Look at this - Finally a post in which real, live sewing was done (albeit not much).
My daughter headed up to the Bible Camp she volunteers at on Wednesday night, so I was back to running the daycare on my own. I've had a really nice break, thanks to her. I haven't worked the daycare since June 21, when I was put on bed rest. That makes a full month off. And boy, did I enjoy it :D
Yesterday I was determined to see how much I could get done, and I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to get everything done. So every time the baby napped, I put him down and worked like crazy to get stuff done. I even put him in the swing or bouncer or on a blanket to play when he was awake so I could get more done. I did 5 loads of laundry, tons of cleaning and organizing, paid the bills, made several other phone calls (during nap time when it was fairly quiet) and got several other projects done. But today... all I wanted to do was snuggle my baby. Too much time away from him yesterday. That's okay. I don't think he minded making up for it today at all ;)
I made sure to take advantage of my last day free from daycare responsibilities by going to a free class at our local quilt shop. It was really more of an infomercial. They were demonstrating some rulers that allow you to create certain quilt blocks with nearly no waste (like the flying geese block, square in a square, Lemoyne star and others). Of course each block has its own ruler, so if you want them all you have to buy all the rulers. I just bought one. The ruler I got makes a Hunter's star.
I like the arrangement shown in blue - a "simple" two color quilt. It's very pretty like that, but I've always wanted to make the multicolored one you can buy a Thangles kit for (if you have ever looked at a quilting magazine, you've probably seen that quilt - bright colors, mostly purples). So now I've got another project on my list ... but not for any time in the near future :) In case you're worried about my finances, I used my contest winnings to pay for this - making it just a few cents for tax. (The also gave us a free pattern for coming to the class, which is shown in the picture with the two rulers above. It makes a table runner.) The sales pitch was very effective - or seeing the rulers in action was. They sell themselves. I'm seriously considering going back for the flying geese ruler so I can make all the millions of half square triangles for my Farmer's Wife quilt without all the waste. I am trying to decide whether using the ruler will help me save enough fabric to make it worth the price of the ruler... I'll let you know later what I decide, but I've gotta say, I'm the biggest fabric miser out there, so the ruler will probably join my stash of "necessary tools" tomorrow ;)
I used my daughter's $5 credit for participating in the contest to get this little ruler. It's okay. She told me the credit was mine. She doesn't get into sewing very much.
Here's a close-up in case you need one of your own. This ruler may not look like much, but it's going to save me a lot of time. It is 1/2 inch wide, meaning the line in the center is 1/4 inch - so if you want to make a half square triangle, you just line up that middle line with your square - corner to corner, and draw a line on either side of the ruler, and you have your stitching lines. Then you stitch both lines, then cut the square apart in the middle. It's a very quick way to measure, and it was cheap enough that the credit covered it with a few cents required for tax :) Gotta love that. For that matter, any time I need to measure a 1/4 inch seam allowance, this little baby is going to make life easier!
So you're probably wondering what I actually sewed. These nifty 10 inch square design boards are what I made (somehow I missed getting one of them in the picture - there are 6 in all.) These are made with a foam core poster board, which I cut into 6 segments. I got this idea from this tutorial on "mini design boards" over at the Bee in My Bonnet blog. It's an awesome tutorial. (She has some other great tutorials on how to sew certain quilt blocks that will really help me do my Farmer's Wife quilt. I also learned from her how to draft patterns and figure out measurements for cutting pieces with a rotary cutter rather than using templates, but I'll talk about that in another post.)
Anyway, the purpose of these boards is to allow you to cut out a quilt block and lay it out in order, next to your machine, so you can make sure you're sewing it correctly as you go. This will be perfect for my Farmer's Wife quilt. I can prep 6 blocks, then sew them when I'm ready. It also makes projects very portable as you can just stack up the prepared blocks - one per board - tie a ribbon around them and go. She uses batting for her middle area, but I used felt - I just happened to have some and thought it would shed less than batting might. She also uses very pretty fabrics for her borders, but I cheated by using store-bought bias tape which I got for next to nothing. Besides, she created the Sew Cherry fabric, so she has something like 27 BOLTS of fabric at her disposal, and I don't. I couldn't see using the expensive fabric on this project. Not to mention the fact that I didn't have time to make my own binding for anything other than a quilt.
This basket is my collection of bias tape and rick-rack. When we lived in the South, there was a place that sold seconds and assorted notions for super cheap. These packages are all marked 79 cents. I'm sure I paid even less for it - seems like it was a quarter a package. The rick-rack was all given to me by various grandmothers.
One other thing I tried that was different than the tutorial was to sew down the top of the bias binding. She says to use hot glue. But I couldn't find my extra hot glue and only had the one long stick that was with my glue gun, so I didn't think I would have enough glue without sewing.
Anyway, in the end, I have a nice, pretty stack of design boards (again, the one with the grey trim is not shown).
That's it for the actual sewing. How can you blame me, when this cutie wants to play with me all day? He's three weeks old now. I can't believe it. I don't know how the time went by so fast... Tomorrow he'll be 3 years old...
He spends a lot more time awake and alert now. (And he loves to chew on everything).
Like I mentioned, I just spent my whole day snuggling with him...
Such a serious look. It is really hard to get a good picture of his face because when I use the flash he tends to go cross-eyed. Poor little guy...
Okay, one more matter of sewing news to mention. I finally decided on my fabric for The Farmer's Wife quilt. I've been seeing this quilt all over blogland, and definitely wanted to make one, having grown up on a farm in Nebraska. The book contains essays for a contest from the 1920's where women answered the question, "Do you want your daughter to marry a farmer." I'm really enjoying the essays, and it brings back a lot of good memories about my own childhood, growing up on the farm. It's too bad that you can't make ends meet as a farmer anymore.
Anyway as you can see, I've chosen a rainbow of bright tone-on-tone fabrics. I'm thinking my sashing will be black, or maybe white. I'll decide that later. At least now I can get started. I was planning on doing the quilt in Wyoming colors (where I live now, and consider it home) - yellows, golds and browns. I wanted to use Kona solids, but there isn't a shop anywhere near here - like within a couple hundred miles - that carries Kona solids. I don't trust the colors on the computer well enough to order enough fabric for a whole quilt. It wasn't likely that I would get to any big cities before Labor Day, and I just have to get started on this quilt before then - ha. So I decided to change my color scheme. I think this will make a pretty amazing quilt.
Now that I have my mini design boards made I can at least start getting some blocks cut out. But then again, this little man demands a lot of attention - even when he's just being sweet and quiet. I make no promises to get much sewing done for awhile :)
(By the way, I'm pretty sure this is going to be my first thumb sucker. He is always trying, but his little thumb stays tucked inside his fist. I'm sure he'll get it figured out sooner or later. I wonder if he sucked his thumb in the womb...)