Saturday, May 21, 2016

FW63: Mollie & FW64: Monette

This week I was behind. I considered dropping both blocks. I wasn't sure about them and they seemed over fiddly but I am glad I did both now. I chose hot colours this week. They came out pretty bright which might look weird in the overall quilt, but I love pink and orange together so I might do some more so it all fits in. The Lizzie House is a late addition just because I have run out of my dull purple fabric and I am determined not to buy more. Some of my fat quarters are on their last legs at this point. I have resisted fussy cutting the star fabric as it's too precious. I am not affluent enough for it. It also brings me no satisfaction seeing all the waste.

Millie block
It's a little bit wonky but was surprisingly easy as nothing really had to line up. I ironed and starched at every step though which I feel helps with these intricate blocks. I think the starch helps with fabric stretching and warping and slightly buckling when on the bias.

I feel this is like a bauhaus disco.

Even the back turned out pretty neat for me. My latest time-saving trick is that I trim all my seams with a big pair of scissors that I keep next to my machine. It is slightly less neat but it's much quicker.

Here I am stacking up my units. My workflow these days is that I spend all my week nights cutting the pattern and fabric then on saturday morning I do one block then Sunday, another. It means I do a lot more chain piecing now. Before I just did small bits every morning and spread it out over the week until I just had to sew the units together at the weekend. This new system works out just as well.

Monette block
It just feels a bit of an odd block but I saw Kerry's and was persuaded. I am glad I did as I really like the two pinks. I was going to do it in orange and yellow to match the butterflies but I might do that on another block.

A good catching up week considering how fiddly both blocks were.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Birthday presents

This year I feel that I am finally getting my gifting mojo back. A combination of more time, more sleep, more planning and more funds. It's all good. It has meant that the Farmer's Wife has been on hold pretty much since Easter when I started planning 'The Birthday', but it's actually been quite nice to have a little break from it. I wasn't that bothered by some of the recent blocks so I don't have that many to catch up with.

But back to Rachel's birthday present. I wanted to try and make it a bit special this year as I have been so rubbish for the last three years.

So here is my pile of goodies. On the left is a great pattern by My Paper Crane. It's only £1! I thought it would be a good joint project for us to make. I am really into the idea of doing some English Paper Piecing that is a bit modern. This seems just the right starting point. So I printed out all the templates on card for her and gave her one of my nice coloured bulldog clips from Tiger; the best shop in the universe.

On the far right you can see my attempt at a block. Gosh I was rubbish. I really need to get better at this. All my stitches were showing quite badly so I spent ages looking on the web for a way to make them more invisible (the search continues). Then quite a few bits just don't line up. Then my quilting in the ditch is all over the place. But you know, I love it because it's the first and it's in Dashwood Studio's new range: Cotton Candy, which I just love. I got mine from The Village Haberdashery.

I think maybe it could have benefited from a solid in there if you were going to make a whole quilt out of these fabrics. It's pretty tempting, but I could do with being better.

Next to that we have a project bag I made. I started this when I was in Cambridge at Easter. It's a pattern in mum's book. It's also all mum's fabric! The little bottle and the tin beneath it are from an antique shop in North Yorkshire. The fat quarter of fabric and the white roll of sheeting offcuts are from Empress Mills. The line lace thread is from my mother in law who gave me all of her lace making threads. Then last but not least, I made a mini quilt from the pattern. Phew! Quite a lot. Here are some details.

This is a 6 inch block. I just put borders round each edge and then something a little more off the wall on one side. I really want to keep it! The zip is from Empress Mills.

I'm pretty pleased with the inside. I binded the edges which I am not sure is the best way to make a bag but I don't know the other way.

I love the pale green colours. They are all mum's Amish colours. I really wanted to keep it.

And the back is raindrops in similar colours.

I reckon you could stuff a decent sized project in there.

I really loved this tin when I saw it. It was in a little shop we saw as we drove past up north. It turned out to be full of old food packaging. The guy who owned it said he got a lot of stuff from undiscovered air raid shelters. Coooool.

I decided to fill it with knock off wonderclips which are always useful. Job done!

Monday, April 18, 2016

FW61: May & FW62: Milly

So this week I made both blocks. Not the easiest week but I made it. I thought briefly I might fail this week but Sunday I got grumpy and made everything wait until I had done them.

May Block
I wasn't prepared for the Y-seam action this block had going on. It didn't even occur to me until I started sewing the units together. I don't really have the handle on this technique.

This block has lumps and bumps and nothing lines up very well. Each unit was all bent up.

I'm pretty pleased with my fabric choices. I used a bit more of my special Denyse Schmidt fabric. I might have to make it the last block using it as the fabric is so precious.

Milly Block
I made this block a while a go because it was very much like one I made that I wasn't happy with. I feel like the low volume I used here is a bit murky and dirty which annoys me.

I laid out some of my blocks, particularly the newer ones and I am really happy with how it is looking.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

FW59: Mary & FW60: Mary Gray

Just one block this week as I just thought Mary Gray was a little weird. I'm not 100% on that, but I need to start scaling back otherwise I will have too many blocks by the end of this project. Plus it's always hard to get back into this project after a break. I just haven't felt the urge to do much so I am in danger of falling behind.

Block 59 Mary
I almost decided not to make this block but I had a change of heart; I'm not sure why. I mixed the colours up a bit. I would have preferred to keep to the original but I don't have any solids on those colours. In fact, this will be the last time the ballerinas make an appearance. The fat quarter of fabric is well and truly fussy to cut to shreds.

It's a good one to end on. I am glad I made it.

I am annoyed that I failed to match up the central bit though. What a pain. Only one point to get right and you balls it up.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

FW57: Margaret & FW58: Martha

A good week in Farmer's Wife land. I really liked both of this week's blocks. They are a bit similar really in a sawtooth star kind of way, but that's one of my favourite blocks so I was pretty happy. I feel like I am going to make the next batch of blocks all out of the same peach and pink combo.


Block 57 Margaret
Margaret was another block that I have been waiting to make for a long time. It really stuck in my mind even though it is relatively straightforward as a block. I think I liked the contrast people had in their blocks, like this one by Emmy and this one by Kbrusven.

So I decided to use some of my precious hoard of Denyse Schmidt fabrics which I haven't cracked open since the MapleO quilt. I really didn't want to mess this one up as the fabrics are so precious so I spent a long time choosing the fabrics; probably an entire evening! I couldn't decide between the plain peach fabric and my low volume Paperie fabric. I think it's come out well though and might have been too busy otherwise.

But it was well worth it. I love it! It will have to go right in the middle of the quilt somewhere. It is my favourite block of the entire quilt!

Block 58 Martha
I used some of my coveted Lizzie House star fabric here. It's just the right shade of dark purple. I also wanted to use a few solids. I was tempted to do it all in solids but I felt like it would stand out too much. I am really happy with the colour combination.


Here are some of my pink hues all together. Don't they look pretty! I think this week has been one of the best.


Wednesday, April 06, 2016

FW55: Malvina & FW56: Marcella

Overall a mixed week. One block I love and one block that doesn't thrill me. The only good thing is that I feel like I knew beforehand which blocks I was into. Maybe I am getting better at predicting which ones I like. I am also amazed I got anything done considering it was Easter, but I took both squares, precut, home with me and did little bits in the mornings when everyone was chilling out.


Block 55 Malvina
I considered dropping this block as it felt a bit dull being only in two colours. Then I decided to do it but swap out the central square for a different colour; to give it some depth.


I don't think it worked. I took all my precut pieces home to mums to sew over Easter on her fabulous Juki machine but I didn't take the overall pattern block home so I got my directions all mixed up for the fussy cutting. I assumed I had marked the orientation on the template pieces but I obviously hadn't. So my ballerinas annoy me. Sigh. Not my best effort. But I could use it as a half block


Block 56 Marcella
I love this block. I have no idea why. I have been looking forwards to it. I really wanted to use my cats and my Paperie fabric as I think they go together so perfectly. I love the end result. And such a quick block to sew together. A definite favourite in my stash.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

FW53: Lucy & FW54: Magnolia

A complicated week. One easy block and one hard one. Well, just a lot of small bits. I'm not that overwhelmed with my fabric choices this week but at least they are bright and sunny.

Block 53 Lucy
After taking such a long time, I feel it's a bit monochrome and boring. How annoying! I wish I could foresee these things. It's pretty accurate all things considered.

I think in hindsight I would have made the small four squares totally different colours.

Here are all my sections laid out ready to sew. It took me a few days just to make each unit. It was a good one to break down into small repeating units.

And here are my seams. It was all very neat considering. I thought it would be really bulky but it'd not too bad. I find it really helps to just mega iron at every stage. Plenty of steam, spray starch and really practice pressing correctly so that the seam lines don't warp but do lie flat. I can spend a long time ironing. It really adds time to the overall construction but I think it really makes your block look neat like other peoples. Sometimes open seams aren't good for nesting so it's a bit of working out the best solution for the final fitting together of the units. It really helps with everything lining up though.


Block 54 Magnolia
I considered dropping this block as it's not really my thing but, well, I just did it in the end, hoping my mind might be changed. It's ok, but it's still not really my style. At least I know my own mind.