Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Farmers Wife Sampler Quilt - Finished!

I finished my Farmers Wife Quilt and then the sun came out. I think spring has been kindly holding off until I finished it? It's OK folks, it's done, time to dig out some sandals, I can confidently predict that its about to warm up here in the UK! It was still a bit precarious hanging this one up for a photo in the garden, bit too muddy and thawing and drippy, but here she is in all her glory. I know I always say it but its DEF my fav quilt i've made!

The Farmers Wife Sampler Quilt is a quilt made using up to 111 different, traditional American patchwork blocks ( I did 64). Each one is 6 inches square. If you love patchwork, you will adore this quilt as it's a romp through every block you ever thought you wanted to make, but on a little neat 6 inch scale. The patterns for these blocks have been published alongside a great book  based on letters written to a farming magazine by wives in the 1930s. The magazine asked women if they would recommend their daughter marry a farmer - and the resulting letters make such heartwarming reading, that I'd recommend the book for the letters alone even if you aren't a quilter!

Anyway, this quilt is something of a labour of love to undertake, so we decided at my MakeClub group to help each other along and make it together. Each month we all tackle the same selection of blocks with the aim to make a quilt over the period of a year. As you can imagine each person's unique colour scheme renders completely different looking blocks based on the same pattern - its a real lesson in colour placement for quilters!

Lots of the pieces are small and sometimes fiddly to piece and the blocks range from the fun to put together to the fiendish! I found it completely addictive and as I've had a bit of extra time on my hands I rushed ahead and finished up my quilt over Xmas and have been hand quilting it this spring. I loved it so much I'm making it again along with my friends as I don't want to miss out on the communal element that is such fun!

If you fancy making this quilt alongside like minded quilters I am planning to run it as a quilt along  in the autumn with all of the templates easily laid out for each block ( the CD rom and template part of the book is a bit of a logistical hurdle!). If you have some basic patchwork knowledge and really want to challenge yourself, opt for the fiendish blocks each week, if you're new and starting out in patchwork, go for the fun blocks, whichever you do I guarantee you will love making them, and it's great to do it in a group.

I will start adding some details to the Autumn 2013 classes page as I firm up the class structure, but drop me a note if you'd like me to add you to the 'keep informed' list, it'll be the perfect long autumn/winter project for the next long winter!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Playing With Fabric

I'm having the nicest day playing with fabric. Scrappy Pincushions - 3 made and I just can't stop ....they're too addictive!

You really can't beat letting your creative inner child out for a hour or two in your grown up world. Its a vastly underrated therapy!

Go! play! You'll  definitely thank me for telling you to! x

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Snug in a Log Cabin While The Snow Falls

Brrr it's snowy and biting cold this weekend. Apart from very brief scurries out to feed the poor ponies and walk the dog I've decided hibernation is the only sensible response.

Last week I had the most fab of days at my termly Retreat with all my MakeClub and PlainStitch friends. It's always wonderful, but each time we are amazed again by what a lovely chilled out BUT productive day we manage!

 I started on this fun log cabin quilt. Its all of my favourite things. A favourite stitchy pins background, then a riot of colour, all from stash. I love making a quilt all from stash, yeah, free quilt!

The 'logs' are quite small so its a whole lot of log cabining, round and round and round again. I'm having a bit of a log cabin frenzy at the moment. I'm planning a class for the autumn to let you all in on the fun. This is such a traditional block, but endlessly versatile and easy and quick to come together, it's definitely one block to have in your repertoire!

I have scribbled down about 10 different types of log cabin quilt I want to make to show you, but we'll see how far I get! I have a LOT on my sewing things to do list at the moment - more fun classes coming in the pipeline, some great 'dip your toe in' type classes in an exciting new local venue, but will tell you more about that in a week or two when I have lots of pics to share! ( so exciting!)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Retreat Day!

Once a term my MakeClub group and lots of PlainStitch friends and other local sewish peeps take a day out to sew. We rent a lovely old village hall, arrive laden down with equipment, much bustle..... then peace, just the hum of sewing machines, a little chat, delicious pot luck lunch shared with friends. What could be nicer? See you next week, recharged and relaxed!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Miss Emmeline Bunny

We waited and waited and our felt still hasn't come, sigh....wail....sob. We could wait no longer, dug out some felt from the sewing room and made a start on our first bunny and here she is! She was such fun to put together and so easy. When that postman finally arrives there will be no stopping us! Now we can't wait for the next bunny clothing pattern to get published, I think it's going to be a kind of knitted overdress which fills me with some fear given my limited knitting skills, but oh isn't it adorable here? In the meantime I will be working on our own pattern of bunny knickers ( bit of a pattern oversight according to my girls!) and a pair of red shoes.

Monday, 4 March 2013 anticipation!

We've had such fun this weekend making Miss Maggie Rabbit dresses in anticipation of the postman bringing the felt to get started on her!

My girls and I have been doing a daily check of this online shop awaiting the release of this pattern and we have been stockpiling little bundles of ribbon and fabric and wool to make her clothes.
Finally the PDF pattern was available and we pounced. The kits sold out in a day, but given my rather large fabric stockpile I didnt think I could really justify the kit! We ordered the felt in the UK hasnt arrived yet!
Miss Maggie Rabbit so far has 3 dresses, each with a matching knitted cape, we're just starting on the boots today after school. Theres probably homework we should be doing instead, but I have a feeling my kids will remember Miss Maggie Rabbit long after they've forgotten how to divide a fraction?!

p.s see the wool balls in the bag in the top picture? I ordered them for the first time from here as I wanted to avoid synthetic stuffing and make them all natural, you know, given she's wearing Liberty  dahling and all! Can anyone advise on their use? I've never come across it before, it smells very sheepy, which is nice but should I worry about lanolin oil coming through the fabric at all?

Friday, 1 March 2013

Farmers Wife Quilt In Progress - Grey March Clouds with Silver Linings

It feels like winter has lasted forever this year, wet and grey. I have been hand quilting my Farmers Wife Quilt since just before my ankle operation in Dec and I was determined to have it finished through the winter while I recuperated. My small cross stitch obsession kind of cut into my hand quilting time a bit and I've been feeling behind with it! I hate that feeling.

This week I've upped the quilting pace and pushed on, I was thinking that March would arrive today with a burst of spring and new projects and I 'd want to move on, but looking out of the window this morning on March 1st it seems like I've been granted a small reprieve. ( I took these shots yesterday evening in some welcome spring sunshine!)

Rather than look out on the dismal day with dismay I'm determined to use this non-day to my advantage and get this quilt finished - I can't wait to get to binding it! When the sun finally makes its way out again and I've finished quilting I'll show you a full picture of this quilt. It's hand pieced and hand quilted and its been a real labour of love, my latest favourite quilt!

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