Sunday, June 24, 2012

Still dancing

Having a great time with the girls in Charleston.  So proud of them.  They are dancing as fast as their legs will go

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Old Windmill

I'm not sure I understand the color placement in this block.  It is a basic half square block, but I tried several different color selections and none of them excited me.  I can't wait to see what colors you pick to prove me wrong.

#62 Old Windmill
This block is made of all 1 1/2" finished half squares, so everything is done with the Easy Angle and a 2" strip.

Background: Cut 16
Color 1,2,3,4: Cut 4 each

Pair each of the background triangles with a colored triangle to make a half square.  Press toward the color.  Square up each square to 2" if necessary.

Join the half squares together in pairs and then Join in 4 patches.  I pressed the 4 patch seams open.  Join the 4 patches together  to complete the 6 1/2" bloc

I can't wait to see your color choices.

Peace and Plenty

This reminds me of how much I love those good and plenty candies.  You know the black licorice ones.  I just may have to get some at the store today.

Farmer's Wife number 64 Peace and Plenty.  While I was posting this block, I noticed that something didn't look quite right.  I became acquainted with the seam ripper, and now things are looking better.  This is how NOT to put your pieces together!!

I did not make mine like the book.  There are so many ways you could make this block.  You can make yours just like the book with 1 1/2" finished half squares if you prefer.  I sewed mine differently and eliminated 4 seams.


16- 1 1/2" finished half square triangles (2" strip cut with EA)

Color 2:
8- 1 1/2" finished half square triangles (2" strip cut with EA)
4 - triangles cut with 2" strip and Companion Angle (CA)


Sew together 8 half squares - square them up to 2" if necessary.  Join them in pairs.

Sew together 4 flying geese with the remaining triangles.  I pressed the first seam toward the larger triangle and the second seam toward the smaller triangle.  Square up to 2" x 3 1/2" if necessary

Join the flying geese units to the half square pairs to make 3 1/2" squares.   Join the 4 squares together to complete the 6 1/2" block. 

This is what your completed block should look like.  I pressed the seams where the flying geese met open as well as the seams where I joined the four patches.
If you sew your 4 patches together correctly, your block should look like this. 

Hovering Hawks

This is number #52 according to the FW.  When I recommend you cut triangles, you can always use strips and cut them with right sides together.  I am working from scraps, so this generally isn't possible for me.  It does speed things up if you use strips because they are already lined up and ready to sew. 


Color 1:
4- 2" squares
8- 1 1/2" finished half squares (2" strip EA)

Color 2:
10 - 1 1/2" finished half squares 2" strip (EA)
2 - 3 finished half squares (3 1/2" stgrip EA)


Sew all the half squares together (6) and trim if necessary to measure 2".  Join 4 of the half squares with the squares to make 4 -3 1/2" four patches. 

Join the remainging 2 half squares with the remaining small triangles and use your easy angle to trim to 3" finished half square.

Join the 3" finished half square units with the 3" finished half squares to make a a 3 1/2" square.

Trim away the corner of the 3 1/2" square using the take away method. 
Add the remaining 2 triangles to the corners to complete the 3 1/2" squares.  Square up to 3 1/2" if necessary.

Join the 4 squares to complete the 6 1/2" block.
This is the back of the block if you want to see how I pressed mine.  The fianal join seemed thick, so I pressed that seam open.

Block 51 Hovering birds is almost identical.  You may want to do this one in also.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Square Dance

This is as fun block.  I am in love with tangerine and pink.  I am anxious to start a project in those colors, but I am continuing to work through my mountain of UFOs instead. 

#85 Square Dance

I had to dig deep to find a large piece for this block.  Judy came through by donating me some of her big scraps.
Dark (fuchsia):
  • 1- 4 1/2" square
  • 4- triangles cut with Companion Angle and 1 1/2" strip
Medium (Orange):
  • 8- 1 1/2" x 2 1/2"
Light (pink):
  • 4- 1 1/2" squares
Use the take away method and cut away ONE corners on all 8 rectangles.  Cut 4 each way (cut 4 face up and 4 face down to achieve this)

If you look at the picture showing the cut away method, you can see how to line up the ruler correctly


Join these pieces to the Dark triangles.  Press toward the rectangles. 






Square up at 1 1/2" x 4 1/2" if necessary.  Press the second rectangle toward the orange.






Join one of these to opposing sides of the large square.  Press toward the large square.  Add the 1 1/2" squares to the remaining 2 pieces. Press toward the squares.  Join these to the remaining 2 sides.





I could tell you were ready for an easy one!

#25 Cups and Saucers

I found this to be a challenging block with the tiny flying geese. 

Color 1:
  • 1 - 2 1/2" square
  • 4 - 2" finished half squares (2 1/2" strip with Easy Angle)
  • 8- triangles cut with Companion Angle 1 1/2" strip

Color 2:
  • 4- 2" finished half squares (2 1/2" strip with Easy Angle)
  • 16- 1" finished half square (1 1/2" strip with EA)

I would recommend trimming off the corners of the Companion angle pieces before you begin.  If you have any points on the 1" finished triangles, I would trim those off also.  It will be much easier for you to line things up without those points in the way. 

Start by making the flying geese.  These should measure 1 1/2" X 2 1/2".  I found it necessary to square these up after I made them.  I pressed the first seam toward the larger triangle, and the second seam out.  If I made it again, I would probably press these seams open to reduce bulk.  When I am sewing these little pieces, and plan on pressing open, I use a shorter stitch length (like 2.0 on a digital machine).  When quilting, you should never stitch in the ditch pieces that have been pressed open. 

Make the 4 - 2" finished half squares.  Square up if necessary (should measure 2 1/2").  Join the flying geese in pairs (should also measure 2 1/2") .  Press the seam joining the pairs open. 

Join the 9 - 2 1/2" units together by joining 3 blocks in a row and then joining the rows.  I pressed all of these joins open. 

I am pleased with how mine lines up.  I would like to try to make this block similar to a pineapple block.  If I get that far, I will post those instructions also.  This method would eliminate a lot of seams.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Broken Dishes

In the Farmer's Wife book, this is block number 11.


1 - 2" strip X width of fabric (WOF) of Both background and a contrasting color.

Use the Easy Angle (EA) and cut 16 each 1 1/2" finished half squares. 

It will go super quick if you put the right sides together of the strips and cut both fabrics at the same time.  Carefully pick them up and sew away.  The edges will already be lined up and ready to go this way.  I pressed all of these toward the dark color.  Before you press, if you have the square up ruler, square up your blocks to 2"

Join the half squares in pairs;  then join the pairs into 4 patches.  You can either press these to one side, or press them open.  Join the remaining 4 units to complete the 6 1/2" block.  Use lots pins to keep things lined up nicely.

 6 1/2" Completed Block.  I had to use a couple different dark blues because I didn't have enough of the one dark blue I chose.  This block would be equally effective if you chose med/dark scraps and a light for the background.
This is the back of the block showing how I pressed my pieces.  Feel free to press yours differently.

Monday, June 18, 2012


#93 Swallow

I am doing this one a little bit different than the instructions also.  I think you will be an expert at half squares after this month. 


Background (Green)
  • 7 - half squares that finish at 1 1/2" (2" strip with easy angle)
  • 2 - 2" squares
  • 1- 1 1/4" x 2 3/4"
  • 1 - 1 1/4" x 3 1/2"
Swallow (Orange)
  • 10-half squares that finish at 1 1/2" (2" strip with EA)
  • 1- 3 1/2" square


Make 7 half squares measuring 2".  Square them up if necessary.  Sew the half squares together in pairs (see last illustration for pressing).  Sew a pair of half squares to both sides of the 3 1/2" square.  Add the remaining half squares and squares to the remaining pairs.  Join them to them to the top and bottom of the unit.

Sew the 1 1/4" X 2 3/4" rectangle to one of the short edges of the remaining triangle.  Add the remaining rectangle to other short edge.  Use your Easy Angle to square up the unit to a 3" finished half square (Line up with the 3 1/2" line and also the edges of the smaller triangle).  Join this piece to complete the 6 1/2" square.

It wouldn't be complete unless I asked you if yours measures 6 1/2"?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

#14 Butterfly at the Crossroads

This block poses a little bit of a problem if you make it like the instructions.  The blocks finish at 6" for the Farmer's Wife.  This block is divided equally into 5 sections....Hmmm.  6/5 = 1.20.  I realize that is only 5 one hundredths difference, but take that times 5 and you are now 1/4" inch off.  I am going to alter the block just a bit (this is different than what is on your handout).  I think you will be much happier with the outcome.

Change template number 35 to 1 1/2" X 3"
Change template number 34 to 1 1/2" square

Background (green)
4 - 1 3/4" square
8- 1 1/4" half squares (1 3/4" strip with Easy Angle)
4- 1 1/2" X 3"
Flowers (Pink)
1- 1 1/2" square
4- 1 3/4" square
8 - 1 1/4 half squares (1 3/4" strip with Easy Angle)

Sew the half squares together- square up to 1 3/4".  join the half squares with the 1 3/4" squares to make 4 patches.  Press away from the half squares.  Square up the 4 patches to 3" if necessary.

Join the 4 patches with the sashing strips to complete the 6 1/2" block.  Press away from the center square and press the 4 patches toward the sashing strips. 

I had to change my green sashing strip when I altered the pattern.  I was out of the light green fabric.  I think I like it better with a little darker green sashing.  I love it when mistakes work out for the best.

Sorry for the little dog ear that snuck into the picture.  Eleanor- pretend you don't see those stripes going every which way.  Pretend it is a butterfly fluttering in all directions.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Itty Bitty Twister

This block can be included in your Farmer's Wife quilt.  It fits along well with all the other blocks that have small pieces.  I started with my drawer of precuts. and pulled 25 different bright 2 1/2" squares.

My trusty assistant was eager to help me.  He took the cushion off the chair (upstairs), brought it to my studio (downstairs) and decided to use it as a pillow.  I have no idea what he was thinking.

.I sewed a border on just like with the regular twister template.  It said 2 1/4", but I think I could have used a 1 3/4" strip.  It didn't really matter because I found a roll of leftover binding in a bag on Thursday and it worked perfectly.
I placed the template on the squares and began cutting.  It really didn't take too long.  At this point my oldest daughter began to question my sanity.

I began to sew the 1 1/2" squares that I cut together.  In no time flat I had a completed block.  I placed it next to the rotary so you could use it for size comparison.

Then I hung it on the design wall next to all my other FW blocks.  And it looked amazing!

So I stepped back and took another picture of the design wall with all the blocks.  Yep, it still looks good.
Here's a close up in case you couldn't find it.  It finishes at 6" and it has 124 pieces (if I counted correctly).  It looks a little out of proportion with the the other big clunky pieces right now.  Yep all those other blocks have large pieces in comparison.  I will bring the template to the next retreat in case anyone else is inspired to make one for their own Farmer's Wife quilt.

I made a few more fun blocks that aren't included in the FW book- can you spot them on the top row.  I will be posting these as alternate blocks for those who are vacationing from the farm. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's not my fault

Ellen made me do it.  She more or less dared me.  Stay tuned for more.

Farmer's Wife Vacation (extra)

Checkerboard - Extra block

I am taking a break from cleaning this morning in the studio and I wanted to post instructions for the checkerboard block.  the Farmer's Wife book has a postage stamp block (#68), which is essentially the same.  Postage stamps quilts usually have unique fabrics and the value doesn't necessarily alternate. 

  • Cut 1 dark and 1 light strip 1 1/2" x 28 1/2"

Sew them together along the long edge.  Press toward the dark.  Does it measure 2 1/2" after pressing?  If not, check your seam allowance.  If your seam allowance is correct, check that you cut your fabric correctly.  It could also be your pressing.  If your pieces don't measure 2 1/2" at this point, you need to get out you seam ripper.

Cut your strip set into 3 pieces measuring 2 1/2" x 9 1/2" 

Sew your segments together along the long edge.

Cut your strip set into 1 1/2" segments.  Sew them together in pairs taking care to sew them all the same (either the dark or the light has to be the first square on the top).

Now sew your pairs together to complete the block.  I just love the simple checkerboard block!

Is it 6 1/2"?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bat Wings #5

This is another template block.  If you intended to make a lap size quilt, and you completed the blocks so far, you can sit back and relax.  This block is number 50!  My pile is stacking up.

Start this block by tracing your templates on freezer paper (or whatever method you prefer).  You don't need to cut and print the reversed template.  Just place your fabric wrong sides together and cut 2 layers.  Iron the freezer paper to the fabric and cut out your pieces.  After I iron the paper to the fabric, I use my ruler and rotary cutter to cut the pieces.  I get the most accurate cut that way.

  • 6 template pieces
  • 1 Center square 1 3/4"
  • 2- 1 3/4" x 2 7/8" 
Sew the template pieces just like flying geese.  I like to press the first wing toward the large triangle and the second wing toward the small triangle.

Join the rectangles with the center  square

Join the 3 pieces together.  I like to sew with the flying geese unit on the top so I can aim for the the "x" and achieve perfect points. 

Press the finished unit toward the center strip to complete the 6 1/2" block.  This is the easiest block we have done in a while (minus printing the templates)

Since this is the 50 block milestone, I thought I would hang all my blocks on my empty design wall and see how they looked.  Since I am making multiple baby quilts with these, it really doesn't matter if my colors are evenly spaced.  I have multiples of some blocks because I forgot to take pictures and I had to remake them to write the tutorials.

Without counting or trying in any way, I don't think I have any color that is dominant.  Great job scrap benefactors!  You love all colors equally.

 I have the June blocks picked and ready to go.  In addition to the June blocks, I will be posting some extra blocks just for fun.  I am sensing that everyone is needing a vacation from the farm.