Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt Sew-Along

The biggest quilting event of the year is just about to kick off! And I am super pumped that I have been invited to be one of the official guest bloggers for this awesome quilt-along!

This is the book that we will be quilting along to: The Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt by Laurie Aaron Hird. This quilt along is being hosted by Gnome Angel in conjunction with Fat Quarter Shop and From Marti Michell. A super-impressive list of bloggers have been asked to join the party, you can see them all here.

As we make our final preparations to start the sew-along, I am absolutely flabbergasted by the sheer number of quilters from all around the world getting ready to take on this challenge. The official Facebook group for the quilt-along has over 3300 members already. It's mind boggling to try to imagine all the quilts that will be made during the course of this QAL!

My preparations are complete, and here's my fabric pull. Yes, I do have a rather large collection of repro 30s fabrics as you can see (I actually have quite a bit more in my stash, but was embarrassed to show all of it in case you think I am a fabric obsessed nutter my husband reads this post).

Ever since I started to quilt I wanted to make a Farmer's Wife sampler quilt with repro 30s fabrics, so they seemed like the obvious choice for this quilt along. I did briefly consider using Tilda (another obsession of mine) but my heart pulled me back to the repro 30s fabrics. I hope you like my fabric choices and will visit soon to see my blocks. I want the overall effect of the quilt to be quite muted so I may mix in more low volume fabrics along the way too - we shall see.

Here is a list of some of the fabrics I will be using for my quilt. Some of these are out of print and may be hard to find but most are still available as bundles at Fat Quarter Shop and other fabric stores.

30s Playtime by Chloe's Closet for Moda
Old New 30's by Atsuko Matsuyama for Lecien
Aunt Grace by Judie Rothermel for Marcus Brothers Fabrics
Pretty Posies by Darlene Zimmerman for Robert Kaufman Fabrics
30's Minis by Erin Turner for Penny Rose Fabrics
Hope Chest by Erin Turner for Penny Rose Fabrics
Everything But the Kitchen Sink by Yuko Hasegawa for RJR Fabrics
Walk in The Park by Maywood Studio
Storybook Vacation by Whistler Studio for Windham Fabrics
Spring Showers by Kaye England for Wilmington Prints
Retro 30s Child Smile by Lecien
and many many more!

One of the reasons this sew-along is so exciting is not only the awesome blocks but also the opportunity to practice new techniques that you may not have used before, as the book has so much scope! You can machine piece all the blocks, or hand-piece them all, or foundation piece them, or use a mix of techniques (which is what I am going to do). I will rotary cut and machine piece the simple blocks, for the ones with more tricky maths I will use my templates by Marti Michell. I will also foundation paper piece and EPP hand-piece some blocks. I am really looking forward to mixing and matching all the different techniques in this quilt along. Lots of quilty sewing practice!

Important Links

For those intending to sew along with us, here are some key links for you:

Official sew-along page: Click here to visit the official sew-along page at Gnome Angel

Facebook group:  Join the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt Facebook Group by clicking here.

FAQs: You can find answers to common questions here.

Book: The 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, order it here.

From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates: Find information about the templates and a list of templates that you can use to make the blocks by clicking here.

Techniques: Brush up (or learn!) some of the quilting techniques we will be using by following the You Tube links below.

   English Paper Piecing : Sue Daley's English Paper Piecing school
   Foundation Paper PiecingSew Easy: Paper Foundation Piecing by Fons and Porter
   Using Marti Michell templates: Introductory video on Perfect Patchwork Templates

I will be sharing my progress on Instagram, with only periodic updates here on the blog, so if you want to see my blocks as soon as I have made them make sure you are following my IG feed. Please use the hashtag #FQS1930FarmersWife for your Instagram photos so we can see your progress too.

Two sleeps to go before we start! Are you ready?

'Down The Rabbit Hole' Pillow Sham

Have you guys seen the amazing work of my friend Sarah from Ric-Rac & Retro? She is a free motion applique master, also known as 'drawing with thread' or 'sewing illustration'. Sarah herself hand-draws each of her designs and her hand-made goodies are extremely sought after with huge waitlists. Luckily for us sewists she has recently started selling patterns, so we can make our very own Ric-Rac & Retro sewing art. This is the pattern I picked.

It's called 'Down the Rabbit Hole' and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to pair it with my lovely bundle of Curiosities, courtesy of Polka Dot Tea Fabrics (one of my fave Aussie fabric stores).To follow my exact thought process: 'Down the Rabbit Hole' = Alice in Wonderland = 'Curiouser and Curiouser' = Curiosities (my mind works in strange ways sometimes). This gorgeous line was designed by Jeni Baker for Art Gallery Fabrics.

I love the smooth finish of Art Gallery fabrics which I think is perfect for quilts and bedding in general. So I decided to make a pillow sham for my own Alice.

Each stripe in the patchwork is 1" wide (1.5" cut). I quilted the patchwork in the ditch, and hand-quilted around 'Alice'.

For fellow collectors of classic book titles, these gorgeous books are from the Puffin in Bloom range, illustrated by Rifle Paper Co.'s principal artist, Anna Bond. There is an Alice in Wonderland edition coming out soon!

If you would like to try free motion applique go grab the pattern from Ric-Rac & Retro. It contains detailed step by step instructions on the technique. Sarah is literally giving away trade secrets people!! I won't lie and say I found it a breeze, it takes quite a bit of practice to get the fluid sewing motion right, my first few attempts were quite laughable. Black thread is so unforgiving, every mistake shows. In the end I switched from the open toe foot to my regular foot (I know it's weird, but I am more experienced with it). I also used a pair of quilting gloves which gave me better control and grip. Do give it a go, it's quite addictive actually! I am going to make more, and hopefully figure out the open toe foot eventually. If you like the technique also be sure to check out Minki Kim's amazing work over on her Instagram account @zeriano and also her website. These girls make it look so easy.

Petit Fleur 'Liberty Belle' Quilt

When I first started sewing in 2012, one of my first fabric purchases was some yardage from Lecien's Petit Fleur range which was in print at the time. This beautiful classic line is a timeless collection of dainty florals and coordinates, with muted colours that are suitable for 'grown-up' projects as well as a more understated pretty look for a little girl's room. So I was super excited when Lecien sent me a sushi roll of the new Petit Fleur 2015 Basics to play with (by the way I really love Lecien's terminology for these rolls - so Japanese, and they do look like sushi, don't they?).

I decided upon this  jelly-roll sushi-roll friendly quilt pattern by the lovely Jemima from Tied With A Ribbon, which had been on my 'must-make' list ever since I saw it on the cover of Homespun magazine's November 2014 issue (which incidentally also had my Alice in Wonderland hoop art project in it).

Instead of the full size quilt per the pattern, I decided to make a lap quilt for myself, as the nights are still quite chilly here in South Australia where we live at the edge of a desert and I needed a new couch quilt to snuggle under whilst watching TV (and crocheting, of course).  I found the pattern very easy to follow and the quilt top came together really quickly. I normally plan the exact placement of my fabrics before I sew anything, but I was in a foolhardy mood when I started sewing this (could have been the two glasses of wine I had earlier that night? Ha!). So I just started randomly picking colours from the sushi roll that looked good together, and paired them with some Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen Blend in Flax.

Jemima hand-quilted her original 'Liberty Belle' quilt, but not having her stamina (or patience) with hand-quilting I opted for machine quilting it in a simple grid pattern.

For the backing and binding I used some of my precious 'old' Petit Fleur that I was talking about earlier.

If you would like to make this quilt, Jemima has kindly offered to give my readers 15% off this pattern and everything else on her website and Etsy stores until the end of September. Just use the code 'DOWNGRAPEVINELANE' during checkout.

Meanwhile in South Australia spring has arrived (finally - it's been a long and cold winter!). People are going around in t-shirts and shorts already, but I am a bit of a wuss so I'm still wrapped up warmly in my jumpers. Our lavender and native daisies are in full bloom, and one of my rose bushes has buds on it, about to burst open. I can't wait for the warmer weather, even though it will give me less of an excuse to make quilts!

'Toy Chest' cot quilt

As a member of the Penny Rose Fabrics project design team, I get to design and sew with their new fabric ranges, and write tutorials and features for the Penny Rose blog. For today's feature I have designed and made a cot quilt using one of their latest ranges, 'Toy Chest'.

As soon as I saw this line in Penny Rose's catalogue, I instantly knew I had to make a baby quilt with it. Frolicking lambs? Check. Fluffy bunnies? Check. Birds on see-saws? Check. Simply too cute for words!

And here is the quilt I designed. I went for a simple design with a vintage feel, and no fiddly points so it's suitable for all levels of quilters.

I had it professionaly quilted on a long arm machine, in a sweet floral swirly pattern. I didn't have enough Toy Chest yardage for the backing so I used a polka dot fabric which complements this range perfectly.

My little helper wasn't quite tall enough to hold it all the way up in this pic. He tried so hard though!

If you would like to make this sweet quilt, I have written a free pattern and tutorial for the Penny Rose blog, which you can get here. Those following me on Instagram may remember me posting about buying Electric Quilt 7 recently, which is the quilting software I used to design this quilt. It's so easy to use, and really an essential tool for anyone designing quilts and publishing or sharing their patterns. It's not cheap, but worth every penny as it saves so much time. It even calculates fabric yardage requirements and gives you rotary cutting instructions, and has hundreds of built-in royalty free classic blocks to play with. And the benefit of seeing what your quilt will look like in your chosen fabric combinations of course - for me this is the best part. I can highly recommend it.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you have a lovely day!

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