles and it is also lovely for the larger animals.

The Folly:

With this block, you'll need to decide on the roofing, choose 2 fabrics that coordinate together, I used the KF yarn dyed stripe fabric, but this particular colouring may have been discontinued. Look up the Glorious Color site for stripes that are currently available. Really, not too worry, there are other stripes you can choose from, the BM lines have a few, or you can use something with dots like the hen fabric above, then pair it with a shot cotton, the contrast will be lovely. Then choose the fabric for the building structure, something that read solid ( see previous tutorial), I used the BM "shingle" in grey, again I think its a bit too pale, try the green one which is slightly darker. After this, choose the fabric for the dome thing up the top and the awning, the "ombre" is good for this as there are a lot of colours in each width. Next, choose the 2 trees on either side of the folly, and then decide on the pots. Something that will balance out the roofing. After this, choose the steps and the cats and dogs. For the birds on the lower section, try and choose colours that will balance the roof so you'll get an even distribution of colour density. Also do the birds above at the same time to make sure they are roughly at the same colour depth. I love the " coleous" fabric for the birds! Lastly, do the berries, use these to add more colours to the block, or to add colours that are still missing. I did some stem stitch embroidery for the hanging basket. It's not hard is it?

OK, let me know if you want me to clarify something, I'm only too happy to do so, if I know the answer that is! Hope this tutorial have been useful. We'll go and do the Horse Yard and the House next time. Have a lovely time stitching, and don't forget to post your photos! K                                      


  1. I can always use any tips with hand piecing, it's not my forte but with practice I am getting better. I have a question, do you backstitch at intersections before and after going trhough them? Thanks for another great tutorial Kim.

  2. Hi Janet,

    Yes, I think I do, its probably an automatic thing for me! K

  3. very interesting Kim,good to get some tips on how to choose fabrics, which to use first and the need to balance. too often i find myself going for the easy option, the one on or near the top of the pile. They all seem to work, but searching can give surprising results.

    1. I guess, at the end, you just need to get those fabrics out on the background stitched down one way or another! Go with whatever method you enjoy most Sheila! K

  4. I'm loving your tutorials even though I am still working along on my Stars and Sprigs and have no time to start this new one. Your hints and techniques are great to read and will be such a help for future projects! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

    1. Thank you Sally, there is a link to the tutorials up the top under the banner photo, so you can look it up again later. Love to see your Stars & Sprigs, K

  5. Kim,

    I have just received your Pandemonium pattern. What do you suggest for background fabrics? Do all the blocks have the same background? I am thinking of using Kaffe's Spots fabric in chalk, but not having a swatch at hand, do not know if that will be too light. THere are other Spots fabrics with lime green or blue on white.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. OOOPS!!!!
      I had to delete the previous reply, the colour is "Hydrangea" in the spots not " magnolia". The other colour I found is called "soft blue" which is a light turquoise and it goes with the chalk, apple green and hydrangea. I used the apple green as the background for a Lollipop cushion for Quiltmania and the KF Collective prints look stunning on it. Also, I'm doing a quilt at the moment using the Hydrangea Spots and that is also working fantastically, a good background for the lighter KF prints.
      Those fabrics like the Magnolia where they are basically white with different coloured dots, might work, but you might have to tone down the shot cotton backgrounds you'll be using in the pieced blocks that are close to the applique. Hope that helps, K

  6. Hi Mary Ellen,

    The appliqué backgrounds weren't in the same fabric in mine. I should have done them in the various spot fabrics in the pastels, such as the chalk, apple green and the magnolia instead, I used the striped pastels I had in my stash ( trying to be good, using things in the cupboard, silly notion that was)
    May be if you ask Glorious Color to scan the fabrics and email to you, you might get an idea of the colour of those pastel spots. Liza is probably going to throttle me!
    I'll have a look in my stash later when I get home and respond back, K

    1. OOPS !! See above, the fabric should say "hydrangea" instead of "magnolia" - sorry about that. K

  7. Kim, first I just came across this pattern and WOW you did it again. Made my mouth water with the luscious detailed appliqué. Well done girl! My question is regards to the folly border blocks, I see a few block that seem to be one piece of fabric. on the right side second one down and the bottom right the fan fabric. But at the same time they seem to have seam lines. Are they stitched or is it the quilting making a diagonal line?

  8. Glad you liked the quilt! Yes, the 3" blocks as the sashings are done in focal 3" fabric squares or the 3" pinwheels, whatever you fancy in making up the mix. In the pattern, I specified how many 3" blocks you need to make, you can do whatever you like as long as they measure 3" square. If you have EQ 7, you can go through their block library and pick one, although 3" might be too small to do fancy blocks.
    I think the quilting formed the diagonal lines.K

  9. Absolutely love that some of the 3 inch squares can feature the glorious fabrics. Unfortunately I always find the perfect piece of a print for a block right smack in the middle of a large piece of fabric!!!!!! But I will treasure it always right smack in the middle of this quilt. LOL

    1. Me too, my fabrics look like they are Swiss cheese. Much better on the quilt than in the basket though! K

  10. Great tutorial, thank you for sharing so much of your knowledge with all of us. I love the quilt and the name is just perfect.

  11. Your tute's are fabulous Kim, always so wonderful to see how people create. Thank you for all the work you have put into these. xo

    1. Thank you Cathy, I do enjoy doing these tutorials, it makes me think a bit straighter - ha ha ha! K

  12. There are photos of the fabrics at Liza's web site. I think I will order half yard pieces of all the pastel spots. I like scrappy backgrounds and if I decide not to use one or more of the pieces, they will go into my rather large Kaffe stash. Never hurts to have more and eventually they will be used somewhere. Thanks for your response.

  13. Hi Mary Ellen,
    Would you like to check the yardage of each block before you buy the fabric please? I can't quite remember their sizes. I think they may be a bit bigger than 1/2 yards, K

  14. Thank you for showing the tutorial for lefthanded people ... So nice for a change (I am lefthanded ;-) )!!!