The Farmer’s Wife quilt

When I started with this blog in March, as well as the Elm Creek quilt, I didn’t realise it is going to be very addictive. I also couldn’t understand why quilters were always busy with more than one project (or it did seem to me as if they were). But now, not even three month later, I started with another quilt 😦

A group on FB started the BOM club, where we make one block a month. I made the 9 patch block (I posted a photo in the previous post). The same FB group also started a quilt-along ‘The Farmer’s Wife quilt’ and I decided to work with them.

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Farmer’s Wife sampler quilt

Originally I thought to use the browns and beiges, but ended up using the fabric for the BOM club instead. For the Farmer’s Wife Quilt I bought a selection of black and white fabric. And today I made two of the first four blocks in the book.

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First four black and white blocks

Yes, two of each block – I have two sons and decided to make a quilt for each of them. In the one quilt I plan to incorporate a few blocks with teal; and in the second quilt I plan to incorporate some red, with the black and white. That way the two boys will have similar, but different quilts. I am not sure how big, it might end up as two smaller ‘cuddle-up’ quilts. Or it might end up as one big quilt! I thought making two sounds fair, as my daughter already claimed the unfinished Elm Creek quilt.

So yes, a few moths later and I actually have quite a few projects going, as well as the cross-stitch baby blanket (which is nearly done) and three little dresses I am planning to smock 🙂

In the same FB group a member suggested using starch because the little pieces are so small and it will make it easier to sew together accurately. She gave her recipe and I made some

1 Tablespoon corn flour/starch, 1 cup water. Mix well, pour into a spray bottle and spray a little bit on the fabric before ironing and cutting. Use only a little bit at a time!

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Starch
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BOM club

Nothing new to add about the quilt-in-progress, except that I made two blocks again. I wasn’t very happy with them and decided it bothered me enough to make those again. That actually feels good 🙂 To get more practice with patchwork quilts I joined a BOM group. The block for this month is a simple 9-patch. Simple? Did I say simple? I unpicked it THREE times!!!!!!! I couldn’t get the seams to match. How frustrating to struggle so much with an easy block. But it is finished now and I can relax until June when the next block must be done

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May block for the BOM group – a 9-patch block

Mother’s Day

It is Mother’s Day today and I miss my children, they all live too far away to just drop in for Sunday lunch 😦 After treating myself with coffee in bed (that sounds a bit pathetic, but it is not – it was a good Nespresso) I felt lazy and read my book. But the fabric I bought for the next quilt I am planning was bothering me as I left it on top of the washing machine, to be pre-washed, since I brought it home. So I popped it in the washing machine and it is now drying in the sun. These colours are so unlike me – I tend to always choose blue! This is going to be interesting

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Pre-washing the fabric for the next quilt

Sashing

I have been so busy and made huge progress with the cross-stitch baby blanket and school, and haven’t had time to work on any more blocks. So after about 2 weeks since I last sewed blocks, I still have only 36 blocks. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it – although I am only about half-way I have been thinking about the finished quilt and how I want to join the blocks. Since I started I knew I wanted a neutral colour between the blocks. I decided to get more of the lighter fabric I have been using in the blocks and cut 2 1/2″ strips today, for the sashing. I sewed the sashing to the one side of each block and will use long strips to join the strips of blocks eventually. Although it is only on yet side of each block at the moment and not across as well, I packed it out and I like the effect.

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Sashing

I also baked some yum Nutella cookies – found this recipe on the internet but didn’t keep the link to acknowledge the ‘inventor’. But they are delicious

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Nutella biscuits

Three more and lessons learnt

I am finding that making these blocks are quite relaxing and it helps me to ‘switch off’ after a hard day at school. This afternoon I basically came home and immediately started to work on a block……and finished three today. I have three more already prepped

This is my first patchwork project and I am learning as I go. I am finding out that I really have to concentrate when cutting the pieces for the blocks – I still measure and cut, instead of measure and measure again and then cut! I have discovered that cutting in front of the line on the ruler, or including the line actually makes a huge difference if you are working with 6″ blocks.

Yes, lesson 1 is definitely – be very accurate when measuring the pieces!

Lesson two – press, don’t iron. Ironing can stretch those tiny little pieces. Press gently. And press every little seam! Not only are the seams lying neatly on the back, but the end result is so much neater too

Lesson three – do not, I repeat, DO NOT press when the block is on the cutting board. The cutting board is plastic and will melt. It will leave a mark on your iron……..say no more 😦

Lesson four – sew an easy block and then a more difficult one. Do not sew all the easy ones first. At some stage those difficult ones will have to be done and if you alternate easy and difficult you will make life easier for yourself. I didn’t do it that way – my first blocks were all the easy ones. And now I am working on the complicated ones. Not good

Lesson five – careful with those points! Although I am still quite proud of what I achieved so far, I know it is not perfect. There are heaps of mistakes. But I am learning and I am getting better with each block completed. I do know my blocks appear neat and tidy, but the points aren’t always the best. I also know my colour combinations are not always the best and some blocks look quite ‘busy’. A lighter fabric would have the better choice with the flowery fabric

Also be careful when reading the instructions. Read it properly, read it to the end!!!!!!! The size 6″-blocks got stuck in my head and that is what I aimed for. But if I read it properly and with more understanding I would have read ‘6″ finished”. But truthfully I also blaming the fact that I am a total beginner and didn’t really realise what the difference was between unfinished and finished. I thought unfinished meant before you sewed the pieces together, and finished meant the block sewn together. I actually trimmed the first blocks I completed to 6″ exactly – forgetting/not knowing that there should be a seam allowance and the blocks should actually measure 6 1/2″. So yes, my blocks are all 6″ which means the points and triangles and seams are going to be even less perfect when I sew the blocks together for the quilt. But I can’t change it now. I only understood it should be 6 1/2″ after I dutifully trimmed the first 12 blocks.

I have learnt much more than the above-mentioned lessons, but some things should not be written down as I really don’t want to look like a total fool 🙂

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Bella is keeping an eye on me

Baking and six more done!

Public holiday today which means I didn’t have to go to work!!!!!! Was planning to sew more blocks today, but felt like baking when I woke up. And I found a recipe for bacon and cheese bites which I thought would be perfect to snack on between blocks. And yes, it is a recipe I will use again. It is wet and windy outside, with a weather warning about very strong winds later today

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Cheese and bacon bites

The recipe: (I added some garlic salt to the mixture and then some grated parmesan cheese on top of each bite, before baking it, with some chilli)

Bacon Cheese Bites

1⁄2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups grated cheese, a sharp cheddar is best
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon grainy mustard (or French mustard)

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
Combine egg and milk, and stir into remaining ingredients.
Drop by rounded teaspoon onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake until golden (about 20 minutes).
Cool on wire racks.

I made 6 of the 12 blocks I prepped yesterday. My pile is now up to 30 blocks and I feel quite proud

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Six more done!
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Ready to start today

Sunday

A very grey, windy day here in Wellington. The rain is not far away. It is a long weekend and I don’t have to go to work tomorrow – it will hopefully a day full of sewing. I am still struggling to get the smell of smoke out of my house. I just turned the Scentsy on with some new wax, it will be a test to see how good it really is

When I grew up my mother made all our clothes. She was always busy, never sat down relaxing without knitting or some kind of needlework. Mum taught me how to smock. My daughter always had smocked dresses. But on Sundays mum read, she didn’t do any needlework at all. Whenever I even think of sewing on a Sunday I can see mum’s face in front of me and I simply feel too guilty! Therefore I don’t do any sewing on Sundays either. Which is very tempting today as I have 12 blocks ready to sew 🙂 I am still very organised, as I have been since I decided to make my first quilt. Work out the sizes I need, cut pieces for 12 blocks, sew. Not sure why 12 blocks got stuck in my head and why 12, but this is the third set of 12 ready to sew

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Bags ready
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Pieces cut for more blocks