Friday, July 29, 2011

Farmer's Wife Friday: I Love the Farm

This week's letter was written by Mrs. G.B.S. of Saline County, Missouri. She has the highest praise for the life of a farmer's wife. She hopes that the farmer her daughter marries will be college or university trained and that he may regard "...Agriculture as man's divinist vocation, worthy of the thoughtful best effort of the highest work to make farming the most respected of professions and farm life happier."

"Cities have produced men whose work one must admire but think of the combination of strength and tenderness that can swing an ax or a corn-knife all day and, at night, bath a tiny baby and put it to sleep in its crib."

The first block today is #53, Jackknife. I'm sure any farmer would have a jackknife in his pocket of his denim overalls.

I envision this mother hoping to hear her daughter pledge herself to a farmer in good times and bad, in peace and in plenty.

Block #64 is Peace & Plenty. The farmer's wife in the letter this week painted a "rosy" picture of life on the farm.
Carla has done these same blocks this week. See her thoughts on the letter, "I Love the Farm."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Really Random Thursday

Recently I got the latest issue of this magazine.
And inside I saw this quilt, designed by Kevin Kosbab.

So I went to my stash and pulled these out. I'm pretty sure this quilt pattern and I are made for each other. Awesome.
Does anyone else besides me think this is highway robbery, for a movie that is 1 hour and 9 minutes long, showing at 11 a.m., and the price for little ones under 5 is $8? Really?? On the other hand, I paid the price. So I guess they know what they are doing...

Every Monday morning here at Lakeview Cottages, we have a pancake breakfast for all the guests. The managers make the pancakes and the guests bring something to share. I loved the shadows created by this bowl of fruit.
My new favorite blocks for Taking My Chances, the 36-patch quilt-along by Crazy Mom Quilts.

A couple of weeks ago I was at REI and totally succumbed to an impulse buy, two little flashlights, one in the shape of a parrot and the other in the shape of a shark. Because these two little people totally light up my life.

And this melts my heart.
The end.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Taking My Chances

I should do this more often. I also highly recommend it. Pick a simple but striking pattern. Make some easy rules for yourself, in this case only one rule:  light versus dark.

Don't over-think or over-analyze your rules. Stick to your rules.


(Note to self: take better pictures next week...)

See what everyone else has been doing this week.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Taking My Chances

Yesterday I started doing Amanda Jean's latest quiltalong. In honor of her birthday, she is doing 36-patch blocks, and in honor of her I am doing 36 blocks. "Value" is the key when choosing the fabrics for this quilt.

We're at Lakeview Cottages this week, managing the twelve rental cabins (and this week we have 14 kids!). I knew I would have time to sew and had chosen my projects, including the 36-patches. But didn't have time to go through my stash.

Then I remembered a pattern and stack of fabrics I had purchased several years ago.
This pattern is also most successful when you pay attention to value. I never made the pattern with the stack of fabrics I purchased. But when friends got married, I did make them a quilt from this pattern, choosing fabrics in the colors they wanted.
I still had the stack of lights and the stack of darks purchased with the pattern. Do you have any fabrics that you still sorta like, aren't quite ready to pass them on to someone else but don't have a clue what to do with them yourself? Yeah, that was this stack. I can't tell you how many times I have gone through and wondered, "Hmmm, should I donate this to our church quilting group, have a giveaway? Oh, well, I'll think about it later..."

Well, I grabbed those fabrics and brought them up here. And then I made some rules for myself. I put the stack of lights and the stack of darks side by side.
*No rearranging them.
*No checking for color coordination.
*No checking for scale.
It is what it is. Whatever is on the top of the dark stack and the top of the light stack, well, those two fabrics are going into the next 36-patch block.

And guess what? I have made six blocks so far and I REALLY like them!! This is my first one.
I took the picture out by our boat dock and then realized that the colors were kind of similar to all the kayaks and canoes that were on the beach.
I'm kind of in a rhythm now of making the blocks and I haven't been disappointed with a single combination of light/darks.

But I did run into this problem two times yesterday. Oops.
I followed Amanda Jean's advice to sew with a small stitch length. I have my Featherweight up here and it's harder to gauge the number of stitches per inch than on my Elna. So I counted. Holy moly! Twenty stitches/inch is no fun to un-sew!

Just last week I ordered this, thinking that if you MUST un-sew, you might as well do it with some class, and you can't get much classier than orange. Unfortunately it didn't make it to my house in time, so I'm using a boring generic-looking seam ripper. And in case you were wondering, Amy's husband made a few of these super cool seam rippers and they sold like hotcakes!
So the name of this new quilt is Taking My Chances. It's working out pretty well for me so far and I'm pretty sure Amanda Jean would approve of the chances I'm taking. I'll post the rest of my progress tomorrow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Name Game: Pinkadot Quilts

I'm so happy to have Kelly here from Pinkadot Quilts. Polka dots are one of my favorites! Kelly does beautiful applique work, something I only aspire to do. You'll enjoy her bright and cheerful colors.

Kelly, how did you choose the name, Pinkadot Quilts?

I had been reading blogs for about a year before I decided to jump in. I knew I wanted something that gave a hint that it was about quilting, a lot of  good ones were taken. I really like pink and I really like polka dot fabrics,  Pinkadot Quilts!  So there you go, not too complicated.
Were there other names you considered, and can you share any of them with us? 
The only other one I considered is a little "out there"....Touch Pearls, Wave. It is a silly saying my sisters and I always used to say. Think of the queen sitting in a carriage waving to the people. Touch the pearls, wave,..... touch the pearls, wave.....yeah we were a little weird. I just thought there was nothing about it that said quilts or sewing and would anyone ever remember it?
Now that you are recognized by Pinkadot Quilts, are you happy with it, or do you wish you could change it to something else?

Yes I am happy with it, people always say, Oh I like that! when they hear the name of my blog. If I ever wanted to do a logo all I would need is a pink dot!
You can never go wrong with polka dots, that's for sure! Thanks for playing along, Kelly.

Please stop by Pinkadot Quilts and say hi to Kelly. She has a lot of great tutorials, too. 

Next week Camilla will be here from Candied Apples. Another interesting name!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Farmer's Wife Friday: The Best of All Good Things

The letter this week is from Mille Lacs County, Minnesota. I just returned from Minnesota two weeks ago. The land there is green and lush (and has also been horribly humid this week). The writer values the satisfaction of a hard task well done. "When I have hurried with my work that I might do something extra outside, worked until I felt old and cross and tired, and the best man in all the world has said, 'I certainly couldn't farm without you!', oh, how I've thrilled. It becomes a little song in my heart and lightens my work for days. And even if he weren't the best man, I think I could be quite happy with the thought, 'I've earned my way today...'"

The most interesting part was when she said, "And even if he weren't the best man..."

The first block This week is #58, Mother's Dream. I originally thought of the things the writer wanted for her children, the dreams she had, and thought of going with pink and blue. Obvious choice. Then I pulled myself into the present day, and found I was dreaming of sand and surf. So the colors are those of the ocean and a sandy beach.
The next block is #77, Seasons. Mark has been keeping tabs on how the corn is growing in Minnesota via frequent updates from a present-day farmer's wife.I wish I had been thinking of that when I made this block, because then it would have been more yellow, with green instead of maroon.
"....the good things I desire for this daughter-o'-mine are peace, a love of nature and time for quiet, happy thoughts."  When I chose the colors for #1, Attic Windows, I thought of mother and daughter perhaps spending an afternoon in the attic, going through old picture albums, perhaps with a little sun making its way through the windows, dust motes in the air.
"She will see and feel and hear the beauty of the world...and with an unruffled spirit she will go in and get supper for her hungry brood." #30: End of Day.
Here are all four together:

And my progress so far. Oh, they look so pretty together.
Don't forget to see Carla's blocks too, and have a wonderful and relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WIP Wednesday #36

Wednesday again. How does this happen with such frequency?

I have spent most of my available sewing time this week working on Farmer's Wife blocks (come back for Farmer's Wife Friday) and Snow Angels.Yesterday I mentioned some of my math problems in regard to Snow Angels. I thought I had the border all planned out but then things went in a totally different direction.

Right now you may be asking yourself this question:

How long did it take her to come up with such an inventive and creative border for this quilt??

You would be surprised. I had planned to use the leftover jellyroll strips on two sides, but it was just too busy, so they will become part of the back.

Then I auditioned a stack of fabric in different combinations. I thought about using a narrow red border to "stop the action" and then add about a 4" border of some of the prints.I even really liked the polka dots, particularly because it was not part of the line and added a little extra "something." But it was still too busy, and I wanted the circles to continue, not be stopped.
 So then I thought about how I wanted to quilt it. I want to use perle cotton in red, blue and two shades of pink, and maybe some white. I really like the circles created as a secondary design and want to emphasize that so my plan is to quilt 1/4" inside each grey piece. Then I decided I would like to finish off the illusion by carrying the quilting into the border. Kind of like this:
I didn't want to piece the solid grey borders, and that's how I ended up fussy cutting a cute little girl on a swing for each corner.
Does that make any sense? Have I thoroughly confused you? Awesome. My work is done.

So go see what everyone else has been working on this week.

I am not a mathlete

You know what I mean, right?  A person who excels in math. Yeah. I'm not one of those.

This conversation occurred at the quilting retreat last weekend in Minnesota regarding my Snow Angels quilt:
Amanda Jean/ Terri: How big are you making that quilt?

Me:  9x9.

AJ/T (sounding uber impressed): Wow, really? You're making 81 of those blocks?

(Off on a tangent: see that cute little Funky/Flirty/Fabulous lady block to the side of Snow Angels? I think they liked each other. Amanda Jean made it--you can see it better here.)
Me (sounding quizzical): Huh? No, I'm making 9!

AJ/T: You just said you were making it 9 x 9. That's 81 blocks.

Me (thinking "duh"): Oh...I meant 3x3.

See what I mean? Apparently even basic multiplication is beyond my level of math expertise.

I would like to say that that was the end of my math problems regarding Snow Angels. However...

To make the maximum use of my pieced-together jellyroll strips, I decided to add a piano keys border. I didn't have enough to go around the entire quilt. I figured I had enough  for a 6 inch border on two sides. Nope not enough. So I sliced it in half and sewed strips together. Way too many strips. First was too wide and too short, then it was too narrow and too long. Maybe it's just this quilt in general...I'm determined to figure it out so I can post something for WIP Wednesday. Bet you can hardly wait...
It's true. I'm not a mathlete.

And in case you were wondering--I'm not an athlete either. Bummer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Name Game: The Q and the U

I'm so excited to have Riel Nason here from The Q and the U. She is a fellow selvage-obsessed quilter who does the MOST amazing and original work with selvages.

This is Riel's blog header. Isn't it the best?? I really want to borrow this idea and make a pillow. (NOTE: I may get a bit gushy in this post because, well, it's mostly about selvages!!)

1. Riel, how did you choose the name, The Q and the U?

 I actually had the little tag line "Quietly Quilting in Quispamsis" chosen before the blog name.  But I knew that Quispamsis (the name of my town) would be hard to remember and maybe hard to spell if you weren't familiar with it.  What the three main words have in common though, is a letter Q and a letter U.  So after playing with that thought for a bit I very simply decided on "The Q and the U."  I thought it was straightforward, different, hopefully easy to remember, and certainly easy to spell ;-)
 (Great photography idea--black and white background to really make the colors in the quilt pop.)

2. Were there other names you considered, and can you share any of them with us?

I can't remember having other names chosen.  I did take a little time to think of what other words started with Qu that I could maybe throw into the tagline, but "quirkily" or "quickly" quilting don't quite have the right ring, although they may be apt descriptors for what I do.
 3. Now that you are recognized by The Q and the U, are you happy with it, or do you wish you could change it to something else? 
I like my blog name.  I really have never thought about changing it.  Thanks so much Cindy for inviting me to play The Name Game.
Riel, you areso welcome. I'm so happy you played along. Your work is stunning!  
I had to grab these two pictures as well. Halloween is just around the corner, and look at what Riel is working on now. 

I'm also going to do a little promo plug here because Riel has written a novel that will be released in October. You can read more about it here. While you are there, be sure to check out more of the amazing quilts that Riel has made.
Next week, Kelly will be here from Pinkadot Quilts. Another fascinating name--you won't want to miss it.