Monthly Archives: July 2011

Farmer’s Wife QAL: Week 4

Kittens! I did not fall off the planet and die after the first week of July. Instead, my projects continued to be a pain in my behind, and my crafting drive is still very low. It’s making for very little actually getting done.

I did finally finish “week” 4 of my Farmer’s Wife QAL. So, here they are:

Man. There’s a lot to say about these…mostly just that first block.

Block 7: Birds in the Air
This block kicked my ass. Several times. If I had not decided to cut into some of my precious Flea Market Fancy stash for it, I would have chucked the thing and just recut and went from there. But no, I used special fabric and ended up: sewing, ripping, resewing, reripping, and then fiddly sewing it back together a final time. There are over 10 hours’ worth of labor in that first block. It’s not perfect, but it is exponentially better than it looked the first 2 go ’rounds.
The FMF held up pretty well to the abuse, but the cheapie Jo-Anns purple did not. The edges started to fray on most of the pieces in spite of my careful handling and gentleness. As a result, the block looks wonky (it’s not) and that weird “wrinkle” in the upper left square? It’s where I actually had to sew more purple to it to give the thread something to hold onto other than frayed edge. I probably should have recut that particular triangle.
Birds in the Air took me weeks to get done and to my satisfaction. Such a bummer, but at least I can live with it as-is now.
Block 8: Bouquet
This block, on the other hand, went together in under an hour and didn’t give me any trouble. The hardest part was deciding which fabrics to use. No drama. No pain. Went right together. One point is slightly off, and I’m not sweating it.
(And I’m not sure what happened with my photos today. No, there is not a wrinkle in the Pip’s section of the block.)
Anywho! Week 5’s blocks look pretty easy and I may try to finish them up before July comes to a close.
What about you, kittens? What have you been making?

Farmer’s Wife QAL: Week 3

Yes, it’s been 3 weeks since “week” 2, but I’m trying to do 2 blocks per “week” and blog them. Obviously, I’ll be playing a little catch up this month and hope to close that gap between myself and the rest of the group, who should all be posting their week 6 blocks starting today. If I can manage 3 blocks per real time week, I should be pretty much caught up before the month is done.

Anywho, onto the blocks!

Block 6: Big Dipper
Truly, I should subtitle this week, “Pain in the Ass week,” because each of these blocks gave me some trouble. My Big Dipper block is looking pretty good now (only one intersection is a bit off, and it’s not terrible), but don’t let that fool you. I had to rip and resew this block together 4 times before I was able to get most of the points to match up. When I was cutting out the templates for this one, I was a bit sloppy and some of the end pieces were just the tiniest bit smaller than others. It turns out, this made for some finagling of seams and effort to get things to line up. As I mentioned before, the main reason I took on this project was to conquer my hatred of templates and prove to myself that I can be careful and produce nice results. I do not have to be a hare when it comes to finishing up projects.

Block 3: Basket
This is the block I mentioned in one of my last posts. I had these insane, grand plans to flip the orientation of the block to match the way I plan to piece the top. It turns out my abysmal geometry skills got the better of me so I changed tactics: instead, I chose a cricket fabric and chose to have the basket spilling them out.
This block went together pretty quickly, except for the handle. That is where the PITA element of this one came in. The book gives two options for the handle; you can choose to cut a bias strip and hand applique it down, or one for machine applique was provided. When it comes to applique, I’m very opinionated. Machine sewing it down was out. Decorative stitching? Out. It had to be a hidden seam and tidy. It turns out, I can not curve and sew down a bias strip to save my life and in a bit of a huff, I ripped it off and formulated a new plan. After calling my mother and verifying what I wanted to do, it turns out she has the same issues and resolved them the same way: I transferred the shape of the machine applique piece to freezer paper, ironed it onto the wrong side of my fabric, cut it out with an allowance to turn down all around, removed the paper as I basted the piece, pinned it, and sewed it down that way. When I was finished, I removed all of the basting stitches. VOILA! The handle is the correct shape and size, and it didn’t cause weird, messy puckering of the under fabric.
The only thing about this block that makes me a bit sad is that it is noticeably smaller than my other 5 blocks. I suspect that when it comes time to set it into sashing, I’ll be getting creative with the seam allowance to try and keep all of my points and as much size to the block as I can.
Also, having worked with two of my Spoonflower quilter’s cottons now, I can say this: this particular fabric they offer is not worth the premium price. Even after pre-washing, it has a very stiff, cheap feel to it. I’ve also noticed that it continues to show pin holes long after the pins are removed. I still plan to buy from Spoonflower, but I think next time, I’ll try a different fabric option and see if I like it better.