Monday, January 30, 2012

Embroidery 101: blocks 4-9

I must be crazy...crazy productive that is! As of last week, I had 4 embroidery 101 blocks finished. This weekend I went into overdrive and finished the other 5! That is correct, all 9 blocks are finished, thanks mostly to some quality movie time. And I am hoping to have a quilt top by the end of the day. We'll see about that, but I'm going to try. I even think I know what I am going to use for the back, but I still have to go get it so it is subject to change.

I had a good time working on these. For the last one I did change it up and do a back stitch instead of a stem stitch for the outline because I do hate stem stitch a little bit, and the second to last one I skipped the satin stitch for the sake of time/thread/sanity. Oh, and my coral stitch - terrible. But I love how they all came out. So here they are, blocks 4-9.

I can't wait to see this all together. I really want to get this one done and out of the way to clear out some space. I have far too many things (quilts mostly at this point) just sitting around waiting to be made so I am hoping to put some energy into that over the next month or so. I am pretty excited about it, I just need to keep the momentum going.  Now if I want this quilt to together today, I best get to work!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Farmer's Wife - The finale!

Well folks, here it is. The end of the road for me and my adventures as a farmer's wife. And before the end of January at that!  I've had so much fun making this quilt and learned sooo much along the way. I can say I definitely feel like a more accurate piecer after having made all these blocks :) And more importantly, I absolutely love the finished quilt.  I knew I was making a queen sized quilt, but I am still periodically shocked at how big it really is. I am so happy I went with a solid black binding so that nothing takes attention away from the blocks.

The quilting was it's own issue. It felt like it took forever due to sheer size, and it was so hard to maneuver on my little machine, but I made it through. I did two straight lines in each sashing strip, so it is one big grid. You can pretty much not see it in any picture, and it is even hard to tell in person since I used black thread on the black sashing. It just melts right into it. Which is perfect. Keeps it nice and soft. There are certainly some puckers around the edges where the borders didn't lay quite right, but it is barely noticeable unless you are looking for it so I deal with it. The busy border fabric helps too. I reads as kinda gray in these pictures, but it is really a small black/white cathedral window type print.

And now a few pictures. They really don't do it justice, but I had to work with what I had. Which was no one to hold the quilt. So I trucked it out onto the front sloping lawn, in the freezing cold, ice and snow still in patches on the ground, while wrangling my daughter and trying to keep her from falling off the porch. It was an adventure, to be sure. Also, that would be why I have no good upright pictures. So you may have to tilt your head to the side to see it properly. All that to say, not the greatest pictures, but they capture the spirit of the thing.

Oh I am so in love with it! So traditional, yet so not! The back is all one piece, and while part of me feels bad for not putting more into the back, I like it and it works with it. I got to a point where I was going to shove it in a closet and not deal with it because I was having trouble figuring out the back, so this saved it. It was so hard to get enough fabric for a quilt so large, and the black and white prints that I wanted were just not working out for one reason or another. So this nice 108" backing fabric saved the day. And that is about it. A finished Farmer's Wife quilt. I can hardly believe it. And maybe when the weather is nice and I have some help, I'll work on getting some better pictures....maybe. For now, I'll deal with these. Oh and I'll snuggle under it. Every day. And maybe put it on my bed for a while :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday {1.25.12}

Woah, it's Wednesday again. And things are getting pretty crazy around here with work schedules and everything, and I am kinda beat. And I kinda wish it were Friday. But anyway, creative-wise, it's been a pretty good week. I have a huge finish, and a couple smaller things as well, so I'm feeling pretty good about that. And I think this week I will push through and try to finish my embroidery blocks. And then I have to pick a quilt to start next week (yes, I have quite a few to choose from).



After 6 months of working on it, it is finished. It is huge and wonderful. And once I get a chance to get some pictures, I will celebrate it properly :) Let's just say I love it and I wish I could be snuggled under it all. the. time.

Skill builder - blocks 23 & 24

Curves = complete. I particularly love the 9-patch block.


I was making these for my little lovely, but in the end, they are too small so I've gifted them to a smaller baby who they will hopefully fit at some point. I knew they might be too small, but I thought I'd take my chances. Oh well. I am so proud of them though, they are adorable and I love them.

Scrap sorting is also finished. I organized my fabric and now I just need to decide exactly what scrap quilt(s) I would like to make. I am thinking one string quilt and one triangle quilt....but I can't figure out what kind of string quilt (spiderweb? FITF style? This one at Molly Flanders?) Suggestions?

Still Going:

Embroidery 101

I finished another block and have the next design transferred, but that's about it. I really hope I can get these done this week.

New: Nothing! 

So I just push through my embroidery, and next week my self-imposed no-new-quilts-until-february ban is up! I am pretty excited! Seriously, I think it's better not to talk about how many I have ready, or close to ready to start haha. Maybe I'll list those starting next week. Anyway, check back Friday when I should have a full Farmer's Wife reveal :)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, January 23, 2012

Skill Builder Sampler: Month 8

Good morning everyone! How was your weekend? Good I hope! I had a surprise visit from my parents which was fun, but it did mean less sewing time than I had hoped. But I still go a bit done and I am happy to say that I did the 2 skill builder blocks I needed to do. 

I can't believe I have been working on this sampler for 8 months and we are now 2/3 done! January was the month of curves, something that I enjoyed a lot, even if I'm not great at them. I don't know how I can put a sleeve in without a problem, but when I make a curved quilt block it comes out wonky. Go figure. It was fun though, and someday maybe I'll be brave enough to do a whole quilt with curves.

Block 22: Flowering Snowball
I love the design of this block. Mine came out a bit small and wonky, but I think the smallness was because I couldn't check the scale of the template so I suspect it was a bit small. It's okay though, it will work. Also, not my greatest color choices.

Block 23: Drunkard's Path
I had been wanting to try a drunkard's path block for ages. And I am so glad I did. I kinda like them! I decided to keep it simple and just make 4 blocks and turn it into a circle. I do love how many layout options there are for these. So fun!

Block 24: Curved 9-Patch
This is among my favorite blocks! I just love the way it came out. It is such a cool block!

So far, here are all 24 blocks together

Next up I think we are doing wonky blocks which should be fun :) In the mean time, I am struggling to get everything I want to done. Mostly it is the embroidery 101 blocks that take so much time, but I am pushing through and I'm just about halfway done. Also, I should be finishing up my farmer's wife quilt today or tomorrow! Of course I also just added something to my list....oh well.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Embroidery 101: blocks 1-3

I am finally really working on it. My embroidery 101 quilt that is. This quilt along was run over at Clover and Violet over the summer and it was on my to-do list even then. I put together the blocks ages ago and never got around to doing the embroidery part, but now it is on my finish-by-the-end-of-the-month list. The problem was that I was saving it as a project to work on at night while sitting around watching things, but there were too many other things to do instead. So I've been spending some afternoons working on it. Now that I am into the 4th block, I thought I would share the first 3. I am really loving them so far.

At this point, I have done: backstitch, french knot, running stitch, satin stitch, lazy daisy, and stem stitch. I'm not great at all of them, but I'm working on it. My satin stitch has gotten worlds better! Here they are!

I am just loving it! I don't know what I am going to do with this one yet, I have a few people in mind to give it to, so we'll see. I think today I'll be trying to finish up number 4. With a bit of luck, this weekend I'll get caught up on skill builder blocks, make some slippers and keep embroidering. And at this rate, I only need a few more movie nights to finish my Farmer's Wife quilt! Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday {1.18.12}

Hm, I wonder how long it will take me to get used to writing 12 in the date...

Anyway, today is my birthday edition of WIP Wednesday. Which means pretty much nothing different except that I am going to throw in this picture of the sweet birthday banner I made that my hubby hung up for me yesterday while I was at work :) The picture is blurry because that's what lack of light will do for you, but it still makes me happy. *sigh* I just love birthdays

And now on to the things I actually did this week! Admittedly it doesn't look like a whole lot, possibly because I have nothing finished, but I made good progress.

Still Going:

Farmer's Wife

This is my big deal this week. It went from being just a quilt top, to being quilted and the binding sewn on the front. Now I just get to relax and hand stitch the binding down. We'll see how long it takes.

Skill Builder

I am behind a block on this now, but I am going to do them both this weekend after the next one is up. I'd rather just focus on the two of them and didn't want to break up my flow this week.

Embroidery 101

I have 3 blocks done and the design transferred on the 4th. I am moving right along and I am loving learning all these stitches and getting better at embroidery. I am so glad I am doing this!

I also started the slippers for my little one. As in, the pattern and the bottom pieces are cut out, and I have a vague idea what fabrics I am using. I might work on that this afternoon since I think they should be pretty easy to make. Famous last words.....

Bags are on hold right now. I have too many other things that I need/want to give my attention to and those are a fairly low priority at the moment. So off the list they go so as not to just stress me out every week.

Also, since I spent all my time either embroidering or finishing up my farmer's wife quilt, I didn't start anything new. The only thing I am adding to my list is sorting all my scraps. Truth be told I don't have a huge amount, but I have such a small space available that they have outgrown it and I am planning to start a scrap quilt soon and see how far I can get. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I still have other things to finish first!

And now I'm off to do some birthday cleaning, spend lots of time with my little love bug, sew a little, and bake a funfetti cake before hanging out with some great people :) Oh the sweet life! Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Oh hey there Monday, how are you? It was a good weekend around here. Quite good in fact. A touch cold (and by that I mean it was -2 when we woke up yesterday), but good.

My farmer's wife quilt is quilted and I am going to get some binding today. I was trying to decide between plain black and scrappy rainbow, and black won. I'm classy like that. But I am just about out of black, so I'll need to remedy that first. And if I am lucky I will get that sewn on Wednesday. All I have to say after this weekend is huge quilt + tiny machine = not so much fun quilting. It took me like 8 hours all together. But it is done and I like it. I just went down the sashing twice to frame the blocks. It is a bit wonky which I'm a bit upset about, but it will be alright. Hopefully once it is all bound it will be less noticeable. I am a little afraid to wash it though, I'm afraid that it will be ruined somehow. I guess it will have to happen eventually if we are going to use it. Also, I did realize that a queen size quilt for the couch is excessive. But I'm okay with it. I figure if I turn it sideways it is the perfect snuggle blanket :)

Maybe today I will get another embroidery block started. I just realized today that we are halfway through the month. Which on the one hand blows my mind with how quick it happened, but on the other, I am pretty glad to be halfway to starting some new quilts :) I think next week I will be working on sorting my scraps so I'm ready.  I'm pretty excited. I don't know if I actually have enough scraps for the scrappy quilts I want to make, but I can at least get started and add as I do other things, right?

Also, in completely non crafting news, I made beef stew last night, and irish soda bread (minus the raisins). And it was really delicious and perfect for a winter night. And somehow, it made me feel like a grown up. And I loved it and I think I should probably cook more often. Who knew standing over the stove for 2 hours would be so nice. Did I mention it was delicious?

And that's all. Sorry for the lack of pictures. I just wanted to say hi :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

fridayish things

Happy Friday! I am looking forward to this weekend very much, especially since it is the last before the hubby starts his crazy semester and things go nuts. Hopefully we will get to relax some and enjoy the last bit of calm before the storm. Oh, and I'm totally hoping to quilt my farmer's wife quilt :) The back arrived yesterday and it is {already} washed and ready to go, so today is basting and hopefully tomorrow quilting. We'll see if I can get the whole thing done in a day....I am sure going to try! I am pretty sure I am just going to do some straight lines in the sashing. I guess we'll see once it is all laid out and I am forced to make a final decision.

Moving on, all I have been doing the last couple of days is working on my embroidery 101 quilt. I kind of love it. I am done 3 blocks and I am learning a lot. I am getting better as I go and maybe someday my stitches will be even, although I'm not counting on it. It looks good though. It is sure slow going and I haven't taken any pictures of it yet, but I will. Soon.

So I thought I would share the sewing wallet I made earlier this week. I put it up on my WIP post, but I haven't had a chance to post about it itself. And since I've been using it for my embroidery things, I have given it a nice test run. I kept seeing these pop up a while back, and I liked the idea. I really wanted to have one when we were traveling for the holidays but it just didn't get done, which was really okay since I probably wouldn't have used it anyway, what with being on a knitting kick. After going back and forth between a couple different designs, I settled on this one. The outer piece is patched together from my leftover ruby fabric and that is just happy. Such wonderful colors! The inside is just a pocket on each side with some felt in the center. I must say that the felt is so handy, for both sticking the needles in and running extra pieces of floss through. I can fit my scissors and floss in the pockets with no problem, although it does get a bit thick when closed. I am happy with it and it will work. My machine binding sucks, and I should have put it on the other way, but oh well.

So that's that. And now I am going to wait for naptime to try and get this huge FW quilt basted before my little love wakes up :) I hope I have enough pins because I don't have any spray at the moment....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday {1.11.12}

It's that time again, time for a roundup of works in progress. This is my first list of the new year and I'm kind of excited, I've missed it! I have been going to town on the smaller things on my list in hopes of getting it pretty clear so I can start some serious quilting in February. Now, with the month almost half over, I'm feeling pretty optimistic that I'll be where I want to be by then. So 3 weeks to get all this done and then let the quilts begin!


Snack Bags

I love these little things! I used mine yesterday for the first time and it works just beautifully :)

Hot Pads

Cute and oh so useful! Love!

Sewing Wallet

This is very not perfect, but it will work and I like it, especially to contain things as I am working on my embroidery

Skill Builder Sampler - block 22

I am all caught up. This is the first curves block and I like it quite a bit. It's a little wonky, but not too bad. I think my templates weren't quit the right size and I didn't know how to check the scale. (you can see the previous month of blocks here)

Farmer's Wife top (!!!!)

The top is officially done {happy dance}! I finally added the borders. I lovelovelove it! And the backing is supposed to be delivered tomorrow!!! So once I wash that, the basting will commence. And hopefully this weekend I will get to quilt it and make binding and get it all done except for the hand sewing the binding part! I can't wait!!!  (for pictures of the full top without borders, go here)

Still Going:

Embroidery 101

I finally picked this back up and started the embroidery part. This is what I have done of the first block and I don't think it will take me long to finish so I can get going on the next one. I am enjoying it a lot so far!

Bags (more on that later)
Slippers for the little one, and maybe a pair for me

And that is all I have right now. I want to make the few new things, finish my embroidery 101 (at least the blocks), finish my farmer's wife, and stay caught up on my skill builder blocks, with maybe a few other small things here and there that I am currently undecided on. I think that is pretty reasonable for 3 weeks. I guess time will tell! Happy Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, January 9, 2012

moving right along

There is something about a new week in a new year that feels so...refreshing. It was a lovely and {unseasonably} warm weekend, and I feel like I'm actually getting quite a bit done right now. I thought I would share a few little things that I've been making. Mostly my list of things to do right now consists of little practical things to make my life easier. Things I've been meaning to make pretty much for ages.

I decided to start off with some little pot holder-esque things. I got tired of using towels all the time to move pots off the stove and take things out of the oven and them getting in the way and getting super dirty, so I wanted something that would just fit the handles and be easy to grab things. I was going to make some that slip on the handles, but then I saw this and my problems were solved. I had everything I needed already so it was super easy and quick.The binding gave me a bit of trouble, but I made it work.  I made 2, and I must admit they are quite different sizes, but they both work. I did put a pocket on each end so I can tuck my thumb and fingers in if I want to. I kind of love them a little :)

I then moved on to snack bags. Apparently I was feeling a food theme. I used this tutorial and man, they are much bigger than I thought they'd be! I was going to make 4 of them, but I decided that one for each me and the hubby would be just fine. They are so stinking cute! And considering I hate sewing with PUL, they went really smoothly. Once again, I already had everything I needed, so it was perfect. They should certainly make snacktime happier at work, and I am looking forward to buying fewer ziplock bags!

Currently I am plotting and planning to try and get my FW quilt done by my birthday, at least quilted and binding sewn on front. I won't mind snuggling under it while sewing down the binding on my birthday, that's close enough to finished for me :) That means I only have a little over a week, but at least I have a back ordered now and the borders are on, so I am almost ready to baste! Hopefully the back gets here quick! I have hope that I can do this! Baste, quilt, make/sew on binding. No prob.

So that's what I've been up to. I am looking forward to a bunch more small finishes this month and a big one (my FW quilt) before I dive into some new quilts. I think I already have 6 or more quilts planned for this year (not including those already started), so I better get busy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Skill Builder Sampler: Month 7

Well, I thought about doing WIP Wednesday yesterday, but honestly I was so focused on getting my skill builder blocks done that I didn't even want to think about my list of other things to do until I did. So I did. And I am all caught up, just in time for the next block :) And next week I will get myself together and start keeping track of everything again.

This month was all about applique. I was pretty excited because it is something I was always too scared to try aside from some basic raw edge appliques. But as it turned out, more than learning how to applique, I learned that I pretty much hate it. The first block went off without a hitch, but then came the second. You know, the one where we actually learned to applique. And I did not enjoy it much. I am fairly happy with the end result, and I'm glad I tried all those different methods, but I have already taken the applique book off my wishlist haha. Consequently, the third block was whatever method you prefer so I did another raw edge applique block. Here they are!

Block #19 - Orange Windows
I kind of love this block. It's like cathedral windows without all the trouble. I chose to shift the pattern a bit because I liked it better that way since I see more circles than X's. I decided to mix up all the fabrics instead of grouping them by color and I'm glad, I love the way it looks. To place the pieces since I shifted it and couldn't use the diagonals, I used my cutting mat and folded to mark the center and then 3" on either side to make a grid to fit the pieces in. It seemed to work really well.

Block #20 - Circles
I was so excited about this one. I have been wanting to try circles for a long time. I wanted the block to be pretty filled, so I did 12 circles, one in each of my fabrics and did 3 of each of the methods. I started out trying to figure out circle sizes, but in the end I went into the kitchen and picked 6 circular things of varying sizes and started tracing. It made my life much easier. The circles that I used the cheater method for, I sewed down by machine so I could try out my blanket stitches and see which I liked; the rest were hand sewn. I guess needle turn was my favorite, but as I said, I really didn't like any of it much. I thought since I love to hand sew my binding, I would like this too, but apparently not. Ah well, I still like my finished block.

Block #21 - Applique pattern of choice
Sadly, I don't even remember where I saved the image for this from. But I cropped it into quarters and traced it....which didn't work great since the angles ended up all over the place and it didn't come together quite right, but I covered it up nicely and I think it looks pretty good in the end. The colors were chosen based on which fabrics I had big enough scraps from. I am really happy with how this turned out. Since my circle of diamonds didn't form correctly, I had to fuse them all down to make sure they would come together and then zig zag them like that, which I guess saved me time in the end instead of doing each individually.

And that's that. I am glad that I did it and I am also glad that it is done. And I can't wait to learn curves this month. There are a lot of curved blocks calling my name :) All in due time. For now, I have many other things to go work on. Now that I am not allowing myself to start another quilt until I have my list done, I am feeling pretty motivated. And of course all I can think about is quilts I want to make :) And by next week hopefully things will be feeling more back to normal around here as we settle into the new year.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Just words

Happy 2012!! I wonder how long it will take me to get used to writing that...Anyway, do you like the new look? New year, new look and all that. It was way time for a refresh. And after a nice relaxing long weekend, I am feeling so ready to tackle this year. Unfortunately, I am losing two days/week of sewing time to work for the next few months, but hopefully I can still be productive. I certainly do have a lot that I want to do this year.

One of the things I am planning to work on this year personally, is setting realistic goals for myself. I don't know if you've noticed this about me or not, but I'm a bit of an overachiever and tend to always have too much to do. While I know my list will always be way too long and never empty (which is a good thing I think), I need to work on breaking it down into manageable chunks. I did alright last year except when deadlines snuck up on me, but this year I want to do better. So for starters, I am not starting any new quilts until February. That is a pretty tall order for me since I have like 4 that I am itching to start, but I am going to hold myself to it while I knock a bunch of smaller things off my list that have been taunting me for way too long. I don't know if my Farmer's Wife quilt will be done by my birthday since I only have a bit over 2 weeks and I still haven't decided on a back, but I do hope to have it done by the end of the month.

I am almost caught up on my skill builder blocks, only 1 more to go so that when the next one is posted Friday, I can get right to it. The applique just takes so stinking long....But mostly what is on my list are little things. Snack bags, potholder things, stuff like that. The main problem I have right now is that I have too many hand projects going on right now. I am knitting one thing and have 2 others waiting, and I need to do my embroidery 101 blocks. And of course since I got a Nook for Christmas (I'm in love) I have a lot of reading to do too....and my free hours are just too limited. I'm not sure I can do much about that, but I'll keep trucking on and try not to add too much more. Bcome February 1st I fully plan to start a new quilt wherever I am with everything else :)

And really that's all I've got for today. Just some thoughts on a new year. I finished a few more things last week, a set of napkins and a new merrylegs doll, but I don't have pictures since they were finished in a bit of a rush. By the end of the week I should have my December skill builder blocks to show which I am pretty excited about. I can't wait to have the last one done. And then I begin to work my way down the list! Well I hope everyone had a lovely start to the new year!