Wednesday, 30 May 2012

One hundred and eleven!

I have done it!!!

On 17th June 2011 I bought the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt book from Amazon. On 30th May 2012 I finished the one-hundred-and-eleventh and final block. Here are the blocks I made in that final sprint for the finish line (when I picked the fabric for these last few blocks, Michael said I should avoid orange - he'll be pleased how seriously I took his advice!):

#99 W.C.T.U: I really wasn't sure about this block. I was very tempted to swap it out for something easier, but I was worried I would regret it later. Also, it would have been the thirteenth block I'd swapped. I don't believe in that kind of thing, but it convinced to plough ahead. I did, however, avoid the stripe in the middle. And I'm really pleased with how it turned out (so much for no orange).

#102 Whirpool: this is one of my favourite block designs

#105 Wild Goose Chase: I couldn't decide on a colour scheme for this block, which is why I left it so close to the end. In the end the rainbow won (just a little bit of orange)!

#106 Wild Rose and Square (orange again)!

#107 Windblown Square: this is just as good as Whirlpool - by this point I was glad my last two blocks were easy ones!

And finally #111 Wrench: blissfully easy

And here they are all together (one block is in their twice to get the grid right, but I have no idea which one!)

I am really going to miss making these little blocks - I'm already on the look out for my next sampler quilt fix!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

MSMS received

Today I got a parcel!!! It was my swap from the Modern She Made Swap. I got a beautiful table runner/wall hanging from Laura that is already hanging in my hall!

I also got a fantastic little travel sewing kit, perfect for my upcoming holiday! And a fat quarter of spotty fabric - perfect for all the baby quilts I need to be making!

Thank you very much Laura!

Monday, 28 May 2012

I can't count....

One hundred and one, one hundred and two, one hundred and three would have been a more appropriate name for last night's post. Oops.

Tonight I have two more blocks:
#94 Tall Pine Tree. I foundation pieced this one and it's a bit wonky. Nevermind.

#95 Temperance Tree: I don't like trees. So I replaced it was a straightforward Sawtooth Star (I think this came from the Jelly Roll Sampler book too).

Six left...

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Ninety-eight, ninety-nine, ONE HUNDRED

That's right - one hundred Farmer's Wife blocks!

But first, we are enjoying summer here this weekend - it may be all we get! Yesterday we helped some friends clear and turf their garden and enjoyed a BBQ followed by Eurovision and some hand sewing! Today, I've been working on these little blocks, but we've just got back from taking the dogs down to the beach. We live just over half a mile from the beach, but don't go down there nearly as often as we should. Tonight was so calm and the sky was a little hazy so you got a pastel rainbow effect along the horizon. Needless to say, the photos don't do it justice.

The pier

Michael and the dogs

The beach huts

So, on to the blocks - I have 12 to show you:
#44 Gentleman's Fancy: foundation pieced

#45 Grape Baskets: if you haven't noticed by now, I don't like basket blocks, so I replaced it with the old favourite, Card Trick, rotary cut.

#47 Homemaker. I have to say that this block beat me. I really like it, but just couldn't get it to work - I even tried English paper piecing technique to get the Y-Seams. The result wasn't even square, let alone 6x6" square. So I gave up. I'm not proud. I replaced it with Greek Cross from Faith's Summer Sampler Series.Which is basically a churn dash block but with different colour placement, but I really like it. After a few emails with Melinda, I have decided to have a go at hand piecing this block, maybe during my summer holiday, but maybe not in time for it to be included in the final quilt - thanks Melinda. But for now, block #47 is Greek Cross (rotary cut).

#56 Maple Leaf - this one was dead quick, rotary cut.

#57 Morning: last year I made the Weathervane block from the foundation pieced templates, which is the same blocks, different colour placement, and it ended in Y-Seams. Worse still, unnecessary Y-Seams. So this one was definitely rotary cut and was nice and straightforward!

#62 Old Windmill. I couldn't work out the colour placement in this block... so I decided not to do it. Instead I did one of my favourite simple blocks - Evening Star. Rotary cut.

#67 Pine Tree. I don't like tree blocks either. So I replaced this one too. This is Nifty Star from 100 Traditional and Contemporary Quilt Blocks. Rotary cut.

#75 Rosebud. I foundation pieced this one, but forgot to mirror the pattern, so my roses spin the opposite way to those in the book!

#84 Spool: Rotary cut - I'm so pleased I left some easy one till the end!

#85 Square dance: not sure about the fabrics I used on this one...

#91 Strawberry baskets.... baskets.... uh, no. I replaced this one with a variation on Cathie's Campfire from the Dear Jane book. The only difference is that in the DJ version, the corners are solid squares rather than HSTs. Does anyone know if this variation has a name? I really like how it turned out and it it looks fab on point!

and finally.... # 93 Swallow. Rotary cut.

Are you still with me? Just eleven more blocks to go.... of course, so much time on the Farmer has meant that I didn't get a quilt made for Jenna's Play quilt-along. But I have loads of ideas, and there's no reason I can't make a quilt on this theme in the future - sorry Jenna!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Lots of little blocks

I haven't shown my Farmer's Wife blocks much attention recently. I was getting itchy fingers. So I've made a few this last week. Eight to be exact. Plus one I made at the beginning of May.

#27 Darting Birds: a few months back, someone in the Flickr group happened to mention that this block looked like four little robots. Well, after that it was all I could think of, so I kept skipping it. In the end I rotated four of the quarters so that all of the little robot heads were in the middle, and it looked like a star instead of robots.

#32 Farmer's Daughter. This was a bit of a challenge... it's a five by five grid on a 6x6" block, so rotary cutting was a bit of an issue. But I think I beat it - I rotary cut the pieces to make a block that would come out 6.25"x6.25", then shifted my needle position to take a bit of an extra of each seam allowance. It worked - my finished block is 6x6"!

#33 Farmer's Puzzle: this has a bit of the Swastika to it. So I didn't make it. Instead I replaced it with a block called Clay's Choice which came from  100 Traditional and Contemporary Quilt Blocks (which belongs to my Mother-in-law - don't tell her I still have it). The fabrics don't give much contrast, but I love the colours.

#88 Star of Hope. I replaced this one with a block called Garden Trail. Although I have nothing in particular against Star of Hope, it would have resulted in a lot of black, so I picked a block from the Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt book from Pam and Nicky Lintott.

#43 Garden Path: I might have been avoiding this one. But now it's done I really like it.

#37 Flower Pot: I don't like the blocks with vases/baskets, so I swapped this for a block called Fox and Geese, also from the Jelly Roll Sampler Quilts book. I think this block design may be one of my favourites at the moment.

#40 Friendship Block: I've been rotary cutting my blocks recently, but this one really didn't lend itself, so I foundation pieced it.

# 42: Fruit Basket: I don't like  baskets, so out came the Jelly Roll Sampler quilts again and I picked Maple Star.

And finally, this evening's contribution: #82 Spider Legs. This block was a bugger. I really like it, but I will never make it again. I found it impossible to get my points to match and because I was foundation piecing reverse stitching was hard work. It's not perfect, but it's done, and hopefully in the final quilt it won't stick out. If it does, I'll find a different block!

This brings me to a total of 91 blocks. I can't believe I only have twenty left to do. And whilst I'm on a roll I shall keep going. I made my first Farmer's Wife block in July last year and I would really like to have the quilt top finished within a year. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Mug Rug Swap: Reveal

Today Lizzie emailed to me to let me know she had received her mug rug. And I got mine yesterday. We both took part in the Mug Rug Swap hosted by Quilting Mumma.

That means I can now share some photos!

First off, this is the mug rug I got from Lizzie from Sweden.

I love the hedgehog pocket and the colours are so beautiful and summery. I've taken it into work and pinned it up next to my desk - the pocket is just the right size for my ID badge, which I am continually burying under paperwork! And I got some of the hedgehog fabric in my parcel too, as well as some other scraps, and a lovely card with a moose on it :)

And this is the mug rug I sent to Lizzie.

It's another of my own embroidery designs, but this time I stitched in six different thread colours, rather than just one. The word "fika" in the middle is Swedish for a coffee break. You may recognise the fabrics from the sewing machine cover and my neon stained quilt - they just seem so summery, I can't help but keep using them!

I love that we picked such similar colour schemes! Though the one I made was inevitably more orange!

Over the last few days the postman hasbeen especially busy - not only did I get my mug rug, but I also got two packages of fabric. These fat quarters are from Cindy at Fluffy Sheep Quilting who has a new online shop. I love the typewriter fabric, and have you notice - more citrussy colours!

And these are Summersville - they are beautiful! More orange, and who doesn't love red andblack. But now I wish I'd also bought some blue and green....maybe next month!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Swap: Finished

Firstly I want to say a hug thank you to everyone who left such wonderful comments on both my recent blog post and my recent Flickr uploads - it means so much to me to know that other people like my designs. A couple of people suggested I sell my designs, and I want to thank you especially - it's in the early planning stage, but later this year I have plans!

My embroidery
Yesterday I finished the sewing machine cover for the Modern She Made Swap. I love how it turned out - so summery and bright, and I'm really pleased with how my embroidery looks framed in orange.

The front of the machine cover

The back of the machine cover

A bit more embroidery
So here is the info:
Embroidery: designed by me, stitched in DMC 740 stranded cotton, approx 6" in diameter
Fabric: Kona White with various citrussy prints, including Art Gallery, Clothworks, Moda and random scraps that I have no idea about!
Applique: I used a tutorial from Purl Bee for making circular circles (though mine still aren't perfect) which don't have raw edges, then I machine appliqued with a blanket stitch and coordinating cotton.
Quilting: dense straight lines done by machine: I started by stitching along the crease line from where the fabric was on the bolt - I couldn't press it out! Then I set me needle the further position to the right and lines up the previous line of quilting with the edge of the presser foot. I used white Aurifil (my first time with Aurifil - fabulous)
Backing fabric: Black scissor print from Half Moon Modern (Moda)

The backing
Binding: Kona white
Size: approx 17x34" (I hope it's not too big.... but I was working on sizes provided and then added some wiggle room).
Ribbon ties: no idea where it's from  (other than my LQS) but it is a tape measure and I couldn't resist it.

A little extra - pincushion
 To go with the machine cover I made a coordinating pincushion using some scraps from the quilt and embroidery - lots and lots of circles.

I'm hoping to pop this in the post tomorrow. I hope my partner likes it!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Incubator Quilt

This weekend marks the start of the Bloggers' Quilt Festival hosted by Amy

Amy's Creative Side

I've struggled to decide which of my quilty finishes I wanted to share with you, but I've decided on this incubator quilt.

Back in February/March we learnt that two of the regulars at our local quilt shop who were expecting Grandchildren had lost them within hours of their due date. Both babies had been still born. The mother of one of the babies asked our Local Quilt Shop if they could donate some quilts to the unit at the RVI in Newcastle where premature babies are cared for and where parents of still born babies are allowed to spend a few precious hours with their babies.

So far the shop and its customers have donated over seventy quilts for this cause. I have donated two so far (you can see my other one here), and I fully intend to keep making one or two a month. But this was my first one:

That's the background of the reason I made the quilt, but it was also a quilting journey for me: I had been watching some of the fantastic Granny Squares blocks popping up on Flickr with fantastic colours and fabrics. They looked so modern and bright. The work I had done so far felt old-fashioned and boring compared to these beauties. So I raided my stash, determined to make something "modern". I cut 1.5" squares of any fabric I deemed worthy and stitched them into the rainbow you can see. Then for the first time I used white as my background - not off white, but proper white! To finish off the quilt I used the bagging technique. I didn't use any batting, as I wanted to keep it light and soft, but I didn use flannel on the back - my first time using it. It was sooo soft and lovely! A little bit of quilting and it was ready to hand over.

Not only is this quilt for such a great cause, but it also marks a change in my style: an attempt to move towards more modern fabrics and colour combos and towards doing my own thing, not just always following patterns (though are some very good patterns out there that I will definitely be following in the future).

I hope someone, mother or baby, is able to draw some comfort and hope from this quilt. If you would like make a contribution to the charity, you can find more information here.