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!

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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.





Thursday, April 20, 2017

Farmers Wife week 15!

I have had a busy few weeks at my paid employment!, however I found time this week to cut 4 blocks one night and stitch them the next night. 
This process seemed to work quite well.
Sometimes I favour one particular red print, but sometimes I dig to the bottom of the bin and find a new one!
Sometimes as with the flower basket, I use the same fabric! then stitch the block the wrong way! I am not unhappy with it so it will stay as is for now.
It is a challenge often to find a fabric that is OK for what is obviously the basket!




Simple, but fun. Sadly as a bit of a paper waste, the pattern prints only one pattern piece per A4 page, right in the centre. I am not keen to try to move them  a few to a page as I do not want to lose or distort the size. I am working out the obvious pieces, but some need to be just right of the pattern to work.
I now have a lovely pile of drawing paper.

This was a fun block to make, interestingly the light stripy fabric was only a very small piece and I didn't have enough, but made do with another light fabric.

Loving the spots!

I am off to Bundaberg tomorrow to teach a few classes of Improvisational machine piecing!
We did get washed out by Hurricane Debbie a few weeks ago, but tomorrow it is!
I am looking forward to a weekend full of fun and stitching and discovery.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Farmers Wife week 14- pressing the seam open!

One block this week, I had grand intentions of making 4, however work has been so busy I have no energy left- must have been a power failure nine months ago- so many babies due! and being born!

This block (which is block 36 of 111) required some accurate templates and sewing, I can see where I restitched the centre seam again, will need to do some repair work!
This is one occasion where I have pressed the centre seam open, usually I strive to press all seams in the one direction - I do a lot of quilting in the ditch for stabilisation and block definition, sometimes the intersections where lots of small pointy triangles meet can be tricky to press flat... no matter how much spray starch I use!



Moving on with my plan of finishing things this year! I have finished one block into a cushion.
I used a specialty template and a paint colour chip for a challenge a few years ago, sadly this hand stitched cushion top has been waiting to be finished for ages!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Farmers Wife, week 13

Its not often that I can stick to something over a number of weeks, so I am quite pleased with myself that I have managed to get this far. I am about a third of the way through the 111 blocks in the book. Also more pleasing is that I am working my way through the book, am not discarding any blocks that I don't favour! which is quite a feat!

 Interestingly the two baskets I have made have the same small print fabric in them, I only have a very small piece, so its not something that I can use a lot of, a snippet in the baskets seems fitting.
The lady bird fabric is fun!
 I washed all the red fabrics and this is one that had some bleeding onto it from another, despite  lots of colour catchers!
A solid favourite block


Oops, I transposed the lights and darks, oh well,

The images below are some of the ruler work I am doing on my Bernina Q20. The fabric is still the slubby silk I have been working on. I am up to the filler stitches between the motifs.
I am using a mustard 50 weight So Fine, Superior Threads. I have had to make several passes to allow the thread to show on the dense silk, holding the ruler steady over the curves has been an interesting feature of this work. I am using the Bernina rulers.