Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Has it really been a month??

Apparently it has been an entire month since last I shared my projects with you!  I've been busy, busy, especially on custom projects to be ready for Christmas.  I'm chugging along and have a few to share!

For my cousin, a hand-spun, hand-crocheted hat and scarf set to match the convertible gloves I made her last month.  The yarn wasn't ready, so a-spinning I did go!  Used up the rest of Matar's fiber and produced about 800 yards of yarn!  So pretty!

I wanted to add a little color accent on the hat so worked up a bit of Marco's dark fawn fiber.  I hadn't worked with his fiber yet and I have to admit that I think the next project will be all mine!  His fiber is so fine and soft.  Its like a dream!

Made a pretty machine-embroidered Christmas tree for a friend.  This are popular around here, but time-consuming.  And I really do like hand-work best of all...but once in awhile it's fun to try something new.  Have at least two more of these to make, but in different colors, so that will be exciting!
Three little beaded, crocheted purses all in a row!  These were an order for a friend.  They are made of nylon crochet thread and glass beads.  I've been making them for years for myself.  They are becoming very popular this year and I've made about a dozen for other people.

I especially like the little natural one with its green beads mixed in!

Another custom order for a friend who needed something handmade in Ohio for an out-of-state gift swap.
I could make anything I wanted, in any color, so I chose to sew up this little set of four coasters with two matching potholders using some of my shop's fabric.  I just LOVE how they turned out and am considering a set for myself after the holidays.

Also, for the same friend, a crocheted pair of booties for her little one...

A set of 11 machine-embroidered shirts for my oldest daughter's quiz bowl team...

And finally--
I have been working on my Farmer's Wife Sampler and my Dear Jane, although it is hard to fit them in!
 (Don't you just love the way the wind blows across the block?)

I will have to be extra diligent after Christmas--even though the mill called and the fiber is ready for pick-up...


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#2-Autumn Tints

I am so enjoying the Farmer's Wife Sampler.  It has been hard going back to Jane!  But I'm going to work diligently this week to catch up.  Until then, here's my latest block for the FWS, Autumn Tints.

A very easy block and simple color selection considering the season!  Off to Jane!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

#83-Spider Web

This week's block for the Farmer's Wife Sampler is the Spider Web.  I started this block the day after Halloween--appropriate!!  I know, it's purple again, but don't you love the dew drops in the fabric?  And the pink has just a hint of frost!  There is a bug caught in the web--I like to think its not a true ladybug, but those nasty little Japanese knock-offs that congregate in the corners of my house this time of year.  You go, Spider!

After a lovely trip to Ohio Amish country last week on the annual quilt shop hop, I found a great layer cake with fall colors to make this silly turkey!   I love this guy!  Pieced his feathers in a day and spent the next day machine appliqueing him down.  The third day and a half was devoted to machine quilting.  I used my alpaca quilt batting and 1/2" echo quilting.  I love the effect of the fans.  Was going to make him a table mat, but I think I have to hang him on the wall and enjoy him all month!


Monday, October 31, 2011

#4-Basket Weave

I just love the Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt!  It just moves right along.  The piecing is simple and quick.  I think it takes me more time to pick out the fabrics for a block than to actually sew it together!

This week's block is #4 Basket Weave.  As promised, it is not purple and green.  However, if I can't use purple, you'll probably get pansies instead!  You'll discover its my favorite flower!

Might have to work on next week's block too, considering the holiday--Spider's Web!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dear Jane Catch-up!

Today I'm going to update all the squares and triangles that I have finished for my Dear Jane quilt.  I am so behind in showing you what I've done!  And I need to get them off my sewing table and into their book.

A-9 Cabin Fever
I-3 Family Album
H-4 Abbey's Eyes
E-12 Mary Ruth's Corset
D-9 Uncle Richard
H-5 Michael's Motorcycle

H-7 Bennington Star
E-9 Quilt Jail

TR-5 Michigan Dunes

LS-10 Megan's Cathedral

And the pain in my bucket-RS-6 Tumbling Blocks

I worked on RS6 today.  It took me ALL AFTERNOON!  I'm mostly pleased with the bugger.  I'm hoping none of the others are as impossible as this one-this project is supposed to be fun!  I used a combination of inset seams on the sewing machine and, when that didn't work, hand applique as I went along.  Won't be doing this one again!

Well, it is all supposed to be a learning experience.  I'm still a couple blocks behind, but moving right along.  Finished three this weekend and have 3 prepped for hand applique, so all in all, doing GREAT!


Monday, October 17, 2011

FWS #71-Puss in the Corner

As promised, this block is not purple!  This block was a very easy one and went together in about an hour.

I'm working on a pair of convertible gloves for my cousin.  She found a knitted pair online made of alpaca fiber, but said she'd rather have a pair from an alpaca she knows!  Because I'm still learning to knit, I found a crochet pattern that I am modifying slightly so that I can get all the features I want in the pair, most importantly, a hole in the thumb so a person can text.  I'm using yarn I spun myself from my first alpaca, Matar.  The first glove is almost finished.  Am trying to get them done by Friday.

Off to crochet!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Farmer's Wife Sampler #54-Kitchen Woodbox

I'm loving this quilt right now!  Although the blocks are only 6", it's still gives me room for a little fussy cutting that I can't really do for the Jane with all it's little pieces.  And think I forget the joy of digging through fabric when I have a project all planned out with its pile of specific colors.  Apparently I really love purple and green as I have a plethora of them in my boxes and drawers!  Two days of the same colors are a rut and I'm promising myself that the next block will be something completely different!  I have plenty of purple and green quilts at my house and this one is supposed to be scrappy!  I'm working my way up to thinking outside the box for the next block.


Friday, October 14, 2011

G-10 Woven Meadow

A very easy, no-prob block.  And I like the color of this one, too.  It is simple and elegant.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

F-7-Star Struck and The Beginning of My Farmer's Wife Sampler

Here is square F-7, Star Struck for my quilt, Jane, Naturally.  It was pretty simple and slightly boring!  I've done many stars, so this one wasn't a problem.  Instead of using the paper-pieced borders, I sewed strips of the brown fabric that were larger than needed, then trimmed the square to 5" when I was finished.  All in all, no big deal.

About a year ago I purchased the book, "The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt" because, duh, I'm a farmer's wife!  Inside are letters from 1920s farm wives who entered a contest that the magazine "The Farmer's Wife:  A Magazine for Farm Women" held in 1922.  The ladies were to answer the question:  "If you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you, in the light of your own experience, want her to marry a farmer?"  I love these letters!  Each story is punctuated by a quilt square designed by Laurie Arron Hird.  There are 111-6" blocks in all.  

#26-Cut Glass Dish
I have found a couple of online groups that are working on making this quilt as a BOW (block of the week) project.  Some do two blocks a week.  I've decided to work on this quilt along with my Jane because I like the little squares and the pile they make after a surprisingly short time!  I'm not buying any fabric for this one.  I'm taking from my 2.5", 3.5" & 4.5"-square scrap buckets and will probably delve into my fat quarter collection to add color and texture.  Its very hard for me to make a scrap quilt--I like things with symmetry and balance.  This will be a good project for me to work on to relax and have some fun with color. 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

H3-Berry Baskets

Sweet!  Jane's Berry Baskets went together GREAT!  Didn't have to take even one stitch out!  All the seams flowed right together.  I was slightly concerned with the handles on these baskets (they're so thin) but it all went together like a dream! 

Makes me want to do another today, but, alas, there is so many other things to do!

Pansies stand for "Thoughts"

I've been working on a little project yesterday and today.  This little quilt (5"x8") is for my very dear friend, Arvella Sander, who passed this week at age 90.  Arvella was a devoted music teacher for many years in her younger days and continued to teach piano in her home until last week.  Arvella and I worked these past years to put together the Pemberville Free Fair's Needlework and the Pemberville Historical Society's Quilt Shows.  She loved to quilt and crochet and we spent many hours together working on her projects and organizing the shows.  The little pansy quilt will be put in the arrangement of flowers for her funeral.   She was a dear, dear friend to me.  I will miss her.

This paper-pieced pattern was designed by Annete Truong and is available as a free download



Saturday, October 1, 2011


A very easy square.  Only four paper-pieced units to put together, so it went quickly.  A nice simple, calm square!


Friday, September 30, 2011


Today's selection for you viewing pleasure is #11 from the bottom row, Tartan.  This tri turned out GREAT!  I'm very pleased with it, mostly because I didn't have to redo any seams!  I'm getting better at looking ahead a little bit to see which way my seams will be pressed.  I printed the paper pattern from the Dear Jane program with my own numbering so that I had seams from one row facing in the opposite direction of the seams from the next row to be sewn.  That way when I'm sewing two rows together I can snug up the seams instead of fighting with them and the pin!  Every corner turned out crisp and all the angles are square!  Very pleased, indeed!

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BR2-Leigh's Woods

For those of you who are not familiar with the Jane Stickle quilt and the construction of it, "BR" represents the "Bottom Row" of triangles.  "TR" is the "Top Row", "LS" is the "Left Side", and "RS" is, of course, the "Right Side".  So, today I'm sharing not a square from the center of the quilt, but a triangle from the bottom row, second from the left, therefore, BR2!  The triangles are 5" wide by 8" tall.  This little beauty went together like a dream!  I'm very pleased with it and am tempted to do another tri since my last block was a pain!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

G9-Mary's Journey

Mary's Journey was full of potholes!!  I had trouble with this block--I don't know why!  This picture is my second attempt.  The first went in the trash!  Simply paper-pieced, but I wasn't happy with my corners and seams.  This one is acceptable.  I have done a couple of others--will post one per day until I'm caught up! 



Thursday, September 15, 2011

M-8 Enchanted Square and I-9 Chase a Myth

I am catching up on my squares!  As of this morning I have three completed.  Today I present to you:

M8-Enchanted Square
I9-Chase a Myth

It has been a long time since I've done paper piecing, but with each square I remember what works best for me.  I like to leave the paper on until the end so I can easily match up corners and sew precisely along the 1/4" seam line.  The pieces in these squares are very tiny (the finished squares are 4 1/2") and the sewing machine needle likes to eat them!  Also, since this project is going to last a year and a half, I may leave the paper on for stabilization until I'm ready to put them into rows.  Still considering...

Going to try to finish one more square today and maybe work on another sewing idea that has been running around in my head.  Stay posted!


Monday, September 12, 2011

K-9 Scout's Honor

My first Dear Jane block is K-9, Scout's Honor.  I'm two weeks behind our schedule because I was waiting on my background fabric.  Now I have 2 bolts of lovely parchment cotton, and I'm ready to catch up!

Scout's Honor was a very easy block to begin with as it was entirely paper pieced.  The bigger challenge was putting it into "My Chart" within the Dear Jane Quilt Design Software.  I followed the directions on reducing the size (in my case 4% both horizontally and vertically) and pixels (40 x 40) of my block after scanning.  Then the jpg must be saved within the design software, replacing the existing file with my own picture.  The crux of the problem is to make sure to go into the file's properties and add permission to yourself to change the picture files!  Once that was done, viola!  "My Chart" is updated!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

From the Garden

Today I harvested the first real bounty that I've had in years from my garden!  The soil here at the Flats is very hard with clay and there is rock only a few inches below the surface of the ground.  This is what made us the Great Black Swamp not so many years past.  Not very conducive to gardening!  This year I experimented with inexpensive, store-bought square foot gardens, adding new garden soil and compost from the alpacas.  Most of the plants in the garden this year were volunteer plants from the compost heap; some strange new form of decorative gourds that I purchased last fall from the local grocery store, a lovely hybrid of tomato that is a combination of Roma and cherry tomatoes, and a couple of cantaloupe plants.  During the very dry conditions in June, I ran a soak-er hose out to my boxes.  The vines and plants have gone WILD!  I have dozens of gourds coming along and enough tomatoes to eat every day.  There are a half dozen cantaloupe hanging on the vines and the lavender and lemon balm is thriving!  This fall when I clean up the gardens, I will build more permanent boxes and use the pieces from the old to make a new compost heap.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day of Jane

Today my mom and I started our very first Dear Jane quilt.  This has been a project we've been thinking about for several years and had been waiting for mom to retire before we started.  Tomorrow will be her 1 year anniversary of retirement...time to get busy!

We purchased the book, "Dear Jane" by Brenda Papadakis, as well as the EQ software.  The software has come in very handy as it allowed us to lay out our colors within the blocks before we started cutting and sewing.  With 225 blocks, triangles and corners, this project will take us more than a year and a half to finish, so organization is a must!  We will never do this one again!

I've made up a schedule to keep us on track.  We are meeting weekly on Wednesdays to go over our assignments for the week and discuss any new techniques.  There will be three blocks, triangles or corner kites to do each week.  This week our blocks are M-8 Enchanted Square, K-9 Scout’s Honor, and I-9 Chase A Myth. 

Today was a little slow as Mom was still fussing with her layout and I didn't have background fabric yet.  So we did some online research, ate THREE cookies, dropped in on a couple of quilt shops, and had lunch.  All in all a not so productive day, quilt-wise!  But now we are ready to move ahead!

We've decided a bolt of 20 yards will be needed for the background and that is hard to find!  I found some lovely cottons through one of my distributors, and have placed an order for 2 bolts of Parchment for my background and the backing for both quilts, 1 bolt of Black for Mom's background.    

My quilt will be in neutrals, as I have always wanted to work on one with the colorway.  Mom's is black and white with red highlights.  Both are unique and show our individual style!  They are the same, yet different and completely suited to us!

I've been researching blogs and websites and hope to link the most useful ones here along with our progress and pictures. 

I hope you'll enjoy our journey with Jane, and all our other adventures at Alpaca Flats!