Friday, July 29, 2011

Busy Bee

I have been very productive with the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along this week. I want to use up my scraps and get a lot done before something sidetracks me or I run out of steam. I am really good at not finishing projects for me.

 Here is my progress. Blocks 1 through 24. I skipped #18 "a Century of Progress" because it looks difficult and I would rather breeze along and maybe come back to it.

I wonder how many of you can name the fabrics? A few are newer, but most are last year or older. Some are REALLY old. See that one with the gray and white triangles? "Broken Dishes" is the block name. That dark gray fabric was bought about 21 years ago! Some of it was in my first quilt!

 I've been following along with the flickr group. Have you? There are some very inspirational quilters in the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt-A-Long group! Some are doing each block in one color, some in only red and white, some in 1930s fabrics. It is very interesting to see what others decided to go with.

Don't be frustrated by all the little pieces! If you make sure you are cutting your triangles on the grain, and not on the bias, it is easier. And if you cut carefully, the angles on the ends of the templates line everything up perfectly. If you want to print and cut out the templates as you go, this link will allow you to print by block number. That is helpful, right? I have my templates in a large vinyl envelope I found at Office Depot. I printed them all out at once and now I just sort through the numbers til I find what I need. Whatever works!

I have been lugging a bin of scraps, fat quarters and yardage to work and home every day to keep going. If I weighed the bin, I think it would be close to 20 pounds. Making a dent in some of my scrap stash and putting my treasured older fabrics to good use feels good!

On another note, we have had tons of rain lately. We needed it! It is so wet and humid, mushrooms are sprouting up all over. Our usual summer weather is afternoon showers, then hot and humid after the sun comes back out. That means the mushrooms don't survive or even sprout most years.

This weekend is supposed to be drier (and hotter) but it should be perfect for another 2 days in the pool!

I hope you are staying cool and enjoying the summer! July is almost over and school starts up again here in about a week. The school supplies have been out at the stores for a month now. That always bummed me out when I was in school. Here you are enjoying summer and you go shopping and there it is, right in your face. Aghhh! School! Not yet!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Late to the Party: The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt Along

You've seen it all over quilty blogland, right? The latest craze, the online quilting bee, and a little lesson in farm life and being happy with what you've got too. I found blog posts about this from the beginning of the year, including this FINISHED one from February!

It is a challenge, this quilt along. There are no instructions for making the blocks. I guess it is assumed that if you buy the book, you've made quilt blocks before and can figure it out. There are lots of helpful tips on the flickr group's discussion page. There is even a pdf link so you can download all the templates, condensed to 15 pages!

My thoughts on making this: I have so many other things I need to be doing, I must be crazy to start it! But then I thought about how impossible it is to have any kind of quilting bee these days other than a quilt along online, and I've never made a sampler quilt or worked with templates, so why not? I have tons of scraps and stash. I don't need to buy anything but the book! And if Kim Brackett can squeeze this into her busy schedule, I will too!

So I have jumped in. I'm behind but catching up. At first I was really stuck as to what fabric colors I wanted to use. Christmas fabrics? Red, white and black? Thimbleberries? Brights? I even considered using all batiks. I think making this in all batiks would be fantastic. However, I have chosen the brighter Spring time color scheme and  am using a lot of leftovers from lines like "Farmers Market" (Sandi Henderson), "Hunky Dory" "Spirit" "Just Wing It!" and "Swanky" to name a few.

I think that if these farmer's wives, who wrote so consistently about the beauty all around them; the joy of things blooming and growing; how healthy and alive and at peace they felt every day with nature, if they could have had bright colorful prints like these, they would have used them. A lot.

I am making the blocks in numerical order. 1 thru 111 (or whatever number I stop at.) Not sure I want a queen size quilt or just a twin. Sorry for the blurry pic.

I've made 2 more since this one, I am trying to knock out 2 a day to catch up with the crowd!

Are you in?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Keyholes, A Christmas in July quilt

Hello! Wow, July is half over already! I am doing some Christmas in July sewing. Not intentionally, but in working my way through some neglected half done projects (and feeling SO rewarded for finishing them!) I pulled out the 2nd jelly roll of Glace by Three Sisters for Moda, and made the second set of blocks for my Christmas bed quilt.

I started this last year, from the Anka's Treasures book "On a Roll Again." The blocks are 18 1/2 inches! Super easy to make too. I've been stitching these together while I watch episodes of Bones. I doubled the pattern amounts and I need a wide border for it to fit my bed, but isn't it lovely???

It all started with one of those Moda Bake Shop projects. "Off the Grid," which I made from a sale purchase of some Glace honeybun and charm packs. Once I saw what Glace looked like in person, I was in love. (I finished the lap size "Off the Grid" top, but it is in the Waiting to be Quilted stack. When I get the nerve and the time, I will quilt it myself.)

Did you get a chance to own any of it? It is so botanical. The little birds and berries and acorns remind me of Audubon Society drawings, or like those of early explorers who took botanists along to draw new species of plants and animals. Do you know what I mean?

Anyway this line is Christmas-y in its coloring, but not too cutesy. It is classy and feminine. Not too much holiday, just enough. Obviously I love it and will never be tired of putting this out on my California king bed each year!

Are you doing Christmas in July sewing? Knocking out some UFOs? How is it going in your part of the world?

Just a reminder: when you decide to make a pattern, whether from a book or individual pattern purchased, check online to see if there are any corrections. Keyholes ended up requiring more strips than come in one jelly roll (additional fabric cut) to make all the blocks.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not Your Average Fourth of July

No barbeque, no picnics, no fireworks. My daughter had to work a double shift at the restaurant; the jelly fish have already invaded our beaches (usually not here til late July); and with fireworks at home being banned this year due to drought, we knew the Downtown Sertoma Fireworks display would be crazy busy, so we opted for a day at the pool for our Fourth of July celebrating. We wore Tyler out by 2:30 and he took an almost 4 hour nap, then we went back to the pool. Then WE were worn out. It was so totally worth it. What a great day we had with my mom at her community pool. Thanks, Mom!

I found time to finish my Island Chain quilt top! I took Kim Brackett's class in May this year. It was great to meet her in person and spend the day with my aunt, who was visiting from Pacific Grove, CA. The back of this quilt will be Carrot Orange solid from Connecting Threads fabrics with the leftover jelly roll pieces scrapped in horizontally. Sort of like this one from American Patchwork and Quilting. I like using up the leftovers from a jelly roll. Don't you? My daughter bought me this "Oh My!" jelly roll for Mother's Day this year, and I think this is the shortest amount of time it has taken me to open and use one! I know I could use the leftovers for a scrappy binding, but this quilt is pretty busy looking already. I am going to tame it with the solid orange for binding.

Also (nearly) finished top from this weekend: "American Sweetheart" from McCall's June 2006 magazine! I started it at least 4 years ago and boxed it up when it was nearly done! I need to find the perfect outer border fabric for this and it can be quilted and delivered to the new owner! I must have boxed it when the 4th of July came and went, then I forgot about it. After piecing the last few blocks and spending a day putting the rows together, it is off my UFO list!

I hope you and yours had a wonderful 3 day weekend!