Friday, June 27, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 22

I'm so glad I saved these blocks for today. I decided to look at what blocks were next and there are Y seams in the next two blocks! I'm so tempted to either skip them or just quit. Unfortunately I love this quilt and have committed to doing all 111 blocks. I guess I'll have to suck it up and do it, but I want the record to show that I am not happy.

At least with these three blocks I didn't have any issues. I really love how impressive the Star Gardener block looks. This is another of those blocks I'm thinking about playing with in a larger size. Maybe doing one of those single block baby quilts.

#87 Star Gardener

Another really easy one was Evening Star. I love how much a white star pops on a black background.

#31 Evening Star

The last block in my trio is Ducks and Ducklings. I'm not completely sure what this block has to do with the letter it's attached to, but it's such a cute name (and block) I really don't care.

#28 Ducks and Ducklings

I was really excited to see that Quilt Story is featuring a Farmer's Wife quilt this week. Not only is it the quilt I'm working on, but Amber made it monochromatic with shades of red.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Insert Fun Never-Ending Sweater Blog Title Here

I hate coming up with blog titles. It feels like there are so many people out there who just whip up these funny titles that suck you in. (Okay so they probably they spend several hours thinking about it while working on other projects, but I'm still not one of them.) Even without a great title my sweater is looking really good this week. As of last night I have three more inches to go before I start decreases for the arms and neck.

I love the lace detail running up the center of the back. It's so simple, but adds the perfect bit to this sweater. Not sure why my camera is acting up this morning, but this detail also gives a better idea of the true colors of my sweater. 

I'm using KnitPicks Stroll Tonal in Blue Yonder and Anne's Cardigan also from KnitPicks. For full details please check out my ravelry project page here.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Supernova Swap Month 1

My first block for the Supernova Swap has finally arrived! I love this block so much and it has been such a big challenge to keep it a secret. I've seen some really cool ideas for sneak peek photos of these blocks so I might share a glimpse of the next block on facebook or instagram. I've been hesitant to join instagram since my phone was 4 years old and took really bad pictures. I knew that if I tried taking pictures with my camera I would first have to get my camera, then when I loaded them onto my computer I would edit them, and then upolad them to the internet. By the time I finished all of that it was no long "insta"gram. My phone finally died last week and we upgraded to smart phones! Now that I have a phone with a good camera and internet access I've joined instagram. I've even put a link in my sidebar so it's easy to find me. Here's my practice "sneak peak" shot of my block.

Of course I had to try a different angle on my partner's block too.

I don't think this post would be complete without showing our blocks together. We've decided to do a checkerboard layout so all of my blocks will have a dark grey background and hers will all have the light grey background. 

In addition to swapping our blocks we were encouraged to write a list of 25 Things You Don't Know About Me. This should be a really easy list to send to a complete strange since they don't know anything about you, but I've heard from lots of people that the 25 Things list was harder to make than the blocks. My partner's shows how very different we are. She's a long arm quilter (I'm just starting to do some free motion quilting on my machine.) She's been quilting since 1992 (I'm somewhat ashamed to admit what I was doing in 1992. Let's just say I was learning skills necessary for quilting, but hadn't hit division yet.) She has a black lab named Bailey, 3 children, and 3 grand children (I have a stuffed penguin named Matilda that my husband gave me for my birthday a few years ago. I wish we had a puppy, but our lease doesn't allow it.) She loves the beach (I can feel a sunburn just thinking about the beach. Thankfully Iowa doesn't have a lot of beaches.) 

With all of those differences we still have a lot in common. She loves modern quilts (me too! I think that's why we got matched up as partners.) She's started designing quilt patterns (me too!) She's a night owl and gets some of her best work done in the wee hours of the morning. (Okay so I'm not a night owl, but I do wake up in the wee hours of the morning. Some of my best quilting gets done before my husband gets home from work at 7a.m.) She hates to cook, but loves to bake. (I don't do much baking since it's just my husband and me, but I'm the same way. Also like her I had the good sense to marry a man who can cook.) 

I love that quilting gives a common ground that allows people of all ages to connect. I've especially observed this in my quilt guild. I'm closer in age to the children of my fellow quilters than to them (I suspect some of them may have kids older than me,) but they've accepted me as a friend. I'm hoping that in the course of this swap I'll be able to add Cheryl to that list. I can't wait to see what we come up with for next month.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 21

I'm actually on top of my Farmer's Wife blocks this week! I finished three this weekend, and then found out Tuesday that my workplace was surrounded by water. I work with adults who have mental and physical disabilities so I wasn't worried about my job, but I was very worried about how my people would be handling life in the shelter. Today one of them greeted me by saying she got to go to camp the past two days and I knew everything was okay. On Tuesday I was able to distract myself for a while by making three more blocks. I've decided I really want to work on quilting my Hedgepigs and Hares quilt so I'm saving the second set of blocks for next week.

#52 Hovering Hawks

I had a minor heart attack with the Darting Birds block. After finishing all of those tiny pieces (if anyone's interested there are 60 pieces in this 6" block) I was pressing my block like a good quilter. I was struggling to get it to lie flat so I gave it a shot of steam. My iron spit an ugly blot of rust on one of the white squares. I ran to the sink, but cold water didn't get it out. I asked the members of Late Night Quilters on facebook what I could do. I got tons of great suggestions and unwittingly started a discussion on steam vs. starch. Since I had vinegar on hand I tried rinsing my block with vinegar and then used a little dish soap and was able to get the spot out. 

#27 Darting Birds

The last block was a nice break. It's a little wonky looking, but after the fiasco with the last block I was a little afraid of doing a proper pressing job. I'll go back in my July 4th fixing spree and give it a proper pressing.

#85 Square Dance


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sealed With a Kiss: A finished top

This week has not been a good weather week for my area. Between the tornadoes that have been hitting the past two nights (it's expected that tonight's thunderstorm will have good conditions for more) and the rain that all of the thunderstorms have been dumping it's been a bit scary. Thankfully my home is safe, but I work in Rock Valley, IA which has been battling flood waters the past two days. Someone flew over the town with a helicopter and put the pictures on facebook. It's a bit surreal to see the street you drove down Monday filled with water and watch the flood waters creeping towards your workplace from two sides. They say the water is going down and we should be allowed back in tomorrow. My arthritis prevents me from assisting with sandbagging and clean-up efforts, so I've had two days for sewing. Yesterday I finished 3 more Farmer's Wife blocks (they were so great at getting my mind off the water) and today I finished my Sealed With a Kiss quilt top. 

A few weeks ago I went to order the grey background fabric I needed for my Supernova blocks (still no sign of my partner's blocks so I'm not sharing those yet.) Missouri Star Quilt Co. had a sale of 30 precuts for 30 dollars. I really wanted to make Jenny Doan's You've Got Mail quilt and when I saw the Briar Rose layer cake I knew I'd found my fabric. My quilt guild makes comfort quilts for the local women's shelter and for our DA to give to victims of violent crimes. I haven't heard anything yet, but this quilt might also be headed to someone affected by this week's weather. 

When I started this project I decided to make a twin sized quilt for a little girl at the shelter so I knew I didn't want a white background. I thought about grey, but I know the building they're in isn't the most cheerful. Our women's shelter is a 2 year program that helps women and their children get back on their feet so I wanted a quilt that would be a vibrant sign that life was going to get better. When I saw this pink solid at my LQS I decided to embrace the girliness of this quilt. 

Last Friday my guild had a work day and I got most of the top assembled. I was thinking about making borders with something green or maybe a grey polka dot to tone down the pink a little. Instead I found a darker pink with green and light pink polka dots. I'm really not sure how I ended up with a quilt that is so PINK!!! Even as a little girl I don't remember liking pink this much (I think a lot of that is that my sister loved pink and I wanted to be different so I liked purple. Now my favorite colors are blue and green as will be shown when I finally get to share my Supernova blocks.) I keep telling myself that there will be a little girl who loves this quilt, but I haven't convinced myself of this yet. 
I used half the layer cake with plans of making a coordinating quilt with similar fabrics but a different pattern for a sister or mom. I'm trying to decide if I want to keep the pink background for the second quilt (I have about a yard left) or if I should do something less pink.

*This picture shows the importance of being patient when photographing quilts. I spent about 15-20 minutes with my finger on the shutter button and took 35 pictures before I got this shot. I like the "action" shots of the quilt, but it took a lot of waiting for the wind to die down long enough to get this picture.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Blueberry Progress

I had hoped to share my Supernova blocks today. I've been waiting to show the blocks until I know my partner has gotten hers and since my block from her is in the mail (hopefully it will come today) I'm switching things up this week. I feel so much like a little kid waiting for Christmas. Even now my biggest problem with waiting for Christmas isn't the impatience to see what I got, but the excitement to show everyone what I got them. It's taken so much discipline not to share pics of my blocks until I know my partner has seen it first.

Friday my quilt guild had a workday starting at 1:00. I made arrangements with my boss to leave early and got to spend the afternoon and evening sewing. I just have to add borders and my pink quilt top will be finished. Sadly I forget how easy it is to zone out at these work days and put in eight hours of sewing with only a brief break to walk to the quilt shop and another break at super time. My back was so mad at me this weekend. I did a little sewing, but mostly the couch and I were very good friends. Since I couldn't work on quilting from the couch my knitting got some attention. This weekend I got past the waist decreases and am about half way done with this sweater back. I probably should have worked on the second sock for Father's Day, but I needed to switch it up a bit. I think when I finish this piece of the sweater I'll go back and make the second sock. Thankfully my daddy likes me and is willing to wait for hand knit socks.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 20

This week I owe a huge thank you to all of you who read my blog. Yesterday I didn't have any Farmer's Wife blocks finished. I was really tempted to just forget about it, but a little voice in my head kept asking what I was going to post on Friday if I didn't have my blocks done. I was ready for work and had an hour to spare (yes I wake up crazy early) so I decided to see what I could get done. I unpicked the black side of wild goose chase and redid the block. I'm seriously thinking of making up a paper pieced pattern for this block and seeing if I can get my geese to look a little less drunk, but for now it's okay.

#105 Wild Goose Chase

I also worked on Friendship. This block is one of the few blocks in the entire quilt that has to have 5 colors to work. I have a fat quarter of the very dark grey that is reserved for these blocks. I'm still a bit tempted to go get a little more of it and add it into some more blocks, but my other two greys are working well and I still have a lot of them left. This block also shows the importance of using pins and not sewing in a hurry. I had about 30 seconds left before it was time to put things away so I hurried to finish this block. 

#39 Friendship

I'm getting very close to my goal of 56 blocks by July 4th weekend. I'm starting to think that it might be a good idea to dedicate that weekend to reviewing the blocks and fixing the things that are still bugging me. Maybe now that I'm half way through this project I'll have the skills to do a better job on the blocks that have caused problems for me. (And time to do those little fixes like ripping out a seam and sewing it with pins.)


Monday, June 9, 2014

All Iowa Shop Hop

In June the quilt shops in Iowa are having a statewide shop hop. At each stop you get a stamp in your passport and a 5" charm square of a Kona solid. Saturday I convinced my sister to go with me to the first five shops on my list. I'm slowly converting her into a quilter. Mwahaha. 

I signed up to teach a class at my local community college this summer, but there weren't enough people enrolled for the class to be taught. They've asked me to try again this fall and I've decided to teach a Jelly Roll Race quilt. I want to show how a basic JRR quilt can be embellished with applique so I got some low volume prints for some flowers and a yellow that will either become a sun if I find some friends for it or will be the center of my daisies. The blue solid in the background is a fabric I found at a shop that specializes in "hard to find" fabric. When I read the description I was expecting to find fabric lines that are a few years old and have gone out of production. Instead I found fabric that looked to be from the 80s and 90s and was so not my taste. I was so excited that she had this solid (left over from last year's shop hop) so I could still support her store. Even though it's not my taste I'm sure somebody loves her fabric a lot.

My husband loves monkeys. I've decided to start collecting monkey fabrics with the intention of making him a quilt someday. I'm not sure when someday will come or what the quilt will look like, but I found some really fun fabrics.

Finally I got the theme fabric for this year's shop hop. I really love the cheater blocks that are printed at the bottom of the map print. I've got a couple of ideas bouncing around in my head for what I'm going to do with those. There are also two accent fabrics for the shop hop this year. I got the grey version since I don't do a lot with tans right now.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 19

I'm so close to getting caught up. I've been doing 3-4 blocks each week that I've set a new goal of having 56 blocks done by July 6. If my Fourth of July weekend turns out anything like Memorial Day I should be able to make a lot of blocks. 56 blocks will put me half way to my goal of 111.

I used templates for Farmer's Daughter. I could probably work out the math, but a 5x5 grid in a 6" block is going to result in some wonky measurements. One of the tricks I've learned with the templates is to place the fabric on a sheet of sand paper (I prefer 150 grit.) Without the fabric shifting the templates aren't nearly so much of a headache.

#32 Farmer's Daughter

For Temperance Tree I went back to my usual method of HSTs and rotary cutting squares. There's a little bit of accuracy troubles, but the sashing will help with that.

#95 Temperance Tree

I'm not a big fan of baskets, but this one is so much fun I might have to play with a quilt made from this block.

#42 Fruit Basket

After work one night this week I was putting together these blocks and my husband was surprised by my organizational system. I was struggling to keep all of those tiny pieces straight so I pulled some containers from our cabinet that were missing their lids and assigned one container to each block. (The fact that we have so many containers with missing lids might be part of why my husband was surprised that I had an organizational system.) I've put a piece of masking tape on each container and write the name of the block I'm working on. I've heard of people using paper plates to do this same system, but this is what I had on hand.

I've been storing all of my fabric for this quilt in a large tote. I've been trying to keep similar colors together, but it's been getting more and more mixed up. This weekend I finally got fed up with my fabric bin, and organized that too. I have a lot of yardage I'm using for this block so I cut up an old box to use as dividers. If I was making this in a scrappier version I think I'd make dividers for my lights, mediums, and darks. I've been saving the papers from my templates to use as scratch paper so that's at the back of my fabric. By organizing my bin this way I have enough space to store my blocks neatly in my bin too. I cut a divider for the back so my blocks are in one section. The other section is where I'm storing the tiny bits that are still big enough for blocks, and the extra HST units that I accidentally make. 
This is my first week with this system, but I think it will make me a lot happier.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sneaky Blueberry

The Father's Day socks are progressing very slowly. Not sure why these socks this sock is taking so long. I was informed yesterday that Father's Day this year falls on June 15th. For some reason I had it in my head that I had until the 21st. (Not that a week will make that much difference.) It might be time to start looking for an alternative gift and throw these in the box of Christmas presents. 

If you're wondering what that blue little ribbon of ribbing is, that is blueberry. I have my pattern for these socks on my ipod and was listening to it in the kitchen this weekend. I was feeling lazy and didn't want to go get my ipod so I cast on for blueberry. I had toyed with the idea of knitting blueberry in one piece, but I realized I'd be stuck with the paper pattern and wouldn't be able to read it on my ipod. When I pulled what I thought was enough yarn to cast on the 250 some stitches for the whole piece and only had enough yarn for the 120ish stitches for the back my decision was made.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Giveaway Drawing

I've had so much fun this week reading what everyone's favorite animal. I was worried about throwing off the number generator so I didn't leave responses. Oddly enough the one person I responded to was mamas mercantile since she lives in the UK and I still feel guilty about not being able to ship internationally. Of course the first number the generator came up with was comment number 8 which just so happens to be my comment. Of course one of the first give aways I win is the one I'm hosting.

True Random Number Generator  8Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Since winning the pouch myself really isn't in the spirit of my give away I drew a second number. This time the random number generate came up with comment number 2 Designs by KC wrote "My fave animal is my mini doxie Daisy May! A dog :) Kathi." I follow Kathi over at Design Originals by KC where she shares pictures of Daisy May. I can see why she would be Kathi's favorite animal. I'll be contacting you later today Kathy to get your shipping information. 
True Random Number Generator  2Powered by RANDO
*One of these days I'll learn how to take a picture of an internet site. I'm not sure why when I copy and past the image it puts the number generator back at 100. I did pick a number between 1 and 25 (the number of comments I had.) 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Paint Chip Challenge Part 1

A couple weeks ago my quilt guild held our annual quilt show. I've got pictures of the quilts to show that I'm saving for the weeks I don't have anything I can share. This week I've been working on my farmer's wife blocks and my first blocks for the Supernova Friendship Swap. Since I want my partner to get the chance to see her block first I decided to share the first round of quilts from the Paint Chip Challenge. 

It was so much fun seeing how everyone interpreted this challenge. Everyone got to choose their own paint chips and could add white, blacks, and greys if they wanted. They could use a pattern or create their own design and there was no size guidelines so some people made bed sized quilts and others chose to make table runners and wall hangings.
Georgia Johnson 
I really debated grabbing this paint chip, but I wanted to have as many unique colors as I could. I love what Georgia did with all of the browns.

Mary DeYoung 
I'm not sure which magazine Mary got her pattern from, but she was inspired by the desert canons of Colorado.

Marcia McDowel
Marcia decided to do some stash busting with this. She made her quilt top first and then found a paint chip to match. I love that idea! If you look really closely at the picture you can see the hearts Marcia quilted into the space between the boxes. This girl has mad quilting skills and does everything on her home machine. 

Mary Winter
I think Mary said that this was the year of flying geese for her. I'm not certain, but I think she came up with this design herself while playing with the block.You can tell that she really had fun playing with this block and the monotone colors really makes the geese pop.

Jo Alberda
Jo makes some amazing art quilts. She has this really cool technique of essentially making fabric mosaics which she used for her challenge quilt. 

Lori Zwart
I love how Lori used her paint chip to inspire her table runner. I'm not sure if this is an original design to her or if she used a pattern.

Since there are 17 quilts that were entered into the Paint Chip Challenge I think I'm going to stop there. Keep watching for more Paint Chip quilts and general quilts from the show.