Tag Archives: foundation paper piecing

Let the Summer Adventures Begin! (Pattern Release)

The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, as well as the start of summer. What better way to celebrate than with the release of my long awaited Summer Adventure Quilt pattern!?

summer adventure quilt patternToday I’m excited to share my Summer Adventure Quilt pattern, a 30 page pattern complete with 14 foundation paper pieced blocks, traditionally pieced blocks, clear assembly diagrams, and instructions for two different methods of construction. You can choose to either sew the cover quilt, which finishes at 60″ x 70″, or you can choose your own adventure and create your quilt in the same way I created my original summer adventure quilt–by earning one block per adventure you take. I walk you through both options in the pattern.

summer adventure quilt block tree
I am making my summer adventure quilt out of Alison Glass fabrics for Andover Fabrics, since their bright and vibrant colors help the blocks to really pop! Aurifil 50wt thread is my go-to for piecing and quilting!

The pattern is available on both Craftsy and Payhip (please purchase through Payhip if you live in the EU) for an introductory price of $15 through the end of June. On July 1st, the pattern will return to its normal $25 price. With 14 FPP block templates, traditional block instructions, and more, this is a steal!

Summer Adventure Quilting with Kitty Wilkin on FacebookI also created a Facebook group called Summer Adventure Quilting with Kitty Wilkin, where I hope you’ll share your summer adventuring–both in the sewing room and out in the world! It will be a platform where I will be able to answer questions, and where we can all celebrate in each other’s adventures and share inspiration. One of the biggest reasons I create patterns is to help share inspiration with the larger quilting community. The community is what makes me tick!

blue hill mountain summer adventure quiltYou probably remember the improv, make-it-up-as-I-go Summer Adventure quilt I made last summer (you can see the finished quilt top HERE), which inspired this pattern. I had such a fun time documenting our summer family fun with that, that I wanted to be able to share it with you. Bring on my favorite foundation paper piecing, some quilt math puzzle solving, and I think that this pattern meets that goal! I’m hoping that this Summer Adventure Quilt pattern inspires you to get outside and enjoy the natural world around you a bit more, and tie your love of quilting and sewing together with a love and appreciation of nature. Enjoy the journey, and adventure often!

If you’ve opted in for Night Quilter emails, be sure to check your email for an additional 20% off coupon code good on Payhip through the end of the month. If you *want* to opt in for Night Quilter emails, click here to get in the know.

Happy adventuring!

 

The 100 Day Project: Sew Smaller

Well, I did it again. While I knew I couldn’t commit to another 365 days of stitching like last year’s One Year of Stitches embroidery project, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to jump on another daily creativity bandwagon.

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingI’m officially 11 days into The 100 Day Project, and my focus is on sewing smaller. So far I’ve sewn 11 tiny quilt blocks that will finish at 1 1/4″ square. I’m using the hashtag #100daysofsewsmaller on Instagram and aiming to share my progress daily.

Here is a closer look at each of my blocks thus far!

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting1/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting2/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting3/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting4/100 (which was also the day when I created a foundation paper pieced template for my day 11 block. I didn’t sew that one until today, but the idea was born on day 4!

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting5/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting6 & 7/100 – Day 6 was the day of my daughter’s First Communion & Confirmation and my family was visiting all weekend, so I got a self-granted “bye” on posting. I caught up on my birthday, day 7!

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting8/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting9/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting10/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting11/100

I’ve been sharing updates on both my @nightquilter feed and also @thequiltersplanner feed, since I’ve been using my Quilter’s Planner to track each block.I am making blocks that fit perfectly in each daily column on the weekly planning pages, so it works wonderfully. My planner is always open to the weekly planning pages, so it is a great way to get a visual of my week’s blocks together. Maybe for my next post I’ll show you a photo of my blocks on my personal in-use planner instead of the nice neat, clean one I have for staging photos!

I’ve been having fun taking summary photos for the QP feed, since I love creating rainbows in any way possible.

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingDays 1-3

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingThe first week of blocks

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingThe first 10 days

Going into this project, I first imagined making the same block for 100 days, but once I started stitching them, I started to think about how many different blocks could be sewn in miniature. So then my plan morphed into 10 different blocks sewn 10 times each, alternating color and background like the first 10 blocks. It would allow me to mix up the blocks sewn, still play with color and tiny stitching, and have a pretty predictable finished 12″x12″ mini at the end of the 100 days.

Then my friend Sharon of Sharon Holland Designs shared some really wise advice:

I love how your challenge is going Kitty and how it relates to you as a quilter but also think you should let it be organic and use the 100 days to explore if needed and push yourself also if needed. Don’t get locked into a direction.

How wise is that!? What better activity than a 100 day project to use as a springboard for experimentation and stretching the limits and bounds of my creativity!? It is so ingrained in my habit to be able to visualize the end product before I begin a project, and I really think it would be a great growing experience for me to let go, give myself some very loose guidelines, and just allow myself to experiment.

So, that’s the plan. My “rules” are:

  • I am only allowed to use scraps from my scrap bin, and will aim to make them using a colored scrap with a white or low volume scrap.
  • I will do my best to stay current, but am allowed to work ahead up to 5 days. This (I’m hoping) will allow me to stick with it even when there are days when I know I won’t be able to get to a sewing machine. It’s my attempt at being gentle with myself while still pushing myself to stick with a habit of making.
  • I have to have fun with it. If it becomes a stress or source of self-deprecating thoughts, I will stop and try again next year. The last thing I need is another “I should be able to…” thing to beat myself up over.
  • and recently added: I will try NOT to plan at all, will experiment as desired, but will try to keep at least one dimension of each block at 1 1/4″ finished size.

That’s it! So far, all of my blocks are 1 3/4″, which will be 1 1/4″ finished.

#100daysofsewsmaller 100 day projectI’ve worked ahead twice (once when my entire family was visiting for the weekend for my daughter’s First Communion, and once today since I know weekends are often filled with family time and not necessarily sewing time), but have stuck with the block per day format.

Most importantly, I’m having FUN! I had forgotten how giggly-fun it is to sew on a teeny tiny scale, and with lots of exciting big (albiet secret) projects going on behind the scenes, it’s really fabulous to have a little project I can sew and share daily.

#100daysofsewsmaller 100 day projectI’ll leave you with a cheeky peek at the backside of my latest block, since one of the big questions I’ve gotten so far over on Instagram is “How big is your seam allowance?”.  My answer: 1/4″ seam allowance, just like always. Note that so far I’ve created blocks with mostly straight joins, and I might scale a few seam allowances down to 1/8″ to decrease bulk as I experiment further, but for the most part, the 1/4″ seam works just fine!

If you’re on Instagram, you can follow my daily progress both in my Night Quilter feed or updates in The Quilter’s Planner feed. You should also be able to see my latest Instagram posts over on my right sidebar -> so keep an eye on that as well!

Until next time, I hope you have a *little* stitching fun this weekend!

Constant Flux Three Ways

There’s something about making a pattern your own that is especially desirable for many makers. Whether through varied fabric choices, changes in color and value placement, or even addition of new features, taking a set pattern and making it look distinctly yours is satisfying. I also have a really hard time following a pattern without adding at least a *little* change to make it my own, even, as it seems, with patterns I designed myself!

As I photographed my latest Constant Flux Christmas mini quilt top, I realized that I’ve sewn up my Constant Flux foundation paper pieced pattern in three very distinctly different ways. One was even so distinctly different I decided a stand-alone pattern was the best route, since explaining my section-grouping might not be the easiest to do! I thought it would make a fun blog post to show you different ways you can take one pattern (Constant Flux, in this case) and make it look completely uniquely different.

constant flux mini quiltWhen I first designed Constant Flux, I was aiming for a pattern that was fun and geometric, but allowed for meticulous cutting fun. I used Alison Glass Handcrafted fabrics from Andover, and my focus was on the big scale prints in that line. With meticulous cutting and careful placement, the radiating pattern is clear, with the white star-like secondary pattern for some added interest.

alison glass constant flux mini quilt for andoverThen Alison Glass came out with her Seventy-six fabric line and Andover Fabrics asked if I would make a mini quilt for their booth at QuiltCon. How could I resist!? I had been wanting to sew up a Constant Flux quilt in a different colorway anyway, and in looking at Alison’s fabrics, I wanted to use all of the colors.

applique embroidered bee from alison glass fabric constant flux detailI had recently discovered Nichole Vogelsinger’s Boho Embroidery book, and really wanted to incorporate a Wild Boho-style embroidered applique in the center, so I rotated the blocks 90 degrees. Same exact blocks and pattern as my original Constant Flux, only rotated and shrunk to 80% so that the scale of the bee fit better. Constant Flux a second way.

constant flux christmas foundation paper pieced patternFinally, while playing around with color placement options on my original Constant Flux pattern, I discovered that when arranged a certain way, it looked very much like a Christmas wreath! Because this required merging large sections of the pattern into one fabric instead of many, I decided that it was high time I tackle a holiday pattern, and I made three new templates to make Constant Flux Christmas come together smoothly and easily. It is closely derived from the original pattern, and if you have the original Constant Flux pattern you can technically make the Christmas version if you have a strong understanding of foundation paper piecing and how to join pieces to make it happen. I created a separate pattern to make it easier for everyone. That brings us Constant Flux a third way.

I wonder what it will look like in my fourth rendition?

Do you follow patterns to a T, or do you change things? I’m always curious to hear, since from talking to other quilters, it seems that we fall into two pretty clear camps: those who follow patterns meticulously, and those who just can’t seem to follow the pattern as written and must change or add some feature nearly every time. I clearly fall into the latter. I’d love to know what camp you fall into!

 

Constant Flux Christmas: Pattern Release!

constant flux christmas foundation paper pieced pattern snowfallBack in July, I promised to release this pattern to the public when the snow began to fly. This past weekend, we had our very first snow of the season here in midcoast Maine, which happened to be perfect timing since today I’m pleased to present Constant Flux Christmas, a pattern hack on my original Constant Flux pattern.

constant flux christmas foundation paper pieced pattern snowfallWhen playing around with color placement on my Constant Flux pattern, I realized that by merging large sections, an entirely new pattern emerged–one that looks to me like a modern take on a wreath and star. I decided to make it easy and adjusted the pattern templates to reflect this heavily altered version, and thus Constant Flux Christmas was born. This is a fun, beginner-friendly pattern that would look great not only in traditional colors, but also in any other colors you throw its way! I’ll be sharing photos of all of the gorgeous versions sewn up by my pattern testers so you can see for yourself!

Constant Flux Cover--Christmas! foundation paper pieced patternThe pattern includes printable foundation templates, cutting suggestions, general foundation paper piecing tips, clear assembly instructions, and a coloring page to help you plan your project. There are no tricky angles, odd shapes, or difficult joins, yet the design options are boundless.

constant flux christmas foundation paper pieced patternConstant Flux Christmas is now available for digital download both on Craftsy and in my Payhip shop for those of you in the EU. This week it will be available for an introductory price of $5, after which it will return to its standard price. ‘Tis the season for adding one more holiday sew to your list, right?

Pattern Tester Versions

Constant Flux Christmas by Jitka Clements
Pattern tested by Jitka Clement @jitkadesign

With this pattern, I finally got brave and put a call out for pattern testers on Instagram. I was amazed by the response, and within 24 hours had an eager and skillful crew of quilters ranging from absolute foundation paper piecing beginner to experienced, ready to tackle Constant Flux Christmas and provide feedback.

Constant Flux Christmas by Jitka Clement straight on
Pattern tested by Jitka Clement @jitkadesign

Future pattern testing groups will be quite a bit smaller, but there was so much excitement, I accepted quite a few!

Constant Flux Christmas by Isabelle Selak
Pattern tested by Isabelle Selak @southbaybella

Every single one of them did an amazing job, sewed up the mini quilt in less than a week (some were finished the first day!), and provided excellent feedback on ways to make the pattern even better. I’m so grateful for all of them, and am excited to show you all of their different versions.

Constant Flux Christmas by Nissa Boeckman
Pattern tested by Nissa Boeckman @baladigiraffe

Some stuck to the traditional red, green, and gold colorway, using both consistent fabrics throughout and scrappy versions.

Constant Flux Christmas by Lauren Wood
Pattern tested by Lauren Wood
Constant Flux Christmas by Jessical Lopez Enriquez
Pattern tested by Jessica Lopez Enriquez @thegorillaandthepig
Constant Flux Christmas by Angela
Pattern tested by Angela Hardin @pepperhardin4356
Constant flux by Amanda Allen
Pattern tested by Amanda Allen @another.amanda
Constant Flux by Alyson Olander
Pattern tested by Alyson Olander @alysonwonderlan
Constant Flux Christmas by Karen Weiderman
Pattern tested by Karen Weiderman @kayweedie
Constant Flux Christmas detail by Karen Weiderman
Constant Flux Christmas quilting detail by Karen Weiderman.
Constant Flux Christmas by Katharine Vonbibra
Pattern tested by Katharine Vonbibra. Love that EPP center!!!

I love how a couple of the testers got really creative with their centers–maybe the clever additions cover up a not-quite-perfectly-aligned center, or maybe the centers are PERFECT and it’s simply an added design element–you’ll never know, and the mini quilts look fantastic! LOL

Constant Flux Christmas by Darlene Cunningham
Pattern tested by Darlene Cunningham @dcapulus

Some of the pattern testers tried out different color palettes, and I really love the way this pattern looks in all of them!

Constant Flux Christmas by Lisa Tucker
Pattern tested by Lisa Tucker @duhquilts
Constant Flux Christmas by Cheryl Kirk
Pattern tested by Cheryl Kirk.
Constant Flux Christmas by Kat Ayers
Pattern tested by Kat Ayers @kitkabbit
Constant Flux Christmas by Evie Landry
Pattern tested by Evelyn Landry @evie_landry
Constant Flux Christmas by Rachael Loving-Painter
Pattern tested by Rachael Loving-Painter @glamstream

Aren’t they all gorgeous!?

I can’t wait to see Constant Flux Christmas done up in your fabric choices! Get yours on Craftsy and in my Payhip shop for those of you in the EU. Enjoy, and happy holidays!

I’ll be linking up to Let’s Bee Social, Finish it up Friday, and TGIFF. Flimsy finished are double the fun when they come with a pattern release!

The Mug Club: Paper Love Doppelganger Mug

Today I’m joining in on another sew along hosted by Kerry Goulder of Kid Giddy and her twin sister Sue of Moss and Lotus. The Mug Club Sew Along is a year long event hosted on Instagram in which participants sew up any one of the 12+ mug paper pieced patterns in the Mug Club and share on social media. Check the hashtags #TheMugClub or #TheMugClubSAL to see the most eclectic and amazing collection of fabric mugs you’ve ever seen.

There’s something particularly inviting about these mug patterns, since anything can go on a mug. A person’s collection of coffee mugs can tell you so much about them–places they’ve gone, their sense of humor, their family (do they have a “I love Grandma” mug? Most likely, they have doting grandchildren!) Maybe it’s just me who reads into coffee mugs, but either way, I feel like these patterns allow SO much room for creativity, expression, and sometimes just straight quirkiness (always a good thing!).

alexander henry steven mug club mug rugAs soon as Kerry asked me to play along, I knew exactly what fabric I was going to use. A few years ago, while stopping in at Clementine Fabrics in Rockland, Maine, after a family day at the beach, I spotted this amazing Alexander Henry fabric with a geometric sketched ocean, sailing ships, anchors, a buxom mermaid figurehead, and (the part that caught my attention) a large face that looks exactly like my brother. The fabric is called Lost at Sea and although my brother is not a salty sailor, it was one of those fabrics that I knew I had to buy even though I had no idea what to make with it, since the face looked so uncannily like Steven. As a little backstory, my brother is an extremely talented artist who spent much of his high school years painting portraits, nearly always using his own reflection as his reference. He already has countless creations sporting his likeness, so what’s one more to the pile, right?

alexander henry steven mug club mug rugI used the 10″ Paper Love Mug since it was *just* large enough to fit the full face, and simple enough not to seem busy with the wavy background. Whether my brother will love the mug rug I make with this mug block or just get a good hearty laugh over it, I don’t care. It’s just one of those gifts that must be given.

the mug club alexander henry lost at seaI visited my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply and got some perfect Robert Kaufman Essex Linen in Navy as the background, and used stashed Kona Navy Blue as the handle. I stitched the block with Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove, but plan to use a dark navy for quilting. I’m still trying to decide whether to quilt the face, or whether I should leave it as is. I might *try* to stitch some hand quilting with 50wt dark navy thread so that I’m sure to get it exactly on the drawn lines.

the mug club alexander henry lost at seaI also might add some embroidered detail to that anchor tattoo. We’ll see how brave I get. That’s the one thing with using my brother’s Doppelganger fabric–I daren’t mess up the face! Either way, I think he’ll get a kick out of the gift, and I have finally found a way to gift a piece of this stashed fabric to him!

mug club part 1 by kidgiddyThe Paper Love Mug (top center) is part of the Mug Club Part 1, designed by Kerry at Kid Giddy.

mug club part 2 by sue moss and lotusThe Mug Club Part 2 has another fun selection of 6 mugs, designed by Sue of Moss and Lotus. Aren’t they all so fun! Do you see your favorite mug? If you don’t follow Kerry and Sue yet, I recommend it–they are always having some creative sisterly fun together!

Go ahead and have some fun perusing some of the other mugs at #TheMugClub or #TheMugClubSAL since there is SUCH a fun variety.

What would you put on your mug?

A Tiny Bit of {Tomte} Stitching

It’s been quiet here lately, but I have been doing a tiny bit of sewing. Literally, only 2″ finished square little! With the hustle and bustle of life, my sewing progress has slowed a bit. I’m still sewing, and trying to create daily, but progress is slowwww. When I saw that Sue from Moss & Lotus was having a Tomte Sew Along on Instagram, I knew I wanted in. I had been admiring the cute little gnome-like Tomtes popping up in my feed, and resisting the urge to add yet another project to my unfinished projects pile. Then Sue asked me if I would make a block or two, and honestly, how could I say no? These guys (and gals) are adorable! Plus, the bigger Tomtes will make wonderful coaster or mug rug gifts. I love having an end use in mind before beginning a new project!

tiny tomte foundation paper pieced pattern moss and lotusBefore stitching up a Peder or Halvor Tomte (my two favs at the moment), I had to sew one of the adorable Tiny Tomtes! This Tiny Tomte is a free addition when you buy the Tomte Bundle and is the size of a mini charm square. I’m going to try to resist the urge to make sweet little Tiny Tomte ornaments for everyone I know, but no promises! This particular little guy will happily live on our tree this year, once I give him a little French knot nose and finish him up with some hand quilting and binding.

tiny tomte moss and lotus foundation paper pieced blockI used a Henry Glass print for the background, since the mushroom and snail seemed right at home with this Tiny Tomte. This print actually also happens to be the very first fabric I ever bought, years and years ago before I began quilting. The red fabric is from my scrap bin, some gorgeous Oakshott Lipari from my Vesuvius quilt. The white is a tiny scrap of Robert Kaufman Kona white. These blocks would actually be really fun uses for any tiny scraps.  I used 50wt Aurifil 2600-Dove thread since that lives in my machine and works for everything.

large shelf fungus tiny tomte foundation paper pieced pattern moss and lotusAfter sewing up this Tiny Tomte, I had to take him out on an adventure in the woods so that he would feel at home. During my youngest’s nap, I ventured out behind our house and Tiny Tomte had a fun photo shoot! We found a gorgeous shelf fungus on a tree stump, so Tiny Tomte played beneath it.

tiny tomte foundation paper pieced moss and lotus pattern

tiny tomte foundation paper pieced moss and lotus patternAnd on top of it!

tiny tomte foundation paper pieced moss and lotus patternHe climbed some trees and gathered some souvenirs.

tiny tomte foundation paper pieced moss and lotus patternA pinecone three times his size and an evergreen bough will have to hold him over until we cut our Christmas tree this year. I think they will do just fine.

What would you make with a Tiny Tomte?

 

The Honey Pot Bee – April Queen Bee Fun

Ahhh, April! My favorite month! April is the month when spring usually begins to prevail over the last cold days of winter, with days getting a tad bit warmer, hopefully the snow melting enough to make way for sprouting crocuses and daffodils, and a prevalence of sun instead of sleet and snow. Not only that, it’s my birthday month, which is always a fun excuse to celebrate a little bit extra. To add some frosting to the cake, this month, I’m also one of the Queen Bees for The Honey Pot Bee hosted by Molli Sparkles. So fun!

the honey pot bee molli sparkles 2017When I was trying to decide what block to throw into the Honey Pot, I stumbled upon the Starry Sky block by Kylie at A Persevering Mom and completely fell in love.  Let me count the ways: 1) it’s foundation paper pieced yet very simply so, 2) the possibilities for color play are endless and I just LOVE Kylie’s warm/cool on low volume background sample block, 3) it comes in three sizes–2.5″, 6″ and 12″ finished squares, and 4) it’s free which makes it a prime choice for a bee! Decision made!

starry sky block by a persevering momBecause the foundation paper piecing in this block is so simple, it is a perfect block for some meticulous cutting fun. I decided that I wanted to use my precious Friedlander fabric for the background, but I wanted it to look like the tree scene was continuous across the block. I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few tips on how I did it.

starry sky block by a persevering momRemember that in foundation paper piecing, you are building the block on the back of the template. For this reason, when cutting each fabric piece, be sure to position the template with the printed lines facing the right side of the fabric to ensure the direction of the fabric is correct.

starry sky block by a persevering momIt’s also helpful to cut as you go, completing one template piece at a time and double checking your progress along the way. This certainly takes longer than cutting all of the necessary fabric pieces and chain piecing each section, but when playing the meticulous cutting game, it’s wise to go slowly and steadily, checking and double checking along the way.

starry sky block by a persevering momIn the photo above, the pieces of background fabric are cut for each section of the final foundation template (remember that the fabric will go on the back, so it appears mirrored when looking at them next to each other this way.) The final adjustment that can be made is with the numbering and order in which fabrics are sewn. With a basic understanding of how foundation paper piecing works, you can rearrange your piecing order to help easily align your fabric pieces. For this block, I always began with the center of the star points when at all possible so that it made it easy to keep the background fabric level and headed in the desired direction. For the piece shown, instead of sewing them in the listed order of A1, A2, A3, etc…, I positioned A3, then sewed A2, then A4, then A1.  This way, I only had one angled seam to line up properly (A5 to A6) in the entire block.

starry sky block by a persevering mom
A final shot of all of the block components in the dying evening light, right before final assembly.

While this seamless background didn’t come across as clearly as I hoped due to the intricacies of the branches and print, I’m still glad I went through the extra effort to get those bushes lined up along the bottom. Even if at first glance, it’s not obvious that the background fabric lines up, I know it does, and that’s what matters, right!?

starry sky block by a persevering momI love how the Friedlander Tree Stripe border in Pistachio looks with the star points, which include fabric from both Carkai and Architextures also by Carolyn Friedlander, some favorite Alison Glass Sun Prints from 2016 and 2017, a Free Spirit solid, Gum Leaves from Terra Australis 2 by Emma Jean Jansen, and an unknown green swirl from my stash. I sewed the block with my favorite 50wt Aurifil thread, 2600-Dove, but was excited to find two lovely greens in my stash, which will come in handy when it’s quilting time! My block will obviously be added to my Greenery Quilt, and I most likely will aim to also make a 12″ version of the block in a different arrangement of greens since I love the block so much. Can’t you see this block looking fab in just about any color combination!?

Head on over to Molli’s blog to see the other gorgeous block for April, and have fun with this Starry Sky block!

I’m linking up with Tips & Tutorials Tuesday with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter in case anyone else wants a few tips on creating a seamless background panel for a pieced block. Enjoy!

 

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 35 Flora Tutorial

Welcome to the final–yes, the very last!!!–block tutorial for the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell. If you’ve made it this far and have completed all of the blocks, congratulations!! You have finished quite an amazing accomplishment! If you haven’t completed all of the blocks but are still following along, bravo to you as well! And welcome to the club 😀

farmers wife 1930 35 flora tutorialSince at this point in this Sew Along, I’m sure there are hardly any techniques or block approaches that need additional guidance, I decided, with the approval of Angie, to approach this tutorial a little differently. Today my tutorial will focus on “what next?” Now that this epic sew along is officially complete and you may or may not have all 99 of the blocks sewn, I will reflect on and share a few different approaches you might want to take.

Tips for Foundation Paper Piecing Flora

First, let’s get Flora’s construction covered. I foundation paper pieced my block, so for those of you who do not know how to foundation paper piece, visit my Basic Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial here, as well as the Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial guest post I wrote for the Andover Fabrics blog. Trust me, it is a technique worth practicing and mastering, since it opens a whole new world of sewing possibility!

foundation paper pieced flora farmers wifeSince this block is not symmetrical, I printed a mirror image of the templates to help ensure I matched the color placement to that in the book. I selected simple dark, medium, and light green fabrics and carefully marked each piece of the template with a D (dark), M (medium), or L (light) before sewing so that once I had my fabric bits cut, I could chain piece the templates without too much thought. Those two preparatory steps (printing mirror image templates & marking each section of the templates) helped make the actual stitching of this block quick and smooth.

farmers wife 1930 floraThe final block has been sewn! Congratulations! So now what….?

Farmers Wife final layout warm coolIf we reminisce back to October 2015 when we first began this sew along, I originally planned (hoped?) to make 72 blocks instead of the full 99. I planned to sew some with cool colors on a white/low volume background and warm colors on a grey/black background and set them with solid blocks between. It seemed like a solid plan at the time, back when I had in my head that I was making “just a little 6″ block every week”. As you all know at this point, though, these little 6″ blocks pack a punch, often with 30-60 pieces and taking hours to construct. I’ve accepted that the 72 block plan just isn’t in the cards for me at this point in my life. I’m totally ok with that. If you find yourself in the same boat, here are some options.

Keep Plugging Away

all of my blocks sans flora
My full block inventory, not including Flora = 15 blocks

One option is to keep plugging away at the blocks with the goal of completing all of them eventually. If you want to be sure to complete them in a timely fashion, you may want to set a new goal for yourself and try to hold yourself to it.  Perhaps you could aim to make one block per week, at least 3 weeks out of every month.  Or you could plan to make 1 block every 2 weeks, where week 1 is spent selecting fabric and cutting and week 2 is spent sewing the blocks together. If this is your choice, make a plan, write it down, and forge ahead!

Change your Block Setting

Adjusting the way you set your blocks could also help you get a decent sized quilt from the blocks you’ve made. If you have made all 99 blocks, you could set your blocks with simple sashing and have a nice, huge quilt.

background fabric between each blockAdding solid blocks between each Farmer’s Wife block can help you get the most bang for your buck with however many (or few, in my case) blocks you’ve made. Add sashing and that will make your quilt even larger relative to the number of blocks you’ve made. My original mock-up includes both the blocks between each Farmer’s Wife block, and sashing, so you can reference that (included a few images up) for a visual.

negative space block setting - aria lane alyssa lichtnerOr you could think even further out of the box and arrange your blocks in a more modern, negative-space filled setting. I love the idea of arranging blocks similar to the design in Alyssa Lichner’s Concerto Quilt pattern for Aria Lane!

Make a Smaller Quilt

If you made less blocks than you initially had planned, you could always make a smaller quilt!  Lap quilts are all the rage these days, right!? Are any of your local farmer friends having a baby anytime soon? A good handful of these blocks could be beautifully worked into a “Farmer’s Baby Quilt”. With these intricate blocks, you don’t need many of them to make a gorgeous quilt.

Placemats & Pillows!

If, like me, these 6″ blocks showed you who’s boss (and it wasn’t you) and you only ended up successfully making a bit over a dozen of them, they sure would make beautiful placemats or pillows! Both placemats and pillows are handmade items that are often seen and appreciated daily, making sure your painstaking efforts will be appreciated to their fullest.

background fabric between each blockI’m actually thinking the blue unicorn block I made very well might have to become a pillow for one of my kiddos. It will surely be cherished that way.

With all of those options on your plate, your beautiful Farmer’s Wife blocks are sure to find their way into a finished work of beauty instead of floundering in a pile in your sewing space, right?!  Choose your own adventure, enjoy the journey, and thanks so much for joining in on this wild Farmer’s Wife Sew Along experience!

So which adventure will I choose?

Once I completed Flora, I pulled out all of my completed blocks and put them up on my design wall to take stock of my progress. As seen above, I finished a whopping 16 blocks. I am not counting the three blocks that have foundation paper piecing templates printed, cut out, and fabric pulled, since they are not yet sewn, but I do plan to make them eventually.

smaller quilt same layout planAt first I considered the “Make a Smaller Quilt” option, and thought perhaps I’ll make a few more blocks to fill out a lap sized quilt in my original layout. Note that these photos are from a purely planning phase–fabric slapped up onto my portable design wall simply for the benefit of playing with different arrangements visually. It’s wrinkled and wonky and that’s all part of the fun! 

warm on darkSince I made the warm colored blocks with a dark background and the cool colored blocks with a white background, I probably will stick with those for sashing and background blocks.

Once I began writing this post, though, the negative-space filled setting inspired by the Concerto Quilt is really calling to me. I may opt to plug away and make some more blocks, with the end goal of setting them in a fade out pattern similar to the blocks in the Concerto Quilt. Time will tell, and since I know that I want to make more blocks before settling on any of the options, it’s absolutely okay to choose later!

snail and low volumes worked into greenery
Do you see Flora?

Flora is going to go live in my Greenery 2017 quilt, though, since the block reminded me strongly of dappled light through the treetops and I thought adding a Farmer’s Wife block to my year’s Greenery project would be the perfect touch! The quilt is already a green melting pot of blocks from all of the sew alongs and bees I’m joining this year so it feels only right that a Farmer’s Wife 1930s block join the ranks.

The moral of this story is: There are no rules. This is your quilt. You can do anything you want to with these blocks!  Enjoy the adventure!

Important Links

http://www.interweavestore.com/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quiltThe 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.

 

Not-So-Ugly Christmas Sweater Block Sew Along with Kid Giddy

A while back, Kerry from Kid Giddy asked if I wanted to sew along with her Ugly Christmas Sweater Sew Along, and of course I said yes. I have been wanting to make her “Ugly Sweater” block since it came out last year, so this was the perfect excuse to get it (and a deadline) on my to-do list. Plus, quick little finishes are really nice this time of year. I don’t think my sweater is very ugly, but that’s ok!

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockThe block finishes at 6″ square, so my initial thought was to shrink it down to a 3″ square and make an ornament. I love making functional items, and you know how I love to sew teeny tiny ridiculously small things! But then when I sorted through my stash and decided upon the Tula Pink Prince Charming print as the sweater body, I decided the scale would look better with the 6″ size.  Now we are going to have a festive mug rug/coaster, which I plan to have out for all of sweater season, which is nice and long here in Maine!

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockI love the subtle Cotton + Steel Mustang twinkle trim on the sweater, and the Kona Wasabi arms round it out nicely.

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockHindsight, I should have made the shoulder bits with the greeny-yellow part of the Tula print instead of the blue, since they kind of disappear into the background, but c’est la vie. My husband says he likes it this way, so all is well.

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockI plan to do some simple diagonal crosshatch quilting with the walking foot on my Bernina 560, but haven’t yet decided whether to use Aurifil 50wt Medium Delft Blue-2783 or Lemon-2115. I’m leaning toward the lemony yellow, I think. Which would you use?

Be sure to check out the other fun ugly and not-so-ugly sweater blocks on Instagram at #uglysweaterblock, or get Kerry’s pattern here.

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockI’ll be sure to share this block in action once I quilt it up and plop some delicious treats or a warm mug of something sweet on top! I borrowed some of the tiny glittery ornaments from the tiny tree my son cut for our kitchen island for my block photo shoot and now there’s glitter EVERYwhere! I hope your holiday season has been glittery and bright so far, too!

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 95 Sylvia Tutorial

Ahh, remember the Farmer’s Wife Sew Along!? Today is my day to share the Block 95 Sylvia tutorial for the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell. Sure, I’m wildly behind on this sew along, but that’s totally ok! With my final deadlines being met within the next couple of weeks, I will have time to catch up a bit, chipping away at the missing blocks here and there. It’s all good! That’s part of what I love about Angie’s Sew Along–there’s no pressure. I’m making this quilt for me and I can take as long as I want to finish it!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialEach of these Farmer’s Wife blocks manage to pack quite a punch in the little 6 1/2″ space. My method of attack when deciding how to piece each block has been consistent: how can I piece this with as little muss and fuss as possible? With Sylvia, at first I was thinking chain piecing would be the way to go, since it would help minimize the teeny tiny pieces in the inner borders I’d need to cut and sew. Looking at it more closely, I decided that with this block, even chain piecing would require piecing TINY bits, cutting, and then piecing again. Plus, sixteenths of an inch!? No thank you! Finally, I decided that foundation paper piecing was the way to go, since:

  • there aren’t any tricky joins,
  • the pieces are teeny enough that the foundation paper will be helpful in reducing wonkiness,
  • the block breaks into pretty manageable pieces, AND
  • all of the border pieces can be cut using a rotary cutter and ruler to decrease the paper removal at the end.

Those who know me know that I LOVE foundation paper piecing (FPP), and it’s true–I do! The precision one can get using FPP is unrivaled, and once the technique is mastered, it makes sewing teeny tiny pieces MUCH more manageable. I am not going to take you step by step through how to foundation paper piece, since I have  written two very clear tutorials already (why reinvent the wheel, right!?), but I will share some block-specific tips and tricks to help you piece Sylvia smoothly.

For those of you who do not know how to foundation paper piece, visit my Basic Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial here, as well as the Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial guest post I wrote for the Andover Fabrics blog here. Trust me, it is a technique worth practicing and mastering, since it opens a whole new world of sewing possibility!

Reflection on the Letter – In Spite of the Mortgage

Nearly every one of the letters in this book seems to talk to me in a very specific, seemingly personal way. After the first dozen times of reading a letter I shockingly thought was *meant for me*, I realized that all of the letters have a very widely applicable message and I was simply interpreting it in a way that worked for me at that moment. That said, I can completely relate to this letter!!

Sometimes it’s necessary to just head off on an adventure despite whatever chores, obligations, or need for frugality you have waiting for you at home. We did a lot of adventuring this summer, but like Mrs. A. M. from the letter, we were able to do it on a very tight budget, not paying for much more than gas money.  Day trips to beaches, mountains, playgrounds, and forested hikes abounded, and I was always sure to pack a picnic lunch, extra snacks from home, and full changes of clothes for all three kids (and myself)… just in case. It was a much needed change from the stay home and do chores days we could have had!

Tutorial

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialReady to get sewing? Make sure you have a grasp on how to foundation paper piece, and let’s make Sylvia!

Choosing Fabrics

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialAs soon as I saw this block, I knew that I wanted to meticulously cut the center square. I’m arranging my blocks on point, so be mindful of your own plans before meticulously cutting your fabric! (I call “fussy cutting” meticulous cutting, and you can read why here). In looking for a fabric with a perfect color scheme and feature design, I stumbled across my precious Heather Ross Far Far Away unicorns (Windham Fabrics). I added some solid blue from an old project, and some Lizzy House Twinkle Twinkle from her Whisper Palette (Andover Fabrics). While the colors are a bit more muted than my other blocks, I think they will all work together. Plus, this fabric combination was a match made in heaven… once it was together, there was no separating it!

Here are some general tips for foundation paper piecing:

  • Shorten your stitch length to 1.2 (if you are an absolute newbie at FPP, try 1.5 until you get the hang of it);
  • Hand crank your needle down at the beginning of each line to make sure you start off exactly where you want to;
  • Backstitch at the beginning and end of each line to secure your stitches (they will be much sturdier during paper removal this way); and,
  • Foundation paper piecing results in many trimmed thread ends. What better time to make yourself a thread catcher? Here’s a free tutorial on how to make the one I use.

To help you while you stitch up Sylvia, here are some block-specific tips for you with photos from my process.

Tip #1: How to make a fussy cutting template for FPP

Fussy cutting while foundation paper piecing can seem daunting, but with one extra step, it can be super easy! Simply create a fussy cutting planning template for the piece(s) you want to focus on. I go through making such template in detail in my FPP post for Andover here, but here are the basics: Print an extra sheet of paper containing the FPP template with the piece you want to fussy cut (printing on card stock will make the planning template sturdier).

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialMark the specific piece you want to meticulously cut. I went a little overboard on marking mine for the sake of clarity here. I circled the number but also traced just outside the line of the particular piece, both with bright pink sharpie. Simply circling the number would probably suffice!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialCut out the center of the piece, creating a window that is exactly the size of the piece you want.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialDraw a 3/8″ seam allowance around the window. I used a green micron pen for this example to ensure the line didn’t get confused with the printed lines on the paper.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialCut along the line you drew.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialYou should how have a planning template to help you cut your fabric for fussy cutting. Notice that I placed my planning template onto the fabric upside down. This is because in foundation paper piecing, we are sewing the block on the reverse side of the template. It did not matter too much for this particular piece, since it’s a square, but always be mindful of directionality of the fabric as well as wrong side-right side. If need be, mark your planning template with “right side up” or “wrong side up” so that your fabric is cut properly!

Tip # 2: Color code your foundation paper

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialBetween sewing the fabric on the reverse side of the paper, having the block broken into sometimes odd sections before sewing, and the many pieces involved in most foundation paper piecing patterns, it is in your best interest to color code your paper template before beginning to sew. This way, you can be sure you sew each fabric in the proper place.

Tip #3: Be generous with your fabric pieces

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialEspecially when first getting started with foundation paper piecing, one of the biggest tips I can offer is to be generous with your fabric pieces. It’s better to have to trim a bit more off than to be short and have to rip stitches! For my bright blue squares on Sylvia, I cut the fabric into 1 1/2″ squares, which as you can see includes ample overhang.

Tip #4: Use rotary cutter and ruler for rectangular shapes

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialThis tip goes for bag-making as well: just because there is a template created for a perfectly rectangular piece, it doesn’t mean you can’t use your rotary cutter and ruler! The outer pieces of Sylvia can be easily cut using a rotary cutter and ruler, which will save time with paper removal at the end. Since these pieces are not easily measured (let’s avoid using sixteenths of an inch if we can help it!) simply cut out the foundation paper piece templates and use them as a guide when rotary cutting. Use the foundation paper piecing method to piece the center portion, then add the D, E, H, and I rectangles using traditional piecing methods. Easy peasy!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialAnd there you have it. Sylvia, in all her glory.

Thank you so much for joining me today and I hope you found this tutorial helpful!

Important Links

http://www.interweavestore.com/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quiltThe 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.