The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sew Along Epidemic!

I admit it! I get very excited about patchwork and quilting. Sometimes I even finish some of the projects I begin with this unbridled enthusiasm.

My current passion is THE FARMER’S WIFE 1930’s SEW-ALONG. There is a ‘one stop page’ for all the information curated by GNOME ANGEL. (

My book arrived last week and I am busily preparing my patterns and choosing my fabrics for the September 28th start date.

The Farmer's Wife 1930s Book and Fabrics

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Book and Fabrics

I know I have promised some unique results from the 200g of scrap swap….

Scraps Become a 'new' fabric

Scraps Become a ‘new’ fabric

Half Square Triangles created with these great papers

Half Square Triangles created with these great papers from Quilters Barn

…and I will finish that project…
BUT, this is a SEW-ALONG and I have never done a SEW-ALONG like this before. The group has its own Facebook page and there are already over 2500 members. Can you picture the diversity and cleverness of all these Patchworkers sewing along? It quickens the pulse.
My bobbins are full and my needles are new.

Fabrics, Bobbin and Needles

Fabrics, Bobbin and Needles

Come on and join the world wide project that has developed a life of its own! You know you want to…think of it as using up lots of fabric you already have to make room for new fabric that hasn’t even been designed yet…..ooooo aaahhhhh.


Recycle, Reuse, Renew……Recover

Last week we were all entertained with ladybirdee’s recovered pincushion.  It was inspired and inspiring, and I have taken this ‘recovering’ theme one step further.

I was in need of a table and chairs and after perusing the furniture stores and not finding what I had in mind, I had a look on eBay. I fell in love with a table advertised there….because of the chairs! I  purchased several meters of fabric from “that Swedish furniture store” to use for recovering the chairs.

Cotton drill fabric for recovering chairs

Cotton drill fabric for recovering chairs

After recovering the chairs, I had some fabric left and the table looked so naked.

Chairs with 'new

Chairs with ‘new” seats

Then, I remembered I had Judy Neimeyer’s Compass Rose table runner paper piecing pattern. The finished size of her table runner was too long for my table so I decided to do some modifications.

Paper piecing

Paper piecing

Using my left over pieces of fabric from recovering the chairs, some gorgeous Reece Scannell cottons and other pieces from my stash,  I stitched my compass sections, using Aurifil 50 wt. cotton Mako (orange spool).  Use a slightly shorter stitch length to make removing the paper after piecing easy.

Aurifil for perfect piecing

Aurifil for perfect piecing

Stash fabric,chair fabric and cotton like SILK from Reece Scannell

Stash fabric,chair fabric and cotton like SILK from Reece Scannell

Triangles were cut over sized and added to the compasses to create squares from my octogonal shapes.

Triangles ready to sew

Triangles ready to sew

One Finished Compass Rose...3 to go

One Finished Compass Rose…3 to go

Sewing these new squares together resulted in the perfect sized runner for my ‘new’ table.

'New' table with a new look

‘New’ table with a new look

This project was quick and easy and ready to enjoy in a few days.

We would love to hear about your adventures with turning something old into something new again.

Tuesday Tips – Do you have a “shaggy dog”?

When I first learned how to rotary cut and machine piece ( back in 1994), I was fortunate to have a very thorough and well-organised teacher.  She taught me all the necessary basics as well as many little extra tips. One of the things I remember her teaching us was to use a “shaggy dog” to avoid a “bird’s nest”.

You’re probably wondering what on earth she was on about, as I did too.

Picture this…. you’re all set to begin piecing, everything is pinned/placed in position, you start to sew and the sewing machine doesn’t start smoothly. It coughs and grunts and creates a tangle of threads on the underside of your fabric. (The “bird’s nest”) GRRR!!!

Experienced sewers will know that this problem can be eliminated by holding onto both the top thread and the bobbin thread for the first couple of stitches. However you can also take a small scrap of fabric (never a problem for patchworkers!), fold it over so that you have two thicknesses of fabric and position it under the needle, running it from front to back. The movement of running it in this direction ensures that both threads are out of the way and not likely to be caught in the initial stitches taken by the machine.

It should be positioned so that when you start sewing the first few stitches will be on this scrap.

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Start sewing on your shaggy dog.

You can then place your real sewing close to the edge of the scrap and continue sewing onto it.  This will result in a smooth start and undistorted sewing of your pieces.

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Going from the shaggy dog to the piecing.

Use this scrap starter each time you commence a new seam or a  length of chain piecing. Snip between each segment after you have reached the end of the seam or chain.

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Cutting the shaggy dog from the other pieces.


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Can you see the shaggy dog in this piece of chain piecing?

Before very long your scrap starter will begin to look decidedly “shaggy”, hence the “shaggy dog”.  When it becomes too untidy, retire that “dog” and start a new one.


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Ready for retirement.

Some sewers like to have another shaggy dog which they use at the end of their piecing.   It then is in place for the next piecing sequence.

Bonnie K Hunter uses this method which she call “leaders and enders”.  She even uses this technique to generate extra quilts!! You can read about her work and books at:

Do you have shaggy dogs at your place?


Another Day; Another Scrap Quilt

Last week I shared my Square in a Square scrap quilt and discussed my choice of quilting thread.

Today I will discuss my choice of piecing thread on a scrap quilt. I have been working on an ‘Easy Big Block’ Pineapple quilt, designed by Cindi Edgerton for McCall’s, using only white and red fabrics.

When I say ‘red fabric’, I really mean anything remotely looking red in my stash.

Blocks with fabrics that 'read' red

Blocks with fabrics that ‘read’ red

And then, of course, when I say ‘white fabric’, it could be beige, tan or snow white.

White Fabrics...compared to the red fabric

White Fabrics…compared to the red fabric

This type of quilt construction lends itself to a production line approach sewing strips of fabric to the paper foundation, following the numbers in order.

Tissue Paper Foundations from Cindi Edgerton

Tissue Paper Foundations from Cindi Edgerton

I don’t want to worry about my thread colour choice becoming an issue with each new fabric addition.

Here are the threads I considered on several pieced blocks.

Auditioning Aurifil thread  colours

Auditioning Aurifil thread colours

I decided on the Aurifil Mako 40wt Colour 2900. It is ‘neutral’ enough to blend with my ‘white’ fabrics and ‘brown’ enough to blend with my ‘reds’.

Decision Made!

Decision Made!

I can wind several bobbins and sit and sew without changing my thread colour every time the fabric colour changes.

It is helpful to have a range of basic piecing colours so you can choose the right one for your current scrap piecing.

Several Panels are ready to stitch together

Several Panels are ready to stitch together

The ‘basic’ , or MUST HAVE Aurifil thread colours are different for each of us. What are yours? Personally I want them all!

Last But Not Least

Here we are at the end of our Block of the Month Journey.

A Modern Welcome Finished size 20x24

A Modern Welcome
Finished size 20×24

We chose our charm squares; cut and sewed; layered and quilted: and now it is time to complete the finishing touches and enjoy our creations.

Last month, after our quilting was finished, we trimmed the excess backing even with the top.

Binding cut and trimmed ready for pressing

Binding cut and trimmed ready for pressing

These pieces are carefully cut to 2 “widths and all 4 pieces (one from each side) are sewn together creating the binding. The 2” binding is pressed in half and applied in the normal way, creating a mitre at the corners. I stitch my binding down to the back of the piece by hand using Aurifil 40wt Cotton Mako. Jane Wickell has a great tutorial on making and applying bindings.

You will want to show off your new creation and a hanging sleeve can be made for easy display. Have a look at Susan Brubakers Knap’s instructions and Nancy Zieman demonstrates how to make a rod pocket for a show quilt.

The label is the last and most important item on your quilt.I have decided to use a pre-printed label.

Label for my BOM

Label for my BOM

We have some lovely quilt hangers in the shop and our labels come in many designs.

Each label has suggestions for the items to be included for future reference.

Information for a label

Information for a label

I hope you have enjoyed making your Modern Welcome BOM.

Crazy Heart Tutorial

After I posted about finishing my free motion quilting challenge , I received a request for instructions for making the quilt. So here it is for Eva …..

Well, I’ve written the instruction for making the crazy heart block, and have left it up to you to decide on the block layout for the quilt …. with sashing, or blocks side by side, or maybe you won’t even make the hearts into blocks  … made smaller the hearts would make great decorations.

Now the instruction for Crazy Foundation Piecing:

I have used a light interfacing as the foundation for my crazy piecing.  The finished size, and shape, of your appliqué is drawn onto the interfacing. The blocks in my quilt were about 12″,  so I made the heart about 10″.

Draw the finished sized shape on interfacing

Draw the finished sized shape on interfacing

Start at an edge of the heart;  place two fabrics right sides together and stitch a straight seam.

Fabrics are auditioned and added one at a time

Fabrics are auditioned and added one at a time

Press the fabric open.

Place another piece of fabric, at an angle with wrong side up, on top of the opened fabric and stitch a straight seam.

Fabric will cover the ends of the previous scraps.

Fabric will cover the ends of the previous scraps.

Continue to build up the fabrics, at random angles, until your shape has been covered.

The fabric is trimmed along the shape outline

The fabric is trimmed along the shape outline

Trim the heart shape  along the drawn line.

Glue the heart onto the quilt background fabric using a small dab of Sewline Glue.

A dab or two of Sewline glue holds the shape in place

A dab or two of Sewline glue holds the shape in place

You are now ready to sew the heart  into place on the block. Use 40wt Cotton Mako and a straight stitch or Aurifil 12wt Cotton Mako and a decorative machine stitch.

Once the hearts are all stitched into place on the background fabric blocks, you can join them together in your preferred layout to make the quilt top.

If you don’t want to make an entire quilt as I did, you can make some festive place-mats or even a single coffee mug mat. This is a wonderfully fun way to use up those scraps you love.

A Modern Welcome BOM-Creating the Backing Fabric

 I hope your Modern Welcome BOM quilt top is nearing completion.

Many quilts have a whole piece of fabric for the backs of their quilts.  Our Modern Welcome quilt has a pieced back.

If you remember at the start of our BOM, the entire project only needed 1/2 metre of background fabric and a charm pack of 5″ blocks.

My Charm Pack by Malka Dubrawsky A STITCH IN COLOR

My Charm Pack by Malka Dubrawsky

Gather any charm squares and pieces set aside from the construction of your pieced blocks.

Left over blocks and fabric pieces

Left over blocks and fabric pieces

This month you will be constructing the backing for your quilt.

Using your quilt top’s measurements as your guide,

sew pieces together into a rectangular shape at least 2 1/2″ larger than the quilt top on each side.

I use Aurifil Cotton Mako 40wt thread for my machine piecing.

Cotton Mako' 40 is the best choice for piecing patchwork blocks

Cotton Mako’ 40 is the best choice for piecing patchwork blocks

Create an arrangement that pleases you.

Left over pieces make a Modern Backing Fabric

Left over pieces make a Modern Backing Fabric

Next month….the quilting begins.

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