Tuesday, 30 August 2011

I seem to have got a bit addicted....

So, it's another week and I have more Farmer's Wife blocks to share with you. I seem to be going through them farily quickly at the moment - helped by a bank holiday weekend. Here are this weeks contributions - 22 down, 89 to go:

Basket Weave: This has to be one of the easiest: just 12 pieces that went together really quickly. I changed to colour placement a little and I'm really happy with the result, as I wasn't sure how the black would work.

Honey's Choice: I thought I'd have a go at one of the fiddly ones - by which I mean one with lots of tiny half square triangles. I didn't dislike it and most of my points match up, so I would now be quite happy to tackle some of the other blocks with lots of HSTs.

Contrary Wife: My husband would call this block "appropriate"! I really like this and I really like the colours I chose. I keep picking the light turquoise (that doesn't photograph well) because it really lightens the blocks and contrasts well with the more heavily patterned batiks.

Flock: More HSTs: I've noticed that a lot of the blocks with names related to birds seem to be rich in HSTs. But I really like this one, especially with my fabric choice. I have a few 8" squares of batik fabrics that are very dark, and I'll have to be careful how i use them, because they won't contrast well with the black. This block includes one of those fabrics and I'm really pleased how it worked out and the way that the darker fabric brings the lighter green batik to life.

Jack Knife: I opened the book at a random page and this is the block that was on it. I wasn't sure when I started it, but now I absolutely love this block and I think it would look really lovely over the top of a whole quilt. I also really like the fabric I've used as it injects a small amount of yellow - a colour I am lacking somewhat.

And finally Northern Lights: This is another really quick and easy one - I seem to have issues photographing this bluey fabric, but I like the end result.

I'm really enjoying foundation piecing all of these. I have now run out of the foundation paper, so progress will slow down a little. Though I might try a few blocks rotary cutting (Postage Stamp, Streak of Lightning), but also my Mum and Aunt are coming to visit, so I will have less time.

We are heading off to the quilt show at Harrogate on Saturday and I am hoping to pick up lots of really nice batik fabrics to add to my collection.

Happy stitching

Friday, 26 August 2011

Lots more Farmer's Wife blocks

There is no way my Farmer can possibly still be feeling neglected. Since my last post I have been doing a block a day.

Here they are: The first one was Shooting Star. I got a bit grumpy with all of the random triangles - I'd pin them on, flip them over and they would be going the wrong way, so I'd unpin them, repin them, and they would still be the wrong way. But I got there in the end: some of the seams get a bit chunky, but I like the end result.

After the Shooting Star, I wanted something a bit easier, so I tried Puss in the Corner: really quick and really pretty (and more purple than it looks in the photo!).

Next I did Waterwheel. This is one of my favourites so far and I would love to see it across a complete quilt top. It makes me think of jigsaws.

And finally I did Cups and Saucers in a whacky green and pink batik.

I was getting quite concerned about the amount of fabric I was wasting through foundation piecing. Somewhere on the Flickr group in the depths of a discussion thread, someone suggested using the templates to cut the pieces roughly and then foundation piece. I've now done this on a couple of blocks with virtually no wastage and less agravation from the triangles, so whoever's idea this was - thank you.

I'm home from work on Friday and it's the August bank Holiday - three days of patchwork stretches ahead of me - heaven.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Farmer was feeling neglected

Back in July I joined the Farmer's Wife Quilt-along on Flickr. I picked my fabrics: black and batiks. I bought the book. I printed off the paper piecing patterns, and I made my first five blocks. As part of my Nikki Tinkler Sampler Quilt we had made a Mariner's Compass block at the Fat Quarters: instead of messing about with tiny templates, Kim introduced us to Paper foundation piecing. I loved it - I have grown to hate templates and this was a way of avoiding them and getting neater seams, so I decided to do the Farmer's Wife quilt using this technique.

I raided my stash, which is still in its infancy, and pulled out seven blue batiks and one pinky-red one. I added a few from the Fat Quarters and successfully pieced my first five. You can see these in some of my earlier posts. For my sixth block I chose block number 24 "Country Patch". I don't know whether it was the number of small pieces or my colour choice or the two combined, but me and the Farmer had a falling out. And it got put in a box and I went on holiday.

I didn't forget my Farmer entirely and we visited a couple of patchwork shops on the holiday where I added to my fabrics. Then last week, Linda bought a me a pack of 20 8" squares all in batiks. Yesterday I visited a new patchwork shop and bought three more fat quarters of beautiful batiks. I was inspired! In the last 24 hours I have made another seven blocks for the Farmer (though "Country Path" remains in the box in disgrace). Here they are:

Block #29 Economy: The red fabric came from Threads and Patches

Block # 2: Autumn Tints: both of these batiks came from the Calico Barn in the pack of 20 8" squares. I wouldn't normallly have put orange and purple together but they just worked.
Block # 10 Bowtie: the green is from Threads and Patches and the pink is from Calico Barn.

Block #16 Calico Puzzle: both of these fabrics come from Calico Barn.

Block #46 Hill and Valley - kind of. I was putting it together and didn't like the way it was going to work when I put it on point, so I rotated the bottom right half by 180degrees. I much prefer it, but may still do it the way in the book to replace the basket blocks (which I really don't like).

Block # 73 Rainbow Flowers: The cream is from The Fat Quarters and the green with flowers and the purple/green are both from Calico Barn.

Block # 97 Waste Not: The green/orange is from Threads and Patches and the red/pink is from The Fat Quarters.

Hopefully my farmer is feeling a little less neglected. 12 down, 99 to go.

I've also made some progress with the Nikki Tinkler Sampler Quilt this week: I've piced Castle Keep (which did not want to lie flat) and Quilters Dream:

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Wilding Angels

This summer is the summer of finishing projects (and if the last few weeks are anything to go by, also the the summer of buying fabric).

The first project I decided to concentrate on is now finished! This is my finished Wilding Angels Quilt. The colour hasn't come out very well, but it's a dark, rich red and the thread matches this.

I bought all the patterns and materials on my 25th birthday. 18 months later and the quilt is now hanging in our dining room. I had a few issues on route - I was so enjoying the stitcheries that I didn't want to do them too quickly, so I took a break, then when I cam to stitch the central panel, the calico I had bought to stitch it on had faded in the sun, so I had tobuy some new fabric - luckily it's fairly standard. Lesson learnt: store things away from direct sunlight. Then I cam to make up the final quilt and there was a problem with the pieces I have cut - I don't know what happened, but I ended up needing some more of the red fabric. This was over a year after I had first bought it and the Fat Quarters had sold out. Luckily another local shop had a small amount left - I bought the last metre they had (phew). I hand quilted around the individual panels and finally finished it on Sunday evening.

It very nearly didn't get finished on Sunday as we had an unscheduled trip to A&E on Sunday evening. It turns out that my husband broke his finger playing football - his finger collided with Steven's backside (I have no idea how) and now he has a splint on it for the next six weeks!

I have also spent a lot of time recently working on the Rhubarb and Custard quilt. I have quilted each individual heart block and it's ready to put together, but once I laid the finished blocks out on the sashing fabric it all looked a bit busy and garish. I think I'll look for a plain fabric to sash and then use the original sahsing fabric to bind. We'll see how that goes next time I'm at the shop (or maybe Harrogate), but for the time being that project is back in it's box.

My next projects are Mum's yellow tablecloth and the Nikki Tinkler Sampler Quilt.

The other part of my summer (the buying fabric part) started before Sidmouth, but continued last weekend at the Fat Quarters where I bought some of their Snow Queen fabrics (by Northcott Fabrics). I bought five fat quarters of the snowflakes and starts fabrics and then a fat quarters of the stripey farbic and some cream fabric for stitcheries. I don't know quite what I want to to do with them but I want to design something myself... watch this space.

The other fabric was Count Down to Christmas from Moda (see the link for the random website for some really good pictures). I loved all of the fabrics so bought a Jelly Roll. We're doing a jelly roll smapler quilt class and this would look lovely on the sofa at Christmas.

I also bought some more of the Ambrosia fabrics to make the quilt up to a single bed size. Since the last time we were in they have got a Kona Solid in beautiful pinky red that will be perfect for the binding.

Lots of yummy projects to be working on.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Sidmouth 2011

Mum, Dad, me, Michael, Linda, Roy and Jan

We are back from our holiday! We had a fantastic time! We spent the first day with my parents in Bedforshire and as well as going to see the new Harry Potter film (which was excellent), we went to Threads and Patches in Milton Keynes. I bought some batik fabrics for my (much neglected) Farmer's Wife Quilt. And Mum found some fabrics in turquoise and lemon that she liked for a double bed quilt in what use to be my bedroom. Linda also got some very nice fabrics.

We drove to Sidmouth on the Friday for Sidmouth Folk Week. It was a fantastic week of concerts, workshops, morris men, shopping and eating. And...oh dear.... we found another patchwork shop....Maisie Daisy. I have never seen a smaller patchwork shop - no bolts, just fat quarters, fat eights and fat sixteenths, but Pauline was so friendly that we spent quite a while with her at various times during the week. It was fantastic because I could buy lots of different fabrics without spending a complete fortune. I'd like to use them all (see photo below) as well as a few others I bought, to make a Sidmouth quilt. I'm still thinking exactly how it will look, but I'll keep you updated.

I also spoke to Aunty Chris about the quilt I'd like to make her for her 60th birthday, and we managed to find all of the fabrics at Maisie Daisy: we've chosen blues and creams, but felt that something was lacking. One of the blue fabrics had a small fleck of maroon in it so we added in a plain dyed maroon fabric and it looked fantastic. So that's another project to start.

Pauline at Maisie Daisy also sold the fleece and implements for dry felting. Linda indulged and I got some fleece to play with too. Something else to try.

I even managed to find time to fit in some stitching: I stitched the first of the September Calendar Girlies from Letters Tied with Blue and found a hand-dyed perle cotton thread in browns and reds at Maisie Daisy's to use for the satin stitch on the apples. I started off the first of the Night Before Christmas stitcheries from Cinderberry Stitches. Due to the variegated thread used I have a couple of Albino Mice. I may have to "fussy cut" the thread in future. I've also made huge progress on the quilting for the Rhubarb and Custard Quilt that I started over a year ago.

I now have three ful weekends before Mum and Aunty Catherine come up for the Harrogate show, and I'd like to get a few things finished before then - especially the Wilding Angels Quilt, which needs quite a lot of hand quilting, then binding and hanging. I'd also like to finally finish the first Vignette block and I have to get the next mystery block of the month done bfore next Saturday. I'd also like to make some progress on Mum's yellow tablecloth. I'll keep you updated on progress and post some photos.