Sunday, July 31, 2016

Farmer's Wife Sashing

It was so hot here this week that I decided to take a day off. It was just too hot to work! But quilting... well that's fine! It gave me a chance to layout all my blocks and arrange them until I was happy. Some blocks didn't make it. I am glad I made more than I needed.

These guys just weren't working, which is good as I thought at the time that they weren't designs I really liked but I made them because I was unsure. It's good to know I was right. I think I got better at deciding which blocks were going to work out for me so I feel like I learned something.

I am half way through sewing my strips. It's a long process.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Preparing for Smitten

I'm really excited about starting the Smitten quilt soon. In preparation, I decided to make Haley's English paper piecing kit. I thought it would give me some practice at piecing.

I really enjoyed making the flowers. I got a chance to practice different ways of sewing my hexs so that my stitches show less.

I found the pattern really easy to follow. I mostly used my Farmer's Wife scraps with a few of my picked out Smitten fabrics.

I'm annoyed that my button is slightly off centre, but I still love it.

I love the magnetic button snap. It's very neat and tidy. It's the first time I have ever used one. I bought it for some other project which I have forgotten about, so when I saw this tutorial I knew I had one lying around in my sewing drawer. I love the cat in the middle.

I love how the pin cushion affixes to the snap opening and can be stored away when not in use. Very neat.

I have started gathering together my tools that I'll need. I am planning on taking this project around with me a bit so a little bag of tricks is exactly what is called for. Everything fits in pretty nicely to the little pockets. The only annoying thing is that the pouch has gaps at the bottom so you can't just throw anything in it, but there is one integral pocket for those things then a divider so I can separate the bits I am sewing from my papers and thread.

So in my kit I have:

  • Beige Gutterman sew all thread 
  • Mettler thread. I love this thread for applique because it is so fine. 60wt. I am hoping it is useful here. I might look at the aurofil at Birmingham as so many people seem to rate it. 
  • Small sewing scissors. Mine are a bit blunt these days
  • A fabric marking pencil
  • A sewline glue pen
I am thinking that the refils for the sewline pen are expensive and won't last that long so I might invest in some Roxanne Glue

I love the little pin cushion addition. Mine is a bit wonky but I like how I can put different pins in each little hex. I have some applique pins, some small Clover black gold needles and a few normal needles just in case.

It's a great pattern. I thoroughly recommend it. The only change I made was that I sewed my pocket in on the inside rather than the outside. This was by accident in fact, but I like it. I also secured the bottom the pouch to the dividers just at the edges so it was a little less baggy. So now I feel prepared to start in September!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Farmer's Wife Scraps

A little break from Farmer's Wifing.

A small box was being discarded which was just the right size to be baby mouse's bed. So I reached under my sewing table into the mountain of scraps and instantly found some random 1.5" blocks. There is so much down there, I could probably make a king size version. In the end, each block is 1", so 5 x 7". Mousey also got a pillow and a sheet. He's all set.

I love the binding. I was a bit sad that I didn't have any more pink, but the blue seems to be just as nice.

My favourite bit is the fussy cut cat

The backing is some really old seersucker which I bought from Fabrics Galore years a go. It's got a lovely feel to it. It would make lovely pyjama bottoms or pillow cases, but alas, I only have a few strips left. Just enough for this project! I knew keeping scraps wasn't a hoarding problem. They are useful! I think all my stripes marry together beautifully.


FW91: Sarah & FW92: Sonnie

This week I only did one block. Not because I didn't want to make it, more because I don't need it. Block 91 Sarah feels very similar to block 57 Margaret and 58 Martha so it was easy for me to drop it. It is a favourite block design of mine but I have done whole quilts of sawtooth stars in the past, so I think I can forgo this one.

Block 92 Sonnie 92 Sonnie 

There were lots of pieces in this block but compared to some of the y-seam blocks, this is pretty straightforward. All the seams nest nicely making it easy to sew together.

I'm not 100 percent certain the fabrics really go together but I really wanted to get more yellow and more of my special Denyse Schmidt fabrics in.

Everything meets up perfectly except this one bit. I am pretty happy though considering how many bits needed to line up. I did a lot of ironing and starching a long the way in order to get the fabric to lie as flat as possible.

The back is pretty neat too. I have definitely got better at this bit.

Friday, July 15, 2016

FW89: Ruby & FW90: Sara

This week was pretty easy. Only one block to do which came together without any problems. This is good as it allows me time to prepare myself for the bit after all the blocks are complete. I have my setting fabric all ready to iron and cut into strips so I am fitting this in on the quieter weeks.

Block 89 Ruby
I decided to drop this block, mainly because it was all odd angles which is never my favourite thing. As I get nearer to the end I am aware of exactly how many blocks I need for my final layout so it's become easier to drop blocks.

Block 90 Sara
I wasn't that bothered about making this block. It's okay, but it didn't wow me. I am trying to use up some of the fabrics I have put aside more often than not. The pink floral is a little dull next to my brighter palette additions and never seemed quite right. Suddenly it seemed muddy. But I thought I would use it up as when I laid out all the blocks, the initial, more dull blocks seem to blend quite nicely with the brighter ones.

Well this block is a real success. I love it. I don't know why. I just think it works and I love looking at it. It made me remember how much I love the floral fabric. I have hoarded it for years after buying it in a pack of fat eights from Sunflower Fabrics.

I also did a lot of pinning as I wanted it all to line up. All the seams seemed to nest nicely so it came together easily. I really want to be able to compare some of the later blocks with some of the very early ones and be able to see some kind of progression. Well this all lines up beautifully.

And even the back is nice and neat for a change. I starched it front and back once I had finished sewing it and it all lies nice and flat. A triumph.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

FW87: Prudence & FW88: Rosemary

This week I did both blocks and I only have two blocks left to cut out the fabric for. The others are all in bags sitting by the sewing machine. I am itching to get them all finished. I can't believe we will soon be in the 90s! I also did some tidying up. I seem to leave heaps of tiny scraps of paper and fabric everywhere and little bits of thread are all over my clothes. I like to trim all the loose ends quite close to the block otherwise they get tangles up later on. I need a little bin underneath my machine as currently I just shove it all under my perspex table which attaches to my machine. It's a mess.

Block 87 Prudence
Cripes. What a complex mess of Y-seams. I wish I had made the changes that The Patchsmith recommended. I didn't enjoy sewing this block at all. Y-seams just take all the pleasure out of a block. It's a wrinkly mess!

It barely lies flat! But I did it! I really like the yellow here though. It's bright and sunny.

The back is a bit of a mess, but I followed the instructions to a T!

Block 88 Rosemary
This block didn't iron out very flat in the end which annoys me. There were quite a few thick seams. But it all lines up pretty well which is good. I am not sure about my fabric choices but I wanted to use up some more of the blue fabric.

The print is really too large so I have only really had success with it on some of the more simple blocks but I wanted it to appear in a few more blocks to give the overall quilt balance. I do like the pink and orange together.

The back seams are so thick. I am just glad these two are over.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Next project


So because there always has to be something epic on the go, it's time to think up the next sofa project once the Farmer's Wife draws to a close. I only have 4 more blocks to precut and then I won't know what to do with myself in front of the TV.

The best sofa projects are ones which don't involve a sewing machine. I've been thinking for some time that it's time for a new EPP (English paper piecing) project. The last big one I did was Penelope's quilt which I did whilst I lay on the sofa with my fat ankles up in the air. Since then I've done a few bits but I haven't done anything sizeable. Above are some of the contenders for next project!

1. Smitten by Lucy Carson Kingwell

I've been thinking about this project since Christmas when I saw Jooles' version shown above. I love the combination of Moda Day Sail fabric and Liberty Lawn. Mum bought me the pattern and some Marti Mitchel templates for this project for xmas so it's all ready to go. I have a box of Liberty fabric that mum gave me from her dressmaking days plus a few bits I bought in Birmingham and I also have some of the same daysail text fabric. Or of course, I could do something brighter like this. I like the idea of bright stripes.

2. Rose Star Mug Rug by Night Quilter 
I love the smallness of this project. I also love the splash of green. I think it works really well in those colours. Of course, in Kitty's tutorial you use a Sizzix machine which I don't have, but there are other good tutorials about making the templates like this one. 

3. Diamond hex by My Paper Crane
I love the fabrics and the brightness of this, plus the pattern is only $1! Result. I bought this for Rachel's birthday and printed out the templates on card for her. I also made one block into a mug rug for her. I'd love to do it again as I think I would improve on the fabric combination by introducing plain fabrics into the mix and I would brush up on my sewing technique!

4. Clamshell Quilt

I actually bought this pattern years ago. I even have some spotty fabric set aside. I just love it. I'd just need to work out what other fabrics to use. 

5. Pickledish by Kaffe Fassett
I have wanted to make one of these for a while; not a huge one, just one block as a mini quilt would be enough. There are two patterns that people speak about, the one in Material Obsession Two which Rachel has and the one in Kaffe Fassett's Quilt Romance. I love the fabrics that Ashley used.

. Patchwork of the crosses 

I have loved this quilt for a long, long time. I eventually bought the Linda Franz pattern and set it aside for a rainy day. It's a big EPP project so I might smallify it. Another nice one for Liberty fabrics. I think it would be nice to do it in really traditional fabrics. Again, Kitty from Night quilter has done a Sizzix post about it. I love her modern fabrics. It makes it seem like a totally different quilt. I might buy some diamonds at Birmingham. You can get a starter pack at Sew and Quilt.

7. Constellation by Haptic Lab
I love the simplicity of this project. I like it in blue and in white. It would be a great thing to do with some old sheets. I like the french knots people do for asteroids. I think it would look really tasteful.

8. La Passacaglia quilt from Millefiori Quilts
This is an epic quilt. It looks like hard work. There are some great fussy cut blocks out there like this one, and this one and this one and this one and this one and this one. Jeez so many options. I worry about all the waste with fussy cutting though and I am not sure how it looks all together though. It's hard to tell if it just becomes a big mess or not. You can get a starter pack at Sew and Quilt.

9. Grandmas surprise 

I think this pattern looks really good when made in a rainbow of colours. This post tells you all about the block. It's pretty simple really, but makes a great complete quilt.  

10. Bring me Flowers

I love seeing the fabrics people use. I love this one by Sharni. I think it would be nice to treat each block as it's own project and use lots of spots and stripes. All the Jen Kingwell patterns are so thorough and full of pictures. Plus she also has a range of fabric out currently which would be perfect. Luckily you can get the pattern in the UK from Sew Hot, Running Chicken and Pretty Fabrics and Trim. I might be tempted to buy the pattern if I see it at Birmingham.

11. Dresden plate
There are lots of patterns for this out there. I think it helps to have a dresden plate ruler, something I thought about buying at Birmingham last year but somehow failed to buy. The Priory Square look book one is great, or this free pattern for a mini one from A Crafty Fox plus Material Obsession One do one like this version Deirdre made but I also think just a traditional one on white looks great. Here is a good tutorial.

12. Ferris Wheel Mini Quilt

I saw a pattern much like this over at Imagingermonkey's blog but she's closed it down now. But this mini version is much the same. 

How do you choose?
Well first off, I think it better to choose a project I already have the pattern for. And then I think about my current fabric crushes and think what project would suit them best. Here are some ranges I would like to use. 

So I am thinking The Smitten is the way forwards really as I have the pattern. I still need to finish The Farmer's Wife, but I am going to start thinking about fabric for this pattern. Either I buy it at Birmingham or take the plunge with one of the ranges above and maybe dig out something from my stash like this crazy cooking fabric I have some of. I am really into the fabrics I bought for my FW sashing and I think the Cotton Candy would go really well with that. I already have some fat Quarters I used for Rachel's mug rug so I would just need to build on that. Plus I think the Playground fabric might go well with that. So time to think about fabric slowly whilst I dig out the pattern. Who's in? 

Friday, July 08, 2016

FW85: Primrose & FW86: Priscilla

This week was one easy block and one hard one. Only hard in that it had lots of bits.

Block 85 Primrose
Block 85: Primrose
I decided to do a scrappy version. I am not sure it really works but I really like it anyway. I love seeing all the pinks and peaches together. I only wish the two like light pinks in the big triangle below the central strip and the small one to the right weren't the same colour. I didn't really think it out. I couldn't. I just did it randomly. It was a russian roulette chance that two the same would appear next to each other.

I think it looks very jolly. I think it will fit in nicely. So many small bits! It took an entire football match for me to put it together. Not that I watch football, but it was a convenient way of timing it.

I pinned all my points when I sewed sections together. I have a good technique now. I push a pin through the point on one fabric then through the facing one. I line the pin up straight then take it out and pin properly. That doesn't really make sense does it? Maybe one day I will try and make a video! Ooh hark at me!

Block 86 Priscilla
Considering this was such a simple block, I still managed to balls it up. I cut the low volume bits too small so I had to unpick a seam. Look you can see on the top left my row of holes! I hope it seals up. To be honest, I am not that into the block. It's totally warped from being cut at a silly angle.

Look at all those wavy, it's not ideal.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Farmer's Wife Layout

So at long last it's time to make some decisions. With only 6 blocks left to go (for me) I knew that time was running out. (I might make 8 more so I have some choices). It's been really hard, but after laying out all my blocks and ordering these fat quarter samples from Simply Solids, I have made some decisions. I am going to use the peach Cotton and Steel fabric for the sashing point squares and the pink stripe for the binding. I have put my order in! It's such a lot of fabric. I think I can get all the peach squares out of one fat quarter but the binding will be more like a metre.
Farmer's Wife Layout
So after much thinking I have decided on the following layout for my quilt. I am trying to keep the size down but maximise on the number of blocks. I have ordered the Kona white sashing. So I am ready to make the top. I am hoping I can get it all made in time for Birmingham so I can then spent all my cash on some backing fabric. I often just use old sheets and cheap fabric from Fabrics Galore but this time, seeing as this quilt represents so much work, I am hoping to use something a bit nicer. I still need to work out how much I will need!

FW83: Poppy & FW84: Posy

This week I decided to only do one of the two blocks. Block 83 Poppy was just too many odd angles. I just don't think it looks very comfortable. It's not symetrical which I realise I prefer. But it did give me a chance to start thinking about the complete quilt. I sat down and worked out my layout. I have two options which I will choose between when I lay the finished blocks out on the bed again. But more about that in a separate post.

Block 84 Posy
This block was surprisingly tricky. I didn't end up doing it very well. You can see it's wonky and the angled points are all over the place. It kid of caught me off guard. It's another secret Y-seam block. It just annoyed me. I am glad it's over.

I do really like the finished result though. I used my favourite colour combination again. I need to stop it or it will affect the balance of the quilt! I just love this combination.

If you look at the right corner of the central point you will see where I bodged it. It's got a small crease and I had to do lots of unpicking and stretching just ti get it this good. Life is too short to put so much energy into such a tiny point! I know though, that when the quilt is all made up I will always be drawn to this point and wish I had made the effort to re do it. But I am not wasting my favourite fabrics!

At least the back is pretty tidy for me.