Friday, 30 October 2015

.: Farmer's Wife Friday - week 5 :.

Five weeks and twelve blocks down, eighty-seven to go! This week we sewed Granny and Jenny - or Granny Jenny as I've been thinking of them. 

First up was Granny, which I've sewn in Lizzy House's Castle Peeps with Cotton + Steel blenders in the middle.  Very happy to have a Castle Peeps block in my quilt! - but if I could change one thing, I'd switch out the middle orange for a good light blue.  I paper-pieced Granny, so I could get my Peeps-orientation right.

And then came Jenny, which combines an endless chase of Cotton + Steel rabbits, Aneela Hoey turtles and the sweet snails which came from a selvedge-less remnant, so I'm not sure who they are by - please let me know if you know so I can credit the designer! 

The block tutorials this week can be found here:

Granny - Angie and Rachel
Jenny - Angie, Peta and Tonya

Hope you've all had a great week and are gearing up for a fun weekend - do you do Halloween at your house? We'll be having a pretty low-key get together with neighbourhood friends - drinks and snacks in the driveway, with bowls of goodies ready and waiting for all the trick or treaters.  xoxo cat

Saturday, 24 October 2015

.: I love, you love pineapples :.

Do you know Justine Clarke's song 'Watermelon'?  We had Justine's 'I Like to Sing' CD on repeat when the girls were younger, so this song popped into my head when I was uploading my pineapple cushions pics - pineapples get a cameo in the song, it's not all watermelons all the time.  For your listening + viewing pleasure, I've popped a You Tube video of 'Watermelon' at the end of the post :-)

And back to the pineapples.  I made this pair of pineapple cushions to be a raffle prize in a recent mother + daughter school event - so figured they really had to be mother + daughter pineapples - totally makes sense to me.

The pineapple pattern is by Jackie Padesky, who is @jackiepadeskyquilts on Instagram, but she isn't otherwise online as far as I can work out.  It's a great little pattern - the mother pineapple is the actual pattern size, and the daughter pineapple is half-sized, so I popped it on a little shelf. 

Jackie's pineapple has become so well known so quickly in the land of Instagram, it's even made it onto its very own Stately Type t-shirt - of course I've bought one from Holly + David, it's arrived and I'm loving it. 

The cushions finished at just under 20 inches square, so I used 22 inch inserts so they'd be nice and plumpish.  For the backs, I used a cotton drill with big yellow spots from Spotlight, and a grey zipper.

Here's hoping the mother + daughter pineapple cushions will bring some summery awesome to someone's lounge.  As promised, here's Justine.  Have a great weekend.  xoxo cat

Friday, 23 October 2015

.: Farmer's Wife Friday - week 4 :.

Week 4 of the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt Sew-Along has come to an end, with not two but three blocks - bringing our total of completed blocks to ten! This week saw us making Old Maid, Katherine and Susannah.

All three of my blocks were sewn using set A of Marti Michell's templates and conversion charts - and I'm happy to say they all work equally well on point or squared, which will be pretty helpful when it finally comes time to decide on their placement for my quilt layout. 

First up this week was block number 78, Old Maid, which combines Lizzy House's Meadow Flowers and Alexia Abegg's American towns + states from her Hatbox line for Cotton + Steel.

Katherine and Susannah were released together, as both use the same template technique, reversed.  Katherine incorporates Ella Blue Basics (the blue) and Terra Australis (orange), with a cute cats-in-boots print I picked up from Studio Mio at the recent Craft + Quilt Fair in Brisbane. 

Susannah is all Cotton + Steel, because why not, it's all awesome.

If you would like to click through to find the block tutorials for this week, you can find them here:

Old Maid - Angie (who is hosting the sew-along) + Nat (Nat's tutorial includes a great little You Tube video)
Katherine - Angie + Tina
Susannah - Angie + Tina

There's still time to get a 10% discount off your purchase from the sew-along's sponsor, Fat Quarter Shop! - just use the code FQSFarmers. They have the book back in stock too - otherwise click here to purchase a copy.  

Enjoy your weekend.  xoxo cat

Friday, 16 October 2015

.: Farmer's Wife Friday - week 3 :.

Here we are at the end of the third week of the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt Sew-a-Long.  In happy news, I am up to date!  Seven blocks down, a trifling 92 to go, we are looking good.

This week we met Belle, and Coral.  I'm continuing with my plan of setting some blocks on point, and some blocks squared - depending on which looks best to me.

First up was Belle.  Oh good grief, Belle.  To this point in time, I have successfully avoided sewing any y-seams, ever.  But with Belle, my luck ran out.  I was merrily paper-piecing away, and went to join the top and bottom sections to the middle sections and thought 'whaaaaat the?!'.  I had a little panic, popped the Belle sections back into the folder, and we spent a few days apart.  I got a little advice from Melissa (who is this week's guest blogger for Belle), and carefully read through these two tutorials from two of my paper-piecing heroes, Penny and Kerry.

Then it was time for the y-seam showdown.

If you look closely (not too closely, don't put your specs on) at the inside corners of the purple, girls-reading sections, you'll notice that the seams are a little woofly.  That would be because I had to hand-stitch them to finish the seam.  So - I have not yet actually, really and truly conquered y-seams.  The gauntlet has been thrown down, and the game is on. 

Yesteday saw Angie announce block number 24, Coral.  I liked Coral, with her much more straight-forward combination of rotary cutting and Marti Michell template-using.  In fact, I feel like I've finally 'clicked' with Marti's templates with Coral - she was really quick and easy to sew together.  And I managed to squeeze in a little fussy-cutting from the gorgeous Lizzy House's latest line The Lovely Hunt.  

Coral could well be my favourite block so far.

The rabbits and the pheasant - just the sweetest.

Are you all keeping up with the sew-along?  How are you feeling about it?  I know life will get even busier as the school term progresses, so I'm at peace with keeping up while I can, and letting things slide a little later on.  The book and online tutorials will always be there to refer to when the sewing stars align. 

Here are the tutorial blog posts you can click on for this week:

Belle - Angie and Ms Midge
Coral - Angie and Erin

And a 10% voucher for Fat Quarter Shop, using code FQSFARMERS, valid until 30 November 2015. 

Have a great weekend.  xoxo cat

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

.: catching up on bee blocks :.

Thank goodness for the recent school holidays, as amongst other things, they gave me the chance to catch up (almost!) on bee blocks.  I get itchy and fidgety if I'm ever running behind on bee blocks or swaps - or even if I'm ever running late for anything.  I'm an early to on-time girl, so I'm back to feeling calm and happy about all my bee commitments.

All these blocks are for our Care Circle of doGoodStitches.

First up is Merran's blocks, made from the Tic Tac Toe block tutorial on Alyce's blog.  Merran is going to sew and and donate a quilt to #quiltblockstohealviolence coordinated by Jackie Gillies.  Jackie is creating and coordinating quilts to donate to domestic violence refuges by Christmas.  She has set up a crowd funding page on My Cause to raise money for all the extra bits that are needed to make finished quilts - all the details are here, should you wish to donate.  It's a great cause, and I'm grateful to Jackie for all the work she is doing, and to Merran for enabling our Circle to donate a quilt for it. 

And these gorgeous blocks are for Jodi, from her Squash Blossom tutorial.  Have you read Jodi's blog?  She's a very talented and prolific quilter.  Squash Blossom is one of the blocks in her Red Sky at Night quilt, for which she's been sharing block tutorials over the past few months. 

And lovely Rachel's blocks were created following a tutorial by Jolene at Blue Elephant Stitches.  Love the colours in these blocks.  

And now I'm all caught up - for the Care Circle at least.  It's a wonderful doGoodStitches circle, with some really beautiful quilts being made and donated for various charitable causes.

I am still one set of blocks behind, for my good friend T in our Sew Sisters bee - they'll be next, amidst all my Farmer's Wife-ing.  xoxo cat

Friday, 9 October 2015

.: Farmer's Wife Friday - week 2 :.

We've come to the end of week 2 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt sew-along, and lo and behold, I've managed to sew BOTH blocks - five down, 94 to go! 

The week started with block number 14, Betty.  Angie's tutorial post is here, and guest blogger tutorial Alyce's post is here.  I paper-pieced Betty, and she was absolutely straight-forward - until I got to the correct orientation of the two unicorns.  I wanted them to 'kiss' more than 'bow', but I must admit I'm quite happy with the end result.  My Mum suggested on instagram that they were bowing to each other before a dance, so I thought that was a lovely idea, let's go with that! 

Fabric details for Betty are:  Heather Ross Far Far Away unicorns, the navy is Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cotton + Steel, and the orange is from Ella Blue Basics.

Block number 20, Caroline, made an appearance on Thursday.  Angie's tutorial post is here, and we were fortunate to have TWO lovely guest blogger posts for Caroline - Sedef and Jess.  Their points are perfect and their blocks and posts are just so lovely.  Caroline is the first Farmer's Wife block that I have NOT fussy-cut, and I feel like I'm sewing way out of my comfort zone! 

Fabric details for Caroline are: Carolyn Friedlander Botanics for the mustard print, Sarah Watts for Cotton + Steel cats, and the navy flowers I have had in my stash for quite some time - please do sing out if you know who they are by, so I can credit the designer. 

One more peek at the bowing-before-dancing unicorns.

And I do love how the central, stretchy pinwheel pops out at you in Caroline - I first noticed it in Nat's block, so thought I'd make sure to choose fabrics to allow that to happen in mine. 

So - the end of week 2, and five blocks have been sewn.  Are you sewing along too?  We had our Sunshine MQG meeting last night, and it was lovely to see the Farmer's Wife blocks that have been sewn by different members of the guild.  We're up to over 4,200 members on the Facebook page now - I wonder how many there will be by the end of the year!

Here's to a lovely weekend to you all.  xoxo cat

Friday, 2 October 2015

.: Farmer's Wife Friday - week 1 :.

Welcome to the first week of the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt Sew-Along (try saying that three times fast!).  This is a year-long sew-along using Laurie Aaron Hird's The Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt book, which is being coordinated (incredibly well!) by Angie from GnomeAngel.

The Farmer's Wife 1930s sew-along has a Facebook group of over 3,800 members from all over the world and 30 guest bloggers.  It's sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop.  An early highlight for me is being very late to the quilting party in 'discovering' the wonderful Marti Michell and her team - through their blog, You Tube videos and presence in the Facebook group, they are providing such generous and thoughtful support for us all, not to mention amazingly excellent block templates to use for many of the blocks.

This sew-along is a marathon, not a sprint - the book has 99 blocks and we are sewing two blocks each week for a year, starting with the easier blocks and working our way up to the more challenging blocks.  For this first week however, we have sewn not two but THREE blocks! 

The blocks for this week have been Becky, Bonnie and Aunt.  Angie has shared tutorials for all three blocks (click here for Becky, Bonnie and Aunt).  The first guest bloggers to share their tutorials have been Lucy (sharing her English Paper Piecing tutorial for Becky and Bonnie), Melissa (sharing her paper-template, rotary cutting and machine sewing tutorial for Becky and Bonnie) and Jodi (sharing her English Paper Piecing tutorial for Aunt).  All this week's bloggers' blocks are gorgeous - click through if you'd like some guidance in sewing the blocks, or just to read about their process. 

I have started on a high - I have sewn all three blocks.  Whether or not this pace will continue, I cannot say.  My sneaking suspicion is that I will sew one of the two blocks each week, including of course, all four of my guest-blogger blocks.  Here are my week 1 blocks, and the little stories behind them - I like to have a bit of meaning in everything I sew, even if it makes sense only to me - it makes the process much more fun, personal and memorable.  And I figure it's always good to make yourself smile while you sew!

Our first block was number 12, Becky - that's Becky welcoming us all to the sew-along with her cheery Hello's.  The fabric mix, starting with the chair on the left and moving clockwise, is Heather Ross (the chair and Becky), Alison Glass, Tula Pink, Ayumi Takahashi, Lizzy House and Erin McMorris (thank you Rachel for reminding me that Erin is the Hello-designer!).

Next up was block number 16, Bonnie.  I started with the Kerchief girls, spied the tiger, and so immediately thought of the lovely children's book my girls used to love, 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea'.  The fabric mix, starting with the tiger and moving clockwise, is Alexia Abegg, Pam Kitty Morning, Lecien Minny Muu lovebirds (though I call them budgies, not lovebirds!) and Kei Kerchief girls. 

And last for this week was block number 8, Aunt.  I started with the Melody Miller apple, as it was such a great fit for the centre square, then spied the Alexia Abegg pandas, and thought the Cotton + Steel blender would work perfectly with them both.  There's actually no particular story for this block - I don't have any Aunty Apples, Aunty Pandas or even any aunts who are renown for wearing spots! 

It's not too late to join the sew-along if you would like to - it may be tricky to find the book, such is the huge popularity of this sew-along - but don't be deterred, we have heard there are many copies on back-order, so more should be available soon.  And of course, all the block tutorials will remain on Angie's and the guest bloggers' blogs for you to refer back to whenever you need them.

And remember that Angie has all the sew-along info on her blog - including a great FAQ post that tells you everything you need to know.   She will post a weekly wrap-up each Sunday, which will be a great way to see what's been happening - and it will be a linky party too, for anyone to link up their Farmer's Wife posts and share their blocks. 

See you next Friday for more Farmer's Wife-ing - though I'll be back in the meantime to share a few other little sewn goodies with you.  Happy long weekend to you!  xoxo cat

Thursday, 1 October 2015

.: donkeys in jars :.

I have a donkey-loving friend, who I met through the magic of the Online World of Quilting and Sewing ('OWQS' ... it's a thing ... or it really should be, shouldn't it).

There was recently a little gift-makery happening for my donkey-loving friend - so my long-hoarded Laurie Wisbrun donkeys took a walk in their fancy gumboots and met up with Violet Craft's laid-back donkeys to make a set of coasters.  Although donkily-fabulous on their own, I wanted to raise the cuteness bar a notch or two, so the donkeys kept walking til they ended up in jars!

The jars are from Me and My Sister Designs' 'Buttons & Jars' pattern, picked up during my recent class with Barb and Mary.  I made the jars a smidge bigger than the pattern, so there was no chance of Laurie's donkeys losing a tail.

The jar-lid, background, 'shelf' and binding fabrics are all from Cotton + Steel.  The coasters measure about 8 1/2" x 9", plenty big enough for a cup of tea and a little snack.

What would you like to sew into jars, should the mood take you?  

The possibilities are endless - bigger, smaller, taller, shorter - so many things that the world needs to see sewn into jars! 

Happy to be back in this space, hope you have all been well and sewing all sorts of things, in jars or not!  xoxo cat

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