Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Lineup

No, I don't mean the TV program lineup! ha ha

I hadn't made a "leaf" block before in quilting, though I've seen several different designs. Some have an applique stem, which thoroughly intimidated me. I DON'T DO APPLIQUE. (But I did see a "soft-edge applique," which I may try ... stay tuned.)

In these "Farmer's Wife" blocks is a pattern for a "Maple Leaf" block, with an easy-to-do pieced stem. So I decided since it was fall, and I wanted to try the leaf block, I'd make a few for perhaps a wall hanging or a table runner. I'm really happy with what I was able to find in my material "stash," to represent different colors of fall leaves. Plus two different light blue fabrics for the background, to represent an autumn "sky."

Younger Son thinks they look like GEESE. (The stem being the goose's neck.) I guess it's all in perspective!

I'm planning to put these blocks together with sashing, either in a line, or in a rectangle. I'll have fun playing around with the arrangement, and seeing what kind of fabrics to use for the sashing, and maybe some additional border.

But after doing these blocks, I think I know why the Jacob's Ladder quilt bugs me ... I'm just not a big fan of light blue!!! In small doses, ok. All over everywhere, not so much!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Well, something bugged me about those yo-yo's I made, and I got to checking it out. I looked up some "Google" images, and realized I had the wrong side as the right side! The "smooth" side goes to the back, and the "puckered" side goes to the front! Well. I kind of thought that, but I had a little error going on ...

I was making the running stitch on a raw edge, thus leaving a ragged edge in that hole. You're SUPPOSED to fold over the edge as you make the running stitch, essentially hemming it and making that edge in the hole smooth.

The real right side! That does look much better and more interesting. :)

I still like, though, how the "wrong" side shows off the fabric, if it's something like these flower prints.

Some pictures showed things like buttons over the holes, so maybe that's an idea.

But the rest of the yo-yo's I do, doing that "hem" thing, will make them just a tad bit smaller. But hey, I cut out plenty, and I can re-cut those other fabrics. I'm sure glad for Google images. I'm such a visual learner, they help me a lot!

Friday, September 23, 2011

I LIKE Yo-yo's!

I've seen a lot of crafts and things using fabric "yo-yo's," simple circles of fabric drawn into a puffy round shape. But I've never made one. Until recently.

The first yo-yo I ever made.

The second yo-yo I ever made.

The third yo-yo I ever made.

Say, this is kind of fun!

I think I'll make a "few" more. Uhhh ... a few? That's quite a stack of material!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sometimes Quilting is Full of Angst

I AM TIRED OF THIS QUILT. It brings out angst in me.

Sometimes you have to push yourself with a quilting project for whatever reason.

I started this particular "Jacob's Ladder" THING maybe four or five years ago. We were living in the apartment at the time. I hadn't quilted in quite awhile. I decided to get back into some kind of quilting project. So I made a little "cowboy" wall hanging (which got put in the local fair that year), and I made a few of these "Jacob's Ladder" quilt blocks. I was piecing by hand.

I started with making four blocks, with the intent of just making a little square wall hanging. Then I cut out enough pieces for a dozen. But I only got a few blocks pieced. Then I put them away. Then we moved.

Then I got them out again after I got to going on quilting again. By this time, I had my sewing machine out once more, and pieced the rest of them by machine. I sewed the blocks together, and put a border around them.

I hate the border. The fabric pattern and shade of blue are all wrong for the blocks.

But I've left it there, there it stays, and I'm quilting it.

I was quilting this and the "Log Cabin" this last spring and summer, wondering which I'd put in the local fair in August. Well, my "like" kept leaning towards the Log Cabin, so I concentrated on it and got it done. I put the Jacob's Ladder 'way on the back burner.

Now I have it out again. *SIGH* It's probably 2/3 or 3/4 quilted.

I like these fabrics, yet in this quilt, they are grating on me for some reason. I'M TIRED OF LOOKING AT THIS FABRIC COMBINATION. And that border. But I'm continuing on. I will finish this quilt. Someday.

Monday, September 19, 2011

FW Plus

It's been awhile since I posted any pictures of the Farmer's Wife blocks, between a lot to do, general chaos, plus the fact that these recent blocks contained a lot of TINY PIECES. I try to make these in groups of four (no particular order), just for picture-taking ease. So here's the latest bunch that got finished.

Cut Glass Dish, Weathervane.

Heh, on that "Weathervane" block, you could almost imagine looking from directly above - the dark weathervane, the red barn, and a yard full of flowers! Ha!

Four Winds, Windblown Square.

I've got particular things in mind for the block patterns I picked, relating to my grandparents and parents, and the influence of the rural way of life, farming and homesteading. Mom talked about western Kansas in the "Dirty '30's," and told how the wind would blow dirt from everywhere. You could tell which way the wind was blowing from the color of the dirt. For example if it was red, it was coming from the south, from Oklahoma. The day Liberal got hit with a tornado, she said they had seen ALL the colors of dirt that day - wind from every direction! So "Windblown Square" and "Four Winds" blocks make me think of all this. Even the colors in the fabric - orange-red, tan-brown, etc. Even the "swirls" in the dark green fabric suggest the wind blowing!

Then you have "Weathervane," which in actuality, weathervanes were (and still are) found on the tops of barns. They featured some kind of figure, like a running horse or a rooster, plus indicators as to which way the wind was blowing. This is a horse clock my Hubby got me awhile back, but it looks similar to what you might find on a weathervane. Plus, to the left is a glass "water" thermometer for the weather aspect. Little bobbers float in a column of water, and you can tell by which one is at the top what temperature it is.

When I thought of the "Cut Glass Dish" block, I immediately thought of Depression Glass (a favorite) in pink and green colors. Mom had a bunch, and I kick myself that I didn't keep ALL of it. I did keep a few pieces, but they're put away where I can't find them! Imagine that! They're "safely" in a bin somewhere in this house. Meanwhile, I did have this pink cut-glass-type dish that fit as well, so I put it in with the block for a picture. Just an example of how I have tangible ideas and memories for each of these blocks I'm making. And even with the teeny-tiny pieces, I'm enjoying it. I may tear my hair out before it's over, but I'm having fun!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Family Coverlet

I have an interesting coverlet that Grandma W. made at some point in her life. Apparently sometime in the '60's at the earliest, since my cousin & my names are in it. It doesn't have any batting, it's simply a top made of various squares of corduroy, and a back with our family's names stitched onto it.

Front view, showing the colors of material, block piecing and decorative stitching.

Black, blue and green colors of corduroy.

Closeup of the decorative stitching in the middle - different colors of thread, various stitches, almost a "crazy quilt" look.

Whole view of back - gray material, with all our names stitched by hand in red thread.

A look at the corner - outline stitching around pieces.

A look at the red stitching - front, back, edge.

One aunt and uncle and their boys.

My family, plus another aunt, uncle and cousin on the left.

Closeup view of simple stitching in names and outlines.

Everybody - Grandma, Grandpa, aunts, uncles, cousins, my own little family.

My family in the middle.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It Started With a Book

Even growing up with the familiarity of Grandma C.'s quilting, I didn't really do much with it for a long time. I dabbled on a little quilt square that was Grandma W.'s, I stitched a bit on a quilt Mom had in the frame, and that was about it for my younger years. I was busy with other stuff - school, horses, music. But as time has gone on, I've enjoyed including this beautiful craft in my life more and more. BOOKS have helped me a lot, and are so enjoyable to read and look through. Here are four main ones that I enjoy in my "library."

A couple of years after I was graduated from college, I moved back to that town and spent a year living and working there. A friend was expecting a baby, so I got a bright idea to make a child-sized quilt for her during my spare time. Since I was interested in old-fashioned things, I had picked up a book at a bookstore sometime before this, and had it on hand. It inspired me.

Quilts Among the Plain People, by Rachel T. Pellman and Joanne Ranck. This includes information on the Amish and Mennonite "plain" people, quilts, and scenes from everyday life that may suggest ideas for the quilt patterns.

So at this time in the late '80's, I made a colorful "Irish Chain" for my friend's baby. This was my first complete quilt to make, so it sure wasn't "perfect," but turned out alright. I learned a lot.

The interest in Amish and Mennonite peoples has stuck with me through the years since. At one point after that first book, sometime after I was married, I ordered this one, and it likewise has both quilt patterns, photos of quilts and the plain people, and information on how they live.

How to Make an Amish Quilt, by Rachel and Kenneth Pellman.

I took quite a long break from doing much quilting while I had two babies and we moved a good bit. I just lost interest somehow. But I did make a thing or two at various times, a baby quilt for my first baby, and a quilted coverlet for our bed.

Then ... here in these last few years, I've returned with a vengeance to quilting. I think I had to let it set in the back of my brain for awhile, and figure out just what I wanted to do for projects, and what I liked for designs and materials. Every person's quilting reflects them. So I guess I had to figure out what reflected "me." Now I know! Along with the Amish-Mennonite influence, I also have an interest in things from the depression era - the '20's and '30's. My mother grew up in western Kansas during the "Dirty '30's," right in the thick of it, and I have a deep love of those fabrics and patterns from that time. I love feed-sack prints! So recently, I found this in the nearby quilt store, and made it mine. I really, really enjoy it! It's got projects in it besides quilts, too, which is a lot of fun.

Egg Money Quilts, by Eleanor Burns.

Then awhile back I was in Tractor Supply (of all places) one day, and saw this on display. At the time, I was kind of scatter-brained in my life, and I just got it for the story-letters written by the women about living in the country, and just liked seeing the blocks. It didn't register with me at the time to actually do anything with this.

The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt, by Laurie Aaron Hird

But, enjoying blogs like I do, I got to seeing lots and lots of gals making these blocks in "quilt-alongs." Though I can't keep a schedule like that, I decided to jump in and start making some of my own. I chose just part of the block patterns, reflecting on my grandparents' time era, and their lives either farming or homesteading. I'm having a blast!

So, being the bookworm that I am, I really enjoy having these books on hand for enjoyment and inspiration.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Strips of Summer Color

Got the strips made for the sunflower "whatever" quilt. Thought I'd take some pictures of them out on the line. It's September, the end of summer, so this'll be a splash of "summer" color to have fun with. Don't know if you can tell it in the south sky, but there's a bad wildfire about an hour south of us, making the sky hazy, and you can smell the smoke. [As the day has gone on, getting worse.]

Without further ado ... some colorful, summery strips.

Ah, thank you for cooperating, but I think you can hang a little straighter, perhaps?

Well, now that's a little jumbled, you need to work WITH the wind, not AGAINST it.

That's a little better ...

... ahhh!!!! Out of control! Calm down please!

Better. Thank you.

Uh, you might be testing my patience.

Settle down, settle down ...

Better. Nice sky view.

Cheerful colors.

Ah, that wind's getting with it again. And look, Mr. Grasshopper flying through, trying to steal the limelight!

Thank you for the shade, Mr. Cloud.

Still a little breezy.

That looks good! Sort of.

You sure get upset fast.

Wow! I give up.

Now that I've had my camera fun, I'll go in and sew these together, before they get hopelessly tangled!