Thursday, June 23, 2016

Farmer's Wife Progress

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Yes it's that time again. Time to take stock and lay everything out.

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Every now and again I catch sight of the growing pile of blocks and I feet the end approaching. I have felt a bit lost about how the whole thing is going to come together. I think I have finally realised that the setting for the original Farmer's Wife is more to my liking than the 1930's one. So I think that is how I am going to lay it out.

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I took a moment to lay all the blocks so far out on the bed to get some idea of how it might look. I was surprised by how big it is already. It kind of seems big enough without the remaining 18 blocks. Where are they going to go? At the moment it is 8 blocks by 9 blocks but I could a row to the top and side and make a huuuge quilt.

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Jeez. I said I wouldn't do this! I think if I did do that then I would have a very narrow border and only quilt down either side of the sashing if I can get it through the machine. We'll see. The whole top row on the left represent my least favourite blocks so I could just edit quite a few out and stick with with the current dimensions.

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I was also surprised by how nice it looked. To be honest, some blocks feel a little bright and garish but all together surrounded by white it seems to work and looks bright and happy.

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Now I just have to choose the fabrics for the sashing, border and binding. I saw this fabric combination on Instagram on Laura_zuckerkuss's feed. It just seemed like a perfect combination. And she had helpfully listed where she got them and what they all were! Thanks Laura!
So from the bottom up we have Michael Miller basic little stripes in pink, Kona Cotton in peach, Cotton and Steel sprinkles in petal and peaches and Kona Cotton in bubble gum and carnation. All from Simply Solids. And they arrived really quickly!

I think the pink stripe will be perfect for the binding. I tried all the others but decided the sashing should be white, but the squares in the sashing might be a combination of the Cotton and Steel sprinkles. I actually would like to make something small with all of them together as I think they look so pretty. So now I just have to take the plunge and order the enormous amount I will need to finish this beast. It occurs to me that if I could actually get this done by Festival of Quilts time, then I will feel free to shop for new projects. There are a lot churning. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

FW79: Patience & FW80: Patricia

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This week I have sped into the future. I am on a roll what can I say! I decided to yet again only do one block as I felt that Patience was a little easy. Then I felt bad and decided to give it go. It seemed a good chance to use up the last of my cat fabric. It's been hacked to bits with all this fussy cutting but there were still a few gems left. I have also started to think about the finish line. Not long now. In fact I laid out the quilt and realised that I really have enough blocks already! More on that in another post. The other great thing this week is that I finally bought a new computer so I have a beautiful shiny new screen to look at. I was using an old lapt before that where the screen flickers and is dark. I had noticed it was impossible to see if some of my shots were dark and murky. So they should look a bit brighter from now on. Back to the blocks.

Patience Block
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I am really glad I did this block in the end. It was lovely and simple to put together. You almost didn't need to foundation piece it. I have used this fabric combination a few times now but I am running low on both so it was nice to squeeze another block out of them.

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On reflection I think this will look good next to one of the more complicated blocks.

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I love the centre unit where the cat is looking behind at the kitten. It is like she has been sawn in half by a magician.

Patricia Block
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Well, this is a first. Only once before did I get my colours mixed when marking my papers, but noticed as soon as I started sewing. This time I really had no idea until I had made the complete block, but there you have it, my classic Churn Dash block has become something else after I mixed up my corner triangle colours. I am a bit sad, but I quite like the different pattern it has created.

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I am really pleased with the use of yellow here. It is only supposed to be a highlight colour so only used in small bits but seeing as I have broken every other rule in the book I don't see why this one should be any exception. I really like this low volume fabric. I like all the different elements within it. I really want to make my own on Spoonflower as I have lots of old examples in books down the cellar. But, well, they are down in the cellar where the mice live...

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Even the back turned out pretty neatly! It was a very easy block to make, even though I ballsed it up, so one to add to the 'make again' list.

Monday, June 20, 2016

FW77: Nellie & FW78: Old Maid

So I am ahead of myself. I made these blocks along with last weeks block. I felt a bit overwhelmed by Nellie. I considered not doing it. 1. it's only in two colours, so feels a little flat and 2. It feels a bit like block 6 April which I just didn't really feel that enamoured with. But, you know, I caved in and faced the beast. We have recently discovered the joys of lego in our house. I thought it would be too complex for a 4 year old, but no, she's right in there. So there has been some amazing windows for sewing. I got lots done this week. It was so nice.

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I'm still not sure about this block. It just feels a little clunky to me. Not a favourite. I wish I had made the diagonal squares into the third colour but ack, nevermind. I did use my 'team B' fabrics. As this process has gone on I have swerved in my fabric choices leaving some originally much loved fabrics on the back burner. These are definitely back burner fabrics. The spots are a little dull now I have upped my colour values and the blue bird fabric has too big a print on it to be that successful in small units. But I thought it would be good to put them in a few more blocks so they give balance to the overall quilt when I put the much earlier blocks in. We shall see. I am not sure I like using B team fabrics as the end result doesn't spark joy.

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I am pretty happy with how everything lined up though! There were lots of nesting seams so it came together much more easily that it would appear.

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And the back is pretty neat. The whole thing lies very flat which surprised me.

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Here's how I got everything to line up. Pin central! It took me a while to actually learn how to pin effectively. In the end I happened across a YouTube video which made it all clear. Amazing.

Block 78 Old Maid
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I am pretty happy with this block. It is two colours which isn't ideal but the pattern is lovely and it came together really well. I used Kerry's idea of cutting triangles four at a time so that the diagonal is not on the bias. This really helped with stretch.

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These are also slight B team fabrics but I do really like them so it was good to get them out again. The circles are a bit widely spread out so they don't work on some of the smaller unit blocks and this peachy colour is a little vibrant somehow. But I love how it turned out.

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My one glitch! D'oh!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

FW75: Nan & FW76: Nancy

This week I only made one block as I decided to drop Nan block. Aside from the fact I am not really religious, it's also another block that tries to make a shape like the daffodil block I dropped. I just don't do 'objects' in blocks, I prefer geometric patterns and I always seem to like the symmetrical blocks like Nancy. But Nancy was a bit easy and quick compared to some of the blocks coming up so to make up for that I organised myself and started prepping the next 6 blocks. I even managed to make three of them! So I am well ahead of myself. I really feel as if there is some downward momentum building. I am itching to get to the finish line as I feel the prospect of actually sewing this beast together is weighing me down. I am really thinking about the end result now and how I will put it all together. I am starting to think I might revert to the original Farmer's Wife layout as I think I kinda, sorta prefer it. The cogs are grinding as I think on this complex problem.

Nancy block
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I really enjoyed the simplicity of this block. I added the extra colour just to give it a bit more depth and I am really happy with the end result.

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It turned out pretty neat and tidy. I don't pin much but this time I pinned everything. It really helps.

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Even the back is pretty neat.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

FW73: Mrs Taft & FW74: Mrs Thomas

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This week turned out great. I am completely up to date! Horray! I enjoyed both blocks this week. They are yet again, a bit of a disco, but I have given up trying to work out my colours and balance. I am just making a mishmash and hoping for the best. Either it will hurt my eyeballs or it will all come together perfectly when balanced with all the white sashing. Who knows?

Mrs Taft block
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I wasn't that into this block, I toyed with the idea of dropping it, it just seemed a little basic and duotone. Then I thought about what could make it more to my liking and I so I decided to use it as an opportunity to use some of my favourite fabrics all together.

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Mrs Thomas block
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This block took quite a long time to make as there were so many bits but it was pretty straight forward. I even listened to Kerry's advice about cutting my triangles out four at a time. I feel very virtuous.
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Monday, June 06, 2016

FW71: Mrs Morgan & FW72: Mrs Smith

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This week was a difficult one. But I am finally caught up. I had to do some of them at mums in order not to fall behind but it worked out really well. The kids played so nicely I had plenty of time to do them at my leisure; such a joy! I find that I am often rushing which doesn't help with the more complex blocks. I never feel I have read through everything or understood exactly what I am doing, I just plough into it and face problems as they arise. And now we get a week off which is excellent as I can catch up on the one last block I am missing so far. This week I wanted to use my kokka flower fabric. It's so pretty. I think it goes quite well with the peach fabric. They feel bright and sunny which is good. I am really happy with both blocks.

Mrs Morgan block
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I really like this block. I wasn't expecting to, but I do. I am glad I used some yellow fabric in this. I think the balance is right.

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And everything matches up well. It was a nice block to make.

Mrs Smith block
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A lot of pieces in this one which made it a bit daunting but it all came together well; lots of nesting seams.

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The pink is a bit recessive but I wanted to have blocks with peach and pink in as I love the colour combination.

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The only blip is the edge of the centre star but overall I am pretty happy that nearly everything else lines up. I sewed this block at mums over half term using her Juki machine which is an absolute joy to use. You can start sewing immediately and it is so smooth, plus is has a cutting thread button which cuts the threads really short so no having to get in there with scissors to trim them. It only does straight stitch but it really does it well!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

FW69: Mrs Keller & FW70: Mrs Lloyd

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Finally I am nearly caught up. With another half term round the corner though, it won't last. This week was so much easier than previous weeks. I rushed through them a bit and feel I could have spent more time choosing my fabrics, but at this stage, I am also just trying to use up scraps of fat quarters. It's a dangerous endeavour though. I ran out of my orange springs mid-block.

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It was a quilting emergency. Luckily I have a big scrap bag and found just enough bits to keep on going. Thank the heavens. I mean I wasn't going to get much out of this... I have quite a few fat quarters in this state now. I spent a long time trying to get bits out of my Tigerlily cats and ballerinas but I think they are all dead! So I am having to revert to fabrics that aren't always my first choice.

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I feel these two colour blocks are a bit flat. I am just hoping it comes together next to the busier ones when it comes to layout. I feel I could have easily added a third colour which annoys me. I should have thought a bit more about it.

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But it's done and it's pretty neat apart from a few side bits where I forgot to save the extra fabric so I could cut them to size at the end. Hopefully it will be lost in the seams.

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I mean look at that big chunk missing in the right! I am not sure how to combat that. But I could make this a half-edge block. Phew.

Mrs Lloyd block
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Not sure about my two solids here but the purple was a scrap I found in the scrap bag so I thought it would be a good chance to use it up. I can honestly say that by the end there was no a single bit left. Very satisfying.

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Now I just need to try and plough on a bit so I don't fall way behind in Half term.