Friday, July 22, 2011

Miniature X String and Farmer's Wife (of course)

A quick post to catch up. Well, kind of, because I've been working on my DQS miniature and have not taken any pics yet. Also, I'm a little confused on whether or not I've posted all my Farmer's Wife blocks made so far. I'm sure they won't be missed for now.

Since I was finishing up the Fresh Lemons Quilts quilt and then used the slivers to make a wallet I decided to use the fabrics that were out and play with making a mini-string x. Nice and citrus-y and bright! Kind of makes me think of Fruit Loops - limey green, lemon yellow and orange-orange. (Yes, I know it's supposed to be raspberry red).

Like my last little mini, it needs borders. I'll have a small pile to finish up if I keep jumping from projects I should be working on to spur of the moment projects.

One thing about using the paper piecing method with these little blocks was the seams were not pressed in the right direction. So I had to "un-press" and "re-press" them. Tedious and aggravating to say the least. Basically, the first row of blocks top to bottom should be pressed down, the next row all up, next down, etc. Believe me, I will remember that the next time around. I just figure any little lumps or bumps from my over zealous pressing will be quilted out. Overall, I like it and might do another down the road.

Don't you like how the white makes all the bright colors pop even more!

Now for the Farmer's Wife. A few basic and rather blah blocks. I'm considering skipping blocks that just don't call to me and substituting them with others. Why I made a greenish block for the aqua/red I don't know but I did. there is going to be some green in the blocks but I think this one is a bit much. We shall see.

So, here is block 10 Box in scrap and "aqua/red" (haha):

 And Block 10 Bowtie in scrap and aqua/red:


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fruit Slivers Wallet Tutorial

Yesterday morning I found a project that I had forgotten about. I could not believe how much I had finished on it and have no idea why I put it away. It's a bright, fun, and fast quilt to cut out and sew from a free pattern by Fresh Lemon Quilts at

I finished up the blocks then squared them to 9.5" as the pattern directed. What I ended up with was this:

Now I can be a bit anal about throwing out fabric. After all, a wise woman once said that even those little bits and pieces of fabric still cost you X amount of $'s per yard. (You fill in the X). But these were just slivers. Some 1/4", some a hair bigger. But! an idea popped into my head, so, getting totally side tracked from what I started out to do, I went with the flow.

Here's what I came up with.

Cut a piece of Pellon 4.5"x8.5" (longer if you want a flap that is longer than 1 1/2"). Lay out strips along the length. I put a wider one on the edges. Stitch across one short edge to hold the strips in place. Pin the top and bottom to an ironing surface.

Use short strips of your choice to weave through the longer strips. I used a pair of forceps to grasp each piece and pull it through. I kept it clamped and using my other hand I snuggled each strip up to the top. The idea is to cover the white Pellon. 

The strips do not need to be perfectly aligned. If they are slightly angled, no biggie. Don't you like projects that are so laid back?

This will be a tri-fold wallet so I estimated where the folds would be. My folds are at approximately 3 1/4" and 7".  I used a wider strip of fabric on the folds to support opening and closing a little better.

After weaving, carefully move the piece to your machine and stitch around the edges. I actually did mine from the top by just feeling where the edges were as I stitched.

This is the other side after stitching around the edges. Trim an 1/8" to 1/4" outside the white pellon piece to leave fabric for raveling.

Top stitch using threads to match or contrast. Use zigzag, straight, or the fun stitches on your machine you rarely use. I went down and across most strips of fabric. Dont' worry, it's really fast.

In order to have 1/4" or so of my card peeking out at the top the pockets were made at 1 3/4" deep. Measure about 2 1/2" up and fold fabric right sides together. Press edge. Accordian fold the fabric (just like the fans we did in kindergarten) to make 2 or 3 pockets. Loosely place it on top of the pellon piece and eyeball where to fold two pockets to fit inside the center area. (I will add measurements for this soon).

Two pockets (rejected fish fabric lining):

Three pockets but hard to see in this fabric. I tore the strip of orange fabric to encourage fraying. The pocket edges were not easy to distinguish so after pressing each pocket I used a sliver and stitched along the edge of each pocket. Just a bit more of cute.

Then place the lining with pockets on the pellon and stitch around the outer edges. Stitch along the fold lines

Having not thought of how I wanted to fasten the wallet before reaching this point I decided to use a button and wrap strip. I zigzaged down a piece of fabric and tore it off which made it curl and ravel. I stitched on a button and hand stitched the frayed strip below. 

Completed wallet. I so love the colors and frayed edges.

I think there will be more wallets to come. Some options could be to cut the fabric outside the pellon about 3/8" and do a seam around the wallet and turn it so the edges are smooth. Or leave more of the strips hanging outside of the wallet and add beads or charms or knot. Closures could be changed to a snap which would need to be put on before the lining is attached. Or, gasp, Velcro. It could have a tab and snap or tab and button or wrap all the way around the wallet. Maybe tie?

Either way, I enjoyed the process and would love to hear your thoughts on this project.


Friday, July 15, 2011

DQS 11

I was lucky enough to get a spot in the Doll Quilt Swap 11. My partner may be disappointed that I'm not asking more questions or posting fabric possibilities. When I received her info and stalked her photos I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Sorry partner, no sneak peeks. Well, maybe eventually, but I would second guess myself to death from any comments.

If you are not familiar with DQS (Doll Quilt Swap) click on the button on the right and you will get to see some amazing little quilts and read about the swaps.

The link to the Farmer's Wife Quilt-A-Long is functioning now too.

The little pest, D.C., being sweet. He gets mad because I don't allow him in the sewing room. He likes to jump on the table by my iron. But if the door is not shut tightly he jumps at it until it opens and sits in the window if he can sneak past me. I'm sure this cat would use all of his nine lives quickly if he weren't monitored.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gadget Girl

Baby Kish wanted to share one of her favorite gadgets - the bobbin donut.

In the old days bobbins came unwound, got tangled up, could never be found (until after you'd wound a new one thanks to Murphy's Law).

Now, ta-dah, the bobbin donut keeps them neat and organized. It has even been dropped and all the bobbins stayed in place. The only bad thing about it; I only have one. Joanns has the Bobbinsaver for around $7.50. Worth every penny.

It's sitting on top of another recent spur-of-the-moment purchase. It's not always a good idea to go into Joann Fabrics armed with a 40% off coupon but this time it paid off. Since I didn't find what I had gone in for that day I decided to not waste the trip and buy this ironing - pressing - organizer thingy by Dritz.

Love it. It's so nice to be able to lay the blocks on the grid and to iron them right there. Helps from getting them out of order. I have my machine sitting on top of it too and it seems to help with keeping the noise and vibrations down a bit when my lead foot steps on the pedal. You can lay out an entire miniature quilt on it. See my July 4th post. It was a sanity saver for keeping it all in order. I know it saved a lot of time.

By the way, on the table is Farmer's Wife, Block 1, Attic Windows in red and aqua. Almost forgot to make it after doing the scrappy version.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sew little done

Ahhh, for another full day sewing. I'm ready.

The table mess was cleaned up with minimal side-tracking. You know, you see a block, you draw a quilt. You see a project started, you find a few more fabrics for it. Etc. Etc.

I'm getting behind a bit from where I want to be on my Farmer's Wife blocks. Made a mistake of working on one last night again. Duh. And right after the "shouldn't sew at night" post. Best to save the simplest ones for night - like 9 patch types.

There was a plan in regards to sewing a scrap version too. 1. Use up scraps (of course). 2. Figure out if there needs to be any fudging. You never know when a book has a typo or error. 3. Not waste any of my purchased-especially-for-this-quilt fabric. I would hate to run out of one I really like and not find it again. It happens. I know.

One did get finished - Periwinkle, block 66. My edge was off slightly but I'll just line it up with the sashing and have a slightly smaller seam on this block. It will work. Been there, done that.

FW, Block 66, Periwinkle

With the "no sewing at night in mind" and the peace and quiet in the house (for a while) I think I'll head off and do a block or two or three.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Awww. Mom.

Awww. Mom. Do I have to clean my room?

I remember seeing a sign that stated "a cluttered desk is the sign of a brilliant mind". What about a cluttered sewing table? A creative mind? Yeah. I like that. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Unfortunately, it makes it really hard to cut when your 3'x6' cutting table only has about 12" of space to use.  Darn it! I hate having to spend so much time organizing before I start to play. Mom's are so mean sometimes.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

I cannot sew at night

I often read about people who are up all night sewing and have tons of magical finished goodies in the morning. Kind of like the elf and the shoes fairytale.

Not! me!

I am a morning person and need to face the fact and sew early in the day. What happens at night are mistakes and frustration and mistakes and anxiety. Sewing should not create anxiety.

So last night I did get a couple blocks done. The simple block 6 - the Big Dipper. It uses quarter square triangles and I can handle those.

But block 1 - Attic Windows - was a different story. Thought I could just look at it and basically figure my measurements but something was off. So I dismantled a bit, drew it on graph paper, cut it apart, stitched it together, and something was off. Comes down to my seam for the triangles are 1/8" instead of 1/4". Grrr. The scrap one is done but I don't like the corner fabric. Another downfall from sewing at night? Maybe. Funny thing is the templates I drew matched up with what I had cut so it was my sewing that was off. It might be adjusted to change the corner fabric or redone after I do the aqua/red one. Maybe.

When do you sew?

Block 6 Big Dipper

Block 6, Big Dipper

Block 1, Attic Windows

I'm catching up! Only just over 100 more to go.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Farmer's Wife - 5 more blocks!

These blocks are addicting! Finished up 5 more yesterday. The Flickr group just started week 6 so I should have 12 blocks (24 since I'm doing two quilts) done. Feeling pretty good getting 8 done in just a few days. Picking out the simpler ones for now.

The down side of the book is there are no measurements for the templates. There is a disk to print out templates and I've read that the author is coming out with an updated book this Fall that will include rotary cutting instructions. At this time (since my printer is out of ink and I forget to buy it when I'm out) I'm just drawing them out myself or just using the pictures as a guide. If mine come out a wee bit different than everyone else's then I'm okay with that. I actually like drafting them.

A few of the blocks are the same pattern with different names so I might try to replace them with other 6" blocks.

Trying to find more aqua/red fabrics and spent way too much time on the computer yesterday tracking down possibilities. Thought I would be able to use a very contained selection of fabrics but just can't. I'm a scrapaholic and have to go that route.

Friendship, block 39                                                .

Friendship, block 39                                                 .

Basket Weave, block 4. I did a variation.

Basket Weave, block 4 as in the book.

Flock, block 34 See previous post for scrap version.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Farmer's Wife

I completed two, well 3, blocks in the Farmer's Wife book. One in a controlled color way of aqua and red and two from bits and pieces of my scrap bag. I'm determined to get the smaller scraps down and out of the scrap bag.  I've decided that when I pull a scrap out and use it once that it will not go back in the bag. I'll use it in combination with another scrap in the next block. This way it will really go away and it will add a bit of continuity to the blocks. The only exception is if I can get a 1 1/2" square out of it as I'm working on a postage stamp quilt as a leader/ender project. The itsy bitsy slivers will get thrown outside for the birds to use to decorate their nests.

Here are the few I've finished so far. They are on week five so I should have 10 but I'll  catch up soon. Take a peek at the Flickr group to see the variety of blocks and fabric choices. I love both the modern brights and the traditional fabrics.

Block 55 -  Linoleum. Did a little fussy cutting on this one to get the plaids more centered.

Block 55 - Linoleum   Fussy cut to center a flower. Ironed it differently too. You can tell. Totally different feel using bright moderns.

Block 34 - Flock  Traditional fabrics. Note I used a bit of the brown from the previous block. Gotta use those scraps up!

Til tomorrow. Sweet dreams.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A whole year? !!

Yikes! Has it been that long? Sure makes for a cranky human being when you don't allow yourself time to do what you love. Thankfully, I don't have to relearn how to sew but it may take a bit to relearn the blogging ropes.

This has been a busy get-back-into-sewing week and it feels sooooo good!

To kick it off I joined two Flickr groups last week - Doll Quilt Swap and The Farmer's Wife Quilt-A-Long.

The first group is (rather obviously) a group for making small, miniature sized quilts. My gosh but people are talented in the group. I'd been seeing posts for this group for quite a while but could never seem to catch where to go to join so I was thrilled to have finally found them. I only hope I get a place in the next round!

With that in mind I worked up a miniature 9 Patch and Snowballs quilt in just 2 days, July 1st and 2nd. No one was fed and the dishes piled up but did I ever enjoy just sewing. Still needs another border, a very dark brown, I think. The blocks are 1.5" each and were surprisingly easy to make. Just lots of exact cutting, sewing, and trimming. It's from a pattern in an older Miniature Quilts magazine. Isn't it so darn cute!

The Farmer's Wife group is a "support" group to help motivate and inspire you to finish all of the 111 six inch blocks from The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt by Laurie Aaron Hird. I think I'll need that motivation (or at least a good kick in the butt now and then). The goal is to complete two blocks per week. I'm late joining so have a bit of catching up to do. Tomorrow I'll share my first blocks and maybe even get another done before I post.

Feels good to be back!