Monthly Archives: April 2016

farmer’s wife quilt – 40 blocks down

After taking a break to make a baby quilt for a friend and a second quilt for my uncle, I returned to my somewhat neglected Farmer’s Wife Quilt.  I find making these blocks quite enjoyable, if a bit time-consuming.  The easiest ones probably take an hour or so, and the harder ones far longer.  I am shutting down any perfectionist notions and forging ahead despite imperfections, and I do think that in the context of a large quilt, mismatched points and the like will not be particularly noticeable.

I actually did seven blocks sometime earlier this year that I never blogged about.  It’s been so long since I made them, I don’t remember much about them.

#24 Country Path

I like the way the colors worked out on this one – dark and medium brown with subtle purple and pinkish orange.

#25 Cups and Saucers

I think I recall this one being harder than it looked, but again, I’m happy with the outcome and the colors.

#26 Cut Glass Dish

This block is arguably one of the harder blocks in the quilt with a total of 51 pieces, many of them small, and triangles are always more troublesome than rectangles.  I’m not thrilled with how it came out, but it’ll do.  The photos is appropriately a bit blurry as well.

#27 Darting Birds

I’m not wild about the colors here.  I seem to recall having a bit of trouble with this one.

#28 Duck and Ducklings

#29 Economy

I always find fussy cutting a huge pain and often don’t manage it well, so I’m pleased that I managed to center the buck in the square and not chop off feet or antlers.

#30 End of Day

A nice mix of purple and peach

That ends the older batch.  The most recent batch I did over the last couple of weeks and consists of blocks #31 to #40.

#31 Evening Star

This one was an easy one.

#32 Farmer’s Daughter

Very similar to #31, though with a few more pieces.

#33 Farmer’s Puzzle

The original Farmer’s Puzzle is a swastika with a cross through it.  I am blown away by the number of people who make the quilt block as is.  I flipped two of the arms, turning it into a bow.  I don’t know how much I love the block, but better than a swastika on my quilt.

#34 Flock

#35 Flower Basket

I used water to curve a straight rectangular piece into the handle and appliqued it on.  I’m not thrilled with how it turned out, as I would have liked it to be more curved, especially at the ends.  I forgot that using an iron with lots of steam can make the handle a lot easier.

#36 Flower Garden Path

This was a tough one.  The way the paper piecing was done required sewing Y-seams in order to assemble it.  I think with adjustments to the paper piecing layout this could be avoided, but it worked out OK in the end.

#37 Flower Pot

This one also required sewing Y-seams on the flower bud.  I think it’s a pretty block.


This block took forever, with a total of about 65 pieces.  It wasn’t really hard, just long.

#39 Friendship Block

A pretty and easy block and a nice break after the one before it.

#40 Friendship Block

Another easy block, and I like the colors.

That’s 40 blocks down and about 70 to go.  I’ve been working on this about 5 months now, off and on.  It’s definitely not a quick project, especially considering adding sashing to these blocks and assembling the quilt will be a ton of work, and probably a bit monotonous.  I’m hoping to make the blocks into a kind-sized quilt for either our bedroom or our guest room, probably the latter, so it doesn’t suffer as much wear but is primarily decorative.

I’m taking a break now to sew a little dress for L, and then I’ll come back and do another ten blocks.


stomach flu

Ever since the kids were born, I’ve been dreading getting the stomach flu.  It seems like something that is very hazardous so a small child like B or even L and very unpleasant for anyone.  Well, it finally hit.  First L got it, and was up all night going to the bathroom.  Then B succumbed.  She had a very rough couple of hours, then slept for 3 hours and has seemed mostly fine since, thank goodness.  I had a rather nasty side effect of puking my guts out every hour or so for a while.  It was the worst I’ve experienced since being pregnant with L, and it made me seriously question whether I could even consider another pregnancy.  What is with me and my weak stomach?  It sucks.  Now, poor B has it on top of a cold he picked up during his business trip last week.  Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be affecting him too badly as he’s still planning on going for an easy run.

At least it was quick!  When are they going to come up with some more vaccines for this kind of thing?

Scrappy Irish chain quilt

I created my scrappy Irish chain quilt using the Red Pepper Quilts tutorial.   The tutorial was easy to follow, and I’m quite pleased with the result.  I made mine with twenty blocks rather than twenty-five, resulting in a finished quilt 56″ by 70″.  Each block is 7 by 7 squares (49 squares total) and each square is 2×2 inches.


The main motif was made using three four fabrics:

Grid Bits in Gold from Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander

Dentals in Pepper from Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander

Breeze in Sky from Doe by Carolyn Friedlander

Essex in White by Robert Kaufmann

The rest of the quilt was done using scraps left over from previous projects.  I didn’t purchase any new fabric for the 55 to 60% of the quilt that wasn’t part of the main motif.  It was definitely good to thin down my scrap storage a bit, though I still have plenty left.

The binding was done with Essex in Ivory by Robert Kaufmann.

The back was done with some extra Friedlander and Lotta Jansdottir fabric, as well as a large piece of green and white fabric I don’t know the origin of.


Once again I used my favorite batting, 100% wool from Quilter’s Dream.  As always, it’s a bit harder to work with, but I love how light and warm the resulting quilt is.  I had it draped over me as I was sewing the binding, and it felt lovely.


Piecing and hand-sewing the binding was done with Aurifil Mako 50 Wt in White (2024).  Quilting was done with Aurifil Mako 40 Wt in Natural White (2021).  I also used 2021 to sew the binding to the front of the quilt.


I straight-line quilted the whole thing in a 4-inch grid, just like the last quilt I did.  A four inch grid should be plenty to make it sturdy and robust to heavy use, but it’s light enough quilting to keep the quilt nice and soft.


As usual, I did a double fold binding and hand-sewed it to the back.  I also did my usual hand-appliqued label on the back as well.

The quilt is intended for my uncle who is fighting a recurrence of Stage 4 colon cancer.  The chemo makes him so sensitive to the cold, he has to use gloves to get things out of the freezer.  I’m hoping a wooly quilt will be useful even though the weather is warming.


socialist emigrants on socialism

Interesting article on Bernie.  Apparently he is exceedingly unpopular among Russians and Ukrainian immigrants – you know, people who have actually lived under Socialism.  He gave a speech near the apartment where he grew up which is now primarily inhabited by Russians.  Some quotes from those living there:

Asked what she thought of him, Ms. Lazareva laughed with delight. “Oh, I hate him!” she said.

Ms. Lazareva, who hails from Moscow, recalled waiting in line for three hours each morning to get a jug of milk as a little girl living under communism. “If you lived under socialists, you’d hate them too,” she said. “They make everyone poor.”


She was unmoved. “Everyone will be hungry, everyone will be poor,” she said. “If it will be Sanders, we will have the same here. Everybody who comes from a communist country, Russians, Eastern Europeans, even Latinos from Cuba, feel this way. When you know what will happen, when you see it — you’re Republican.”

decorating troubles

As I’ve mentioned on this blog, I’m in the process of trying to refurnish / decorate my living room.  (I have not purchased a sectional yet.)  To start with, we had a small sofa, a bookcase, a TV on a stand, a side table and lamp, and a rocking chair.  My vision for the furnished room was as follows:


In 3D:


(I am using Planner5D, which is nearly free – I think it’s $5 for a year or something like that.)

I decided that a teal ottoman from Anthropologie was going to be the centerpiece of the room.  I got a great coupon and some 20% off gift cards and decided to go for it.  See below for how it looks:


DSC02301 DSC02302

My issue is that it looks huge.  I’m not sure the photos really capture the effect as they were taken with a wide angle camera.  However, you can see that it nearly has the surface area of our sofa.  Now, I am not thrilled with our sofa because it is really too small to be comfortable for an average-sized human being relaxing.  (I have realized since purchasing that a lot of times inexpensive furniture is undersized and that you have to watch for this.)   It is possible that the ottoman might look better with a larger sectional.  It’s hard to say.  Overall, though, I just think it does. not. work.  Really, I think it looks semi-ridiculous in our living room, and I’m going to return it.  (Fortunately, I will get a full refund, including shipping.)  I’m sad, though, and now feeling highly uncertain of my decorating capabilities.  Experience is so helpful, and I obviously have none.

L LOVES it.  She thinks it’s the best thing ever.

See below for our planter of tulips.  They have grown rather well, so I think I’m going to plant a couple more this fall.


rip picasa: google does it again

A couple years ago, my most often used Google products were Gmail, Contacts, Google Reader, and Picasa.  Then Google eliminated Google Reader.  After some grumbling, I have switched to Feedly.  Now, Google is no longer supporting Picasa.  I organize and edit my photos using Photoshop CS5, and I use Picasa for photosharing.  Picasa has a very nice feature where it will automatically resize the photo to a high res, but not full res version.  Online, I can easily share photos with people by setting privacy such that anyone with a link can view.  Not super secure, but enough for my purposes and easy for my less tech-savvy relations to deal with.

Google Photos, the ostensible replacement for Picasa, does not allow you upload photos by album.  Instead, it sorts them by date.  This is problematic because I like to sort my photos in folders of my own definition.  These photos are actually usually defined by date, but I have two cameras, and I like to keep all the photos I generated from a single camera together.  I use the cameras interchangeably, so there is a lot of interweaving.  With Google photos, i can’t easily select all the photos I just edited and share them with people.  In addition, my husband sometimes switches my camera to RAW + JPG mode since he likes to deal with jpegs.  I always process my photos in raw.  (Typically I do very little processing, but I like to adjust white balance and I usually let Photoshop do auto-light and contrast.)  This results in two jpgs of the same photo.  This problem is over-comable, I found after some pain.  You set Google Photo not to auto-backup but manually add each new folder.  I put my processed photos in a separate folder.  However, it doesn’t solve the interweaving issue.  I will probably give Google photos another try with my next batch of photos, but for now, I’m trying Flickr.

Flickr has a couple issues as well.  First, you’re limited to 1 Tb of storage.  That is a lot of course, but this brings us to issue #2.  It doesn’t include any automatic resolution reduction.  I like to upload high res but not full res versions of my photos.  However, I like to store full res versions on my machine so that they’re easily available when I make prints or photo books.  I could, of course, save two versions of every photo, but that would be a pain.  I can also upload full res versions.  This may cause me to run into the storage limit, and it is very slow to upload.  I like to upload the photos and then share; I’d have to start it uploading and then come back later to share.

Any other photo buffs have thoughts or recommendations?

Back to Google: obviously there are no guarantees with free online software.  Google has been brutal lately about getting rid of their applications that I like best.  Is Gmail next?