Monday, 19 December 2016

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Linoleum

This is, I think, the 64th block I've made for the Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt. It's called Linoleum:

This was a nice easy one to make. I was able to use my 45/90 degree triangle ruler yet again, and my regular ruler and rotary cutter - no templates necessary. It does save a bit of time.

Have a lovely week,

Hope x

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Honeycomb

After a bit of a break I've started back on the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt. This is block 49 in the book, Honeycomb. 

I did change the piecing somewhat from the book. The fabric choices make it appear a little different, but I also chose to cut the middle triangles in the rows (or columns, as the block is oriented here) in one piece rather than joining two small triangles. Less seams equals less bulk equals easier piecing and nicer points.

The block is all cut out with printed templates. I folded a little sticky tape back on itself and placed it on the back of the template to stop it slipping, then laid my ruler over the top to cut with my rotary cutter. It works well and helps with accuracy. If you have basting spray, that also works a treat when sprayed on the back of the template.

Bye for now. x

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Printing my PDF Patterns - A Guide

If you've bought one of my patterns, you'll know that they can be fairly long. I illustrate pretty much every step, include tips and notes in the instructions, and often include a mini quilt and/or variations. I will happily use most digital patterns directly from my tablet, but I know that it can be nice to have a paper copy in front of you to make notes on or check things off. I do print all of my own patterns, to make notes when proof-reading, to test that they print well with no glitches, to make sure that the colours contrast in both colour and black and white, and to check that all the instructions, diagrams and labels are large enough to be read.

Printed Patterns

Given that one of the main reasons I only sell PDF patterns at present is to try to save paper (to help the environment), I thought I ought to share with you the way I recommend you print my patterns, and how I design my own patterns to be printed.

First of all, ask yourself a couple of questions:

1. What do I need? 

Always read through the pattern to see which pages you want to have printed, and which you don't think you need. For instance, I am comfortable with binding, basting and quilting without instruction, so I wouldn't print those pages. I might also choose not to print the colouring page, or the back cover. If I'm not interested in making different sizes or variations, I would skip pages about those too.

Make a note of the pages you actually want to print, making sure that if the pattern numbering does not correspond to the PDF page, that you note the PDF page numbers. (In my patterns, the page numbering matches the PDF page numbering. In some patterns though, the pattern numbering starts page 1 with the instructions and doesn't number the cover. So, if the cover is at the beginning of the PDF, the cover will be page 1 of the PDF, and the first page of instructions will be page 2, making the numbering a page off from the pattern.)

PDF vs Pattern Page Numbers

2. Do any pages need to be a special size?

Check to see if any of the pages need to be printed at full size or scaled up or down. For example, if there are applique templates, embroidery outlines or cutting templates, they will specify what scale to print at. Print these pages individually at the scale instructed.


Once the answers to those questions are determined, select 'Print' in your PDF reader (I use Foxit Reader, so that is where I have taken the screenshots from. Adobe Reader will have similar settings). In the dialogue box, type in the pages you want to print and make sure the scaling is set appropriately.

Here I'm printing my Wander Through the Woods pattern. I only want the front cover, materials list, the cutting and piecing instructions, the mini quilt, and the 'How to resize' page. So, I made a note of the page numbers I need and entered them in the Print Range section:

Print Dialogue Box

Print as a booklet

I like to select Booklet format when printing, so that I get a neat little book to flip through and four pages will print on one sheet of paper - two on each side. It does make the writing and illustrations smaller, but I find it large enough for comfortable reading.

I've underlined where to find the booklet option in the image above.

Double check it all looks ok

In my Printer Properties settings, I always choose to show a preview before printing, so I can make sure I've got everything I need:

Printer Properties Dialogue

Here is where I also tell it to print in 'Fast' or Draft quality.

Then, print.

Allow the pages to dry then fold each page up the middle to form your booklet.

About my Pattern Formatting and Design

Font & Illustration Size

I selected the font size in my patterns to be readable when printed in this booklet format. It is a comfortable size for me to read, and also passes the Mum test (my Mum's older eyes can happily read it at that size too!) The illustrations are also designed to be big enough to be readable when printed at this smaller scale.

If you want to print at full size, make sure to select the duplex setting on your printer so that you print on both sides of the paper, saving paper.


In order to save on ink, I have left the pattern pages simple and without adornment. I have also recently changed the font I use in my patterns to a finer one that uses less ink. My illustration colours are pale in order to use less ink too.

If you would like to save further ink, print in draft quality. If you find that something isn't clear enough printed in draft, you can refer to the digital file and make a note on your paper copy. My printer does a rather good draft print, but each printer will differ.

Colour or Black and White

I prefer to print my patterns in colour. I like the way it looks, and I figure that all the inks are there to be used, not just the black.

If you prefer to print in black and white though, you should find that there is sufficient contrast between the pieces in the illustrations to do so. I test this for each pattern, but different printers may handle greys differently, so perhaps check a single page first. Remember though, you can always mark you paper copy with notes or add coloured pencil marks, or refer to the digital pattern if you need to check something.

I hope this has helped you consider how you might save paper and ink when printing patterns. Let me know in the comments if you have any tips of your own.

Bye for now

Hope x

Monday, 21 November 2016

Starshine - A Mini Block

Greetings! No Farmer's Wife Sampler block this week (or last week) - I've been on holiday! A refreshing camping trip away from computers, mobile phone reception, internet... it was lovely and very much needed. Now I just need to get my brain back into work mode, something I'm having trouble with.

Instead of a Farmer's Wife block I'm sharing this little 1.5" block (2" unfinished) I made some time ago. I got the design from Blossom Heart Quilts Modern HST Sampler QAL. This was block 11, called Starshine. I made a mistake with the layout, but I like it.

The Modern HST Sampler is not for mini blocks - quite the opposite! The blocks in the sampler finish at 12", I just chose to make my block much smaller. If you'd like to learn about different ways to construct half-square triangle units, I suggest checking out the quilt along, even if you don't make the blocks.  

This little block is joining the pile of mini blocks I am making as time and inclination allow. One day they will all join together to make a single project, but for now they're a definite work in progress - one I feel in no hurry to complete.

Have a lovely week! Bye for now. 

Hope x 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Whirlwind

This week's Farmer's Wife Sampler block is called Whirlwind - a very similar name to last week's block and it happens to come immediately after it in the book.

Though I like this block well enough, if I were to make it again I would probably press some of the seams open to make them appear less obvious. The angle of the light is emphasising the seams somewhat in this photo though.

How do you like to press your seams? Do you think it matters? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now x

Monday, 31 October 2016

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Whirlpool

Lots of triangles in this week's block, and if you've been reading my Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt posts you'll probably be able to guess how I cut them all out - with my 45/90 degree triangle ruler of course! This HST-filled block is called Whirlpool.

The beauty of using a ruler or template to cut out your triangles is that you don't need to trim your unit to size after you've sewn it together.

I know you can make multiple half-square triangle blocks at once by sewing squares, rather than cutting triangles, and many will argue that it's quicker, but for some reason I find I am more accurate when I cut and sew triangles, and I don't see where the time is saved if I need to trim each and every HST unit, or mark sewing lines.

Even so, I don't stick to just one method for HSTs - whatever works best with the size of fabric I've got - or what I fancy at the time - is what I will do. (Mini blocks are different though - I always make my HSTs bigger than needed and trim to size to ensure accuracy.)

Do you have a preferred method for making half-square triangle blocks? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now x

Monday, 24 October 2016

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Prairie Queen

Block 70 in the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt is called Prairie Queen. Since I like the combination of fabrics so much, I went for the same ones as last week for this block. I keep wanting to make a whole quilt in these fabrics, but I don't have enough of the aqua. :( Maybe a mini? Anyway, here's the block:

This was another one that went together well, apart from one seam where I sewed the wrong edges together - oops! So easy to do if you're not paying attention. Can you relate?

Hope you have a lovely week,

Bye for now

Hope x