Thursday, 18 October 2018

Farmers Wife 1920s Blocks 17 & 18

Block 18 - Century of Progress

Block 17 – Cats & Mice
I made this block three times using foundation paper-piecing and I wasn't pleased with any of the results.  My notes convey my dislike of using this method for this block:  "horrendous little block" .....
Block 17 Paper-pieced version 1

....... and "retried - still horrid".  
Block 17 Paper-pieced version 2

Finally I revisited the block and patched it as the original block had been patched at the beginning of the 20th century.  Sure enough this method worked perfectly.  
Block 17 - Cats & Mice patched using my free block pattern
So, in hindsight, standing on the shoulders of our foremothers was the best way.  You can do the same using the free block pattern I have created.




Block 18 – Century of Progress
I changed the fabric placement to create a symmetrical Block 18
When this block was originally created great strides were being forged throughout the world. I am so grateful for those strides especially when it comes to my electric sewing machine.  This block is one of my favourite to date especially after I made a change in fabric placement to create a more symmetrical block.  My notes simply state "beautiful block".  

I am bang up-to-date it would seem - not that it matters - this is a marathon not a sprint!

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 33 - Scrapbox

Block 33 - Scrapbox
For this week's Patchsmith Sampler block all you need are twenty four 1½” squares and a nice contrasting background fabric (I like Kona Snow as my go-to background fabric).

Alternatively you can reverse the Scrapbox:
Reverse Scrapbox 
If you want to reverse the Scrapbox you will need to cut:
      One 2½” square for the center;
      Twelve 1½” scrappy squares;
      Two 4½” x 1½” strips; 
      Two 1½” x 6½” strips.

Stitch two scrappy squares together and stitch to either side of the center square to create a unit measuring 4½" x 2½". Next stitched four scrappy squares together and stitch to the top and bottom of the unit so that the unit measures 4½" square. Stitch the 4½" x 1½" strips to the top and bottom of the unit to create a unit measuring 6½ x 4½". Finally sew the two 1½" x 6½ strips to either side of the unit. You now have a Reverse Scrapbox measuring 6½" square.

Next week we revisit Skinny Triangles to create the perfect nesting place for a home-bird! 
Block 34 uses Skinny Triangles

 Until then be sure to check out all the blocks made to date using the tab above and over on Instagram (#block33birdhouse). See you there.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Farmers Wife 1920 Blocks 15 & 16

Block 15 - Buzzard's Roost

Block 15 – Buzzard’s Roost
I made this block before I decided on my sashing which clashes everso slightly but I really enjoyed making it.  Notes highlight a mis-placing of the checked fabric: “Easy to paper-piece although directional print is wrong on one of the side triangles.” Thank goodness I am not a perfectionist – I would never finish anything!!

Block 16 – Calico Puzzle
I patched this block and it turned out so pretty. Notes say it all “prettiest little block”.  Sometimes it is the simplest blocks that turn out the best.
Block 16 - Calico Puzzle
That’s another two blocks and I have made a couple more so I now have two strips of 10 blocks sashed. Things are going well.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Farmers Wife 1920 Blocks 13 and 14

Block 13 - Buckwheat
Another week and another two blocks in the Farmer's Wife 1920s sew-along - all the details of which can be found HERE.

Block 13 – Buckwheat (photo above)
My journal notes for this block state "Didn't enjoy this at all.  Paper-pieced and came out ok but didn't like sewing it."  My points didn't match perfectly but it was good enough.

Block 14 - Butterfly at the Crossroads
Block 14 - Butterfly at the Crossroads
I paper-pieced this block and it turned out 1/8" larger than needed.  It is not possible to trim it down due to the design but I hope to lose that 1/8" when I sash the block.    

Another two blocks sewn and sashed (I am sashing as I go along).  Until next week......

Monday, 8 October 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 32 - Chunky Log Cabin


Block 32 - Chunky Log Cabin

This week’s block, although simple, is sure to become a firm favourite.  Why?  Because it is quick to make, very versatile and you can use up scraps to create it.  
Two Tone Chunk Log Cabin Block
It doesn’t even matter if your ¼” seams are not accurate – just add more strips in a clockwise direction until the block measures at least 6½” square and trim to size.

I am just finishing a table runner created using the applique block from my English Rose mug rug together with the Chunky Log Cabin block.  
English Rose Mug Rug Pattern

So be sure to check out Instagram (#block32chunkylogcabin) or the Flickr Group later in the week to see the outcome.  Until next time.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Cats and Mice Patchwork Block

Cats and Mice 6" Block
I will be blogging about the Farmer's Wife blocks 13 and 14 later in the week.  For now I want to concentrate on an upcoming block and provide an easier alternative to paper-piecing this tricky-little-sucker!

The Cats and Mice block is a traditional patchwork block that dates back to the end of the 19th century. You may first encounter it in Laurie Hird’s excellent Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt book as it is block 17 in that compendium of traditional blocks.

Whilst Laurie's book includes templates to hand-stitch the block, if you are thinking of paper-piecing it my advice would be DON’T DO IT!  I paper-pieced three versions and I wasn’t pleased with any of them. There is a much simpler way to create this block and that is patch it – in which case you will be wanting my


Give it a whirl and let me know how you get on by tagging me in your block photos over on Instagram (@thepatchsmith).

Until next time ...................

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 31 - Window Box

Block 31 - Window Box

The flowers in the window boxes in the village are coming to the end as summer draws to a close.  Not so with the Patchsmith’s Sampler Quilt Block 31 – these flowers will stay in bloom all year round.

This block makes good use of the quick corner triangles we have been making throughout this sew-along. Just follow the block pattern and you will create three little flowers that sit neatly in their own window box.
Pretty in different fabrics from the same colour range

I think this block would make the perfect addition to a Mothering Sunday gift.  Or you could add a sidebar from my One Block  Mug Rugs pattern book to create a lovely gift for a friend, relative or teacher.

Ten sidebars turn any 6" block into a fun mug rug

In the meantime - don’t be shy- share your Window Boxes over on Instagram (#block31windowbox) and in the Flickr group. Until next week …….

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Farmers Wife 1920 Blocks 11 and 12

Block 11 - Broken Dishes
Are you sewing along with Gnomeangel to create a Farmer's Wife 1920s quilt?  The nice modern fabrics add an up-to-date spin on the blocks.  

Block 11 – Broken Dishes  (photo above)
My journal notes for this block state "Pretty block.  This block is the reason paper-piecing was invented."  My comment refers to the fact that I left the paper on each section to help with matching points and seams.  It wasn't until the block was complete that I took the paper away.  

Block 12 – Broken Sugar Bowl

Block 12 - Broken Sugar Bowl

This block is also known as 'Rocky Road to California' and dates back to the end of the 19th century.  My notes read simply "a nice hour sewing this block".   And so it was.  Until next time .....

Monday, 24 September 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 30 - Love-a-Dove

Block 30 - Love-a-Dove

I’m cooing over this week’s block – Block 30 ‘Love-a-Dove’.  Taken from my Winter Dove mug rug pattern, this block uses quick fuse applique. You will find full instructions are provided in the block pattern and in the introduction pages of the book. You will also find further hints and tips HERE.

What you may not realise however, is that there is such a thing as a black dove – known as a Black Cuckoo Dove. Perfect for Halloween don’t you think? 
Black Halloween Dove

I swapped the hearts for a pumpkins in my Halloween version and created a tendril string created using two strands of green embroidery cotton. If you wish to do the same you will find a PDF template for the pumpkin garland HERE or by clicking on the picture below.
Block 30 Halloween Template

Next week we return to patchwork with the Window Box block.  I look forward to seeing your baskets over on Instagram (#block30loveadove) or in the Flickr group.  Until next time ....

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Farmers Wife 1920 Blocks 9 & 10

Block 10 - Bowtie

I was working with blue fabrics this week and it carried over into my Farmer’s Wife 1920s blocks. But I wasn’t blue making these blocks – they were both very, very simple. The first was paper-pieced and the second was patched.

Block 9 – Box
Block 9 - Box

My notes state that I “combined the pieces of the paper-piecing chart to reduce the number of seams”.  If you want to do the same the easiest way is just to glue the templates together.  On the top and bottom sections start with the background triangle (white fabric in my block) as paper-piece 1 and stitch the additional pieces to either side.  On the middle segment make the center paper-piece 1 and add the two background triangles to either side.  Try it - you'll find it makes this block really simple to paper-piece.

Block 10 – Bowtie
I made this block back in November 2013 and my notes for that time state “After work – very tired – fave colours”. And here is that block.

This week I patched a softer version (see top of blog) and my notes state “Easy – 15 minutes maximum”. 
Tip: The secret to getting those points to match perfectly is to press the top left and bottom right seams away from the quick corners and then press the top right and bottom left seams towards the quick corners as shown:
Press your quick corner seams in opposite directions to help when nesting the points

And hopefully you will end up with points to be proud of..... 
Points match up perfectly.

Come back next week for another two blocks - I can't guarantee they will be as quick and easy but hopefully they should be just as pretty.  Until then ......

Monday, 17 September 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 29 - Picnic Basket

Block 29 - Picnic Basket
Everybody should have at least one picnic basket, complete with lining and now you can – with Block 29 ‘Picnic Basket’.

This is a relatively easy block to patch with just a few quick corners. Some of the quick corners are small (top of the handle) but the process is the same.
Pretty Floral Basket

Tip: To help match up the lining points (step 4 of the pattern) press the quick corners on the middle section of the lining towards the lining fabric and the corners on the other two sections away from the lining as indicated by the arrows below.
Press as per the arrows to create sharp points

If you want to add an extra dimension to this block you can create a patchwork basket from two different fabrics.
Block 29 in Patchwork

In this case you will need to cut six 1½” squares and three 1” squares from two different fabrics.   Patch the basket using the twelve 1½” squares.  To create the lining section you need to position your 1” squares so that the patchwork of the basket continues into the corners of the lining (Steps 3 and 4 of the pattern.)  The easiest way is to lay it out on your desk before stitching.
Continue the patchwork into the lining rectangles

Of course you could always turn your picnic basket into a Halloween basket or Christmas basket depending on the fabrics you choose. No matter how you make it, I look forward to seeing your baskets over on Instagram (#block29picnicbasket) or in the Flickr group.  

And you can find all the blocks, together with the tutorials HERE. Until next time .....

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Farmer's Wife 1920s Quilt Blocks 7 & 8

Block 7 – Birds-in-the-Air
Block 7 - Birds in the Air
My notes in the Farmer’s Wife book state “Very pretty in scraps but what a lot of work for a little block.” I paper-pieced two versions of this block – the one above in co-ordinated scraps and another really scrappy version below. I prefer the former.
A very scrappy Birds-in-the-Air

Block 8 – Bouquet
Block 8 - Bouquet
Quite simply “very pretty block to paper-piece”. There is also a note from 2013 which states "Easy to patch".

So there you have it - another two blocks - one quick and easy and one a lot of work - but both very pretty.  Until next week.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 28 - Cutting Corners

Block 28 - Cutting Corners

This week’s block comes straight from my Patchwork Corners mug rug pattern – it is Block 28 ‘Cutting Corners'.
Patchwork Corners Mug Rug Pattern - two designs just $1.99

Very similar to Block 15 ‘Cornerstones’ this block has just one difference – instead of corner squares we have corner triangles. These are half-square-triangles which we make slightly bigger than needed and trim them down to size – just as we did way back when we made Block 2 ‘Guiding Star’ (click for the tutorial on trimming half-square-triangle units to size).

This block can be made with a square of pretty fabric for the centre ......
Use any pretty fabric for the centre square

....... or you can fussy cut the centre square to frame a special message or picture. You don’t need any special equipment to fussy cut as shown in the tutorial here.   
You can fussy cut the centre for a special block

Block 28 'Cutting Corners' is another quick block from The Patchsmith’s Sampler Quilt Blocks pattern book leaving you plenty of time to share your blocks over on Instagram (#block28cuttingcorners) or in the Flickrgroup where you can post your block photos, meet and make friends or ask me a question. 

Next week we will be holding on to summer as we make our very own picnic baskets.
Block 29 - Picnic Basket
And remember - you can see all the blocks together with links through to the tutorials by clicking the 'Patchsmith Sampler Blocks' tab above.  Until next time....

Farmer's Wife 1920 Quilt Blocks 5 & 6

Another week and another two blocks - one paper-pieced and one patched.

Block 5 - Bat Wing
Block 5 - Bat Wing
Nope – not those flabby bits under my arms but the bat wings that fly at night. And this block certainly flew together as quick as any bat. My notes state "Very easy paper-pieced block." When stitching the three sections together lay the bat wing sections face down onto the middle strip. That way you will be able to see the 'points' intersection.

Block 6 – Big Dipper
Block 6 - Big Dipper
I used four 5” charm squares and patched four quarter-square-triangles using the super-quick method used by Julie over at The Crafty Quilter.  My journal entry states "not sure I like the asymmetrical look" but the fabrics are so pretty it is a keeper.

Another two blocks sashed. Anybody else think this is going quickly?

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Farmer's Wife 1920 Quilt Blocks 3 & 4

Another week and another two blocks on the Farmer's Wife sew-along being hosted by Gnomeangel

Block 3 - Basket
Block 3 - Basket
My notes say it all "Horrid block to paper-piece".  It should be simple - there is nothing much to it but it wasn't.  Perhaps I was tired.  I added a paper-pieced handle which was the easiest part of this block!  

Block 4 - Basket Weave
Block 4 - Basket Weave
I know this block as Brick Path.  It is a very traditional block that I have patched many a time in many different sizes.  My journal entry states "Quick and easy and very, very pretty.  Lovely block."  

So there you have it - one good and one not-so-good block.  Until next week when I'll be back with another two blocks.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 27 - Anchor

Block 27 - Anchor

We are sailing through the Patchsmith Sampler sew-along but this week we will drop anchor just long enough to make a fun nautical block.

Block 27 ‘Anchor’ is a simple make. There is just one thing to watch for and that is that you keep the H pieces positioned with the 3” as the width and the 3¼” as the height. Patchsmith measurements are always given in the format width x height.    
Block 27- Anchors Away

The pattern diagrams show them as the rectangles that they are but with only ¼” difference between width and height you could quite easily turn them without noticing until you come to stitch all the pieces together. 
A sea of turquoise!

So set anchor and be sure to share a picture or two over on Instagram (#block27anchor) or Flickr.

Until next time .......