Other sewing

I feel like I only blog about bee blocks and Farmer's Wife sewing now.  But, I have been up to other kinds of trouble with Margene.

bug hat

This reversible bucket hat comes from the book, Oliver + S Little Things to Sew by Liesel Gibson.  Henry loves the bug fabric and I used Carolina Chambray for the other side.


I have also been working on a picnic quilt made with vintage sheets, some solids and some modern fabrics.  It looks like bright summer sherbet to me. 

picnic quilt

Now I just have to get back to bee blocks and my Farmer's Wife.
I'm not kidding.
 I'm on a sewing meetup visit with Melissa and those are the only projects I brought along with me. :)

My Precious

Kelly of kelbysews started a group on flickr to encourage people to cut into their hoarded stashed fabrics that otherwise sit in a pristine stack in the corner of their sewing space.  

start sashing

She calls it the My Precious Quiltalong and she's doing a summer monthly giveaway on her blog to encourage fabric lovers to bust out the rotary cutters. 

start sashing

Who knew that I was starting on this quiltalong early?  In making my Farmer's Wife blocks I decided in the beginning to cut into and use all of my favorites in this quilt. 

start sashing

Many of these prints have only been cut for this project only.  I love using all of my favorite text, graphic, hard to find, out of print, and Japanese prints. And little 6.5" blocks are the perfect way to use them without going into a panic that I may run out. 

start sashing

Favorite designers like Suzuko Koseki, Denyse Schmidt, Heather Ross, Kumiko Fujita, and Anna Maria Horner will make a number of appearances in this quilt.   

start sashing

I also have lovely bits from swaps with flickr friends.  Some are fabrics that I never would have been able to find otherwise.

start sashing

I'm cranking out the sashing on these precious blocks. I hope to have a finished Farmer's Wife quilt top next week month.

What precious resource have you used lately?  (fabric, yarn, peanut butter cookies, etc.)

The (non traditional) traditional house block

Kerry's house block

Kerry's theme for the month of May in the Ringo Pie bee was traditional house blocks pieced with an emphasis on using our stash creatively.  I drew up this block using the top right house in this photo.  And then I picked colors based on the flower fabric in the "front yard".  I think it ended up decidedly nontraditional.  I hope that works for her.  If not, this block has grown on me and I won't complain if I make her another one and keep this block.  I particularly like the architectural drawings on the siding of the house.  I'd love it if my own front yard had such big flowers, too.


Have I ever mentioned here that I was invited to join the Ringo Pie Bee? When I got the invite back in November I actually squealed and jumped up and down---more than twice (but I won't admit how many more). Ringo Pie is full of some of the most talented block design and paper piecing ladies on the web.  The first round folks wanted a break so we began again in March.  And...

...then I promptly got too nervous to make Ayumi's block.

So now it is June and I'm finally finished with one block for my dream bee.

hand me down scissors

Amber requested sewing themed blocks.  After just seeing all of the lovely designs to come out of the Sew Out Loud group, I wasn't sure where to start.  I had considered making my design for Sew Out Loud, but I wanted Amber to get a new design from me.  Then late last week I had a brainstorm while using these scissors that have been handed down enough times that I don't know who the original owner was.  They are heavy and sharp and huge and I don't often grab them, but they feel so good in my hand.

I drew the design on June 8th.  I picked fabrics on the 10th and finished the block yesterday.  When the right inspiration strikes, I can move mountains!

I used a stamp for the screw and I did some thread sketching around the top blade of the scissors to differentiate it from the background.  There are a few curved seams and y-seams thrown in there for good measure.

Amber's Sewing Block

I was SO nervous to make my first block for this bee.  Now that I've finished it I love it so much.  I've already warned Amber that it may take a few days to find the heart to put it in an envelope.  I really love this block and I wish it was staying here.

What is your favorite thing that you've made and then given it away?

Farmer's Wife Binge Part II

Somebody talked me into posting all of my finished block photos at once. Blame Jennifer if this post seems obnoxious with a dozen block photos.

The Log Cabin block is very simple, but it seemed too classic to not include it.  Especially when I could include so many different fabrics in it without having to match a bit.

log cabin

I love the design of Blockade.  I know I'll be returning to this again soon.  I was inspired by this photo and found directions here.


Double T is such a striking block design.  I found the block pattern at Quilter's Cache but changed the dimensions and construction.

double T

It seemed to take forever to find the right mix of fabrics for this Tulip block, but that pink floral is one of my favorites.  I used templates and starch to complete it.

farmer's wife sampler, block 96

I fell in love with this block from Lynne at Lily's Quilts.  That block was in a block of the month program and I didn't know if I had the right to use it for my quilt, but Lynne mentioned that the Card Trick block was very similar.  I used the pattern here but resized it for 6.5" blocks.

card trick

I had Homemaker pieced for a very long time, but the y-seams were a mess.  So I took them apart and redid them with this tutorial.  It looks much better now.

farmer's wife sampler, block 47

I adore this Twisting Star block.  I started with the tutorial at Quilter's Cache but I resized it and drew new paper pieced templates by hand.

twisting star

Checkerboard was the perfect block to showcase some lovely little fabrics. 

farmer's wife sampler, block 19

Silver Lane ended up being only a tiny bit easier to sew than I thought it would be...

farmer's wife sampler, block 79

...while Flower Garden Path was even more miserable than I was already expecting.  Avert your eyes from the terrible points on this block.  I'll need some healing time before I ever attempt that one again.

farmer's wife sampler, block 36

Which makes Double Spinwheels a terrific block to recover with.  I went with a low volume palette, but this one could easily go bright and bold.  Tutorial at Quilter's Cache and resized.

double spin wheels

And last in this dozen of blocks is Pine Tree.  If I don't have HST's down pat by this time in the quiltalong, I never will.  :)

farmer's wife sampler, block 67

I still have one block to make to get my full 121 for the layout I've chosen. But, I'm on break from the Farmer's Wife for awhile.  Do you ever stop one block short of the finish line just to catch your breath?  Even though I have a few blocks to redo, I still want to pause and make the last official block when I'm in the mood to do it and not just because I feel I have to.

Crazy Farmer's Wife Quilt Binge

Sometimes I post a lot of things on the blog in quick succession.  I want to assure all of my crafting friends that I don't really sew this fast.  In fact, when I'm in the middle of a crazy craft binge is when I skip some sleep, some meals, and some showers and I'm not very social--including blogging.   I can't be bothered to take pictures and find words to describe what I'm doing until after the moment (or week) has passed.  So, this batch of blocks were made about a week ago.  I would like to add that this sewing spurt was sponsored heavily by my patient husband who would pour the cereal and milk or make a turkey sandwich for me to keep me going.  (Love that man.)

First up is Peaceful Hours with Heather Ross's bagged fish.  I love this print so much that it had to be in the quilt.  I used freezer paper templates for the center piece and all of the orange pieces.  Then I sewed the blue stripe pieces on the edges and trimmed off the extra fabric to make the squares.  This ended up being a pretty easy block when constructed that way.

farmer's wife sampler, block 65

Shooting star was made entirely with freezer paper templates.  I'm really enjoying green and pinky/purple together.

farmer's wife sampler, block 78

This block is not in the Farmer's Wife book.  I learned about this block from Amy's blog post here.  I don't have the book she referenced but I did the math myself to make it a 6" finished block.  Mrs. Fay must have been a special lady to get a block named after her.

Mrs. Fay's friendship block

This block came from Amy's same post again.  I changed some of the light and dark values from Amy's version

prairie flower block

I thought that squash blossom would be harder than it actually was.  I used the templates from the book and a boatload of starch.

farmer's wife sampler, block 86

The Wild Duck block pattern came from Quilter's Cache.  The map fabric may be a busy background, but it made me think of the birds that fly over the city during migration.  I did the block math to make it a 6" finished block. 

wild duck block

And, lastly, here is a second attempt at the Cups & Saucers block.  In my last version I used the same Suzuko Koseki button print with a busy print from Modern Meadow but the flying geese didn't show up at all.  The pale pink in Bliss doesn't seem like it matches well, but it does allow all of the geese to shine.

farmer's wife sampler, block 25

Does anyone need to remind you to eat and sleep when you feel creative?

Pippi and a Bike

My poor friend, MuriĆ«l, has been waiting and waiting for her Pippi Longstocking themed block since February.  It is sometimes hard to be in such a group of talented ladies when they keep on churning out one gorgeous idea and design after another and my brain can't always keep up.  My idea finally came at the beginning of May (then I stalled for another 3 weeks on finishing the hand embroidery).

Pippi's shoe

But now Pippi's shoe and stocking are done.  The washi tape fabric seemed like the perfect mix of stripes and patches and hodgepodge colors for Pippi.  Her shoes may have been black in the books, but I'm certain that she wouldn't pass up on navy plaid shoes with purple soles.  Unfortunately this shoe is falling apart.  Maybe she'll add some duct tape next week? 
Pippi's shoe--detail

The shoe was paper pieced, the calf was curve pieced, the shoe stitching is embroidery floss and the shoelaces are ribbon embroidery with some thread tacking.

In another tiny bit of news, I was in a key fob swap in May.  This is what I sent out in the mail yesterday (yes, the absolute last day to ship--at least it wasn't 4 months late).  I used the Heather Ross bike fabric and added some machine thread sketching on the bike frame and some hand embroidery on the bike seat.  I hope my partner likes it!

key fob front

I still have a ton of Farmer's Wife blocks to post but they'll have to wait for another day. Today was my husband's birthday (babysitter + sushi date + mini golf + arcade games) and then we meet up with my brother and niece tomorrow for a visit for Henry's birthday (Monday).  You've gotta love a fun and busy summer.