Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Finally got a scanner so I can post the 8 Farmers Wife blocks that I have done so far.

Attic Window
I joined the Farmers Wife quilt along at yahoo groups and the Flicker Quilt along as well and finally can participate like I should. This is block 1 Attic window and if you are familiar with the book "The Farmers Wife" by Laurie Aaron Hird you may notice that I've accidently done the block in mirror image. Luckily, I think it still looks fine and the paper piecing of this block was a challenge. I began this quilt with fabrics from my stash with the idea that it will end up on my king size bed and after several fabric buys I might have enough for a good start. My final purchase was from Hancock's of Paducah was several Barbara Brackman civil war prints. I'm so excited!

So,I got in the car out in some terrible heat to take my cheap self to Walmart and buy a scanner. If it was fabric I'd just buy it but no. I had to agonize over the purchase.

The rest of the blocks.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Joined the local quilt guild in our town and the first meeting had a curved piecing class.

Bad Line Drawing
In February of this year I joined the local quilt guild here in Paragould. I've really been enjoying it and I've met a lot of nice ladies and learned a lot. They try to have each meeting have some sort of presentation or tutorial and the first one I participated in was one where we learned how to make curved seams. Something I had no desire to do. Why? Fear. Well, I can do them now.

They taught a technique where you stack two strips of fabric one on top of each other and take the rotary cutter and draw a GENTLE wavy line down the strip.  And then you sew the top left strip to the bottom right strip and vise versa.  Well that in itself may not seem like much but when you consider what you can do with that design, a lot of possibilities are arise. Our instructor brought two examples. One where the strips were cut into squares and shuffled to make and interesting ocean wave sort of pattern and sewn together to make a neat looking border. In another example she showed us was to make them narrower and use them for logs in a log cabin block. That got my mind to wandering and I came up with a few more ways to use the technique.

I went home and came up with making a flag with it.  I used a couple of fat quarters and a half yard of the redish batik and the white batik. As you can see I made it wider and then made more stripes. I did it two ways on the star section and then appliqued it oit othe striped panel. I used the decorative stitches on my machine to quilt sort of in the ditch and I think it turned out alright. It was sure fun to do! I did this for a very dear friend of mine who is very patriotic.

After I finished I had all these left over strips so I made another one for me. This time I threw away the end pieces and added one more strip at the bottom.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I found the coolest free software I've seen in a while....And it's free!

I was relaxing and reading on the Quilting Board website and found a post where they said they were using a free software to draft blocks with. So I went to Google and searched on the name she mentioned, Quilting Assistant and found it with no problems. All the Author requests is that if you want to support her work to send her quilting fabric. I thought that was really nice.

I have drafted about 6 blocks now and it was a real help on working out in my head how to put my "Farmers Wife" blocks together  I went thru the tutorial that was on their site and was amazed at how easy it was to learn. Here's the one I did last its called "broken sugar bowl".

Quilting Assistant will never be a substitute for Electric quilt but for now it's great! All I can say is thanks and then send some fabric.  I think it's so generous of them to share. The description on the website says

"Free software for designing quilts based on photos and drawing pieced quilt blocks with ease."

Still catching up!

I finished this little quilt in April, I had cut it out and taken everything I needed on my Florida vacation with me and made a good start but did not manage to finish it there. This is the vacation where I learned that even a tiny amount of alcohol and quilt making do not mix.But, I had a great time with good food, great company, and world class scenery as we were ocean front on Anna Maria Island. The pattern for this quilt came from the "Fat Quarter Quilting" book by Lori Smith. It was made from 5 fat quarters I had picked up at my great local quilt shop.

 I hand quilted it because it was so small and it was a real challenge. I could not seem to get it right. I finally found a thimble I could work with, I had tried many. It's made by Clover and has deep enough divets that I can sew without the needle slipping, my finger does not get over heated, and there is room for my nail without trimming it too close. I also like the ridge that comes out under your nail for pushing the needle thru in odd places. A silver one from Roxanne is on my want list but till I have a bit more disposable income I will be well content with this one that sells for a little over ten dollars. Its called the Clover open sided thimble for some reason and is adjustable so it saved me from trying to find just the right size.

Okay I have been really bad at posting but no time like the present to catch up!

I finished this quilt last fall and it is my first attempt at quilt-making since I took the habit back up after an extremely long hiatus.  Like 15 years or so..... 

Way back in the 70's I had bought a Singer Creative touch machine and it was a nightmare. Between my inexperience and the shops lack of assistance I hated the machine. I think they were glad to get my money and that was as far as I was going to go. I would tell them the machine would sew and there would be all kinds of loops and thread on the bottom the my stitching and they would service it for 20 bucks and tell me it needed it every 30 days and offer no assistance. Why a sewing machine should need servicing every 30 days is beyond me. I fought with that machine for years! I will never buy another Singer. 

All those evil people at that shop had to have told tell me was that the presser foot had to be in the up position when threading the machine! I even brought them samples. I finally read an article on Ebay, of all places, about fixing old sewing machines that explained my problem. Boy did I feel stupid!

Fast forward to last fall and I had given my sewing machine away to a brave relative and I sneaked into Hancocks and bought a Janome 8050. What an difference! It sews like a dream and is quiet and I don't have some arrogant shop keeper telling me that I have to keep paying monthly just to keep my machine working. But..... I do make sure the presser foot is always raised when I thread the machine. Got to Make sure the thread travels thru the tension disks. Okay maybe I have forgotten a couple of times, but I always know how to fix it.

Anyway, I found this Bali pop package in a shop in Evanston, Il and I thought they were the prettiest combination of colors I had seen in a while. This pattern I used is from "Two for One Jelly Roll Quilts" by Pam Lintott and Nicky Lintott. I still have enough strips for another quilt! The lesson I learned on this quilt is to always cut the border along the selvages or in other words along the straight of the grain (the non-stretchy side). I cut my borders crossways and my borders got kind of wavy especially after free motion quilting. Well, you live and learn. I's still pretty and only another quilter will notice my borders, I hope.....