Trekking Along

Sunday, July 24, 2011
I seem to be on a roll! I was able to crank out another 2 blocks for the Farmer's Wife quilt.
FW #69

I picked two easier blocks since #43 gave me such a hard time. I am loving how I can just focus on each individual little block and have a sense of accomplishment after finishing each one. I think that is what I'm finding so appealing, the sense of "accomplishment." This baby is coming in little more than a week and I know I will not be able to finish any of my other projects, not that I have the desire to work on them anyway. Once the baby arrives I know it will be weeks before I will feel well enough to sit and sew (this baby is coming via repeat c-section.)
FW #44

These little blocks are "done" and will stay "done." I can't say the same thing about anything else in my house. Laundry, dishes, dust, and trash will keep on multiplying. Tummy's will have to be fed, daily, three times a day even! I'm so grateful to have such an understanding husband who tells me I'm working hard "just sitting there." He says it with a smile but I know he means it in a nice way! ... and I'm glad he means it because lately I feel like this:
Source: via Kim on Pinterest

I hope you have a great week!
~ Norma

oh and my progress so far:
FW Progress 7-24

What a Nightmare!

Saturday, July 23, 2011
Last night I was determined to finish up block #43 from "The Farmer's Wife." That was a doozy of a block and I suggest you save it for when you are feeling a bit more confident about piecing such tiny little blocks with loads of pieces and y-seams.
FW #43

I ended up with 2 little puckers but I think I will go back and fix it later... much later. I've had enough of this block for now. It honestly wasn't that hard but there sure were a lot of pieces. Everything ended up perfect until I got to the y-seams. It all went down hill from there. It took me several hours to make this block but I was determined to not give up and to paper piece the darn block. Am I glad that's over!
FW #43

I whipped up this progress chart in EQ6 by importing my .jpg block images and placing them into the quilt layout. If you are going to do this you should crop your images as close to square as possible and also make them low resolution so you don't overload EQ6. (I made my images 72ppi)
FW Progress 7-23

I am not sure what colors I will be using for the cornerstones, sashings or borders. For now I threw in some grays and of course red and aqua/teal. For now the blocks are placed in the exact spot they appear in the book, just to make it easy to track my progress, but I can already see that some blocks will have to be moved around to better distribute color and value.

I also sent off this quilt back to it's owner.
HST trip quilted

That is not a pantograph, it was done free motion. I hope this beautiful quilt makes someone really happy!


... and Two Steps Back

Thursday, July 21, 2011
Apparently being super productive this late in pregnancy only makes you super tired the next day! Tuesday morning was wasted while I spent 3 hours at the OB's office, mainly in the waiting rooms. I understand that Dr's have emergencies (she was called to deliver a baby) but the receptionist could have let those of us in the waiting room know and given us the option to maybe come back in an hour or two or to even re-schedule.

After that I took my kids out to meet daddy for lunch because they were on their very best behavior the entire 3 hours! Then I came home and crashed for a two hour nap. Afterwards the only productive thing I did was to whip up block #103 of the Farmer's Wife.
FW #103
Fabrics: Tufted Tweets + Kona Snow

I'm starting to understand how paper piecing works and have even gotten away with combing a few pieces that EQ suggested be pieced separately. I guess sometimes EQ makes suggestions not knowing that you will be using the same fabric for adjoining pieces. As you can see in the picture below I was able to combine the 3 sections for the middle portion of the block into one big section. The top and the bottom sections were also combined into simplified versions.
FW #103
And yes my whirlwind is spinning in the opposite direction because I forgot to mirror the template when I printed it out. That's ok though, it doesn't bother me one bit!

Yesterday was a lazy unproductive day as well. After being woken up at 6am with another mother of all charlie horses (major muscle cramp in the leg, for those of you unfamiliar with the term) that left me limping for the rest of the day. I'm glad I only have a week and a half left to go! Then maybe I can fall asleep peacefully at night without fear of stretching the wrong way in my sleep.

~ Norma

Awesomely Productive

Monday, July 18, 2011
Being productive has been a rare thing since I got back from UT in May. The car accident really threw off my "groove." Visits to the chiropractor and to the OB take up a ton of time and energy. Now I'm a mere 2 weeks away (as of tomorrow) from my scheduled c-section. Finding the energy and urge to do anything productive, beyond eating and napping {hey that's productive right?!} is really, really tough. As a result my house is embarrassingly messy and dusty. The dishes are often piled in the sink, and my kids have learned to fend for themselves {pb&j and cereal anyone?} Luckily I have a super awesome husband that hasn't uttered a word of complaint and tells me I'm doing a great job! {I love that man!}

Today was the most productive day I've had in a long time. I actually made my bed this morning, did some laundry, organized and cleaned out the linen closet, made lunch for the kids, made another block from "The Farmer's Wife"
FW #81
FW #81
Fabrics are Katie Jump Rope and Kona Snow

and not only started, but finished the quilting on my first customer quilt.
HST Trip

 you can see my sketch of the quilting pattern I did

To top it all off I made dinner! OK so I threw a pizza in the oven and made a salad. Baby steps right? Oh and let's not forget this blog post too. Tomorrow I'll post some more pictures of the quilting on the HST quilt before I ship it off to it's owner.

~ Norma

My First Block

Sunday, July 17, 2011
I managed to finish my first block for the FWQAL. It's block # 14 and it's called " Butterfly at the Crossroads"
FW #14

In the picture you can catch a glimpse of how the second half of the book is set up. At the top you see a thumbnail picture of the block done up in fabrics. Then you get an exploded view of the block that illustrates the suggested piecing order. To the left of that (under my block) is a small cutting list that tells you how many and what templates you need to use to make up the block. (You can read my full review of the book and EQ companion CD here.)

As I mentioned before, I will be paper piecing my blocks because that is a skill I want to learn/improve. This block took me waaaaay longer (like an hour!) than a rotary cut version would have taken. I attribute that to being such a novice paper piecer! It's a bit hard for me to wrap my brain around something that seems "backward" to me. I found Sonja's video tutorials over at Artisania super helpful. I know that, just as with any new skill, the more I practice the easier it will become. Besides it's worth it to have almost perfect blocks. I say almost because I'm still learning. I only had 2 points that didn't match up perfectly, but they are not horribly off.

My block finished at 6.25" square. I know that over on the Flickr page everyone is having their blocks finish up at varying sizes. Since I printed my paper piecing patterns from EQ6 I was able to open the block and check on the finished size. EQ6 says that the finished block size is 6". So once you add in seam allowances all around it should have finished up at 6.5" square. I'm not sure why it didn't end up being the correct size. The only thing I can think of is that it's my printer. I did make sure to print it at "actual size" with no scaling so that shouldn't have affected it. Honestly I don't' think it's that big of a deal as long as I keep using the same printer and settings to print up all of my patterns then all of the blocks should end up finishing at the same size.
FW #14

Oh, in case you're wondering about color scheme... I'm going with bright and scrappy on Kona Snow. I'm going to limit each block to 1 or 2 colors max in order for it to be visually pleasing. I don't like scrappy quilts that make my head spin!


The Farmer's Wife

Saturday, July 16, 2011
By now many of you have probably heard about the Flickr Farmer's Wife Quilt-along.
If not, consider yourself warned! I tried to resist but once I saw Camille's blocks I was sold.

I ordered my book a few weeks ago and I want to share my review with you now that I'm ready to finally start working on my quilt blocks.

Farmer's Wife

top left: condensed templates, quilt layout (EQ6), paper piecing templates (EQ6)
bottom left: Farmer's Wife book (Amazon or Connecting Threads), EQ Companion CD (Amazon $13.59)

I ordered my book from Connecting Threads for $16.79 on sale otherwise I would have ordered from Amazon and gotten free Prime shipping. I was ordering some other items from Connecting Threads so it shipped for free. Once I received my book I quickly flipped through it and made the following observations:
  • The first half of the book features letters written by 1920's farm wives sharing why they think farm life is better than city life. Each page also features a photograph of a single block found in the sampler quilt. To tell you the truth I read a handful of letters and then got bored. It's just not my cup of tea!
  • The second half of the book features a single block per page along with template cutting instructions and a block assembly diagram. There are no written instructions on how to piece the blocks or in what order to piece the segments. Most blocks are pretty straightforward as to how you would piece the segments, but some of the more intricate blocks could be tricky.
  • The last 10 pages of the book has minimal instruction on how to assemble the quilt and add borders.
  • The very back of the book holds a CD with PDF files of all the templates required to make the blocks. The frustrating thing is that each template (100+) is on an individual PDF file. So printing out each template as is would require 100+ pieces of paper! I spent the better part of a day merging those templates into 14 pages. Unfortunately because of copyright rules I cannot share those files with you. There were also no instructions on how to use templates to piece together a block, so if you've never used templates this may not be the quilt for you.
After printing out my templates I was browsing the Flickr group when I found out that there was an EQ companion disc available for this book. Feeling overwhelmed by the templates and lack of instruction in the book I decided to order the companion CD from Amazon and got free Prime shipping. Here are my observations on the CD:
  • If you don't care for the letters and you have EQ 5 or 6 I recommend just buying the companion CD. (This is what I should have done) Oh, and according to the reviews on Amazon you should be able to use it with EQ7
  • You get a project file, as well as the whole block library and the fabric library.
  • I have EQ6 and I was able to print out paper piecing templates for assembling my blocks.
  • You can also print out templates for each block (just like the ones included on the cd with the book.)
  • You can also get rotary cutting instructions for each block.
  • You can print out blank "coloring sheets" of the whole quilt or of individual blocks
  • You can easily design your own quilt by dragging and dropping blocks, and trying out different colorways or fabric lines.
 So those are my opinions on both the book and CD.

I've decided that I'm going to be paper piecing my blocks for the following reasons:
  • The biggest problem I have heard on the Flickr group is that those using the templates are having a hard time getting consistent finished block sizes and points that will be chopped off once sashings are added.
  • While I can get rotary cutting instructions from the companion cd some of the sizes are in 16th of an inch increments. For example you will be directed to cut 4 squares measuring 2 and 5/16" Most quilting rulers are marked for an eighth of an inch. Besides I know that I would definitely mess up cutting when 16ths are involved.
  • I really want to learn how to paper piece. I've only made 1 paper pieced block ever.
Oh and in case you are wondering I printed my paper piecing templates on some newsprint that I cut down to 8.5"x11" and ran through my printer. Newsprint is thinner than regular copy/printer paper so it should tear away easier than copy paper. I did have to run each sheet individually through the printer because the rollers kept grabbing more than one sheet at a time. Out of 14 papers only one got jammed and that was because the feeding end wasn't completely flat.

Boy, that was wordy!


Too Much Fun?

Saturday, July 9, 2011
This morning Mr. PD had to go in to work (very rarely does he have to work weekends) so left up to my own devices I had a little bit too much fun with the new light box I built.
First I pulled out my vintage Pyrex and the super delicious cherries I got from the grocery store yesterday. Delicious!

Then I pulled out my cute red polka dot planter and some of my favorite red and aqua prints.

Then I moved on to bananas, mangoes, and summer squash! I need to edit those pics first though. Let me know if you have any interest in learning about using/making a light box and I'll write up a post if anyone wants to know.

Have a great weekend!
~ Norma


Friday, July 8, 2011
I've got "lotsa" stuff going on, mainly baby growing which is taking up all of my time, energy, and general will to do anything that doesn't involve eating or sleeping! I've only got 3 weeks and 4 days left, but who's counting anyway? Summer has kept me busy with soccer games, soccer parties, church stuff, eating (lots), a visit from my sister and her 2 kids, napping, hiking, swimming, dr's visits, Netflix and more napping. I have managed to squeeze in a few minutes here and there on crafty related projects around the house:

Fabric Petals

- I made a few more petals for the Joseph's Coat quilt that I"m slowly working on. I think this is going to turn into a "several years" project.
- I also chopped off some of my maternity pants into shorts and reclaimed the extra pieces into doll clothes for my daughter (pictures to come.)
- I acquired a Nikon D70s from my uber talented photography genius older brother and I've been trying to learn how to use it. I've got a ways to go before any of my stuff ends up looking like his. In fact I was so annoyed at it earlier that I busted out my old point and shoot for the above picture (shhh, don't tell!)
- I also built myself a nifty photography light tent  for taking cool pictures like the one above.
- I also received my first customer quilt from the Sew Mama Sew giveaway I hosted:

HST trip

Isn't it awesome? I have it up on my design wall right now. I just need to load it on the frame and decide on a quilting pattern for it.

Have a great weekend!
~ Norma
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