I meant to do this on Friday, so you get my Farmer’s Wife Friday graphic:
Everybody say “hi,” to Grandma Mildred!
Now, on to our show. I’ve been trying to get back on the horse that threw me – Paper piecing and the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sew-Along. A progress overview:
I have reached the point in the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sew-along that has required me to finally conquer my fear of paper piecing. At least I’ve had some “warm-up” exercises with my Modern Bee, using the Vintage Modern book. Those are much easier blocks, at a larger scale. So I finally bit the bullet. I DO still twitch a bit about the fabric wastage. I’m Dutch. I can’t help it. But, I share with you a bit of what I’ve learned, thus far.
For instance, I have an extremely short attention span and I’m likely to forget what color comes next, even with the book open. So I “borrow” my daughter’s colored pencil set and color a little on each segment of the paper piecing patterns, to keep me straight.
I love that Angie, of Gnome Angel, has provided cutting lists for the blocks. And I get the impression that she’s getting better at providing more efficient ones, as we go. Thanks, Angie! This is my set up for the “April” block. I blurred out the numbers on the paper pattern, out of respect for the copyright on the book. But you can see my little colored pencil scribbles as well as the stacks of cut fabric toward the back of the photo. (You’re about to see a little of my process. Don’t judge!)
I’m finding it REALLY helps to trim each seam allowance with my “Add A Quarter” ruler as I go. I’m so in love with this thing, I may need to get the 12″ one, as well.
All you have to do is fold back the paper and trim away the excess. Just – pay attention. If you have a ferret-brain like mine, sometimes you do this:
Oops. Yes, I had to reprint my paper and do that one over again. One small note – I really like newsprint paper for paper piecing. It tears away so much easier, and folds back a lot better, too. Plus, it’s cheap. I usually pick up a pad at the Dollar Store (Dollar General doesn’t carry it locally, but a lot of the other chains do) in the children’s art section. It’s 9×12″, but pretty easy to cut down to size to fit through my printer.
Now, once everything is sewn on and pressed, it looks like this:
From there, it’s just a matter of trimming each piece to size and sewing them all together, as directed. A lot of people recommend WonderClips for this part. I don’t have a lot of luck with that, so I tend to use the floating pin technique. Connecting threads has a nice tutorial that I recommend, here. After all of that, I wound up with a finished “April” block.
There are a few inaccuracies, but I’m going to leave them. Both because they’re small and because I’m guessing I couldn’t do any better unless I started over. Which I don’t feel like doing. In hindsight, I DO wish I’d used a dark blue thread, as I think it would be less obvious. Ah, well.
Having tackled April, figured I could move on, without fear. So, that same day, I did Autumn, as well.
Forgive the poor picture, it was a very bright day, and I’ve since tucked this block into my binder for safe keeping. This one, April, and a couple of others might come back out for better photos, later. Again, fabric choice was a little off. I ought to have saved the larger scale pink floral for a block with bigger pieces. Here, it just gets confusing.
I did really like this whole set of blocks, though there are a couple of hiccups along the way.
This is Charlotte:
For some reason, this photo wants to go very blue, no matter how I try to adjust it. Sorry about that. Still, I did like how this came out. I picked up Charlotte, in part, because she reminded me very much of one of the more recently assigned blocks. My current strategy for catching up is to do the block assigned for the week, plus as many older blocks as I can find the time to manage. So I don’t feel like I’m falling further behind, if that makes sense. Therefore, this week batch also involves Mrs. Taft.
This is going to be another favorite for me. For such a simple block, I was a little surprised at how long it took – lots of back-and-forth between the sewing machine and iron. BUT – only one “assembly” seam, so I was OK with that. I think she’s rather striking.
Then it was time to get a little braver. On, to Blossom.
This is another block wherein I’d have done things slightly differently if I’d been more experienced with paper piecing. It’s a bit busy, but that I can live with. The fact that that various triangles turn the pattern on the green fabric all directions gives me a bit of a twitch. I probably ought to have either planned for that – or used a non-directional print for this block.
So, to soothe my soul, it was on to Magnolia, who was more forgiving.
This one is just bold and graphic and happy. Yay! I get a bit more of a modern feel from Magnolia, probably from the fabric choices, and the fact that the block is only symmetrical on a single axis. As opposed to Starlight, which is both a more traditional block, and feels more vintage in these colors:
Again, there are a couple small inaccuracies, but overall, I really like this one.
I don’t think I’ll end up entering this quilt in any kind of competition when I’m done (not even the county fair), but I’ve been learning a lot. I’m getting better at, if nothing else, spotting errors in fabric selection or cutting, once I’ve made them. Look at my Lady block.
One corner triangle has too much of the floral part of the grey fabric in it, and gets a little lost int he background pink. While, on the other hand, I noticed right after cutting it that a little adjustment to that cut would have given me MORE of the floral pattern in the center of the main grey square. Unforunately, I’m getting down to smaller amounts of some of my fabrics, and I don’t really have enough for re-do’s, unless I’ve really made an error. I did, in fact, make such an error on this block and had to reconstruct one of the corners entirely.
Here are my girls again (minus April and Autumn, who may need to come back out when the light is better). Which is your current favorite? Are you working on the FW 1930’s quilt? Have you started thinking about how you’ll set your blocks, yet?