Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Farming in February

These are the last 3 blocks for February- #70 Prairie Queen, #72 Railroad, #98 Waterwheel.  These blocks are very similar, so I grouped them together. 

Do you remember when you changed your rotary blade last?  How about your sewing machine needle?  When you are cutting and sewing these small pieces, it can make a BIG difference.  A dull rotary blade will push the fabric and give you inaccurate cuts.  Measure your 4 patch units and half squares to make sure they measure 2 1/2" before you join the pieces together.

#70 Prairie Queen

  • 4 - 2" finished half squares (2 1/2" strip and use easy angle  or your favorite method)
  • 1 - 2 1/2" square
  • 1- dark 1 1/2" x 13" strip (13" gives you a little extra)
  • 1- light 1 1/2" x 13" strip

Sew the half squares by sewing a light to a dark.  Sew the 13" strips together and cut into 8-1 1/2" segments.  Line up a perpendicular line on the ruler with your center seam to keep the segments square.  Join the segments to make 4 - 4 patches    You should now have 9 units.  Join them together like illustrated in your book.  I pressed away from the half squares to make everything lay nice and flat.

#72 Railroad

  •  4 - 2" finished half squares (2 1/2" strip and use easy angle or your favorite method)
  • 1- dark 1 1/2" x 16" strip (16" gives you a little extra)
  • 1- light 1 1/2" x 16" strip
Sew this one together in the same fashion as #70 Prairie Queen.  Sew the 1 1/2" strips together and cut into 10- 1 1/2" segments.  Make 5 -4 patch units.  Make 4 - 2 1/2'" half squares.  Join the 4 patches with the half squares and press away from the half squares. 

#98 Waterwheel

This one is almost identical except with more colors.  I just cut out squares when I made mine, but I will present the instructions with strips.  You need 4 - 2" finished half squares, so feel free to use your favorite method. 
  • 4 light triangles cut with Easy Angle 2 1/2" strip
  • 2 medium triangles cut with the EA 2 1/2" strip
  • 2 dark triangles cut with the EA 2 1/2" strip
  • 1 dark and 1 light - 1 1/2" X 3 1/2" strips
  • 1 dark and 1 medium - 1 1/2" X 3 1/2" strips
  • 1 light and 1 medium - 1 1/2" X 3 1/2" strips
  • 1 light and 1 medium 1 1/2" X 6 1/2" strips (illustration presents a 4th color as the medium, so this should be different than your other medium color)
Sew the 1 1/2" strips together and cut into 1 1/2" segments.  Make the 4 half squares that finish at 2" (should measure 2 1/2" at this point).  Sew the 1 1/2" segments together like the illustration in the book.  Your 4 patches should measure 2 1/2"  arrange the pieces like the book illustration and sew together in a 9 patch fashion.  Press toward the 4 patches as you join your rows.  This block could be done in 4 colors as well. 

The instructions sound more confusing than this block actually is!  It might be easier for you to just look at the picture and cut squares.  I'll leave that up to you.  Double check your 4 patches before you sew them.  I had to un-sew more than one time to get them going the right direction.  Not sure I really care for this block.


Monday, February 27, 2012

It's Here!!

Do you see what is peaking out of the box?  It is 29 pounds of pure goodness.  It's all about the presentation.  Can you imagine cutting this many different fabrics?  See how warm and cozy they are in the box?
 OOPS!  How did those bright colors get in there?  I guess they will just have to go in my resource center because they are just too bright for the jelly rolls.

The pile on the left...Those are for the jelly rolls.  Don't they look so great all lined up by color.  The one at the bottom may be a little too yellow.  I may have to omit that one.  There is also one that appears a little too light.  That pile on the right- well - lets not talk about what those fabrics are for.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Little Bit of Friends

The checkerboard quilt is all pieced together.  I picked out a single piece of fabric for the backing this time.  I posted a little tutorial on how I constructed the blocks here.

 This pattern is Hopscotch from bitsnpieces.net.  Most of the pieces are leftovers from friends.  It was a little too "matching" for me, so I added scraps from my bins.  I hope get the blocks sewn together this week.  I hope the chains show up a little better once I get the blocks together.  I have been staying focused so far this year on empting  the containers that I have filled with parts and pieces.  One at a time, that's my motto.
Tomorrow is the big delivery day!  28 pounds of fabric will be delivered to be cut for the jelly roll swap (1600" jelly roll quilt).

More Farmer's Wife blocks will be posted on Tuesday. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Checkerboard Quilt Tutorial

The checkerboard block is an oldie but goodie in my opinion.  There are many ways to construct this block, but this is the way I did mine.  Feel free to use your own methods.

This block takes two 2" Strips - One light and one dark (you can substitute a medium value for either as long as you are getting some contrast)

You will use a minimum of 36", so I find it easiest to use only full strips for this project.  Sew the 2 strips together with 1/4" seam allowance, and press toward the dark
 Take your strip to the cutting board and roughly cut it into 3 - 13" sections.  You only really need 12", so if you want to cut it exact you can do so.  I like to do a rough cut and then square up the edges before I cut the segments.
 Sew the 3 segments together and press the seams toward the dark!  This will help everything match together perfectly when you join the blocks.
Cut the 6 strip unit into 2" segments.  Flip every other unit to make a checkerboard block.
 This is the important part-  Make sure you sew each pair with the same color on top!  Not just for this block, but for all blocks.  I always so with the dark on top so I don't confuse myself. 
 Press the block so that 2 seams are going the same direction

Wahla!  a completed 9 1/2" block (9" finished).  This tutorial should come with a warning.  Caution these blocks are addictive! 
Don't be afraid to try some ugly combinations.  You will be surprised how great they look in the completed blocks.  these blocks would also look amazing by choosing one color family.  If you make these, please send me a link to your blocks. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Design Wall Monday

Well lots of sewing happened this weekend. It is amazing what you can get done with 3 full days of uninterupted sewiing!  I just love going to retreats and taking some girl time.  There is always  plenty of food and plenty of laughter. 

 I think I am getting closer to some finishes for this year.  I have been doing checkerboard blocks with 2" strips as a leader ender project.  One strip of light and one strip of dark does each block.  They really add up quickly.  I love the look of the blocks together without sashing.  This pattern is anything goes.  One light and one dark were my only distinctions.

I worked on a fat quarter quilt with very well aged fabric with my good friend Tina also.  The pattern is from the book Happy Hour.  I have the top sewn together.  I still need to decide if I want to put borders on it. 

I also had time to work on some more FW blocks.  I am enjoying this quilt so much.  I have enough blocks done for one baby quilt, now I am working on the second one.  My scrap bucket doesn't seem to be running out yet.

Check back with Judy at Patchwork Times to see what other are working on.  Come back later this week for a look at more Farmer's Wife blocks.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

#69 Practical Orchard

This is another block sewn together in a 9-patch fashion.  Do you see a trend on how I have grouped the blocks for you?  This is another easy one.  I wanted to talk a little bit on the numbers on the Companion Angle.  It is important for you you be able to figure out how to use the tools you have!  This way, you can convert any pattern to use your tools.

The large number on the left is the finished size of the block (or the base of the triangle).  Since this is a 6" finished 9 patch, Each block must finish at 2"- Comprehend?  Now let's follow that line under the 2 across the ruler.  where it says
1 1/2" - that is the strip width.  So....long story short...if you know the finished size of the block, just follow that line across and it will tell you what size to cut your strips.  With the companion angle, the stretchy part (bias) is on the short edges.  If you can avoid it, you don't want this on the outside of the block.  Sometimes there is no way around it! 

#69 Practical Orchard 
  • 4 light 2 1/2" squares
  • 4 dark 2 1/2" squares
  • 2 light/2 dark triangles cut with Companion angle - 1 1/2" strip
Start by sewing the center hourglass block together.  This unit should measure 2 1/2".  If you have the Quilt in a Day Triangle Square up Ruler, you can check your measurements before you press.  See this post if you don't remember how to do this. 

Join your 9 pieces together to make #69 Practical Orchard measuring 6 1/2".  I'm not sure why, but I accidentally made 2 of these.  Don't forget if you need a closer look at the block, you can click on it to make it bigger.

Have Fun!

Contrary Wife & Calico Puzzle

If my husband knew the name of this block, he would probably want a whole quilt of it.  I've been know to be a little obstinate.  Everyone on the Internet is keeping track of the blocks based on the weeks.  Perhaps that would encourage me to go faster.

Both of these Blocks number #16 and #21 are just 6" 9 patches.  They are very similar.  The only difference is the placement of the pieces. 

#21 Contrary Wife

  • 5 - 2 1/2" squares
  • 4- 2" finished half squares (use 2 1/2" strip with the easy angle or your favorite method)
#16 Calico Puzzle

  • 5 - 2 1/2" squares
  • 4 - 2" finished half squares (use 2 1/2" strip with EA or favorite method
Contrary Wife
Calico Puzzle
Simply sew the half squares together first, then assemble in rows just like a simple 9 patch. 


Monday, February 13, 2012

Design Wall Monday

It is hard to believe, but I kept plugging away on the quilt from last week.  It is a bargello variation From Miss Rosie Quilts.  I even put the borders on.  It is a large quilt, so it wouldn't hang well on the design wall.  Last night I worked on piecing a back for it.  I am trying really hard not to abandon projects this year.  I have a retreat coming up this weekend, so hopefully I will have some more cool things to show next Monday.

Tomorrow I will be posting some more Farmer's Wife blocks, so stop back.  If you want to see what other are working on, stop back at Patchwork Times.

Monday, February 6, 2012

On the Wall

My husband thinks it is amazing how I just keep putting more items on the design wall without finishing them.  I think I must have at least 4 layers at this point.  I checked out a book by Miss Rosie from the library and I was intrigued by how it would work without paying attention to value.  It is very similar to a pattern I have seen in one of Bonnie Hunter's books.  Sometimes (well more than sometimes) that gets me off and running in a new direction.  I have the columns hanging, so hopefully this won't become a long term project.  Most of the fabrics in this are golden oldies.  I desperately needed to use up some fabrics in my 2 1/2" bin.  I was tired of the drawer not shutting without excessive force.  I know you've been there before! 

Don't distress, I will post some more FW blocks later this week.  I hope you are enjoying the blocks as much as me.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ready for more Farming?

Don't feel rushed by me posting the blocks ahead!  Take your time and enjoy the process.  The next 2 blocks are fun ones.  They are essentially the same block.  I really enjoyed making these.
  • #20 Churn Dash
  • #111 Monkey Wrench
#20 Churn Dash
  • 1 Light 2 1/2" square
  • 4 light 1 1/2" x 2 1/2"
  • 4 med/dark 1 1/2" x 2 1/2"
  • 4 dark triangles cut w/Easy Angle using a 2 1/2" strip width
  • 4 light triangles cut w/Easy Angle using a 2 1/2" strip width
Start by sewing your half squares (4) and the 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" rails (4) together.  Arrange the 9 units and sew together in rows.

#111 Wrench

This is the same block as Churn dash with different color placement. 


Let's talk a little bit about half squares.  Sometimes no matter how carefully I cut, sew, and press, my half squares get a little uneven.  I like to use the a square up ruler marketed by Eleanor Burns.  I admit, I had this ruler for a long time before I figured out it's real beauty.  The lines on the ruler represent the UNFINISHED size of the unit (in this case 2 1/2".  Before you press the unit, place the ruler on the unit lining up the stitch line with the unfinished size of the unit.  Trim off any excess on both sides of the ruler.  After you press the unit, it should be the correct size.  I like to use this method of squaring because I find it very accurate and very quick.  If you open the unit and press first, then you will need to trim each side separately.