Monday, January 24, 2011

More Fabric

You guys, about 24 hours after I hit the Publish button on Sunday's post about how I was so excited to give away all my unsightly fabric, I made the decision to clean out the storage attic that houses mainly my stuff. In the process, I found 2 of those Rubbermaid bins full of more fabric from Mom.

At first, I inwardly groaned because I knew all this fabric would take up all the space I had just cleared out, but then I realized that these bins contain the good stuff that I claimed - lots of neutral backgrounds and a couple of complete fat quarter towers.

I have lots of ideas percolating on how to put my newfound fabric to use. But it would be a gross oversight if I failed to mention that the sight of all that haphazardly stacked fabric stresses me out a bit.

So what did I do to cope with this joyful stress? I started a new project, of course. Angie/Angela asked her Sew Bee It peeps to create a spiderweb block for January.

IMAG0046

I've been toying with the idea of a spiderweb quilt for awhile now, and this was the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet. After I finished Angie's block using this tutorial, I grabbed one of my Moda Scrapbags off the shelf, ripped into it, and started cutting the scraps into various sized strips. I quickly realized that these blocks take FOREVER to piece. Added to that, I'm not incredibly keen on the fabric - Butterfly Garden by Kansas Troubles. It's just a little too Ma Ingalls for my taste, but I didn't have to buy anything to start this project, so I'm persevering on. I've been trying to make one block's worth of webs each day. Here's my current stack. That stack is enough to make 4 blocks. That's right. 4. Not 24 or even 14 - 4. My ultimate goal is to make 20 or 25 blocks and add a couple of borders to make it a nice lap-sized quilt. Hopefully, I can stay focused enough to at least finish the webs by the end of the month.

Back to work.

Here's what we'll be eating to sustain my feverish spiderweb piecing...

I'm linking up to Menu Plan Monday on OrgJunkie! Check it out for more weekly menu plans of the omnivorous variety.

Finally: be sure to check out KarrieLyne's blogiversary giveaway! Hint: it's awesome!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Coming Clean + a Finish

First of all, I have a confession. About 2 hours before I posted yesterday's post about organization, I realized that I had lost my marriage certificate. That's right. My marriage certificate. That official legal document representing the happiest day of my life. It wasn't in any of the obvious places. I spent about 3 hours turning the house upside down, looking for it so I could finally change my name after almost 1.5 years of marital bliss #organizationfail

On a happy note, evidence of said marital bliss:

127
wedding

DSCN0763
honeymoon

DSCN1257
4th of July

Anyways, I'm a hypocrite. I may have my sewing stuff in order, but I'm not very organized when it comes to important life stuff. Come to think of it, I have no idea where my birth certificate is. Oi.

The good news:
1) The Husbatron found our marriage certificate in less than 30 minutes, in one of our storage attics, tucked away in a file folder with a few copies of his outdated resume. As of today, I've officially begun the name-change process.

2) I finished a quilt!!

simple abundance - my favorite block

I think this quilt is the last of what they call my "low-hanging fruit" in management-speak, meaning it's the last small quilt top that needed to be quilted. All my other flimsies are lap-sized or larger.

close-up of quilting

Sigh. Anyways, I made this as my "Schnibbler's Choice" quilt back in August for the Year of Schnibbles. The pattern: Plan C. I found it in my copy of this book. It went together fairly quickly, and I've luved every version of this quilt I've seen thus far - exhibits A, B, and C.

simple abundance plan c from the side
Vital stats:
Started: August 2010
Finished: January 2011
Machine-pieced, machine-quilted
Fabric collection: Simple Abundance by Bonnie & Camille

simple abundance plan c

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Decluttering my Sewing Room

So, like I mentioned in my best of post yesterday, it seems like everyone and their 3rd cousin twice removed is talking about decluttering. I blame Oprah. Sometime last week, she apparently invited Peter Walsh to speak on her show, and he did whatever it is that people do on Oprah. (summary here) Obviously, I don't watch the show.

Oprah Winfrey

Previously, the sewing room has been exempt from all other decluttering binges in my past. The fabric was sacred, and anyone who thought otherwise was immediately cut off from ever entering the sewing room. Even the ugly stuff was sacred, of which there is/was plenty. But then, the other night, when it was about my bedtime but I wasn't sleepy, I started thinking back to some of my previous posts from this month, particularly the one where I listed all my UFOs. Then, I started looking over the queue of quilt projects I've planned, and compared the planned projects and inspiration photos I've tagged in flickr to the fabric on my bookcases. Honestly, a large portion of my stash just doesn't inspire me and hasn't inspired me all that much over the past few months.

DSCN1474

(Uninspiring stash on the left bookcase. Oddly enough, this is the much more organized shelf.)

I would say about half of my fabric I received from Mom last year, when the parents moved. All of it is high-quality, local quilt shop kind of fabric. It's the Good Stuff. But about half of THAT just doesn't appeal to me any more. I don't even want to include it in any of the scrap quilts I've planned or use it as a backing for one of my UFOs. So, I've boxed up what I don't anticipate ever using, and I donated it to the DOQ Guild's silent auction the other night. Just like that, it was out of my life.

IMAG0043

There's still a fair amount of yardage on the shelf that doesn't really match up with some of the design ideas in my head or resemble any of the quilts I've made over the past couple of years, but I like most of it, so it gets a free pass for now.

I was extremely pleased to see that my decluttering efforts left me with quite a few extra Polar Notions bolts in both the fat quarter and yardage sizes. So I've been able to wrap a few more pieces and neatly display them on my "organized" bookshelf.

IMAG0042

(Sorry for the grainy "after" photo. I took it with my phone.)

My next plan of attack is to buy comic book boards, like this blog post suggests, and wrap my remaining fabric around them. That way, I can easily see what fabric I have and hopefully use some of it to knock out the UFOs/WIPs/whatever you'd like to call them.

From there, I feel like I need to just keep on sewing! I could literally spend days and days folding and re-folding my fabric and finding the ultimate storage solution for it, but I get upset when organization steals too much time and energy away from my actual hobby, sewing. Organizing my fabric to look pretty is nice and all, but at the end of the day, I'd much rather be sewing and finishing projects to make room on the shelves for new ones.

So, is there anything on your shelf you're willing to part with? Don't know what to do with it? I'd be remiss if I failed to mention Sarah. I've gotten to know her through my Bee Splendid flickr bee, and she coordinates a rockin' quilt ministry through her church. I can testify that the woman will take whatever you give her (although you might better check with her before you send her all your 1980s calico prints), and she and her quilting peeps will turn it into something beautiful. See exhibits A and B and C - a few abandoned WIPs I sent to her in the fall that are now lovely quilts.

Of course, you can always try and sell your wares. Etsy, eBay, and even Craigslist are all excellent options as well. I'm just not patient enough to wait for a buyer. When I decide I want something out of my house, I want it out of my house yesterday.

Is anyone else out there weeding your sewing supplies?

To recap, here's my shelves before:

DSCN1474

And after:

IMAG0042

Can anyone else see the difference? Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

Anyways, here's what we've been eating this week...


For more menus, be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

FINALLY, Camille is hosting a giveaway of her book + other goods. I can testify that the book is filled with lots of awesome photos! Be sure to read all about it!


Best of My World for awhile

It's been a good long time since I've posted one of these lists, so a few holiday links have worked their way in here. If the ideas strike your fancy, just file them away for next year.

I hope y'all are finding lots of inspiration in the New Year!!!

CRAFTINESS
  • Mop Shoes - I don't mop nearly as often as I should. Would this make it more fun?
  • Mosaic Star - This would be a great way to put a layer cake or honey bun (1.5" strips) to work.
  • DIY Rug - A less labor-intensive alternative to a dropcloth rug.
  • Argyle Pillow - I love argyle on my socks. How could I not love it on a pillow?
  • Sturdy Stylin' Firewood Carrier - that would look a lot better than a stack of old logs on the corner of the fireplace, right?
  • Subway Map Quilting - I really want to try out this quilting design. It's like stippling, but with edges.

FOOD

LIFE

HOLIDAYS

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Resolution #4 - Just One Charm Pack Continued

My next resolution is to keep on keepin' on with my Just One Charm Pack series. I have over a dozen ideas still left and a few more charm packs that need to be used [understatement].

Lots of work ahead of me

The Inverted 9-Patch is one of my favorite quilts I've ever made.

IMG_1862-e

And it's the only quilt that I've made more than once. It's still usually the first pattern I think of when I see charm packs, but I'm re-training my mind to consider the other Just One Charm Pack ideas I have percolating.

Fraternal Twins II-e

The Double Diamond 4-Patch might be a new favorite. I find myself toying with the idea of making a new one. This one went to my grandmother for Christmas, and the pattern just went together so easily. It wouldn't take long to whip up another one for myself :)

IMAG0038-e

I have another Just One Charm Pack pattern queued up as a blog post, but I haven't actually made it yet, so there are no accompanying pictures. (Can we say most boring blog post ever?) I will give you a hint, though. It will be made with this fabric.

IMG_1806-e

So to summarize, this resolution is pretty fuzzy compared to the others, but I'd like to keep on cranking out the Just One Charm Pack Tutorials, in hopes that someone else out there will find inspiration and guidance, when they find themselves stuck with Just One Charm Pack. Oh, and also because my stash of charm packs still looks like this:

Lots of work ahead of me-e

Back to work...

But before I go, here's what we're eating this week:

For more menu plans, be sure to check out this week's Menu Plan Monday post on OrgJunkie.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 Resolution #3 - Use it Up!

I think I've mentioned it before, but I'll go ahead and tell this mini-story again. At one of my first quilt guild meetings, I got to hear Bonnie Hunter talk about how she organizes her scraps. At that point, I had just started quilting, so I didn't really have much of a stash to speak of, nor did I really have to deal with many leftovers from backings, borders, and bindings that I trimmed away. Ever since the time I used my first page protector and notebook divider in the 3rd grade, however, I've been slightly obsessed with organization. So I took good notes at that meeting, went home and perused her site over the next few days, and started organizing my measly stash of scraps into cuts of fabric that I tend to use on a widespread basis.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2011. All of my scrap bins are now overflowing.

state of my scrap bins

Pictured from the other side, still pretty much full.

state of my scraps, from another angle

Here are my scrap bin categories:
  • Charm (5") squares - a stack for light and another stack for dark
  • Dark 2.5" strips
  • Light 2.5" strips
  • 1.5" strips, with dark on one side and the light strips on another. It might be time to separate those out into 2 bins.
  • Flying geese units - stacks of 2.5"x4.5" logs (separated into light and dark) and 2.5" squares (also separated into light and dark) - Again, it might be time to separate those units into 2 bins.
Over the past year or so, I've made a few efforts to use up some of my scraps. First there was Scrap Quilt I - a strip-pieced double hourglass quilt I made from the bin of dark 2.5" strips. (Note to self: come up with a catchier title for this quilt before you do your "finished" blog post about it.)

IMG_1948-e

Next, I pulled out a few dozen dark charm squares for KarrieLyne's charm pack quilt along.

blocks for KarrieLyne's quilt along

Then I pulled out 100 light colored charm squares, cut them in half, and left them to percolate on my fabric shelf.

project kinda started

After all that, my bins are still overflowing.

So this year, I'd like to get all the previously described quilts to the next phase in the process, along with 2 additional scrap quilt tops, using scraps from my bins.

Here are some ideas I'm tossing around...

From the 1.5" scrap bin:

From the 2.5" scrap bins:

From the charm square bin:
As always, I'm open to other options, and my plans are probably going to change approximately 347 times before I actually finish the tops.




Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 Resolution #2 - By the Book

I hope she doesn't mind, but I'm shamelessly copying one of Becky's 2011 resolutions. I would like to make better use of my quilt book collection. Being a librarian and natural-born book fiend, I have a pretty hefty quilt book collection. I can always justify the purchase of a quilt book, because ideally, I'll use it more than once, since it's more of a reference book than a novel or traditional monograph.

I usually peruse one or two of my own quilt books a week and think to myself how lovely some of the patterns are and hmm, wouldn't that pattern look nice in such and such fabric that I have. But the quilt patterns that are on my mind's forefront and that generally get made are usually based off of quilts I see online. It's not until I see a picture of a quilt online that's been made from a book I own that I realize I can make that quilt myself without having to sit down with my graph paper and calculator to figure it out.

It's time to put my quilt books to work. Here are the ones I have in mind right now.

from the shelf

Jelly Roll Quilts because this is the state of my jelly roll drawer.


more work to do

Spice of Life Quilts because I want to bite the bullet and make something out of my Mistletoe Manor fat quarter tower.

still can't cut into it.

Two of the patterns from this book that are calling my name are this one - Elizabeth (See here for Lisa's version in a Blackbird Designs collection and here for Nicole's version in Rouenneries by French General - swoon)

also to do?

and this one - Opening Day. (See Nicole's version here in Roman Holiday by 3 Sisters, Erica's version here in Patisserie by Fig Tree Quilts (swoon), Wendy's version in Aster Manor by 3 Sisters, and Claudia's version in Sonnet by April Cornell.)

to do?

Also, there's the Mix and Match book that I keep coming back to, looking for setting ideas for my TMQG bee blocks.

tmqg swap blocks

So, to clearly define my resolution, I'd like to complete at least 2 quilt tops this year, using 2 different quilt books from my collection. (Chosen books and fabric subject to change without notice.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Resolution #1 - Unfinished Business

Over the past few days, I've seen a whole mess of quilters resolving to finish all their UFOs (unfinished objects). I like the idea of that, but I just can't see myself actually finishing EVERYTHING that's currently unfinished. What can I say? I'm afraid of commitment. So in the spirit of realistic expectations, instead of resolving to completely finish all my UFOs in 2011, I'm going to resolve to bring all of them at least one step closer to completion. If I happen to get on a roll and actually finish something, woohoo for me! I've exceeded expectations. See below for the full list (in no particular order), describing where each project sits at this point.

Scrap Quilt I - Largely based on this tutorial over at Cluck Cluck Sew. At this point, it's been quilted and even has the binding sewn down on one side. I just need to hand-sew it down on the other side. I should be able to knock that out during a movie night with the Husbatron.

IMG_1948-e

Plan C in Simple Abundance - The top is complete (pattern from Schnibbles Times Two), and I even have the backing and binding fabric. I need to piece the batting together, baste the quilt, and quilt it.

DSCN1471

Charm Pack Quilt Along - I've been following KarrieLyne's quilt-along on my own time. All the blocks are finished. Next step: create a quilt top.

blocks for KarrieLyne's quilt along
Cotton Blossoms Pint-Sized Wild Thing - A modified version of Camille's Pint-Sized pattern of Wild Thing. Next step: create a quilt top.

pint-sized wild thing

Martinique blocks - So this project has been a minor disaster from the beginning, so I keep avoiding it. Next step: Get over it and create a quilt top. Once that part's done, maybe I can put all my arithmetic fails behind me and enjoy the quilting process eventually.

the perpetual disaster

Pumpkins Gone Wild - I used a pattern from Heather Mulder Peterson's Sizzlin' Sixties book for this quilt. I need to back it, baste it, and quilt it.

Pumpkins Gone Wild for Hexagons

Gobble Gobble Inverted 9-Patch - Before I posted the tutorial, I made 3 different versions of this quilt. This one was the first. I have the backing fabric. I need to piece it together, baste the quilt, and quilt it.

Gobble Gobble NIne Patch

Verna Inverted 9-Patch - Another version of the inverted 9-patch that needs a backing pieced, to be basted, then quilted.

Verna Nine Patch

Christmas Past Lone Star - In the thick of wedding planning in summer of 2009, Mom and I got together one weekend for our own mini-quilt along using this pattern from Fig Tree Quilts (also found in Jelly Roll Quilts). I'm not sure what we were thinking. After that weekend, neither one of us has touched our respective quilts. I'd like to get the quilt top put together sometime this year.

ignored lone star

Glace Schnibbles - The first pattern - Winter White - in the Year of Schnibbles. It needs to be backed, basted, and quilted.

Schnibbles Winter White

Wee Play Square in Square - I used 3 charm packs for this quilt, along with a navy blue solid. It needs to be backed, basted, and quilted. Notice a pattern here?

Wee Play Charm Square Quilt

Portugal Rail Fence - I made this one from a layer cake of Portugal by April Cornell. It needs to be backed, basted, and quilted.

Portugal Layer Cake Quilt

Figgy Pudding Picnic - Another Schnibbles pattern (modified from the original pattern). It needs to be backed, basted, and quilted.

Picnic Schnibbles

Triangle Modern Quilt Guild Bee Blocks - These are all the blocks I received from the TMQG swap over the summer. I'd like to piece them all together in a quilt top by the end of the year.

tmqg swap blocks

Figgy Pudding Picnic II - These are all the leftover blocks. Notice the baskets point out instead of inwards on these. I think I'm going to un-piece the large blocks and work with the 4 small basket blocks that come out of each larger block. Goal: make a top.

leftover picnic blocks

Pastel Half Square Triangles - I started mindlessly cutting and piecing this fabric a couple of years back, in hopes that "in my spare time," I'd find something to do with them. Let's face it. There is no longer such a thing as "spare time", when it comes to my craftiness. I'd like to turn them into a top of some flavor and variety by the end of the year.

forgotten in the archives

Peace on Earth Disappearing 9-Patch - I finally jumped on the d9p train over the summer, with a few Peace on Earth charm packs. This top needs to be backed, basted, and quilted.

Disappearing Nine-Patch

Siggy Swaps I and II - I participated in Rachel's Modern Siggy Swaps last year, which were lots of fun. I'd like to crank out a couple of quilt tops from the siggy blocks sometime this year.

siggy swap blocks

Mini-quilts - I put these two mini-quilts together from an old charm pack Mom gave me. I originally intended to donate them to the guild's silent auction at the show this year, but I just didn't finish them in time. They both lack binding. I'm sure I can find something to do with them, once they're finished.

Need some binding

Light Charm squares - I pulled 100 light charm squares from my scrap bin to make room for more charm squares. After cutting them all in half (into 2.5"x5" logs), I promptly put them back on the shelf. I'd like to turn them into at least a stack of blocks by the end of the year.

project kinda started

Fresh Squeezed Bars - I completely forgot I even had this fabric until I was digging around in one of my drawers for something else. It used to be a Fresh-Squeezed layer cake by Sandy Gervais, but at some point, I saw fit to cut it into a bunch of 2.5"x5" logs. I have no idea why. Hopefully, I can figure out something to do with it by the end of the year.

forgotten in the archives

Well, there you have it - all my unfinished dirty laundry. Now you see why I didn't resolve to completely finish everything. Here's to a year that inches ever so slowly towards closure.