Monday, 29 October 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Blocks 35 and 44 - Topiary Tree and Autumn Daisy

Block 35 - Topiary Tree

There isn’t much to say about this week’s block, Topiary Tree, except that it is quick and easy to make as it uses the quick fuse applique method.

If you are new to fusible webbing and raw-edge applique then you will find this page, on Quick Fusible Applique, helpful.
You can see the center crease in the background square at the top of the tree.
This helps when placing the applique pieces

The Topiary Tree can be made in seasonal colours or Christmas fabrics for a holiday specific project.  Otherwise scraps will hang nicely from these branches.

If you enjoy making this block then you will also enjoy making Block 44 – Autumn Daisy as it is very similar in construction.
Block 44 - Autumn Daisy

Next week we are back to patchwork as we make Block 36 - Moonlit Star.  Just be aware that there is a correction to paragraphs 9 and R9 of Block 36 - they should read: "With rights sides together place a marked (J) square .........".

To see all the blocks and links through to the tutorials just click on the 'Patchsmith Sampler' tab above.  You will also find the blocks made to date over on Instagram (#block34topiarytree and #block44autumndaisy) or in the Flickr group.

Until next time ......


Sunday, 28 October 2018

*** NEW *** Swimmer Mug Rug

Swimmer Mug Rug Pattern
It may be too cold to go into the sea here in England but I am enjoying a little bit of sunshine on my sewing table with this fun mug rug.  

Fancy dipping your toe into the mug rug making waters of The Patchsmith?  All mug rug patterns are available for immediate download and all are priced at just $1.99 each.  

The Swimmer Mug Rug pattern is no exception - you can find it at Craftsy or Etsy.

What are you waiting for - dive right in!


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Farmers Wife 1920s Blocks 19 & 20

Block 19 – Checkerboard
Block 19 - Checkerboard
I love how this checkerboard is on the diagonal. A nice easy block to paper-piece.  I used two different fabrics for the checkerboard but the contrast is not enough to notice.  

Block 20 – Churn Dash
Block 20 - Churn Dash
"Easy peasy." I patched this classic block using the pattern from my One Block Mug Rugs book (available in PDF format - for the paperback edition click on the photo below).   

Turn any 6" block into a fun mug rug

Another two blocks and this quilt is really coming together.  And I am loving the look with the country sashing and gingham cornerstones.  See you again soon .......

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 34 - Birdhouse

Block 34 - Birdhouse
The Patchsmith Sampler sew-along is out in the garden for this week's block - a pretty little patchwork birdhouse.

The Birdhouse block uses skinny triangles which we came across for Block 17 – London Roads.
We first encountered skinny triangles with Block 17 - London Roads

But don’t worry if you didn’t get around to making that block as I shall show you how to use this method to create the birdhouse.

Before I do however, just a little shortcut - you can omit step 2 and keep the entrance square – the birdhouse will still look good.
You can leave out step 2 to create a square entrance if you prefer.

So onto using skinny triangles.   The directions explain the markings needed on both the J rectangles and on the bottom edge of the birdhouse.  

To create the right-hand skinny triangle corner place a J rectangle onto the birdhouse block (right-sides together) so that the marked line runs from the top right-hand corner of the birdhouse unit, down to the marked line as shown. 
Pin the J rectangle in place so it doesn't move as you stitch.

Stitch along the marked line before trimming ¼” from the stitched line.  
Stitch along the marked line before trimming.

Press the skinny triangle corner open before repeating for the left-hand side of the unit with the remaining J rectangle
Repeat on the left-hand-side.
If you follow the directions and diagrams in the book you will see that the markings are a mirror image of each other.
Two skinny triangles create the perfect birdhouse shape

And one other tip which is also included in the book – when making the two roof sections at step 12, press the seams in opposite directions (i.e. press the seams on one section towards the background fabric and press the seams on the other section away from the background fabric.)  This helps create nice sharp points on the roof as you nest the seams together.
Sharp points are all about pressing.

I hope you enjoy creating a nesting home with some of your favourite fabrics.  And if you get a moment why not share your birdhouse with me over on Instagram (#block34birdhouse) or in the Flickr group.

Join me next week as we create a very simple Topiary Tree block.  Until then ......

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 ...................