Friday, 6 November 2015

.: Farmer's Wife Friday - week 6 :.

Quite the exciting Farmer's Wife week for me, since I shared my first tutorial as a Guest Blogger! 

As you can see, we had three blocks this week - number 1, Addie (I made two, since it was 'my' tutorial block), number 57, Margaret and number 62, Milly.

Every possible piece of information you would need to know about my Addie blocks is in my tutorial post, so I'll leave you to click through and read it if you would like to.

Margaret and Milly were released together, as they share a very similar block-construction, whether you choose to sew them with the Marti Michell templates and conversion charts, or by a more traditional HST method.  I used Marti's templates, as I had a little fussy-cutting to do for each of the blocks.  I finally had the perfect block for my long-stashed 'Margaret' fabric! 

And I don't have any 'Milly' fabric, but I DO have 'Amelia', thanks to Sarah Jane's gorgeous Out to Sea range.

If you'd like to learn a few tips and tricks for sewing Addie, Margaret and Milly, click through to read the tutorial posts by Angie and Kirsty.  And remember that each Sunday, Angie hosts a linky-party on her blog, so you can take a little time to click through and see all the gorgeous blocks everyone has been making this week:

Addie - Angie
Margaret - Angie + Kirsty
Milly - Angie + Kirsty

We've now sewn 15 blocks out of 99! - I wonder how many more we will sew by the end of the year. Hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever it is you are doing.  I'm really hoping to get to Finders' Keepers at some stage over the weekend, so I can make a big dent in my Christmas shopping.  xoxo cat

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Farmer's Wife Sew-Along - Addie - foundation paper piecing tutorial

Hello and welcome to my first tutorial as a Guest Blogger for the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt Sew-along!  I'm Cat and I share this space with my great friend Vee - we design and print fabric, totes and t-shirts.  Thanks so much to Angie for hosting this awesome, ever-growing Sew-along; Fat Quarter Shop for its sponsorship; and Marti Michell and her team for their wonderful templates, conversion charts and support of all of us Farmer's Wife-rs.

My tutorial today is for sewing Addie as a squared foundation paper-pieced (FPP) block.  I've also sewn an on-point Addie, using Marti Michell's templates, and will share a hot tip with you about getting your fabric-placement correct when using the templates. 

As a FPP-disclosure - I've got quite a bit of FPP experience - I've sewn plenty of fabulous FPP designs, most often by Kristy from Quiet Play (who has a great FPP tutorial here) and Penny and Kerry from Sew-Ichigo (who have a great FPP tutorial here - they also have two great little tutorials for FPP y-seams, if you click through to their 'tutorials and tips' tab, you'll find them - you never know, there could be more y-seams in our Farmer's Wife future!).  Cass also shared two fabulous FPP tutorials here and here.

Addie is a great starter-block for FPP - each section is small, there are no tricky seams, and matching all the seams to join the sections together is a pretty straight-forward process.

OK, here we go - there are lots of photos, so you might like to pop to the kitchen and make a cup of tea to keep you company while you scroll.

Step 1 - choose your fabrics!  I've tried to stay true to the three-fabrics-only placement that Laurie has used in the book, but cheated a little, since I have an ongoing fussy-cutting obsession and couldn't pass up the chance to include something a little fun in the centre.  So - the centre blue Aunty Cookie is supposed to 'match' the blue sketch fabric. 

Step 2 - print off the FPP template for Addie from the CD, making sure that your printer is set to 100% (or whatever your printer's version of 100% is).  Cut out each lettered-section - A, B, C etc - allowing yourself a little wriggle-room beyond the outer dotted-line.  The solid line is your sewing-line, and the dotted-line is your seam-allowance. 

Step 3 - colour in each section, according to which fabric is going where.  It also helps to colour-in the block-assembly diagram that appears at the top of your printed templates - that's always my first colouring-in step, but I am unable to share that diagram with you here due to copyright.  Be sure that your coloured-in block-assembly diagram matches your coloured-in sections, so there are no unwelcome surprises once you've finished piecing.

Step 4 - using your Sewline glue pen (or your trusty glue-stick from your stationery supplies), make a quick swish of glue on the unprinted side of the paper behind the number 1 on each section (A1, B1, C1, etc) and place the paper, printed-side facing up, onto the wrong-side of your chosen fabric.  If you are using directional fabric, or a fussy-cut for this step, now would be the time to hold the paper up to the light to check that your placement is correct.  Make sure your fabric extends beyond the seam-allowance (dotted-line) along the edges, and at least 1/4" past any internal sew-lines. 

Step 5 - pin your second (H2 in this photo) piece in place.  Make sure your fabrics are right-sides together and that your second piece extends at least 1/4 inch beyond your sew-line.  And note that your second piece of fabric extends away from the numbered section that it's intended to cover.

Step 6 - once it's pinned in place, flip your second (H2) piece down, to make sure it will cover the relevant section AND the seam allowance. 

Step 7 - pile up all your glued and pinned sections and take them to the sewing machine, so you can do a spot of chain-piecing. 

Step 8 - turn your machine on and reduce your stitch-length to whatever is recommended for FPP on your machine.  I have a Bernina and always sew FPP patterns with a 1.5 stitch length. 

Step 9 - place your first section under your machine-foot, and drop the needle right into the starting point of your sew-line.  Start sewing slowly, back-stitching at the start and finish of your sew-line.  I use Bernina foot number 37 (the 1/4" foot) for FPP, as I like to see the needle as it sews along the sew-line, and exactly where the needle is as you come to the end of the sew-line. 

Step 10 - here's your finished sew-line, with back-stitching at the start and finish.  For all the internal sew-lines in a FPP pattern, I never stitch into the seam-allowance - others do, but my preference is to back-stitch at the start and finish of each sew-line and never sew beyond it into the seam allowance. 

Step 11 - fold your paper on the sew-line, giving it a little crease so it's ready to trim the seam-allowance.  In FPP, when you trim your seam-allowance, you always fold the bigger number down onto the smaller number - so in this photo, H2 is folding down onto H1.

Step 12 - with your paper folded down as described in Step 11, line your ruler up with the 1/4" line on the folded-edge of the paper, and trim your seam allowance to 1/4".  Make sure that all your just-sewn-fabrics are out of the way, and that no rogue pieces have flipped over - you don't want to be trimming them away with your seam-allowance, that's no fun.

Step 13A - with the fabric-side of your pieced section facing up, carefully flip over your second (H2) piece and iron it flat.   You may prefer to use a seam-roller at this point, rather than be back and forth to the iron - I certainly do this when I'm in a class - but at home, I prefer to move between cutting mat, iron and machine between each FPP chain-piecing session.  In the photo, you'll see that I've flipped and ironed-flat the blue H2 piece.  

Step 13B - once you have finished a section (i.e. once you have sewn all the numbers in order), you are ready to trim it.  Be sure to line your ruler up so that you are trimming 1/4" from the solid  external sew-lines of your section - this should exactly match up with the dotted-line anyway, but I always double-check and am guided by my ruler rather than just cutting on the dotted-line. 

Step 14 - once you have finished, ironed and trimmed all your sections, you are ready join them together.  I always lay out my block with the papers facing up, so it matches the block-assembly diagram.  It looks a little like a jigsaw puzzle.  It's best to then follow the piecing guide next to the block-assembly diagram - join A to B etc.   I always use pins to make sure I am matching the sections accurately - in this example, the red pins go straight through the corners of the external sew-line on B to join the external sew line on A.  Use as many pins as you need (and take a quick look now at Step 14A for an extra tip in doing this).  As it's not really possible to sew with pins sticking out everywhere, once I've matched the sew-lines between the sections as best I can, I secure the pieces with clips, ready to chain-piece.

Step 14A - I've added this photo in to show you tick-marks for joining sections, since adding tick-marks to your pattern pieces is a really helpful way of ensuring you are joining your sections accurately.  Wherever you have internal sew-lines that must meet up, just draw a little red (or any colour!) line on the sections you are about to join - you then have a little reminder to add a pin to that sew-line when you are pinning your sections together.  As I've added this photo after I finished taking my tutorial photos, please note that it's for a different block, that I've chosen to randomly sew, not for Addie - so just ignore the fabric and pattern-piece you can see - you only need to focus on the pins and tick-mark :-) 

Step 15 - as you join sections together, tear away the seam-allowance papers before ironing your seams.  I tend to iron my FPP section-seams open, but let's not open that particular can of worms - you can iron your seams in whatever way makes you happy and works best for you and the pattern. 

Step 16 - see, open! This photo shows you two sections joined together, trimmed, and the seam ironed open.  It would have been nice if I'd trimmed those threads for you, as they're looking a little messy!  Keep working through all your sections, following the joining-order specified by Laurie, until you are finished.

Here's my finished block from the back, showing that I do indeed iron my seams open AND to the side, depending on what I think works best for each seam.  I tend to iron my seams open quite a lot, as I do love a nice, flat block.  Whatever works best for you and your block is perfect. 

And here she is again, all finished and telling you how clever you are for finishing your FPP Addie!

I did promise you my second Addie, which I sewed on-point using the wonderful Marti Michell templates.  She's cute, right?  I love the 'Good Intentions' girl in the middle and thought I was being quietly hilarious by pairing her with Heather Ross fish, since fish don't have hair! I wanted to share my hot tip for fabric-placement using Marti's templates for Addie, so you don't do as I did.  

In the book, Addie's centre-square fabric is the same as the outer-star point fabric.  So my intention was to match Good Intention Girl's hair (in the centre square) with the Bonnie + Camille scallops (on the outer-star points).  But, hmmm, someone wasn't concentrating and didn't lay out their block before sewing everything together.  

So - if you are using the templates to piece your Addie, be sure to piece your outside star point fabric so they are on the bottom left and bottom right of your background triangle, not (as I have done in the photos below) on the inner left and right of the background triangle.  These next few photos are an example of what not to do if you are following the fabric-placement diagram in the book. 

See? - you don't want your outer-star points on the inside - you want them on the outside.

When you've finished your template-sewn Addie side units, you want your inside star points where my B+C scallops are below - it's at this point you can work out whether you've made a fabric-placement mistake or not - of course, I did not realise this at the time! 

For a wonderful Addie tutorial using Marti Michell's templates AND which shows how to get your fabric-placement correct, click through to Angie's post from yesterday.

Well we've reached the end, and I just have one more photo to share with you - thank goodness, since your cup of tea must be finished or getting cold by now! Here are my two Addie's together - it's pretty amazing how different they look, isn't it.  

All the information you need for the Sew-along can be found on Angie's blog, which I think of as 'home base' for us all. 

And here is the book that you need, should you like to join in with us:

As I mentioned already, the Sew-along is sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop - click through to go shopping and don't forget to use the code FQSFarmers for a 10% discount off your purchase before 30 November.

And one last reminder, Marti Michell's templates, blog posts and conversion charts have been just wonderful in this sew-along - I am only new to using Marti's templates but I am a total convert. 

Happy sewing!  I am looking forward to seeing all your Addie's - be sure to link up to Angie's blog on Sunday, or share your photos to the Addie album in the Facebook group.  There are two more block tutorials to come this week, so be sure to check out Angie's blog tomorrow and Kirsty's blog on Friday.  Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have found my tutorial and photos helpful to your Addie-sewing.  xoxo cat

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

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