Thursday, July 31, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 25

This week I've decided to make another block substitution. I know that the swastika is a sacred symbol in Hinduism and several other religions, and that it was a symbol of good luck for Europeans since antiquity. It's not surprising that such a simple geometric block with such a positive meaning would be turned into a quilt block (there are several swastika quilt block patterns out there.) I debated included Farmer's Puzzle in my quilt. It's a very dynamic block with an interesting secondary pattern of flying geese, and I can understand why several quilters choose to include this block in their Farmer's Wife quilts. I struggled to get past the swastika and when I shared this with my husband he encouraged me to leave it out. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Farmer's Puzzle quilt block I did a mock up in EQ7 to show you what I'm talking about.

While I was playing with EQ7 I decided to change out the colors and see what the block looked like repeated in a quilt and put on point. The swastika is still there so I doubt I'll ever do anything more with this pattern, but it does create a striking design.

I looked through The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns and found Mill Wheel. This block dates back to 1934 and was published in the Chicago Tribune by Nancy Cabot. I really love how many different blocks there are that use a 3x3 grid. 

#33 Farmer's Puzzle Mill Wheel

I love the Broken Sugar Bowl block. I've been making a list of blocks I want to play with more when I finish this quilt. This block is definitely going on that list. I know that Broken Sugar Bowl is a block that has been used many times before, but it's still got a lot of potential in it.

#12 Broken Sugar Bowl


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Two at a Time!

When I first started knitting socks I tried using the two at a time method. I'm not sure if I chose patterns beyond my skill level, used the wrong sized needle, or just didn't have the experience but my socks were terrible. They had huge ladders up the sides and were way too big. I fell in love with sock knitting after trying DPNs and swore off the two at a time method as not for me. I've decided to give this method another try for the fronts of Blueberry.

I was worried about my fronts matching perfectly and this method ensures that even my mistakes will line up. It's taking some extra concentration from keeping my yarn from twisting, but otherwise everything is going smoothly.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekender Travel Bag Part 1

This weekend my husband and I went to Sioux Falls,SD for a small get away. It was such a nice treat to spend the weekend together. On Friday we went to the Canaries baseball game and then on Saturday we went to the zoo. It looked like there would be rain later in the day so we went early only to get caught in the thunderstorm. I had so much fun feeding all of the sheep and goats in the barn that I really didn't mind the rain. My favorite animals are the penguins and my husband loves the monkeys and thankfully all of them were inside on Saturday. The rain was a great excuse to stay and watch our favorite animals for long periods of time.

I've been thinking about making Amy Butler's Weekender Bag for a while now, but have always resisted since I don't go away for that many weekend trips. As I was thinking about packing for this trip I realized that I don't have a small suitcase for short trips. After listening to me go back and forth several times my husband finally told me to just order the fabric. (Gotta love it when the husband tells you to order fabric.) I knew that I wouldn't be able to finish this bag before my Sioux Falls trip, but I was still excited when my fabric arrived on Friday. 

I'm using Autumn Woods by Katie and Birdie Paper Co and will be making the quilted version of this bag. (The instructions don't include this method, but there's lots of tutorials online for how to do this.) My plan is to use the squirrel and tree fabric for the pockets, the words will be the panels behind the pockets, the flower fabric will make the sides and the acorn fabric will be used for my piping and lining. I'm not sure if I'm going to use the acorn fabric or one of my blue fabrics for straps, but that decision is still a few steps away.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 24

I finished the last of the blocks that I had planned on redoing. I'm still not completely satisfied with how Corn and Beans turned out (in case you can't tell the new one is the block on the right.) I plan to do another day of redos when I finish the second half of blocks so I might give this block a third try. It might also have a date with the rotary cutter and will be replaced with a four patch.

Up next is #67 Pinetree. Isn't this an awesome looking pinetree? As I was looking at this block I realized that it was just a variation of Temperance Tree. The block turned out okay the first time, but it wasn't very fun to make. I also have come to the conclusion that while I love my black and white color scheme trees in black and white look kinda dumb. I searched through Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns and found this block called New Home. It was originally published in Good Stories in 1907 so I felt like it was an appropriate substitution. (See that Corn and Beans...blocks can be replaced!)

#67 Pinetree New Home

The last block for this week is Tulip. I got to play with a little more of my dark dark grey fabric for this block! (I only have a fat quarter of the dark dark grey so it's saved for very special blocks.) Is it starting to show that I'm missing some variety in my blocks? I know that this finished quilt will be stunning so I'm sticking to my plan, but I'm so glad I have my Supernova project giving me some much needed color right now.

#96 Tulip


Monday, July 21, 2014

Supernova Swap Month 2

Last week I saw this beautiful block on instagram. I loved the blues with the pops of citron in the middle. I really got excited when I saw the person posting the block was my swap partner and the block would be heading to me!!! It is even prettier in person.

I find it fun that we both choose to use the blue striped fabric this month. I was rushing to get Cheryl's block done before my post office closed at 11:30a.m. Saturday. Thankfully her block went together really smoothly with no problems and it's happily making it's way east right now. Unfortunately my block didn't go together nearly as smoothly. Somehow I swapped all of my blue pieces so I had lots of unpicking. The second time worked much better, but then I flipped two pieces when I sewed them to the three patch strips in the middle. I was tempted to just leave the fabric going every which way, but I knew I'd done it right once. I'm so glad that I listened to my gut and fixed it. I love how this block turned out.

After Cheryl received my block last month she sent me an e-mail apologizing for flipping the block around and offering to send me a replacement. I told her that I didn't know if it was a mistake or a design element, and that she really didn't need to worry. She works a lot like me and offers things when they're already half finished so I also got a replacement block of last month's block. Since I struggled with this so much I need to point out her stripes rock!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 23

My glorious moment of being completely caught up and half way finished with this quilt was so short lived. Once again I find myself behind. I've decided not to be too hard on myself for this though. I've proven time and again that I can catch up and the important thing is to not quit. When I started this project I looked at lots of Farmer's Wife quilts. I was a little puzzled why people would make 50 or 80 blocks and then decide to stop. Having hit the 50 block point I completely understand why people stop there. It's enough for a very nice lap quilt and frees the quilter up to move on to newer things. (My list of future projects is growing steadily larger.) That said, I'm not calling it quits yet. With every block I finish the image in my head of what this quilt will look like becomes clearer. I already love this quilt and want to see it achieve all of the glory I envision for it.

#11 Broken Dishes

#19 Checkerboard

I've also got all of the HSTs and flying geese units sewn for my corn and beans block. The second attempt is giving me just as much trouble as the first one, but I'm seeing some hope that the finished block will be better.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Black Socks

This week I've been struggling a lot. Not sure what's going on, but I haven't had much energy. About the only thing that has gotten any attention is my dad's socks. I have a few rows left on the leg and then I get to move on to the heel.

I'll admit right now I'm not loving the black. It's really hard to see the pattern and it's so dreary. I keep reminding myself that as a pastor my dad does a lot of winter funerals. There are some brighter socks in his future that will be appropriate most places, but funerals tend to be somber occasions.  I'm sure he will be very thankful for these socks this winter when preparing for graveside committals on days that the windchill is -20. (Yes that is still in Fahrenheit. Iowa winters are brutal.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Math Problems

Let me begin with a confession. I'm not good at math. I can fake it fairly well with a calculator, but it's never been my strong point. When I cast on for the back of this sweater a little voice in my head pointed out that 59+19+59 probably didn't equal the 126 stitches I had cast on for my sweater. I dutifully checked my pattern and saw that I had highlighted the line that said purl 59 stitches for my size to set up for the lace row. If I was a little better at math I may have realized that the number next to the 59 that wasn't highlighted was 51 and that 51+19+51 just so happens to equal 126. However I failed to notice this. I checked my pattern and the nagging voice asking if something might be wrong was satisfied. I happily knitted away, dutifully taking pictures and blogging every week about the progress of the sweater back. I'm baffled how I completely missed that my lace is an inch off center. 

I'm following my husband's advice and am putting this in banishment while I work on the fronts. I'm going to see how I feel about this in a few weeks, but I think I'll probably redo it. I love this pattern and yarn and know that if I leave the lace off center I won't love the finished sweater. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Farmer's Wife Redo

When I started my Farmer's Wife project I knew that there would be some blocks I would have to redo. Since I've been making at least two blocks a week and most weeks I've been making more after spending hours on these blocks only to get to the end and find they weren't perfect I knew that redoing the same day I messed up wasn't a good idea. I also knew that small mistakes that bugged me in the moment wouldn't matter after stepping away from the blocks. Last weekend I hit the half way point in my quilt. Okay so the research I've been doing has shown the setting I've selected might require 121 blocks instead of the 111 blocks so the half way point could still be 5 blocks away, but for now we're just going to ignore those extra 10 blocks looming on the horizon. The good thing about the setting I've chosen is I can add extra fabric to the blocks that aren't quite 6.5" so I only had to redo 5 blocks.

Century of Progress was one of the first blocks I made. I was never very happy with how the center looked so after joining the Yahoo Farmer's Wife group and getting access to the paper piecing patterns I decided to try this one again. I'm so much happier with how this block turned out. I'm even contemplating a medallion quilt and using this block as one of the rounds.

#18 Century of Progress

I probably didn't need to remake this one, but I wasn't happy with how the center lined up. It's not very noticeable in the pictures, but in person it stood out a lot.

#30 End of the Day

For some reason I swapped the color placement as I was working on most of these blocks. I'm really not sure how I chopped every single point in the block on the right, but I'm happy the problem got fixed in the new block. 

#80 Single Wedding Star

This is another block that probably could have stayed. I struggled so much with this block. The one on the right is actually my second attempt at it. It still bugged me that my geese looked a bit drunk so I gave it one more try. Not only do I have a flock of sober geese my block is exactly 6.5"!

I have one more to remake today along with this week's blocks. Since these are replacements the count is still 56/111. 


Friday, July 4, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 22

Happy July 4th to all of my fellow Americans. Five years ago my brother-in-law had just graduated from his masters program and started a new job. He asked that my husband and I wait until July to get married. We looked at the calendar and saw that July 4th fell on a Saturday that year. Since most of our guests were travelling from out of town getting married on a holiday made perfect sense. I can't believe all of that happened five years ago. Even more amazing is that I've gotten to be the wife of this amazing man for the past five years.

On to this week's Farmer's Wife blocks. I try to avoid swearing, but sometimes it's just necessary. Since it feels weird using traditional swear words I tend to invent my own. In honor of Y seams the swear word of the week has been Yak. I went to a quilt show last weekend that had a few antique quilts. I was amazed how many of the quilts from the early 1900s used Y seams on blocks that we now make with extra pieces.

The first block is definitely a Yak block. I used the templates, measured my seams, and things still don't line up. I know I probably should fix mistakes as I go, but after four and a half hours working on these blocks I was happy enough to have something that resembled the picture. 

#37 Flowerpot

Since I haven't had a lot of success getting blocks to be the right size when I use the templates I decided to make this block with half square triangles. The 1" HSTs do make the black bars a little wonkier, but I think when it's in the quilt it won't show as much.

#43 Garden Path

I love how my last block this week came turned out.  The top corner does have a little extra fabric, but it's the right size and my points all look pretty good.

#47 Homemaker


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Out of the Black Hole

I can't believe that last week I was complaining about the never ending sweater and this week I'm 3" away from the end. I think last week I'd fallen into one of the knitting black holes where you knit and knit without it growing. Then one day you add one more row and discover your sweater has grown by 6 inches. I'm hoping to finish the back over the long weekend, but I know I have several quilting projects that will take priority. 

I'm debating whether I want to work on the front panels or if should be good and finish dad's Father's Day socks (yes I know Father's Day in the US was June 15th, but he likes me and doesn't wear wool socks in the summer.) 

This weekend I did cast on for the second sock. I got to go see my sister play oboe and english horn for the Cherokee Community Theater's performance of Les Miserables. We had to arrive at least half an hour early to pick up our tickets and it's an hour drive over there so I had some quality sock knitting time. I'm still in awe of how great everything was. I reserved tickets the week they went on sale so we got to sit in the front row right by my sister. I've seen my her perform in band concerts several times, but it's been a while since I've heard her by herself. I still remember the days of learning where she sounded like a dying duck, but that was almost 15 years ago. I couldn't believe how amazing she is. I've heard my dad say that my talent is with quilts and hers is with music and it is so true. Sorry for all the gushing, but I'm so proud of my baby sister and the amazing woman she's become.