Friday, 9 September 2016

'There's a Bear in There' - Marti Michell Mini Quilt Blog Hop

Welcome to this long-neglected corner of the internet.  Since we last spoke, Vee and I have pulled the pin on cat&vee (while continuing to be great friends), and are following our own (as yet blog-less) paths as HelloFromCat and HelloFromVee - you can keep up as much or as little as you like via Instagram, we'd love to see you over there.

Now - on with today's tutorial for my 'There's a Bear in There' mini, made with Marti Michell templates.

I had clearly been living under a quilting rock, as I had not come across the magical Marti Michell templates prior to joining Angie on the Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt Sew-along.  I was a very quick convert and have very much enjoyed the opportunity to discover new ways of using them through this Marti Michell Mini Quilt Blog Hop - please click through to read all about the hop on Angie's blog. All the bloggers' links appear there, and also at the end of this post.  And here is the link to Marti's shop - the home of the templates and also her fabulous book 'More Bang for the Buck' - it's a total must-have if you love Marti's templates and would like to learn how to use them in your regular quilting life.

When it came time to create my mini, I'd been having a minor obsession with square-in-square blocks.  It was also around the time that Play School's 50th Birthday celebrations had been on TV (along with a bunch of awesome short celebratory videos on You Tube!) - so I came up with 'There's a Bear in There'. If you're not familiar with the Play School song, here is their home page.

'There's a Bear in There' mini quilt details

Finished size 22" square
Templates used - Marti Michell A + B sets.
Fabric (specific requirements are detailed below):
 - four fussy cuts and various coordinating scraps for your square-in-square blocks.
- various scraps for your square-in-square borders - no bigger than 2.5" x 10.5" will be needed for any one piece.
- strips for your sashing.
- 24" batting.
- 24" backing fabric.
- 2.25" x WOF for binding - cut and join three WOF strips. You won't need the full amount, so will have a small amount left over for another binding project.

Please note - I am assuming you know how to quilt and bind a mini, and so have not given instructions for that, other than fabric requirements.  This mini lends itself to either machine or hand quilting, so please go ahead and quilt to your heart's desire.  I chose a low volume binding, so the mini would 'run off the edge' rather than be framed by it - again, please choose whatever coordinating or contrasting binding leaps out at you from your fabric stash.

Marti Michell templates + cutting instructions
Each of the four blocks uses different Marti Michell templates from the A and B sets.  Below is a full photo of the finished mini, plus a full diagram of the mini, followed by the template and cutting instructions needed for each block, working clockwise around from the top left Butterfly block.  Please refer to the photo and diagram below for template and strip placement.  In the cutting instructions, I've included my own fabric choices in italics, to (hopefully!) make it easier for you to see to which template + strip I'm referring.

Butterfly block:
- Marti Michell templates: one B10 centre square (butterfly) + four B13 triangles (teal/navy stars) + four B11 triangles (orange spools).
- cut strips: two 1.75" x 6" strips + two 1.75" x 8.5" strips (Cotton + Steel lady face dots) + one 2.5" x 8.5" (multi-coloured flowers) + one 2.5" x 10.5" (grey floral lace).

Telephone block:
- Marti Michell templates: one A1 centre square (telephone) + four A4 triangles (teal beads) + four A2 templates (orange with white spots).
- cut strips: two 1.5" x 6.5" + two 1.5" x 8.5" (cats) + one 2.5" x 8.5" (grey background with white flowers) + one 2.5" x 10.5" (blue houses on white background).

Bear block:
- Marti Michell templates: one A3 centre square (bear) + four A6 triangles (poo dot) + four A4 triangles (orange/brown butterflies).
- cut strips: two 2.5" x 4.75" + two 2.5" x 8.5" (pugs) + one 2.5" x 8.5" (orange circles) + one 2.5" x 10.5" (black/white/red text print).

Typewriter block:
- Marti Michell templates: one B8 centre square  (typewriter) + four B11 triangles (blue spools) + four B9 triangles (orange flowers).
- cut strips: one 2.5" x 8.5" (rain drops) + one 2.5" x 10.5" (black dot on white background).

- Marti Michell templates: one B12 cornerstone square.
- cut strips: four 2.5" x 10.5".  I used a Laurie Wisbrun for Robert Kaufman chair print (because "There's a bear in there, and a chair as well ...").  As the print is directional, I made sure to cut two strips with the 10.5" length horizontal, and two with it vertical.  If you are not cutting a directional print, you won't need to worry about that.

To construct your mini:
1. Make each block separately by sewing the inner round of triangles to the centre square, followed by the outer round of triangles.  Press your seams in your preferred way as you go - I normally press open, but chose to press towards the triangles in each instance here.

2. Refer to the mini-diagram above to add your border strips around each square-in-square block.  My fabric notes in italics above may also assist you with your chosen fabric placement.

3. Work out your preferred placement for your four blocks.  Use a 2.5" x 10.5" sashing strip to join the top left and top right blocks, and another to join the bottom left and bottom right blocks - taking care if you are using directional prints. Press seams towards the sashing.

4. Join the remaining sashing strips to the Marti Michell B12 cornerstone square. Press seams towards the sashing strips.

5. Sew the horizontal sashing strip to your top row, taking care to match the vertical sashing seams with the cornerstone square seams.  Add the bottom row.  Press seams towards the sashing strip.

6. Give your mini top a good press, and you are done!

7. Layer your mini top, batting and backing together and quilt as desired.  I chose to hand-quilt, as I needed a good on-the-go project for all the times I sit in the car / at activities waiting for my kids!

8. Add your binding - and your 'Through the Window' Marti Michell mini is done!

I hope you love making the mini as much as I did - it's a great way to showcase some favourite fussy cuts and prints.  If you would like more Marti Michell template inspiration, please click through to the other bloggers on the hop.

12 August 2016 Angie @

19 August 2016 Tonya  @ The Crafty Mummy

26 August 2016 Lucy @ Charm About You

2 September 2016 Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts

9 September 2016 Cat @ cat&vee (you are here now!)

16 September 2016 Nathalie @ Les Ouvrages de Nat

23 September 2016 Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts

30 September 2016 Peta @ She Quilts A Lot

7 October 2016 Lisa @ Sweet Little Pretties

14 October 2016 Rachel @ Wooden Spoon Quilts

21 October 2016 Raylee @ Sunflower Quilting

28 October 2016 Lisa @ In the Boon Docks

4 November 2016 Marti Michell! 

But wait, there's more! 
If you make and enter a mini quilt - following any of the tutorials above - you will be in the running to win a Marti Michell prize pack!  To enter, make a mini (you must follow one of the tutorials) and submit a photo:
- to the link-up tool that each of the participating bloggers will post on their blogs on Friday, 18 November 2016;
- to the specific album in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt Facebook Group; or
- on your Instagram with the hashtag #MartiMichellMiniQuiltmania and tag both Angie @gnomeangel and Marti @martimichell on your photo

Thanks very much to Angie and to Marti for inviting me to hop along with you all - it's been fun.  Here's to Marti's templates making themselves at home in your sewing room. xoxo cat


Friday, 6 November 2015

.: Farmer's Wife Friday - week 6 :.

Quite the exciting Farmer's Wife week for me, since I shared my first tutorial as a Guest Blogger! 

As you can see, we had three blocks this week - number 1, Addie (I made two, since it was 'my' tutorial block), number 57, Margaret and number 62, Milly.

Every possible piece of information you would need to know about my Addie blocks is in my tutorial post, so I'll leave you to click through and read it if you would like to.

Margaret and Milly were released together, as they share a very similar block-construction, whether you choose to sew them with the Marti Michell templates and conversion charts, or by a more traditional HST method.  I used Marti's templates, as I had a little fussy-cutting to do for each of the blocks.  I finally had the perfect block for my long-stashed 'Margaret' fabric! 

And I don't have any 'Milly' fabric, but I DO have 'Amelia', thanks to Sarah Jane's gorgeous Out to Sea range.

If you'd like to learn a few tips and tricks for sewing Addie, Margaret and Milly, click through to read the tutorial posts by Angie and Kirsty.  And remember that each Sunday, Angie hosts a linky-party on her blog, so you can take a little time to click through and see all the gorgeous blocks everyone has been making this week:

Addie - Angie
Margaret - Angie + Kirsty
Milly - Angie + Kirsty

We've now sewn 15 blocks out of 99! - I wonder how many more we will sew by the end of the year. Hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever it is you are doing.  I'm really hoping to get to Finders' Keepers at some stage over the weekend, so I can make a big dent in my Christmas shopping.  xoxo cat

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Farmer's Wife Sew-Along - Addie - foundation paper piecing tutorial

Hello and welcome to my first tutorial as a Guest Blogger for the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt Sew-along!  I'm Cat and I share this space with my great friend Vee - we design and print fabric, totes and t-shirts.  Thanks so much to Angie for hosting this awesome, ever-growing Sew-along; Fat Quarter Shop for its sponsorship; and Marti Michell and her team for their wonderful templates, conversion charts and support of all of us Farmer's Wife-rs.

My tutorial today is for sewing Addie as a squared foundation paper-pieced (FPP) block.  I've also sewn an on-point Addie, using Marti Michell's templates, and will share a hot tip with you about getting your fabric-placement correct when using the templates. 

As a FPP-disclosure - I've got quite a bit of FPP experience - I've sewn plenty of fabulous FPP designs, most often by Kristy from Quiet Play (who has a great FPP tutorial here) and Penny and Kerry from Sew-Ichigo (who have a great FPP tutorial here - they also have two great little tutorials for FPP y-seams, if you click through to their 'tutorials and tips' tab, you'll find them - you never know, there could be more y-seams in our Farmer's Wife future!).  Cass also shared two fabulous FPP tutorials here and here.

Addie is a great starter-block for FPP - each section is small, there are no tricky seams, and matching all the seams to join the sections together is a pretty straight-forward process.

OK, here we go - there are lots of photos, so you might like to pop to the kitchen and make a cup of tea to keep you company while you scroll.

Step 1 - choose your fabrics!  I've tried to stay true to the three-fabrics-only placement that Laurie has used in the book, but cheated a little, since I have an ongoing fussy-cutting obsession and couldn't pass up the chance to include something a little fun in the centre.  So - the centre blue Aunty Cookie is supposed to 'match' the blue sketch fabric. 

Step 2 - print off the FPP template for Addie from the CD, making sure that your printer is set to 100% (or whatever your printer's version of 100% is).  Cut out each lettered-section - A, B, C etc - allowing yourself a little wriggle-room beyond the outer dotted-line.  The solid line is your sewing-line, and the dotted-line is your seam-allowance. 

Step 3 - colour in each section, according to which fabric is going where.  It also helps to colour-in the block-assembly diagram that appears at the top of your printed templates - that's always my first colouring-in step, but I am unable to share that diagram with you here due to copyright.  Be sure that your coloured-in block-assembly diagram matches your coloured-in sections, so there are no unwelcome surprises once you've finished piecing.

Step 4 - using your Sewline glue pen (or your trusty glue-stick from your stationery supplies), make a quick swish of glue on the unprinted side of the paper behind the number 1 on each section (A1, B1, C1, etc) and place the paper, printed-side facing up, onto the wrong-side of your chosen fabric.  If you are using directional fabric, or a fussy-cut for this step, now would be the time to hold the paper up to the light to check that your placement is correct.  Make sure your fabric extends beyond the seam-allowance (dotted-line) along the edges, and at least 1/4" past any internal sew-lines. 

Step 5 - pin your second (H2 in this photo) piece in place.  Make sure your fabrics are right-sides together and that your second piece extends at least 1/4 inch beyond your sew-line.  And note that your second piece of fabric extends away from the numbered section that it's intended to cover.

Step 6 - once it's pinned in place, flip your second (H2) piece down, to make sure it will cover the relevant section AND the seam allowance. 

Step 7 - pile up all your glued and pinned sections and take them to the sewing machine, so you can do a spot of chain-piecing. 

Step 8 - turn your machine on and reduce your stitch-length to whatever is recommended for FPP on your machine.  I have a Bernina and always sew FPP patterns with a 1.5 stitch length. 

Step 9 - place your first section under your machine-foot, and drop the needle right into the starting point of your sew-line.  Start sewing slowly, back-stitching at the start and finish of your sew-line.  I use Bernina foot number 37 (the 1/4" foot) for FPP, as I like to see the needle as it sews along the sew-line, and exactly where the needle is as you come to the end of the sew-line. 

Step 10 - here's your finished sew-line, with back-stitching at the start and finish.  For all the internal sew-lines in a FPP pattern, I never stitch into the seam-allowance - others do, but my preference is to back-stitch at the start and finish of each sew-line and never sew beyond it into the seam allowance. 

Step 11 - fold your paper on the sew-line, giving it a little crease so it's ready to trim the seam-allowance.  In FPP, when you trim your seam-allowance, you always fold the bigger number down onto the smaller number - so in this photo, H2 is folding down onto H1.

Step 12 - with your paper folded down as described in Step 11, line your ruler up with the 1/4" line on the folded-edge of the paper, and trim your seam allowance to 1/4".  Make sure that all your just-sewn-fabrics are out of the way, and that no rogue pieces have flipped over - you don't want to be trimming them away with your seam-allowance, that's no fun.

Step 13A - with the fabric-side of your pieced section facing up, carefully flip over your second (H2) piece and iron it flat.   You may prefer to use a seam-roller at this point, rather than be back and forth to the iron - I certainly do this when I'm in a class - but at home, I prefer to move between cutting mat, iron and machine between each FPP chain-piecing session.  In the photo, you'll see that I've flipped and ironed-flat the blue H2 piece.  

Step 13B - once you have finished a section (i.e. once you have sewn all the numbers in order), you are ready to trim it.  Be sure to line your ruler up so that you are trimming 1/4" from the solid  external sew-lines of your section - this should exactly match up with the dotted-line anyway, but I always double-check and am guided by my ruler rather than just cutting on the dotted-line. 

Step 14 - once you have finished, ironed and trimmed all your sections, you are ready join them together.  I always lay out my block with the papers facing up, so it matches the block-assembly diagram.  It looks a little like a jigsaw puzzle.  It's best to then follow the piecing guide next to the block-assembly diagram - join A to B etc.   I always use pins to make sure I am matching the sections accurately - in this example, the red pins go straight through the corners of the external sew-line on B to join the external sew line on A.  Use as many pins as you need (and take a quick look now at Step 14A for an extra tip in doing this).  As it's not really possible to sew with pins sticking out everywhere, once I've matched the sew-lines between the sections as best I can, I secure the pieces with clips, ready to chain-piece.

Step 14A - I've added this photo in to show you tick-marks for joining sections, since adding tick-marks to your pattern pieces is a really helpful way of ensuring you are joining your sections accurately.  Wherever you have internal sew-lines that must meet up, just draw a little red (or any colour!) line on the sections you are about to join - you then have a little reminder to add a pin to that sew-line when you are pinning your sections together.  As I've added this photo after I finished taking my tutorial photos, please note that it's for a different block, that I've chosen to randomly sew, not for Addie - so just ignore the fabric and pattern-piece you can see - you only need to focus on the pins and tick-mark :-) 

Step 15 - as you join sections together, tear away the seam-allowance papers before ironing your seams.  I tend to iron my FPP section-seams open, but let's not open that particular can of worms - you can iron your seams in whatever way makes you happy and works best for you and the pattern. 

Step 16 - see, open! This photo shows you two sections joined together, trimmed, and the seam ironed open.  It would have been nice if I'd trimmed those threads for you, as they're looking a little messy!  Keep working through all your sections, following the joining-order specified by Laurie, until you are finished.

Here's my finished block from the back, showing that I do indeed iron my seams open AND to the side, depending on what I think works best for each seam.  I tend to iron my seams open quite a lot, as I do love a nice, flat block.  Whatever works best for you and your block is perfect. 

And here she is again, all finished and telling you how clever you are for finishing your FPP Addie!

I did promise you my second Addie, which I sewed on-point using the wonderful Marti Michell templates.  She's cute, right?  I love the 'Good Intentions' girl in the middle and thought I was being quietly hilarious by pairing her with Heather Ross fish, since fish don't have hair! I wanted to share my hot tip for fabric-placement using Marti's templates for Addie, so you don't do as I did.  

In the book, Addie's centre-square fabric is the same as the outer-star point fabric.  So my intention was to match Good Intention Girl's hair (in the centre square) with the Bonnie + Camille scallops (on the outer-star points).  But, hmmm, someone wasn't concentrating and didn't lay out their block before sewing everything together.  

So - if you are using the templates to piece your Addie, be sure to piece your outside star point fabric so they are on the bottom left and bottom right of your background triangle, not (as I have done in the photos below) on the inner left and right of the background triangle.  These next few photos are an example of what not to do if you are following the fabric-placement diagram in the book. 

See? - you don't want your outer-star points on the inside - you want them on the outside.

When you've finished your template-sewn Addie side units, you want your inside star points where my B+C scallops are below - it's at this point you can work out whether you've made a fabric-placement mistake or not - of course, I did not realise this at the time! 

For a wonderful Addie tutorial using Marti Michell's templates AND which shows how to get your fabric-placement correct, click through to Angie's post from yesterday.

Well we've reached the end, and I just have one more photo to share with you - thank goodness, since your cup of tea must be finished or getting cold by now! Here are my two Addie's together - it's pretty amazing how different they look, isn't it.  

All the information you need for the Sew-along can be found on Angie's blog, which I think of as 'home base' for us all. 

And here is the book that you need, should you like to join in with us:

As I mentioned already, the Sew-along is sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop - click through to go shopping and don't forget to use the code FQSFarmers for a 10% discount off your purchase before 30 November.

And one last reminder, Marti Michell's templates, blog posts and conversion charts have been just wonderful in this sew-along - I am only new to using Marti's templates but I am a total convert. 

Happy sewing!  I am looking forward to seeing all your Addie's - be sure to link up to Angie's blog on Sunday, or share your photos to the Addie album in the Facebook group.  There are two more block tutorials to come this week, so be sure to check out Angie's blog tomorrow and Kirsty's blog on Friday.  Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have found my tutorial and photos helpful to your Addie-sewing.  xoxo cat

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