Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Some Major Christmas Finishes

I bought a Christmas wall quilt pattern  two years ago and FINALLY finished it. I usually get things done faster than this, but I bought it right before Christmas 2013 and I knew I wouldn't get it done that year. Then I put it away and rarely got it out; you know, "out of sight, out of mind". So last year at Christmas time, I got a couple of the applique blocks done. I used Texture Magic for the snowmen which was really fun but I still didn't finish for what ever excuse I had at the time. This summer I got it back out and was determined to finish it. I got all the fabrics out and ready, I got all the patterns traced and then just let it sit. I just couldn't make myself do more applique. So I finished all the other blocks and found a great paper pieced snowflake pattern from Joanna @ Shape Moth called Snow Cristal.

  I don't know about you but I hardly ever make a quilt exactly as the pattern says but in this case I really changed it up. Mainly to get it done, but also I felt it had enough going on without more applique and I am happy I stopped when I did because the size is perfect the way it is.

The second finish is a Christmas quilt for charity. This one was much less work, took me about 2 days to finish instead of 2 years but, it has much more meaning. When I make charity quilts I pray while I am doing them. I pray for the person who will receives it. I feel so blessed to have everything I do, I never have to be cold, I don't need anything and I can't imagine what it would be like to be in need of a quilt like this. I am happy that I can make it and give it to whomever is in need this Christmas. 

I used scraps from my stash for this quilt. It is just 5 inch squares all sewn up. I do think it is a bit long and narrow. I had sewn all the blocks in sets of two before I really thought about how it was all going to come together; that is why the rows are 6 blocks wide. I could have made it shorter but I wanted to use all the scraps I had. The backing and batting is from the stash at our quilt guild so I didn't need to buy anything to finish it.

Charity is just one of the many reasons I enjoy my local quilt guild. We make quilts for OSF St. Francis Medical Center, children who are patients at the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate and to families and seniors in need through the Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria which is where this quilt will most likely go. 

The final finish for this week is my Christmas decorating for my house. I am really nuts about Christmas. I just love to get the house all decked out. I don't "deck the halls" though. ;-) 
My quilt hanging on the wall in my living room

My nativity scene.

Another quilt with my carolers. 

My first Christmas quilt over the back of the chair and a pillow I embroidered. 

Another couple of pillows I made last year at Christmas

My tree

I didn't do all this in one week and it makes me tired to think about all the work, but I am so happy to have it all done. Now comes the shopping, baking and more quilting fun I am sure. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful for many things. Quilting is one of them.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

I am very thankful for my family and my life with my great husband who puts up with my crazy quilting habit.

The Farmers Wife 1930's Quilt along is keeping me busy. I love it when they give out three blocks a week. I have even done a few extra.

This is Hope. Hope was not assigned. I did it in response to the terror attacks in Paris.

We were assigned Sara and I did this one first but realized that I did it kinda wrong. The middle 4 patch was supposed to be different fabric. I still like it and will add it to my growing pile of quilt blocks.

So here is the corrected Sara block. I like this one better. It has more contrast and shows the design better.

My daughter's name is Sarah so I had to do this one too. :-) This one I did with the Marti Michell templates. 
This Sarah (below) was done with paper piecing. I just LOVE the kittens in the pink fabric but the above block is better in my opinion because the solid red shows off the pin wheels and flying geese units. I continue to learn so much with this quilt along.

Patricia was assigned next. She was a breath of fresh air because she was so much easier than some we were doing. We started using set B of the Marti Michell templates with this block. 

Patience was another easy block assigned this week. She also used set B of the Marti Michell templates. 

The last one that was assigned this week was Grandma, She was a little harder but with the templates and instructions given by Marti Michell she went together well. 

I have been doing extra blocks just for practice and fun. This one is Priscilla. I paper pieced her. It was very strange to put together. There are three pieced that you paper piece together, then piece those three together but it wasn't just a straight seam to put them together and it made it very hard to get the points right on.  
I did this one just out of left over fabrics. I think I will call her Bella.

I am so thankful for Angie at GnomeAngel, the Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell who are all sponsoring this quilt along . Angie has put in so much of her time for FREE and I really appreciate it. I really don't think I would have made this quilt without her to spur me on. She does great tutorials and has coordinated other bloggers to do tutorials too which helps SO much. Thanks to all of them too. The Fat Quarter shop has been giving 10% off the materials for this quilt along and I have taken advantage of that more than once. :-)  Marti Michell is really good at her tutorials and the way these templates work is amazing. The precision you get with piecing is so exact because the engineered corners on the templates. She shows you how to make it easy and these templates can be used a multitude of quilt blocks. I just love them. And No, I am not being sponsored by any of them. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tidal Pool Quilt Block Tutorial with Molli Sparkles!

One of the things I have done with quilting is test out patterns for other pattern designers. I really like checking all the details and making a new block or whole quilt while testing the pattern.

The latest was for Molli Sparkles. If you have never been to his blog you should check it out. Every time I read his blog he never fails to make me smile. He has a great sense of humor and is very talented at quilting.

This is the block I made while testing his Tidal Pool block tutorial.

I love the block and it was easy to follow his instructions and it turned out perfect.

The second version of this block is even better.
I really thought the addition of the small bits was such a cool look. I thought maybe I would keep making these and make a quilt of them. 
This is my third block (above). just a slight change in color and a less random placement of the small bits of peach. 

This was getting fun so I thought maybe I would try with a patterned fabric. Its OK but I am not that impressed. I like the solids better. What about you? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you would like to make these you can go to Molli's site. His tutorial is great!! 

Time flies when you are having fun in the sewing room!

Wow it has been a while without an update. I have been unusually busy these past two weeks so I haven't posted here so I am going to do several short posts rather than one long one.

This post will be an update on the Farmer's Wife quilt a long.

Meet Addie,(above) She was easy to piece and I love the color combinations. You almost get a secondary look when you use a dark just outside the central square. I love the Scottie dogs.

Up next is Katherine. She is made of all half square triangles. She was a quick block to piece. What takes time with these blocks in picking out the different fabrics. I think I spend more time picking out fabric than I do actually cutting and sewing these blocks. 

This is Milly. I love the block but the picture does little for her looks. I will take a pictures outside soon and see if they come out better. 
 Aimee was VERY troublesome!! Before I started on this block there was talk online about how she was hard to piece and we couldn't use the Marti Michell templates for this block so I thought I would try paper piecing on this one. It wasn't too hard but she was a little small when I got done. It was only about 1/8 of an inch but I was looking for 6 1/2 and so I use the templates that came with the book. Knowing that the templates from the book print out a smig small I cut each piece a smig larger. LOL What a mess. It came out way too big so I pitched it before I took a picture. Still on a pursuit for perfection I made another using the templates from the book, this time cutting right on the lines.
So here is Aimee 2, she is the exact same size as the paper pieced one. 1/8 too short. Well the lesson here is stop looking for perfect when you can stretch fabric enough to make up for 1/8 of an inch. 

This is Nancy. She was a refreshing change compared to Aimee. This one I used the Marti Michell Templates and she came out at 6 1/2 in. I fussy cut the center but got it off a little so I might make it again. I really want to have these set on point in the quilt and if I do that I have to remake a few blocks. 

Well, that is enough for now. I would love it if you would leave me a comment so I know you have been here. If you don't comment I feel like I am just talking to myself. If you are the first to comment, just click on where it says No Comments and it will open a box for you to leave a comment. Thanks for spending a bit of your time with me. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Farmer's Wife

In the Farmer's Wife Sew Along we did two blocks this week. Granny and Jenny.
Granny done right
This block gave me fits. I put one together and wasn't happy so I made another.(both below)
Two attempts at Granny

I thought OK, I did it, but after I posted it on our Farmer's Wife Facebook page and started looking at others I realized that I put my block together wrong not just once but twice! If you compare the top one and then the picture of the two you will see the centers are square instead of diamond shaped. Anyway I learn something every time I do one of these blocks. 

The second one was Jenny. I had much less trouble with putting her together. 

So, this brings us to a total of 12 blocks. Lots of people are adding setting triangles to their blocks but I can't decide if they should be on point or lay them out square. Mmmmm, decisions decisions.....

This will be linked to Farmer's Wife Link Up Party. You can go there to see LOTS of other's blocks.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Let there be light

 In our old house my sewing room was a guest bedroom. I was always walking around a queen size bed and my sewing chair was always up against the bed. So when we moved to this house I dedicated one room to just my sewing room and of course I picked the bigger of the two rooms.  The room was great but it didn't have enough light. There was a light on the ceiling fan but it only had 40 watt bulbs which was pretty much useless. I added 5 lamps in the room and still I had issues with lighting especially when taking pictures. Well a year after moving I finally got my lighting done by my wonderful electrician hubby.

 There are three lights over my sewing table and three over my cutting area.
 One of the things my husband hated was my use of extension cords and extra connectors. With the lighting it fixed half the issues with cords but I had one at my ironing board and he really didn't like that especially since it would spontaneously shut off and on when I would use the iron. To fix this he installed a 4 plug outlet that is controlled by a light switch so I don't have to unplug the iron and the lamp I just flip the switch. He also made it so that outlet is dedicated to just one 20 amp circuit by it self.
Light switch controlling a 4 plug outlet. 

Close up of light switch
It seems like my sewing room is always a work in progress but for now I am very happy with it and very thankful for my husband and his electrical abilities!! 


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew Along update

This week in The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew Along we made three blocks instead of only two. I prefer to make three blocks a week, but I have plenty of other projects to keep me busy. I will post soon on other projects.

Katherine and Susannah were very similar in style. I had to be careful to check the placement of everything before I sewed these.
Old Maid
The Old Maid block wad fun and I am happy with the fabric choices on this one. I may start using a few more solids as all the different prints seem to be a jumble on some of my blocks. (live and learn right?) I don't dislike my other blocks enough to change them but from here on out I may be limiting how many prints I put in the same block.

I have been using my Marti Michell templets for these blocks and it is making it SO much easier. I am very happy with the results.
Despite my best efforts to print the templates from the CD that comes with the book correctly and trying everything people have suggested; my blocks were not 6 1/2" like they should be, they come out about 1/8" too short. 

I have the A, B and C set of templates and just ordered the N and D sets. I hear these are the sets we will be getting into soon. The only other set that I am aware that we will use is set S but I am not sure when it will be used so I will order it later. 

Well, from what I have heard there are over 5000 people participating in The Farmer's Wife Sew Along. 

It is not too late to begin and you can find a book here. The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them bLaurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 –  Click here to purchase Paperback – Click here to purchase eBook (affiliate link).

We have made 10 blocks now and it is so fun to see all the photos being posted on the Facebook page; Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt Sew-along.

Here are all the blocks together.

 Well, I hope you enjoyed this little update. I will be posting again soon about some exciting things happening in and to my sewing studio. ;-)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Such a sweet surprise

It is always nice when you get to see something you made be used and loved. I just saw this picture on Facebook. It a baby on one of MY quilts. I asked his mommy if I could use it on the blog and she said yes.

This is Elliot. Isn't he just darling!! This is my hair dresser's baby and that is the quilt I gave her before he was born. 
Elliot's mommy is Grace Konski and she owns The Parlor in Morton IL so if you are ever in need of a GREAT hair cut check her out. 

I also got caught up with my Farmer's Wife Blocks for the week and that feels good. I hate being behind. It makes me crazy! (Oh I can here people who know me saying I am already crazy whether I am behind or not.)
Here are the next few Farmer's wife blocks. 
This one is #20 Caroline I am really enjoying using the Marti Michell Templates in doing these blocks. I was just using the printed templates but that made my blocks a wee bit shy of 6.5" but using the templates it is coming out perfect. 
This one is #14 Betty. Reading all the stories of these women from back in the depression era are amazing. You would think that they would be sad but they aren't they are very uplifting and inspiring. If they can be happy in that day, then I should be able to be happy with all the modern comforts and enough money that I can grocery shop without too much worry about what I spend. 
This one is #24 Coral I had fun with all the fussy cutting. Many of the other's doing this quilt-a-along eliminated the seam in the flying geese units but I just cut everything with the Marti Michell templates.

This one is #13 Belle, she was tricky. She has "Y" seams and it takes some doing to get it just right but she is done and I thought it went very well. ;-)
 I am working on another block of the month and I have to finish one block then I will show you the quilt so far. It is totally different than Farmer's Wife blocks. Also, I was commissioned to do a T-shirt quilt and I can't wait to get started. It is all Fighting Illini so it should be fun!!