Stencils…finding my way!


I think I finally have a name for this quilt…Daydream on the Farm.  Blocks from the Farmer’s Wife quilt by Laurie Hird, setting and centre applique from the pattern From the Heart by Lori Smith.

I picture the farmer’s wife, as seen through the letters in Laurie’s book, standing in her yard, or at her kitchen window, surrounded by all the chores of the day, but also surrounded by the completed work her and her family have done.  She also sees beauty and peace in the fields,  in the birds and trees, and the security of life on the farm.

daydream on the farm

This quilt has numerous plain setting squares…something I’ve been afraid to put into any of my quilts for many years!  I knew I would want to fill it with a stencil, but that was the problem.  Following a line while free motion quilting was one of the very last skills I accomplished…and I’m still not very good at it.  The usual method of using a stencil, by brushing or pouncing on white chalk, just didn’t work for me.  Either the line was too thick to follow, or too thin to see.  And all those broken lines which are part of any stencil just confused me further.  I tried golden threads paper done in a stack, and sewn through the line to make numerous perforated patterns to follow.  That didn’t work either, again I couldn’t see the line!  Drawing the stencil line directly on to the quilt block doesn’t work either, I’m too afraid of leaving a permanent mark (although the new Frixion pens might help here.)

So finally I decided to draw a stencil pattern for each block that needed it.  Yep, it took time, but it was well worth it, to me!  After drawing the stencil on the paper, I connected some lines to make it easier for me to follow.  In this example, while it is continuous line, there are 2 loops through the pattern, so I made circuit 1 a solid line and left the breaks on the lines for circuit 2.  I also marked the 1 and 2 points to make me stay on track!  I find that its best to make the paper bigger than necessary, to make sure I have enough to hold  the paper in place, and then only 2 pins are necessary.  The paper comes off easily if  I’m wearing my quilting gloves, as that gives a bit more grip for brushing away the paper bits.

stencil 1 stencil 2 stencil 3


I have stitched in the ditch in between all the blocks,outlined the applique, and have now have all the stencil blocks complete.  I think I’ll do some piecing today while I percolate some ideas on how to quilt the pieced blocks.




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