I've long been a fan of Lori and her blog Bee in my Bonnet. I have made some of the blocks in her fabby book Quilty Fun which are now mini quilts on the wall in my Den. I also took part in her sewalong last Christmas and enjoyed it very much. I was therefore very very happy to get my mitts on Farm Girl Vintage which looked, if possible, even better!
A little like the Christmas sewalong and Quilty Fun, the idea with the new book is that there are lots of individual blocks and these can then be made into a variety of quilts, the settings for which Lori helps you with, or you can make smaller projects such as pot holders or table runners.
This appealed to me enormously as I have found myself with not much time to sew in recent months so the idea that I could just fit in making the odd block for an hour here or there seemed a winner. At least that was the theory.
As you can see from these images, it's a really beautiful book to look at. I never tire of looking through it and it is often to be found beside my bed of a night for a little pre-sleep inspiration so I wake up all fired up the next morning. Lori has a gorgeous home which is really individual to her and provides the perfect backdrop for the shots of her blocks and quilts. Drool-worthy stuff!
It has been great fun and very inspiring to follow the farmgirlvintage hashtag over on Instagram. It feels like one big farm girl vintage obsessed sewing family!
I wanted to use similar fabrics to Lori, bright happy colours with a vintage feel, modern fabrics in a retro style. It looked like the stash could handle it.
However, at the annual Festival of Quilts, a little farm girl vintage inspired shopping may have taken place.
It is a very practical book as it is spiral bound so it is easy to turn to the page you need and not wrestle with the spine. The format is that the first major chunk of the book is devoted to the individual blocks followed by the various quilt settings and projects.
The style of the blocks varies. On the one hand, there are what I would term traditional patchwork blocks such as stars, squares, churn dash, flying geese (above) and so on. These have afforded me some good opportunities for fussy cutting to which I am always partial.
(The fussy cut centres are from a single fabric by Kokka.)
Then there are the more pictorial style blocks. These are cute and fun!
I love them all! I try to intersperse making the traditional blocks with the pictorial ones to keep things a little varied.
The blocks are a good test of your patch working skills. There is quite a bit of cutting for each block. The best bit is choosing all those fabrics, of course. So from this many pieces...
...you might end up with a cute chick.
The traditional blocks in particular often look deceptively simple however they have lots of little pieces and many points to match which you can easily sew over or chop off if your cutting and stitching is not millimetre perfect. It's really satisfying to get them right, even it it does involve the seam ripper on occasion.
Take this gingham block below, made up entirely of squares, thirty-six of them to be precise. Not so hard you might think.
Aside from choosing your fabrics carefully to balance the lights and darks and achieve the contrast this block needs, did you realise it is just six and a half inches square when finished? Working on that scale is tricky because there is very little room for error. The book gives you the option of making six or twelve inch finished blocks (giving you the cutting requirements for each). I fancied working small as I love the fiddliness of it and I have enjoyed the challenge of trying to get it as perfect as I can, that to me is the beauty of working on just one block at a time. It's an exercise in patience though!
I've really enjoyed getting into the spirit of farm girl vintage. Being a country bumpkin now, I seem to be surrounded by the perfect inspiration. From our fluffy chooks I can see from the window of my Den, to the cherries we've picked in the garden, to the fabulous vintage farm tractors at the Great Dorset Steam Fair last Friday.
How I would love that tractor for a little photoshoot once my quilt is finished! I have enjoyed trying to think of different ways to snap my finished blocks which I've been posting on Instagram along with all the other farm girl sewers. Each time we post a block, we hashtag it with the name of the block so it's great to be able to search and see everyone else's blocks.
Lori's Instagram feed (where she is beelori1) is incredibly inspiring. She has posted lots of updates including sharing with us what has been happening on the sewing retreats she has been running over in the States. At these retreats, she has released a couple of new patterns and also shown us variations on some of the existing blocks in the book. There are several PDF patterns which link in with the book over at Fat Quarter Shop. I have made this cute pig and I think the apple will follow soon.
Lori has also created Farm Girl Fridays over on her blog where she posts something new on the topic, you guessed it, every Friday. She talks through the process of making one or more blocks and suggests some fun variations. She also links to various other bloggers who are sewing along with Farm Girl Vintage.
My aim is to make the Farm Girl Sampler Quilt from the book. This will have forty-eight different blocks (all those in the book plus a few of the PDFs) along with sashing and borders to make a finished quilt 62.5" x 76.5". I have now made over half the blocks so I need to keep trying to fit in a few when I can and get them finished, hopefully this year!
I'm loving it!