Parterre 2: the how-to, and the first block

With everything ready, I had no excuse.

Et voilà! This is Block 1 of dunnamany, but at least 36.

So, on the offchance that you might want to know how to make it, here’s a few words and pictures.

Cut a piece of tear-away stabiliser a bit larger than the finished block, and lay it on top. You should be able to see the layout through it fairly easily. If not, thicken the lines with a black marker. Mark the corners of the block on the stabiliser.

Cut all the templates out of your chosen fabrics. In an ideal world, you should starch the fabrics first, as this makes it much easier to cut the shapes out. Note: I wanted two cream fabrics in each background so I’ve created a template for only half of the background. You can make it all in one piece if you lay the edge on a fold. I use a fine lead mechanical pencil on the right side of the fabric in most cases, and then cut very accurately on the line with scissors.

Once you have everything cut out, you’re good to go. I’m using yoyos I already have, but to make them in the correct size, you need to use the 4 inch template I’ve drawn. It’s also quick and easy to make them using a yoyo maker: this is the one I like, by Clover.

Start in the middle with the two background pieces (or one large piece if that’s what you’re going with). Lay them in place and pin to stop them sliding around. Then lay over the leaves, overlapping the seam allowances at the bottom, folding the top one under. Finally, add the two corners. Pin everything in place, flip the stabiliser over and check the back to ensure the seam allowances are even and fully overlapped.

If all is well, baste down the leaf and inner edge of the corner pieces and remove the pins. Leave the pins in the background and at the bottom of the corner pieces.

Blanket stitch down the basted edges and remove the basting. Lay down the length of ribbon and lightly dab glue stick on the back. Stick down on the centre line of the background, bottom edge flush with the seam allowance. The top edge will be concealed by the flower. Top this with the 3 inch flower circle. Baste the flower circle in place and blanket stitch both this and the ribbon stem down.

Lay down the last two corners and baste in place, turning under the seam allowances on the arms to give a finished edge. Blanket stitch, and remove basting.

Turn the block over, tear away the stabiliser and trim out the seam allowances and excess fabric behind the flower head. Finally, apply glue stick to the back of the yoyo, stick it down in the centre of the flower and blanket stitch around the outside. In case you’re wondering, that yoyo is dark blue, not black.

And you’re done!

48 thoughts on “Parterre 2: the how-to, and the first block

  1. This is a cute block. Can’t wait to see the finished block

  2. Ohhhhh I’m loving the colours 💙

  3. Double wow and so effective!

  4. nanacathy2 says:

    This is stunning Kate and thank you for the very clear and detailed explanation of what you did. I love it.

  5. Lynda says:

    Showing how it’s done gives hope that we could work this process too! And, I spy hatbox fabric! Looking forward to seeing this one grow.

    • katechiconi says:

      There’s nothing particularly demanding or technical about making the block, so I don’t see why you shouldn’t if you want to. You do indeed see hatbox fabric, and will see more of it soon! I have a fair few decent sized leftovers, and this is the perfect way to use them.

  6. KerryCan says:

    What an unusual, interesting block! The fabric choices for this one are wonderful–will every block be different?

  7. mlmcspadden says:

    Love the block! This will be a wonderful quilt when finished

  8. claire93 says:

    I have to say, from the sketch you showed the other day, I couldn’t quite imagine what you were going for. Now I see it in vibrant colours, all I can say is “Wow! very impressive!”

  9. tialys says:

    Lovely – might be fun. Just got in from Pilates and the mounting heat – apparently Europe is in for it big time – and I’ll have another look at this when I’ve refreshed myself with water and fruit – what a saint 😇

  10. Dayphoto says:

    This is going to be some much fun! Why, it is fun ALREADY!

  11. As you know quilt-speak is Greek-to-me but I love love love what you do… you talented woman… this is fabulous ♡

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s fun, isn’t it? And yet another chance to use up odds and ends of pretty fabric. Once all the blocks are made, it’ll make a good portable holiday project too, hand quilting everything.

  12. kathyreeves says:

    That is going to be a great quilt! Great instructions!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve just started the second one – I want to see how it’ll look with the dark corners together. I’m thinking I might need coloured cornerstones when I sash them together, just to underscore the parterre theme.

  13. Gosh, really really effective design, I love it! 36 of them all lined up are going to be gorgeous. Totally beyond my level of skill and patience – I’ll have to stick to plonking stuff in the ground and hoping it grows…..

    • katechiconi says:

      Not beyond your skill, I bet, but probably beyond your patience, as it almost exceeds mine! I’ll get faster as I go along, though… I think it’s going to be a cracker!

  14. Great directions and your blanket stitch is perfection 🙂

  15. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    Really pretty, but 36 blocks !! You’ll have your work cut out with this one !!

  16. A question from the back – what’s a yoyo?

    • katechiconi says:

      That blob in the middle of the flower is a yoyo, also known as a Suffolk Puff. It’s made by cutting out a circle of fabric, turning over a narrow seam allowance along the edge and doing a line of small running stitch along the turning, drawing the stitches up tight and knotting of the thread. You then flatten the whole thing. It looks a bit like a squished sea anemone… You can see it in a bit more detail in the post I’m putting up for Bee, Myself and I in a couple of days.

  17. Joanne S says:

    Oh! Great colors! I learned a new word: dunnamany 😀

    • katechiconi says:

      Lazy slang, but it’s a good one, and so useful! I think this block is going to let me use up all kinds of bright colours, and believe me, I have rather a lot of those!

  18. rutigt says:

    Love it!!!!!

  19. I also have a question, if you have time and inclination (I don’t need to ask what a yo-yo is now I know it’s a Suffolk Puff, coz I’ve seen those before, yay!) . Did you turn over a seam allowance round the edges of the leaves and the sky where they joined before blanket stitching, or will that blanket stitch stop the edges from fraying when the quilt is washed? Sorry to be dim. It looks gorgeous, by the way, I think I’d have all the blocks a little haphazard, rather than all facing one way – how are you planning on having them?

    • katechiconi says:

      No seam allowance; the blanket stitch is very close and double-threaded so it finishes the edge quite well. I will, however, be careful to quilt close to each finished edge to secure the fabric in place to prevent it pulling away. I’ve done it this way before and it seems to work quite well. I also wash quilts folded up inside a mesh bag so they don’t pull and rub. I hadn’t actually got as far as planning the final layout, mainly because I don’t yet know how many blocks I’m going to make, but I was thinking of arranging them around a central motif, like a garden parterre, running north, south, east and west. I’m wanting a fairly formal arrangement, I think…

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