Friday, February 28, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday - 2.28.14

Welcome to a new feature on my blog.  I’ve decided I will post my updates on the Farmer’s Wife quilt each Friday until it’s finished.  Here is the quilted portion:

And some stats:

Bobbins Used in Quilting: I wound 10 to start with, and I'm on #8
Hours of Quilting: around 15 so far (should be pretty close)
Blocks Quilted: 30
Blocks to Go: 98 (plus the border)

Things I have learned so far:
  • Don’t test the Juki.  She will win.  I’m not sure how this happened, but she sewed right through a basting pin, no problem. 
  • I’m not sure my Juki likes FMQ directly sideways.  Any sort of angle to a line helps.  And probably improved hand/foot speed coordination as well.
  • I agree with Leah Day that I need to alter my FMQ foot.  I can’t freaking SEE with the metal across the front.  Must fix that before I do another quilt.  On the other hand, my foot doesn’t really hop that much, so that’s not an issue for me.
  • I need a tiny light for the back side/under the arm of my machine.  The light in front is crazy good but then there’s a black hole behind.
  • Stitch in the ditch is killing me with my FMQ foot.  Alas, the tiny pieces in the blocks render it way too difficult to use my walking foot, not to mention I’d have to swap out feet like 20 times in each block.  The positive, I’m sure to get better by the end of this project!
  • My mantra: Leah Day’s advice that washing and drying the quilt will cure 90% of quilting mistakes.  I’m not sure I’d have two blocks finished if I picked out each mistake I’ve made.  “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!"
And some of my favorite blocks so far, although they’ll be even prettier once it’s finished and laundered.

The quilting is definitely not perfect, but I’m happy. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Burgoyne Surrounded – APQ Quilt-Along

When I saw the APQ Quilt-Along (#APQquiltalong) back before Christmas, I was all about it.  I found the magazine at Barnes & Noble a few days before it was supposed to be on shelves, and I did a squeal and happy dance as I went through the store with it clutched to my chest.  I was even gushing to the cashier as I checked out. 

Why the love?  I had fallen in love with the Burgoyne Surrounded block in my copy of America’s Heritage Quilts back four years ago, and had even gone so far as to start cutting some strips and piecing sections with random scraps and a white background.  But I never got very far and wasn’t sure about the random scrappy look, so it sat in a project box.  The APQ Quilt Along was perfect for inspiration and getting me back on the wagon with that project.  I was able to figure out I wanted all white/low volume prints for the background and scrappy reds for the blocks.  A red and white but still scrappy quilt for our bed.
I went through and ripped apart the little pieces I had already sewn (thankfully there weren’t many) so I could reuse the already cut white pieces.  I had actually pieced a couple red/white strips, so those I kept.  I gathered up all the reds and all the whites I had, found a couple more white/low volume prints, and began cutting.  I did the math – I needed something like 4,017 pieces for a quilt to fit our bed.  Plus, it was December – can you say Christmas sewing?  You see where this is going. 

I rang in the new year cutting up charm packs (yes, I cut into all the reds and white background prints from my precious Fig Tree and French General charm packs!)  and later started to try and get one block together, just to keep me motivated. 

Finally I realized this was NOT going to be finished by February but would be a little longer term.  This is where I am now:

Fabric to be cut
Strips cut and ready to be pieced
Pieced strips
Sub-cut units and baggies of pieces
Most of a block (blurry because I zoomed in on an existing picture)

This is one of the projects on my UFO list – I pretty much put everything on that list except my Gypsy Wife since that’s a monthly quilt-along that I plan to keep up with.  I am committed to working on Burgoyne Surrounded/APQ Quilt-Along, and I’ll keep that block and any others up on the design wall just to keep it in my mind.  I’m thinking I’ll try and piece all the little pieces in the baggies and my strips into sub units and then into blocks.  Hopefully I’ll complete it this year. 

A girl can dream.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Party Like It’s Your Birthday!

Because it is!  (Well, mine anyways.)  I have had a pretty fabulous day – not because of anything special.  I just woke up in a good mood after a good sleep and determined to keep up with the fabulousness all day.  We need to appreciate fabulous days more often.  We need to create everyday fabulous days more often.

My birthday supper: home canned beef with gravy over noodles, green beans, homemade chocolate cheesecake and ice cream for dessert.  Yummy.  I may or may not be in my stretchy pajama pants and ratty roomy t-shirt as I write this.  I am fashionable, y’all.

I ordered the Urban Tiles pattern and coordinating Quick Curve Ruler earlier this month, and they just so happened to get delivered today.  Hooray!  They won’t get any use for a while, but I wanted to go ahead and get them before I forgot about it. 

Also, my grandparents gave me some money, so I’m trying to decide which fabric to buy.  I have my eye on a few different things.  So much fabric, so little money . . .

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Quilting the Farmer's Wife

OMG I'm actually quilting my Farmer's Wife quilt!  I can't believe it!  When I finished the top, I knew it needed special quilting.  I mean, I spent 11 months piecing it - it's kind of a big deal.

I knew I couldn't do it justice, so I was waiting to take it to a long arm quilter.  I just kept holding back - I knew to get it quilted the way I wanted it would cost a lot, and after all that piecing I just couldtn't do an all over pattern on it.

Now that I have my Juki, I feel better able to handle the bulk of a queen/king sized quilt.  It would not have worked on my old Viking.  I spent a lot of time looking at gorgeous quilting, doodling, and marking the quilt top.

Look at the first block!  I quilted that!  It's probably not that complex to some people, but it's the most detailed work I've done.
I pre-wound 10 bobbins before I started quilting.  I went through one in four blocks.  This quilt is going to take a lot of thread. Gracious.

I'm just concentrating on making each block good.  I can't worry about how big the quilt is or I'll flake out for another year. 

Six done today . . . 115 to go!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Design Wall Monday

I'm home from work today and either scurrying around trying to get stuff accomplished while the kids are at daycare or being a slug while the kids are at daycare . . .

But here's what's on my design wall these days:
- a couple sections for a selvage spider web quilt
- a small courthouse steps block (each log is 1/2" finished)
- blocks for my Gypsy Wife quilt
- some random green and brown pieces I pieced into a long strip - I'll find a use for it somewhere
- most of a Burgoyne Surrounded block for the APQ Quilt-Along (#APQquiltalong - so not on top of that one - other people are already done and I am still cutting strips here and there)

Of course, the Farmer's Wife quilt is on the table right now.  I'll be chained to the machine until it's done.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Basting the Farmer's Wife Quilt

It's finally happening - I'm basting my Farmer's Wife quilt!
Of course, now that I'm 85% done, I found an issue - a spot in the backing that needs to be folded for the rest to lay straight - but I sure as heck am not unpinning the entire thing to fix it!  It's my own fault for piecing the backing so quickly, but it's one of those things - I had come that far and if I stopped it would sit again.  I can fix it in the quilting.  It'll add character.

I'm hoping to get all set up, bobbins wound, and quilting started tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Since the Olympics started, I’ve been making a concerted effort to stay upstairs and watch the evening coverage rather than lurking in my basement sewing cave.  However, not sewing for a couple weeks isn’t an option if I want to keep my sanity.  So I pulled out the box with my clamshell quilt and have been working on it while we watch skiing, figure skating, and the like. 

The baby is in bed – because he is not a happy camper after 7:30.

My four-year old is full of questions – Who do we like (cheer for)?  :Answer:  Why are they doing X?  :Answer:  Why?  :Answer:  Why?  :Answer:  Why?  (You get the picture.) 

My husband dozes on and off in the arm chair (he’s worked a full day and then helped feed the cattle and sheep after work). 

And I, I stitch. 

I measured the other evening, and my quilt was 54” wide by 45” long.  To keep it the same proportions as a 60”x72” throw quilt, I am going to make it 65” long.  I then measured my clamshells and figured out each row adds 2” to the length (Are you kidding me?  That’s it?  Why didn’t I know this ahead of time?)

The good news: it’s just 10 more rows. 
The bad news:  it’s 10 more rows.  And I may need to make a few more clamshells - my box is running low on variety.

Since I measured, I’ve added one row and just last night pinned and got started on a second row.  So I have 8.5 rows to go.  We’ll see how far I get after the closing ceremony.

One of my “goals” for the year is to focus on one UFO a month.  Maybe not finishing them, but making a focused effort to work on them.  I hadn’t intended for February to be clamshells, but I guess it counts.  I’m hoping this one will be done for the Christmas season this year.  It’s only been four years . . .

Friday, February 7, 2014

Momo Baby Quilt

I have such original quilt names - one thing I've never been great at is clever names (except for my babies - they have adorable names).
This quilt top was sewn up a couple of years ago with extra blocks and leftover fabric from Summer's Quilt.  A couple weekends ago I pulled it off the shelf, pieced a batting, basted, and quilted it in one evening.  The next night I got it bound and ta-da!  Baby quilt.
The quilt measures about 40"x40" (ish).  I tried spiral quilting for the first time, and I definitely want to do it again on a crazy scrappy quilt.
Update 6/6/2015: This quilt is listed for sale in my Big Cartel shop

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WIP Wednesday

I have several quilty things going on right now.

I starched and pressed my Farmer's Wife top in preparation for quilting (over a year after it was finished).  Now I'm working on marking it . . . that's taking a while.

I got a couple new-to-me quilting books.

And, I got to spend an unexpected extra day with these kiddos.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Gypsy Wife Quilt-Along

I'm taking on a new project this year.  I surely don't need any more projects, but I saw this quilt by Jen Kingwell, fell in love, and had to make it.  It just so happened that a quilt-along has just started at Factotum of Arts - I was able to get my pattern and get started just in time!
Here are the first month's blocks:

Colour Wheel

and Pinwheel filler blocks
My plan was to use stash, cut into some designer fabric I've been hoarding, and have a loose color scheme.  My plan was aqua, blues, greens, reds, a touch of red and yellow, grays, low volume prints, and no brown.  I pulled a big stack of fabrics and then pulled from my bags of untamed scraps and then just started cutting and sewing . . . I'm pretty sure this quilt is going to be crazy and wild but hopefully coherent and pretty in the end.

Check out the Gypsy Wife Quilt-Along Flickr group for more beautiful blocks!

And check out Riddle & Whimsy for this month's linkup...There's a giveaway!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Clothing for Sam

One thing about having boys – it’s not always easy to sew for them.  There are no ruffles, no changes in fashion (not like with female fashion anyways).  There are fewer fabrics to pick from (that I think look decent).  Take a look at the kids section in stores – 80% of it is girl stuff, with a rack or two of boys stuff tucked in a corner.  Take sewing patterns and it’s even worse.  Understandable (because really, how many different versions of a button-down shirt can one make), but worse.  Depressing sometimes.  Especially if you have an average/tall skinny mini kid and all the patterns are for fat, short kiddos.  What does one do? 

I’ve sewed things for Sam occasionally – a Christmas outfit, his christening booties and jumper, two quilts, a few hats and a pair of knit baby pants – but as he gets older it gets harder.  You never want to have the kid with the obviously handmade clothes who gets the stink eye from his peers or, Heaven forbid, other moms. 

But my sewing skills improve with each project and each tutorial read, and recently I’ve done quite a few things for my oldest son. 

There have been several freezer paper stenciled t-shirts (I get the Garanimal or boys Hanes ones at Wal-mart for about $4).  Star Wars (from this tutorial and here), a tractor, a dinosaur for his birthday party last fall. 
(I'm not sure what this face is, but it's the only picture I have of the shirt.)

A hoodie – I can’t go to the fabric store with this kid anymore; he’s constantly picking out fabric for me to make him things – from microfleece he picked out at JoAnn’s.  He wanted pants (not pj pants, real pants), but I thought that would be a little obnoxious and made a hoodie instead.  I took one of his sweatshirt hoodies and made a pattern.  It needs a touch more room to get over his head but otherwise the fit is awesome.  And I’ve had several people who were impressed when he told them “my mommy made it.”  I used an old t-shirt for the hood lining.   

These tutorials were helpful:

And Christmas pants.  He found the Rudolph fabric on a different JoAnn’s trip, and he’s just too cute and knows that I can’t resist when he begs me to make him something.  These were the hardest.  I didn’t want him to get the stink eye (see above) with some homemade pajama-looking cotton pants, so I had to figure out how to make Christmas pants but still wearable outside our house.  After searching everywhere online and pinning a bunch of pants to my Sewing for Kids Pinterest board, I made these.  The Rudolph fabric is on the waistband, cuffs, inside of the front pockets, and the back pockets.

My brother gave me several pairs of old jeans a couple of years ago to use for patches and such, so I used that denim and the Rudolph fabric.  I tried to take extra time and finish the seams and do topstitching so they’d look nicer.  It took a few tries to get the fit right (he’s so skinny!) using my homemade pattern (again drafted from a currently fitting pair of store-bought jeans with some alterations from various online tutorials), but in the end he liked them and wore them a bunch.  He’d still be wearing them now if I hadn’t pulled them out to store in the holiday kids’ clothing bin.  I would do them differently if I made them again – I think I would like curved pockets better for jeans and would sew the cuff fabric a different way.    Here are some of the tutorials I mish-mashed together:

Don’t worry, I have Dusty Crophopper fabric in my stash now – he begged for a shirt from it.  Once it gets warmer I’ll find a button-down that fits him, measure that against some of the boys’ shirt patterns in my stash, and sew that up. 

It might not be as easy to sew for a boy, but Sam is definitely keeping me challenged, and as long as he (and Will) want me to sew for them, I’ll keep doing it.  And one day when it’s not cool anymore, I’ll keep doing it and begging them to wear things just to annoy them.  You never know, I might be good enough by that point that no one will ever know. . .


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