Thursday, June 30, 2011

The French General and the Farmer's Wife . . . .

Doesn't that sound like the title of a bodice ripper romance novel, or at the very least a bad made for TV movie on Lifetime? I can hear the promo now, "It's an age old story of intrigue, drama, deceit and unrequited love, the French General and the Farmer's Wife".

Well I'm sure there will be some drama, time will tell on the rest of the story, but here's the real skinny on this story, I've decided to join a little sew along, me and 300 of my nearest and dearest friends.

Angela at Fussy Cut
decided to organize a sew along for the sampler quilt, The Farmer's Wife, by Laurie Aaron Hird.

I've looked at this book and the Dear Jane sampler book several times and always thought the same thing, that would be a fun project . . . . sometime. Well it looks like my sometime is here. Seeing all the adorable blocks pop up on other folks blogs really piqued my interest. It was all the fun and colorful fabrics that appealed to me the most, that and the fact that the sew along is for only two blocks a week. Two blocks a week for a year that is! But I'm not going to worry about that today, all I need to think about today is two blocks a week. I'm getting a late start, this is already week 5!

One of the reasons I'm getting a late start is I could not decide on my fabric. (I told you, this story has drama, fabric drama.) At first I was just going to use whatever fabric I had in my scrap box, but my scraps are mainly red and cream, and that wouldn't make a very interesting Farmer's Wife. Then I decided I would just go with some of my Civil War reproduction fabrics. I thought that would look good, and that was sort of the plan I always had in the back of mind when I contemplated starting this project, but the thing that really pushed me to join the sew along were the modern looking, colorful blocks. Sherri's blocks at A Quilting Life were my absolute favorites. So I decided to try something different, something I've not seen yet, I'm going with my French General fabrics. (shocking I know, me making a quilt using FG fabrics, this will be number 7!) There are enough lines out now that I think I will have enough variety to make an interesting top.

So I've finished the first 6 blocks. I started with Block Number One and plan to make my blocks sequentially. (Of course I am, who wouldn't start with block one, then go to block two, then three, isn't that just the only way to go!!)

Those are all Kaari Meng's French General fabrics for Moda, can you believe it? Some Maison de Garance, Pom Pom de Paris, Rural Jardin, Rounneries, and Fa La La La La. My plan is to use Turkey Red as my sashing and have a little red in each block. (Yes, I know, that basket needs a handle!!)

It's hard to tell from this picture, but my blocks finish at 4 inches, the normal finish size is 6 inches. Because making 111 quilt blocks over the course of a year was not enough of a challenge for me, no I wanted to work on my math skills along the way! Truthfully, the 6 inch blocks make a king size quilt, and I don't want a king size Farmer's Wife quilt, and I don't want to omit any blocks, so I decided to just make mine smaller. Some of the blocks have several pieces so it will be interesting to see how it all works out in the end.

I'm not sure I'm going to stick with the 2 blocks a week plan, I may just pick a day a month and make as many as I can in that one day.

This is my French General scrap drawer, and the fabric I'm using for my blocks. I don't want to drag this drawer out and go through it every week, once a month sounds better, or maybe twice a month so I can get caught up.

I made my first 6 blocks on Tuesday, while Cooper was at doggy daycare and I had the house to myself. No more blocks for me until next month, which technically is Friday! Several folks have blogged about these blocks being addictive, I could not agree more!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One More Piece in the Puzzle . . . .

I'm still working away on my Red and White Quilt Show Tribute Quilt.

There were several quilts in the show with different takes on the Irish Chain pattern. This one was my favorite, I think it was just the simplicity of the pattern.

This quilt was hung in the interior bottom of Pavilion Four and is quilt #898.

Here's my version.

My blocks are a little smaller and the quilt has fewer blocks. I'm thinking this piece will be easy to fit in anywhere in the overall scheme of things.

My little quilt finished at 23" x 23" and has 766 pieces. The bigger 9 patch blocks finished at 4.5 inches, the small 9 patch blocks finished at 1 1/2 inches.

So 2 down, I don't know how many more to go. I maybe need to work on a piece that has more red than white in the pattern.

I was surprised how easy those little pieces fit together and enjoyed working with the smaller blocks. One thing that made that easier was my Go Cutter.

I don't really have a need for little teddy bears, cats, or hearts or all the other whimsical designs that machine can cut, but one thing that did appeal to me about using a Go Cutter was cutting strips. Not so much as a time saver, although it is, but for accuracy. I used my Go Cutter to cut the one inch strips I needed to make my little 9 patch blocks.

I also used the one inch strip die cutter to cut my strip sets, and it worked like a breeze.

I lined up my strip sets with the seams running the opposite direction of the cutter. To make sure they didn't move I taped them in place.

Then I cut them. This was such a time saver. I cut all 200 pieces in less than 5 minutes. I think it would have taken at least an hour to cut all those tiny strips by hand, one by one.

I've not mentioned my GO Cutter on my blog before because I paid for mine and didn't want you to think I was being asked by Accuquilt to promote their product. I've not seen anyone blog about cutting strip sets so I thought I would share that with you.

Now that I have mentioned it I will say this, I would consider the GO Cutter a nice to have tool in your sewing room, definitely not a must have. But if you were like me, and wondering if you would use it, I think you'll be surprised how much you do use it and how much time it saves. I really love my GO Cutter.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer . . . .

Who came up with that term, "lazy days of summer"? There aren't any lazy days at my house, summer or otherwise. It's rare for me to even be doing just one thing at a time, I like to do 2 or 3 things at once. It drives my family crazy, I hear, "can't you just sit down", and "don't you ever relax" all the time.

So while there are no lazy days here, you wouldn't know it by my quilting output.

I'm still working on Evening Bloom. My Blackbird Design needle turn applique project. (Speaking of Blackbird Design, they have a new fabric line coming out that is primarily blue, and I love it, shocking I know!)

This is block 4, which I think looks like the mustache of an invisible man. I was supposed to have this block done by the first of the month, I'm hoping it's done by the end. But I'm still enjoying it, so that's all that matters.

I'm also working away on my Red and White Quilt Show Tribute Quilt.

I've made some pretty good progress, but the majority of my work has been in my head or on paper.

I would like my quilt to look something like this, nothing but red and white quilts, all patterns, shapes and sizes.

After studying the quilts in the show I decided I wanted the Tree of Life pattern to be the center of my quilt.

There are several Tree of Life quilts in the show, different settings, different tree patterns. This is quilt number 1056 and was hung in the interior middle of Pavilion One.

So here's what I've got so far. This section is 20" x 20" and has 97 pieces. (I'm counting as I go, to make it easier in the end)

Did you know that traditionally the trunk section of this block was appliqued? I appliqued the little triangles at the bottom of the trunk, but not the whole trunk. And after I got it all done, and compared it to the original, I noticed my block was a little leaner. I'm hoping I can live with it. If I have to make every quilt twice I'll never get done!

Now I just need to surround this block with about a dozen or so red and white quilts in various sizes, patterns, and designs. Sounds like fun to me!

Here's what I do know for sure, the quilts will be red and white. Really that's all I know, I've yet to determine the finished size or even all the additional quilts I'll use for inspiration. And deadline, you know me and having a plan, but how can I possibly put a deadline on this? I'm hoping for the end of July, but we'll see.

So anyway, I've got a start and I'm looking forward to the challenge. (remind me of this when it's August and I'm still not done!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thelma's Eventide . . . .

Remember when I renamed my Eventide "Dancing with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight"? That name just popped into my head while I was piecing this quilt, something about the sassy red playing nicely with the light blue. (for you folks that have been on vacation since the first of the year, Eventide is a pattern designed by Carrie Nelson for Miss Rosie's Quit Co)

Well now that my quilt is home from the quilter I think it needs another name, because this quilt is too classy to be out dancing with anyone in the pale moonlight, let alone the devil!

I could not be happier to have this quilt home or with the quilting. (I had 5 quilt tops waiting their turn and bumped Eventide ahead of them, I'm so glad I did.)

I went back and read my posts of when I was working on this quilt, oh the fabric drama I created for myself. It all seems funny and not necessary now. I started with Park Avenue by 3 Sisters for Moda but I pretty much took out all the red from that line and used some French General reds instead. I fretted over every Ohio Star block combination and even passed on 3 of them once they were done.

I must say, it was worth every drop of sweat, I absolutely love this quilt.

Luckily for me, Moda made extra wide fabric backing from the background fabric of that family, and that's what I used for the back.

It's sort of hard to tell in this picture, but it looks nice in person and you can really see the quilting detail.

I went with a custom design with a few straight lines but mostly feathers.

Every star block is quilted like this, a center design with a lovely
fleur de lis-ish design in each corner.

And a few more feathers in the border.

If you participated in the sew along be sure to send pictures of your updates, whenever that may be.

I'm working away on my Red and White Quilt Show Tribute Quilt, more in my mind and on paper than in my sewing room, but hope to have something to share, even if it's just a start, later this week.

(Eventide has approximately 1,307 pieces)

And on a personal note,

Hey Deb, I got my charm pack, thanks so much, it's just what I needed for a few little pincushions and mug rugs I've been playing around with - I lost your email address but wanted to let you know I received it, was thrilled, and am using it!

Friday, June 17, 2011

More Eventide . . . .

How about a little more Eventide . . .

I'm still getting updates from folks who participated in the Eventide Sew Along. I'm always excited to hear from my fellow Eventide participants and thought you would probably enjoy hearing from them too.

Eventide was designed by Carrie Nelson for Miss Rosie's Quilt Company.

Gayle finished her Eventide in time for the parade

but now it's all quilted.

Here's a nice shot of the back of Gayle's Eventide.

Gayle went with an overall quilting pattern and used leftover blocks to create those extra rows, which I think look great. It gives her a little something extra when she turns back the quilt.

Gayle also "borderized" her Eventide by adding an extra row of rectangles to the top and bottom, to make it a little longer.

Gayle your finished Eventide is amazing, Congratulations!

Gayle enjoyed having a deadline and sewing along with her Eventide sisters and said, "I would not have made this quilt if it weren't for your sew along". Well Gayle that quilt is lovely, I'm so happy you joined the sew along, we enjoyed watching your progress.

Gayle has an extra Eventide pattern up for grabs, the first person to claim it gets it! (Lesly has grabbed it!)

Our next finish is from Carol . . . Carol had a little trouble getting her pattern (lesson learned, before the next sew along I'll make sure ample patterns are readily available) then had a few other projects bump Eventide from her To Do list,

First she had to make a baby boy quilt for a friend,

so she went with this adorable brown and blue elephant pattern, that's one lucky baby boy!

Then it was Easter,

time to make this adorable Easter basket for her Granddaughter.

Finally Carol was able to get moving on her Eventide.

Carol used Aster Manor by 3 Sister for Moda for her Eventide. We had several 3 Sisters Eventides, but I think this was the only Aster Manor.

I like it, it has a fresh summery feel to it. For some reason it reminds me of strawberry ice cream and yellow buttery sugar cookies, strawberry ice cream in the middle of two buttery sugar cookies, a sugar cookie strawberry ice cream sandwich, yes that's what it looks like to me.

My Eventide is back from the quilter's too, I'll post pictures of it on Monday. I wouldn't want you to suffer Eventide overload.

I'm very thankful that my husband and I both get to share Father's Day with our fathers and that they live close enough for us to visit.
Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

There's Drama in the Air, Wild Air . . . .

Remember Wild Air?

I've not blogged about it in awhile . . . This project was one of the Carrie Nelson classes I attended in Utah at the Corn Wagon Quilt Co.

I was all up in the air about what fabric to use for this pattern. I'm not happy unless I'm making myself miserable over my fabric choices, and here's why; I think every pattern is better when it is made with just the perfect fabric, not just any fabric, but the best fabric for that design. I also think some fabric deserves just the perfect pattern, to use any old pattern is a horrible waste of that fabric's potential. To make this whole issue even more confusing, I don't think all fabric has to have the perfect pattern, take Fig Tree, Bonnie & Camille, or French General. I don't think any of those fabrics can make an ugly quilt. But then there are some other fabrics, that are so different or unique, that they need just the right pattern to either showcase the design size or color palate of the fabric. Annandale, by Jo Morton for Andover Fabrics to me is a one of a kind type of fabric that needs a special pattern with the a certain look.

After much stewing and stalling I picked Annandale for Wild Air. It was more of a "I'm running out of time and don't really know what else to use, don't have much fabric in my stash and don't have a quilt shop nearby" decision.

So I went to class with Annandale all cut out,

and made this block. That one flying geese block in the center.

I really liked the pattern, but my fabric choice for Wild Air was so different from Carrie's, and from several ladies in the class that I was really questioning my choice. To add to the drama, Annandale came out last year, and I'm guessing getting more of it would be pretty tough, so I really didn't want to waste it.

After I got home I just stared at those 5 blocks on my design wall and questioned my decision. This went on for days. I finally talked myself into making more flying geese blocks, thinking maybe that would help me get that "I LOVE IT" or "LEAVE IT" feeling. By this point I didn't care which direction I went, I just wanted some direction, the whole being in limbo stage was driving me crazy.

I think two things were troubling to me; one, that my project was so dark, bold and crisp compared to Carrie's soothing, calming blue quilt, and that my flying geese blocks potentially wouldn't stand out against the alternate blocks.

So I made more blocks,

and tried to get a feel for what the border will essentially look like, and I'm happy to report,


It feels great to finally feel good about my decision. What was I worried about, I think the colors are good and the contrast is fine. This finished project will really be different from a lot of the quilts I've already made, which is good, variety is good, not ALL quilts need to be red.

I felt so good about my decision I packed it away in a project box . . .

I thought the colors had a fall feel to them and I like to work with fall fabrics in the fall. But I'm counting the days until I get back to Wild Air!! Which is so much better than throwing it all in the trash!

On an entirely different note, I've had a couple more Eventide finishes, PLUS my Eventide is back from the quilter, stop back by Friday for the latest update!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Finish . . . .

It seems like all I've done is pack and unpack a suitcase this spring. Last weekend my husband and I popped out to Las Vegas to celebrate his birthday, but I'm home now with no travel plans until the middle of August, look out sewing room I'm moving back in.

I was able to squeeze in one very important finish in the few days that I have been home and not packing or unpacking.

My daughter adopted a dog and her first request was for a quilt. That's something we do in our household, make quilts for our dogs. Cooper inherited Simon's Quilt (Lifetime Quilt #33) so it had been awhile since I made a dog quilt.

Choosing the fabric was easy, this fabric had just been released,

Max & Whiskers by basicgrey for Moda.

So I bought a layer cake and started thinking about the perfect pattern, something easy, (it is for dog after all) and something that would show off that adorable fabric. I wanted the dog, paw and bone prints to be easily discernible.

The first thing I did was cut the layer cake into fourths. Then I separated the fabric into groups of colors, blue, white, yellow and orange, and black and brown.

Then I put them in different combinations on my design wall until I came up with a design that appealed to me.

In the end I went with this around the world pattern. I also cut the blocks down to 4 1/2 inches so the top would finish at a nice even 36 inch square quilt.

And here it is all quilted. My quilter went with twice the batting and stitched in the ditch to create this puffy pillow look.

Plus she added some extra quilting to the center 9 blocks, they lay a little flatter, to create a little nest in the middle of all that fluff.

This quilt is in the mail, on it's way to Tucker. Hopefully I'll bet a great picture of Tucker sleeping peacefully on this quilt, and not a picture of Tucker in a room filled with stuffing and shreds of Max and Whiskers everywhere, time will tell, it could go either way!

This is Lifetime Quilt # 73,
is named Tucker's Quilt,
has 81 pieces ( a new all time low)
and finished at 36" x 36".

I enjoyed hearing all about the French General quilts that have been made and fabric that has been bought or will be bought, it's nice to know I'm not the only French General fan. I find it very fascinating that Kaari Meng, aka The French General, is not a quilter! She sure has a knack for designing great quilting fabric.

I'm such a fan of my French General fabric, I don't throw away the scraps, I keep every little bit that doesn't get into a quilt, any other scraps either find a new home or get tossed.

Now for the winner,

Ginny Worden,

you are the winner of the pin cushion, French General tote and notebooks.

Ginny had this to say about the French General fabric

Does buying French General fabric count ? Can't seem to get past fondling it.

Congratulations Ginny, and I've been known to fondle some of my FG fabric too!

Wednesday, I"ll have a Wild Air update, hope you can stop back by!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Last Leg . . .

This is the last post on my vacation out west, which was a month ago! Where does time go?

I was lucky enough to attend Spring Market.

Anything I have to share is old news, and if you've yet to see any pictures of market hop on over to Sherri's blog, A Quilting Life, or Sandy's blog, Textile House. They both had a great time and got some wonderful pictures. I was able to meet up with Sandy (it's always fun to meet a fellow blogger face to face) but Sherri and I never could get our phones to work at the same time, we only exchanged voice mails, not hugs.

Market is a wonderful experience, I found the amount of talent and inspiration under one roof overwhelming. If you ever get the opportunity to go, you must!

The highlight of my market tour was visiting Monique's booth, Open Gate Quilts.

I was able to see all the quilts that are in Monique's book Fat Quarter Winners. What a treat.
The quilt I was most interested to see was Crazy Eights, the pattern that I made using red and black prints. Monique went scrappy with her background fabric for her blocks where I went with one background fabric. You would not believe the difference that makes in the look of that quilt. I always find it fascinating to see the same pattern made with different fabrics.

Monique also had some new patterns at market, and this is one of my favorites,

Secret Garden!

I've been looking for my next applique project and this just may be it! I'm thinking of either adding some pieced blocks to go in between the applique blocks or keeping the center as is and surrounding them with pieced blocks. Somehow I want to supersize this project from a wall hanging to a quilt.

After Market I went to Pasadena to visit my daughter and we stopped in here

The French General's Shop, located in Los Angeles, California.

I was not allowed to take pictures inside the store, but it had a very interesting assortment of goods; some buttons, jewelry, ribbons, candles, fabric, paper products and much much more. A fun shop to lose yourself in with a very friendly staff. The tea kettle is always on.

I did get to drool over the French Generals fall line of fabric,

the store had a limited amount of Panier de Fleurs on hand.

If you read this blog very often, you know I have a thing for blue, for avoiding blue, but the blue in this line is gorgeous and goes great with the red that's also part of this family of fabric. When I saw the entire family, I immediately pictured a quilt made of only the dark fabrics, no lights. I think the contrast in colors would make an amazing quilt. I mentioned this to someone who had also seen this family of fabric and she said she pictured a quilt made using only the lights! So start saving your pennies, I suspect you will want to make more than one quilt from this fabric.

I think I promised to pick up a little sumpin sumpin on my trip for a giveaway,

how about a colorful pincushion (no I didn't make it)

and a French General tote with a couple of notebooks?

To be eligible just leave a comment on this post, any comment will do, but I am curious to know if you have made a quilt using any French General fabric,and if so how many, I'm up to 4 and counting!

I'll announce the winner on Monday.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Details, Details . . .

I've gotten some emails asking for more detail on a few pictures I've posted and since I've done very little sewing as of late (what can I say, it's summer) I figured this would be a good time to pass some information along to everyone.

I took this picture at an amazing shop called American Quilting in Orem, Utah.

The pattern name for this quilt is Barn Railing.

And it's in this book,

Gone Crazy by folks at the The Buggy Barn.

I should have provided this information when I blogged about it, the store deserves the mention and the quilt designers deserve the credit, I'll do better in the future.

And this binder . . .

I picked it up at Staples! They have the best stuff for quilters, ruler organizers, pattern holders, cool post its and note pads...they act like they're some sort of business supply store, but don't be fooled, that big box store is full of artsy and fun doohickies and the closest thing to a quilt shop that I have in my town!

And finally,

Every now and then I mention that Cooper goes to doggy daycare . . .

here's my good boy, sitting up straight, minding his manners and paying close attention to someone or something at daycare. (Rumor has it that Cooper is really the class clown and this was just a lapse in what is normally a very active day for him.)

I hope your summer is off to great start . . .