Friday, 9 October 2015

Block #20 Caroline Tutorial - Farmer's Wife Sew Along

Today it's my turn to share a block tutorial with you for the Farmer's Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel. I'll be walking you through how to put together block #20, Caroline.

This block is made up of half square triangles (HSTs) and quarter square triangles (QSTs). I will be walking you through how to put this block together, along with a few tips and tricks for piecing these units so that you get perfect points.


Step 1 - Cutting

To make this block using the rotary cutting method, you will need to cut squares of fabric.

a. The smaller squares are cut at the size shown on the rotary cutting instructions for Triangle B, but rounded up to the nearest half inch. You will need FOUR squares from one fabric (shown as blue in my block) and TWO squares from two other fabrics (the green and white stripe, and the green and blue stripe shown here). This is a total of EIGHT squares.

b. The larger squares are cut at double the measurement shown for Triangle B, rounded up to the nearest inch.

Step 2. Pair up your fabrics. 

The smaller squares will be paired up as shown in the photo below. The larger squares are paired up together.

Step 3. Draw a diagonal line through the centre on the wrong side of the lightest fabric in all of your six pairs of fabric. 

Step 4. 

a. Sew 1/4" either side of the line on all pairs of fabric, by lining the side of your patchwork foot up along the edge of the line

b. Cut along the drawn line on all pairs of fabric.

Step 5. Press your seams open. 

You will have two large HSTs and eight small HSTs as below. The large HSTs will be used in the quarter square triangle units, and the small HSTs will be used to make pinwheel units.

Step 6. Making the QST units

Take both your large HSTs, and draw a line diagonally through the centre on the wrong side of one of these. Pair them up so that the sewn seams on both the HSTs are lined up and you have different opposite fabrics paired either side of the seam as shown below.

You want to make sure these seams line up accurately along the line, so you get a really nice point in the centre of your block.

You can use a floating pin to help do this - push a pin exactly through the centre of the top HST.

then carefully lining up the edges of your two blocks, push the pin through the bottom HST, making sure it goes straight through the centre of the seam. 

Pin these together and sew either side of the line. 

 Cut along the drawn line, and press your seams open.

You will need to trim these QST units down to size. Look carefully at the photo below to see which points you will need to line up on your ruler to trim these blocks accurately. When these points are lined up, trim the right hand and top sides of your QST unit.

Turn your QST around so the trimmed sides are at the left and bottom. Follow the photo below to see which points to line up on your ruler, and again trim the right and top sides.

7. Trimming the HST units

Look carefully at the photo below to see where to line up your ruler on your HST blocks to trim them to size. You'll be lining the 45 degree line on your ruler up with the seam on your block. Position your ruler as shown, and then trim the right hand and top sides of your HST.

Turn your block so the trimmed sides are on the left and bottom, and follow the photo below to line up your ruler. Again, line up the 45 degree line on your ruler along the seam. Trim the right hand and top sides.

8. Make the pinwheel units

Take your eight finished HST units and arrange them in pairs as shown below.

 Sew these pairs together. I find by starting the seam at the end where the points join, I get my seams to match better. Press your seams open.

Next, sew the pairs of HSTs into pinwheel units. Pinning the seams as below will help keep the centre points aligned.

If you look at where the seams will match from the side, you can check that they're aligned properly. 

10. Sew your QST and pinwheel units into the block. 
Arrange your QST and pinwheel units as shown below. 

Sew them into pairs, pressing seams open.

 And finally sew the pairs together, using the same pinning technique as shown in step 9 above.
Press you seam open!

I actually made two versions of this block - I am learning so much about fabric placement by making these blocks! I definitely prefer the blue/green version, but I think this red/white version will make it's way into my quilt as well!

This tutorial is part of the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along, hosted by Angie of Gnome Angel and the Fat Quarter Shop.

If you would like to join the sew along, you can find the book here:
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.

xx Jess

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Tula Pink Giveaway - and a Tula Quilt Finish!

I've been starting new projects at a ridiculous rate over the last few weeks - so I currently have six projects in various stages of completion that I'm actively working on. This is a bit ridiculous even for me, so I'm thrilled to say I have something that's actually finished to share today :oD. I'm especially excited that this quilt is finally finished. I started making it almost three years ago, when Tula Pink's Birds and Bees collection first came out. And I have a really awesome giveaway at the end for all of you Tula fans!

The pattern is the Colour Block quilt, designed by Tula Pink for her Saltwater collection. It's a really nice pattern to use larger scale prints, and it is one of those really clever and simple patterns to make. I chose kona solids for the background, in colours that would blend well with the prints. This quilt top has been sitting in my to-finish pile for a few years, wanting to be finished. The size (84" x 96") was what made me hesitate to quilt it - so when I was given a frame earlier this year I decided this would be the first quilt to go on the frame.

And the last as it happens, for a few reasons. When I set my machine up on the frame, I realised I only had about 4" of quilting space at any time, which meant my options for quilting were fairly limited. I decided to go for dense organic straight lines, and I adore the texture. The other negative while I was using the frame was the number of thread breakages I had while quilting. I'm pretty sure I was just expecting too much of my machine on the frame, and expecting it to stitch faster than it's capable of. The other thing that might have played a role is the fact that I used a high thread count flat sheet for the backing fabric. Whatever the reason, I haven't used the frame since!

I used a whole bunch of Aurifil 50wt threads to quilt it - many of them are variegated from Tula Pink's first collection for Aurifil. I love how the thread blends in some areas, but contrasts a lot in others (especially on the darker fabrics.) I'm yet to wash this one, but I'm a bit excited to see how it crinkles once it's washed.

I promised a giveaway today, and it's a pretty amazing one! The Fat Quarter Shop have offered a bundle of Tula Pink's latest collection Eden, in the Lotus colourway. I LOVE the colours in this bundle - they're a little different from Tula's usual shades of green and blue.

If you'd like a chance to win this bundle, please just leave me a comment and let me know what you'd make with it (or if you'd just stash it like I would!!) That's it, no hoops! The giveaway is open to everyone, and comments will close next Wednesday 14th October at 8pm AEST.

Please make sure you are NOT A NO REPLY BLOGGER - I have had lots and lots of no reply comments lately, so if I haven't replied to you it means I can't. If you're a no-reply blogger I have no way of contacting you and you will not be eligible to win this bundle :o)

I hope you're all having a wonderful week!

xx Jess

Friday, 2 October 2015

Farmers Wife Sew Along - Week 1 Roundup

You might have noticed a not-so-little event kick off this week - the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along, hosted by Angie of GnomeAngel. Angie has been working tirelessly for the last several months behind the scenes organising this sew along - and she has done a phenomenal job. Angie has thought of literally everything needed to make this sew along work smoothly, I absolutely take my hat off to her for taking on this massive year long project.

Angie has teamed up with Marti Michell and a bunch of bloggers (including me!), and we will all be sharing block tutorials for the 99 blocks over the next twelve months. It's a bit exciting to be honest - the Facebook group has hit almost 4000 members (!!), so it's definitely the biggest blog event I've participated in. The first three blocks were released this week - and there are tutorials by Angie as well as a couple of the guest bloggers. I've even managed to make my blocks for this week - I'm not sure I'll keep up over the whole twelve months, but at least I'm off to a good start! I've decided to use my stash of Suzuko Koseki prints for my quilt, along with a bunch of other coordinating prints as needed. It will be quite unlike any quilt I've made before - it's already an eclectic mix of prints.

Angie has organised the block schedule so we will be working from easiest through to hardest rather than working alphabetically through the book. So the first block - #12 Becky - was quick and easy to put together. I'm still not entirely sold on this block - but I'll wait till I've made a few more before I decide whether to remake this one or not. You can find the tutorial for this block by Angie, and tutorials for Becky (#12) and Bonnie (#16) by Lucy at Charm About You and Melissa at Oh, How Sweet. Co

The second block - Bonnie #16 - was another quick and easy make. I'm really happy with this one - not my normal choice of colours, but it's nice to make a soft and pretty block one in a while :o) 

The third block - #8 Aunt - was a wee bit more complicated, but way more simple than some of the blocks to come ;o). I ended up paper piecing the centre part, and then rotary cutting the 'borders'. I actually changed the outer fabric in this one, as I wasn't happy with the first version. Angie has put together a tutorial for this block, along with the uber talented Jodi of Tales of Cloth (whose block is spectacular!!) This is my first version...

I'm much happier with how it looks now!

I'm really glad I'm participating in this sew along - I actually have the first Farmer's Wife book but haven't made a single block. I'm definitely the sort of person who needs a sew along to keep me motivated with this kind of quilt, and I'm really hoping I'll keep up over the next year. I don't have a great track record with finishing QAL quilts, but I'm determined to get this one finished!

xx Jess

Friday Fabric Finds

Welcome to Friday Fabric Finds, where I share what's new and shiny in my sponsor's shops, along with any sales or specials they have running. And there are a LOT of sales on offer this weekend!

Polka Dot Tea have a huge range of gorgeous fabric in stock right now - including the full collection of Tiger Lily by Heather Ross. I'm a huge HR fan, and this collection definitely doesn't disappoint - so much fantastic fussy cutting potential, and Heather's classic mix of soft and saturated colours. There are even some gorgeous low volume prints in there!

At Sew Me a Song, Becca has a huge range of fabrics on sale - over 100 fabrics are 25% off and the clearance section (50% off) is very well stocked too. I'm a bit obsessed with teal fabric at the moment, so this gorgeous stripe really caught my eye - how good would this be for binding? I've actually been sewing with this one today - it made its way into one of my Farmers Wife blocks. I'll be sharing the tutorial for that next Friday!

Frangipani Fabrics have 25% off all Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner and Kaffe Fassett fabrics from now till the 5th October. This includes some beautiful fabrics, including AMH's Folk Song collection and Violette from Amy Butler. The sale ends on Monday, so get in quick!

Pink Castle Fabrics have just received Elizabeth Hartman's debut fabric collection - Rhoda Ruth - for Robert Kaufman. I am a massive fan of Elizabeth's patterns (and have been teaching several of her patterns at Frangipani Fabrics over the last few months) - and I'm a bit besotted with this collection. Elizabeth's sense of colour is just so good, and these are the kinds of prints I'd use time and time again. 

Pink Castle also have a couple of sales running this week - you can take 20% off all books and magazines this week with the code BOOK20. Not only that, they have drastically reduced lots of sale fabric - you'll find a tonne of stuff in there for as little as $4 per yard. Time to stock up on some quilt backs perhaps?

Last but certainly not least, the Fat Quarter Shop are offering 20% off all Cotton and Steel fabric. Again, you'll have to be quick, as the sale ends on Sunday 4th October at midnight CST!

Happy shopping!

xx Jess

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Star Burst Quilt Pattern Release!!

It's taken me way too long to get around to releasing my Star Burst pattern. The pattern was written and tested last year, but I've been dragging my feet getting the cover done. But it's finally done! You can find it in my Payhip shop, and my Craftsy shop :o)

I made my version using a bundle of Tula Pink's Fox Field fabric, and quilted it using Aurifil 50wt. The lap size quilt finishes at 64", and this one is a family favorite :o) 

My wonderful friend Leanne (aka Daisy and Jack) made this spectacular version when she pattern tested for me. I adore this photo - and I really love the colours Leanne chose. Such a happy quilt!

Joanne made this gorgeous version as a project Linus quilt. 

Louise made this glorious version. 

And finally Dawn made this beautiful mini quilt - I love the fussy cutting she did in the centre star!

I taught this pattern earlier this year, and my students produced some pretty amazing versions. Carol made a mini version, using her favorite colours. I love how this block works in solids - it just sings in purples and reds!

Carol also made a lap size version in classic reds and greys. Alternating the stars like this gives it such an amazing visual impact!

And finally, my other student Bernadette has made her version using Tula Pink's Acacia along with purples for her granddaughter. I love how Bernadette has given it a really scrappy look by making each of the outer points different.

I accidentally started a new quilt tonight (to celebrate finally getting this pattern finished?!?), and I'm off to keep working on it. I hope you're all having a wonderful week!

xx Jess

Friday, 25 September 2015

Welded Quilt {AGF Stitched}

Over the last couple of weeks I've been working pretty solidly on a new quilt. This is the third installment in the AGF Stitched series, a joint project between The Fat Quarter Shop and Art Gallery Fabrics. This quilt is called Welded, and it is another really fast quilt to put together :o)

As soon as I saw this quilt design, I decided it would be perfect for my eldest son's upcoming eleventh birthday. It's a great masculine design, and it uses large pieces of fabric so there's lots of opportunity to use large scale prints.

I've used fabric from several Art Gallery collections - the background text fabric is one of my all-time favorites (from Cherie designed by Frances Newcombe). The rest of the fabrics are from Utopia (Frances Newcombe), Curiosities (Jeni Baker), Happy Home (Caroline Hulse) and Imprint (Katarina Roccella). I love this mix of prints and colours - and I think my son will love it too :o)

I had originally intended to keep the quilting simple on this quilt (famous last words, right?) - but as you can see that idea went out of the window pretty quickly! I haven't actually finished the quilting yet, but you probably get the idea of where it's going from these photos...

 I started by quilting the background areas using Aurifil 50wt dove grey thread (the magic blending thread!), creating a square 'border' around each of the navy blue squares. It took me a while to decide what to do in the other coloured squares (orange, yellow and green etc), but I eventually decided to quilt a star type design, with pebbles radiating out from the centre of the blocks. I LOVE the texture in these parts of the quilt - although it was that decision that took this from quick and simple quilting, to something that is taking hours. All worth it though, I think!

I'm now in the process of going back and quilting each of the navy blocks, just using simple straight lines in varying widths. I will also quilt the turquoise corner stones at some stage soon. I was a bit worried that all this quilting would detract from the quilt design - but I think because I've used blending thread and kept it to just a few designs (essentially straight lines and pebbles) it works quite well. This is still a really soft and drapey quilt, despite all the quilting - possibly due to the amazing quality of Art Gallery Fabric I think?

If you'd like to make your own Welded quilt, you can find the free pattern here, and there is a video tutorial available too! The Fat Quarter Shop also have a complete quilt kit available, using Pat Bravo's Etno collection.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend! School holidays kick off today for two weeks, so I don't expect to get much sewing done - but I'm really looking forward to having my small people at home :o)

xx Jess