Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Block Tutorial - #83 Poppy

I'm feeling like the slackest blogger ever at the moment. I have been sewing quite a lot, and I'm hoping to have a chance to share what I've been working on really soon! I finished quilting and binding my improv quilt over the weekend, and I just need to get some decent photos so I can blog about it. And I've started my next class sample - more to come on that in the next week or two!

Today though, I'm sharing my next block tutorial in The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew Along, hosted by Angie of Gnome Angel. My block this week is #83 - Poppy. I was a little dubious when I saw how many pieces are packed into this 6" block (over 60!?!), but she came together pretty happily in the end :o)

I've been using my stash of Japanese prints (mostly Suzuko Koseki and Dawaibo from both Polka Dot Tea and Sew Me A Song) for these blocks. I deliberately chose high contrast colours for this block, as I wanted to emphasise those tiny pieces. The orange print is quite small-scale, but the black and blue are both medium/large scale prints - I think the combination works quite well, despite the tiny size of the pieces. 

This is a pretty basic tutorial - I paper pieced my block - and the biggest advice I can give here is to identify which fabric goes with each template section and label it accordingly. This meant I could cut a bunch of squares from each of my three fabrics (mostly 2" squares, with a few 2" x 2.5" for the ends of the rows) and then piece them without having to think too carefully about what went where. 

Once I'd foundation pieced each of the sections (my friend Cat shares a great paper piecing tutorial here) I laid them out and double checked that I hadn't messed up my fabric placement. From there, it was simply a matter of piecing all those bits together.

I don't have all that much special advice here. I didn't use pins or clips to hold my pieces together - I actually find with really small sections like these, either of these tools actually shift my pieces just slightly and it causes more issues than if I don't pin. Go figure. I just made sure the edges of each pair of pieces lined up nicely, and sewed right along the solid line rather than using my 1/4" foot. I pressed my seams open in all cases, to spread the bulk as much as possible.

First, join F and G to E.

Then add the side sections of the middle star to (EFG) - these are sections H and I (pictured to each side of the block in this photo).

Followed by the first outer edge sections. These are sections C and D.

And finally the longer outer edge sections - sections A and B.

Every time I make one of these blocks I get the bug to keep making more - so once I get my last two class samples made for this year, I hope to get back to my Farmer's Wife 1930's quilt! 

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Improv quilt quilting progress

So, somehow it's been almost a month since I posted here (although I'm sure most of you are used to my erratic-blogging ways by now!) April was a bit of a blur, with 10 days in Melbourne for AQC - but since we got back I have been sewing up a storm. Over the last few weeks, I finished piecing my improv quilt top and started quilting it last week. I didn't manage to get a good photo of the quilt top before I basted it, so you'll have to wait for the big reveal when it's finished for that!

The entire time I have been piecing this quilt, I've been bustingly excited about quilting it. Not that I didn't enjoy the piecing part - it's been the most fun I've had making a quilt ever, quite seriously. I didn't have all that much of a plan when I started quilting - I just knew I wanted lots of organic straight lines (free motion quilted of course!) with a few pockets of curvy designs. I started out in the yellow/ochre block of colour, slowly getting a feel for what I wanted to do. I've used two different yellow variegated 40wt Aurifil threads in this section - a darker thread in this area (until I finished the spool),

and then a lighter (orangey yellow) variegated thread for the rest of the yellow block and out into the low volume. Once I got into the low volume area, I hit my stride with the quilting, very much inspired by the grey Carolyn Friedlander print in the photo below.

You can see here how much that fabric inspired this quilting - and the texture is just amazing. Because many of the low volume fabrics I've used have a grid-type design in them, I have actually done virtually zero marking on this quilt - I've used the fabrics as a guide instead.

 Earlier this week, I managed to start quilting the orange section. I'm using a variegated coral coloured Aurifil 40wt for the orange section - and I'm really surprised how well it blends into these fabrics. There is a big variation in tone and value through this section, and although I initially questioned this choice of thread, it works amazingly well.

You can definitely see it on the lighter fabrics, but it's proven to be a real chameleon thread across the others. I felt this thread was a bit dark to use on the low volume areas though, so I switched to a variegated grey 40wt for the low volume section near the oranges.

Considering I only got this quilt basted last Wednesday, and I haven't really spent all that much time quilting it (about 15 hours I think?), I can't really believe it's almost half quilted. This quilt has stolen my heart, completely and utterly. It's my absolute favorite, and I see many more improv adventures for me this year!

You can see a few areas I've left unquilted - some of these I will go back and free motion quilt, but others I will add a bit of hand-quilting too. And some of them will be left alone, happily puffy among all that textured, tactile quilty goodness.

 xx Jess

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Blue Wren Cushion {Finished!}

The last two weeks have been a flurry of pattern writing, fabric cutting, sewing and general organising at work. Some of the Frangipani Fabrics team (Briony, Cath and myself) are heading over to Melbourne tomorrow via boat to have a stall at the Australasian Quilt Convention, so we have been super busy getting ready for it. Our stall will be focusing on Indigenous Australian fabrics, including seven quilt patterns we are releasing, and it's going to be SO much fun! If you're heading to AQC, please come and say hi at Stall 153 :o).

I'll be teaching a short class (a Make and Take class) each day the convention is on. Briony and I came up with this design, and we are so pleased with it! It was a real team effort in terms of its construction too - I cut and basted the pieces, started the sewing and then Briony took over and completed the wren and appliqued it onto the background (which I put together). And then I quilted it and finished the cushion :o).  It's an English Paper Pieced Blue Wren, made entirely with Indigenous fabrics, and finishes up as a 20" square cushion (or mini quilt.) Kits for this project will be available at the show - and we are taking preorders for kits for those of you who aren't coming to AQC! We are also taking pre-orders for the pattern (which will ship once we get back from AQC).

We have also made up an Australian animal quilt, using Kristy from Quiet Play's fantastic foundation pieced pattern. This will be available as a kit at the show as well. Cath made the blocks for this one, and I pieced and quilted the quilt. These animals look fantastic using Indigenous prints :o)

I'll share more of our booth next week (probably on IG, but also in this space if I get a chance!)

I hope you're having a fabulous weekend!

xx Jess

Finish A Long 2016: Quarter 2 Link Up

2016 button 250 best

I know I've said it before, but this year is speeding by at a slightly scary pace. My kids have just started their end of first term holidays, and I'm finding it hard to grasp that the school year is a quarter over already! Not only that, as we are into April, the Q2 of the Finish A Long is starting as well.  As you are already aware, the 2016 FAL has gone global - a community of bloggers across the world, jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:
For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. And seriously, it is such an amazing community! We had over 800 finishes linked up in the first quarter, which is absolutely incredible - so if you have WIPs hanging around that you would like to finish, it's a brilliant way to keep motivated and get encouragement from other quilters.

I have quite a few projects I'd like to finish this quarter - firstly my improv quilt I've been sharing over the last few weeks. I'll be teaching this as a series of classes starting in June, so I really do need to get it finished quite soon.

My other priority is another class sample I need to make - I'm teaching this amazing Modern Sampler quilt, designed by Yoshiko Jinzenji. I do have a pile of fabric I've pulled for this quilt, but I haven't had a chance to take a photo yet. Lots of Suzuko Koseki and low volume will go into this one!

The third project I'd love to complete (but honestly, it's probably a long shot with the other two quilt I want to get done!) is the quilt I started in my workshop with Kaffe Fassett back in February. I need to cut a bunch more pieces, piece it, quilt it and bind it - so honestly I think this will be a Q3 finish, but you never know!

Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list. Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors. There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish. I've been known to make ridiculous lists in the past - there is no shame in carrying projects over from one quarter to the next!

The 2016 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, please let me know if you have any questions.

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q2 of the FAL - you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo. We are so grateful to have such a brilliant bunch of sponsors - and it's certainly great motivation to get projects ticked off your Q2 list. Please think about heading over and checking out our sponsor sites and saying thank you!

As you may recall from Q1, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. The first quarter tutorials were fabulous, so I encourage you to check them out (the list of tutorials can be found in my end of Q1 post). This tutorial week will take place each quarter. If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

 It's time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of where you are now, and make your list. Please ensure that you have at least started your projects - pulled fabric with a pattern or plan, and remember that it is finished projects that will get you entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the "finish" is when they are a completed, usable project. It is very helpful if you tag your Q2 list as #FALQ2yourname on IG so that we can find it at the end of the quarter.

 The 2016 Q2 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You only link your list once, on one blog - and that link will show up on all of the blogs.

If you are using Flickr or Instgram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you have need it.

 We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others and visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too. When creating your list there is one thing to remember....No deductions for not completing something so ..... Aim High! Nothing to lose!!!

So, get those lists together and get linked up. The Q2 linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, April 16th - as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs. I'm looking forward to another amazing quarter of finished projects!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Improv Quilt Progress

I've been sewing up a storm over the last few days - lots of prep for AQC next week, but I've also managed to finish a quilt (more on that later this week!) and make some great progress on my improv quilt. This one is a class sample for a series of workshops I'm teaching at Frangipani Fabrics later this year. 

I've been slowly doing some strip piecing over the last week or so, to add to the blocks I shared last week. And as I was making them, I decided on a quilt-layout-plan of sorts - columns of each colour, gradually fading out as they go down the quilt. I actually think this will end up being horizontal rows of colour rather than vertical - but it was much easier to work on my design wall in this orientation.

Today I made a bunch of improv triangle blocks. My design wall doesn't have great lighting for photos - but I'm really happy with how it's looking. I'm also very thankful for a pretty big design wall - this is about 70 or 80" wide, so it's going to be a pretty big quilt.

I could happily work on this all day everyday - I get so absorbed in this project, I totally switch off from everything else and find it incredibly relaxing to work on. I'm hoping to start piecing it gradually each evening until I leave for Melbourne on Sunday - and I'm pretty sure I'll be dreaming about it when I can't work on it ;o)

xx Jess

Thursday, 31 March 2016

2016 Finish-A-Long: Quarter One Link Up

2016 button 250 best

I don't know about you, but for me this year is absolutely flying past. And cliched as it is, I honestly can't believe we are at the end of March already. April is a HUGE month for me - I'm travelling over to Melbourne for the Australiasian Quilt Convention (AQC) in the middle of the month, as part of the Frangipani Fabrics team. As well as working in our booth, I'll be teaching a Make and Take class which I'm ridiculously excited about - I'll share more about that as soon as I can ;o). If you're coming along to AQC, please come and say hi at the Frangipani Fabrics booth! 

So being the end of March, it means it's already the end of Q1 of the 2016 FAL! The 2016 FAL is now global - a community of bloggers across the world are jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:
As a host, I'm not eligible to link up for prizes (sadly, we have an amazing list of sponsors!), but I am playing along this year anyway. For Quarter 1, I was reasonably sensible and only had two quilts I hoped to finish. I did get one of these done - my Aviatrix Medallion, which was an epic finish for me. The second has actually been started (I shared the beginning of it yesterday) - but it will carry across into Quarter 2...

But now it's over to you! It's time to link up the projects on your 2016 Q1 FAL list that you did finish. First, a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:
For the 2016 FAL, we also will feature a tutorial week. Here is the schedule so you can visit them all:
The 2016 Q1 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs - you only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog. Link-up "rules"
  • Add one link for each Q1 finish. If you want to link a round up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately. Please, only one link per finish, as your link is an entry into the randomly drawn prize draws.
  • Please use the 2016 FAL button or the hashtag #2016FAL
  • Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original Q1 list so that we can verify your entry.
  • Please become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others and comment. We all need encouragement so let's applaud each other. The 2016 FAL Facebook page is here and follow us on Instagram @finishlong and tag your photos #2106FAL.
  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.

The Q1 Finishes link will stay open from now thru April 7 - link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don't miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the drawings. We will post the winners on each host blog. It's also time to start making your Q2 FAL lists as the Q2 list link opens on April 8 - and you're more than welcome to join us in Q2 regardless of whether you've joined up in Q1 or not :o). I have quite a few quilts I'd like to knock over in Q2, so it might be a slightly more ambitious list than Q1!!!

xx Jess