Monday, 29 August 2016

Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt - Squash Blossom

Block 86 in the Farmer's Wife Sampler is Squash Blossom. I accidentally sewed this up shortly after my last block. The plan was to cut all the pieces ready to go for next time, but I got carried away and sewed them together too. :)

A fairly straight-forward block, this one. I used my 45 degree triangle ruler to cut the pieces which made it nice and easy to cut. It didn't take me long to choose the fabrics for this one. For some reason I knew when I saw it that I wanted to use the same print in two different colours for the main fabics. It's fun to do sometimes, and in this case I really like the way the little spots and flowers are sprinkled over the whole block. Fabric play is so much fun, isn't it? :)

Bye for now,

Hope x

Monday, 22 August 2016

Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt - Morning

Another Farmer's Wife Sampler block today. This is number 57 in the book - Morning. I have mixed feelings about this one. I am happy with my choice of fabrics (I love the purple and aqua together!) but the way the block was put together in the book is not the way I would have done it. I did change the piecing somewhat, but if I were to do it again I'd change it even more.

That gorgeous rose fabric is one of my absolute favourites. I'm using a Jelly Roll of Rose Parade by Moda for the quilt, along with some Layer Cake squares from the range (and a few other fabrics). I always feel lucky when an almost-complete rose turns up in the pre-cut strips as it allows me to feature them in some of the blocks. In this case, I sort of wish I had trimmed a little more off the strip to better centre the roses. I don't like to fussy-cut unless the trimmed piece is a useful size though - I have a finite amount of these out-of-print fabrics.

That's three blocks down, and I'm not sure how many to go. Rather than make a queen size quilt, which will only be seen on the bed at certain times of year, I will make two lap quilts. That way, they'll be out pretty much all the time, and Martin and I will coordinate when we wrap up against the cold in the evenings. ;) I will need to sit down and plan them soon, and count up the blocks I've already made, so that I know how many more blocks to sew. I'm certain I don't need to stop making them any time soon though.

Bye for now,

Hope x

Monday, 15 August 2016

Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt - Peaceful Hours

My next block in the Farmer's Wife Sampler is number 65 - Peaceful Hours. I completed this block in about four sittings over several days. I wasn't feeling the best so I did a little here and there when I felt up to the effort. I'm pleased enough with the result, but it wasn't all smooth sailing.

What threw the process was not stopping to think about which way to press the seams before I started. When it came time to sew the middle two units of the top row to each other, I found that the seams would not sit nicely so I went back and re-pressed the seams. This meant a bit of unpicking, but it was completely worth it to get a flatter finish. I ended up pressing the seams so that I could 'spin' them, which worked quite well.

I did have a bit of trouble with the points after the re-press, but I'm thrilled with most of them and happy enough with the rest, so that's ok. I do like to aim for as close to 'perfect' as I can get, but I'm learning to let it go when I can't get as close as I'd like after a couple of tries. As you can see, I pressed some seams to the side and some open, as well as spinning some. Whatever works best to give the right size and a flatter finish is generally what I do.

It has been lovely getting back into this project. The sewing is fun, but I think that I'm most happy about playing with the gorgeous Rose Parade fabrics again. It's still my favourite line of fabric.

Bye for now,

Hope x

Monday, 8 August 2016

Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt - Star of Hope

Back at the beginning of 2012, I started the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt. The idea was to do two blocks a week as part of a quilt-along on Flickr. Well, I didn't quite get that far. I think I've made about 40 blocks out of 111. Recently, I decided to start it up again with block 88, called Star of Hope:

I have made this block before, but the fabrics I used don't fit with the other blocks I've made so it needed to be made again. I'm definitely going to use this Frog Prince version somewhere else - I do love that Tula Pink fabric. :)

This is definitely still a long-term project. I'm thinking maybe a block per week? Or maybe one a fortnight if it's a particularly time-consuming block.

Do you have a Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt started? Or completed? If you'd like someone to cheer you on to finish yours, let me know and we can encourage each other.

Bye for now,

Hope x

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Cough Drop - An Online Quilt Group Pattern

July was my month as guest designer for the Online Quilt Group, which is basically a quilt guild you can visit any time from anywhere with internet access, based entirely online. It is run by Becky of Patchwork Posse. I was very excited (and nervous!) to be interviewed by Becky for a podcast series she has created featuring the guest designers of the group. You can listen to my interview here. Let me know what you think. :)

Here is the quilt I designed for the group (held up by my obliging hubby, Martin) called Cough Drop:

The quilt uses a charm pack and some yardage, and is a pretty straight-forward quilt to make. It's a baby or lap size quilt (43" x 44.5"), but also includes instructions on how to re-size the blocks to make a bigger quilt if you so desire. Plus there's a mini, because you know I like to include a mini quilt with my patterns!

Right now, Cough Drop is available exclusively to Quilt Group members along with many, many other patterns from a range of talented designers. Membership of the group gives you access to so many patterns, it's crazy good value. I urge you to check it out.

Bye for now,

Hope x

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Free Mini Block Pattern - Churn Dash

I'm back with another free mini quilt block pattern. This time, it's the Churn Dash. I've also got some mini block sewing tips for you, so be sure to read through.

I made several of these churn dash blocks to try to find the best way to press the seams. A bit time consuming, but I aim in all my patterns - even the free ones - to figure those things out so that you don't have to! So, it's worth the time.

In most mini blocks the seams are bulky no matter which way you press them. You can deal with and reduce the bulk in a few ways:
  • Use thinner fabrics and avoid bulkier ones;
  • Make sure those seams are pressed as flat as you can get them. Finger pressing first can help get the seam 'set' before ironing and will make ironing the little pieces easier. I press with my fingers first, then use my finger nail to get a good crease. 
  • Don't be afraid to press some seams open and some to the side, but make sure your quarter inch seam allowance is adjusted accordingly if necessary. (In my experience, a seam that is pressed open will take up less fabric than one that is pressed to the side, so I sew a slightly narrower seam - a scant quarter inch - when I press to the side than when I press open. Test it out for yourself and see if you find the same thing.)
  • Trim seam allowances down to an eighth of an inch after sewing and pressing.
  • Use spray starch or a starch alternative. You can starch all your fabrics lightly before you begin cutting, then spray again if you need to after sewing the seams. Be sure to press the seams first to get the block or unit as flat as you can, then spray lightly and press them again. 

Here is another mini churn dash with the seams pressed differently to the pink:

You can get the free pattern by clicking the button below, which will open the file for you in another page, ready to download. Or, head to my Craftsy Pattern Store for the free download.
Happy Sewing!

Hope x

Friday, 10 June 2016

Free Mini Block Pattern - Friendship Star

I've got another free mini block pattern for you! This itty-bitty version of the Friendship Star block is quite straight forward to sew - just four half square triangle units and five squares.

You only need the smallest of scraps (the largest pieces needed are just 1.5") so why not give it a go? Click the button below to open and download the PDF pattern for free.

The block finishes at a very cute 1.5" square (2" unfinished). It's the same size as my other free mini block patterns which means you can easily mix and match to create your own mini sampler. I've got another mini pattern in the works too, just some pressing directions to iron out and it's good to go. Check back soon for more, or sign up for my newsletter to be notified as soon as it's available.

Piecing on such a small scale can be fiddly, but if you take it slow and double check the accuracy of your cutting and seam allowances, it will go together more easily. There's not a lot of room to 'fudge' so accuracy is key to a happy sewing experience. That being said, you need only use scraps so it's worth a try - what have you got to lose?

Now is a great time to give tiny sewing a go. Make Modern magazine are running a Mini Mini Quilt competition. Just make a quilt 6" square or smaller, post it to Instagram with #MMminimini and tag @makemodernmagazine and you'll be in the running to win one of many great prizes including patterns (from myself and other great designers), notions, gift vouchers and even the services of a professional quilter! You can enter as many times as you like up until 20th June. Check out all the details over at the Make Modern website

Happy sewing!

Hope x