Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Farmer's Wife Quilt - Finished!

 My FWQ is finally finished. I started it in late June and finished in early December. I did almost all of the piecing within three months, then there was a lag of about two months while I worked on my master's coursework.

The room is suddenly so colorful - I love it!
 The last few days have been taken up by finishing the binding by hand. Though it makes my fingers ache, it slows the time down and totally relaxes me.

 I was very daunted by the prospect of using my sewing machine, the Swedish/German Pfaff, to do all of the free-motion-quilting (FMQ - not to be confused with FWQ!). But FMQ was the biggest reason I bought it  (my little Brother was so basic that I couldn't even lower the feed dogs). So I have been practicing on potholders, table runners, and pillows that are all going out for Christmas gifts. Still, I didn't think I would be able to really handle the bulk of a queen-sized quilt under the arm of my Pfaff.

But I just went for it. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be. As an FMQ novice, I took about five hours spread over the course of three days to quilt it. I did have to rip out some of the quilting where I moved the quilt faster than the needle could sew, causing some awful looking tension problems on the back.

 And I think it looks good! It's no professional job, but it was a huge learning experience for me. The whole quilt, in fact. From the very traditional and difficult piecing, all the way to the large scale quilting. I am glad I decided on FMQ, rather than anything more intricate. I think the intricate piecing of the individual blocks needs no competition. Plus, I like how I unifies the quilt, despite all of the pattern and color going on.

Late English autumn means that opportunities to photograph something in decent lighting are very limited. I took my quilt out to a sports field, where the wind was so strong that I had no other option but to photograph the quilt with the sun right behind it. The upside was that my friend, Aneta, and I didn't have to hold the quilt - the wind plastered it right to the fence! Because the sun is behind the quilt, you can pretty much see how the backing looks (oops, forgot to photograph the back!).

The position of the sun does give it that interesting stained-glass effect that I like.

And soon, when Christmas is over, I hope to start on the next big thing!

Scandinavian Christmas Crosstitch

While briefly scanning the magazine rack at the grocery store, something very surprising caught my eye. I usually ignore the knitting and crosstitching magazines, but when I saw the cover pattern on  the Christmas issue of Crosstitcher, I didn't hesitate to put it into my cart. I so wholeheartedly love the simplicity of Scandinavian color and design, and this pattern was just want the twelve-year-old crosstitcher inside of me had been waiting the past twenty years for.

In fact, the last time I did a crosstitch project, it was something like a little bunny rabbit sitting on a tuft of grass with the words, "God Bless This House." Not really something I would be sewing these days to hang up in my house. But I absolutely loved the process of crosstitching - the mind-numbing counting of squares and the tedious sewing of little X's reads as pure pleasure to my obsessive, goal oriented mind. Plus, I get to do my favorite lazy winter evening activity: watch a DVD box set and just stitch away. 
Though I adore this finished design - it goes perfectly with my decor! - I decided to give it to my mom for Christmas. I think she'll love it. Plus, I have a four-year-old who tends to spill on things a lot, and the delicate crosstitch here isn't going to like getting frequently washed.

 So, as with most things I make and ship off to far away lands, I took lots of pictures to remember it by. Tomorrow it's off via Santa Express.

 I foresee a few more crosstitching projects like this in the future. For now, I'll look at these photos and remember those deer as the outlet of all my outraged energy while watching the US Presidential debates.
For back-issues of Crosstitcher, see here.