Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday #8

I know I missed WIP Wednesday last week but the trouble was I started writing my post and really had nothing to say.  I don't want to become so redundant that you guys stop reading.  Maybe it was because of that I decided I might actually sew something this week.  Trouble is most of my sewing time has been absorbed right now into packing and cleaning time as we get ready to move and with the hubs celebrating his birthday this past weekend family time was pretty much non optional.  So that all equates to not much sewing time.

On the Design Wall:
20 Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Blocks (I'm missing photos of 5 of them)
I did manage to continue progress on my Farmer's Wife Quilt Along despite a few bumps in the road with the farmer.  I currently have 25 blocks done which means I am almost a quarter of the way through this quilt.  It's funny how addictive these little blocks can be.  I love seeing them all together there and am excited at how this quilt is progressing.
Pure Elements
I received this beautiful stack of fabric in the mail from a good friend which gave me the opportunity to start working on the Summer Sampler Quilt Along.  I know I know but really what's one more project.  Since I'm just getting started and the group is already on block 7 with a rate of 3 blocks a week I know I won't be able to get caught up and finish this one along with the group but I'm hoping not to run too far behind schedule.

Block # 1 Star of Virginia
Block # 2 Greek Cross

At the Quilter:
Spring Weekends (I still need to order that thread)
Central Park
Max and Wiskers in Fast Forward

Gathering Dust:
Mod Times Quilt Along Quilt
UNC Quilt for the Hubs

In the Minds Eye:
Anchors Away
Verna Stars
Origins Lattice Quilt
Sunny Trails

I think that's it for me.  Head on over to Lee's to see what everyone else is up to this week.

PS-Is anyone else still having trouble with blogger not letting them leave comments?  I've been locked in a never ending loop of logging in for the last two weeks whenever I try to comment and it's really driving me bonkers.  Suggestions as to how some of you fixed that problem welcome, I don't like not leaving comments almost as much as I don't like getting them.

Edited to Add: Thanks for the tips ladies!  I was able to log out and log back in with out the box checked and it seems to have worked.  So silly how such a little thing can make such a difference.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Farmer's Wife?

Last week I read a funny little blog post about the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along and a trial separation.  I laughed at all the humor of the post and remarked in the comments that I was sure before this was all said and done I was going to be taking my turn at separation little did I know that this week I would move right past that and be at the courthouse with divorce papers in hand.  I want to leave my farmer this week.  It all started harmless enough when I decided I would try and paper piece one of the blocks.  I'm not very good at paper piecing and it's not something I really enjoy.  Of course you normally get all these nice pretty points and beautiful blocks but not me.  I end up with extra fabric in my blocks somehow and everything in reverse.  So I tried to start with what I thought would be an easy enough block and chose square dance.  I mean really how hard could it be it's really just four flying geese and a couple of squares.  I hated it so much I chopped it all up to reuse the fabric without even taking a picture.  My points we all cut off and I hated it.

Next I tried using the templates again.  Once more I started with an easy block because the farmer and I were already on the rocks and it was the hubs birthday so I didn't have a ton of sewing time.  This time as I was trimming up the block I cut too much off one side and now that block in 1/4 inch too small.  Not a good thing for this farmer and me.

I did finally manage to sew up a few blocks with little incident so I have something worth while to show you.  So here they are my week 9 blocks.

Block # 48 Homeward Bound

 For Homeward Bound I did change this block a little bit since I was making it without the templates.  Those 2 1/2 inch squares in the corners are tiny 4 patches in the original block but since 3 of the squares are the same fabric I just sewed two small squares together and then cut a 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch strip for the other side.  Does that make sense?

Block # 62 Old Windmill
Block # 70 Prairie Queen

I know I'm not going to have enough Fresh Cottons to make all of the blocks and sashing for this quilt so I am debating adding another Fig Tree line to my blocks.  If anyone has suggestions of which line you think will blend nicely with Fresh Cottons let me know because I am open to suggestion.  Since this is such a long term project I'm thinking I need to find something a little newer since Fresh Cottons is already proving difficult to find.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 8

Week 8 Group Shot

I don't know about you but my fields could use some extra water this week.  I only managed to sew up three blocks worth reporting on.  I sewed one more but it turned out a smidgen too small again.  I was having a lot of trouble with my blocks coming out just a little short of the 6.5 inch block when I used the templates.  Moving to a scant 1/4 inch seemed to help but then after making another block this weekend which came out short even with the scant 1/4 inch seam I went back to the discussion boards.  I thought my printer was printing correctly since my square templates were all printing at the correct sizes.  Turns out it was shrinking them down after all.  Once I discovered that I made up two more blocks using templates and they turned out fine.  My total block count right now is 22 done.  But I am considering remaking 2 of them to make them a perfect 6.5 inches and 2 more blocks are in the running to be remade because I used a solid in them.  I can't decided if I should remake them or just mix in the solid to more blocks going forward so that they will all blend together.  It's just some Kona Snow and it looks fine with the fabrics.

Block # 15 Buzzard's Roost
Block # 20 Churn Dash

Block # 39 Friendship
And just for fun I would love if someone could tell me the difference between Block # 20 the Churn Dash and block # 111 Wrench.  I swear to you I don't see a difference at all.  I thought this was amusing because she mentions needing one more block and not wanting to pick a favorite to have a duplicate of.  I guess subconsciously maybe Churn Dash was her favorite.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Freshcut Square Dance

Freshcut Square Dance is finally done!  I'm so thrilled to have this quilt finished.  I started it what seems like forever ago as part of Amanda Jean's Round and Round Quilt Along.  I had so much help with this quilt from L tracking down the jelly rolls of Freshcuts to my mom finding the backing fabric.  This one is staying with me as long as possible. 

I did make mine with a Jelly Roll of Snow and a Jelly Roll of Freshcuts that was cut by a local quilt store (for L) from yardage of Freshcuts.  I used yardage of snow later in the quilt for the larger pieces so that I did not have seams in my sections of white.  I did not have any of the problems Amanda Jean mentioned about the strips being to long.  I did sew it all with my 1/4 inch foot shortly after receiving it from my parents.  I will say that if you can afford the investment that is one sewing machine foot that I would invest in as a quilter.  It really has made a huge difference for me.

For the backing I used Elizabeth's technique to match the pattern repeat (I couldn't find it on her blog today)  and the seam together two pieces of the same fabric.  Because it was such a large seam it's not perfect but even I had a hard time spotting the seam.  I'll give you a hint it's not any of those folds you can see in the photo and it actually runs the opposite direction of those.

And just because this is such a better picture here is one of Freshcut Square Dance's beauty marks and a close up of the quilting.  I don't know maybe they will grow on me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thrifty Thursday and a few tears

Lately some of my sewing time has been devoted to cutting coupons and searching for good deals.  Like everyone else this rough economy has touched a little closer to home then I would have liked.  I could give you a million things that haven't worked out as I had hoped and heap on the woe is me factor but instead I thought I would start sharing some of the little things I've been doing to try and spruce up our family budget.  I apologize now to my international readers because I know not all of the things I am going to share will be true to your part of the world but maybe it will give you an idea or two as well.  So the first tip I am going to share is about coupon forums.  Did you know just like we have this great quilting community there is a community of individuals out there that devote all of their free time to hunting down coupons and matching them to local sales flyers.  What I love about these sites is that while I don't personally have the time to do all of these matchups myself I can quickly pull up the page and see what hot deals are out there.  One of my favorite websites so far is they have the matchups all done for you and there is a community wiki that everyone can update with deals that they find.  Go check them out but be warned that you might get sucked in.  I'll give you my feelings on this "extreme" couponing craze some other time because my opinions on that are almost as long as the debate on dumbed down quilting.
Sorry for the bad Iphone picture but I think you get the point.  It's there and it's ugly.
Now for the tears part of this post.  I finished my Freshcut Square Dance quilt and I can't wait to show you the pictures of the finished quilt but there were some tears shed over this one for sure.  As I was sewing down the binding I noticed this ugly little spot on the back of the quilt.  At first I thought I had gotten something on the quilt but upon further inspect I realized that it was a flaw in the fabric.  The fabric itself is not dyed.  It's like a blank spot (that's the best way I can describe it) luckily the fabric is an off white base and the print is as well so I'm hoping once I wash it that it won't be as noticeable.  The frustrating part is that there is a black circle around the spot.  This leads me to believe that someone in quality control caught the problem and marked it but the fabric was still bolted and sold.  It really bums me out because my mom (she bought this fabric for my birthday last year) got the fabric from a quality quilt store and paid full price for the fabric.  See I love Heather Bailey and her fabrics and like so many times I realized I loved the Freshcut line after it became hard to find.  My good friend L actually sent me fabric from Canada for the quilt top and then my mom purchased the backing fabric for me because I loved it so much.  I put a lot of time in to making the quilt and a lot of love is wrapped up in that quilt to thanks to the generosity of my friends and family.  So it makes me really sad to have all of that hard work done and get to the last step and realize there is a problem.  See there's not just one of these ugly spots on the quilt there are four.  It makes me really sad and admittedly after seeing the second spot I shed a few tears by the time I got to the fourth one I was really upset.  What can you do?  I guess it will just have to be this quilts beauty mark.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WIP Wednesday #7

Well I actually have some thing to show you today.  I spent the weekend hanging out with my mom and we finished sewing together a quilt top for my nephew.  I started out using Julie's Fast Forward pattern and some Max and Wiskers fabric.  We decided to go with the orange grunge fabric where Julie used the black because I didn't want the quilt to be too dark and wanted it have a youthful feel.  Once the rows were sewn together I realized that if we didn't add the additional sashing the orange made these stars of sort and I really liked it.  So we did away with the sashing strips taking this lap size quilt down in size a little but since JR is only 5 months I don't think he will mind and I am confident it will still work on a toddler bed when the time comes.

I'm still working on hand sewing the binding down on my Freshcuts Square Dance quilt but stay tuned because I am sure to have that finished soon.  And I'm still plugging away on my Farmer's Wife Quilt Along blocks.  So it's a pretty short report from me today but head on over to Lee's to see what everyone else is working on.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Farmer's Wife QAL Week 7

I managed to sneak in a few more blocks for the farmer's wife quilt along.  Here is a look at my blocks for this week.

Block # 81 Snowball
I think that block 81 might be my favorite so far.  The colors in the photo are off just a little bit but I really like the bright pink against the white with a hint of pink background.  I also decided this might be my favorite way to make snowball blocks.  I used half square triangles instead of the templates.  Snowball blocks just never seem to work out quite right for me and I spend a lot of time pressing and remaking.  This one went together like a dream.

Block # 49 Honeycomb

Block # 66 Periwinkle
 Perwinkle is one of the few blocks I've made actually utilizing the templates.  I took it about 1/2 way apart after sewing it the first time because it was slightly too small.  It's better now but see that section in the top left.  It's still just a tad short.  So I am sure that I will either be seam ripping this one apart or remaking the block.  Typically I would just remake it because I'm lazy like that but I really like the colors in this block and since I am using the limited fabric I have for this collection I'm a little scared to just recut.  I just don't know if I would like a different color combo as much.
Block # 41 Friendship Star

It wasn't until after I took this group shot for last weeks blog post that I realized there was something wrong with my friendship star block.  It's a little hard to see there in the lower right of the photo but one of the star points is upside down.  I took the row apart and flipped it over and resewed it and then realized that didn't work either.  Not sure what I was thinking.  So I took it apart again and took the whole row apart (I did this while talking on the phone, I should have known better because I was already super tired) as a result I took the wrong row apart and had to then continue ripping seams.  It was a good lesson learned that even though these blocks are addictive when you get tired you make silly mistakes and sometimes have to just say enough it's time for bed.

There are a lot of great pictures of blocks showing up over on flickr.  You can check them out here.  I really like the way a few people have put their own spin on some of the blocks.  For example Camille really added a nice touch to block 73 Rainbow Flowers by adding a little detail in the corner of each layer.  I love the way Kerri brought focus to the pinwheel in Big Dipper.  I have already made this block but am considering remaking it with the pinwheel as the focus because you all know how much I love a good pinwheel.  What about you, what are you doing to add a special touch to make this quilt one of a kind?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Manic Monday

I spent this last weekend at my mom and dad's house and mom and I spent most of Saturday sewing.  As I was unloading all the things I brought with me from the car and talking with my mom I found I had an extreamly long list of projects I wanted to work on or was midproject on.  So how do you decide?  My good friend L and I were talking yesterday and we were looking at different projects and talking about our Farmer's Wife QAL blocks and I was telling her how much I wanted to do the Summer Sampler Series because I thought it would be a good chance to learn some new skills.  Of course that starts today and I haven't even looked at materials to use for it yet. 

Just because I hate a post with no pictures here is one of my "kids" sunbathing.
With new quilt alongs popping up almost daily in blog land and a seemingless endless amount of inspiration on flickr how do you decide which projects to join in on?  Do you have a method?  I think I look at projects and pick fabric around that mostly.  But every once in a while I find myself searching for a project to fit some sort of precut I purchased or some fabric I just had to have.  This method works but with a growing list of projects I want to do and not enough hours in the day to do them all I'm wondering how to edit this list.  What do you do to keep it manageable?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WIP Wednesday #6

So what can I tell you about my works in progress that you don't already know?  Well here is a little look at what's been going on in my sewing room.  Sorry if some of it sounds redundant.

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along: I am currently a little ahead on this one.  I have a total of 15.5 blocks made and according to the schedule we should be at 12 this week.  I have to say I am really digging this quilt and the more blocks I make the happier I am with my choice to use the Fresh Cottons.  (Thanks L for helping me pinpoint what it was I liked so I knew what to do).

Freshcuts Square Dance: Currently working on the binding on this one.  I can't wait to show this one off but I have a little more work to do on it first. 

Spring Weekends: This one is about half way quilted and now I'm waiting on thread.  I really do need to order that.

Other than that things have been a little slow around the sewing room.  I took advantage of my time home alone this weekend to give parts of the house a little deep cleaning.  How is it that a fan in constant motion collects so much dust?

If you happen to be looking for new WIP to add to your list (I keep seeing this and making plans to join even though I already have a ton of projects) here are a few new quilt alongs floating through blogland.  Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list because in all honesty I just can't keep up.

Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts is kicking off a 36 Patch Quilt along in celebration of her birthday.  I've been meaning to make one of those beautiful 9 patch quilts that she did so 36 is just as good, right?  It's really just 4 9 patches sewn together.

Katie, Faith, and Lee have teamed up to host the Summer Sampler Series.  This one looks like a lot of fun and a good opportunity to learn some new skills.  I am thinking about doing this one in solids as a quilt for charity.  One of my goals for this year was to make a donate a few quilts and so far I haven't done that and seeing as how it is July already (what happen to 2011?) I better get busy accomplishing some of those goals.

The girls over at QuiltStory are hosting Rockin' Robin and if you need incentive to join in on another project they are giving away some great prizes for those who have completed quilt tops in the flickr pool by the end of the quilt along.  You can find more details about this one over here.

Kaelin over at The Plaid Scottie is kicking off a double wedding ring quilt along.  This is a quilt that I have always wanted to try and so I am finding this one to be extremely tempting as well.  So many choices and not nearly enough hours in the day. 

 Check out whatever one else is up to over here.  But be fair warned if I haven't already given you at least one more project you want to work on you are sure to find inspiration by following the link.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 6

I hope all of you here in the states had a Happy July 4th yesterday and that my friends in Canada enjoyed their celebration of Canada day on Friday.  The hubs went out of town with his family the weekend so I had the house all to myself.  I didn't do as much sewing as I would have liked and the time I did have I spent mostly working on more little blocks for this quilt along.  Funny how that happens, these little blocks are so addictive.  So I have more than two to show you today but I figure this will get me off the hook one week when I don't have time to make any.

Block # 21 Contrary Wife
Block # 29 Economy

Block # 34 Flock
Block # 61 Northern Lights
Block # 102 Whirlpool

 I was having a little bit of trouble with the blocks I made from the templates turning out just a smidge too small.  I ended up listening to my mom who suggested I move my needle and make a scant 1/4 inch seam.  Personally I like to sew with a true quarter inch seam and usually I am okay with that because it is consistent but since I made some of the blocks with out using the templates I decided that they all needed to square up to finish at 6 inch blocks.