Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Getting into my stash

As you can tell from posts over the last few months, I have really been into using fabric out of my stash.  I've shown you pictures of how I have it organized, by color and all folded nicely.  Need a reminder? ...

By collection

By color

I love walking into my quilting room and seeing these nice neat little stacks.  Somehow my stacks have grown ... even though I haven't added any fabric.  I think when I was over in the cottage, I was able to spread out more.  I had some cabinets and a shelving unit in addition to a bookcase full of fabric.  Now I just have the bookcase ... it is making me get organized and pare down ... that is good.

I have told you I am a saver of scraps, but I take my scraps and cut them into strips ... from 1" to 3 1/2" and then put these strips in bins

Obviously just a picture of the strips, but the bins are full and overflowing
See?  Clearly a strip quilt or something is in order!  I brought this subject up, because my theme for the year is managing my stash ... using my stash, what is a stash?!  If you have quilted for any length of time, then you have collected fabric.  But like everyone, when I'm trying to create a quilt, it is so much easier (and more fun) to just buy new fabric.  Who wants to use that old stuff that maybe I'm not as much in love with as when I first bought?  And it's so much easier to make a quilt out of a line of fabric than actually having to dig and think about what I have.  If you've been paying attention, you have noticed in my blog over several months, that I've been focusing on this idea.  My goal for this year is really getting serious about getting into my stash and using all those fabrics I keep passing over.  We've all done it, and you know what I'm talking about.

A couple months ago in preparation for a new class I'm going to be teaching this year at the store, I made a table runner out of my stash.  I loved what came out of the creation ...
I started with picking five fabrics ... I didn't really know in what direction I was heading.  I picked a couple of greens, a couple reds and a yellow.  I really wanted to use this yellow because I thought it made everything pop.

Then I added a couple more greens to give it some depth and difference.  I picked several neutrals; I wanted some interest in the difference in colors ... not just all one shade.
This is what I came up with!  I thought it best to design a pattern that everyone could make instead of just talking about their stash.  But this has been on the schedule now for two months, and not a lot of interest.  So I'm going to refocus my energies on really using the stash.  The class is going to focus on bringing stash to class, talking about what to do with it, and giving you lots of encouragement and ideas.  My class is the last Friday of the month from 10 to 1.  I am so excited about this whole concept and I want to get everyone else excited about it too!
When I put the runner together, I did not have enough lights to balance out the color, but I went with it anyway.  My original thought was "oh no, there are too many of the dark neutrals and I can't leave it like that."  But then I remembered that this was not about perfection and what it should be ... it is driven by what I had to work with.  You know what?  I love this little quilt!  It is so darn cute and fun. 
After I got it all together, I was trying to pick out a binding.  I didn't want to use the red that was already in the quilt, I just thought it was a little too blah ... I thought about using a scrappy binding, but it didn't thrill me.  I had this windowpane red fabric that I had not used a lot of in the quilt and I knew that would be dynamite as the binding!  It sure is and I love it.  What I've realized lately is that it is really nice to have some kind of a nice geometric print as the binding.  I used to stay away from those because I thought it was too distracting and that the print would not align correctly.  I have changed my tune there ... I don't care if it is not perfect ... it's not supposed to be, it is just supposed to catch your eye ... and this one surely does.
I hope you will play along with me here and dip into your stash and start creating and using what you have. This venture has really made me think twice about purchasing new fabric ... I keep telling myself  "oh, I can't buy new fabric.  I keep talking about using what I have - I cannot post that I bought new!"  So you all didn't even know it, but you're keeping me on track!  Ha, ha

Dip into your stash ... start with a small project to get your feet wet.  Find a block that you like and make a few of them.  This block was set on point because it really made it stand out even more.  But you don't need to do that; just make a few blocks, add a border or two, and step back and admire what you created!  This little venture helped me use about 3 1/2 yds of fabric.  So there you go!  Please let me know what you're working on and what you create.  I would love pictures and also your permission to share it here and get all of us going in the right direction. 

As I've said before ... the more fabric we can use, the more excuse we have for adding to it to deplete our losses!

Stash Report - Week 8

Whoops .. forgot to post this yesterday!  No sewing this week, but I am starting to feel the itch of not piecing ... so I have big plans for later in the week.  Tune in to hold me to it in next week's stash report!

Used this Week: 0 yards
Used year to Date: 27 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 2 1/4 yards
Net Used for 2014: 24 3/4 yards

Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Only Six Left

... Six quilts left that is it!  I mean six customer quilts.  We won't talk about how many of mine need to be quilted.  They are not even in the count!

This quilt I have had since last May and another great friend was very patient!  It was from a string quilt class that I taught.  I love this quilt ... It is a great way to use up your scraps.  In my stash I have strips cut from 1" to 3 1/2"; when my bins are full it is time to do something with them. My bins are full, so I think it is time for a string quilt!


I did a close together stipple because I love the way the design looks on a busy quilt like this.  It just gives it so much texture.

I used Omni thread in top and bottom in a gold color.  It really popped on the darker colors.  One of my longarm teachers told me when you're not sure of a color thread to use, try gold.

Next was this adorable baby quilt.  I have decided that minkee and flannel are my two favorite backings!!  When you quilt over them, the fabric just soaks up the stitches and it looks beautiful!  It also really feels good when you're quilting on it as well.

I did a curly swirl with a heart thrown in here and there.  Omni thread in top and bottom in Baby Pink.

This quilt is so cute ... I love the pink and brown, and with the minkee on the back, I want to curl up with it!

And look who is the cutest valentine ...
She just started walking this weekend and she is so proud of herself!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Stash Report - Week 7

Got into my sewing room this week and tried to get some organization going on ... Made three backs for tops that are in line to be quilted ... Some day!  At least I got into that stash!

Used this Week: 6 2/3 yards
Used year to Date: 27 yards
Added this Week: 1/4 yards
Added Year to Date: 2 1/4 yards
Net Used for 2014: 24 3/4 yards

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Keeping Busy

Trying to work through my stack of quilts to be done and catch up.  This quilt was fun and special to do as it was for a friend's grandson.  He is a sweet little boy and I am in love with his spirit!  For some reason he reminds me of my son when he was little.  They both wear glasses and that may be what triggered that comparison ... Can I tell you how impossible it was to keep glasses on a 3 year old, and how many times we had to enlist the help of his angels to help him find the glasses?  Haha ... The second day he had them he left them on the ground and stepped on them!
This is such a simple pattern, but more appealing because of that.  I can just imagine it on my little friend's bed.
I just did a more open meander.  A boy's quilt getting a lot of wear and tear needs a design that is sturdy.
I used Omni thread in top and bobbin in the color, Flax.  
Look at how cute her back is!  It took a little math to start the quilting far enough down so there was the same amount of fabric at the top and at the bottom, centering the back just so.

It was a delight to quilt this, imagining how special it is going to be to for a very wonderful boy!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Stash Report - Week 6

I decided to make my granddaughter a quilt for Valentine's day so I got to use quite a bit of my stash ... Yes!!

Used this Week: 6 yards
Used year to Date: 20 1/3 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 2 yards
Net Used for 2014: 18 1/3 yards

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Life and such

After a slow start, I have had a busy and productive week.  I have been having some personal challenges, and along with being sick and having to stop and slow down, I have been struggling.  I tell you this not for sympathy ... Here, on my blog, you will find the person I am in real life.  I think it is important to share joys and challenges ... It let's us all know that both sides of the coin are real and happen to everyone.

I just had to pick myself up every day and push to do one thing.  Before I knew it it was Friday and I had accomplished so much!  Monday I quilted a friend's quilt I have had for too long!
I was having some trouble getting my thread tension to cooperate.  I even placed a call to "my people."  He suggested maybe the thread was bad in that particular spot.  I had another cone in the same color thank goodness and wala! ... No trouble!  These are the times that having a machine is not fun!  I just want it to work as it is supposed to and I don't want to have to be a repair person! Waa, waa!!  These are the things I never thought about before I bought my machine.  If you are really in the market for a longarm, do your research, test several, and find a longarmer and watch all that goes into loading a quilt, care of the machine, and the whole process.  It is NOT as easy or quick as I once thought!
I did something called dwirling where you echo the previous line, throwing in curves and designs to give interest.  It is really a fun free motion design.  I used Omni in top and bobbin in one of my favorite colors ... Bronco.
Sorry for the lighting in these pictures ... It was late afternoon and I couldn't get away from the glare.  It was a fun little quilt to work on and I truly thank my friend for being so patient.  I have the best quilting friends, and customers ... I really do!!  Let me say with all my complaining that I feel truly blessed to be able to have this business I run out of my home, making my own hours, and having such flexibility.  It is hard work for sure, but the joy I receive from working on other people's masterpieces is something I can't quite explain.

Speaking of joy ... Look who is 11 months old!

Is this not so sweet?  She had fallen asleep in her other grandpa's arms.  I just want to squish and kiss those adorable cheeks and squeeze her!  I hope I get to do that soon!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine banner - finished project #3

Well here is my third unfinished project of 2014 ... Woo Hoo!
The Valentine wool banner.  I wasn't really liking it ... But then once I put the backing on and blanket stitched around the edge, I do love it.
See the stitching on the scallops .. Wasn't sure about that either, but I like it.
And here it is in the frame!  It's propped up in my sewing studio ... I just have to figure out where I want to hang it.  I have a problem hanging pictures ... I don't know why, I'm afraid of putting it in the wrong spot, and then you have to move it, and then you have a hole in the wall!  Ha ha .... I have issues!

Stash Report - Week 5

I did add a little to my stash this week; a minky backing for a quilt I'm making.  Other than that ... Another week not being at the machine.  :-(. I have higher hopes for this week!

Used this Week: 0 yards
Used year to Date: 14 1/3 yards
Added this Week: 2 yards
Added Year to Date: 2 yards
Net Used for 2014: 12 1/3 yards

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Wool bunny - unfinished project #2

Well I am proud to present my second finish of the new year ... A wool bunny
Now remember this was the banner project from last year and I wasn't paying attention when I laid him out.  Please don't tell me he is sitting on the pennies, or that I should have moved them down ... I was not going to undo what I had sewn to correct it and make it perfect.  DESPITE what a couple of my friends said ... Harrumph!!  The drive this year in getting it done is reaching a finish ... It doesn't have to be the same finish you originally had in mind.  Done is better than laying in a box, collecting dust!  I wasn't sure how the banners were finished off, I could see on the pattern they were blanket stitched around the whole thing.  I simply sewed my back right sides together with my front, left a hole for turning the whole thing right side out, clipped my curves before turning, and then blanket stitched around the entire outside.  I really like the way it finished the piece.
Isn't he cute?  Once I figured out how to get the back off this frame I had laying around, I used my 505 basting spray and wrapped the frame back in batting, then sprayed again and wrapped it with a layer of fabric.  I just pinned the banner on, and I will change it out every month.  But I better get busy and get another one finished ... the valentine one is almost done.

Stash Report - Week 4

Oops ... Almost week 5 and I forgot to send this.  Nothing going on here but laying on the couch and some hand sewing.

Used this Week: 0 yards
Used year to Date: 14 1/3 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 0 yards
Net Used for 2014: 14 1/3 yards