Thursday, 8 December 2016

Widow Tutorial: Block 99 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-Along

It's been so long since I did any sewing that I had to literally dust off my sewing machine and cutting mat to prepare this tutorial today! I didn't plan to take such a long break from my sewing machine, but I've enjoyed spending time in the garden, catching up with family and friends and all those end of year summer activities that make this such a busy time of year. I also had a lovely trip to Wellington back in October, I gave a talk at the Capital Quilters Guild which was a big challenge and a lot of fun! I'm guessing I won't do a lot of sewing or blogging over summer but I'll definitely be back sometime in the New Year.
In the meantime, today is my last stop on the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-along. It's block 99, Widow, the last block in the book (but not quite the last block in the sew-along).  I'm using a mixture of techniques for this block; freezer paper templates as cutting guides, strip piecing and foundation paper piecing. 

Choosing fabrics;

In keeping with the original version, I've chosen a light (Cotton and Steel pink), medium (Art Gallery brown) and dark (Cotton and Steel blue) fabric. The pieces in this block are small so I've chosen small prints for the blue and brown fabrics, the pink fabric has a larger print but I like the quirkiness the birds add.

You'll need;

  • Usual sewing requirements
  • Freezer paper; available in supermarkets in America. In other parts of the world, look for it in your local quilt store. If you're in Australia or New Zealand your local Spotlight should stock it, it's also available on Amazon. This is what the box looks like;

  • A stapler and/or washi tape.

Step 1: Print the paper piecing pattern for block 99

The paper piecing pattern for Widow can be found on the CD at the back of your Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt book. Make sure that your templates have printed at 100% by measuring the 1" line included on the page.

Step 2: Create freezer paper templates for the middle square

For more information on creating the templates see my previous tutorial No Ripping Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial Part One.
  • Cut a piece of freezer paper large enough to cover the template pieces J and K with room to spare. We'll reuse the K template to piece section I so there's no need to create a separate template for I.
  • Place the piece of freezer paper (matt side up) behind the pattern print out, making sure that the freezer paper covers section J and K.
  • Staple through the two layers (pattern on top) to hold the freezer paper in place (see photo below). 
  • Sew along the solid template lines with the needle on your sewing machine (remove the thread, you may also like to use an old needle).  Note there is no need to sew along the 1/4" dashed  line as we'll add the seam allowance in the next step.
  • Remove the staples.
  • Using your rotary cutter and ruler add the 1/4" seam allowance to your freezer paper templates by cutting 1/4" beyond the perforated line.
  • Mark the templates with L (light), M (medium), and D (dark) to show which fabric goes where, see photo below.
  • Your templates are ready, rethread your machine.

Step 3: Cut fabric for centre square

When foundation paper piecing always cut your fabric larger than required so that you can trim back later. I hate wasting fabric so I always cut my pieces as small as I can, if you prefer more wriggle room, feel free to cut your pieces slightly larger.

  • Light fabric (pink); cut four rectangles 2" x 1 1/4"
  • Medium fabric (brown); cut two 2" squares and cross cut to yield four triangles
  • Dark fabric (blue); cut one 1 1/2" square

Step 4: Piece the centre square

A. Prepare to sew the first seam

  • Because each section only has three pieces of fabric, it really doesn't matter which piece you start with. I've chosen to start in the middle. Iron the centre fabric for each template, wrong side down, to the shiny (sticky) side of your freezer paper templates. Position fabric so that it covers the template and allows 1/4" seam allowance (see below), if you have directional fabric you may like to take note of the direction.

  • Fold the template back along the first seam line, it doesn't matter which side (left or right). Trim excess fabric from that edge so that there is a 1/4" seam allowance beyond the fold seam line. I use my rotary cutter and ruler for this step but you could also use scissors.

  • Line up the next piece of fabric with this cut edge (right sides together). See below.

B: Sew first seam

  • Keep the freezer paper folded back along the seam line.
  • Sew your stitches as close as you can get to the paper without sewing through the paper. Use your normal stitch length.
  • If you do sew through the paper, don't worry, just gently pull the freezer paper away from the stitches before the next step (yes, I've done this many times!).

  • Unfold the template

  • Iron fabric to the freezer paper as shown below.

C: Sew second seam

  • Fold template back along the next seam line and trim seam allowance to 1/4" as shown below. 

  • With right sides together, line up the next piece of fabric with the seam line and again, sew as close as you can get to the paper without sewing through the paper.

D: Finish each section

  • Unfold the template and iron fabric to the freezer paper.

  • Trim excess fabric from all edges, using the freezer paper as a guide.

  • Gently remove freezer paper by peeling away from fabric.
  • At this point I flipped the direction the centre seam was pressed on the middle piece so that it would nest with the outside pieces when sewn together.
  • Repeat the process for section I, reusing the section K template.

E: Complete Centre Square

Once you've finished the three sections, sew them together to complete the centre square.

Step 5: Create freezer paper templates as cutting guides

A. Create freezer paper templates to help cut the strips

Because the pieces for the remaining sections are not easily measured on an inch ruler, I created templates using freezer paper. It's really easy to do, just place your freezer paper over the pattern print out, and using your ruler and rotary cutter, cut the freezer paper along the solid lines of one of the long sections in the pattern (you'll cut right through the pattern paper, but that's ok because we're not using it again). Use a loop or two of washi tape to hold the freezer paper in place. Your freezer paper strip needs to be about 10" long.

B. Create a freezer paper template for cross cutting the strips

Use the same technique as above, but this time include the seam allowance in the width, cut a strip of freezer paper 2 1/2" long. This template will be used in Step 8 below.

Step 6: Cut strips

Using the template created in 5A above, iron the template strip on to your fabric and cut fabric adding the 1/4" seam allowance to the top and bottom of the template. Reuse the template until cutting is complete. Cut:
  • Dark fabric (blue); one strip 11", two strips 10"
  • Medium fabric (brown); one strip 10", two strips 5"
  • Light fabric (pink); two strips 11" each, one strip 5" 

Step 7: Strip piece

  • Lay out your fabrics as below and sew each section together.

Step 8: Cross cut strips

  • Using the template created in 5B above, iron it to the top strip (10" dark/med/dark) and use it as a guide to cross cut your strip (see photo below). This section will yield eight pieces. 
  • Repeat the process for the short section (5" med/light/med), this section will yield four pieces.

  • Cross cut the remaining section (11" light/dark/light), to yield four 2 1/2" squares.

Step 9: Piece corner sections

  • Lay out the three strips that make up each of the corner squares and sew together.

Step 10: Piece the block

  • Lay out the nine squares and piece in rows. Not like this! Oops! 

That's better!

  • Piece the three rows together.

Hooray you're done!

For more information on piecing this block head over to Angie's tutorial here and Marti Mitchell's tutorial here (Marti has a giveaway running on her blogpost!). Below are the blogposts coming up before Christmas...
13/12/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell - Block 96
15/12/2016: Peta @ She Quilts A Lot
20/12/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell - Block 84
22/12/2016: Cat @
Cat & Vee

Friday, 14 October 2016

Marti Michell Mini Quilt Mania ~ A Tree Quilt Tutorial

A Pine Tree quilt in an old quilt book* caught my eye when I was looking for inspiration for this project.  I can't say I've noticed too many Pine Tree quilts around, although I did remember seeing this gorgeous Pine Tree block by Amanda from HeyPorkChop. I love Amanda's projects!  I didn't have to look very hard to find loads more Pine Tree quilts online (pop over to my Vintage and Traditional Quilt board on Pinterest to see a few of them). There are so many variations on this block, mainly in the number of 'branches' and the size and shape of the trunk. So I've come up with my own Pine Tree variation. It's based on a five-patch 6" block and is made using Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates Set S. For my mini quilt I made four tree blocks (one for each season) and set them on-point with narrow sashing.  I'm sharing the instructions for this mini today as part of the Marti Michell Mini Quilt Mania organised by Angie@GnomeAngel.  Pop over to Angie's blogpost for all the details, including how to participate (there are prizes!).

My finished mini is 18 3/8", with optional instructions to add a border and increase the size to 20 3/8". Feel free to modify as you wish; you could use four or five of your favourite 6" blocks and follow my setting instructions, or make just one tree block and pop it on a pouch.

* The book I was reading is 'American Quilts and How to Make Them' by Carter Houck and Myron Miller (1974).

So let's get started...

What You'll Need;

Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates Set S (you'll use three of the four templates from this set; S98, S99 and S100)

Fabric for;

  • the tree (I used two or three fabrics for each tree, use as many as you like!)
  • the block background (I used a low volume fabric for each block)
  • the trunk 
  • sashing (I chose a black Cotton and Steel print)
  • setting squares, triangles and cornerstones (I used a Robert Kaufman linen in Ivory)
  • border fabric (optional)
And all the usual sewing requirements.

To make the 6" tree block;

Cutting Instructions;

Tree fabric one;

  • four triangles using template S100, 
  • six squares using template S99

Tree fabric two;

  • six triangles using template S100,
  • four squares using template S99

Block background fabric;

  • ten triangles using template S100
  • one square using templates S99
  • one ~3 1/2" square, cut once on the diagonal to yield two triangles

Trunk fabric;

  • one triangle using template S100
  • one 1"x5" strip

Piecing Instructions;

Step One;

Lay out your pieces as below;

Step Two;

Start by sewing the ten half square triangles together. Iron seams open. Return your HSTs to the layout as shown below.

Step Three;

Sew rows together (note there are three 5-piece rows and two 3-piece rows, the trunk section will be pieced later). Press seams open.

Step Four;

Sew the two sections together as below.  I used pins at this step. Press seams open.

Step Five;

Piece the trunk section...
Centre the trunk strip between the two background triangles and sew. These are the only seams I didn't press open, instead I pressed the background fabric towards the trunk strip to give the trunk a little bulk.

This piece is now ready to be trimmed to size. Template S98 is perfect for this, line the template up so that the angled edge is aligned with the trunk edge, as below.

Now trim the right hand edge with your rotary cutter (sorry if you're left handed!!). The trimmed piece is shown below.

Turn the section around so that the newly trimmed edge is at the bottom. Line up one of the marked square lines on the ruler with the straight bottom edge and trim the right edge (see below). We now have two straight edges with the trunk running through the corner. The trimmed piece is shown below.

Trim the remaining two edges by matching the line marked X on your ruler with a straight edge on the block. Trim the right hand edge by cutting then sliding the ruler up the block. Repeat for the last side.

Now trim the top of the tree trunk by matching the left and top edges on the S98 template with the left and top edges on the block as below. Trim the corner.

Sew the trunk fabric triangle on to the corner to complete this section.

Step Six;

Nearly there!
Piece the two bottom sections together.

Now sew the bottom section to the top section.

The finished block!
 If you're making the mini, you'll need four tree blocks.

Piece the Quilt Top;

Cutting Instructions;

Background fabric;

  • one 6 1/2" square for the centre
  • two 6 7/8" squares cross cut once on the diagonal to yield four side setting triangles.
  • one 7 1/4" square cross cut twice on the diagonal to yield four corner setting triangles
  • four 1" squares for cornerstones
  • four 1 3/8" squares cross cut once on the diagonal to yield 8 triangles, for the cornerstones on the edge of the quilt
  • two 1 1/2" x WOF strips for a border (optional), two strips 18 7/8", two strips 20 7/8"

Sashing Fabric;

  • sixteen 6 1/2" x 1" strips

Piecing Instructions;

The quilt top is pieced in diagonal rows as shown above. I pressed all seams towards the black sashing fabric. Once all the rows have been pieced, sew rows together, use the cornerstones in the sashing to match each section. When attaching the top right and bottom left corners to the sashing, fold both the triangle and the sashing section in half and match these folds to centre each piece.

Optional border; sew the two 18 7/8"  border strips to left and right sides then sew the two 20 7/8" strips to the top and bottom.

Finished size without borders is 18 3/8". Finished size with borders is 20 3/8".

Quilt and finish as desired! I'm still thinking about how to finish mine!!

Pop over to these blogs for more fun ways to use your Marti Michell templates...

12 August ~ Angie Wilson ~
19 August ~ Tonya Grant ~
26 August ~ Lucy Brennan ~
2 September ~ Kirsty ~
9 September ~ Catherine Demack ~
16 September ~ Natalie ~
23 September ~ Alyce Blyth ~
30 September ~ Peta Pearce ~
14 October - Rachel McCormack ~
28 October ~ Lisa Johnson ~
4 November ~ Marti Michell ~

You can also check out #martimichellminiquiltmania on IG.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Playground Showcase

Hello!! Welcome to the Playground Showcase, featuring Amy Sinibaldi's latest line for Art Gallery Fabrics. The colours in this collection are so completely perfect; pink, coral, mustard, plum and blue. All my favourites! We were still in the thick of winter when I was planning the quilt design, the days were mostly grey and dreary. Creating a quilt of spring bulbs was the perfect way to bring my favourite season forward a little.

I started out with the nine-patch tulip block from '1000 Great Quilt Blocks' by Maggi McCormick Gordon. I made a few changes, removing the nine-patch at the centre, changing some of the proportions and shrinking it to a 6" block. I drafted the pattern in EQ7, then cut plastic templates for most of the pieces. Templates might be a slower way to go but I think they're worth it for accuracy, especially with tricky shapes like these. The plastic templates also made it easy to fussy cut the fabrics.

Tulip block by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Tulip Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Tulip quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Tulip Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Tulip Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Tulip Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Tulip Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Tulip Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Tulip Quilt showcasing Playground Fabrics by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Spring is officially here now but the quilt is still brightening my day up, it's hanging on the wall where I pinned it to take photos, I don't really want to take it down. Can you tell how wet and grey it was when I took the photos? I've had to do a lot of editing to brighten them up!

The tulip blocks are scattered across the quilt in my first attempt at an improv style, off-grid layout. I was feeling brave! I laid the blocks out randomly then filled in the gaps with the background fabric. To keep track of the quilt size, I used my Irish Chain quilt as a guide, laying the blocks out on top of the quilt. I liked the way the Irish Chain looked peeking through so I added a few on-point squares to the quilt. I like the quirkiness of that little addition. My cat was (as usual) drawn to the quilt, I wasn't too happy the day she ran all over it with muddy paws! But she does look cute sitting on it!

The quilting was done by Donna Ward on her long arm machine. I was keen on figure eight quilting but Donna wasn't sure about doing it without any horizontal reference points in the piecing, so she came up with the idea of adding wavy lines and using those as the reference points. Brilliant! I love the softness that all those curves bring to the pointy corners of the tulip block.

With the quilt finished, I shrunk the 6" block down to a 3" on-point paper pieced block, the perfect size to feature on the cover of a needle book. Of course I used Amy's needle book tutorial. These fabrics work so well in teeny tiny piecing too! I will be popping the free 3" spring bulb pattern in my Craftsy store very soon.

Playground Fabrics by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery - needle books

And finally, one more make to share...

Gathering Flowers Quilt Block in Art Gallery Playground Fabrics by Amy Sinibaldi

Anna Maria Horner's Gathering Flowers quilt block is a perfect match for Playground fabrics don't you think? This is going to be a pillow for my daughter. I just need to decide whether to keep it square or trim it for a round pillow. Hmmm....

Amy has written a blog post about her inspiration for the fabric line, and you can see swatches of all the fabrics, and the look book by clicking here. Visit the links below to check out what everyone else is making in the Playground Showcase. There are so many beautiful makes already and we're only half way through. Seriously, you'll need a little time to check out these blog posts! Oh and if you're on Instagram, the hashtag is #playgroundshowcase.


14: Katie Skoog ~
              15: Michelle Curtis ~
              16: Peta Peace ~
              17: Minki Kim ~
              19: Jemima Flendt ~
              20: Tara J Curtis ~
              21: Alexis Wright ~
              22: Melissa LeRay ~
              23: Ali Brorsen ~
              24: Angie Wilson ~
              26: Rachel McCormack ~
              27: Stacy Olson ~
              28: Shannon Fraser ~
              29: Cristi Cooper ~
              30: Guiseppe Ribaudo ~


1: Kristyne Czepuryk ~
             3: Amy Sinibaldi ~

Quilt Stats;

Quilt name: I've just now realised I haven't thought of a name, maybe 'Early Spring'!?
Size: 56"x63"
Batting: 100% cotton from Hobbs
Background and binding fabric: Essex linen in Ivory by Robert Kaufman and a little Blueberry Park on Snow
Long Arm Quilted by: Donna Ward

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