Sunday, 30 October 2011

Farmer's Wife Fifty

It has been a weekend of farms! Yesterday we took our 3-year-old nephew to the farm. We saw goats, meerkats, rabbits, reindeer, pigs, horses..... but the biggest draw for James was the tractors:

But it's not moving.... you need to peddle..... ok I'll push....

When we came home I returned to my normal farm. I am totally in love with the farmer - please don't tell my husband. This weekend I have made another six blocks bringing my total to fifty! Also this weekend I used my fiftieth different batik fabric in the blocks! Here they are all together.
And here they are individually: First off #79 Silver Lane: I struggled to see the pattern in this block and as a result didn't pick the best colour combination. I really didn't like the colours as I was putting the block together, but it's grown on me. One seam also did not match properly. I unpicked it three times then life moved on.#70 Prairie Queen: I've looked at this block a lot and I really like it. It makes me think of jigsaws (not sure why) and I like it just as much now I've made it. #60 Noon and Night: I really like how this one turned out and I really like the colours I've used. This green fabric also makes me think of jigsaws!#30 End of Day: this is my token Hallowene entry - I think purple and yellow combos are Hallowene-y. This yellow was my 50th fabric.#59 Night and Day: I love this block and I think it would look stunning all over a quilt top. But the funny angles meant it wasn't the easiest to piece and there were lots of seams to match. Maybe a small quilt top.....And finally #69 Practical Orchard: a bit of an easier one but also very nice.
So to finish, here are all my fifty blocks together! I'll be sashing with a bright yellow, using corner posts of the fifty batik fabrics and black batik setting triangles.....
Thank you to everyone who has popped over to my blog in the last few days. I really appreciate your comments! :)

Friday, 28 October 2011

My first quilt

I'm linking up today with Amy's Bloggers' Quilt Festival. It's so lovely to hear all about the background of a quilt - it makes the quilt even more special - when I am making something as a gift for something I am constantly thinking of them whilst I make it, and it seems like I'm not the only one.

Check out the main blog here (or click on the link to the left).

This is the story of my Wilding Angels Quilt and the story of how I started quilting:

I first saw the pattern for the quilt at a show at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, UK. It's a design by Debbie from Letters Tied with Blue and was on the Fat Quarters stall. I looked and looked at it. I have done cross stitch for ever, but I was really scared about embroidery without counted thread and patterns with symbols. We went back the next year and I looked at it again, and Debbie tried to convince me I could do it just fine. I went back the next year. Looked again. Walked away again.

Then Linda, my Mother-in-Law, took me on a class with Debbie - a Christmas Surprise Class: as part of the class we embroidered a very small angel design. I loved it! I signed up for another class at the end of January on my birthday. Even scarier than hand embroidery, this class required a sewing machine....

With my birthday money I bought the patterns and all the fabric for the Wilding Angels. And with the class I learnt how to use my sewing machine.

I started off at a gallop and then slowed down, because I was enjoying it so much I didn't want it to be finished. Finally, eighteen months later, once I had discovered a world of patterns to give me my embroidery fix (Vignette and Cinderberry Stitches at the moment) and a whole world of patchwork (Farmer's Wife, Sampler quilts), I completed the final embroidery, constructed the quilt top, hand quilted it and bound it.

This is where my hobby started - it is entirely Debbie's fault and she seems to be very proud of this fact :)

Thank you for reading my story. I have loads of quilts half made: hopefully by next time, I'll have one of these to share.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


My Great Great Grandmother was called Amelia. We have a photo of her in old age sat on a beach dressed all in black.

Amelia is also fabric range from Moda. I fell over the range on the internet a few weeks ago and found a Jelly Roll on Ebay. Bargain. I had intended to look at it and stroke it for a few months before deciding what to do with it. But I'm loving my other Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt (using the Countdown to Christmas fabrics), so I couldnt' resist starting another one. This time it's the Snowball Sampler quilt from the same book. These blocks are 8inch squares and will be laid out with snowball blocks in between.

#1 Eccentric Star
#2 Windblown Square
#5 King's Crown.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

We must be mad.....

I can think of no reason for a sane person to cut out 57 (very small) pieces and sew them back together again to create a block only 6inch square. Insanity is the only reason I can think of! And also that fact that it's soooo pretty! You guessed it - I've been working on the Farmer's Wife Quilt again!

But, if you've ready yesterday morning's post, you'll know I've already done my two for the week. Well, I got seduced. By a very pretty purple batik that wasn't bought for my Farmer.

Regular readers (i.e. Mum) will know that throughout 2011 I've been stitching Calendar Girlies, designed by Debbie from Letters Tied with Blue - 6 a month for 6 special people as a Christmas present. And today I finished the first of the November Calendar Girlies, ready to be posted in time for November. Here she is:

The fabric is a purple batik (that hasn't photographed well) that my Mum helped me chose back in December last year from Threads and Patches because the pattern looked like fireworks, so was perfect for November. Once I had cut all the fabric I needed for my Calendar Girlies, I had just enough left for a Farmer's Wife block. I hadn't intended to stitch it here and now, but it was just sooooo pretty. So I picked a straightforward block that just wanted one fabric: #31 Evening Star. It went together pretty quickly and my points meet. So I'm very please.

Then I thought I'd have a flick through the book before putting tea on - fatal. Next thing I know, I'm picking fabric for another block. I hadn't purposely chosen a block with 57 pieces, but the centre of Block #87 Garden Star, is an Evening Star, so it seemed appropriate. It took me a few hours to complete, but I am so thrilled with it - my points meet! I'm still surprised when this happens :)
Yesterday and this morning were also spent with a needle. First project yesterday was block number 12 of the Mystery Block of the Month from The Fat Quarters - it's the last block after a year - the only mystery left is how we will put them all together - I hope it doesn't use too much more of the green and pink fabrics I've been using, as I have my eye on them for something else! I really like this block and may adapt it to replace one of the Farmer's Wife blocks I'm not keen on.
Then I went onto my Jelly Roll quilt using the Moda Countdown to Christmas fabrics. These blocks are so relaxing (especially after the Farmer) so I may do another non-Christmassy one to go with it - I've bought an Amelia Jelly Roll that keeps looking at me and I keep stroking! I've now done the four blocks I need to before the next class.
And still I kept going: this time last year I bought a Cinderberry Stitches pattern called the Night Before Christmas - it's the first few lines of the famous poem, which I love, surrounded by mice and flowers. Aunty Barbara saw it and said she'd like one. Linda saw it and said the same. I bought it because I like it. That means I have three to make. Needless to say, none of those were ready for Christmas 2010. In July I made a start on the project as it was small and portable for my summer holiday. Yesterday I finished the final embroidery and this afternoon I made up the front of the quilt. I'm not sure how I'll quilt it. At the moment I'm just enjoying looking at it!If you are still with me, thank you! It's been a busy weekend. If you have a few spare minutes, check out all of the other people's blogs who took part in the Friday Night Sew In - there's some really lovely stuff!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Farmer's Wife Friday

I know it's now Saturday, but I did my Week 21 blocks yesterday! For the first time I'm linking up with Friday Night Sew In:
If it's quiet at work, I leave at 3.30 on a Friday - it's only an extra half hour, but it feels like a much longer evening when I do. So I sat down at my machine and did my Farmers Wife Blocks for Week 21! I am still loving this quilt along and seeing what everyone else is doing - check out the Flickr Group. I think it's the variety that keeps it so interesting. So this week, knowing I had a bit of extra time (the magical half an hour) I made a conscious decision to do two harder blocks, so I picked out Wild Geese and Wood Lily. In the end I did Wild Geese and then got distracted by Whirlwind, so did that instead of Wood Lily - I'll put that aside for next week, but I have already chosen the fabrics for it.

So here is #104 Wild Geese: I simplified the background colours to all black then chose a fairly sickly but lovely green and pink combo. I really like this block - it's amazing how changing the colours slightly totally changes the pattern you can see in the block.

And here is my week's distraction piece #103 Whirlwind. The huge amount of one fabric meant I could really show off one of the larger print batiks that I'm using in the quilt.Two totally different colour schemes but I'm sure they'll go together just fine.

I now have two days of stitching ahead, so check back on Sunday evening for an update.

PS. we are just being too cute at the moment:

Monday, 17 October 2011

Bear Hugs

Here is this week's Christmas Sew Along Stitchery from Sew Happy.Me My bear is a bit wonky - rustic!
Also - I love this photo of Archie and Charlie lying in the last of the year's sunshine. It's such a hard life!
(Archie's the black one, Charlie's the brown one!)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Farmers Wife: Week 20 (and a few other bits and pieces)

We're already up to week 20 of the Farmer's Wife Quilt - I have now got 40 finished blocks. They're growing into quite a nice little pile. After last week's slightly simpler blocks I chose one's that were a bit more complex (but not the most difficult). The first is #6 Big Dipper. I was so careful all the way through and then the pinwheel in the centre didn't meet properly.... I may repiece, but when it's in the quilt amongst 110 other blocks, it may not be the end of the world.

So when I came to my second block of the week, I was equally careful with my seams. And this time they were spot on. I really like how #13 Buckwheath turned out. I've also started to think this week about how I will finish my quilt off. I've been experimenting with different coloured "sashing" in the photo editing programme, and I got some comments on the Flickr group that white looked nice. So we laid them out on the table at the Fat Quarters. White was too harsh. Red wasn't right. Yellow. Spot on. If you know the DMC thread colours it's a lot like number 744 - custardy. And although that sounds a bit odd, it really pulls out the colours in all the blocks. I'm going to use the batik fabrics in a random-ish fashion to make the cornerstones and then I'll use the black batik fabric to make the setting triangles.

The reason I'm thinking all this through already is because of the Nikki Tinkler Essential Sampler Quilt. As you saw on an earlier post, I've constructed the centre of the quilt using the quilt as you go technique and I've really enjoyed it, so I plan to do the same on the Farmer's Wife quilt. The only decision left is whether to machine quilt or hand quilt.
As far as the Essential Sampler Quilt is going, I've finished piecing all the blocks this week with the Dresden Plate, Mowhawk Trail and Tobacco Leaf blocks. I've really enjoyed all of the applique', especially in the Tobacco Leaf block.I've also picked the border fabric, designed a quilting pattern to use on the sashing and bought some beautiful midnight blue Italian perle cotton to stitch it.
And if that weren't enough, I have made a start on Steph's Hot Cross Bun quilt: I bought the sahing yesterday and pieced the first 8 of 64 blocks this morning. I love the fabrics.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Dear Santa

Back to sewing...

This week I completed the third of the Christmas Sew-a-long Stitcheries from Sew Happy Me. This time it's a stocking - I love the contrast between the plain stripes and the stripes with the red lines (I've done mine more densely than on the pattern). This week's stitchery is a bear.

Steph's Birthday Cake

It was Steph's 21st birthday on 6th October and last Sunday we had a family party. Check out the cake, made for her by one of Linda's colleagues' wife. Steph has just finished training as a nurse, so the figure is Steph and she is treating a bear in a hospital bed. She did some of her training in Kenya, so there are safari animals all round the edge, and there is a white feather to represent John, her dad.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Progress on the Essential Sampler Quilt

And this is why I picked two simple Farmer's Wife Blocks for week 19. I wanted to start contruction on my Essential Sampler Quilt:
(I would have left my Glamourous Assistant's head in the picture, but he kept pulling stupid faces!)
Ever since I deceded to use the quilt-as-you-go technique I have been thinking through these steps - 9 months. Yesterday I got to put the theory into practice. Everything went very smoothly. The worst part is squaring and trimming the blocks. The hardest part was getting the batting to butt up and not overlap and not leave a gaping hole. The easiest part was attaching the batting using a wonderful new product Heat Press - it looks like bandage but is sticky on one side when you iron it and it holds the batting together - so simple. This is the centre of the quilt - there is another row of blocks all round the edge making 25 in total. I have three left to piece - two of them are started but not finished. I then have to quilt about 12 more blocks - progress but still a long way to go. I'm aiming to finish it within a year of starting it - so mid January 2012.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Farmer's Wife: Week 19

As you can see from the title, I'm running out of snappy Farmer's Wife titles! This week I've chosen two simple blocks as I have a self imposed deadline of trying to put together the 9 quilt-as-you-go blocks at the centre of my Nikki Tinkler quilt this weekend and we have a family party tomorrow to celebrate Steph's 21st Birthday. So this morning I pieced #41 Friendship Star - I love the bright orange fabric And #108 Windmill - I great excuse to use lots of different fabrics.

It only took me a couple of hours to get these finished, so I have a full afternoon to concentrate on Nikki Tinkler!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Love and Kisses at Christmas

Here is my second stitchery for the Christmas Sew Along. I really like this one! It could so easily be adapted for non-Christmassy purposes.

Today is Steph's 21st birthday (my sister-in-law). I have promised her a quilt and bought the fabrics - lots of beautiful batiks in purples, pinks and blues. I've also picked my pattern: check it out here from the Moda Bake Shop called Hot Cross Buns. I still need to get a paler, plainer sashing fabric, then I need to wash the fabric and then I can make a start. Until then, Steph will have to content herself with small samples of the fabric stuck to the inside of her birthday card. I really hope she like it!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Indian Summer gives way to the inevitable October rain...

For the last few days we have finally had summer - it's been beautiful weather. Today it is raining. Inevitable really. This last week has been all about sampler quilts! Yesterday I posted about my Farmer's Wife Blocks here. Today I'm going to share the other blocks I've been working on.

I've spent most of the evenings this week hand quilting the blocks from my Nikki Tinkler sampler quilt: you can't see the quilting very clearly, but here are Goose in the Pond, Triple Star and Quilter's Dream. My stitches aren't the smallest in the world, but it's getting better and importantly they are all (mostly) even.

I did my monthly Mystery block (from the Fat Quarters) this afternoon. Unusually I have done it in advance of next week's deadline, rather than the Friday evening before I take it to the shop on the Saturday.

And then for my new project (yes, another one). It's a Jelly Roll sampler quilt from the book of the same name. This is the first time I have done anything with a jelly roll except sitting a stroking it (and getting covered in fluff from it). Ceremony was required when undoing the ribbon and unrolling it. I'm using the Countdown to Christmas Jelly Roll from Moda and the quilt will be twelve 12inch blocks arranged with sashing. We're doing it as a group at the Fat Quarters: Yesterday was the first class and I made #12 Streak of Lightning and #11 Arrowhead. Homework is to complete #10 Maple Star and #8 Garden Trail. The blocks are so straightfroward after the Essential Sampler Quilt template hell and they go so quickly, that I completed block #10 today. I wanted to go straight on with block #8, but I am stopping myself - I'll do it on my next empty weekend - I'm really looking forward to it already. So here are the blocks.

Those are my four sampler quilts. In other news, the bulb on my sewing machine has blown. I dug out the instruction manual, loaded up the internet, found a cross-head screwdriver and still failed miserably to remove the old bulb (the manual says turn left, but the bulb won't turn left)or find a new bulb that will fit (may be an easier thing to do if I can see what kind of connection the old bulb is). I am now working with strategically placed desk lights. Hopefully I'll be getting a new machine in a few months time. Until then, desk lights seem to be the best solution...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Farmer's Wife: Week 18

Back again: week 18 means I should have 36 blocks completed. And I do!!! I felt I needed more green....

So two more blocks this week: I started with Block #8 Bouquet. I'm not keen on these picture type blocks (though this is better than the baskets with appliqued handles, which I really don't like). But I tackled it none the less. It's turned out ok, though I wish I had used a greater contract for the "vase" (other parts of the same batik fabric would have been better). But my seams meet and I love the orange, so I am already learning to live with it. I few more hours and I may even like it.

The second one was #11 Broken Dishes. i wasn't looking forward to this one either, but the foundation piecing pattern was amazingly straightforward and I had great success with my points matching. I love the green fabric. I love the block.

And because that takes me to 36 blocks, the Picasa collage function works well, so here are all blocks so far. I've had a play with the colour options for the gaps between - so far, green sashing may be the way forward. But bright pink is also a contender.

I have been working on three other sampler quilts this weekend: I hope to post some more photos off the non-FW projects tomorrow - it would be great if you would pop back then!