Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Farmer's Wife QAL: 4 down, 107 to go! {+ Eli}

#41 Friendship Star
{sewed up pretty quick, right?}

#60 Noon & Light
{yeah, this one was a booger - LOTS of tiny pieces and it took forever... but I love how it turned out!}

4 down, 107 to go! Don't think about it Cristin, just do two every week and there will eventually be 111 done! Right? Right!

And I have to sneak Eli in too! He was lounging on the kitchen floor the other day and he stayed still long enough for me to snap a photo. This kind of stillness doesn't happen very often!

What's making you smile this week?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Farmer's Wife Quilt-A-Long!

I've been sucked in an there's no turning back now!
My book finally arrived from Amazon (they took forever!) and then of course I found out Joanns carries it in-store and I could have gotten it cheaper, and instantly. Sigh - I guess thats life.

Anyhow - here's the gist of it:
Join in the Flickr group, get your hands on the book and make 111 blocks, each 6" over the course of the next year or so. That's 2 blocks a week! Yeah, sounds manageable, right? I think so! Otherwise, I would NOT have added this to my sewing list.

The story behind the book is quite interesting, and I'm looking forward to reading through it as I make each block. Back in the 1920's a question was posed to the readers of The Farmer's Wife Magazine; "If you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you, in the light of your own experience, want her to marry a farmer?" Well I know very little about farming (although I've lived in Ohio my entire life) so this is kind of intriguing to me. Every now and then I think I'd like to be Amish... minus the no electricity thing. Cook, garden, and sew all day? I think I could do it!

So about the QAL: The blocks are very traditional, and there are a bunch of templates to help you cut out your fabric for each block. Now... you know I'm not a very traditional kind of girl, so I plan on using all my fav fabrics which will give a nice modern twist to the project! And these are all SCRAPS - no buying fabric for this quilt - unless I run out of scraps (not likely!) and need to supplement. Here are my larger scraps:

And... my smaller scraps!

Here are my very first two blocks!
They turned out a bit larger than 6.5" so I suppose I'll just trim them all down at the end.

"Spool" #84

"Economy" #29

I'll try to do one harder block and one easy block each week, just so I'm not stuck with all difficult blocks at the end. So what do you think? Am I crazy? Probably. Will I enjoy it and make time for it? Absolutely! I need to exercise my precision when it comes to piecing... so this Farmer's Wife QAL should do just that!

I'll be blogging and posting photos each week as well, so I can see my progress, and share it with all you lovely readers too! I know there are loads of people who read the Flickr group just to see everyone's blocks.... and that's fine to do if you're not up to the actual sewing part of it!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Keeping with the Banner Theme...

I've been on quite the banner kick lately: cards, bunting, a Banner Quilt, and now a tote bag!
This was a custom request from a fellow crafty gal in N. Kentucky I had met at the craft show I was a part of last December. Leslie is now putting together a MODERN craft show called Birds of a Feather Fair this coming November, I'm excited to be a part of it! If you're in the Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana area, check it out!

Anyhow, back to the bag:
I don't really use a tote bag pattern, I've made so many of them I know to cut the fabric about 20" tall and 18" wide, then I do french seams on all 3 sides, finish the top, and add straps - no biggie.
I pulled out some of my smallest pieces of scraps to make the little flags. The edges are finished so this bag can be washed and washed and the bunting should hold up for a long time!
I've been wanting to make my own bias tape so I bought a 1/4" size Clover at Joanns and used some of my Amy Butler quilting solid (kind of a taupe-y gray color) to make the line the bunting hangs on. The tape was a cinch to make! If you can't tell from the photo, the flags are free to flap in the breeze, they're only attached at the top! Fun!

Here's the back, same as the front, mainly. I did square off the bottom (aka adding "gussets") to give extra width to the bag, so it measures about 4" wide.

And... an inside pocket for good measure.
I'm thinking I may need a jumbo sized one for the pool this summer!
So now that this little project is done... I can start the Farmer's Wife QAL!!! Oh, you haven't heard of it? Well its all the rage... join in!!!
More about that tomorrow!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Banner Quilt for Eli - Finished!

I've been itching to make a quilt for Eli but life has been so busy lately (our house is now in contract - yay!) ... you know how it goes...
I decided to make time to put a fun Banner Quilt together and 4 days later, I had it almost done!
I was inspired by Rylee's Quilt, although it's a smaller girl version.

Technically, this is a wholecloth quilt which means each side is one whole piece of fabric, no blocks to be sewn together, which is why I went for it! Here are some other examples of (proper) wholecloth quilts on Flickr. Wholecloth quilts can be quilted VERY intricately, but I didn't go that direction, since this is only a play quilt for little man.
The front is a flat sheet from Ikea, the backing is half of a duvet cover also from Ikea... both already in my stash! I didn't spend a single dime on new fabric for this quilt, woohoo!

I did some loopy quilting on the mid-arm machine at my LQS, and to my surprise, I had it quilted in a little more than an hour! Yay! Its different from my normal (aka boring) stippling... gives it a bit of movement, and makes for a nice soft quilt!

I cut out the banners (or flags or bunting) from scraps and zig-zag stitched them to the top before it was sandwiched. Easy peasy! I finished that step in 2 sewing sessions. Then I added the string they appear to "hang" on, which is just selvedges sewn together end to end to stretch all the way across. I was winging it, can you tell?

After scouring my stash for binding options, I ended up pulling some brown wood grain (Joel Dewberry,) Kei Honeycomb in Red, and some mustard colored DS Quilts (Denyse Schmidt for Joanns) and I do love how the binding looks!

I realize this is not a quilt-show-worthy piece of art, but finishing it has really soothed my quilting itch while our home is in limbo! Plus I've been on a bit of a banner/bunting/flag kick lately, what does that say?
(oooh tomorrow I hope to post about a bunting tote bag I just finished too!)

Here's Eli testing out his new quilt... that face is him saying "oof" looking for doggies in the neighbors backyard.

Finished Size: 62" x 76"
Uses: rough-housing, tent building, dragging around, wrestling on, cuddling under, and picnicking

{One final photo of Eli and his Grammy}
Thanks to my little sister, Carla, for allowing me to play with her fancy SLR camera - I want one!!! It shoots like butter, er, slices like butter, or shoots like an NBA player? Its a sweet camera, end of story.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Girl Gifts

I've been on a gift kick lately! Baby showers, birthdays, bridal showers, graduations.... this time of year is always full of said events, right? I can't always MAKE a gift, but I was able to work it in for two lucky girls:

This fun banner and matching banner card was whipped up in an afternoon for a cousin who is graduating from high school. I hope she finds a spot in her dorm room at Case Western Reserve for it! So this is for the 18 year old...

And for the newborn:
A stroller quilt and two drool bandannas for a Friend's new baby girl to arrive this summer!

I just can't get enough of the drool bandanas! Eli has two and he wears them daily... teething just makes babies drool a lot, so why not stay dry in style? I love the pattern - two bibs whip up in 15 minutes or less! Its from the book Simple Sewing for Baby - if you're a beginner sewist, pick it up, you won't be disappointed!

Oh man, and this yellow Henna Garden fabric is one of my favorites... I had to sneak it into the quilt, and I love the robins egg blue binding... not too girly, but still feminine.

We went from 40F degrees to 90F in about a week, but who cares! Its time for boating, beach, pool, and the zoo!