Tuesday, May 31, 2016

FW69: Mrs Keller & FW70: Mrs Lloyd


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.

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.

Mrs Keller block 20160521-P1440612
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.

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.

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
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.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

FW67: Mrs Brown & FW68: Mrs Fay

This week was a big week; the blocks were a bit more complicated. I really don't relish the y-seams but I decided to sit down and properly research how to do them as so far, mine are pretty rubbish. So I used this tutorial. So a good week learning wise and a good set of blocks in the end. I feel that they go well together. A slow week though. I feel like I am never going to catch up. I seem to have less extra time for catching up these days. I counted up how many blocks I need for a twin quilt and I only need to drop 4 more blocks. That means I might have to be a little bit more discerning.

Mrs Brown block
This turned out to be a pretty straightforward block. I decided to add a fourth colour just because I had seen other people do it and really liked the effect.

I'm really pleased with the colour combination. I think this is another favourite block. It would make a great quilt just this block with different. I might make this combination my new favourite and do some more blocks. The pale peach is a scrap though so I am not sure how long it will last.

Everything lined up pretty well considering how small it is. I've lost a point on the right hand side, but otherwise I am pretty happy.

Mrs Fay block
I sewed this block wrong and unpicked it so many times; all the units were fraying by the end. My spray starch was on overdrive. In the end I felt it was a bit hit and miss with my technique and I am not sure why. Sometimes it worked perfectly, other times it was a pain.

Here it is before I trimmed it to size. Look at that top left crinkle. That wasn't even my first attempt. Sigh. And I feel I got my colours round the wrong way. I am tempted to make it again as I do think it is a nice block, but I feel that the low volume should swap places with the pink fabric so it's a proper background. Hmmm. Free time will decide.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

FW65: Mother & FW66: Mrs Anderson

This week I decided to make life a bit easier and drop block 66. I sometimes feel that the two colour blocks are a little flat. I try to introduce a third colour if I can now, but here it seemed impossible so I dropped it. Plus I was behind so it sped things up a bit. I don't like being behind.

Mother block
This block was a bit of a pain to be honest. I think it's a bit of a weird block to begin with. I almost dropped it. But then I relented. I thought the stripes might look good here and I like the little pop of yellow. It's a bit messy though. Y-seams. Sigh. They just aren't natural. I could have done it the non y-seam way if I had thought about it. I am thinking that I might have to sit down and properly master this technique. It obviously works out for some people.

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!