February 29, 2016

Chart 38: Rosemary or our substitute Mexicali Rose, in the Farmer's Wife Sew Along


None of the pieces in Rosemary are From Marti Michell template friendly, and I picked a well-known block with similar design elements as the template-friendly substitute.

Most of our alternate or substitute blocks are named after Iowa farm wives of the 1930s. Mexicali Rose is a song these women might have sung along to on the radio.

The song was a popular love song (music by Jack Tenney and lyrics by Helen Stone) published in 1923. The sorrowful refrain "Mexicali Rose stop crying, I'll come back to you some sunny day" will keep playing in your head if you dare to listen to Gene Autry or Bing Crosby croon it on YouTube. Interestingly, the movie Mexicali Rose that starred Gene Autry was not produced until 1939.

The block is quite straightforward but it does contain a mirror image with triangles that we first encountered in the Addie block; see Template Conversion Chart #11.

My Mexicali Rose Block

Click on the image for a larger view.

Click the link to download the cutting and sewing chart for Mexicali Rose:

From Marti Michell Template Conversion Chart #38
for cutting and sewing the Mexicali Rose block
 
Visit these other Farmer's Wife Sew Along blogs, too, for sewing tutorials and other info about
Rosemary, Block #88:

http://gnomeangel.com

http://daydreamsofquilts.blogspot.com/





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.

February 15, 2016

Chart 37: Mirror Images and Bea, Block #11 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along


Mirror Image Alert

It has been a few weeks since our last mirror image alert, and wouldn't you know, it is parallelograms again. Trim one strip set right side up and one wrong side up. You could put the strips right sides together, but be careful if you do -- the seam allowances build up height and can make your FMM Template S-100 rock during cutting. (Download the template conversion chart for cutting details.)



I love Bea's letter from "Queen Bee" in Nebraska. It exemplifies the saying,

Be careful -- just when you think you have pieced the mirror-image basket handles and the rest of the block is triangles, the mirror-image basket feet are waiting to be sewn!

My Bea Block

Click on the image for a larger view. 

Click the link to download the cutting and sewing chart for Bea:

From Marti Michell Template Conversion Chart #37
for cutting and sewing the Bea block
 
Visit these other Farmer's Wife Sew Along blogs, too, for sewing tutorials and other info about
Bea, Block #11:

http://gnomeangel.com

http://ouvragesdenat.com/blog/



Queen Bee image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy, http://thegraphicsfairy.com/



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.





February 10, 2016

Chart 36: Half Blocks and Charlotte, Block #23 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along


Coming Soon!

In only 3 weeks, we will begin making several blocks that are most easily and accurately made using strip techniques.

The 3/4-inch finished squares and strips can be cut with a regular ruler, but I will be showing you the advantages of using our 3/4-inch finished Log Cabin Ruler #8037.


Because most of the lines on the 3/4-inch side of the ruler are exactly 3/4-inch apart, making the "second cut" across the pieced strip visually easy.

End-of-Row Block

Because I stabilized the bias edges on the two halves of Charlotte, I thought you might enjoy my "Top 10" list for Marti's Choice Fusible Tape. Click the image for a larger view or download the PDF here to print




Making Charlotte

Take advantage of cutting the fabrics for both halves of Charlotte at the same time. It is really very straightforward.

If you don't have Set M, there aren't many pieces of each shape to cut using the patterns provided in the book.

My Charlotte Block

You can see on the back where Marti's Choice Fusible Tape has been fused on the longest edge (hypotenuse) of the pieced halves:



Click on the image for a larger view. Click the link below to download the Chart for cutting and making Charlotte:

Visit these other Farmer's Wife Sew Along blogs, too, for sewing tutorials and other info about the Charlotte block:

http://gnomeangel.com

http://www.aquiltinglife.com/







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.


February 8, 2016

Chart 35: Block Order and Mrs. Keller, Block #69 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along


The Order of Things

I can't imagine living in a world without alphabetical and numerical order. It would be unbelievably chaotic. But, they are not the only ways to establish order out of chaos. Sometimes short to tall or narrow to wide are appropriate ways to sort. Left to right, right to left, ladies first, PFC to General, and rainbow order of fabrics are some other sorting techniques that come to mind quickly. It would be fun to make a list of all the ways we sort or create order in our lives.

Someone remarked to me the other day, "I thought you said we were doing the blocks from the easiest to the hardest. If they get much harder, I'll never finish this quilt."  Let me tell you what I have tried to do and why. First, I would never try to put almost 100 diverse blocks into easiest to hardest order.

Without hesitation, the first 10 or 12 blocks were selected to provide a fast start. It seemed to me that the more blocks you finished quickly, the more you were likely to commit to finishing the quilt. But, some of the easier blocks show up much later to offer encouragement for the final push.

To me, the Sew Along is about encouraging progress and learning, sharing experiences and being in this together, all around the world. I love the parallel that our Sew Along is connecting quilters just as the letters written by the farmers' wives of the 1930s, and selected by Laurie for the book, were letters of encouragement and sharing for those women who were connecting through the magazine.

So, you might ask, if we didn't try to sort easy to hard, what did we do?

Most Common Shapes

Sorting by the tools and/or shapes was my first sort. We chose to make blocks that used the most common patchwork shapes first, but we did not exhaust the supply of blocks with simple shapes.



Challenge Level

Likewise, some of the blocks that Laurie chose for this quilt are quite challenging and/or time-consuming. Those are sprinkled in throughout the year. My goal was to create a comfortable rhythm of difficulty and order, regardless of the techniques that you are using.

Common Cutting or Piecing

Sorting by unique cutting or piecing issues was important because repetition is one of the best ways to really add a technique to your quiltmaking toolbox. The repetition of making several blocks in a row that include mirror image cutting, for example, will raise your awareness and increase your understanding of mirror image issues forever.

Template Friendly or Not?

Sorting the blocks that are not (or not very) From Marti Michell acrylic template friendly and finding a comfortable rate of introducing them into the Sew Along was important to keep the interest of those of us who want to cut with acrylic templates. To make that possible, we often added optional template-friendly blocks.

Random Order

This sounds like a perfect oxymoron to me! But I used it, too. Random order would mean that all the blocks in the book have an equal chance of being the next block. In all my sorting, some blocks just didn't really fit any group, like Daffodil and Priscilla, so they were included in a rather random way.


I hope you are enjoying the surprise element of what block might be next and, even more, that you have found the grouping of shapes and techniques helpful in your Sew Along patchwork journey.

My Mrs. Keller Block

Click on the image for a larger view. Click the link to download the cutting and sewing chart for Mrs. Keller:

From Marti Michell Chart #35

for cutting and sewing the Mrs. Keller block
 
Visit these other Farmer's Wife Sew Along blogs, too, for sewing tutorials and other info about Mrs. Keller, Block #69:

http://gnomeangel.com

http://shequiltsalot.com/

All the blocks shown in this blog article are 6 inches finished and were made for the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along. Use the search button under my Blog Archive on the right to find corresponding Template Conversion Charts that you can download in PDF form.





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.


February 3, 2016

Chart 34: Measure and Cut Strips the Marti Way for Georgia, Block #37 in the Farmer's Wife Sew Along


This is the first block in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt to be cut with From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Template Set S. If this is your first time using the Set S templates, please take a little time to understand the pieces, especially Template S-98.

Because it is a long piece, the width of 6 inches divided by 5 plus 1/2 inch, it is perfect for measuring and cutting strips “the Marti Way” for many pieces in the Set S blocks. S-98 can actually be used to cut 8 pieces, 4 rectangles and 4 trapezoids. If you have used any of our Log Cabin Rulers, S-98 is used to measure in a similar way. You can download a PDF that illustrates cutting the Marti Way with S-98.


Click the image for a larger view.  Click here to download the PDF.

Nearly every day I encourage people to eliminate unnecessary seams to reduce bulk, create smoother, flatter quilts and to avoid disrupting fabric designs whenever possible. Not to mention, every seam you reduce is one less piece to cut, one less piece to sew, one less seam to press, etc.

In the Georgia block, we took the opportunity to join squares and half-square triangles out of the same fabric into trapezoids when cutting and eliminate seams.


We also joined the sub-units a different way. See the last diagram on the Georgia PDF.


Volume 4 of the Encyclopedia of Patchwork Blocks includes 80 12-inch blocks based on a 5 x 5 grid to make with Set M. You will notice in the Set S instruction booklet on page 7 we include a conversion chart to simplify turning the 12-inch 5 x 5 blocks in Volume 4 into 6-inch 5 x 5 blocks.

If you need more blocks to make a larger quilt, or just want to replace some of the blocks in the book, there are 6 in the Set S booklet for starters and dozens more in Volume 4.

My Georgia Block



Click on the image for a larger view. Click the link to download the Chart for cutting and making Georgia:

Visit these other Farmer's Wife Sew Along blogs, too, for sewing tutorials and other info about the Georgia block:

http://gnomeangel.com

http://woodenspoonquilts.blogspot.com/







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.


February 1, 2016

Chart 33: Border Quilt Pattern and May, Block #61 in the Farmer's Wife Sew Along


Jewel was the first non-template friendly block where we recommended that you just cut fabric out, use the paper patterns and sew like you would if you were sewing a garment. That was block #46 and From Marti Michell Chart 15. Then we hypothesized that if your sewing experience includes making garments, you will immediately understand that cutting mirror-image pieces with the fabric folded wrong sides together is like cutting vest or shirt fronts.

Another IF — If your sewing experience includes making garments, the chances are around 90% that you have bought and ultimately saved commercial garment patterns. That brings up the question of what to do with those patterns now!

So, Another Diversion

Even though there is no expiration date on dress patterns, we thought it would be fun to share some ways to repurpose dress patterns each time we just cut and sew a Farmer’s Wife block with a paper pattern. With Jewel we made accordion pleated tissue flowers.

A few weeks later with Priscilla, block #86 and From Marti Michell Chart 23, we just used the dress tissue like tissue paper in gift bags! How appropriate for a gift from a sewer!

I mentioned in Jewel’s post that I had tried tracing a quilting design on an old dress pattern, pinning that to a quilt and machine quilting right through the tissue. I only tried it once and didn’t love it enough to do it a second time, but I am committed to trying it again someday.

Repurposed Dress Pattern #3

In the meantime, I LOVE the way I repurposed a dress pattern to guide my quilting on a border. I created a quilting line without marking and there was no marking to remove after quilting!! Since I did not sew through the tissue, but only beside the edge of it, the tissue was re-usable and best of all, there was no tearing away with little pieces of paper to pull out.

A Simple Border Quilting Pattern

I needed to quilt a border and a modest quilting was all that was needed. The border is 5-1/2 inches wide. Starting with a 27 inch long shirt pattern, I cut 4 strips of tissue 5 inches wide and 27 inches long and taped them together to make a strip as long as the quilt. I actually used Marti’s Choice Fusible Tape to join the tissue because I was at the ironing board ironing the wrinkles out of the tissue and the Fusible tape was handy.

Then I folded it in half and traced five 4-1/2 x 9 inch Flying Geese triangles (FMM product #8022) the length of the tissue to create a sawtooth edge. It was easy to cut with scissors.

Then I smoothed out the quilt on my work table and pinned the tissue pattern in place along the border.

 Now you can see it at the machine ready to sew along the edge of the tissue.


At the point of the sawtooth edge you stop with your needle down and turn the quilt border 90° and continue stitching to the interior corner of the border. Stop with the needle down and rotate the quilt again.

When you reach the end, stop. Unpin the paper and go to the next side. As it turned out I could use the same tissue on all 4 sides. I used all 10 triangles on the long sides and only 8 along the top and bottom.

I think I am satisfied with the one saw tooth row of quilting. At least I am going to complete the binding before I make a final decision.


Original border as quilted:



This line drawing represents a variation repeating the same border offset by ½ triangle. Even though the tissue has been pinned and unpinned 4 times, I think I could make it all the way around the quilt again. The square on point or diamond that this creates could be filled with more quilting, if desired.



On a wider border, you could create an echo by moving the sawtooth border a few inches closer to the edge of the quilt.



You could use the same idea with other shapes like a half circle.



You could also do the same thing with a freezer paper border pattern or painters tape, but that won’t give you the warm feeling you get from repurposing or recycling something you really should have thrown out 10 or 15 years ago. What? Longer?

My May Block


Click on the image for a larger view.  Click the link to download the Template Conversion Chart for May:

From Marti Michell Template Conversion Chart #33

For May, Block #61 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-along
 
Visit these other Farmer's Wife Sew Along blogs, too, for sewing tutorials and other info about the May block:

www.gnomeangel.com

http://www.onelittlepooh.net