Wednesday 27 January 2016

Bloom Sew Along

Bloom Block Two Applique

The Bloom sew-along (a.k.a. Calico Days sew-along) is underway and we are two weeks and two blocks in.
Bloom Block One

There are many ways to undertake the applique for these blocks.  Lori Holt seems to favour the ‘sew-to-interfacing-turn-it-out-and-then-sew-to-background-square’ – a method I have used before as in my Valentine Box from last year:
Interfaced backed heart applique

However, I prefer the quick-fuse method for this sew-along as I find I can get sharper points on the shapes. Besides which it is much quicker.  (You can find lots of hints and tips on quick fuse applique here.)  But whichever way you applique the flowers you are sure to enjoy the Bloom blocks. 
Sharper points on Bloom Block One with quick fuse applique

I'm using my blocks to create a bed runner and a couple of bed pockets (stitched to a fitted valance to hold my book, glasses and tablet). 
Bloom Block Two

As with all sew-alongs, I shall be stitching my blocks together as I go along.  But I know already, this is going to be one pretty quilted runner.
Block Block Four (I jumped ahead)
If you fancy joining in – even for just a block or two – then pop over to Riley Blake (PDF) or Lori Holt for more details.  

Until next time ......

Saturday 23 January 2016

Farmer’s Wife 1930s Quilt Blocks 35, 36, 40 and 42

Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 42 - Heather
The two Very Kerry Berry’s blocks this week went together fairly easily ...

Block 35 – Flora.  This was the very first block I made – as a tested to see if I would be able to manage the paper-piecing for this sew along.  I initially made it in rose-like colours but there was just too much white in that block for my quilt.  So I remade it.  It is an easy block to make although some think the block pattern is a little ‘odd’.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 35 - Flora

Block 36 – Geneva.  I like blocks that are built around four quarters as it means I can production-line each quarter and the blocks tend to go together quite quickly.  My notes advise to “take papers off before joining the fours blocks so you can press and nest the seams”.  
GnomeAngel chose two blocks this week – the first which I have already blogged about.

Block 40 – Grandmother.  The paper-piecing templates for this block include an inset seam but there is no need for it.  Check this blog post for details of how to make small changes to the template to do away with the inset seam.   You will also find the template for an applique handle to fit this basket.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 40 - Grandmother

Block 42 – Heather.  I made this block last month (see top of blog post) and I enjoyed it so much I made another in Christmas fabrics.  Simple to paper-piece this block is one I will return to again. 
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 42 - Christmas Heather

You can see all the blocks I have made so far over on my Farmer’s Wife Pinterest Board or on my Farmer’s Wife tab above.

Back to my Valentine Day sewing .......

Sunday 17 January 2016

Farmer’s Wife 1930s Quilt Blocks 33, 34, 53, 67 and 71

The two Very Kerry Berry blocks this week went together fairly easily and I really enjoyed making both of them .....

Block 33 – Farmer’s Wife.  The book’s namesake is an easy block to paper-piece and I suspect it would be fairly easy to patch as well.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 33 - Fanny

Block 34 – Fern.  Fern included inset seams but I followed Very Kerry Berry’s tutorial (find it here) and machine stitched these insets without a hitch.  No seam ripper needed here and this turned out to be my favourite bock of this week.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 34 - Fern
GnomeAngel chose three blocks this week – two of which I had already stitched.

Block 53 – Lucy.  This block was paired with block 67 – Mrs. Brown and you can see why – they are very similar.  The paper-piecing of this block was relatively straightforward and went together in a couple of hours.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 53 - Lucy

Block 67 – Mrs Brown.  This block was made last November when I attempted to patch the block and, whilst the patchwork turned out okay I wasn’t happy with the fabrics.  So I revisited it and paper-pieced it in Bloom and Bliss fabrics.  
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 67 - Mrs. Brown

Block 71 – Mrs. Morgan.  This block was very easy to paper-piece.  My choice of fabrics was influenced by the fact that this block reminds me of a circle of tulips.  I love how pretty it turned out and that it creates a secondary star in the middle.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 71 - Mrs. Morgan

You can see more of the blocks I have made this week over on my Farmer’s Wife Pinterest Board or on my Farmer’s Wife tab above.

The Bloom sew-along starts Monday 18th and I am looking forward to getting into some applique – it’ll make a nice change from these paper-pieced and patched blocks.

I’m ready and waiting .......

Saturday 16 January 2016

Valentine Half-Hearted Nine-Patch Split

I love when patchwork and applique come together. And if that project is quick and easy then even better - which is one of the reasons why I love my Half-Hearted Mug Rug pattern.
This week a block crossed my path - the split nine-patch block by Peta from She Quilts a Lot - which provided the opportunity to combine my two favourite pastimes  
Split Nine-Patch block - Patchsmith style

As soon as I saw Peta's beautiful patchwork block I knew exactly what applique would turn this into a Valentine beauty. 
Valentine Half-Hearted Nine-Patch Split

So I grabbed my Half-Hearted Mug Rug pattern and created two pairs of applique half-hearts. 

Applique Half-Hearts

Tip:  To speed up the process you can create a pair of identical half-hearts by stitching two 2½” x 6” rectangles of fabric together along the 6” length and use this for the applique. If you want four identical hearts then simple cut two 2½” x 12” rectangles and stitch together along the 12” length.

I created the background 9" square before deciding on the placement of my hearts as I wasn't sure if I wanted them all facing the same direction......  

straight half-hearts

or slightly squiffy ....... 
skewed half-hearts

I went with squiffy!   Once you’ve decided on the layout simply fuse and stitch in place.

Tip:  Remember to allow for the seam allowance when placing the hearts on the two outside squares - in other words place the hearts more towards the center leaving a larger gap at the outside edges. 
Imagine a complete quilt of these beautiful blocks ....

This block was so simple I am going to make some more.  Until then I have placed my pretty Valentine mug rug on my sewing table as a gentle reminder.   

Valentine Half-Hearted Mug Rug

The Half-Hearted Mug Rug pattern comes with easy-to-follow instructions, colour diagrams and full-size applique templates and, like all Patchsmith patterns, costs from just $2.50 (approx £2.00).   

So what are you waiting for ....... SEW!

Thursday 14 January 2016

Farmer's Wife 1930s Block no. 40 - Grandmother

Farmer's Wife 1930s Block no. 40 - Grandmother (without inset seam)

If you are attempting to paper-piece the Grandmother block from the Farmer’s Wife 1930s sampler quilt book then I would recommend you make a slight adjustment to the templates before you begin.  This will avoid an unnecessary inset seam.
Farmer's Wife 1930s Block no. 40 - Grandmother (with inset seam)

All you need to do is square off section D to incorporate the A1 triangle into the D section. Don't forget to shorten the A section too as you will no longer need to piece A1 in the A section.  These two simple changes make this block so much easier to construct.
Do not use these templates - they are not to size.
You need to use the templates that come with the book.

And if you want to add a quick-fuse handle to this basket block here is a template for you to use:   Farmer’s Wife 1930s Grandmother Block Handle 

Be sure to come back on Sunday to see the Farmer’s Wife blocks I have created this week.  Until then ........

Sunday 10 January 2016

Farmer’s Wife 1930s Quilt Blocks 31, 32, 47 and 51

Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 51 - Lily

New Year and new Farmer's Wife 1930s blocks.  The two ongoing sew-alongs got off to a cracking start.  First up was Very Kerry Berry’s two blocks ....

Block 31 – Eva.  This block is very similar to two other farmer’s wife blocks we have already made on this sew-along - block 3 Alice and block 6 April.  So I know by now that I need to mark the template to indicate the fabrics and to take my time.  Then all will be well.  I pulled two rectangles of scrap fabric from my box and just sewed.  Unfortunately I wasn’t paying enough attention and had to use my seam ripper.  But it all worked out fine in the end.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 31 - Eva

Block 32 – Fanny.  My notes for this block are short - ‘lovely block’.  It was a straightforward paper-pieced block and one that is good for using up some more of my scraps.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 32 - Fanny
The Gnome Angel sew-along also started the year with two blocks:

Block 47 – Joy.  This block was a relatively easy paper-piece block although it is important to match the J/K, D/E, F/G and H/I sections correctly.  Follow the small diagram under the title and ensure you match J3 to K1, D1 to E3, F3 to G1 and H1 to I3. 
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 47 - Joy

Block 51 – Lily.  This block gave me more than a little trouble and I became best friends with my seam ripper. Pretty block though.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 51 - Lily
That's all for this week - when I say 'all' you do realise I am talking about 11 hours of block making don't you? Until next time .......

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Are you joining in the Bloom Sew-Along?

Bloom Flower Block no. 4

The Bloom sew-along starts in just under two weeks.  It is being hosted by Lori Holt and Riley Blake and you can find details over on Lori’s website and you can download the pattern from the Riley Blake website (PDF file). 
'Bloom' quilt pattern
It is a lovely patchwork and applique quilt and I shall be joining in but with a few differences.

Firstly, I will not be making a full bed quilt – I just don’t need another one.  Instead I shall be joining 14 blocks together to make a bed runner and using the remaining six blocks for some surprise projects to go with the runner.  

Secondly, I shall not be using only Calico Days for my Bloom bed runner. 
Calico Days by Lori Holt for Riley Blake

I shall be combining Calico Days and Modern Minis (both Lori Holt for Riley Blake) with some Sweetness by Sandy Gervais for Moda.  
Sweetness FQ Bundle from the Fat Quarter Shop

There will be the odd fabric scrap thrown in - it just wouldn’t be a Patchsmithian quilt without a scrap or two!

And lastly, whilst there are many ways to complete the applique I shall be using my favourite quick-fuse method.  Lori Holt calls this method ‘iron on’ and has a very good tutorial here. I do not do the whole ¼” outline-cutting-out thing as I find it easier to trace around the shape and cut the whole shape out - especially with multiple point flowerheads! 
Bloom Block 4 

I have a page of fusible applique hints and tips which you might find useful.  Quick fuse applique is a great method for using strip-applique whereby you stitch strips of fabric together before cutting out the applique shapes.   It is a method you may be familiar with from my mug rug patterns.
Two tone leaves created using strip applique

Each block will be part of my 2016 block-a-day project so you will be able to see them as I make them on my Instagram Page and on the my 2016 Block-a-Day Pinterest board.  I will also be blogging now and again with a few hints and tips to help along the way.

Sew until next time .......

Sunday 3 January 2016

Farmer’s Wife 1930s Quilt Blocks 27, 28, 29, 30 and 86

Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 29 - Doris
It has been pretty relaxed over the Christmas period as far as the Farmer’s Wife blocks are concerned.  There was a gap in both sew-alongs so people could catch up (not to mention share a cup-of-cheer ..... or two ..... or three!). 

The last four blocks in the Very Kerry Berry farmer's wife 1930s sew-along were two lots-of-little-bits blocks:

Block 27 – Dinah.  I made this block in Christmassy fabrics - bright and cheery.  It was quiet easy paper-piecing.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 27 - Dinah

Block 28 – Dolly.  I had two orange patterned charm squares that I wasn't particularly keen on but I couldn't waste them so I used them in this block and look how pretty it turned out.  I only just had enough though which is surprising as the orange pattern doesn't look like it is two charm squares worth.
Farmer's Wife Block no. 28 - Dolly

Block 29 – Doris.  This is one of the blocks that I had been looking forward to making.  But when I first made it I put it together in the wrong order with the central points facing out instead of in.  So I remade it – I wanted this block to be just right.  And so it turned out.  Notes in book read “lovely fabrics, pretty block” – and so it is.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 29 - Doris

Block 30 – Em.  My notes say it all “Oh my goodness – what a lot of work – 84 pieces!!”.  I cut my squares to 1¼” and patched this block.  I made my half-square triangles bigger (2”) and trimmed them to size as it was easier this way.  It turned out lovely and went together really well. 
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 30 - Em
The Gnome Angel sew-along finished with two blocks – one of which (block no. 9 ‘Autumn) I had already made.  So yet again – a nice easy week:

Block 86 – Priscilla.  I paper-pieced the majority of this block but the long seams are slightly inset so I hand-stitched them at the intersections (where they met the center square).  This enabled me to get the insets just right and machine stitch the rest of the long seams.  It wasn’t hard or fiddly but notes in book read “not keen on look of this block but pretty fabrics help it.”
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 86 - Priscilla

That brings us all up-to-date for the start of 2016 and both sew-alongs resume tomorrow (4th January 2016).  Are you up-to-date and ready?  You can see all the blocks I have made so far over on my Farmer’s Wife PinterestBoard or on my Farmer’s Wife blog page.

I will be back next Wednesday when I will share with you how I intend to join in the upcoming Riley Blake Calico Days 'Bloom' sew-along without making another full-size quilt.  (You can download the details and free pattern for the 'Bloom' sew along here (in PDF format).

Sew until then .......