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100 Quilts For Kids Baby Quilt

100 Quilts for Kids quilt

Because “in just under the wire” is now apparently my quilting motto, here it is—my entry for 100 Quilts for Kids, the charity quilt drive hosted by Katie at Swim Bike Quilt.

I’m just gonna say it: This quilt is kind of a hot mess. Fortunately, you have to look closely to fully appreciate the poor construction of some of these blocks. And my efforts to minimize the cut-off points just seemed to make the background wonky instead of improving things. So just don’t look too closely. Please and thank you. : )

100 Quilts for Kids quilt

That’s close enough!

100 Quilts for Kids quilt

Okay, I actually like this particular block a lot, so you can look a little closer at this section. : )

Other things I like about this quilt: My polka-dot background choice, the red cross-hatch binding, and the deliberately over-the-top vintagey goodness of the whole thing.

I quilted it with vertical wavy lines. This is my go-to form of quilting when I want to finish something in a hurry and without having to concentrate very much. Just set your machine to the wavy-line decorative stitch, adjust the settings to a much longer stitch-length and maximum width, and there you have it. It’s quilting that looks free-motion but actually isn’t. You move the quilt straight, the machine does all the work.

100 Quilts for Kids quilt
Threw a binding on and I was good to go. All told, I spent about two hours quilting and binding this little quilt. It’s nice to go for the fast finish every once in a while. I haven’t yet figured out where I’m donating this, but I hope whatever child ends up with it enjoys it, flaws and all.

The 100 Quilts for Kids linky closes tonight at midnight, but even if you’re reading this after the linky closes, stop over there and check out all the beautiful quilts! What an amazing outpouring of effort and kindness.

Have an A1 day!

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WIP Wednesday: That Farmer’s Wife. She’s Back.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
I’m oh so happy with my WIPs this week. I’ve been working on a quilt for my friend Katie’s 100 Quilts for Kids charity quilt drive, and I’m using some of my long-neglected Farmer’s Wife blocks to do it. Two birds. One stone. Happy me.

http://swimbikequilt.com/2013/07/100-quilts-for-kids-charity-quilt-drive-starts-today.html

Do you all know about 100 Quilts for Kids? It couldn’t be easier—just make a quilt, donate it to a child in need (preferably locally), and link up a picture of your quilt for a chance to win prizes. Seriously, there are like a TON of prizes up for grabs. Last year more than 200 quilts were donated to kids in need, thanks to Katie’s drive! It is really a wonderful thing to see how much the quilting community cares and wants to help.

Farmer's Wife baby quilt WIP

So this week, I dug out those Farmer’s Wife blocks again, to see what I could put together. I’m thinking something along the lines of the layout above, with lots of negative space on either side. I started by sewing the blocks together into groups of four.

Farmer's Wife baby quilt WIP

I don’t mind admitting that some of these blocks have, um, piecing issues. LOL. I mean, not one of the blocks seems to be quite the same size, and a few of the seams are way wonky (and not in a good way). I was cutting off points left and right as I sewed the blocks together. It was a little disturbing until I suddenly realized I made these blocks more than two years ago. Wow, can it really have been that long since the Farmer’s Wife craze swept the blogosphere? I guess so. I think if I made these blocks again today, they would turn out noticeably better, so pulling out this two-year-old WIP turned out to be a nice visual reminder of how much I’ve improved in the last few years. And, well, the child who receives this quilt probably won’t notice or care. Score.

Farmer's Wife baby quilt WIP
Now I just have to figure out what to use as the background for this quilt. My beloved white probably isn’t the most practical choice for a charity kids’ quilt. Gray? Yellow? Green? A subtle print? Thoughts, anyone?

The 100 Quilts for Kids link-up is open through the end of September, so there’s still plenty of time to participate! Finish an old WIP, help a child in need, and possibly win a prize. It’s a no-brainer.

Your turn! Here are the linky rules:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

 

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WIP Wednesday: WIPs From Way Back

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I decided to work on some sad and long-neglected WIPs this week, before starting a few new projects next week. That meant heading straight to my drawer of unassembled bee quilts. (Yes, I have a whole drawer of those. I know, it’s appalling.)

This HST star quilt practically jumped out of the drawer and begged to be finished. The blocks were made for me by the Sew Beautiful bee. I had fallen in love with a similar quilt made by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts (and I think she was inspired by Jeni’s Giant Vintage Star Quilt). So I sent the Sew Beautiful ladies a bunch of Kona Solid charm squares to make the blocks.

HST Vintage Star

So I finally hauled out those blocks, which are a nice, big 16″ square finished. I made two more of my own (which was quick and easy thanks to extra HSTs sent by my bee-mates), put the quilt together and added a white border to give it a little breathing space. (Just pretend you can’t see all those wrinkles in the quilt top! Eek!) I can’t wait to finish this one, but I’m having trouble deciding how to quilt it. Any suggestions?

Farmer's Wife - 23 down

Next I pulled out my Farmer’s Wife blocks. Yes! I did! (I can hear the collective gasp from all across blogland.) I spread the blocks out and … nope, still not feeling it. Darn. I like the blocks and all—I just don’t feel like making more of them.

What did inspire me was the color palette and the prints I used for these blocks. I had squirreled away most of the fabric so that I would have it when I decided to work on these again, but I think it’s time to put all these fabulous vintage prints back into GenPop. And I’m going to start with a project I’ve been intending to make for many months (years, really): A simple patchwork picnic quilt for my family.

Picnic quilt fabric pull

So here’s my pull for the picnic quilt—same color palette as my Farmer’s Wife, minus the pink. As with my Farmer’s Wife, I’m concentrating on fun, vintage prints. I was trying to remember if I’ve ever made just a simple patchwork-squares quilt, and I don’t think that I have! First time for everything! Can’t wait to get cutting and piecing!

What are you working on this week? Here are the linky rules:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links.

 

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WIP Wednesday: Rolling Along

Unfortunately I don’t have much to show this week. I accomplished a ton, but it’s all on one project that I can’t show here yet. So you’ll have to take my word for it that I’m firing on all cylinders these days. : ) And that’s a good thing, because this week I need to whip the house into shape for some really fun company! Yes, Elizabeth is headed up toward my neck of the woods—we’re going to hang out, party with our kiddos, and of course, do some sewing. Which means that this time next week, her and I might just be working on some WIPs together! How fun is that?Ongoing projects:
Solids quilt. The top is now complete! Woot! So it’s not a finish, but it sure feels like one. Can’t wait to get quilting.

No progress:
• Do Good Stitches Asterisk quilt

• Hexy mini quilt
• Gen X Quilters’ Charmed Prints QA
• Halloween quilt

• Farmer’s Wife QA (hoping to get back to this one soonish! gasp!)
• Skill Builder QA
• Figgy Pudding quilt

This week’s stats:
Completed projects – 0
New projects – 0

Currently in progress – 9
You know what to do! Let’s see those WIPs. Link up, comment, and enjoy!
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Farmer’s Wife—Week 11

After a week off from the Farmer’s Wife QA while I was on vacation, I arrived home all refreshed and motivated. I wanted to do three blocks this week, since I was only able to do one block the week before I left.

Then I remembered that one of those three blocks would be #26, Cut Glass Dish, with its 24 teeny-tiny HSTs. And I decided, maybe it’s time to start doing the blocks in random order. : ) So welcome to my new and improved, highly randomized Farmer’s Wife quilt.

Up first: block #24, Country Path. (I started this one before I realized Cut Glass Dish was imminent.) And check it out, I screwed up the color placements AGAIN. At least I noticed it this time. : ) Two of the blue-print triangles and two of the yellow oval-print triangles need to be swapped. Fortunately, I think it’s a pretty easy fix, and I will try to tackle that sometime this week. Because it is kind of bothering me—the block doesn’t look as organized as it should, or something.

Next, block #86, Squash Blossom. Yep, I got my hot little hands on a few of the new Sugar Creek prints by Denyse Schmidt (the blue floral and the green gingham). You knew those would have to show up in my Farmer’s Wife quilt somewhere, right? I thought about paper-piecing this block, but since it’s basically constructed in strips, I decided against that. And it came together fine using the templates, so I’m glad I did it this way.



And here’s block #109, Windows. If you’re looking for a super quick, easy Farmer’s Wife block, this one’s for you! I decided my change of strategy was so worth it when I was working on this one instead of Cut Glass Dish. : )

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Farmer’s Wife—Week 10

Wow, has it really been 10 weeks already? And I have 23 blocks done, so I’m 3 blocks ahead!

Block #23, Country Farm. After seeing this post by Twin Fibers that pointed me toward paper-piecing templates for all the Farmer’s Wife blocks, I decided to try paper-piecing for this one as well. And it worked out great! I had no trouble with the size being off, as many people have, so I think it’s all about printing with no scaling. I think the biggest drawback of paper-piecing is that I have a hard time getting the fabric grain straight when I paper-piece. That means the print can be kind of wonky sometimes, like with the background piece on the far left. But other than that, I think paper-piecing for Farmer’s Wife rocks, especially with the templates from the Yahoo group. As far as my fabric choices, the background here is a little busy, but I think it will look okay in the larger mix of blocks.

I didn’t get to block #24 this week, but I did re-do block #21, Contrary Wife! I still can’t believe this block gave me so many problems. Last week an anonymous commenter pointed out that the way I laid out my colors wasn’t quite the same as in the book, and I think that definitely led to the “cock-eyed” problem I talked about. When I re-did it as it was in the book, problem solved! I am much, MUCH happier with this version of Contrary Wife. And glad it’s finally done.

P.S. Don’t forget to vote for my fabric design in the Connecting Threads contest! Click here to vote—it’s the “Flourish” design, fourth row down. You can only vote once per email address, so if you’ve already voted, thank you again!

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Farmer’s Wife—Week 9

Oh, Farmer’s Wife, you nagging old broad, you. You were no fun at all this week, I’m sorry to say. I don’t think I’d ever put you out to pasture, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider it a few times while I was making this week’s blocks!

“Corn and Beans.” This block was every bit the PITA that I suspected it would be, and more. Cutting out the triangles actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was matching them all up that gave me fits. Those little triangles are pieced together in rows instead of squares. Maybe I’m just not used to that, but as a result, I thought this block was quite a challenge. I’m glad to have it behind me.

“Contrary Wife.” This block really should have been easy, but somehow I ended up unpicking and re-sewing one of the rows three times, because it just wasn’t coming together the way I wanted. I guess it just wasn’t my day yesterday. Also, this is the first FW block I’ve done where I really don’t like how it looks on point. It’s fine straight on, but as soon as you turn it on point, it goes all cock-eyed or something.



And here are a few blocks from last week, which I haven’t shared until now.

“Century of Progress”: Now this block I love. I paper-pieced this block—it’s the first time I’ve tried that for Farmer’s Wife. (I made my own paper-piecing templates by using Adobe Illustrator to manipulate the PDF templates that came with the book.) Paper-piecing may not make sense for every block, but it worked wonders for me on this one. I’m not thrilled with how the points came together in the very center of the block, but other than that I think my points are bang-on, and I could not have managed that with the usual Farmer’s Wife templating method. And yes, I also switched up the layout of the prints. As many other bloggers have pointed out, there’s something extremely odd about how this block is laid out in the book—it seems to make no logical sense. I swapped things around so that there was more of a pattern to the color layout, and I’m very happy I did.

“Churn Dash”: So easy. So happy. Done.

“Cats and Mice”: Oh, how I adore what the blue plaid did to this block! It gives it a whole different movement and radiance. Another fun block—just how Farmer’s Wife should be. Let’s get back to that next week, shall we, you old hag?

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Farmer’s Wife—Week 7

This week’s blocks for the Farmer’s Wife Quilt-Along were pretty easy, so I decided to slip in an extra one (out of order! gasp!). I know I’ll be missing at least one week in August, maybe even more than one, so it’s nice to be able to work a little ahead right now.

Checkerboard: I’m loving how this one turned out with the darker green background. I had originally planned to use the light green gingham, but realized there wasn’t enough contrast with some of the prints and changed my plan.

Calico Puzzle

Buzzard’s Roost: I’m not a huge fan of this block in general, but I guess it’s okay in these fabrics.

Seventeen done now! I’m hoping to do another extra one next week, which means I can miss a week in August and still be on track.

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Farmer’s Wife—Week 6

Buckwheat: I think this is my favorite block yet. But not because of the piecing, that’s for sure. I kept screwing up on this block—careless mistakes, like using the wrong size template for some of the triangle pieces, sewing the wrong sides together, etc. But once I buckled down and put some concentration into it, it came out fine. And I’m just so happy with my fabric selections for this one. How cool is that Anthology Fabrics squiggly zig-zag print? It manages to be both vintage/retro and a little exotic, all at the same time.

Butterfly at the Crossing: Another one I’m quite happy with. I just love that yellow print, I guess it makes me happy no matter what block it’s in. Although I don’t know why this block looks so frayed around the edges. It looks like it needs a haircut.

All together now: Looking good. Although, at the moment, I think red is a little more dominant than I would like it to be. Note to self: Scale back on the red for a few weeks.

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Farmer’s Wife—Lessons Learned In Week 6

Didn’t I say I was going to stick with templating these blocks, rather than trying to piece them on my own? Didn’t I say that just last week?

Then along came the Broken Dishes block, resulting in unpleasant flashbacks to Birds In the Air. And I thought, no, I simply cannot and will not template another 32 triangles. So I pieced them like I usually do with HSTs. And you know what? Birds In the Air (templated) came together a lot better and more easily than Broken Dishes (not templated). My points just aren’t aligned as well as they could be in this most recent block. And I’m not sure my method resulted in much time savings anyway, since I still had to trim the HSTs.

So once again, I’m convinced that the templates really are the way to go. This block is a pain no matter which way you do it—I might as well do it the “real” way, right? In the future, I really will stick to templating. Cross my heart this time. No more short-cuts.

I used the templates on this week’s other block, Broken Sugar Bowl (what’s with all the broken things this week?), and I’m really happy with this one.

Here’s the thing (and it only took me 6 weeks to figure this out): When I use the templates, I’ve found that the vast majority of the work is in the cutting. These blocks generally don’t take more than 15 or 20 minutes to piece, once the cutting is done. Something I have to keep in mind when I’m tempted to get lazy about those darn templates.