Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Farmer Takes A Wife and She Quilts! Plus a GIVEAWAY!

Our Facebook Group has formed and we are undertaking the making of The 1920's version of The Farmer's Wife.  I am making some blocks in advance of our jumping off point. Initially I was thinking we would just go through the blocks from 1- 111 but then after some careful consideration about the skill levels of a variety of quilters I have decided to start out with some very easy blocks and build on the skills as we go along. I don't want folks getting discouraged right out of the box. This is a distance marathon and not a sprint.

First things first. If you don't have the book, get it. If you can't find it at your LQS then order online. and Missouri Star Quilt Company both carry it. Make sure if you are purchasing a used book that your copy comes with the Template CD which should be included with the book at no extra charge.

Next thing to do is join our Facebook quilt along group at this link
Sister of The Divide Group Sew Along  You will see this photo at the top of the page and you'll know you are in the right spot. 

This group is for folks of all skill levels. No matter if you are just starting to learn to quilt or you are a seasoned skilled quilter...all are welcome. If you have already started your Farmer's Wife and you are a ways along already but may need a little encouragement to make it to your finish line...we welcome you...please share your work no matter where you are in the process. Please feel free to offer constructive suggestions to those that may not be as far along as you are or need help with their piece work. Operative word there is constructive. Mama always said, if you haven't got something nice to say, keep your mouth shut.

Some things to gather: Now this depends on whether you are hand stitching or machine stitching.With my hands...I will most certainly be machine stitching. A sewing machine, neutral thread, scissors for clipping, a rotary cutter, a 12" ruler for rotary cutting strips, a 6 1/2" ruler for squaring up, (it is also very helpful but optional to have a 2 1/2" square ruler and a 2 1/2" clear fussy cut ruler.You can use your 6 1/2 square up ruler for both of these) a rotary cutting mat, a seam ripper, your iron and ironing board, a sharp pencil or chalk marking pencil or mark b gone pen.

There are a couple things to remember when you are sewing...very important to have an accurate 1/4" seam allowance and very important to press your seams open all the way. I always stress this when piecing, but with 6" blocks you will need to be attentive to this or your pieces will be wonkie and you will be unhappy. Your blocks will stitch out at 6 1/2" they are called 6" blocks because once you get them in the quilt, if you took a measure of the block size, that 1/2" would be in your seam allowances and it would measure finished at 6".

There are several ways to figure out if you have a proper 1/4" seam allowance. You can cut two pieces of fabric measuring 2" square and you can stitch them together. Press them open and you should have a measure of 3 1/2". If you are bigger then you are taking too small a bite, if you are short, then you are taking too big a bite. All of that can be easily accomplished by getting Bonnie Hunters Sewing Machine Seam Guide, shown in the photo above. You simply place it under your needle, drop your needle down and you can mark exactly where your 1/4" is for any machine that you are sewing on. Best $4.00 you will ever spend.

Double sided scotch tape or little tape tabs like you would use for scrapbooking will be helpful if you are using the templates. I will talk more about this later. Not essential to begin with. But you can keep it in mind.

Let's talk for a minute about fabric. 100% cotton. Get out your scraps, think about a color scheme or just enjoy yourself and see where it takes you. This is such a fun quilt to play with, you can go in any direction. You can use vintage civil war repro fabrics for a very traditional look, 1920-30's repro fabrics for that fun, bright look, you can go with a color scheme...maybe you like blues and whites, It can be anything you want it to be...there is no "right" color scheme. I am using Red, White, Black and Gray for my color scheme with a toss in of random color here and there. Have fun with it! Make it yours. You don't have to have everything matching...and you don't have to purchase yards of fabric to start...remember, these are 6" blocks! A little fabric to start will go a long way.

So whether you are starting, in process or close to the finish line, come join us, share your journey and let's have some fun making The Farmer's Wife Quilt.

And as an added Bonus this month, we are giving away the quilt pattern "Farm Grown" designed by Annalee Leonard of Daydreams Quilt N Sew in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Along with a $25 gift certificate to her shop for you to use as you wish.

To Enter: LIKE our Facebook page Sister of The Divide 
                COMMENT telling me what you like about farm life
                SHARE our Facebook page with your friends
That's all, nothing to purchase ever...this is just for fun and to encourage quilting. Good Luck! Drawing will be held on August 31st, 2017 and announced on our Facebook page on September 1st. We will contact the winner through their Facebook message option as well as announcing it on the Facebook page. 

Be sure to visit Annalee's shop, Daydreams Quilt N Sew located at 802 Pancheri Drive, Idaho Falls, Idaho, if you can't get by in person, visit her website at She has a beautiful selection of fabrics, great patterns, books, notions, thread...just everything you need for quilting.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Idaho - It's Not Just About The Potatoes!

Summer Trip To Idaho

Did you know that about 1/3 of the potatoes grown in the US are grown in Idaho? That's around 27 billion potatoes annually! 

This past month my husband John and I took a trip to Idaho to scout potential retirement locations.We flew into Boise, rented a car and started our trek. Boise, I'm afraid is not for us...just way too much like Sacramento...a new housing tract on every corner. They are having a boom and we don't want to be part of it. No offense Boise, it's just not for us.  So after an overnight stay, we jumped in the car and headed out to see the surrounding areas. The name Idaho comes from the Native American word Idaahe which means "the land of many waters" and it aptly describes this beautiful state.
Garden Valley, Idaho
     First stop: Garden Valley and I successfully sniffed out a sweet little quilt shop there called Stitch n Snip. It didn't look like much from the outside but the inside was just packed with fun! Every nook and cranny was filled with goodies

Stitch n Snip Quilt Shop Garden Valley, Idaho

The Payette River was flowing at full force with all the snow melt this year.

The second day, we took a leisurely drive through Emmett Valley and Payette where we had lunch at the local A and W restaurant...what fun! It was like traveling back in time. Phones at the booths to order your meal and it was delicious! Not much going on in that town, mostly bars and banks on the main street and no quilt shops.

After lunch we piled back into the car and decided that we should take off to McCall and see what that was about. The drive was pretty as we passed through Council, Idaho.

Very much like the Lake Tahoe area here in California. There was a spillway from the lake into the river, just like at Tahoe.

Just past the spillway was a lovely little park complete with picnic tables and benches to sit on, a pretty sandy beach if you wanted to enjoy the water.

The view was so serene and lovely. Blue blue sky with white billowy clouds. We enjoyed some time there and John got some puppy time in with some locals who had brought their whole litter to the beach.

I could have stayed there all day, but I am married to a city boy and he has to keep on the move...LOL. 

Back to Boise and up early the next day to start our trek to the East side of Idaho, with a stop off at Twin Falls. To get to the falls you drive right by the beautiful Twin Falls LDS Temple.

A short drive further and you arrive at the falls. How to describe's like a combination of Niagara Falls and a mini Grand Canyon all in one. We are arriving late in the season and the full flow of the water is not as evident but it is still impressive none the less.

 Here is a photo of the falls in full flow.

Looking down from the falls you can see the canyon the water has carved.

Nice lunch in town at a fairly new restaurant McAllister's Deli. Delicious food and I can highly recommend a stop there for lunch!
Back on the road and off we go, lots of farm fields before our next stop at American Falls. Again, we are late in the season and there is no water coming over the falls. You can see the old power house which is in disrepair and no longer used. Above the dam is a large reservoir providing water to the surrounding farm lands.

To give you some perspective of how large this reservoir is, this is a photo taken from space.

Back in the car and we continue our drive to Pocatello and on to Idaho Falls and our destination for the next several days, Rigby.
We arrived at sunset to our friends the Morrows, home in Rigby and were very happy to hit the sack that night. This will serve as our base from which to explore the surrounding area.

Rigby is a sweet little town, don't blink you'll miss it! Rigby is most famous as the birthplace of television! Who knew?! Rigby was founded by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1884 and a significant number of it's residents as well as those of the outlying communities are LDS. It seems as though there is a chapel on every block! A young man that was in our Ward in Ukiah, as a little boy, years ago, Jason Richardson, is now the Mayor of Rigby and his father who served as our Bishop, Darwin Richardson, along with his sweet mother Nina have just recently relocated to the area. 

Rigby is high on our desired locations. We jump in the car and we are off to St. Anthony to peek at a house that I saw online...unfortunately it was sold, which is okay...we are not ready to move just yet, but it was a lovely cottage and another perfectly beautiful small town. We are up here and the Teton's are just over the we take off for parts as yet unknown to us to discover a breathtaking view. We drive along though back roads and farm lands as far as one can see and as we crest the hill...this is the view that meets us.

There is a roadside pull off and we do just that, to enjoy the view. Remember I said I was married to a city boy...okay, that's enough time at the pull out, lets continue...LOL So we drive down into the valley below and continue to make a circle through the Teton Valley up over highway 31 to Swan Valley and back down to Idaho Falls. 

We had to stop at the Little Quilt Shop in Idaho Falls! Daydreams Quilt N Sew.

What a sweet shop! There was an ample selection of a variety of fabrics, a little something for everyone. Lots of great patterns, notions and creative inspiration!  John struck up a conversation with shop owner and pattern designer Annalee Leonard. "Are you from Oregon?" she asked. "No, we are from California, a little town called Foresthill" he says. I am looking at the fabric and I hear a voice from the back of the store yell out "Sister of The Divide!" My husband looked at me startled to think that someone in Idaho might actually know who I am.  I was just as stunned and excited to meet, Jeanette Hanson. Well, there was a group of gals in the shop and they were sewing in the back and so we just made ourselves at home and enjoyed talking with all of them. Picking their brains about the surrounding area and becoming even more convinced that this is where we should be. We looked like hell's half acre (as you do when you are doing a marathon drive by in Idaho) but they made us feel so at home. I could have broken out my machine and just spent the afternoon stitching happily with all of them.

I wanted to get something special to memorialize our trip and provide a giveaway for the folks that follow us on facebook as well as here on our blog. Annalee was kind enough to provide two of her patterns, one for the quilt below and another one which I will be giving away this next month.

If you would like to purchase Annalee's pattern which is called "S'more Fun" you can visit her site here: 

Be sure to explore her website Daydreams Quilt N Sew
She has lots of great patterns, beautiful fabrics, Riley Blake, Moda and more, including wide quilt backs, quilt kits, specialty rulers and a nice selection of notions.

Be sure to check back with us in August when we will be giving away Annalee's pattern "Farm Grown" along with some fun fabric!

I had so much fun making my own S'more Fun quilt top. It's in my pile to quilt on the longarm and will be a fun memory of our trip to Idaho!

Time to head home. We are up early and heading off to Boise to catch our flight. A quick stop for breakfast in Blackfoot at the Homestead Restaurant. OMGosh the cinnamon rolls were to die for!

Our next stop on the trip back to Boise will be Rupert. We have been instructed by Annalee to be sure to visit "The Gathering Place" It's her quiltshop on steroids she says. And so we are off!

Downtown Rupert...not much to write home to mom about. I'm looking at the block that the quilt store is on and it's mostly bars. At the very end of the block is a nondescript building with the signage that reads "The Gathering Place". This must be it. Doesn't look like much from the outside, nothing special in the way of window dressing. Quite the contrary, you would never know it's a quilt shop, it could just be another one of the bars on that street.

Getting out of the car, the first thing that you notice is the distinct smell of cows, yes, that's right, there is either a feed lot or a dairy or a manure processing facility close by. I'm thinking, hmmm.
Well, I walked through the doors with my husband in tow and was immediately thrown into total overwhelm. This is the largest quilt shop in Idaho with over 17,000 bolts of fabric. YUP, overwhelm. John looked at the glazed look on my face and told me he would be out in the car taking a nap, take as long as I liked. Well, I knew we only had an hour to spend there and that is certainly nowhere near enough time to do that place justice. The building is cleverly divided into "rooms" and sectioned areas for particular focus. There is a room dedicated to "modern" fabrics, an area for "traditional" fabrics, an area for "juvenile" fabrics and on and on and on. There was just too much to see and I was just as tired as John, so I made a quick dash through the store to get the overlay and then circled back to the items that I wanted. You really need several days...a week even to check it all out.  I'm sure once we move there, if I can't find it at Annalee's I'll be making a trip to Rupert.

Back to Boise up early the next day for our flight back to Reno, Nevada.

And a two hour drive home from the airport in Reno...There is still snow on the mountains!

Planning another trip soon to continue our scouting! 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bowtie Baby Quilt Tutorial

It's Spring and there are babies being born soon! My husband asked me if I would make a little baby quilt for a gal that waits his table at a local diner. He gets together once a month with a group of guys from our old ward and they all meet for breakfast. They are a rowdy bunch of old military guys and this little waitress puts up with their antics every month. Her little baby boy is due next month and we are all very happy for her.

I asked my husband what were her nursery colors and he told me blue and gray and digging through my stash, I came up with some fabrics for this little won't need much if you want to make one like it. Your bowties can be any color and you can make the quilt as large or as small as you wish, it doesn't have to be for a's a basic bowtie block, here's how you make it.

Quilt finishes at 32" x 36".

For this quilt, I picked 3 fabrics for the bowties and used my favorite Kona Cotton White for the background.  You see four bowtie fabrics in the photo because I cut enough to make another quilt and packaged that in a ziplock for another time.

From your bowtie fabric: Blue, Gray and Print

 Cut: 14 - 2.5" squares of EACH COLOR
 Cut: 14 - 1.5" squares of EACH COLOR

From your background fabric: Kona White

Cut:  42 - 2.5" squares
Cut:  21 - 4.5" squares

For your borders:

Border #1 Cut 4 strips - 2.5" x WOF (width of fabric) (I used Kona White)
Border #2 Cut 4 strips - 2.5" x WOF (I used old striped shirting that I had to piece together)


Cut 4 strips - 2.5" x WOF (I used the blue dot.


To make this go fast, chain piece each step. Stack your 1.5" pieces on one side and your 2.5" background pieces on the other. Fold your 1.5" square in half on the diagonal and finger press as shown. This will become your stitch line. Now if this is too hard for you to do or to see, you can draw a diagonal line.

Place your little 1.5" square in the upper right corner of your 2.5" square. Pin if you feel that you need to...but you should be able to carefully place this under your machine and stitch on the diagonal line as shown.

Chain piece these until you have stitched all of them. Clip them apart and take them to your cutting mat.

Measuring 1/4" past your stitch line, trim off the excess, as shown below.

I like to finger press my seams open before I press them, this helps to insure that you have your seams all the way open. Press all of your squares, pressing your seams to the dark fabric, as shown below.

Lay out your bowtie block as shown below, ready to stitch. To chain piece these, lay all of your blocks out, one on top of the next, in the proper layout, then you can just grab and stitch. This goes really fast. You are basically just stitching a four patch. You will get in trouble if you turn your pieces, this is why I suggest you lay out your blocks next to your machine. Your Layout should look exactly as shown below.

Run them all through and press to the dark fabric. Again stack your fabric as shown below, so your block makes sense. Matching your center seams, stitch all your blocks together.

Press your seam open on the finished block, to eliminate bulk.

You should have a total of 21 bowtie blocks when you finish. Aren't they cute and wasn't that fun?

Now lay them out in a manner pleasing to you, alternating with the solid 4.5" background fabric squares. You will have 6 squares across and 7 squares down. Once you have stitched your rows together, start adding border #1 and then add border #2. Quilt as desired and you are ready to bind.

For this quilt, I did a simple stitch in the ditch around the bowties and a diagonal across the open squares. You don't have to have a longarm to do this, you can easily quilt this little quilt on your standard sewing machine. Off the longarm, with my husband holding it up, it's ready for binding now.

 For the binding, I selected the blue dot fabric that I used in some of the bowties.

Quilt finishes at 32" x 36" all ready for a new baby!

Update to the story...John and his boys met at the diner yesterday and he gave the quilt to their waitress. Watch this little video to see her reaction when she opens her present. We pranked her by wrapping it up to look like a gift for a girl. She told them she was having a boy. So fun and so sweet. First baby.