My new block of the month program had the first meeting on October 9, yet it took me a couple weeks to actually start working on it. Despite the fact that I was really looking forward to Farm Girl Vintage, I was undeniably dragging my feet. Every time I thought about what I was going to do, my head would just spin out with all the possibilities… and that was kind of intimidating. The blocks themselves aren’t all that hard to make, but there are just so many different ways you can do it.
The first block was the Old Barn, found on page 48 of the Farm Girl Vintage book. Since we were given the fabric for the block, making it was easy enough… I just had to decide between 12″ or 6″, although I could have gone with different fabrics as well. The only hard part about that decision was how it would set the course the quilt would take over the next year. In the end I decided on the 12″ version just to make my life easier, although I may still go back and do the 6″ versions later on with fabric of my own choosing. I think it was really the bonus project that had me stalling.
There will be a bonus project every other month, and this time it was potholders. It just so happens that I planned on making potholders from the blocks in this book as Christmas presents. This is the part where I was really drowning in possibilities! There are so many blocks in the book, and so many different possible combinations of fabric… things in my stash and things that are not. Additionally, I wanted to give sets of two… which meant also possibly trying to pair up blocks too coordinate with each other. I think I was also being a little intimidated by how much I liked the examples I saw in the photos on the designer’s site, and I just knew nothing I came up with would be as good… and I really wanted mine to be good. Plus, there is the factor of making things to give other people. That adds another level of pressure, since I always want things I make for others to be extra good.
The first excuse was my daughter’s Halloween costume, then the wine tote for my cousin, then I decided to play around with piecing 1″ squares for a few days just to see what happened, and then it was wanting more of the Modern Minis fabric line before I started, to give more options when piecing the blocks. Once I finally ran out of excuses, I started pulling all the fabric I had in my stash that would work for various blocks. Then I decided I should thoroughly starch every last bit of the Modern Minis and let it dry overnight before I started… you know, because it helps stabilize the fabric, not because I was stalling. And then I starched another batch of fabric…
In the end I just decided to suck it up and start cutting. I find that whenever I am dragging my feet about starting a project, if I just make myself start cutting fabric everything falls into place after that. As it turns out, cutting is really the only place I had trouble with this one though. Not that it is difficult to cut the pieces for this, but I just kept reading the measurements wrong. They are written in this manner: 2 – 3/4 x 1 1/2, meaning to cut two rectangles at three-quarters of an inch by one-and-a-half inches. However, my brain just automatically wants to read that as “two-and-three-quarter inches” instead of “two pieces measuring three-quarters”. After a few mistakes I decided I would just write down what I needed to cut in my own shorthand, which helped things go much smoother.
The first night I cut everything for a 12″ barn block from the fabric provided in the month’s kit, as well as a 6″ version of the barn and Penny Pig for potholders from my stash and scrap bin. I used some of the leftovers from the 12″ barn in the 6″ version as well. I think they came out pretty well, but the crooked stitching on Penny Pig bothers me endlessly. The following nights saw me piecing all three blocks and quilting the potholders. They went together surprisingly fast. Later I did a teapot as well…. on which I accidentally put the loop on the wrong side. Oops. Oh well, I will just have to put the loop on the opposite side of whatever block I pair with it.
Once I got started, I had so much fun! I am really going to enjoy making all these potholders for Christmas, and am already finding myself looking forward to the next one. Quilting the little individual blocks is a joy compared to wrangling a large project under the sewing machine. It takes all of the headache (well most of it) out of the quilting process, and just leaves you with the fun of watching the quilting transform the block into something more.
Penny Pig was the first thing I completed, and I was at a bit of a loss for how to quilt it. In the end I just opted for straight lines… although they didn’t end up being very straight. I am trying to ignore that, but it is bothering me. Next I put the 12″ barn block together and was surprised that it took less than an hour. After that it was on to the little barn potholder, and I decided to take my time and have some fun quilting that one.
I don’t have a lot of “stitch in the ditch” experience, and these potholders seemed like an excellent excuse to practice with… So when it came time to quilt the barn I started by stitching in the ditch around the outside of the barn, the windows, and the door. I also decide to put little crosses in the windows to give it more detail, and to stitch in the ditch of the X created by the piecing in the barn door. After that I just echoed around the outside of the barn, which is also a pretty new thing for me. The stitching isn’t perfect, but I will let you judge the final result.
For the teapot, I probably made life harder than it had to be. I quilted the outline of the teapot, then added 1/4″ straight line quilting around it. Since I didn’t go around the ditch to travel between straight lines it meant a lot of thread tails to bury! I really like the way it turned out though, and I am really liking the Modern Backgrounds Paper I used as a background for it.
The next block will be a chicken… I got the kit for it yesterday. There is also a table runner bonus project that I plan to make. I was a little surprised to see there was a bonus this month because it was supposed to be every other month, but there is no meeting in December so maybe that is why we got another one so soon.