I first met Alyce via one of her patterns - Bright Sky. I love quilts which use big blocks to show off the fabric, thus this one if perfect to show off some favoured Thomas and Chuggington fabrics for Little Boy for Christmas.
This year, Alyce is hosting The Bee Hive, a brilliant swap in which she introduces a new block each month and showcases some great Australian and overseas designers. I was recently Queen Bee and am looking forward to receiving my blocks and creating a beautiful quilt for another Christmas gift.
Recently, Alyce has released her first book, DIY Block Design. As someone who loves quilt maths I was really interested in reading this book. I love resizing blocks for my purposes and have made a few quilts of my own design without really thinking about it.
This book is aimed at intermediate and confident quilters who are interested in the mechanics of quilting and looking to have fun with designing some blocks and quilts of their own. Alyce takes you through how to dissect blocks into sections and how to measure correctly for half square triangles, quarter square triangles and flying geese. There are a number of charts to show you what size to cut your fabric for the different sizes of HSTs/QSTs/FGs - Alyce has done the hard work so you don't have to! One of the things I love most are the exercises so that you can practice the knowledge you've learned.
The tone of the book is friendly and engaging and it is the sort of book which will become one that you'll refer to again and again.
You can buy Alyce's book here; I recommend it! (For the record, this is an unsolicited post.)
Let's find out more about Alyce.
- Tell us a bit about you?
Married for almost 7 years, I'm also a mother to two, and an Aussie expat living in Japan for 3.5 years! I also teach several English classes, two days a week, and my non-quilting creative loves include Project Life, embroidery and colouring in – now that it’s cool to admit that 😉
- When did you start quilting?
I started quilting just over 4 years ago, after having been interested for a while but expecting to wait until the kids were older. But then my husband bought me my little $100 Elna, which I still use and love today!
- Tells us about your first quilt?
It was a disappearing nine patch pattern using a horribly bright collection of prints from a Spotlight homespun bundle! To finish it, I did the old stitch right sides together then flip and top stitch method. I think I may have then added some top stitch quilting lines too? But I've mostly blocked that quilt out from my memory!
- What’s your favourite part of the quilt-making process?
Definitely the design process. I design a ton more than have or ever will see the light of day, but that’s OK, I just love experimenting with the shapes and ideas!
- What do you love about designing quilts?
I love that it mixes the colour and shapes with the puzzle of maths. I also love trying to make complex-looking designs into an easily-pieced pattern. I'm a chain-piecing-loving quilter, so I want patterns that I can just sit and sew mindlessly without worrying about Y-seams!
- Tell us about your pattern designing business? How did it come about?
I started designing very early on in my quilting journey, and being the teacher that I am, the natural flow-on from that was to write tutorials for my blog, which helped give me some useful experience at writing patterns. It wasn't until I started designing paper piecing patterns for my own use or for my paper piecing quilting bee, that I realised I could sell them too.
- How did The Bee Hive project come about?
The Bee Hive was originally an idea for a book proposal, but after a few emails had been exchanged, I realised that I didn't want to spend months writing and editing while we were here in Japan – I wanted to enjoy our time here! It then sat around in my sketch book for a few months before I decided to still use them as a year-long series of tutorials on my blog. I invited a few friends to guest design too, and we were off!
- Tell us about your new book, DIY Block Design? What was the idea behind that?
It’s never been a secret that I love quilt maths, and in fact, the tutorials and maths charts for various patchwork units are the most popular posts of all time on my blog! So when I was thinking about all the columns I’d written about quilt maths for Make Modern and how I could repurpose all the work and information, the idea of an eBook sharing the basic quilting maths came to mind. Why an eBook? Because it is a small(ish!) project that I can work on at my own pace! The shorter length of an ebook is also well-suited to a very specific topic like basic quilt maths. Once I’d started writing, it became clear that it would be a much more useful (and fun for me to write) if it then taught the reader what to do with the information – use the patchwork units to design your own quilt blocks! And thus, DIY Block Design was born.
- What project are you currently working on?
Fabric-wise, This month’s task is to finish a quilt for a blog hop next month, and I am also getting ready for the Farmer’s Wife 1930s Quilt Sampler sew along. Behind the scenes, there’s going to be some quilt designing fun happening in October to inspire and challenge and reward… just sayin’…
- What’s next for you – where do you see yourself in two/five/ten years’ time (whichever you feel like answering)?
We’re moving back to Australia sometime early next year. We don’t have any specific dates (or location!), other than the May expiry date on our visa, and even then, you can get a 90 day extension if needed! So beyond The Move, there’s not too much definite planning happening!
In a more general sense of things I hope to do once we've moved and settled, well, I do hope to offer a print version of DIY Block Design, and pursue printed patterns too. I plan on getting some quilting classes happening as well, wherever we may end up.
- Where can we find you?
Direct book link: https://gum.co/DIYblockdesign
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/blossomheartquilts
Facebook group community: www.facebook.com/groups/blossomheartquilts
Be sure to have a look at Alyce's book and patterns and keep an eye out on her blog for fun quilting design shenanigans come October.
Happy Quilting 🙂