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The Farmer’s Wife is done

A big quilting project comes to a close: my Farmer’s Wife quilt. Someone asked me the other day how long it took me. I said I didn’t know but I guessed it could be a whole year. Now, I have looked it up in my blog chronicles, and to my surprise I started out on this journey more than two years ago. In March 2012, I posted about the first square, Wrench. Little did I know that it would take me that long to finish it. But that is exactly what happened today.

I finished the quilting a couple of days ago. As mentioned before, I played with the thought of not binding the quilt at all. I have only done this once before, on a very small wall hanging. But this technique has nothing to do with size. It is rather simple, and I will quickly describe it here.

For this method, it is essential that you do not quilt up to the edge, but stop at least half an inch before it.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

After all quilting is done, I cut the three layers evenly with a ruler and rotary cutter. Then I took some scissors and trimmed the batting a quarter of an inch so that top and back stand out.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

This is the trickiest part of it because I almost cut the backing fabric several times—or thought that I would. It cost me some nerves. In fact, I found this way too exciting and decided to pin the top and back out of the way to be able to cut the batting of the three other sides without obstacles.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

Now, on all four sides, the batting is a quarter of an inch shorter than the top and backing fabric. Next, I folded the protruding part of the top and backing inside, enveloping the batting with the backing fabric. I pinned it and then sewed it with an invisible stitch by hand.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

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© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

And I am very pleased with the result of no binding. See a picture of the whole quilt here.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

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Farmer’s wife: Quilting

The quilting on my Farmer’s Wife quilt is done. It was done in no time—or so it seemed to me. As I imagined beforehand, I enjoyed re-visiting each square so much.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

So another big projects draws to a close. I quilted the outer border in just two days. Now I am only waiting for my fingers to rejuvenate so that I might finish the quilt with a binding. Or rather, with no binding at all.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

I had planned to bind the quilt by folding the backing fabric to the front, but it turned out that there is a small distance at one edge of the quilt where the backing fabric is too short. Now I am thinking about finishing the quilt with no binding. The alternative would be to buy binding fabric. Hard decision …

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

I also thought about labeling each of the 110 squares by embroidering their names on the sashing strips. I would have liked this a lot. But I didn’t come to a satisfactory solution as to how to do it, floss, and colour, without losing the present look and feel. Besides, I think I should have done any embroidery before making the quilt sandwich, so I put the idea aside. So it seems the finishing date is only a few days away.

Potholders

Since the holidays, I have been sewing little else but potholders. The six inch blocks all turned into potholders, plus I came across Amy’s blog again and her very beautiful tutorial for potholders, and decided to try it out.
20140119-161245.jpg
The most difficult part of sewing these was the binding. It came around all twisted and bumpy – awful! Some days later, I ripped it off again and used some ready-made bias tape.
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The most fun part, I think, is embellishing the front sides. I like the idea of not making exact twins but rather making up two matching designs. And it really is fun to rifle through my drawers and bring to light some long forgotten scraps of lace or beads.
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Binding the potholders still is the most challenging part but anyway easier than making hand made bias tape.

Farewell, America the Beautiful

Well, it is finally done. America the Beautiful is finished. Hand quilting and binding—all is done. This quilt is one of the biggest I ever made. It sounds stupid, but I never realised that before. It was only when I measured it to calculate how much fabric I would need for the binding that I came to understand that. My stash would not have a single piece of fabric in matching colour that would suffice.

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

I actually had to go and buy some new fabric just for the binding. Normally, I would never do such a thing. I would plan in advance what fabric I to use for a binding. But in this case, well, I might have lost track during this long period of piecing the blocks. And I did not wish a scrappy binding for this quilt.

I went for a soft green, as a matter of fact (you might not be able to discern the colour in this photo). With a cotton batting, the quilt is quite heavy, too.

It was early morning when I took the picture. And I like the effect the sunlight has on the photo: giving the impression of “my” sun (top right corner) rising over the trees and mountains, not yet bright enough to extinguish the light of the stars.

America the Beautiful was inspired by the song of the same title (by Katharine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward). Design by Lynn Lister. Pattern by McCalls Quilting Magazine.

Here comes the sun

Remember my New York Beauty block? It so happened that I sewed three more. And believe it or not, I joined them to one small wall hanging or table topper.

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

Since it is such a small project, plus my sister recently gave me several reels of red thread, I decided to machine quilt it. I confess I am not very practised in machine quilting, yet I did everything in free motion quilting. Adjusting the stitching speed (foot) to my moving the sandwich (hands) was quite a challenge.

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

On the back, you can see a new (to me) method of hanging a small wall hanging. I simply folded a square piece of fabric in half diagonally and sewed the raw edges in the seam when binding the quilt.  I should have sewn four of these pockets, not just two, so that I was able to forever choose which side is up. Anyway, I might even hang it on point, after all! I am happy to say that sewing this small New York Beauty project quite alleviated my fears about sewing curves, and I would now be happy to sew a bigger quilt.

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

* “Here Comes the Sun” was composed in 1969 by George Harrison while taking a stroll in Eric Clapton’s garden. *

Colour Pools

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

Last weekend, I sewed this quick table runner. The pattern is by Deborah Vollbracht and was featured in McCall’s Quilting magazine, my constant source of both, inspiration and instruction for new sewing techniques.

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

My attention was drawn to this particular pattern because, although there are curved lines enough, no curved piecing is required. Plus I liked the fact that piecing, quilting, and finishing, all is combined so that there is not the ordinary way of piecing, then quilting, and then binding.

Each of the nine blocks is a circle, pieced and furnished with batting and backing. When turned right side out, they each looked like a pancake. The nine circles are joined, sewing straight lines along the sides of the circles. And the last step is to stitch the flaps, which formed when joining the circles, down to the circles’ centres.

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

The back of the table runner shows the curved quilting lines of the last step—all done in one continuous line!

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann