Free patchwork block pattern: Happy House

Happy House, finished block.JPG

As you can see from the logo at the end of the post this week, I am joining a blog hop entitled ‘Sew Much Fun’, organised by Jen of Faith and Fabric.  All the designers in this blog hop are sharing a FREE patchwork block pattern with you and you can find links to their blocks at the end of this post. (And if you like free patterns, you may also like to check out this one for an Amanda Jane Textiles quilt here.)

My block is called ‘Happy House’, and it’ s based on my actual (quite quirky) home, which used once to be a Salvation Army Hall!


You will need approximately: 9” x 9” of sky blue fabric;  18” x 12” of brick red fabric; 3” x 5” cream fabric; 11” x 6” dark blue fabric; 10” x 2” white fabric; 3” x 5” light green fabric and sewing thread.

Fabrics for Happy House block.JPG

Cutting list

Cut out the pieces in numerical order, checking against the drawing below so you understand where they fit. Measurements are given in inches, first the height and then the width. Mark each piece with its number using a heat-erasable or water-erasable pen.

Cut pieces for Happy House block.JPG

NB Pieces 38, 39, 40 and 41 are appliqué pieces which should be bonded onto background pieces and secured with a zig-zag stitch, as per instructions, before they are assembled.

Here is the diagram of the block:

Happy House diagram.jpg


Pieces 1, 6: 1½” x 5½” sky blue

2, 5: Cut one square 1⅞” x 1⅞” sky blue

3, 4: Cut one square 1⅞” x 1⅞” brick red

7, 9: 2” x 4½” sky blue

8: 2” x 4½” brick red

10, 16: 10 x 1½” sky blue

11, 15: Cut one square 3⅞” x 3⅞” sky blue

12, 14: Cut one square 3⅞” x 3⅞” brick red

13: 2½” x 4½” brick red

17: 2” x 4½” cream

18, 20: 1½” x 3½” brick red

19: 1½” x 4½” brick red

21, 23, 25, 27: 4½” x 1¼”  brick red

22, 26: 1½” x 1½” dark blue

24: 1½” x 4½” brick red

28, 34: 3″ x 2” dark blue

29, 33: 4½” x 1″ brick red

30, 32: 4½” x 1″ white

31: 4½” x 2½” light green

35, 36: 2½” x 3½” brick red

37: 1” x 4½” white

38: rectangle 2″ x 3″ dark blue, with the two top corners rounded as shown in the diagram

39: rectangle 1″ x 3″ dark blue, with the two top corners rounded as shown in the diagram

40, 41: square 1″ x 1″ with the bottom two corners slice off as shown in the diagram

To make:

Use ¼” seams throughout. After each step press each seam once to set the stitching, then again, to press the seam allowances over to one side.

A.  Bond piece 38 to the centre of piece 13 and stitch around the outline with a zig-zag stitch, using a blue thread. Attach piece 39 to the centre of piece 24 in the same way.

B Bond piece 41 to the centre of piece 19,  positioned ¼” from both the top and bottom edges.  Stitch around the outline with a zig-zag stitch, using a cream thread. Attach piece 40 to the centre of piece 8, positioned ¼” from the bottom edge and ¾: from the top edge, and stitch in the same way.

C. Create the two half-square units 2/3  and 4/5. Lay the blue square on top of the red square right sides together and draw a line diagonally across the wrong side of the blue square. Stitch a line ¼” away from the line, on each side of this line. Cut along the line. Open out the two squares and press.


D. Join these two squares so the red fabric forms a triangle (the peak of the roof). Then stitch piece 1 to the left of this unit and piece 6 to the right of this unit.

E. Join piece 7 to the left of piece 8 and join 9 to the right of piece 8.

F. Join the 7/8/9 strip to the 1/2/3/4/5/6 strip and set aside.


G. Make two half-square units as you did in step C, using the 11/15 blue square  and the 12/14 red square. Stitch 18 below one unit and 20 below the other, following the diagram.

H. Join 22 to 28. Attach 21 to one side and 23 to the other. Stitch piece 35 below this unit. Repeat this process with pieces 25, 26, 27, 34 and 36.

I. Join the 11/12/18 unit to the window unit (21/22/23/28/35) and then add piece 10 on the left. Set aside.

J. In the same way, join the 14/15/20 unit to the window unit (25/26/27/36) and then add piece 16 on the right. Set aside.


K. Join 13 (red with dark blue window) to 17 (cream). Then attach piece 19 (red with cream) below. Finally add piece 24 (red with dark blue window) below 19. Set aside.

L. Attach 29 (red) to 30 (white) and then join these to the left of 31 (light green). Attach 32 (white) to 33 (red) and then join these to the right of 31 (light green).


M. Join piece 13/17/19/24 to the door unit (29/30/32/33)

N. Stitch a window unit on either side of the door unit, ensuring that the roof slopes the correct way on each side.

O. Finally, attach the top roof unit that you completed in step F to the door and windows.

That’s it! I hope you have fun making the block, and that you check out the other bloggers who are getting involved. They are:

Jen Frost (hostess)  from Faith and Fabric For Jen’s block, click here.
Michelle Bartholomew For Michelle’s block, click here.
Leanne Parsons from Devoted Quilter For Leanne’s block, click here.
Laura Piland from Slice of Pi Quilts  For Laura’s block, click here.
Amanda Ogden You’re here!
Kathy Bruckman from Kathy Kwilts For Kathy’s block, click here
Jen Shaffer from Patterns By Jen For Jen’s block, click here
Rachel Rossi from Rachel Rossi design For Rachel’s block, click here







Quilting and good mental health

In the UK, the week from 8-14 May 2017 was designated ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’. The week was coordinated by the Mental Health Foundation (click here to go to their website). Severe mental illness has afflicted members of my family, so this is a topic that is close to my heart. The theme for the week was ‘Surviving or Thriving’.  Good mental health is more than an absence of illness and the Mental Health Foundation is keen to encourage all of us to take positive steps to improve our own mental wellbeing. The guide on their site entitled ‘How to look after your mental health’ lists 10 steps that we can take. Interestingly, some of these are directly relevant to quilting.

Step number 8 is ‘Do something you are good at’ and the suggestion is made that you should consider the question ‘What activities can you lose yourself in?’ Again and again, when teaching groups of beginners how to make a quilt, I see how this power of ‘losing yourself’ takes hold. Students report that the time has flown by while they have been engaged in their stitching. It has reinforced for me that this is partly what Amanda Jane Textiles is about. All my quilt patterns so far have been geared specifically to enable individuals to make a start with quilting, even if they have never tried it before.

Clouds and Smoke cover picture

Over many years of teaching, I have enjoyed introducing people for the first time to quilting, sewing, embroidery, crochet and knitting, but I am particularly passionate about the quilting.  There is something specifically about making a quilt which produces positive benefits. You need to concentrate on your work: cutting the pieces to size, assembling them accurately into rows or blocks, joining these up, laying up the quilt, quilting the quilt top with care and then putting on a binding.


Seeing a pattern take shape under your fingers is exhilarating.  Making something warm and soft that can cover a person (baby, child or adult) while they sleep, is comforting. Choosing and using fabrics of many different colours is exciting.


Another of the positive steps is number 9 ‘Accept who you are’. One of the fascinating things about seeing finished quilts is to observe how individual the finished pieces are. Making a quilt to a pattern you have chosen and using ‘your’ colours is a part of self-expression that can enhance your feeling of self-worth.

sea and sand quilt again.JPG

Step number 5, ‘Care for others’ and step number 10, ‘Keep in touch’, often arise naturally among a group of people who choose to quilt together. Websters New World Dictionary defines a ‘Quilting Bee’ (particularly popular in the nineteenth century) as ‘a social gathering of women at which they work together sewing quilts’. These gatherings still take place today as people take part in workshops and classes and as they join sewing and quilt groups across the nation. Social interaction and the opportunity to reach out to others occur naturally as you sit and sew together.

There has been some academic research into these consequences of quilting by Emily L. Burt and Jacqueline Atkinson of Glasgow University. They wrote an article based on their research entitled ‘The relationship between quilting and wellbeing’ which was published online on 5 June 2011 and then in the ‘Journal of Public Health’, Oxford University Press volume 34, Issue 1. The study was a relatively small one (29 interviewees), but the findings were unequivocal regarding the benefits of quilting for wellbeing.; Please click the link here to see all the conclusions of the study.  I particularly noted the phrase: ‘Participants experienced ‘flow’ while quilting’. I think that is the phenomenon I have mentioned above. I can attest myself to the experience of ‘flow’ when quilting – the quality of being ‘in the moment’, of being engaged in something, being energised and caught up in the enjoyment of an activity. In fact, I could say that doing exactly this has helped carry me through a particularly difficult time of bereavement in my life, as well as adding great joy and satisfaction during happier times.

Working on 'The Ponies'