Monday, August 15, 2011

Do I really need this book?

I love buying & reading quilting books, but I think I'm going to take a pass on this one:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Farmer's Wife Quilt-Along Week 8

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along - Week 8

Hmmm. It seems that I have been doing more sewing than blogging. I'll try to catch up, but I'm not sure how much I even remember about putting these together now!

#17 - Cats + Mice (2nd try)

FWQAL 017 - Cats + Mice (2nd try)

I liked the first one I made, except that points didn't match in the middle, and apparently I'm haven't recovered enough from my perfectionism to let it go. This started with 4 QST units, and then paper-pieced the rest.

#18 - Century of Progress

FWQAL 018 - Century of Progress (1st try) FWQAL 018 - Century of Progress

Progress, my size 11 foot! What's so progressive about having 12 seams meet up in the middle, I'd like to know! Feels like there's a dried pea in the middle of my block. grumble, grumble I think I made the first version (on the top) using only templates, and it came out OK, but there wasn't enough contrast between the two background yellows to really see the pattern. I meant to do the next version with the same "pinwheel" layout of the background, but accidentally cut my pieces so that half were reversed. I'm happy enough with the the little kites that came out, and I like these colors better.

#29 - Economy

FWQAL 029 - Economy

I was frustrated after making my first Century of Progress block, so I wanted something Qwik & EZ. This fit the bill. Can't remember if I used the book's templates or if I just rotary cut the pieces, but either way it worked up nicely. I'm a little sorry I missed an opportunity to use larger scale prints, but I like the finished result.

#48 - Homeward Bound

FWQAL 048 - Homeward Bound

Again, I was looking for something quick. I'm pretty sure I just rotary cut this one, although I don't really remember much about making it. I do wish I used fabric with a stronger value contrast for the corner squares.

#53 - Jackknife

FWQAL 053 - Jackknife

Ah, Jackknife! This is my current pride & joy -- all rotary cut, no paper piecing. Same color combo as my first Cats & Mice, but much better results. The QST's were speed-pieced, and the corner units started as speed-pieced HSTs that had corner squares sewn onto them. All the point-matching was courtesy of basting glue-stick, which worked wonderfully.

#103 - Whirlwind

FWQAL 103 - Whirlwind (1st try) FWQAL 103 - Whirlwind

The paper-piecing foundation for this is actually in Anita Solomon Grossman's Make It Simpler Perfect Piecing (under the name "Twin Sisters") so I figured it'd be a piece of cake to whip one up. Xerox, cut, & sew -- what could go wrong? Well, you could cut the pieces backwards, for one thing. It meant I had to skip using the paper foundation, which wasn't so bad, but I felt the finished block didn't have enough contrast between the pinwheel and the background, so I went ahead & made another, this time cutting it correctly & using the foundation.

#19 - Checkerboard

FWQAL 019 - Checkerboard

Paper-pieced, no problems. I never used to care much for orange, but since (mostly) making an orange twinkling star, I seem to have grown much fonder of it.

Whew! OK, that's week 8. More to come as I continue to catch up with my blogging!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Colors & Values

Wayne Kollinger has an excellent post today that demonstrates the importance of values in quilt blocks:

You Aren't Just Choosing Colors, You're Choosing Values

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Missing Quilts!

Insights From SewCalGal: Missing Quilt Alert: CT Publishing Alert on missing quilts from Spring Quilt Market 2011

So, keep your eyes open, I guess. The more people that know these quilts are missing, the better chance there is of finding them.

I also hope C&T (who was responsible for keeping track of these) has taken a hard look at its theft-prevention and/or organization processes, because 4 quilts going missing from one show really indicates that something isn't working.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along - Week 7

FWQAL Week 7

Hi! My name is Jennifer, and I'm a Farmer's Wife-aholic! I've done 22 blocks in 8 days (not counting the last one, which I'm going to redo), so I'm caught up & then some. Maybe it's time to ease up a bit and get back to my myriad other projects, but this is such a fun project! Anyway, here's the skinny on this week's blocks.

#7 - Birds in the Air

FWQAL 007 - Birds in Air

Paper-pieced the first quadrant (top left), then I thought I'd give the next a try using templates (bottom right). It came out OK, but a little wonky, so I did the final 2 paper-pieced as well.

FWQAL 081 - Snowball

Rotary cut, with help from Marti Mitchell's templates. The top & bottom rows are one rectangle with corners cut off (rather than 2 HSTs plus a square) to keep from chopping up the fabric pattern too much.

#8 - Bouquet

FWQAL 008 - Bouquet

Used the templates for this, and it went together quite easily. I'm also happy with the fabric combo on this one.

#11 - Broken Dishes

FWQAL 011 - Broken Dishes

I made the HSTs using Jean Korte's free HST PDF paper pattern, then just sewed them into rows. Worked quite nicely, and definitely quicker than templates or even making 8 individual squares' worth of HSTs. The only problem was that the colors had me craving raspberry-lime sherbet.

#12 - Broken Sugar Bowl

FWQAL 012 - Broken Sugar Bowl

Rotary cut, with HSTs speed-pieced. This was kind of a PITA, and I'm not sure why. I seemed to just keep making mistakes all the way through the process. In fact, the center square is 90° off, but I only noticed it when I was done, and I just didn't have the will to take it apart & fix it. The block still looks OK, I think.

#20 - Churn Dash

FWQAL 020 - Churn Dash

I needed something quick & easy after the previous block, so I chose this one. Rotary cut, speed-pieced HSTs. Phew!

#69 - Practical Orchard

FWQAL 069 - Practical Orchard

Rotary cut, speed-pieced QST. I love making QSTs this way, seems like a miracle every time one comes together. The lighter yellow is actually the reverse side of the fabric, which preserved almost all of the pattern's detail, while toning the color down a couple of notches, which made for better contrast with the other yellow.

#13 - Buckwheat

FWQAL 013 - Buckwheat

Paper-pieced, with a pattern drafted by me using Anita Grossman Solomon's technique. I wasn't sure if the 3 colors had enough value difference to make the block work, but I'm happy with the finished block.

#41 - Friendship Star

FWQAL 041 - Friendship Star

Again, I wanted something I could whip off quickly. Rotary cut, speed-pieced HSTs.

#21 - Contrary Wife

FWQAL 021 - Contrary Wife

Another quickie (I'm terribly afraid that I'm going to run out of easy blocks to do, and be left with only the hard ones.) You know the drill: rotary cut, speed-pieced HSTs.

#14 - Butterfly at the Crossroads

FWQAL 014 - Butterfly at the Crossroads

I actually used the templates on this one, and it came out OK, but for other blocks like this, I think I'm going to paper-piece.

#68 - Postage Stamp

FWQAL 068 - Postage Stamp

I've been saving up 1½" square scraps from my other blocks. I had been thinking about paper-piecing it using Terrie Sandelin's miniature technique, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and just sewed the pieces up into the block. It probably would have been more accurate if I'd paper-pieced it, but this way was definitely quicker.

#15 - Buzzard's Roost

FWQAL 015 - Buzzard's Roost

I used the "no-waste flying geese" method for most of this block. Not 100% happy with it -- I think the points could have been better. I probably would have done just as well just going with the templates.

#17 - Cats & Mice (1st try)

FWQAL 017 - Cats & Mice (1st try)

I'm including this one for, I don't know, journalistic accuracy? I paper-pieced this, but I didn't draft the pattern correctly, and the points don't match well enough. Definitely going to be redoing this one. The color combo's nice, at least.


The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt Quilt-Along

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along - Week 6*

So, I didn't have nearly enough WIPs/UFOs, so I took a running start and jumped on the Farmer's Wife bandwagon. I got the book on sale at Connecting Threads, it arrived literally minutes before I left for the holiday weekend, took it with me, and commenced making blocks the minute I got home.

My fabric/theme is 30's reproductions, which I'm just crazy about. Right now I'm working with the remains of a fat eighth bundle, again from Connecting Threads, but that won't make it the whole way, so I'll be forced to buy some more fabric. Tragic, really.

#1 - Attic Windows

FWQAL 001 - Attic Windows

I did this one mostly using Marti Mitchell templates (the A set), and I'm happy with how it sewed up, but I'm a little iffy on the colors. I'll probably make another one more in keeping with the overall theme.

#2 - Autumn Tints

FWQAL 002 - Autumn Tints

This one may be my favorite -- I really like how the colors work. No templates here, just rotary cut the large squares, and strip-pieced the smaller 4 patches. (Made a little big, then trimmed after sewing).

#3 - Basket

FWQAL 003 - Basket

The was the first time I used my machine's buttonhole stitch for applique, and it was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. Pieces were cut from templates for this one.

#4 - Basket Weave

FWQAL 004 - Basket Weave

I did originally sew this in the same arrangement as the book, but even in the Easter egg colors, it still looked a little too much like a swastika for my taste, so I re-did the bottom half in the Roman Stripes arrangement. Strip-pieced.

#6 - Big Dipper

FWQAL 006 - Big Dipper

I've had this yellow solid fabric FOREVER, so it's nice to be using up some of it. By itself, it's a nice plain yellow, but oddly, when it's next to the green, it starts looking like a light green. Used the "sew squares together, cut on the diagonal" method for making the QSTs. (Is there a shorter name for that?)

#10 - Bowtie

FWQAL 010 - Bowtie

I was a little worried that the red would totally overpower the block, but I think the blue holds it own. Made using the "small square in the corner of the big square" technique. (Again, is there a better name?)

#6 - Bat Wing

FWQAL 005 - Bat Wing

D'oh! Almost forgot this one! Put it together last night, using shiny new templates.

#9 - Box

FWQAL 009 - Box

Just whipped this one up this morning. I didn't want to chop up the plaid background too much, so I made this with 4 Flying Geese blocks around the central square.

#16 - Calico Puzzle

FWQAL 016 - Calico Puzzle

Also did this one this morning, and I'm not entirely pleased with it. The colors are kind of jarring to me -- maybe it should have been just two patterned fabrics and one solid, or even white? Also, for whatever reason, I kept making mistakes putting it together -- I had to rotate the HSTs a couple of times.

* Although it's my first week, it's Week 6 of the QAL.

The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt Quilt-Along

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Red&White Back&Forth


I'll post more details about this later, but in the interest of easing up on the perfectionism, I wanted to get it up on the web, so I can link to it from the Patchwork Times Monochromatic Challenge.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Design Wall Monday - Vanilla Tangerine Twinkler

Just have to sew the 4 columns together, and then the center will be done. Still thinking about whether to have a border, and if so, what kind.

Check out what other folks are working on at Patchwork Times.

Recent Finishes - Sepia Shadows


I've been doing more quilting than blogging lately, so I'm playing catch-up with some of my recently finished(!) projects. First up is a minature that I did for the March Patchwork Times Monochromatic Challenge. It was finished in March, but I never quite got around to posting it until now. (Recovering Procrastinator?)

Stats: 8.25" x 8.25" finished, using cotton quilting fabric. "Batting" was some felt scraps that I had lying around. Paper pieced using Terrie Sandelin's technique & machine quilted. I've already sent it off to The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI), where hopefully it will find a good home and raise some money for an extremely worthy cause.

  • Brown is really my least favorite color, especially when it's all by itself. I like it well enough as a neutral with other shades, especially pink, purple, or red, but by itself? Not so much. One of the points of the challenge is to open our minds to new palettes, but my mind still hasn't changed on this.
  • Trip Around the World/Sunshine and Shadows is my all-time favorite quilt pattern, especially when done with gradient shading. I have another miniature that I made in colors I actually like that still needs to be finished up, and I have many, many more that I've designed that I plan to move forward on making.
  • Felt actually makes a great batting for a small wall quilt. It has enough "fluff" so that it shows the texture of the quilting, but the extra stiffness adds to the "hangability" of the finished quilt. I wouldn't use it on a bed quilt -- much too stiff for that. Might not be bad for a pillow, though.
  • I used dark brown thread for the quilting mostly because I had it. ;) I do wish I'd used a lighter brown, or even a beige. I'm not sorry I quilted as heavily as I did for texture, but using all that dark thread made the overall effect too dark.

So, that's #1 on the list of recent finishes. Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Scrappy Saturday - Disappearing 16 Patch

(True Confession time: I actually did these last Sunday. But it was a weekend. And it's Saturday now. And they're purple. And scrappy.)

Anyway, I had a bunch of violet scraps left over from the February Monochromatic Challenge over at Patchwork Times (pieces cut out and waiting in a shoebox for me to get back to them), and I liked the idea of the Disappearing 16 Patch, so I cut out a bunch of 4½" squares, combined them with some Robert Kaufman Kona Solids charms, and got this:


which I then cut up, and got this (more or less):


You're supposed to sew them together like that, so that would be your new block, but I'm thinking of using them as HSTs, either in conjunction with another color, or maybe with white, e.g.,



  • Press open vs. press closed – I made 2 16-patches, and pressed the seams on first closed, then open on the second block. The "open" block did lie flatter when it was done, but it was MUCH easier to match the corners on the rows by nesting the closed seams. I think I'll stick with closed, in general, for now.
  • Looking at the finished blocks, I think I would have liked more prints and fewer solids. It would have made it feel "scrappier", I think, and the patch size is large enough so that it's nice to have a pattern to look at.

Grandma's Trellis Pillow - pt. 1


So, for my very first FNSI, I made these not-so-terribly exciting 9-patch setting blocks. I wish I had something more "oooh-worthy" to show off, but I did feel like I needed to do these first, given my problems with scant quarter-inch seams. The "ooh" blocks come next though, so there should be some prettier pictures in the next day or so.

I did get to use up a bunch of scraps at least. Some of the blocks were strip-pieced, but a lot of them were just made out of scraps that I trimmed to 2"x2" and then sewed together, kickin' it old-style.

Click on the link below to see what other folks got up to for their Fridays!

Handmade by Heidi

Thursday, April 14, 2011