farmer’s butterfly garden, part deux

I was able to go out this morning in the freezing cold, but sunny weather, and take some close-ups of my triple trouble finish. It is difficult to tell in the pics of the entire quilt how I used the challenge materials that were sent to me, so I thought I would show you here.

Here is the original picture I took of the materials that Kim sent me:


plus my cat. ha!

I feel it’s fairly obvious how Kim’s beautiful green hand-dyed fabric was incorporated, but the other fabrics and embellishments may not be so obvious. let’s start with the green flowery strip at the top:

FW 39

now the off white chunk of fabric to the left of the photo, with the creepy baby on the bottom. while I did not use the creepy baby, I did use a lot of the neutral. here’s an example in the top of this block. this block also includes the dark green fabric to the top right of the pic as well:

FW 11

next, the navy blue stars. I was a little afraid to use this fabric because it is so dark, and because I used a lot of black and white prints. but I just tried to use a lot of it here and there, and it actually turned out okay! you can see I used it for one of the points of the star above, but I wanted to show a few more:

FW 25 FW 31 FW 19

this navy blue fabric actually inspired me to use another unlikely candidate, the Hoffman Challenge fabric, which has a dark, almost navy, blue and a black in it:

FW 28

next there are five charm squares. first is a white-on-white chevron, which I made into several flower petals throughout the quilt:

. FW 24

below that is a turquoise and brown print. it became economy block:

FW 23

then there is this troubling light blue fabric. I would say this was actually the hardest for me to use, just because I really don’t like light baby blue for some odd reason. but I think I did okay with it here:

FW 14

and then there was the off-white with some text. I LOVE text fabric (in case you couldn’t already tell.) and I actually happened to have some more fabric from this same collection to use. I wished I had more of this fabric, though, but here it is as a flower petal:

FW 13

and then there is pink. I used a lot of pink in the quilt, and here is some of that particular pink:

FW 27

and then there was the fun fabric at the bottom, with places like libraries, bakeries, and wine bars on it. super fun! i used that one mostly as flower petals, and here is an example:

FW 41

and then there are the embellishments, which i put in the border. the yarn and ribbon became parts of the butterfly bodies, and i got four flowers, so i put one on each cornerstone of the quilt. they were a nice little detail to add at the end! here are some pics:

FW 7 FW 6 FW 5 FW 4 FW 3 FW 2 FW 1

and that is all. thanks for reading!


a big finish!

I am so excited to say I have finished the farmer’s wife/hexagon flowers/butterfly quilt I have been working on since January. It was inspired by and made for the Project Quilting season 5 bonus challenge Triple Trouble. You can follow the link to see what the parameters for the challenges were, but we basically needed to make a quilt with at least three star blocks and three nine-patch blocks using the materials sent to us. Luckily for me, we were able to add as many more fabrics as we wished, because I definitely needed to do that. I didn’t intend for the quilt to be this big in the beginning, but it sort of got away from me.

I started by buying this book:

FW book

I figured that would give me enough nine-patches and star patterns to meet the requirements…and boy did it ever!

Then I went on a cruise, during which I–of course–needed a little hand sewing project. So me and my cousin Isabel ended up making some of these lovely little hexagon flowers:


hex on the beach

hex on the beach

and then when I got home, I noticed how wonderful they were looking next to the Farmer’s Wife blocks I had started making

IMG_1346 IMG_1433 IMG_1346

so I went with it.

after it got to be a pretty good size, and I was thinking about finishing it up, my husband said something along the lines of “you should add a few rows and columns, you know, to balance it out.” he really had no concept of how much work “a few rows and columns” entailed.

but I kind of agreed with him, so I went with it.


after a while, it was getting pretty big. almost bed-sized big. I have never made a bed sized quilt before, so I started thinking “maybe this is my chance to do that.” with the deadline fast-approaching, I decided to cheat a bit on making it bigger with a nice 2.5 inch sashing and border. I also thought it made the blocks all pop out nicely.

FW most of it

at this point, I marched it upstairs and put it on the bed (we have a queen-sized). It covered the top, but didn’t hang down the sides. I didn’t want that to bug me for the rest of my life, so I decided to add a pieced border. I also wanted to lighten it up a bit, to offset the dark grey sashing.


now it was the perfect size for the bed. and it has a butterfly border! then I had to figure out how I would get the darned thing quilted with less than a week until deadline. that’s where my buddies at Smile Spinners came in pretty handy! they  have a longarm that they rent out in two-hour chunks, which ended up being more than enough time to quilt this thing. I chose to do an all over loop-de-loop type pattern because of the butterfly border. As I was quilting, I was thinking about butterflies flying around. I think it turned out pretty nicely, for the first time I ever operated a long-arm! I did get a lot of help from Jo at Smile Spinners, who guided me through the whole process (thankfully).

I chose to do a scrappy grey and red binding, and made it on Friday night.

Then I worked all weekend (boo).

Then yesterday (Monday), I sewed it all together…and VOILA, here’s the finished product:

FW finish 1 FW finish 2

I am really glad to have gotten out yesterday to photograph it, because this morning has been grey and rainy, and now it’s supposed to snow! I am hoping to get it out at some point and take some more close-ups and details, but it looks like I won’t be doing that today. I promise to share when I get them though!

Thanks Kim for creating an awesome challenge!

If you haven’t already, I really hope you go to the flickr page HERE to see the other lovely quilts created for this challenge.



so excited to start paper piecing some shirts!

click this link to get the info on the swap that is organized. the deadline is June 15th. basically, you get the pattern. you make some shirts. you send them in. and you get back the same amount of shirts you sent in…only they are different shirts. that other people made. who you don’t know…

so random!

so fun!

maybe I’m a dork, but this–to me–sounds like a super-good time!

I plan on sending in 16 shirts to make a 4X4 shirt wall-hanging, just like the one on the front of the Carolyn Friedlander pattern. only with shirts made by different quilters (hopefully) around the world.




here is the finished quilt top. I am loving the butterfly border. since this quilt is a combination of farmer’s wife blocks, grandmother’s flower garden blocks (hexagon flowers), and butterflies, I think I will call it “farmer’s butterfly garden.” I love the idea of a farmer having a butterfly garden for some dumb reason.

I still need to utilize the embellishments that Kim sent to me, as part of the challenge requirements. I am thinking I will use them to make flowers on the border of the quilt.

what do you think?

here is a picture of the finished top on my bed:


tomorrow is my first appointment at the longarm rental place (Smile Spinners). apparently, the owner is having some trouble with her machine, but she said she thinks it will be fixed by the time of my quilting appointment (Friday afternoon). so God willing and the creek don’t rise, I will get this thing done by the April 15th deadline!

thanks for reading!


what i got

Here’s a little update on my Project Quilting Triple Trouble Challenge. I’ve been working like a dog on this thing, and it’s finally starting to come together! big thanks to my husband for entertaining the little guy this evening while I sewed my little heart out. here it is so far:

FW most of it

right now it’s a decent size, but I’m still thinking about adding a pieced border.

I know. I’m completely insane. I have a date with the long-arm rental place on Tuesday, so it needs to be figured out by then!

I’ll be sure to keep you posted :)

april goal!

I’m finally getting in on the action with A Lovely Year of Finishes. And my goal for April is to finish my big project, the Triple Trouble Project Quilting Bonus Challenge. The deadline is April 15th. I don’t have a recent picture, because it’s gotten too big for my design wall. But I have most of the blocks made, I still need to do some sashing, a border, quilt, and bind. So I will be busy! I am hoping to rent some time on the long-arm machine at Smile Spinners to do the quilting, since it has gotten so big. But that’s my goal and I have a lot to do!!!




I was feeling a bit stressed yesterday, when I wrote out my layout for the Farmer’s Wife/hexy flowers quilt, and discovered that my piecing needs are still LARGE to say the least. I am dreaming of putting a bit of a pieced border on this thing too. And I want to have it done by the April 15th deadline. So I’m starting to get nervous, but I’m not giving up. Yesterday I pushed it a bit, and between all the other things I needed to do, I managed to get FOUR more Farmer’s Wife blocks together. That brings the total to 28, so that should be all I need of those. (Now I need to hit hard on the hexagons and also work on a ?pieced? border. As well as some housekeeping stuff like some of the blocks still need to be set on point, and sashing…) Oh yeah, and the quilting.

I was practical, and picked a few simple nine-patches that weren’t two complicated:

FW contrary wife

contrary wife

FW calico puzzle

calico puzzle


but then I got a little feisty, and picked a few just because I like them! (even though they did take a little longer to do:

FW buzzards roost

buzzard’s roost


FW butterfy at the crossroads

butterfly at the crossroads

this last one is definitely one of my favorites. at some point, I would like to photograph each block and catalog them, but first I should get to sewing some hexagon flowers. if you haven’t seen what they look like with the farmer’s wife blocks so far, you can look at them HERE on my other blog post about it.

washington d.c. – venice – chicago

Since I have a little extra computer time tonight (the toddler is up late and won’t go to sleep unless I’m sitting right here next to him in bed. I contemplated bringing the sewing machine to bed with me, but settled on the computer ;)

But anyway…since I have a little extra computer time tonight, I thought I’d catch you up on some of the work I’ve been doing for Pat Sloan’s Globetrotting Mystery Quilt Along. I could tell from the beginning that it was going to be a medallion quilt, and from there I couldn’t refuse. I recently finished a Marcelle Medallion top, and have been oogling Midnight at the Oasis (LOVE Jen Kingwell!) But since I am knee deep in this Farmer’s Wife Sampler and that is definitely my current obsession, I figured a little block-a-month quilt along would be a good way to squeeze in another medallion without losing my mind.

It’s a really cool idea. Pat has designed a quilt block for each month. Each of the blocks was inspired by a city somewhere.

January was Washington D.C.

globetrotting dc this is the biggest block, and from what I can tell will be the center of the quilt.

In February, we went to Venice:

globetrotting venice

and this month (March), was Chicago:

globetrotting chicago

So far, I am loving these blocks, because I have a thing for crosses, and as you can see, there have been a couple of them.

I didn’t pay too much attention to the fabric requirements at the beginning, and am starting to run out of the neon green batik, which has actually been a defining part of all these blocks. It was a scrap given to me by my mother-in-law. So next month, I may have to start something a bit different…either that or get my butt to the fabric store and find something similar!

Oh well, I’m sure it will be fabulous whatever happens!

okay, toddler-man is finally asleep so I’m back at the helm of my sewing machine now…goodnight!

talking heads

today I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger for the 52 Blocks Twisted Tradition Quilt Along hosted by Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams! every week, Kim chooses a different traditional quilt block, “twists” it into something a bit different and new, and posts a tutorial. very cool idea, in my opinion. and a lot of work on her part. so I’m happy to give her a week off by posting a tutorial for my own idea.

also, I feel like a superstar, because she interviewed me on her website HERE!

honestly, I’ve never been too in love with this block I chose, but I saw something in it, and now I’m a bit of a fan ;) here it is: the Bear Claw:

bear claw

I thought it looked like a couple of spiky-haired dudes, so I decided to tweak the fabric choices, add some embellishments, and call it “talking heads,” after one of our many favorite bands here at the Faller house.

talking heads

don’t you think they look kind of like David Byrne, too?

david byrne

(lead singer of the Talking Heads, for those of you who didn’t know)

So here’s how you can make your own!

***housekeeping alert*** this block finishes to 14 1/2″ square, and quarter-inch seams are used throughout.

First, pull fabric. Please modify the fabric/color scheme as you see fit, but for the purpose of making these instructions simple, I will refer to the following: FACE (flesh tone), HAIR (pink, orange, green, and blue), and BACKGROUND (zebra print).

Cut four 4 1/2″ squares out of FACE:


Of each of your four colors of HAIR, cut two 2 7/8″ squares. This should total eight total squares (two of each color):


From BACKGROUND, cut the following – eight 2 7/8″ squares:


four 2 1/2″ squares:


two strips, each 2 1/2 X 6 1/2:


and one long strip measuring 2 1/2 X 14 1/2:


now you’re ready to make some half square triangle units out of your 2 7/8″ squares. on the wrong side of your BACKGROUND 2 7/8″ squares, draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other:


do this on ALL of the 2 7/8″ BACKGROUND squares. thank you.

pair each of the 2 7/8″ BACKGROUND squares with one of the 2 7/8″ HAIR squares, right sides together. now you are ready to sew!

sew 1/4″ away from the line you drew, on BOTH SIDES of the line:


it should look like this when you’re done:


if you look closely you can see the white thread on either side of the line…I promise.

when you have sewn a seam 1/4″ away from the line on both sides, you can cut right down the line you made:


you will be left with two half-square triangle units. do this on all eight of your square-pairs, and you will have 16 half-square triangle units.


IMG_1577 IMG_1578

and then make sure all your half-square triangle units measure to 2 1/2″ squares. if they are too big, you can trim them at this point. if they are more than just a bit too small, then you have a problem and you might need to try again. this is a tedious part of the process, but it does help for accuracy later on:


now you can begin to see what your square will look like! At this point, I like to put all my cut pieces of fabric on my design wall to help me keep my seams straight. If you don’t have a design wall, a table-top will do:


now it is just a matter of sewing all the squares together. here’s how I did it: pick a head, and pull it down off the wall, keeping everything turned the right way:


sew together these two squares:


then sew together these three squares:


then sew this unit to the face:


then sew this unit to the rest of it:


there’s a head!


do that three more times with the other three heads, and then you are ready to put them all together.

Here’s how I did that. first sew these:


then sew these:


then sew these:


your block is pieced!


now is the super fun part, where you get to dig into your basket of buttons, beads, rick-rack, etc… there are about a million different ways that you can add facial features to these guys. you could even quilt it in after sandwiching if you want. for this particular talking heads block, I chose buttons and rick-rack. this was actually the most fun part of the process to me, and it’s probably the part of the process that requires the least amount of explanation. just pick your stuff and sew it on!

The only thing I did that might not be too obvious was place some tear-away stabilizer on the back of the faces, so that the embellishments didn’t cause the fabric to pucker. Here’s what I used:


I just cut it into appx 4″ squares, and placed it on the back of the faces, like this:

IMG_1614   <== before

IMG_1615 <== after

this really helped to keep the fabric strong enough to hold all the embellishments, especially because I zig-zag stitched the rick-rack on for the little mouths.


I did that first, and then just hand-sewed the buttons on for eyes. And here’s what it looked like in the end!


at this point, you can remove the stabilizer from the back, according to the package instructions.

I also got a little carried away and made a second block.

On a bit of a sidenote, I recently found out that Perry County (the little backwoods, redneck county where I live) has it’s OWN. LOCAL. QUILT. SHOP! seriously. no, SERIOUSLY! so obviously I went to check it out. and it was awesome! big thumbs up to Smile Spinners for being awesome! Please go over to their website and check them out. Buy some fabric. Support local business! I loved visiting there :) the nice lady even let me walk around the building where they keep their long-arm machine. they actually rent it out by the hour with an instructor and everything. I may just take them up on that!

Anyway, look at what I found on my little trek to Smile Spinners:

glasses micheal miller

Oh yeah, that is a hipster glasses print from Micheal Miller. I bet you have no idea what I used that for!

talking heads glasses

BWA-HA-HA-HA! honestly, there are just so many ways you could go with this block. I think when I finish this one up, I will quilt the mouths in. I’m thinking about making a bag using these two finished talking heads blocks for the front and back.

I am so excited to see what everyone else comes up with! please link up your blocks to the flickr page HERE. if you don’t have flickr but still want to link up your project, please contact me and I’ll be happy to help.

thanks to Persimon Dreams for letting me be a part of this quilt along, and thank you for reading!

go sew something cool!

woodgrain triangle bag

I wanted to keep my Project Quilting piece small this week, mostly because of all the work I am doing on my Farmer’s Wife/hexagon quilt these days. The inspiration was to be triangles, so I decided to make a small zipper pouch. I had this pattern from an old Quilting Arts magazine:


I had already made a few bags using this pattern, so I thought I’d do another one. This time with triangles!

These bags are really fun, because you just need to make a small little quilt sandwich of whatever you want, cut it to the template shown in the magazine, and then stitch it together. I’d say inserting the zipper is the hardest part, but after three or four tries, I think I’ve got the hang of it.

Here’s my sandwich front (outside of bag):


and here’s my sandwich back (inside of bag):


I’m not sure if you can tell, but I decided to do some simple zig-zag quilting to keep with the triangle motif. I used bright orange thread to contrast with my hunter green bag.

And here’s how it turned out in the end:

IMG_1508 IMG_1507 IMG_1510 IMG_1509

I decided to do the photoshoot outside where the crocuses are coming up since spring has officially sprung!

My name is Erin, and I live and create in Duncannon, PA. The dimensions of the bag are 5.5″X5.5″X2″, making it a perfect little bag for a camera, phone, or whatever else you may need to keep separate from the other items in your purse.

Personally, I will probably use this little bag to keep my English Paper pieces and hand-sewing supplies in until I finish my BIG project (hopefully by the April 15th deadline!!!)

Thanks for reading, and I hope you like my project! Here is a link to the Project Quilting webpage, where you can see all the other projects made this week. This is also where you can go to vote for your favorites, starting Sunday.