Thursday, April 17, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 15

This week I decided to use the templates for both of the blocks. I'm still a bit confused how quilting survived before the invention of the rotary cutter. I'm not sure what's going on with the first block, but it does come out at 6.5" so I'm keeping it. I'm in love with this setting and really like the fact that with the sashing around each block I can make it a little bigger and square up on the blocks I need to. I'm leaning towards using a colored background fabric, but still haven't made a final choice on that yet.

The first block for this week is WCTU. I think this block must have been used for autograph quilts (maybe raffled off to raise money for the local chapter of the WCTU.) I think it would be really fun to make a quilt full of these blocks for a special occasion like graduation, wedding, anniversary, etc. in place of a guest book. I also decided to lighten things up with this block and use shades of grey instead of black.

#99 W.C.T.U.

This is another block that I really like. I don't understand why the templates had me use triangles for all of the black pieces in the corner. I think it would work better to do a square with two triangles, but since I didn't want to figure out the math I guess I have to live with imperfect points. They're glaring at me in the picture, but for some strange reason they physical block looks better to me.

#100 Weathervane


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Finding Balance

I've done a lot better this week at finding balance. I've chosen one time of the day that I play the video game and the rest of the time I focus on things like knitting, reading, and quilting. I'm not done with the 6 round increase section, but I have finished 7 of the 12 rounds. I knew when I set the goal of 72 rounds in a week it was a bit lofty so I'm still very happy with the progress made this week.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In which I learn I know how to quilt

Do any of you have one of those friends who believes you are capable of so much more than you are? I took Mystery with me to the quilt shop last weekend to find a good thread for quilting her. One of the members of my quilt guild works there and gave me advice on thread color. I was figuring this is only my fourth quilt doing free motion quilting on so I was going to keep it simple with an all-over swirl. Kathy suggested that it would look really cool to do a different design in the ribbons to accent them. My initial response was, "I can't do that." She had the perfect come back, "Why not?" After helping me find the perfect thread for my quilt that little question kept haunting me. 

When I first looked through my quilting book to find the swirl pattern there was a really cool half-daisy design that I liked. Again my brain said, "That would look nice, but you can't do that." All of the sudden I heard Kathy asking me "Why?" I flipped through the book and found a leaf that would be really pretty in the ribbons and decided to try it. 

Turns out I'm better at quilting than I thought I was. It's not as perfect as I want, but an amazing thing happened when I laid it out on the bed and took a step back. All the little imperfections weren't so noticeable anymore. Amazing how much better the quilt looks with that single step back. Now if I can decide what to do for the borders. Any suggestions?

Check out that cute little leaf. I hate to say it, but Kathy is right. I can quilt!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 14

This week I just have one block to add to my Farmer's Wife count. I do wish to point out that this block has 36 squares that finish at 1" and of those 36 squares 28 are half square triangles. I finished this block in just under 2 hours. I do see one mistake as I'm posting this, but I think it's going to stay. I've really been liking the trend in baby quilts right now where people turn a single block into a quilt. I think I might go shopping this weekend for some brighter colors to make a quilt with 6" squares. Right now I'm trying to decide if I should make a 36"x36" quilt or if I should add a border and make it 40"x40". 

#38 Four Winds


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Yarning Along

I made a mistake. I bought my husband a Nintendo DS for his birthday (really I've come in way under budget on gifts the past few holidays so I took all that savings and spent it on the gaming system.) He loves it and has been playing it a lot. The mistake is I got the Brain Age game. It's really fun, but requires you to log in every day and play to earn these little virtual stamps. Still not seeing the mistake? He's being a nice husband and sharing so I find myself playing video games when I should be knitting. I'm sure in a little while I'll be able to find balance, but right now the sleeve on Blueberry is still rather short. I have gotten past the increases every 4 rounds and have moved into the section where I increase every 6 rounds. Hopefully next week I'll have found balance and will be past the 6 round repeat section, but I won't be too mad at myself if that doesn't happen. There's still a lot of last minute stuff to get finished for the quilt show next month so I know knitting time will be precious.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Bloomin' Onion

Recently on facebook on of my friends asked how frequently we listen to our inner quilter voices. I replied that I my inner quilter voice is loudest at 4a.m. Usually I can ignore it for a couple of hours and then write down my ideas when I'm ready to be awake. This quilt was different. After months of struggling with different ideas for the paint chip quilt I woke up one morning with a full design in my head. I love the drunkard's path blocks and the 7" size go together really fast so a few hours later I had this stack ready to go.

This idea wouldn't let me sleep so I found myself sewing a couple of hours before work each day and was finished with the top on Wednesday. Friday afternoon I found a great backing fabric and variegated pink thread and was back to work on this quilt the next morning. After basting the quilt I traced a spool of thread in the center to give me a circle to follow. I used my darning foot for the first few rounds and then switched to my walking foot. I did pick out my first attempt. The second attempt isn't as perfect as I want, but its pretty good for my first time doing circular quilting.

March in Iowa is very brown and muddy so I didn't want to lay this quilt on the ground. Spring (at least green grass) usually shows up over the course of a week and I was hoping for that to happen. I held out until yesterday afternoon when we were struck by a blizzard. Another quilter on facebook encouraged me not to let the forecast cancel my plans so after work I headed out with the quilt. I don't think she meant I was supposed to take pictures during the blizzard, but I kind of like all of the snow on the quilt.

My husband and I went out last weekend for my first attempt at photographing this quilt. There wasn't any snow, but the wind proved to be a challenge. Thankfully I was able to get one shot that showed the whole quilt (and is snow free!)

When I got inside from the blizzard photo shoot I hung the quilt in our hall to dry. I love how quilts will naturally drape themselves into beautiful arrangements. You can see the red onion fabric I used for the backing and binding and understand why this quilt has been named, "Bloomin' Onion."

Bloomin' Onion
original pattern
Kona Solids

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lovely Year of Finishes April

After writing my Yarn Along post for today I've realized that it would be a good idea to make a list of everything I want to finish before this year's quilt show. Since Fiber of All Sorts hosts a linky party for this every month I'll be linking up over there.

First up is to finish the binding on my comma quilt. This poor thing has had the quilting done since the beginning of February and still isn't finished. I do have the binding attached and have sewn half of it down already so hopefully this will be finished this week. Along with the binding I want to put labels on this quilt and the Hobbit quilt.

The big project for this month is the mystery quilt. I've gathered my backing, batting, and thread. Friday my quilt guild is hosting a work night so I should be able to baste my quilt then. I think I've decided to quilt this with lots of swirls. I debated doing something to highlight the ribbons and just do a single swirl in each churn dash, but then I remembered my FMQ skills aren't there yet.

Finally I'm putting my Crosshatch Bag on the list. I made the center portions the right size and started assembling the blocks when my bobbin ran out. I was getting tired so I took that as my cue to quit. I need to finish putting the blocks together and then make the bag. My focus this month is going to be to finish the Mystery Quilt so this one might be on the list again next month. One of my friends is hosting a Great Strides Walk this summer to raise funds for CF research. I'm planning to sell my mystery quilt for her walk, but I'm pretty sure people will only want to buy a finished quilt.