My other work from retreat

These photos aren't great since I'm in process on both of these today.  But I did promise to show you what else I worked on over my retreat weekend. 

2nd UFO from retreat. It still needs work. The big curves are kind of killer.

3rd UFO from retreat

I hope to have some finished tops to show very very soon.

Sparkling Pond

Over the weekend, I had a wonderful opportunity to sew with some friends from the DC Modern Quilt Guild.  We had a retreat at Mary's Quilt Shop in Bedford, Pennsylvania.  Bedford is the cutest town and Mary is a wonderful hostess.  Her retreat space is gorgeous!

I love an unscripted retreat.  I brought along three unfinished projects and all were made better with great company, amazing food and ample uninterrupted sewing time.

DCMQG Retreat friends
Mari, Jessie, Linda, myself and Anjeanette of the DC Modern Quilt Guild

I'm showing just one project today because I finished my Sparkling Pond quilt!!  I cut the fabrics for this in December 2010 and the last of the binding was stitched on August 2013.  That is a long, long time---but so worth it.

As usual, it is hard to capture the colors of a quilt in photographs. 

Sparkling Pond

This photo was taken on the side of the Espy House in Bedford.  The building is notable for having been the headquarters of George Washington and his forces in 1794.  I like the texture of the stone wall and the texture of the quilting in one photo.

Sparkling Pond

The brick wall is just on the other side of the alley and it makes a pretty great backdrop, too. 


I made a selvages string block for the bottom corner of the quilt.  I want to make a label to include all of the sewists that contributed a block to this quilt from the It's Sew Easy Bee-ing Green Bee.  I'm debating between printing fabric with a computer, stamping or making a screen print.  I definitely don't want to embroider that many names.

Selvages block

Tomorrow I'll post some progress photos of the other two projects I worked on during the retreat. 

Farmers Wife quilt top

The top is finally done and I could not be more happy.

Farmer's Wife quilt top

(All of the pictures of the completed top are by Jessie Aller)

I love love love my Farmer's Wife quilt.  It is such a big project to take on.  The book has 111 blocks.  I chose not to do a couple of the blocks from the book, but then I added other sampler blocks until I had 121 blocks total.

Farmer's Wife quilt top

I opened up my entire stash to be used in this quilt.  I started it with the idea that I'd use my very favorite fabrics.  That way, even if the colors are a jumbled mess, I'd still love it.  The finished quilt top has 354 different fabrics in it. 

Farmer's Wife quilt top

I decided to omit browns and dark cream fabrics and any fabrics that had heavy brown tones.  Sometimes choosing what you leave out helps the other colors come together more.  My stash is heavy in greens and aquas and lighter in yellows, oranges and purples, so you'll see that reflected in the quilt, too. 

Farmer's Wife quilt top

When I was deciding what fabrics to use in which blocks, I would spread my stash over the floor and surfaces in an entire room, pick one fabric that I loved and then pick another fabric or two to go with it and then I'd look through the book to find the right block to go with those fabrics. I'd do it again and again until I had the combinations I liked for 5 to 40 blocks.  After that, it made the most sense to me to do all of the cutting in a night or two.

prepping blocks for the fwqal

And then I'd wait until I had the time and patience to sew the blocks and I'd do that for a few nights in a row.  I paper pieced only 3 blocks out of 121.  Otherwise I did the quilt math or used the templates from the book.  Because so many blocks were heavy in pieces cut on the bias, I starched my fabric pieces and blocks like crazy!  Some of those blocks could nearly stand on their own.

Farmer's Wife quilt top

I've been thinking a lot about how to quilt this.  The finished top is 106" square.  I know I can't handle that on my machine and I've been pondering different ways to have a long armer help me, but I'm not sure that I can.  This one is so precious that can't really hand it over to anyone else.  So I guess I'm going to hand quilt it.  It may take me a few years, but I think it will be worth it.

Farmer's Wife quilt top

Barbie knitting sweatshop

I am aware that these Barbie knitting posts are silly.  Most people tell me I'm crazy for knitting such tiny things for relaxation.  But it works for me.  Using up small bits of stash yarn, starting a project and finishing it in a day or two, working out the technique to knit in the round instead of flat, all of it is helping to scratch an itch I have right now.  I've been working so hard to finish old quilting projects that I have startitis in the worst way.  But if I start a bunch of new quilts right now...I'll have another pile of UFO's to finish next year.  So I just pore over the many Barbie knitting options on this site and stitch away.  I'll get back to quilting soon.

But first, there is a Barbie fashion show.

First up is a relaxed dolman sleeve sweater and trousers.  I picture this as Barbie's lazy weekend outfit.

Barbie knitting

Since my young friend is in Minnesota, Barbie needs a winter hat and scarf.

Barbie knitting

Here is a pastel outfit for a spring day at the botanical gardens.

Barbie knitting

And lastly is a bold power suit with a shaped peplum that is longer in the back and shorter in the front.

Barbie knitting

Henry has recently taken an interest in Barbie since he was introduced to her through Toy Story.  He talks about Barbie's shirt, shoes and wrists.  He talks about her wrists a lot.  I never realized how few of his toys have moving wrists.  Barbie has been walking on the furniture and taking naps with the Handy Manny tools.  I think it is great that he keeps her busy while I'm working on her wardrobe.

(Nearly) Instant Gratification

First, I want to thank all that commented on my last post.  I did finish ripping all of the stitches in that quilt and I'm working on the new quilting today and tomorrow.

But first...I needed a quick, satisfying little project.  Knitting for Barbie to the rescue.  I had the shorts and skirt made since October, but poor Barbie needed some tops to look decent for her photography session.

knitting for Barbie

knitting for Barbie

These will be heading out (along with the two outfits from this post) to a young friend that will put them to good use.  The patterns came from this site.  The shorts are #0095, the skirt is #0039, the burgundy shirt is #0292 and the orange shirt is #0275.

And now, back to quilting straight lines...