Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What was I thinking???

For me, quilting is a creative outlet. I love collecting inspirations on Pinterest, doing random Google searches, browsing magazines and books, finding just the right quilt to make... then I go fabric shopping (whether online, at a store, or just in my closet), picking colors and patterns... spending hours putting it all together and creating a quilt top. This is what draws me to quilting. I get to be the artist with fabric that I could never be with a pencil or paintbrush...

But a quilt top is not a quilt... more steps need to be taken... I found over the years that when I tried to do my own topstitching (usually stitch in the ditch), I always liked the quilt less after is was quilted, as my stitching was far from perfect... I always thought to myself "what a waste of all that work"... 

Then I discovered long arm quilting and never looked back. I have loved every quilt I've made that was topstitched by someone else! I am a firm believer in the fact that you don't need to like every aspect of a hobby. If you do parts of it well, and someone else can do other parts for you, it doesn't make it any less your project. For me, it comes down to piece of mind. I don't want a hobby that is full of disappointments. I want it to stay creative and enjoyable. 

So, what then, was I thinking when I started doing this?:

ACK! Random meandering stippling! On my own home sewing machine...

I was thinking that post on Pinterest made it look like it wasn't so bad, and I should give it another try... Apparently I was not thinking it through... (sigh) 

I can only do a little bit at a time. I have to walk away often. It frustrates me. But I will finish it and I will eventually have it on my bed, where no one has to see it but me and J. Mostly, I will finish it because I need to get back to sewing something enjoyable, like my farmer's wife blocks, and this is not something you can just tuck away for another time. It's in the machine, and it's stuck there, needle down when not in use...



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fixed it

The blue still makes it look dark to me, but I can live with this brighter version.

Two more

The next two Farmer's Wife blocks are done.

Birds in the Air (on the left): The red fabric is not one I like, but I read somewhere that if you don't like a fabric, you obviously haven't cut it up small enough. I thought this pattern might be a good place to use it, as those half square triangles are only an inch in size... And I do like how it turned out. (can you find the little bit of pink?)

Bouquet (on the right): Love all these fabrics, but not together like this... The block seems very dark with all that blue, and the purple blends too much... I think if I take out the purple and replace it with something bright, it'll be better. Or replace the blue with something lighter...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday catch up

It's been a busy few days...

First up, the farmer's wife blocks I made on Thursday

Applique has never been my favorite thing, but somehow that basket handle had to get on that block, so I gave it a whirl. It's not the best, but it'll do.

Saturday evening was spent at one of my bestie's houses (thanks L!). I had to borrow a floor space large enough to sandwich together a queen size quilt (another one of my many "Works in Progress").

This is what you see after two hours, 200 safety pins and a bottle of wine. All ready to be quilted! Sewing the layers together is my least favorite part of making a quilt, but I am going to learn to love it (~cringe~).

These blue fabrics were collected over several years... A fat quarter here, a half metre there, a bit leftover from another project... I finally decided to do something with them last summer. I cut them into strips, then sewed three random strips together and cut those into square blocks, and into a bag they went. I randomly drew blocks out of the bag and sewed them together with the only rule being that no two fabrics could be side by side... This was a very difficult exercise for me as I am quite a perfectionist and like pattern... I don't "do" random easily. But once the top was together, I had to put it away and do something un-random for a while...

Then, in December, a new queen size (gasp!) bed arrived in our home. Along with it came new sheets, but we are still fighting over using the double quilt from the last bed... So, it was time to dig out the "random" quilt and get it finished up. 

Here now is today's Farmer's Wife blocks, with a salute to St. Patrick's Day thrown in. 

I'm thinking that this quilt is going to very interesting when all is said and done... It is definitely not traditional fabrics at all.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

You've Got Mail

Don't you just love it when things arrive in the mail??? I had ordered batting from Connecting Threads in the States (so much cheaper than buying it locally by the metre) for my D9P quilt, and figured that I would grab a few other things while I had a shipment coming anyway... So I also ordered a charm pack of Classic Dot fabric, some thread, and a book called "The Farmer's Wife".

And being the type of person I am, I had to start reading right away.... And pretty soon, reading wasn't enough and I had to start creating a new project! The only criteria that I'm giving myself is that I am going to use only fabric that I already have, and every block has to have an element of pink in it. Traditionally these blocks would have been made in earth tones, but those are not the colors that typically catch my eye, so they are a rare find in my fabric stash. Instead, I've decicided my Farmer's Wife quilt will be a bright and lively modern version of a classic.

Block #1 Attic Windows.  Not sure how I ended up with a mirror image of the original pattern (?), but it's a keeper anyways.

(still wishing I had a new camera... sigh) 

Block #2 Autumn Tints.   Note to self: if using directional fabric, try to keep the direction straight next time. 

I also found a group on Yahoo that has lots of tips, tricks and pictures from other members who are making their own blocks and quilts from this book.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

D9P quilt progress

Cut a block into quarters, turn pieces, sew back together in pairs, press, sew the halves together, press, do this three more times, sew these four together to make one block...  then... repeat... many, many, many more times... It seemed endless... Then I thought, maybe I should streamline it; cut a bunch, sew those all into pairs, iron them all, sew all those halves together, iron them all... ...repeat... 

Goodness... what was I thinking???  This was not a project for one day or even a weekend! 14 hours of cutting/sewing/pressing later (spread out over 2 days)... 

Voila! We have a quilt top! 

Or do we? ... It doesn't look finished to me... Something is missing...

Then I put my finger on it. It doesn't have a border! All artwork looks better with a frame. This quilt needs to be framed. Guess it's back to the quilt shop, since I have absolutely nothing in my fabric stash that will go with this... (ok, maybe I do, but any excuse to go fabric shopping!)

(This picture shows the colors more accurately. It's predominately purples)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Work in Progess

Disappearing Nine Patch
(someday I will get a better camera... in the meantime, please bear with me)

Step one: Start with a basic 9 patch block, each square cut to 2 1/2", and sewn together like this: 5 squares of the patterned fabric, and 4 single squares of different shades of a single color. The finished block will measure 6 1/2".

  Step two: Cut your block in half horizontally and vertically. 

Step three: Rotate your pieces a quarter turn, all the same direction. I went clockwise. 

Step four: Sew your pieces back together in their new arrangement. 

 I then sew four of these together to make my new 11 1/2" block. 

This is my quilt in progress. On the left, the shrinking pile of 9 patch blocks, and on the right, the growing pile of D9P blocks. I am making it four blocks by six blocks, which should measure 44x66" when finished; a nice sized lap quilt.