Thursday, November 13, 2014

Green Tea and Sweet Beans - My way!

I can not believe that I have actually finished the last stitches on my version of Green Tea and Sweet Beans by Jen Kingwell.  This is going to be a long post (pre warning you), I have been asked so many questions through Facebook and Instagram about the way I made mine that I thought I would write this post to go through my construction process of this quilt.  I love sharing with others my knowledge of quilting and this is just how I put this quilt together.  I decided that from the beginning that I was going to use techniques and methods that I felt very comfortable with and was stronger at.  I love a challenge but I also felt that for me I wanted to enjoy and have my best skills shown in its stitches.  So my version differs in techniques and construction than Jen Kingwell's quilt and pattern but is this not the true beauty of quilting.

I first started this quilt back in April with a Starter Kit from Westwood Acres. This was great as from this pack of fabrics I then pulled fabrics from my own stash that  I loved.

This is the techniques and methods I used for the blocks and tips that I found noteworthy for making the blocks.  I traced the templates from the pattern using an "Add a 1/4 ruler" and  Light box.

Wedding Chain Block
Machine pieced
The centre block was fussy cut. 

Propeller Blocks
Machine pieced

Cut out each piece individually with the fabric facing up.  In quilting we are so used to cutting out with fabric folded from the bolt but you need to cut each singularly to avoid the propellers going in the wrong direction.

This is my FAVOURITE block from the whole quilt!

Machine pieced

Garden Paths 
Machine pieced
This one has y-seams inset in the blocks - be careful not to stretch Piece "H" as you inset these as these are on the bias.

Double Pinwheels
Machine pieced

Press seams open when you iron for this block - it will help alleviate any bulk.  I sewed this block wrong! TWICE!  So I figured that the pinwheels facing the wrong direction was a point of interest.  

Churn Dash
Machine pieced

I love these blocks - I fussy cut some "Symbols" from some of the text fabric from the starter kit and love how these came together.  Press all seams open - they will lie nice and flat for this block.

Applique Block 1, 2, 5 and Berry Basket, Clam Shell
Hand Applique and Machine sewing

Needle turn is not my cup of tea - some people love it and I just can't get it looking as good as I would like.  Hand Applique using Button hole stitch is one of my favourites and I have used this technique on many, many quilts.  

I decided that as I love this type of sewing that for most of the pieces and blocks that use Needle turn that I would Hand Applique these pieces instead.  I used 2 strands of DMC Rayon embroidery thread and used Vliesofix to adhere all the shapes to block.  

All the stems throughout the whole quilt were made with a bias tape maker and stitched in place using a Triple stitch on the sewing machine.  These were sewn down first and then the applique flowers and leaves hand sewn.

For the Clam Shells I used the helpful Tutorial from Amanda at A Crafty Fox.  I am really glad that I over locked the edges of this fabric.  

Drunkards Path 
Machine pieced

PIN! PIN! PIN!  Bias curves can be tricky but when in doubt PIN!

Machine pieced
The pieces were machine pieced and I Hand Appliqued the centre flower.

Tulip Block
Machine pieced

There are Y-seams in this block when you machine piece so pin and press carefully.  Mark the intersection of where the seams will meet at the 1/4 in mark with a pencil so that you know where to stop sewing to allow the y-seam to inset.

Hexagon Panel
English Paper Piecing

I used traced Hexagon papers and glue basted the fabric hexagons to the paper hexagons.  These were then hand stitched together using a whip stitch and Aurifil 50wt thread to make the panel.  My hexagons are the wrong size (I did not read the pattern properly and made the wrong size hexagons - hence having to add an extra strip of fabric to make the block the correct size).

Orange Peel, Igloos and Clam Shells
Needle turn

For all of my Needle turn I used Floriani - Stitch and Wash.  This is probably one of the most asked questions about my quilt.  I traced the shapes onto the Floriani and then cut them out.  The Floriani shapes were then ironed to the back of my chosen fabrics and cut out about a 1/4inch around the outside.  I snipped around the shape to make it easier to fold down the seam allowance and glued this seam allowance in place with regular paper glue stick and using a cuticle stick to help place and smooth as I went around the curves of the shape.  This made a neat shape which was then hand stitched into place on the background fabric.  

Day Lily
Machine pieced

Baby Carriage Flowers
Machine pieced
The stems were sewn down using a Triple stitch on the machine.

Flower Blocks
Machine pieced

Take your time this block is tricky but well worth the invested effort.  

Double Drunkards Path
Machine pieced

Square Daisy
Machine pieced

Pinwheel Blocks
Machine pieced
Great fun these blocks - press seams open

Checkerboards and Filler Strips
Machine pieced
I made these once I had finished all the blocks - I kept a bucket for scrap pieces that were leftover from all the blocks and then cut out the squares and rectangles from this little stash.

The Border
Hand Applique and Machine Pieced
For the border, just as with the Flower Appliqué blocks the Stems were sewn down using a Triple Stitch on my sewing machine.  I placed this all out first to see what it would look like and then pinned the stems down to sew.  The Flowers were then all iron into place and Hand sewn using Blanket Stitch.  I did not mitre my corners!

When I Hand Quilted the borders I used different sized masking tapes to set out the lines that I would follow.  Starting with 1/4in masking tape around the quilt and then working my way out with various widths.  The tape makes hand quilting easy as the line is there for you and you don't have to worry about marking your quilt.


I could not go past this "Word Play" fabric by Michele D'Amore for Bernatex Fabrics.

Hand Quilting

I decided to hand quilt the entire quilt.  This took a little while but well worth the effort.  For most blocks I just hand quilted a 1/4in in from the seams or with the Flower blocks I hand quilted very closely to the flower to make it "stand up" a little.  I used Finca Perle 8 thread to quilt the entire quilt.

Jemima x x 


  1. Wow, thank you for sharing all this tips and hints. I have the starter kit and have this quilt on my 2015 goals. I am now really eager to start pulling the additional fabrics and get started. Your version is so lovely!

  2. Thanks for sharing this it looks fabulous. I started off hand piecing mine, but I've just switched to machine as I couldn't see myself ever stitching the borders and binding in by hand.

  3. Thanks for the tips! I'm trying to do this one by hand, but I love the propeller blocks too and want to make a mini out of them for a swap. I wanted to machine piece my mini though...

  4. Hi Kai, you are very welcome. I am sure it will be a beauty once you have finished it.

  5. Love your quilt! Thanks for sharing all of your tips!

  6. Wow, so much variety. I love it!

  7. It's an absolutely beautiful finish!

  8. Thankyou for your tips! It's taken me over a year to get the quilt together. Now I am doing the applique borders.

  9. Considering ordering the pattern for this quilt. Will I need to buy templates for the flowers etc? I just finished Gypsy Wife and I'm hooked on her designs!


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