Monday, 2 May 2016

Farmer's Wife QAL blocks 65 and 66: Mother and Mrs Anderson

It's Monday and time for two more blocks in the Farmer's Wife 1930s QAL.  The first block, Mother (p. 224, letter 156) is a hard fiddly block, possibly one of the hardest so far.  There are Y seams and tiny bits to grapple with.  I had my seam ripper out many times on this one.

Fabric credits:

{Please note:  I have linked to my sponsors for fabric bought through them and elsewhere for anything that has come from other shops}

Jo is guest blogging about this block so I'll let her lead the way but I will say beware to anyone foundation paper piecing this block.  Not only does it have four Y seams (I'll be doing a detailed step-by-step post on these next week) but I had some issues with the pattern (see the errata page), some seam allowances were greater than ¼" so if you cut out with scissors rather than with a quilt ruler and rotary cutter, you might want to check.  I usually use a mini Add-a quarter ruler and a rotary cutter and it ensures I check the accuracy of the seam allowance.

 There is also a section that is rather wonkily drawn.  Not sure if that's to do with printing but it needed correcting.  Below you can see the new line drawn in and also the scant seam allowance - I added a bit to compensate using the A2 triangle as reference.

If you are template piecing this block, check the errata as the quantities for cutting include an error. 

The second block, Mrs Anderson (p. 225, letter p. 163) more straight forward.  It took me most of an afternoon to complete but the seams nest on the nine-patch squares which makes joining the sections together much easier .  

Fabric credits:
Kona Persimmon
Riley Blake Lula Magnolia, Lula Night Orange
Penny Rose Fabric Hope Chest Leaves

I foundation paper pieced this block and used the rotary details below which will produce shapes approx. ¼" bigger than needed.

Rotary Cutting Dimensions 
A1, A3: cut (2) 1 ¾" x 3 ¼" rectangles
N1, O1: measure the paper pieces for these and cut the same size
A2, B2,C2,D2: cut (4) 1 ¾" squares
F1, F3, J1, J3, I1, I3, M1, M3, G1, G3, K1, K3, H1,H3, L1, L3: cut (4) 3" squares; sub-cut each square twice along each diagonal to yield 4 quarter square triangles. (Total yield+ 16 QSTs)
B1, B3, F2, J2, E1, E3, I2, M2,C1, C3, G2, K2, D1, D3, H2, L2: cut (16) 1 ¾" x 2 ¼" rectangles

Joining the triangle corners in each of the none-patch squares of the block needed some extra care to align the sections accurately.  I remove most of the paper on both sections and mark in the seam allowance just at the point where they join- see pic below, then pin the seam points and stitch the seam.

Top tips for this block
  • Pre-cut all pieces
  • Use a water based glue stick. I use Sewline, to stick the first piece of each section
  • Chain piece sections 
  • Mark in seam allowance where needed to accurately join sections 
  •  Pressed section seams to one side
  • Flatten seams with Flatter or similar light starch spray
Remember you can:
  • Hashtag  #fw1930sqal on Instagram and add photos to the Flickr group if you like to share there.  
  • For individual blocks, you can use #Motherblock and #MrsAnderson on Instagram, Fat Quarter Shop and Angie are using these hash tags, #fw65Mother,  #fw66Mrs Anderson - I'm using both hashtag systems.
  • You can also copy and paste links to any blog posts you do on these blocks in the comments and I'd love to visit and take a look. 
Charise returns next Monday as a guest blogger next week and there will be more Y seams- I'll take you through them this time step-by-step as it is my block with the Y seams!

sib blog

Saturday, 30 April 2016

April at Eternal Maker

Just in time to get my April sponsor post in for Eternal Maker.  These are my nine choices for this month from their treasure trove of Japanese imports and many more. 

Fabrics from left to right:
  1. Marcus blue/beige stripe, Mas d'Ousvan.  Beautiful shade of blue and classic french style in this quilting cotton. 
  2. Pineapple orange cotton lawn from Hokkoh.  Silky lawn fabric, perfect for shirts, tops or even luxurious quilt backs and linings.  
  3. Carme Blouse- shirt top with placket opening from Pauline Alice patterns.  With it's roll-up sleeves it's ideal for the stop-start weather many people have been having. 
  4. Peeking Cats Jersey Knit.   Very cute design, (140cm wide lightweight cotton jersey with 8% lycra)- I predict this will sell super-fast. 
  5. Unicornucopia Jersey Knit 140cm wide lightweight cotton jersey with 8% lycra.  Another newly arrived fabric and again, I think this will be a popular seller.
  6. Yellow and grey spot cotton canvas by Hokkoh.  Gorgeous yellows in this fabric.
  7. Blue stripe cotton jersey from Kiyohara (Japan).   Perfect colours and this company is well know for great quality fabric.  Narrower width at 90cm so check your quantity.
  8. Pineapple palm coral from Michael Miller fabrics  Lovely colour combinations in this print
  9. Swiss Dot Chambray- very floaty and lightweight, soft and tactile.  I have some of this waiting in my stash to become a Pauline Alice Carme blouse
I particularly recommend a look at all the new jersey/knit fabric arrivals, there are some wonderful prints in there for children and adults.   Enjoy browsing...

sib blog

Disclosing, comments, blocks etc...

Thank you to all of you who commented on my last post.  The diversity of comments made for interesting reading and the "NoFollow' attribute seemed to be news to many of you, not just me!   Meanwhile, other sewing has been mainly been by hand this week due to a long day of travelling on Wednesday and work/life on the other days got in the way.  

I've been sewing Glitter (from Jen Kingwell's Quilt Lovely book) blocks off and on- mainly off- during any trips away.  As I only have a handful of blocks I obviously don't travel enough but each is a little canvas of fabric and colour matching and they are a very pleasing task when I'm sitting on a train plugged into an audio book.  As ever I recommend Jon Ronson, this time I started his Lost at Sea compilation and it was funny and eye opening as is often the case with his writing.

I found an interesting looking book in a charity/vintage shop today, Quilt Designs from the Thirties by Sara Nephew.  It's a slim Dover Needlework series book but packed with interesting info and some great inspiration.  I'm thinking ahead to when the Farmer's Wife 1930s Quilt Along is over and I will have lots of 1930s repro fabric left over.  The FW quilt will go to my daughter but I think I will want some colourful scrappy alternative for myself and there are many to choose from in this book. 

Happy long weekend for those of you enjoying an extra  May Day away from work- be it rain, shine or snow.   Mine might involve a visit to a garden centre, it feels almost like a duty on a bank holiday and the back yard is looking a little sparse.

sib blog

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

NoFollow and Advertising Disclosure for Sewing and Quilting Bloggers

Last week I attended a local bloggers meet-up at Organic in my hometown.  I went because it was on my doorstep, sounded intriguing and I was curious to meet other South West UK bloggers.   Sarah Turner,  The Unmumsy Mum and Andy Robertson, GeekdadGamer (better known to me as the husband of Jo, fellow local sewer and quilter @jorobexeter) both talked frankly and with good humour about their experiences working with brands. 

There was a mix of foodie, parent, style and interior bloggers and I did find another crafty blogger- Tall Amy Bags.  Most people did have experience of working with brands.  There were some who chose not to have any form of advertising or sponsorship and those people tended to sell a product instead, e.g. a book or a service.  The focus on the evening was two-fold:

1. Do you work with brands on your blog and benefit in some way?  Payment, freebies etc.  
2. If you do work with brands, do you follow an #OpenApproach ?

The  #OpenApproach was mainly focused in this instance on the use of rel=nofollow links when bloggers work with brands.  If you are not sure what these are - and I wasn't - you can read about them here.  Ultimately, they are a form of disclosure.  The link attribute informs Google not to follow the link so the link does not effect the page rank in search engines.   Alongside this practice is the full disclosure when you have received something for free or payment in return for a review/blog post/social media interaction.  For the UK, this is governed by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and interpreted by The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and a handy feature on how this applies to bloggers, vloggers and brands can be found here along with a video here.   

Made recently for a friend, details to come here soon...
I've been a sewing and quilting blogger for six years now and my experience of working with brands is small but in the sewing/quilting blogisphere they are familiar names: Fat Quarter Shop, blog hops for sewing/quilting books, Girl Charlee UK etc.  Although blogging is a part of my income, it is a small fraction (around 15%) and much of it is from receiving products rather than payment.  I am not paid directly for blogging about a book, pattern or fabric that I use and I don't know anyone who is.  I write a regular column for Sewing World magazine which came about from being a sewing blogger who'd built a modest following and made active enquiries about paid work.  Ditto the regular articles that I've written for Sewing Directory including a ten-part series on quilting.  I have some sponsors and my arrangement with them is to write a monthly post featuring my choices from their shop.   An exception to this is Pretty Little Fabrics and Trims as their fabrics tend to get featured heavily in my Farmer's Wife blocks so I don't write additional posts for them.   

I've worked with my sponsors for a long time, I have total freedom on what I choose to post and payment is usually through credit to spend in their shop.  I don't work as an affiliate as I find that approach overly dominated by the need to generate clicks.  I like my involvement with brands to be organic and a natural part of my sewing experience.  This keeps me in fabric and sewing supplies that I couldn't otherwise afford; my income, sewing and otherwise, is modest and although it doesn't feel like it, my work is self employed and part-time.   I am an open person: you can ask me anything and I'll do my best to give an honest response.  Nothing good ever came of hiding information and I try to continue the same approach across social media. 

When I blog, if I have received fabric in return for mentioning a shop- e.g. Girl Charlee UK, I state that in my blog post.  The same with book reviews.  I also choose to receive fabric, books and supplies that I think I will like as I want to keep the tone of my blog positive but if there is a fault or a criticism- cost, quality etc.  I'll mention it.   I don't acccept the offers I get for unrelated products - a recent propositions that I politely declined was for a pet treat box - sounded interesting, but it's not about sewing!  All content is my own, I don't post content provided by others and I don't generally see that happening often on other sewing and quilting blogs.   I do see some sewing bloggers posting pictures of fabric or sewing supplies on other social media channels which I assume are either as part of an affiliate arrangement (the person gets a small payment for each enquiry that comes from the post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), or as a way of publicising their sponsors part of monthly arrangement in return for money or shop credit, but I'm often not totally sure what the relationship is.  Full disclosure on Instagram or Twitter is much harder than in a blog post and Instagram in particular is the principle outlet for social and commercial interaction for many sewers and quilters.  How many bloggers have you seen mention a commercial relationship in their Instagram pictures or tweets and how would they even do so- e.g. in the 140 characters of a tweet.  Would you like to see that level of disclosure or does it not bother you?

All this is a lot to take on board.  I knew about the importance of full disclosure but I think I am guilty of not always making it clear enough that my monthly sponsor posts (like this one) are a form of payment for me, albeit in goods not cash and I am aiming to improve on that and include nofollow links - now I know what they are.  In between a daughter starting her GCSEs exams, phone calls to various social workers to discuss my grandmother and mourning the loss of Victoria Wood and Prince, my head feels fit to burst so forgive me if I am preaching to the converted, I feel like I'm a little late to the party.   I am not a strategic blogger, for me it's something that has grown naturally from the early days of Flickr and is an increasingly niche pursuit as many bloggers have turned solely to Instagram.  Thanks to Organic for reaching out locally and hosting a lively informative meet-up.  Blogging is a lonely business by nature so it was good to be in a room full of people all eager to share. 

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you follow disclose where appropriate?  Do you see your favourite bloggers, instagrammers, Facebookers, and Tweeters in the sewing and quilting world doing the same?  I know commenting on blogs these days takes a little extra time, especially on phones and tables but I'm interested to hear your thoughts...
sib blog

Monday, 25 April 2016

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Blocks 63 and 64: Mollie and Monette

Welcome to another week in the Farmer's Wife 1930s QAL and time to introduce a couple of blocks that are fiddly blocks that each take a little to piece together.  The first block is Mollie (p. 222, letter 108).


Fabric credits:
Unknown floral repro, originally from My Fabric House

{Please note:  I have linked to my sponsors for fabric bought through them and elsewhere for anything that has come from other shops}

For this block is based on a nine-patch construction and each square (with the exception of the centre) is pieced and they are then joined together in columns.  Although the piecing takes a while, there isn't much in the way of seam point matching.  When the squares are joined, it helps to press the seams to one side so that they will nest together in the final construction.  My fabric choices echo the block in the book with a light floral and two solid fabrics.

Rotary Cutting Dimensions 
  • Follow the cutting dimensions from the book/CD for the large + small triangles and rectangles, (and increase length and width of each shape by at least  ¼".
  • A5, B5, C5, D5: cut (4) rectangles 1" x 4"
  • For all the other triangle shapes, use freezer paper templates and this method,  You will need to trace these for shapes E1, E2, E3, E5, E6 and E7 (repeat for F, G, H and I) 

Here's a look at the reverse.

Top tips for this block
  • Pre-cut all pieces
  • Use a water based glue stick. I use Sewline, to stick the first piece of each section
  • Chain piece sections  
  •  Pressed section seams to one side
  • Flatten seams with Flatter or similar light starch spray
Monette (p. 223, letter p. 127) is based on simple shapes but the little squares are very small and are fiddly, even when foundation paper pieced.   I did find some of the seam allowances a little short in depth and below ¼" - I'm not sure if that was a quirk of printing or a problem for all but something to look out for.  Sarah Edgar of A Little Happy Place is piecing this block using the templates, read her experience and tips here. 

Remember you can:
  • Hashtag  #fw1930sqal on Instagram and add photos to the Flickr group if you like to share there.  
  • For individual blocks, you can use #Mollieblock and #Monetteblock on Instagram, Fat Quarter Shop and Angie are using these hash tags, #fw63Mollie,  #fw64Monette - I'm using both hashtag systems.
  • You can also copy and paste links to any blog posts you do on these blocks in the comments and I'd love to visit and take a look. 
Jo Green from a Life in Lists will be back next Monday with a guest post and a challenging block with four tiny Y seams!

sib blog

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Quick & Easy Quilts Winner

Thankyou for all the giveaway entries. I had no idea that the comments would be so emotional to read!  Amazing memories and treasures from special people, other countries and as part of people's quilting journey.  Random number generator picked Leigh, number 16 - I've just sent you an email Leigh, congrats!  

sib blog

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Quick and Easy Quilts Blog Tour: Modern Feedsack Stars & a Giveaway!

I've been waiting for what feels like ages to see Lynne Goldsworthy's new book Quick & Easy Quilts and now it is finally here I have really enjoyed seeing how she's grown as a quilt designer.   Lynne is a prolific quilt maker and Quick& Easy Quilts is deceptively clever book: each project is packed full of tips and tricks to speed up your piecing, increase your accuracy and produce a quilt that looks harder to achieve that it actually was!

I loved the cover quilt, 'Modern Stars', and I knew it was a perfect fit for my stash of feedback fabrics which have been waiting for a simple effective block to make the most of their gorgeous colours and prints.  I starched the fabrics with a gentle non aerosol starch before cutting as feedbacks are very soft and easily distort and stretch out of shape. 

I made a fabric throw (quilt top and batting fabric with no batting or quilting, top stitched edge) rather than a quilt as I use a lot of these as pretty covers for boxes of musical instruments and toys in my day job- I run group music classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  This means I will get to enjoy looking at beautiful fabrics during my day job as well as when I'm at home!  I made a nine-block version of the quilt- each block is 14" finished- and I adapted the border sizes to fit. 

I precut all the fabrics out using nine prints, one main background (Linea Texture by Makower) and a little extra Makower Linen Texture as I ran slightly short.  All the half-square triangles are made using a full size template from the book which produces eight accurate HSTs in minutes, I'm not kidding, it was seriously fast with minimal trimming.   This technique is also a great introduction to foundation paper piecing at it's simplest. 

My top tip for removing paper when foundation paper piecing is to tear the template part way along the seam line and then remove from the seam.  This reduces the strain on the stitches especially at the start and end so they won't come loose.  I've used this tip a lot for my Farmer's Wife blocks.

It's a great book for someone who's pieced squares together and sewn a beginner quilt and wants to progress and pick up skills and tips. It's also a handy resource for more experienced quilters who might need to whip up a baby quilt or pillow at short notice, that's what I'm planning for my copy!

You can see many of the projects inside the book on Kyle Books website and enjoy perusing Jan Baldwin's excellent photography.  I especially like that each quilt/project is shown in a styled shot and also in a flat overhead full-sized photo so you can study the layout and details close up.  The other stops on the blog tour also include some beautiful new versions of projects from the book.

I have a copy to giveaway and entries are open internationally, as long as I can find your email to contact you, you are eligible to win!  To enter, comment below and tell me about an vintage or older fabric that you have in your stash- good, bad or somewhere in between. Add an extra entries for each share on social media- write a comment adding where you shared- Facebook, Twitter etc. Winner will be contacted and announced Sunday 24th April. *Comments are now closed*.

{Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in return for taking part in this blog hop.  It was my decision to make something from it.  All opinions and content are my own}

sib blog