Thursday, February 16, 2012

Farmer's Wife Sow-Along

The idea of sew-alongs have always had some magic for me.  I really like the idea of a lot of people working on the same pattern but coming up with different things.  That's been a favorite idea of our American Sewing Guild group, and of my very favorite family sewing group.  We love to work on things and then do sew and tell.

Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay quilt was fascinating, a mystery involving sewing.  The quilts turned out beautifully, but it went a bit fast for me.  I don't have all THAT much sewing time to start with, and I've got lots of projects going.

I've mentioned before how I love books.  And books about sewing are just a bonus!  Last year I bought a book about Wisconsin Quilts, the Dear Jane pattern book, and Jennifer Chiavarini's Sylvia's Wedding Quilt book.  Additionally I recently acquired digital copies of the first three of what I'm sure will be annual editions of 100 Quilt Blocks magazines.  So I really didn't need another compilation.

Last week I was surfing the web over my lunch hour and found the Farmers Wife.  It looks so familiar, maybe because it's another collection. Or maybe because since I love sewing, books and history, not necessarily in that order, I already have it???  No, that's not the case.

OK, so I broke down and ordered a copy from Amazon.  Hey, with a couple of other things adding up to $25 shipping is free, and I didn't even spend any gas or time to get it, so it's a bonus.

So this morning when checking out yesterday's Quiltville blog, guess who's talking about the Farmer's Wife?  Yes, you guessed, it's Bonnie!  Hey, if SHE can find time to do a sew-along, maybe I can too.

So I hopped over to Randy's blog, the Barrister's Block at  Feel free to go and look.  She's calling it a SOW-along, because that's what farmers do, sow seeds.  My DH was never a farmer, guess mine will have to be called phone guy's wife, or grumpy's wife, or maybe grampa's wife.  What do you think of that?

It's 111 blocks at 6" finished, the book has templates but no patterns.  But they're going to do only SIX A MONTH.  Hey, this is my speed!!  If I can do more when I have time, I might even finish this one at the same time everyone else does.  It's on the 2 year plan -- do the math.  I am liking this!

All I have to do is scout out a background color and I'm in business.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Quilting With Friends

I'm at a quilt retreat this weekend, and I have to say that the most fun I've ever had sewing has been with these ladies!  They are part of our Friday night sewing group, my friends as well as my relatives. 

The view while you're eating breakfast.

My favorite thing to do is sew, and my second favorite thing to do is visit with friends, so you can imagine how happy I am to be doing both at the same time.  Oh, and my philosophy about strangers is that they are just friends you haven't met yet.

We're going to spend some time working on one project or another from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon.  We'll also spend some time visiting some cousins who live in in the town we're in, whom we don't get to see a lot.  But when we're here, we make a point of visiting, eating and laughing and talking.  My cousin's youngest daughter will be getting married this spring so I'm sure the conversation will be lively!

Another cousin is a relatively 'new' sewist, what we call in Sewing Guild an older beginner.  I promised to sit  near her and make sure she has all the help she needs to do a finished project. 

Two aunties will be along this time.  One doesn't sew.  Well, she says she doesn't sew although she knows how, but she does beautiful redwork embroidery by hand and that counts.  But she's a great 'ironer'... and when we get together, that's her task, ironing pieces for other sewists.  (I can say the word 'sewer' but when you type it, it looks so much like the word for the plumbing refuse system that I resist!!)

Wherever you are this weekend, I hope you're with people you love, or people you really like a lot, and you're doing something fun together.

Sew long for now!

Where have I been and where am I going?

Oh my goodness dear reader/followers (both of you!)... I visited my blog at lunchtime today and realized that I haven't posted in a week!  So belated happy Valentine's Day, and I'll try to be more current.

Last posting I wrote about making sample blocks and what I do with all those 'oprhans'.  I made another one last night (no pic, sorry).  I saw the quilts my aunt and cousins brought back from the quilt retreat last fall and wanted to see if I could figure it out.  It was called 39 And Counting.  You can see a picture of it in the fall 2011 newsletter for Quinessential Quilts in Reedsburg, here:  QQuilts Reedsburg Newsletters

I took my paper and pencils down to the sewing studio (basement) and did a little drawing.  I started with a two color four patch from a light print and a dark print.  Easy, no challenge there.  Then I put skinny 'logs' in what looks like a solid color on opposite sides and trimmed them until they looked right. 

Now I do not have a pattern for this, but I did examine Amy's quilt last Friday so I have a pretty good picture in my head!  We'll see if I'm close!

After pressing, I went back and measured the pieces of the almost solid, and wrote that down on my drawing.  I took the two prints and cut them long enough to cover half the resulting block size plus a half inch.sewed the strips together on the short sides using a quarter inch seam allowance.  I sewed these on the opposite sides first, lining up the center seams as well as possible with the center four patch.  I pressed and trimmed.  Then I measured those pieces and wrote that on the drawing too.

The last step was to repeat the process for the two remaining sides.  Now I measured the block.  Hey, 9 1/2 inches!!  Cool.  I started with 2 1/2 inch strips, because I have a whole bin full of those, and the solid frame around the four patch was cut down to 1 1/4 inches. 

The colors I used were dark green, a tone on tone of pale green, and a bright lime green.  It's a totally different look than what the cousins made at the retreat -- they used black & white prints and either one color or many solid colors for the frames.  But I have LOTS of green fabric.  Tons.  And I never saw anything that didn't go with green.

Knowing the sizes of strips and squares I need, I'm going to make a kit for this pattern and make 30 of these squares for an actual quilt.  I haven't decided what color scheme to use yet.  I think I have to look at this green square for a while to see if any inspiration comes to me.  Or maybe I need to make one more with different colors.  I was thinking maybe greens with a black frame, or blues with another color.  Or red and white??  Hmmm.

This is the part of sewing or actually any craft that I like the best.  Picking the materials, choosing color combinations, planning it in my head.  I actually have too many ideas sometimes, they get jumbled in my head and I lose track of them.  I try to stay organized, kitting things up in baggies or plastic bins.  My DD bought me a label gun for Christmas one year, and I use it!  But this year I committed to actually finishing some of those projects.

The winter quilt retreat starts this Friday.  I'll be packing up my project kits and traveling tomorrow afternoon.  There IS that bargello quilt that's being taught and that's all cut and ready to go.  But I'm taking along a few other things, in case I get bored.  That's one of my problems, and why lots of things go on the five year plan.  Unless there's a deadline. 

I did finish the quilt top I did after the last retreat I attended a couple of years ago.  It's a beautiful top, lovingly pieced and complete with borders.  Maybe one of these days it will actually become a quilt!!

Keep on stitching!