Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Farmers Wife blocks 55, 56 & 57 and some distractions

 I have been distracted this past week, a lot of busy shifts at work- a baby boom!
Planning for the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair where I am one of Bernina's guest artists! demonstrating ruler work on the Q20- I am really excited and a little nervous!
Below is one of my sample pieces, a mandala style quilt, made for a competition where it did not fare well.... so it will be on display with some other works at the various craft and quilt fairs as part of the Bernina stand.
Below is a modern improv cross quilt, my husband decided that these shirts were too big and too old for him now, so I cut them all up and made a fun improvised cross quilt. I had a moment in the night where I remembered the yellow shirt, 
it was just perfect for some light relief.
The quilting is coming along nicely, and the back is so much fun. Another picture next time!
 Yesterday I made 3 blocks for the Farmers Wife. I dug a little deeper into the box for some different fabrics, it seems as though some days I just skim the top of the fabric selection. I really need to tip it all out and mix them up a little. I also need some more really light fabric, perhaps I will see some this weekend in Sydney at the quilt show!
 I often wonder if I am better to hand piece some of these blocks with many small pieces, then I think that - just get on and machine piece, its not too bad. I do use a fair bit of spray starch and find that I do get some shiny areas, they will wash out I hope.
 This has been a really good exercise in putting different prints together, I am usually afraid of choosing more than one print, so this project making me think outside my little square and be brave  in my fabric choice decisions!
 This block is a little fun, I just love the  black with red!
Hopefully I will see some old friends in Sydney!
I am really looking forward to 4 days of sewing, and hopefully some wonderful inspiration!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Accurate seam allowances- Farmer's Wife

Two blocks this week in my Farmers Wife quilt, I am at the halfway mark now!

 These blocks require precise cutting and piecing!


Hmmm, I am not sure about the fabric choices here!

I visited the Ipswich Art Gallery this week to view the Annette Gero  Wartime quilts, one of the most amazing things was the piecing accuracy achieved by the makers- mostly men. The fabrics were thick, the pieces quite small, yet the accuracy was quite amazing! 
Obviously they were hand stitched, no rotary cutters, and probably a paper or cardboard pattern- which can quite often become misshaped or trimmed unexpectedly to result in an odd sized pattern!
These quilts are quite amazing given the conditions they were made in.

Even with today's conveniences of stitching, many quilters - including me sometimes - are unable to achieve that repeated perfection with piecing.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Got my mojo back!

After a very busy week- again at work, I have been very tardy last week and did not stitch any Farmers Wife blocks.
I did, however make a small quilt for the Spotlight competition!
There's nothing like starting at the last minute and stitching like crazy till its done!

This week I have done 4 Farmers Wife to try to catch up with my own self set timeline.
With these blocks I am using some different fabric combinations.
Usually I just pull out a dark and a light and start cutting !

  
 There is always the question of whether one should press the seams open or to one side, I always have the quilting design in the back of my mind when I am piecing, I do like to stitch in the ditch a lot, so am very wary of pressing seams open. Every so often some blocks need to be pressed open to avoid bulk.
Back to the sewing room now, there are so many deadlines and quilts to be finished ...


Preparation for the Craft and Quilt Fair in Sydney later this month is my next deadline, where I am Bernina's guest artist on the Q20, doing ruler work!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Week 19 Farmers Wife.

This week brings 2 blocks, using fabrics that I found while I was searching 
for something else!


 The stripe is new and  also the checked fabric.
they both certainly add to my range of reds!

-
I have switched some of the lights and darks around,and am quite happy with this.

A few days off work after 4 night shifts and I have been madly quilting and trying to clear some projects from my sewing room. A few more days off and I can clear some more unfinished projects.....

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

There's fabric and then there's fabric!

Week 18 brings me to blocks 45 and 46. The fabric choices got a boost this week as I searched for something else and found some more red prints. Sadly my selection is lacking some lights, I am determined not to use a solid light fabric, even though I have some solid reds. All the light fabrics are red and white prints.

This brings me to the quality of fabric. 
Some fabric is soft and loosely woven and easy to use, but can distort a lot when used in such small pieces, especially triangles, some fabric is so stiff that it feels almost twice the thickness of the softer ones. 
I am using lots of spray starch to tame these odd fabrics into place!

Another basket.
I am resisting the urge to look at the next few blocks to see exactly how many baskets there are! let it be a surprise!



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Week 17- Farmers Wife- a slow week

A very slow but otherwise busy week indeed!
Sometimes paid work takes over from fun work- how annoying!

I managed to cut out two blocks last week, but only stitched one, before I went for a lovely weekend to Sydney with my mum. so relaxing.
Today I finished the second block and am officially a week behind.


 The inset pieces caused a little hiccup, the one I measured and pinned was dreadful and needed unpicking, however the one I just stitched was perfect!

This red always looks 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Farmers Wife week 16 - a trip to Bundaberg and a busy week

Two blocks this week, what a week it has been!
I have worked full time for 3 weeks, nothing like trying to get things done at home while you are exhausted from work- we had a very busy few weeks! a baby boom!

Another basket in the patterns this week, makes me think the original patchworkers were making their homes pretty with flower baskets when their gardens were bare.


 I love this large dotty fabric, it is fun to use in these small 6 inch blocks.

I had the pleasure to travel to Bundaberg last weekend to teach 2 classes; Improvisational piecing. What an energy filled weekend! apart from the lovely company, there was great food, and an abundance of creativeness!

Many of the ladies started from scratch with their fabrics, some used older previously pieced blocks and revamped them. There was some painted fabric which got a new life, also some very planned colourways. While I do have a few pictures, I am saving them for the quilters themselves to show, many of the pieces are still in progress.

Teaching and planning- did make me think about classes and being both a student and a teacher recently ( several times as both).
At one stage, I had the thought when I was student "when am I going to get my money's worth?"- that is - the teacher does not come my way very often.
Then, when I am the teacher- I am very conscious of getting to everybody 
personally, equally. 
I have a system to rotate from one student to the next and then go round again and again- in the same order- always.
I did do some calculations! in a class of 12 over a 6 hour class- taking out introduction, general class instructions and class recap (approx 1 hour), that leaves 5 hours. Divided by 12 students gives every student 25 minutes each individual time over the day, broken down into several visits by the tutor (that is the maximum time per student in a class of 12- if I don't stop to give general class information from time to time). 

If there is general class instruction or a longer recap- which happened last week, or someone leaves early, or comes late, it reduces the time per student to less time.
 Its a tricky balance.
If I take 1 hour to cover the class as a recap- that is to go round each student and discuss design and show work, planning and taking it home to finish- which is nice to do as a group - the time per student reduces to maximum 20 minutes per student- or less if there are more students. In my mind that is 4 individual visits of 5 minutes each over the class day! 
So while my brain is helping you choose colour and designs and troubleshoot - I am acutely aware of the time restrictions.

I hope that I have got it right and that my students are happy, it takes a lot of energy to teach a class! A primary school music teacher once said to me that every class she taught was like " a one woman cabaret show- every class!"

Sometimes I feel like that - especially with the improv class,but the end results are worth it.