Latest work in progress...

I found this beauty at an antique store in LaCrosse on my crafting weekend with Melissa (one third of the Knitting Sandwich).


The cords need some attention.... 

Her name is Ruby, and I adore her. 
She doesn't have a foot pedal. She has a knee lever instead, but I don't know how to use it. 
I love the big handwheel.

This work in progress is a beauty, don't you think?

Recent Finishes

I Spy Quilt #2 (of four).  I finally got this quilt out to Henry's buddy, Oliver.  He's two and a half, so I doubt he'd have seen a post about it, but it still seemed like bad form to show off a quilt online before he got to open it.

Close up of some of the prints for the front.  I used Kona medium gray for the solid squares.

close up

I used an IKEA solid for the back and Connecting Threads solid for the binding.

And the full quilt:

Oliver's I Spy quilt

Here is Henry's recent accomplishment.  I heard him working hard on this from the other room.  When he was sticking the pegs in the holes he said, "almohts," and then, "did it."  After awhile I went back in to the room to check out his handiwork.

me:  "Tell me more about this, Henry."
Henry:  "EYES!!!  eye, eye, eyes!"    

So true.

Henry's accomplishment

Fancy Block Friday

I'm posting my fancy block on time this week!!   (I'm even interrupting my crafting weekend with Melissa to do this post.)  I'm so pleased with how this block turned out that I want to shout from the rooftops.

Here is my sketch from Wednesday night:


And here is the block I finished just a half hour ago:

block for Vanessa

This is a bee block for a friend in the May Moms Bee.  She sent me cool colors plus red with the instructions to make a block to represent February.  I'm not big on hearts, but paper piecing letters was right up my alley.

Now I'm off to make a potholder for my mom.  Must craft as fast as I can before I get home to the toddler tomorrow.

P.S.: Melissa can attest to the amount of mistakes I made last night in trying to remember how to paper piece again.  There was quite a bit of mild cursing, also.

P.P.S: Amanda made her block on time, too.  I'll have to ask her if there was any cursing on her part.

popping in

I can't talk much.  I'm packing up some fabric selections (and a toothbrush, I guess) to meet up with a friend for two days.  I'm bringing Margene and she's bringing her knitting needles and we are meeting halfway between our homes for a crafting getaway.

But, before I decide if I have room with the fabric stash to pack some clean pants, I wanted to post my latest Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks.

farmer's wife sampler, block 34

farmer's wife sampler, block 73

farmer's wife sampler, block 71

Gotta run!  I'll be back on Friday or Saturday with my fancy block :)


The Farmer's Wife Quilt-a-long has taken ahold of me. Because the blocks are so small and because it was designed as a scrappy sampler, I feel freer when sifting through my stash and scraps. Any fabric that I like is fair game. That freedom is overwhelming at times. It can take me a long time and many trials to pick the right mix of fabrics for a block. But, I'm having a blast. This is my second post for the quilt-a-long and I made one extra block to catch up since I should have 6 finished blocks for week three.

farmer's wife sampler, block 16

farmer's wife sampler, block 20

farmer's wife sampler, block 21

I hope to have 3 more to show you next week so I can be all caught up.   Check out the flickr group to see more blocks from a ton of talented quilters.

Resolution Broken

On Wednesday, I pledged for the second week in a row to not join a new bee, swap or quilt-a-long.

Then, the exact same day, I saw the blog posts by Ayumi, Tamiko, and Lynne. I followed their links and learned more about the Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt-a-long group on flickr.  Angela and Amanda are hosting the QAL on their blogs and they are running the group on flickr.  I was immediately smitten. 

FWQAL button?

It all starts with this book. The author designed a sampler quilt based on letters written by farmers' wives in the 1920's. Forty-two letters are included in the book.  There are 111 six-inch blocks in the quilt. I can't say that the colors in the book inspired me, but seeing the new interpretations of these classic blocks really made my head spin.

So...later on Wednesday, some fabric fell into my etsy cart and I placed a hold on the book at the library. By Thursday I couldn't wait for the book a minute longer so I went out and bought it. On Friday I finished some other sewing on my table to make room while checking in with the quilt along flickr group at least eight times that day. And yesterday I finally sat down at my machine to sew some blocks. Whew!

farmer's wife sampler, block 4

farmer's wife sampler, block 2

For this quilt I'm just going to pull out all of my favorite yardage and all of my treasured scraps and I'll see how it turns out. Every square inch will be fabric that I love, so it has to turn out great, don't you think? (Like a fabric lover's I Spy?)

The plan is two blocks per week and the quilt along is in it's second week. These little squares can get addictive, though. You may see more than you care to as I plug along.

Now, you've all learned that I have no willpower when it comes to pretty quilting blocks.  What don't you have willpower against?

Fancy Block a day late

Remember that workshop I went to in April (that I might have gushed a bit about?).  Well, I've been in contact with the members of that retreat ever since and we've decided to start a new sewing challenge.  The goal is to use our block design / improv piecing / paper piecing skills on a regular basis.  You have to use the skills to keep them fresh in your mind because it is a totally different way of thinking about piecing.  Our goal is one block per week.  That's a steep order to add to some very busy sewing tables.  But, I typed it out loud now, and there is no going back.  

For my first week, I made an improv house block for Jenny in the  Sew Buzzy Bee.  She asked for blocks to represent each of our houses.  My actual house has two bay windows in front, so I started with the windows and built up from there.  My house has dark green siding on three sides and brick on the front.  All of my brick colored fabrics were just too dark, so I went with berry herringbone Joel Dewberry instead.  The print certainly has texture, even if it isn't really brick shaped.

house block for innerpiece

In retrospect I should have done more drawing with graph paper to come up with a window size and door size to fit on a 12.5" square.  If I had a 15 or 16" square, I could have the windows on either side of the door, and I could have fit the two dormers with windows on the second floor and maybe the chimney.  I've done a few house blocks lately, but they've been tiny and lacking detail, so this was definitely a challenge for me.  Next time I improv piece for this challenge, I hope to play with more crazy angles or some curves.  I also pledge to do a sketch. 

close up

Amanda at crazy mom quilts posted her block here.  I hope that Tara, Carmen and Audrey will join in soon, too.  The plan is to post on Fridays.  So, today is a Fancy Block Friday, just a day late.

Now I have to ask, how are you challenging yourself in your craft?

Bzzzzzzzzz Blocks

My bee block today is my very, very favorite.  I'm afraid that the photo doesn't do it justice, but you'll have to trust me that it has the perfect mix of subtlety and "pop."  Lael in the Sew Easy Bee-ing Green Bee requested wonky star blocks for her picnic quilt.  I started with the idea of a star within a star and then decided that i wanted the outer star to be "chunky" to leave me more room to play with the inner star.  I am SO in love with this fabric combination.
You may see something like this pop up on the blog again.

June Easy Bee-ing Green Block

Tiny House Plans

My tiny houses are coming in from the May Mom's Bee.

tiny houses

I have big plans for this quilt involving a sweet little neighborhood and some grass 
and quilting lines to connect the houses.  

Here is the rough drawing that I did in my sketch book a couple of months ago.  
(Henry helped me color it a little)  I have to blur my eyes and use my imagination a little, 
but looking at those blocks above, I do see the image coming together. 

messy process

In the drawing I was planning on adding a sidewalk and pathways to the houses, but I think I'm going to eliminate that.  I also had some freehand quilting ideas that I've now decided to turn into another quilt (because I want to see those drawings in color, not just in the background).  I think the sashing is going to be the hardest thing with this quilt.  I want these houses to look "sprinkled" into a neighborhood (does that even make sense?).  Cohesive yet funky and separate.  I guess it is a feeling I'm going for, which makes explaining complicated.  I'm still not sure how to extend that feeling into a design for a quilt border, but I'll have to be patient until the image comes to me. 


You'll see a new button in my sidebar: "I took the process pledge"

This was started by rOssie as a way to encourage quilt bloggers to talk more about the inspiration behind their quilt designs and to take pictures of the process and not just the finished product.  I love process posts on other blogs, but I'm often not brave enough to put that up here.  My quilt design process is chaotic and messy and hard to open up for other people to see.  It is also hard to put into words.  I design and quilt based on a mixture of gut feelings and something I dreamt about but can't quite remember and some inspiration image that I saw months ago but can't recall the source....
But, I'm going to take a stab at trying to describe it anyway.  I hope you don't mind the mess.

Ten (!) Years in the Making

I like new.  New fabrics, new ideas, new projects....oooh, shiny!  But, every once in awhile, it feels good to pull a quilt out and finish something for once.  I'm in that mood right now.  So, if my blog has been obnoxious lately with the amount of finished items, please know that all of these have been months in the making.

Or....ten years in the making.

the stack

4 in a row

These started as one queen size jeans and corduroy quilt TEN years ago.  Then the quilt top loitered in my craft cupboard for 9 years.  I pulled it out last year to baste it and attempt to quilt it

Let's just say that it didn't go well.  It was so bulky and so heavy and so painful, that I gave up for another ten months. 

Until last week.  I pulled it out and hacked it into 4 pieces.  I ripped out every stinking quilting stitch that a wrestled with months ago, basted it again, quilted and bound all four baby quilts in three days.  And they are heading out to charity as we speak.

And now I have a whole shelf of my craft cupboard that is free and clear and it feels so good!