Finishing up the Farmer's Wife

Just a quick post to say that I'm still here ... and still farming.  This weekend, I added the final borders on my FWQ.  It's now officially a completed top (squeal!!!) and too big to photograph in the house.

FWQ @ Armchair Quilter

Here it is sans final borders, which are 6" strips out of the blue yarn dye - same as sashing fabric.  The quilt measures 106.5 x 96 or so.  I will have to find my notes to be sure.  I was a bit surprised it turned out so large, considerably larger than the measurements for the queen-sized quilt in the book.  I wonder if anyone else encountered this issue?

Even though I was super careful with starching and handling, I had some issues with the bias pieces on the edges of the quilt.  The sides measured 1 inch wider at the ends of the long sides vs. the measurement through the center of the quilt and an half an inch variance on the crosswise edges.  I cut my borders for the average length, calculating the difference between the center and end measurements and easing with pins.  Hope that makes sense?  Anyway, I'm hoping the quilt lies flatter and I won't have any issues quilting this behemoth. 

FWQ @ Armchair Quilter

FWQ @ Armchair Quilter

I'll be back later this week with some outside "vanity" shots.

Armchair Quilter


Sashing Away

I've had to limit both my sewing and online computer time due to some back/shoulder/arm issues.  It's challenging, but slowly the FW quilt grows ...

It's about halfway sashed and I'm hoping to finish it up this weekend!!

Even though we don't experience much in the way of the changing leaves of Fall in the City, I love this time of year! The light is softer and the fog stays away (well, at least half the time).

Bento Box quilt

City Hall, San Francisco

-- Claudia


A "mini" mixer

Making a mini quilt feels satisfying considering my limited attention span these days (not to mention lack of sewing time).  We'll just forget all of those WIPs languishing in my sewing area.

Mini Mixer
11.5" x 11.5"
I needed to whip up something super quick for my friend's birthday.  Initially, I thought I'd make her some potholders; and I found this really neat paper pieced pattern but soon realized it would come out too large for a potholder.  I was severely pressed for time, otherwise, I would've resized it smaller.  As it was, I modified the pattern a bit and if I had more time, there are a few more things I'd change ... oh well, next time!

Here's the pattern and initial pieced block:

Pattern from href
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Inspired by this href

This has been a difficult last couple of weeks.  I've been dealing with back issues so I'm trying to limit both my sewing and computer time.  But I've been chipping away at some small things.  

Some progress on a hand applique (carry along) project:

Our hens are growing!  This is our "red".

I hope to share some progress on my Farmer's Wife quilt soon!  Here's a snapshot from our little "urban farm"!


111 Farmer's Blocks ... DONE!

Well, Hello there!

I'm back from a little break.  We took off the last week of the kids' summer vacation to embark on an almost 1,000 mile road trip through Northern California.  We visited a couple of colleges my son is interested in attending next year and saw a play at the Ashland Shakespeare festival in So. Oregon.  All in all, it was a good trip.

I prepped a little hand applique project to take along with me on the trip (pictured above), but I didn't make much progress.  However, I just finished block #111 on my Farmer's Sampler his weekend!  I'm SO excited and in a little disbelief that I made all of those blocks.  I have a couple of minor piecing "mistakes" to fix, but I don't intend on remaking any of the blocks.  This project has been a journey, and I want to look at my quilt in the years to come and enjoy the full span of blocks from beginning to end, even with some of the "funky" fabric choices and less than perfect piecing.

Pretty cool, huh?  I bought the sashing fabric at Beverley's this morning.  I have a fat quarter of a yellow print I'd love to use for the cornerstones but I only have the 1 FQ and I haven't been able to identify the print.  I wasn't able to find something similar at Beverly's so I'm not sure what I'm going to do.  I will try to find something this week.  We'll see.

Here's a few pictures of my goofy kiddos from our trip:


Fresh Crop of Blocks

I've been madly farming away.

Over the last couple of weeks, I managed to sew blocks #76 Sawtooth, through #89 Steps to the Altar.  That's 13 blocks completed!  And only 22 to go.  Yay!!

My new mantra is A Block a Day until my FWQ is complete.  I really want to finish this up so I can move on to work more intensively on other projects and explore some different avenues in quilting such as art/landscape quilts.

Farmer's Wife Sampler - various blocks

I didn't take individual pictures of all of these blocks and I will just show groupings and feature a couple of individual blocks from here on out.  It's really time consuming to photograph each and every block, retouch, upload to flickr and then to the blog.  *phew*  Photographing ones work is really useful though, as I have just noticed that I have a piece flipped on my Squash Blossom block.  LOL

Here are a few of my recent faves:

#80 Single Wedding Star
#83 Spider Web

Lately, I've been struggling with finding fabrics without reusing the fabrics I've already used several times over, and so I reached out to my fellow quilt blogger friend, Beth, aka Smazoochie  who generously agreed to send me some fabric scraps.  Well, she really saved the day!  Her packaged arrived yesterday and I immediate set to work on this one:

#89 Steps to the Altar
 I hope everyone is enjoying their Summer!  We are enjoying the great outdoors on the weekends and our cute little chicks (farming of a different sort).  I can't wait for eggs!!!

Kayaking at Shoreline Regional Park

Our chicks at about 2 weeks old


Summer ... in Full Swing

My kids are the 3rd and 4th from left

The kids are off school and occupied with their summer activities, and even though I have to work, I'm enjoying the somewhat relaxed schedule and especially the homework-free evenings.  We haven't gone on a vacation yet (that's still in the planning stages) but we managed to get away to Santa Cruz for a day to celebrate my youngest 12th birthday.

I've been chipping away at my FWQ and but needed a change of pace, so I decided to put together a simple picnic quilt top.

I raided my large stash of mainly Alexander Henry fabrics.  It's kind of strange because I tend to buy most of my quilting fabrics in fat quarters, but over the years, I've amassed a large amount of yardage of AH prints (1 yard or more).  So when I decided I needed the satisfaction of putting together a simple quilt with large pieces (blocks are cut to 18" with simple sashing), I naturally turned to my AH prints.  I used Essex cotton/linen blend for the sashing.  It's the first time I've used Essex, and I love the hand and texture of this fabric.  I purchased the Essex from my local Beverly's which recently has stocked a really nice selection of Kona solids, Kauffman muslin (very high quality), and some other quality choices by other manufacturers.  I almost overlooked the Essex as it was mysteriously stocked next to the baby flannels.

I'm quilting it already... about a third of the way done.

And these are my latest FWQ blocks:

#72 Railroad 

#73 Rainbow Flowers
#74 Ribbons
#75 Rosebud
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.


Can I bore you with yet more FW blocks?

Here's the whole she-bang for the year:

FW blocks
My apologies ... I was too lazy to move the lamp.

And the most current batch:

#67 Pine Tree

#68 Postage Stamp

#69 Practical Orchard

#71 Puss in the Corner

#72 Railroad
 That's it for now.  I noticed with my cut & pasting that my numbering system is a bit off, but I don't have my book with me so I'll have to correct this later.


Other than sewing a few blocks this past weekend, I undertook a major cleaning of my sewing area (ahem, bedroom/sewing room).

Where the magic happens!
I cleared out literally an entire kitchen-sized garbage bag of tiny scraps!  There was no way I was ever going to sew with these snippets and it felt great to let it all go.  The green wastebasket (in front of the armoire) is what remains of my scraps... all good sized pieces, and the plastic box next too it is overfowing with larger yardages I'll probably never use.  I'm going to try to gift to friends and/or the day camp my daughter attends. 

If all else fails, I'll try to giveaway here, but this is not trendy stuff ... mainly older, out of fashion fabrics and some blenders my well-meaning husband gave me that I'll probably never use.


Tending to the Farm

I had a little burst of activity on my Farmer's Wife Sampler:

#62 Old Windmill

#63 Ozark Maple Leaf
#64 Peace & Plenty

#65 Peaceful Hours

#66 Periwinkle
I have now completed 66 out of 111,with 45 to go!  I have no idea how others have finished their FW quilts so quickly.  If I were to simply focus on spending 100% of my quilting time on the FW, I'd quit quilting and probably hate myself too.  So I need to be realistic...  I could finish the blocks by the end of the year if I were to pick up the pace a little bit.  That's my goal (but don't hold me to it).

I have a question to those who blog and use flickr.  How are you editing your photos now that Picnik is no longer available?  I've tried Aviary and it stinks.  What I really miss is being able to "auto-correct" the exposure and color balance.  I'm not sure if the "enhance" feature in Aviary is similar to this? 


More indigo blocks

It's finally summer and I'm hoping to find some extra sewing time now that the kids' activities have slowed down somewhat. However, I woke up on Friday with a bad case of vertigo and ended up going to the ER.  I'm still feeling the effects, but I'm feeling better and the meds do help quite a bit.

I actually got some sewing done, even while my world was spinning (amazing how easily-quickly the brain can adapt to different situations!).

I decided to keep making blocks until I have a fair sized throw quilt ... maybe 90x70.  I figure I'll need 10 blocks by 7 or so.  We'll see.  I'm really enjoying the process of creating these blocks.

The hand piecing is relaxing...

...and the straightforward piecing.  I'm probably going to repeat these same blocks and maybe add some sashiko blocks - although I'm not sure how I'd quilt around the sashiko stitches.  What do you think?


Indigo blocks

Hey there, everyone, I realize I've been a bit sporadic with posts as of late.  Sorry about that -- the school year is nearing the end (last week!!!) and so there's been a ramp up in activities for school and the family.  I haven't had much time for sewing, but I spent a few hours playing on Sunday around with some of the blue & white fabrics I've been collecting.

The block patterns are from the book "Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix & Match" by Susan Briscoe.  I used a mix of Curious Nature (Parsons Gray) and an Alexander Henry print on an indigo Quilters' Linen by Kaufman.  The colors in person are so much more vibrant than what I was able to capture with my cellphone.

I'm not sure where I'm going with these ... perhaps a mini-quilt with some more swirl applique blocks and a few more pieced blocks?  What do you think?

Maybe a few blocks like the one pictured above ....


Quilt class and farming revisited

Last weekend, I took another landscape quilt class with my sister.  The class was taught be Linda Schmidt and was hosted by my sister's quilt guild.  We learned all kinds of cool techniques to build landscapes with fabric and how to use various kinds of embellishments.  Here are my little class quilts ... WIP.

Seascape (rocks in foreground made out of Tydek envelopes!)

Beach Scene (I have yet to add the water at top)

It was a full day class but we had to be cleaned up and out of the facility by 4:30, and there was SO much going on (demos, painting, drying, heating, etc.), that I didn't stop to take any pictures.  I learned so much, and excited with the prospect of utilizing all of the things I've learned such as painting fabric, using puff paint, various embellishments (Angelina fibers, liquid beads, etc.).


This weekend, I decided I needed to catch up with my Farmer's Wife blocks.  I've made a few here and there without documenting/blogging about them and put together several more over the last two days.

This is my little collection for 2012.  I'm up to 61, with 50 to go.  Ahhhhhrrrrgh.  I'm happy to have passed the halfway mark, but this is definitely a "love/hate" sort of project.  I really hate paper piecing tiny little pieces, so all of my recents are pieced with templates.  In cases where the templates aren't conventional sizes, I use freezer paper to cut out the shapes.  What I've lost in accuracy, I've surely made up in maintaining my sanity.  LOL.

Individual blocks can be found in my flickr stream.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Individually, they look kind of funky, but seeing them together is something else entirely; it's a spectacular jumble of quilt-y goodness.  This keeps me going, as well as seeing some amazing finished quilts in the flickr group.  I would be interested in hearing how others keep inspired while working on long-range projects.  ????  Leave a comment on what keeps you going.

Wishing everyone a great rest of the weekend and good start to the week!

Saturday walk at Oyster Point