A Golden Host

Materials

Quantities given are sufficient to make two cushions. Based on 112cm (44in) wide fabric

  • 60cm of a light green print for the background
  • 60cm of a brown print for the background
  • 80cm in total of assorted yellow prints for the blocks (at least two shades)
  • 30cm in total of assorted green prints for the blocks (at least two shades, preferably mid to dark green)
  • 70cm of plain dark green for the cushion backs and inner borders
  • 20cm of daffodil print for the outer borders
  • Two 56cm squares of white American muslin (light weight calico) for lining the cushion tops
  • Two 56cm squares of 2oz wadding
  • Two 40cm (16in) dark green zips
  • Two 46cm (18in) cushion pads

Finished Size

46cm (18in) square

Skill Level

Intermediate – experience of foundation piecing needed

Suppliers

Similar materials are available from all good quilt shops

Of all the spring flowers the cheerful nodding heads of daffodils are the most welcome, truly the Heralds of Spring. However, with careful colour placement, you could turn these flowers into irises for summer instead.

Foundation piecing on paper is used to make these stylized daffodils and because the design contains some unusual shapes all the pieces are cut in oversize strips. If you are very familiar with foundation piecing you can ignore this preparation stage and just work directly with your scraps. Use two different shades of yellow print for each block. Use a light green print for the leaves on the brown background and use a dark green print for the leaves on the light green background. Each block is made from eight separate foundation pieced units that are joined together to make the block and each cushion is made from nine blocks.

Preparation

  1. Cut the following pieces for the borders and backing of both cushions:
    • Four pieces 11in x 18 1⁄2in from plain dark green for the cushion backs
    • Four strips 1in x 15 1⁄2in and four strips 1in x 16 1⁄2in from plain dark green for the inner borders
    • Four strips 1 1⁄2in x 16 1⁄2in and four strips 1 1⁄2in x 18 1⁄2in from daffodil print for the outer borders
    Figure 2: Block one complete
    Figure 2: Block one complete
  2. Cut the following pieces for the individual units. You may find it easiest to cut a long strip the required width and then to cut into chunks as you need them:

Block 1 Units A and AR

  • Two strips 2 1⁄2 x 3 1⁄2in from brown background print (piece 1)
  • Two strip 1 1⁄2 x 2in from first yellow print (piece 2)

Block 1 Units B and BR

  • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 4 1⁄2in from light green (piece 1)
  • Two strip 1 1⁄2 x 4 1⁄2in from brown background print (piece 2)
  • Two strips 2 1⁄2 x 3 1⁄2in from brown background print (piece 3)
  • Two strips 11⁄2 x 2in from light green (piece 4)

Block 1 Units C and CR

  • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in from first yellow print (piece 1)
  • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in from brown background print (piece 2)
  • Two strips 2 1⁄2 x 3 1⁄2in from first yellow print (piece 3)

Block 1 Units D and DR

  • Two strips 2 1⁄2 x 3 1⁄2in from second yellow print (piece 1)
  • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in from first yellow print (piece 2)
  • Six strips 1 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in from brown background print (pieces 3, 4 and 5)

Block 2 Units A and AR

  • Two strips 2 1⁄2 x 3 1⁄2in from green background print (piece 1)
  • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 2in from first yellow print (piece 2)

Block 2 Units B and BR

  • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 4 1⁄2in from dark green print (piece 1)
  • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 4 1⁄2in from green background print (piece 2)
  • Two strips 2 1⁄2 x 3 1⁄2in from green background print (piece 3)
  • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 2in from dark green background print (piece 4)

Block 2 Units C and CR

  • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in from first yellow print (piece 1)
  • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in from green background print (piece 2)
  • Two strips 2 1⁄2 x 3 1⁄2in from first yellow print (piece 3)

Block 2 Units D and DR

  • Two strips 2 1⁄2 x 3 1⁄2in from second yellow print (piece 1)
  • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in from first yellow print (piece 2)
  • Six strips 1 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in from green background print (pieces 3, 4 and 5)

Making the Blocks

Complete Block

Make nine blocks for each cushion (five of block 1 and four of block 2 for one cushion and four of block 1 and five of block 2 for the other cushion).


Units A and AR

  1. Enlarge and draw the block design onto foundation paper, transferring all seam lines and numbers. You may find it helpful to draw one version and colour it in to keep with your work. Hopefully this will prevent you from sewing yellow where there should be brown and vice versa. Once you have sewn one block keep that as a guide for the remainder.
  2. Cut out the strips as listed above. Place the fabric strip for piece 1 RS up on the unmarked side of the paper. Hold it up to the light to make sure the piece covers the whole area marked 1 and extends beyond the drawn lines on all sides. Secure with two pins.
  3. Place piece 2 on top of piece 1 with RS together, pin in place. With the marked side of the paper uppermost sew exactly on the seam line between pieces 1 and 2. Begin by sewing two or three stitches before the line begins and extend a few stitches at the end of the line. You can sew by hand or by machine.
  4. Trim the seam allowance to 1⁄4in. Fold open the piece and press. You can fingerpress as you go or use an iron
Figure 3: Block two complete
Figure 3: Block two complete

Units B, BR, C, CR, D and DR

  1. Follow steps 1 to 4 of Unit A above. Continue to add strips in numbered sequence until all the units are complete. Lay out the block so that each unit is placed correctly. Remember that the units are reversed for the bottom four.
  2. A 1⁄4in seam allowance is allowed on the patterns, but before sewing the units together, only trim the seam allowances of the edges you are about to sew. Do not trim the remaining edges yet!
  3. Place the units RS together in pairs, A to B and C to D. Line up the units by pinning them together through the sewing line at the corners. Sew the pieces together, stitching from edge to edge along the marked sewing line. Remove the foundation paper from the seam allowance only and press the seams open.
  4. Complete the block by sewing the AB units to the CD units in a similar manner. Press the seams open. Trim the excess fabric and paper to the outside lines. See Figure 2 for the completed blocks.
    Figure 4: Layout diagram for cushion one
    Figure 4: Layout diagram for cushion one
  5. Follow the same steps to make block 2, you need nine of each block.
  6. Refer to the layout diagram in Figure 4 and arrange the blocks in three rows of three pairs for each cushion. Take special care to place each block in the right direction.
  7. Sew the blocks into rows and sew the rows together. Before pressing all the seams open remove the paper from the seam allowances, but leave the rest of the paper intact until the cushion fronts are complete.

The Borders

  1. Sew the shortest dark green borders to the sides of the cushions and sew the longest dark green borders to the top and bottom of the cushions. Press the seams towards the borders.
  2. Sew the shortest daffodil print borders to the sides of the cushions and sew the longest daffodil print borders to the top and bottom of the cushions. Press the seams towards the borders.
Completed cushion
Completed cushion

Quilting and Finishing

  1. Remove all the foundation paper. Layer and tack each cushion top with the wadding and muslin. Quilt in the ditch around each petal, leaf, stem and around the inside edge of each block. Quilt in the ditch around the inside edge of the inner border.
  2. Place the zip, RS down and 1⁄4in from the raw edge, on one of the pieces of dark green fabric for the cushion back. Using a zipper foot on the sewing machine sew down the length of the tape close to the teeth of the zip. Neaten the raw edge of the fabric by turning the 1⁄4in seam allowance underneath the zipper tape (to the WS) and zigzagging it to the tape. Sew the other side of the zip to the remaining fabric in the same way.
  3. Fold one piece of fabric underneath the other, so that the RS are together. This means opening the seam on one side of the zip. The two pieces of fabric should lie flat on top of one another with the zip to one side. Sew through both layers at each end, from the edges of the fabric to where the metal part of the zip begins. Reverse sew for a few stitches at the metal end.
  4. Open out the piece, RS up, and press the fold gently over the zip. Pin or tack the fold in place over the zip. Stitch through the zip tape from WS, right across the cushion back from edge to edge. Remove any tacking.
  5. Open the zip a little. Place the quilted front on top of the cushion back, RS together. Pin then tack the back and front together. With the cushion front uppermost sew a 1⁄4in around the cushion using the outer edge of the cushion top as a guide.
  6. Zigzag to neaten the edges then open the zip completely to turn the cushion through to the RS. Remove any obvious tacking and press lightly. Insert the cushion pad. Complete the second cushion in the same manner.

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 14 Number 5 - May 2006