Good Neighbours

Materials

  • Scraps of fabric in suitable colours - no piece need be larger than 10 x 5in. See if you have any in your stash with suitable patterns for bricks, planks and tiles.
  • 10cm of light grey for net curtains (or use a floral design) or scraps if each window is different
  • 50cm of light blue for background and sashing
  • 27 x 25in (68 x 63cm) backing
  • 27 x 25in (68 x 63cm) wadding
  • Use pieced strips of scraps for the binding

Finished Size

24 1/2 x 2 1/2in (63 x 58cm)

Skill Level

Beginner

Preparation

Make templates following the diagrams. For templates D, G, H, L, M, P, Q and R you can cut strips 1 1⁄2in wide and cut the shape from that strip.

Note that two of the houses are reversed so some of the templates should be flipped for these houses.

For each house cut the following templates from fabric:

  • C and C reversed from sky blue.
  • D from sky blue.
  • E from sky blue.
  • F and F reversed from light grey for curtains.
  • Two of G for shutters.
  • K, N and B for doors and gables.
  • Two each of G, H, L and D in house fabric.
  • M and M reverse in house fabric.
  • P, Q and R (or R reverse) in fabric for the pavement or garden in front of the house. Piece Q should be a different shade.

Note if using fabrics with an obvious direction like planks or bricks, make sure you follow the lines on the template.

See Figure 1 for the block showing the template letters.

Piecing

  1. Join as shown in Figure 1, taking care not to sew into the seam allowances shown by dots on the diagram. This allows you to correctly set in the corner sky pieces.
  2. Assemble the roof section ABCD, the mid house section EFGH and the gable end section KLMN.
  3. Sew the house mid section to the gable end.
  4. Piece the paving, ensuring that piece Q is a different colour to pieces P and R.
  5. Join the three house sections. Press well at each seam. Make another three houses; remember that two houses are reversed.

Sashing and setting

Cut:

  • Six 10 1⁄2 x 2in strips from sky blue.
  • Six 9 1⁄2 x 2in strips from sky blue.
  • Nine 2 1⁄2in squares, each one from a different fabric used in the quilt.

Lay out the blocks, strips and setting squares and join. See Figure 2.

Figure 1: Block Construction
Figure 1: Block Construction

Quilt top layout

Figure 2: Quilt Assembly
Figure 2: Quilt Assembly

Measure the quilt top. It should be 24 1⁄2 x 22 1⁄2in.

Quilting and binding

Cut an assortment of pieces 2in wide for binding and join with a 45° angle until you have four pieces 25in long. If your quilt top has grown, cut the binding a little longer.

  1. Lay out the backing fabric RS down and smooth out any creases. Lay the wadding on top.
  2. Lay the finished top RS up and smooth out starting at the centre. Pin or tack securely.
  3. Quilt as desired. Anja has used meander quilting to great effect but you could use cross hatch on the blue sky if you are hand quilting and quilt round the shapes of the houses. Now is the time to add all those little touches that will make this quilt really your own; a vase of flowers in the window, a cat, a letter box and your house number, muddy footprints going up the path. Use your quilting stitches to create movement in your quilt - smoke coming out of the chimney stack, wind blown clouds across the sky.
  4. Trim the edges of your quilt sandwich to remove excess wadding and backing fabric - make sure you keep the corners square.
  5. Press the binding in half lengthwise and pin to both sides of the quilt matching up the raw edges with the edges of your quilt.
  6. Sew with a 1⁄4in seam. Fold to the back, handstitching to the back of quilt. Trim level with the quilt.
  7. Repeat for the top and bottom edges folding the ends in neatly and hand stitching to the back.
  8. Remember to add a label and to date your quilt

More House Blocks

If you have enjoyed sewing the Good Neighbours quilt, why not use the following classic and more unusual block designs in future quilts? House blocks can be sewn in two colours only (the Schoolhouse is traditionally red and white or blue and white), or a variety of patterns for a real scrappy effect. The small beach house block would look great in both Kaffe Fassett striped fabric, reminiscent of windbreaks or ice cream pastels. With a quick change to cladding print fabric or country plaids, the block could look like a garden shed or Scottish bothy. Remember that 6in blocks can easily be scaled up to 9in or 12in, similarly you can enlarge 8in blocks to 12in or 16in and so on. Another way to enlarge blocks to a key size say as part of a sampler quilt, is to surround the building with borders of sky or grass type fabrics. To design your own blocks, draw an outer square on 1.4in squared cartridge paper and divide the grid squares for the roof, walls, windows and door. Use template plastic to cut accurate, reusable templates.

Each block shows the total size of the design, plus divisions within to enable you to rescale the blocks to other sizes. For ease, piece into strips and regular units and then sew these units or strips together.
  
  

First published in Popular Patchwork March 2002