Sunday, 19 February 2017

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Peace and Plenty

I have another Farmer's Wife Sampler block completed, and don't have many to go! This one is called Peace and Plenty:

I changed the cutting and construction a little from the book, which used all half-square triangles to make up the block. My way uses less seams, makes less cutting, and worked quite nicely. Most blocks can be put together in a number of ways - one of the many fun aspects of patchwork. :)

If you're popping in regularly to see my Farmer's Wife blocks, you may have noticed this one is photographed on a different background. This is the fabric I'm considering for the sashing/background in the finished quilts. What do you think?

I've tried it with a few different blocks and it works well. I am yet to calculate whether or not I have enough of it though. A job for another day.

Bye for now x

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Ozark Maple Leaf

Happy Valentine's Day! I've started back on the Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks with Block 63, Ozark Maple Leaf:

It took me a while to find the leaves in this block because all my brain would see were arrows! Then Martin pointed the leaf shapes out to me and now it's clear. Can you see the leaves? Had I seen them earlier, I probably would have made the leaves from the yellow print and the background from the black and white spot. I like it either way though. :)

This was a nice, simple block to make, all rotary cut and no unpicking necessary. I love it when that happens!

Bye for now

Hope x

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Baby on Board

Hello, and a Happy New Year to you! I hope you have had a lovely one so far - can you believe we're already into February? - and that the rest of the year brings you much fun and happiness.

This year will certainly be bringing me joy, all going well, in the form of a baby girl! I'm so happy to share that we are expecting our first baby, due early July. It's very exciting, and a little daunting, and I've been rather preoccupied with all things baby and pregnancy related since late last year. Understandable, right?

In quilty news, I am working on a new pattern that will suit baby girls, baby boys, or anyone else really. I'm thinking I'll call it Cloudy Skies. Here's a little peek at the mini quilt:

That adorable little cloud with the umbrella, as well as the raindrops, are images I stamped using Derwent Inktense pencils, with a stamp set from kikki.K. I had such fun stamping and colouring it, I will have to rummage through my stamp collection and see what else I can use in my quilts.

As well as working on this new pattern, I'm planning on starting on the Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks again. It will be wonderful to get that very long-term project finished, and I have a feeling that, come the middle of the year, I'll have somewhat less time for sewing! Best get a wriggle on now, right?

Bye for now,

Hope x

Monday, 19 December 2016

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Linoleum

This is, I think, the 64th block I've made for the Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt. It's called Linoleum:

This was a nice easy one to make. I was able to use my 45/90 degree triangle ruler yet again, and my regular ruler and rotary cutter - no templates necessary. It does save a bit of time.

Have a lovely week,

Hope x

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Honeycomb

After a bit of a break I've started back on the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt. This is block 49 in the book, Honeycomb. 

I did change the piecing somewhat from the book. The fabric choices make it appear a little different, but I also chose to cut the middle triangles in the rows (or columns, as the block is oriented here) in one piece rather than joining two small triangles. Less seams equals less bulk equals easier piecing and nicer points.

The block is all cut out with printed templates. I folded a little sticky tape back on itself and placed it on the back of the template to stop it slipping, then laid my ruler over the top to cut with my rotary cutter. It works well and helps with accuracy. If you have basting spray, that also works a treat when sprayed on the back of the template.

Bye for now. x

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Printing my PDF Patterns - A Guide

If you've bought one of my patterns, you'll know that they can be fairly long. I illustrate pretty much every step, include tips and notes in the instructions, and often include a mini quilt and/or variations. I will happily use most digital patterns directly from my tablet, but I know that it can be nice to have a paper copy in front of you to make notes on or check things off. I do print all of my own patterns, to make notes when proof-reading, to test that they print well with no glitches, to make sure that the colours contrast in both colour and black and white, and to check that all the instructions, diagrams and labels are large enough to be read.

Printed Patterns

Given that one of the main reasons I only sell PDF patterns at present is to try to save paper (to help the environment), I thought I ought to share with you the way I recommend you print my patterns, and how I design my own patterns to be printed.

First of all, ask yourself a couple of questions:

1. What do I need? 

Always read through the pattern to see which pages you want to have printed, and which you don't think you need. For instance, I am comfortable with binding, basting and quilting without instruction, so I wouldn't print those pages. I might also choose not to print the colouring page, or the back cover. If I'm not interested in making different sizes or variations, I would skip pages about those too.

Make a note of the pages you actually want to print, making sure that if the pattern numbering does not correspond to the PDF page, that you note the PDF page numbers. (In my patterns, the page numbering matches the PDF page numbering. In some patterns though, the pattern numbering starts page 1 with the instructions and doesn't number the cover. So, if the cover is at the beginning of the PDF, the cover will be page 1 of the PDF, and the first page of instructions will be page 2, making the numbering a page off from the pattern.)

PDF vs Pattern Page Numbers

2. Do any pages need to be a special size?

Check to see if any of the pages need to be printed at full size or scaled up or down. For example, if there are applique templates, embroidery outlines or cutting templates, they will specify what scale to print at. Print these pages individually at the scale instructed.


Once the answers to those questions are determined, select 'Print' in your PDF reader (I use Foxit Reader, so that is where I have taken the screenshots from. Adobe Reader will have similar settings). In the dialogue box, type in the pages you want to print and make sure the scaling is set appropriately.

Here I'm printing my Wander Through the Woods pattern. I only want the front cover, materials list, the cutting and piecing instructions, the mini quilt, and the 'How to resize' page. So, I made a note of the page numbers I need and entered them in the Print Range section:

Print Dialogue Box

Print as a booklet

I like to select Booklet format when printing, so that I get a neat little book to flip through and four pages will print on one sheet of paper - two on each side. It does make the writing and illustrations smaller, but I find it large enough for comfortable reading.

I've underlined where to find the booklet option in the image above.

Double check it all looks ok

In my Printer Properties settings, I always choose to show a preview before printing, so I can make sure I've got everything I need:

Printer Properties Dialogue

Here is where I also tell it to print in 'Fast' or Draft quality.

Then, print.

Allow the pages to dry then fold each page up the middle to form your booklet.

About my Pattern Formatting and Design

Font & Illustration Size

I selected the font size in my patterns to be readable when printed in this booklet format. It is a comfortable size for me to read, and also passes the Mum test (my Mum's older eyes can happily read it at that size too!) The illustrations are also designed to be big enough to be readable when printed at this smaller scale.

If you want to print at full size, make sure to select the duplex setting on your printer so that you print on both sides of the paper, saving paper.


In order to save on ink, I have left the pattern pages simple and without adornment. I have also recently changed the font I use in my patterns to a finer one that uses less ink. My illustration colours are pale in order to use less ink too.

If you would like to save further ink, print in draft quality. If you find that something isn't clear enough printed in draft, you can refer to the digital file and make a note on your paper copy. My printer does a rather good draft print, but each printer will differ.

Colour or Black and White

I prefer to print my patterns in colour. I like the way it looks, and I figure that all the inks are there to be used, not just the black.

If you prefer to print in black and white though, you should find that there is sufficient contrast between the pieces in the illustrations to do so. I test this for each pattern, but different printers may handle greys differently, so perhaps check a single page first. Remember though, you can always mark you paper copy with notes or add coloured pencil marks, or refer to the digital pattern if you need to check something.

I hope this has helped you consider how you might save paper and ink when printing patterns. Let me know in the comments if you have any tips of your own.

Bye for now

Hope x

Monday, 21 November 2016

Starshine - A Mini Block

Greetings! No Farmer's Wife Sampler block this week (or last week) - I've been on holiday! A refreshing camping trip away from computers, mobile phone reception, internet... it was lovely and very much needed. Now I just need to get my brain back into work mode, something I'm having trouble with.

Instead of a Farmer's Wife block I'm sharing this little 1.5" block (2" unfinished) I made some time ago. I got the design from Blossom Heart Quilts Modern HST Sampler QAL. This was block 11, called Starshine. I made a mistake with the layout, but I like it.

The Modern HST Sampler is not for mini blocks - quite the opposite! The blocks in the sampler finish at 12", I just chose to make my block much smaller. If you'd like to learn about different ways to construct half-square triangle units, I suggest checking out the quilt along, even if you don't make the blocks.  

This little block is joining the pile of mini blocks I am making as time and inclination allow. One day they will all join together to make a single project, but for now they're a definite work in progress - one I feel in no hurry to complete.

Have a lovely week! Bye for now. 

Hope x