Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
You might notice that I did not use the focal print I had used previously, but a few prints from my stash that coordinate with my earlier blocks, show below:
I note that I tend to use one very busy print and a lot of tonals or solids to coordinate. Just my comfort zone, I suppose.
One more night and I will be caught up with this week - Week 5 - but I'm not all that sure it's going to happen. Tonight we are hosting the 18-year-old son of a friend, he has been hiking the Appalachian Trail and is stopping by for a homecooked meal, shower, and sleep in a bed after logging some 700 miles since March. Although I imagine it will be an early night for everyone, I'm rarely motivated to hit my sewing room later in the evening, and I need some extra sleep myself. We'll see if I do any sewing tomorrow night.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
this thread on the Flickr group - it's really about block #100, but someone mentioned this as being challenging and probably needing to be paper pieced, so I thought I'd try the traditional method first.
Here's the funny thing: this multicolored square fabric was the third and final focal fabric I bought for the three different sets of blocks I'm making here (I figure I'll make three small sampler quilts from each colorway). I was regretting the print when I began cutting templates, because it seems so large and varied. I thought it would go better in the large pieces like the #2 template on the left, than being sliced and diced into small pieces - that diamond in the center of Morning is actually NINE pieces of the fabric cut and sewn back together. But the odd thing is, I like the way it turned out better in Morning than in Autumn Tints. I think that the first one is just too busy, especially because you're looking at squares next to four-squares. I might end up redoing that one in a different print. And no, my focal print does not need to be in every block, but I do want a sense of continuity in color, so it will be in most of the blocks I make in each set.
I admit that I more prefer to work in the blues and greens that went with the paisley, and the teals and purples that went with the spots, so those are probably what I'll go back to in order to catch up to weeks 4 and 5 this week.
I think the nicest part of making these blocks is that my Honey was relaxing with a beer in the big easy chair in my sewing room, venting about his day, as I was cutting the pieces. I didn't have to choose between spending time with him and working in my sewing room. :-)
Monday, June 27, 2011
My boyfriend's daughters have returned to their mother's house for this week, so this will be our last full week of quiet at home until sometime in August. While I'll make the drive north again this coming weekend, I will return with my son, who will stay for about six weeks, and his kids will continue to spend every other week with us all summer. I plan to take full advantage of it by spending good quality time in my sewing room, catching up on my FWQAL blocks and maybe piecing the top for my boyfriend's younger daughter, or working on my own son's (paper pieced) blocks, or designing the border to a quilt for a jewelry designer with whom I am trading art pieces. The running list of to-do's will keep me on target, don't worry.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
The Farmer's Wife book arrived on Saturday and I've been flipping through it and printing the templates - I even cut out the first 40 or so yesterday while my boyfriend's sister prepared dinner. I have not yet cut or sewn any fabric, but I do plan to work on it this week. I'm not sure how our evenings with the girls will work out. I know they visit to spend time with him, so I don't worry too much about being present for every waking moment. I'm also still kicking this cold, and early bedtime is a priority. Since I go to a friend's house to sew handwork on Thursday night, it leaves me Tuesday and Wednesday to make some progress and have family time. We'll see how that goes.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The Farmer's Wife book is out for delivery to me today. It is our last Saturday without any children until sometime late in August and while my Honey is out doing yard work, I plan to power through this cold and enjoy it in my sewing room, with dinner out at the end of the evening. Tomorrow will be spent with kids arriving for the week and other family coming over to celebrate Father's Day, so I'll handle all the tasks of cleaning up, grocery shopping and baking then and just enjoy today!
I do a lot of my online shopping for pre-cuts at Green Fairy Quilts, because she really has the BEST prices. Every Thursday she comes out with a new deal. Today Judi is giving away a Free Fat Quarter Bundle of Holly Jolly:
And who wouldn't want that? So if I have any readers who don't already know of Green Fairy Quilts - go enter.
And I'm excited to see I have my first follower! Welcome, mommysue7!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Are you tired yet? I am!
If my honey is on the road, odds are that this is where I'll be spending my time. The dog sometimes comes to hang out with me, but I haven't gotten him quite comfortable in the room yet - he likes to be monitoring the house from the upstairs, I think. I really have great lighting and space, and there's enough room for the kids to play without messing up my area, so it works out well. I'm so lucky to be able to have this area; it's my largest sewing room yet.
I was looking forward to spending a chunk of my evening there tonight too, but I seem to have a head cold I can't shake, and I may call it a day early to go home and sleep rather than sew. That would stink, but there is the weekend ahead to look forward to.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
This quilt, pattern "Pinwheel", I made out of Me & My Sister's Favorites and Happy jelly rolls and pieced it in an all-day Quilting Spa Retreat hosted by The Quilting Connection in Boone's Mill. I have yet to finish the binding but it's most of the way finished. This quilt is intended for my boyfriend's oldest daughter ... I'm working on quilts for all three of the kids and they're all in varying degrees of completion.
I also bought a Clover bias tape maker that I read about at Jillily Studio since it was 50% off ... I'd read about them and seen them often enough, but after such a glowing review I had to have one. So 17 FQs, 3.5 yards of fabric, and a bias tape maker for around $35 ... not bad.
Rest assured, I have PLENTY of fat quarters, yardage and scraps to coordinate with these already, but part of the fun of fabric shopping is choosing things that match. The woman at the cutting counter complimented my choice of fabrics, and I was surprised myself that I chose all modern fabrics. Then again, Jo-Ann's doesn't exactly have the blowout selection like some of my favorite quilt stores.
I saw the book for sale there, and I think all quilting books are currently 40% off, whereas I ordered it from amazon.com at 34% off. I seriously thought about buying it and canceling my Amazon order, but I also ordered the third book in the Hunger Games series to read with my son this summer, and wouldn't get my free shipping on it. Amazon is estimating delivery date between tomorrow and Saturday, and honestly, I have enough to do without beginning on these yet. In flipping through the book I see that each book references various template numbers, and when I get it, I might sit down and create templates before I even begin cutting and sewing fabric. We have had a Netflix DVD sitting in front of our TV since November so that sort of thing is good TV-watching activity.
I have already told my Honey that I need some quilting time tonight, and I'm looking forward to a rare weekend with absolutely NOTHING on tap. Although I swear I will devote some of that time to curtains, tonight I want to get caught up on some other projects, like my Civil War Chronicles BOM. I recently downloaded the Blogger app to my Droid and am looking forward to taking some more pictures for anyone who might be reading.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Anyway, one of the reasons I began this blog now is for the Quilt-A-Long I read about over at The Happy Zombie. Monica linked to Amanda and Angela, who had put together a fun little project to make all the six-inch blocks in the book, "The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt: Letters from 1920s Farm Wives and the 111 Blocks They Inspired." Well, I ordered my copy from Amazon and am waiting for it to arrive, and of course, the question top of mind right now is which fabrics should I use? Monica is sewing them in her own fabric line, and since I am not brilliant or renowned enough to have my own fabric line, I guess I must go with a plan B. A look at the Flickr group indicates that people are doing these in modern fabrics, in 1930's repros, in tonal solids, in red & white, in florals, and in Civil War repros. Well, I am all 1930's out, with Elephant Parade recently finished and a Bow Tie next on deck for hand quilting, I have a red & white Jacob's Ladder UFO that's been waiting for years for a flying geese border, and I'm also halfway into the Civil War Chronicles Block of the Month as pictured below courtesy of the Fat Quarter Shop:
I should probably take it as a sign that Jo-Ann Fabrics is currently having a week-long sale on fat quarters - $0.99 each - and go let availability inspire me. Then again, I'm also considering buying yardage of a single focal print and then a bunch of coordinating fat quarters for the blocks. Or who even says that all 111 blocks have to go into ONE quilt? I could make several smaller ones in various colorways. I'm not fond of sampler quilts myself anyway, so I will probably donate the final product(s) to Margaret's Hope Chest or one of our guild's charity initiatives, which is one reason I'm considering using Jo-Ann's rather than stocking up at one of the many local quilt stores. I suppose if I wanted to be truly authentic, I'd just use fabrics from my stash, and I'll probably use some of those too, but really ... what's a new project without new fabric?
The advantage to being behind in the QAL is that I'm already learning from others' mistakes. Note to self: use the templates and don't try to convert them into math. Actually, if I buy the FQs at Jo-Ann's, the little pieces of cardboard they put in there to fold them up all neatly should double well as templates. Win-win.
(Oh, and PS - we have a whole weekend at home with no kids until he gets them Sunday afternoon, so I PROMISE I will work on some curtains this weekend.)
Monday, June 13, 2011
When I get down there, though, all I ever want to do is quilt. Which means that almost a year after moving into the home, I have not done any home decorating, including curtains. I have fabric for curtains for at least two rooms of the house, as well as for some accessories in our bedroom (body pillow pillowcase and to recover a little bench) but I haven't even touched it. About a month or so, my honey and I went to an open house of a gorgeous, hundred-year-old home in the city's historic district that was decorated beautifully, including custom window treatments all throughout the house, and the guilt kicked in.
When the City of Roanoke offered a special last month to register for ANY program for absolutely free, I thought this might be a good time to focus on the d*%@ curtains. So I registered for their "sit and stitch" sessions in June, two hours each week to lug machine, notions, patterns and fabric somewhere else to work on something with help if needed. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Frankly, I'd really rather go home to working on a quilt tonight, especially since I bought a bunch of new goodies this past weekend at the Annapolis Quilt Show. But instead my evening will be devoted to swags, jabots, and other assorted valances. I really will post some photos as I get moving here (and there).
Friday, June 10, 2011
I am 41 years old, and I have been quilting for almost twenty years now. My mother taught me how to sew when I was a child, and through college I would cross-stitch and attempt a random dress pattern, so when I saw an amazing quilt hanging in the home of my parents' friend, I thought I'd teach myself. My first attempts were disastrous, which comes from skimming a book, saying, "ehhh, I know all this," and then cutting and sewing random fabrics like twills and poly-cotton blends from templates without seam allowances. I remember being pretty discouraged when looking at that first Card Trick block I attempted!
Over the years I've taken many classes and learned all sorts of techniques (paying closer attention to instructions!), including redwork, various methods of applique, machine and hand quilting, foundation paper piecing, and so on. I've read hundreds of web tutorials and blogs, and made all sorts of quilts. The elephant quilt currently set as the background image took over ten years to complete, and is hand appliqued, hand embroidered, and hand quilted (blocks and borders are machine pieced). Like many other quilters, I have at least a dozen quilts in progress at any time, and at least a dozen or so more that are in a planning stage.
You'll learn more about me as we go, but I am divorced from the father of my 10-year-old son, and living with the love of my life, with whom I reconnected after a hiatus of twenty years. He has two daughters, and we get all three kids during the summers (off and on) and weekends, which leaves us lots of alone time during the week to do our own thing (including sewing!). I work full-time, I also enjoy cooking and reading, and I'm a member of the Star Quilter Guild in Roanoke, Virginia. Lest that all sound too boring, you should also know that I am rarely outside the house without high heels, and can often be found grooving to the Lady Gaga channel on Pandora.
I hope that's good for starters ... there will be more to come.