Show ‘n Tell Sunday…Take Two

I finally found the photos of Michele’s Farmer’s Wife Sampler quilt I told you about last week. Seems they were there in my e-mail all along where’d I’d sent them from my phone. It would have helped tremendously I guess had I put on my glasses when typing “FWS” in the subject line. That’s not what was actually typed though which is why I couldn’t find the photos in my e-mail where they were sitting, just waiting to be found. Yes, another example of operator stupidity error.

So, without further ado, here’s Michele’s quilt top. She hand pieced the WHOLE thing while her husband was deployed overseas. Most months I’d drop her new kits off at her work and she’d be ready and waiting for them. She used the templates on the CD that came with the book along with the fabrics that were in the kits. She made a few fabric substitutions when those templates needed a little more fabric than allowed for in the kits. Now all she has to do (ALL she has to do…) is the quilting. Will she continue going down the “hand” avenue or will she detour to the “machine” avenue. Either way, I have no doubt that the end result will be fantastic!

The other thing I wanted to show you is the autograph blocks that have come in so far. I’m so excited! I’ve gotten enough that I can put some together and try to decide how I want to lay out the quilt. I could go this way and make an interesting design, but you might have to turn your head to the side in order to read some of the names, etc.

Or, I could lay them out side by side so all the names go the same way which would make it very easy to read. This option would give and interesting design as well. Decisions, decisions…you know how bad I am about making decisions.

There’s still time to make a block so you’ll be included in the quilt. Just click on the “Free Pattern” tab at the top and then on the Autograph Block link. It might take two or three clicks to get to the pattern but persevere please. I’d really love to have a block from you.

Lastly, I want to show you what I got last weekend for my 24th wedding anniversary. It came as a complete surprise. I’d shown Rick the photo in the Victorian Trading Company’s catalog of their Ironing Day Station and told him I needed something like that for my new sewing space. I never dreamed he’d buy it for our anniversary. The section where you iron is broken into three sections so you can have as much or as little ironing board as you need. I love the rose chintz fabric on the board by the way. In addition to the surprise of getting it there was the surprise that the three baskets pull out from the center section giving a large storage area behind the door. It sits on casters so it can be moved easily. The dimensions given on their website are 33”x30”x13” extended with the ironing board being 58” when opened out. Right now I have all the board sections open but am seriously considering putting down the left hand side so that I can use the top of the white cabinet for my cutting mat. Now all I have to do is decide (there’s that word again) just how to put all my “stuff” in it to make the most use of the space. I’m still in the thinking process which could last a year or two knowing me. Regardless of how I set it up, or how long it takes me, I know I’m going to enjoy using this wonderful gift.

We’ve just returned from an afternoon of music at Sewanee. This is the end of the first week of their music festival and the first concert that we’ve gotten to see Victoria in. It was a great concert, despite the lack of cool air in the auditorium. If you like orchestral music, some with a Latin beat, you can see what we saw by visiting UStream. Type Sewanee Music Festival into the search box at the top and click on the icon that comes up. Then go to the Cumberland Orchestra tab for today’s date. The harps actually played in three out of four pieces which I thought was amazing. That’s a lot of music to learn in a one week timeframe. You can also click on the Student Chamber tab and go over to about 47 minutes. There were seven harpists playing together last night and it sounds lovely. The young lady on the far right in blue is Ashlyn, Victoria’s Bridge Street playing partner. Victoria is second from the left in purple. You can see how much she’s concentrating by watching her “eat” her lips, as Mr. Rothwell used to say. Old habits do die hard…

After they finished we were unexpectedly treated to a Carillon concert. If you like this type of music there will be another on Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 I believe which is just before the parade which begins at 2:00. If you need something special or different to do this Wednesday then you’ll want to go to Sewanee for their celebration. There’s a lot going on in that little town.

One more thing…Don’t forget to leave a comment on either the previous blog or this one answering the question regarding what technique(s) you’d like to learn. We’ve had several great ideas already. I’ll be drawing for the winner of the Bits and Pieces book on Wednesday evening so try to get your comment in before 7:00 p.m. CST. You’re going to kick yourself if you don’t!

Show-n-Tell Sunday — Take 1!

I’ve wanted to have a special day to do show-n-tell for a while now but just could never get around to getting it done on Sunday. Now, with Victoria safely (I hope) away at music camp for the next four weeks I can use the time we would have had as our family night, complete with popcorn, chocolate, and a movie, to show off some of the projects our talented visitors have shared with us.

We’ll start with Ellen’s Farmer’s Wife Sampler quilt that she hand quilted. She and I discussed the merits of hand quilting this project over machine quilting and the hand quilting won out. She said she told herself she was absolutely crazy when she started, but once she got in to it she picked up speed. She does such a great job at hand quilting and it didn’t seem to take her as long as it would have taken me.

I have another Farmer’s Wife quilt made by Michele to share but for some reason I can’t get the photos to go from my phone to my e-mail account. I’ll keep working on it and maybe I can show it next Sunday. It’s only a top in the photo, but it was all hand-pieced! Impressive!

Next we have Pam’s finished, quilted, bound, and everything, project from our Thimbleberries Club. Club was structured a little differently this year, but our club members seem to like it just fine. Instead of making one big quilt we will be making four smaller projects. This quilt is the project for the first quarter. Pam used one of her dinner plates to give her project rounded corners. I asked if she used bias binding since she had round corners and she said she did not. The curve is gentle enough that straight binding worked just fine. She did a super job of machine quilting it herself, and yes, she does do quilting for the public. She did a table runner for me once so if you want to see her work just drop in and I’ll gladly show it off, the table runner and her quilting.

Last, but definitly not least, we have a quilt made by Caitlyn who is only 12 years old if I remember correctly. She comes to our Thimbleberries meetings with her grandmother (see her hiding behind the quilt!). She did a great job on her quilt which I believe was her very first one. It is made with 5″ pre-cut squares making it an easy and safe way to begin to learn how to piece a quilt. In addition to quilting, Caitlyn is a lovely ballerina. She’s busy, busy, busy and might even be at a dance camp right now.

So much talent and skill! We love seeing all that you do so don’t be shy about sharing with us. Who knows, you might be in our next Sunday Show-n-Tell!

Busy as Bees

The past couple of weeks have been hectic, quite hectic to be exact. Not so much from an over abundance of visitors but from finishing up our Farmer’s Wife Sampler project. Yes, all 111 blocks have now been completed. Some of our ladies are in the process of sewing their last blocks while others have yet to receive theirs. It should be most interesting to see just how each quilt differs since I know some used different fabrics than the ones I gave them. We also offered three different colors for the sashing and border – red, blue, and brown. Then there were a couple of duplicate blocks where the ladies were encouraged to substitute their favorite block(s) instead. So while everyone got the same fabrics not everyone’s quilt will look the same. I’ve still not decided which color I want to use for the sashing and border on mine. Plus, I’ve actually been pondering making two lap quilts instead of one queen. I could easily do this without having to make any more blocks. Here we go with the decisions again…

In the midst of drafting and sewing the blocks as well as cutting the kits, we had a visit from Bonnie Hunter who was in the area doing workshops and lectures for some of the guilds. She and Diane stopped in one afternoon to visit. Miss Bonnie was very much taken with our kittens and even put photos of them on her blog, You’ll have to find the older post of May 26 to see them. I know I said I would put photos of the kittens up but haven’t gotten there yet. It helps to put new batteries in the camera when you want to take photos. Anyhow, if you visit Miss Bonnie’s blog in addition to seeing the kitties you’ll see some very familiar faces from her workshops as you scroll through her posts.

Since my last post (I’m so impressed that Miss Bonnie can post every day. I’m going to have to learn her secret.) we’ve gotten in four new books from Martingale and four new Australian magazines. We’ve also gotten in a few new bolts of fabric including four ’30s Hints of Prints for those who like the repros. I’ve managed to put out a few more of the bolts that have been hiding in the kitchen while I decided whether or not to include them in the Farmer’s Wife blocks. I still have several more bolts to go I’m afraid. It seems like time goes by quicker and quicker these days and the amount of work I get done seems to never be enough. What’s up with that!?

Oh yes, I’ve put Moda’s Dragonfly Summer group and the Lilac Hill group out now for sale. You just want to stand and stroke these fabrics. We only have three spots left in our Basket Bounty BOM so if you’re interested you need to jump on it because in addition to the limitation on kits there’s the sashing and borders to be bought before all the better choices are gone.

We had hoped to redo the room to the right of the hall over Memorial Day so we could offer small classes, but it didn’t happen . Yes, I spent the whole day on finishing up Farmer’s Wife. Do you get a recurring theme here? While I have truly loved doing this project it took over my life for the last two weeks of every month for the last thirteen months. Actually, it took over my life…period. When I wasn’t working on the blocks I was thinking about working on the blocks and looking for fabrics to use in the blocks. I can’t begin to tell you the overwhelming feeling of relief I now have since the last of the kits were packed. Well, not exactly the last because I do have four ladies to catch up from the first couple of months but that just entails cutting kits, not making blocks, writing instructions, etc. In fact, that’s a job I can even deligate. Oh, Kathy…

I’m ready to move on and do some different things, but first I have several things I need to get caught up on. Like the two BOMs that I was doing for a lady out of state that kind of got put on hold, the crazy quilt blocks that are the birthday gift for those in my sewing circle, the swap blocks that are also for my sewing circle, the nine-patch blocks that I initiated for Stitchin’ Camp as a mystery project. Then there are the articles that I need to write, one for a Pulaski paper, one for Irish Quilting, and one for the Country Register. Needless to say, I actually sat down and made myself a list last night because I knew if I didn’t I would forget something. I rarely ever make lists of things to do for myself because I just end up losing the list so it seems more of a waste of time to me than a help. Keep in mind that all those tasks I just mentioned have to be intertwined with everything else that’s going on in the shop including making decisions about how to celebrate our upcoming seventh anniversary. Yes, that does mean that you’ll need to really pay attention to my e-mail(s) and the blog because even I don’t know what all we’ll be doing starting next week.

One thing I definitely do want to try and do is blog more often. There’s just so much going on that I know you’ll want to know about. It runs around in my head all the time but that doesn’t help you any if I don’t stop long enough to put it down in type somewhere somehow. Maybe I need someone to hold me accountable like I did with FWS. Hmmm…I wonder who that could be…hmmmm…

Farmer’s Wife – Month 5

Month 5 of The Farmer’s Wife Sampler was one of the easier months for me to put together thusfar.  Again there are only eight blocks to construct and only one of those is partially paper pieced.  All in all I wouldn’t be too surprised to find that our ladies get their blocks done in record time this month.

It’s a good thing that the blocks to be done this month were easy to get together as my daughter and I will be heading to New York City tomorrow and the last thing I wanted was to leave town without having everything ready for our ladies.   Now I can go without a care in the world and enjoy the trip.  It should prove interesting as I’ve only ever driven through New York on the way to New Hampshire many years ago.  We’ll play the tourist of course, but the Huntsville Youth Symphony will also be performing on Wednesday.  Yes, we’ll be hauling that harp all the way to New York.  If she didn’t sound so good I’d have her start all over again and play my trumpet instead.  It’s much easier to manage.  Much, much easier…

For a look at the blocks that our ladies will be doing this month just click on the link.  What do you think?  Don’t they make you want to get goin’ and get stitchin’ too?! Month 5 Images

Month 4 – 1st Trimester Ends!

We’re a third of the way through our Farmer’s Wife Sampler quilt!  YEAH!!!  This month there are only eight blocks to complete, many of which are easy, and one of which is a challenge. 

Once again I ended up making one of the blocks twice because I didn’t like the color combination on the first one.  That’s  OK though as the reject is the Flower Basket which can be turned into a small pillow to use as a decoration.  That’s something that has been on my to-do list for a long time…make six inch pillows to put in a basket to just sit around and look cute.  I’ll get around to it one of these days.  Given the number of extra blocks I have made with the Farmer’s Wife, I already have a good start.

Ellen's Ohio Star

Last month I challenged our ladies to make a unique block since #111 was essentially a repeat of #20 just with different colors.  Ellen sent us a photo of her substitute block which is the Ohio Star.  She chose this block because she likes stars, it dates from the 1700’s, and it was used in the Civil War Sampler quilt that she is also working on.  Needless to say, Miss Ellen’s needle is rarely still.

It’s so exciting to see the blocks our ladies have made and share in their enthusiasm as they realize that they really can make these blocks.  Several have told me that they are enjoying the kits because it allows them to just make the blocks without the hassle of choosing and cutting fabric.  They also like them because they provide a quick fix, or instant gratification as some would call it, and gives them a sense of accomplishment when a block is completed.  Some who were not too confident in their skills are finding that they know more than they thought they did and are enjoying the challenge without being overwhelmed by it.

While cutting 400-500 kits per month is a daunting task, especially when added to breaking down and making the blocks as well as writing directions for each one, we have enjoyed this project as much as our ladies and have to stop ourselves from wishing our lives away each month in our zeal to see what each block will look like.  On the one hand, June 2011 cannot come too soon, but then on the other hand it will be here before we know it, all our blocks will be done and then what.  That’s the question that begs to be answered…but not right now.

Month 4 Images

Month 3 of Farmer’s Wife Sampler

Our ladies participating in the Farmer’s Wife Sampler BsOM have begun picking up their new kits.  There are ten blocks to be made for the month of August.  The tenth block was essentially a duplicate of one made in Month 2 so my challenge to our FWS ladies was to make a block of their own choosing and share a photo of it with us as well as the reason for including it in their quilt. 

My block of choice!

My substitute block was a Monkey Wrench, sometimes called Snail’s Trail.  It is one of my favorite blocks because it has “movement” to it.  I took a class a few years back with Elaine McGarry who taught this block.  Unfortunately, my blocks were packed up and have yet to be found so the project is one of the many UFOs I have to one day complete. 

The other nine blocks that our ladies will be working on can be seen here.Month 3 Images

We finally have a winner in our search for Pepper Cory’s name on the selvedge of one of the fabric strips in the kits for Month 1.  The winner is Mary Walton.  Her prize was a bottle of Mary Ellen’s Best Press Spray Starch in the scent of her choice.  She will have some of the best smelling and least wrinkled fabric of anyone in her group.  Congratulations Mary!

We are having such a good time with these blocks!  Our ladies are learning some new techniques and are oftentimes challenged with the block’s construction, especially those that are paper-pieced.  They are learning to read what I meant to say in the directions rather than what is, or in some cases is not, written.  After this month, and maybe one or two more, they will be able to read my mind and really fly through the blocks. 

Making two blocks a week might seem like a daunting task to some, but many of our ladies are getting them done, some in less than one month, and one, Miss Jeanette, finished her squares for Month 2 in just a couple of days.  She had a trip to go on and didn’t want them hanging over her head while she was away.  Impressive!

If you wish to join our merry little group we still have three spaces left.  You can catch up fairly easily if you put your mind to it.  There is the free sewing day for those who live close by where help is given if needed.  Just let me know if you want to join in…we’d love to have you.

The Farmer’s Wife Sampler

We’re having a grand old time making the six inch blocks from Laurie Aaron Hird’s book The Farmer’s Wife Sampler.  Month two begins tomorrow.  Our ladies have been making two squares per week based on a schedule that we’ve worked out for them.  Of course, there are those who got started and just couldn’t quit so they finished their blocks way ahead of schedule.

Miss Janice met the challenge!

A challenge was issued on Block #53 to use four remaining quarter-square triangle units that were left over from making quarter-square triangles using Thangles papers.  Of course, I’m thinking pincushions of various types, but Miss Janice surprised me with a framed miniature quilt.  She used her leftover quarter-square triangles, some scraps, and  glue to create this special gift.  Isn’t it lovely?
Month one the ladies made the following blocks:
Here’s what they’ll be working on this month:
The book comes with a CD that has templates that can be used for making the blocks, but we’ve broken them down into simple units like rectangles and half-square triangles so templates are not needed.  By using Thangles there is little room for error, although it can happen if you’re not careful.  Some of the blocks with odd angles are paper-pieced which also makes it easier to get an accurately sized block. 
Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt

Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt - Queen Sized

The ladies are learning new techniques while challenging their abilities.  We’re having fun making these little blocks and I can’t help but think that I’ll never go back to larger blocks again.  I can’t wait to see all the blocks pieced and get the quilt together.  It’s going to be great!

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