Friday, November 22, 2019

Farm Girl Vintage 2 Quilt Along - Farm Girl Friday's - Week Four!!

Happy Friday and welcome to my blog 
for week four of the...

We are using my new book

And Farm Girl Vintage Fabric 

To sew two Farm Girl blocks per week:)

is up first and can be found 
on page 31 in the book.

I have been working on my pile of 
Farmhouse Kitchen Potholders
 and so I thought I'd whip up a
 6" Cold Watermelon Block 
so that I could give you a few of my 
piecing tips when making my 6" blocks.

As with any piecing...
 when making the blocks there are 
a few basic rules that always apply:
First one is:
 Cut accurately and use an
 accurate 1/4" seam allowance
It's simple advice that you 
always hear but is VERY true.

About steam and starch:
If you like to starch your fabric 
or use steam in your iron then the time
 to do both of these is
 BEFORE cutting out your pieces.

If you carefully cut your pieces and 
then AFTERWARDS you apply moisture 
like (steam) and then heat (iron)
your pieces will shrink 
because it's 100% cotton...
and we all know that's 
just what cotton does:)

Keeping track of pieces when cutting:
I'm sure that you all have 
your favorite methods for this
 and that is great because we all need to keep pieces organized.

Lately I have been crushing on using my new 
 I simply put a letter A sticker 
on the stack of  "A" pieces etc.

I keep them on throughout the entire
 process of sewing and pressing.
Yes ...
you can iron over them and 
they do not leave a residue:)
They are great for keeping all of 
those little pieces organized 
and labeled while sewing.

Onto the sewing part...
I always have 2 pieces of fabric 
that I have sewn together
 under my presser foot.
This has 2 advantages.
When you are feeding small pieces into 
your machine the thread will not 
"eat your piece" 
at the beginning of the seam because 
you are feeding it directly after
 2 pieces that are already there.
This helps so much!

By knowing and planning beforehand 
what I'll be doing with these squares...
I'm making a quilt at the same time...
I always call these my "BONUS" quilts.

I love multi-tasking!

Next tip when sewing with small pieces 
is to make sure that your needle is sharp 
so that it glides through the pieces
 easily to save on distorting the piece.
This sound so simple but you would 
be surprised how much it helps!

Another tip for accuracy is about thread!!
  I use Aurifil thread when piecing.
It is a 100% cotton thread which matches up with the fabric I am using.
That's important.
It's a very strong but thin thread and
 so it allows less bulk in your seams.
I started using Aurifil 10 years ago 
and have never looked back:)

When sewing easy corner triangles
 I use my
like this so that I do not
 have to mark a sewing line...
it saves time and is super accurate.

I use washi tape to hold it down...
when I change the bobbin I 
simply lift it up then stick it back down.

These are the 2 squares 
that I had under the presser foot.
I usually put them in a pile to
 press later but I pressed this one 
now to show you:)

After sewing however many pieces 
(I normally sew more than just one
 because I chain piece) 
then I feed another two squares in
 and keep it under there until after 
pressing all my the 
pieces that I've just sewn.

 I just continue feeding these squares 
in every time I stop and start.
I've done this and taught this 
for years and have always called them "starters and stoppers"
they are now also known as
 "leaders and enders" 

Two sets of two squares...

I'll eventually sew them into
four patches and I'll show you 
in a few weeks what "bonus quilt"
 that I am's from the book!

But right now let's talk about 
pressing your 6" blocks.

Pressing is an important part when 
sewing small pieces so do not 
under estimate it's value.

One tip I have for pressing is:
I like to use a wool pressing mat 
and a Quilters Clapper.
Both wood and wool absorb the heat 
quickly from cotton.
 This makes your blocks
 flatter after pressing.

After pressing I lay my block or section
 (in this case the watermelon)
 back out onto my design board and 
smooth it out and let it 
cool completely that way.

Now onto piecing the fork!

Try not to let the small pieces 
freak you out lol

Here's the way I look at it:
You just sew them together with a 
1/4" seam just like you do a large piece...
it really makes no difference 
how much fabric is hanging over 
to the left of your presser foot...
it could be 12" or 3/4"...
it just does not matter because 
you only need to worry about 
the 1/4" seam on the right.

If you have problems holding onto 
the small piece to keep it straight 
while feeding through the machine 
then use a tailors awl or
 the point of your seam ripper.

You can see here that I also use my 
Seams Sew Easy Guide 
for an accurate 1/4" seam.

Some like to sew a "scant" 1/4" seam. 
I don't really do that...
I just try to stay as accurate as possible.

I try to cut-sew-and then press accurately and that seems to work out fine.

Remember that this did not
 happen overnight for me...
of course it takes practice!

Practice means just
 "jump in and do it" 
the very best that you can...
with what you have...
with an attitude of learning and fun.

Before you know it 
all of these tips 
will just come naturally. 

When sewing 6" blocks or 
even small pieces in a larger block...
 I like to press my seams open.

The simple reason why is that 
your seams will lie flatter and so
 your block will not be distorted.
Speaking of distorted...
be careful to PRESS and not to 
 "iron back and forth"
because this can so easily 
distort your blocks especially
 if you have a huge iron and tiny pieces.

Here are my fork pieces.
I use the Clapper when pressing pieces too...
not just when the block is completed.

When sewing pieces that have angles
 that need to line up like the handle
 onto the fork bottom...


They are thin enough so that you can 
sew over them if you need to.

It's just one pin but 
it's like placing two pins 
on either side of the seam at the
 same time so that it doesn't slip 
out of place when going 
through your feed dogs.
They work amazing!

is done and ready to be
 made into a pot holder.
I really don't use them much for that
 but more for decor in my kitchen:)

I often hang them on a clothesline
 that's across my bay window 
and switch them out for the seasons.

Here's the back of my 6" Block.
I hope my tips and tricks on sewing my 
6" Farm Girl Blocks have helped you!

I do all these things when sewing all of
 my 6" blocks from all of may books.

Let's move onto the next block
 for this week.
is on page 34 of the book.

This is a good example of a few 
of the blocks in the book that 
are easy to switch up a bit...
so let's talk about some 
Quilty Math real quick!

If you look at the block 
you can see that the corn is 
EXACTLY one half of the block 
and the tomatoes are the other half.

 I drew them up this way on purpose
 because I love the way they
 look together but they can 
also be fabulous on their own!

This means that I can make a block
 with two ears of corn 
and I can also make a block
 with four tomatoes
Remember my Fresh Pears Block in book one?
Same thing:)

So that is exactly what I did...
cut two more blocks to add 
to my Pot Holder collection.

I decided to add a green tomato in 
and I also used some pieces from my
 Autumn Love Fabric collection for these blocks:)

When sewing these...
I just followed the same directions...
twice for the corn and 
four times for the tomatoes:)
Easy peasy!

I love the way they turned out and I
 thought you might like to see them too!

Thanks for joining me this week...
please continue using the hash tag 
when posting your blocks.
They are so fun to see!

If you are making your quilt exactly 
like mine then you will need to 
make the Cold Watermelon in 6"
and the Corn and Tomatoes in 12"

To make it easy to remember make sure 
to download and copy 
the easy reference chart.
to get it.

I'll see you right back here
 next Farm Girl Friday for 
2 more Farm Girl Blocks!


Little Quiltsong said...

Love the mix and match part of the blocks you designed. Thank you also for all the tips in sewing these little 6" blocks together. Love your seams sew easy guide and use the larger Riley Blake Sticky dots to fasten them down. Always enjoy sewing your lovely blocks!

KathiP said...

I love your Seams So Easy Guide - but am so glad I read this about what to do about keeping is down after the glue dots won't stick anymore - use washi tape, brilliant. It's been a struggle after cleaning my bobbin case and pretty much keep the guide on my machine all the time. (I actually have 2 - one for my home machine and one for my retreat machine). Thanks so much for making it a time saving tool and cute at the same time!

Donna said...

Thank you for your instructions! I’ve been sewing a long time and need to be reminded of the basics! You are so generous in sharing your knowledge with us. Humm, thinking I need that wool pressing mat.

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