Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Patterns

My two newest patterns, Pocket Palooza and File Folder Holder are hot off the presses. Thanks for all the great feedback. Your comments led to the creation of the File Folder Holder pattern.

You can purchase a copy in the shop or, even better, make one in class with me this Saturday from 9:00am-1:00pm. The pattern is included in the class registration fee.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Organizing the stash

Yes, today is the day to start organizing the stash. I have been reading about various ways to organize and I finally decided to go for it. These baskets house less than half of my stash. It is already fairly well sorted by color, except for a few special categories that I keep separately (Kaffe Fassett, Nancy Halvorsen, Batiks, Christmas, and large multi-color prints).

The problem is that within a basket I can't see everything and I have no idea how much there is of any particular fabric.

Most of the articles I read had a lot of talk about how to fold and store yardage. My stash has very little yardage and a whole lot of scraps. My friend Fay turned me on to the Bonnie Hunter method of dealing with scraps and that's when I started seeing the possibility of a real solution. Bonnie encourages you to go ahead and cut your scraps into pre-determined sizes so that when you're ready to make a scrappy quilt, your fabric is already cut and ready for you to sew. At first I was really nervous about cutting up my already small pieces of fabric, but after looking at all the quilts Bonnie has made using her scrap system, I was hooked. Check out Bonnie Hunter's web site Quiltville. Here's one little stack from the blue bin. See what I mean about all different shapes and sizes.

Can you believe this is the same fabric? I love it already.

Everything has a home and I'll know just what I have. On the cutting mat are 5" squares, 3 1/2" squares, 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" bricks, 2 1/2" squares, 2" x 3 1/2" bricks, 2" squares, 3 1/2" strips, 2 1/2" strips, and 2" strips. A strip is considered anything that is 12" or longer. In the first jar is scraps for the birds. It's the tiniest of pieces and threads from squaring up fabric or blocks. Put them outside in the spring and the birds will use them in their nest building. The birds around here will have the prettiest nests around. The second jar holds crumbs. These are tiny pieces that are too small to be cut into any standard piece, but still big enough to be sewn. The third jar holds strings, which are narrow strips and scraps used in string quilting. The last jar holds 1 1/2" squares.

I was very excited to be making my fabric stash more accessible and usable with very little waste. I was even cutting off usable selvages and putting them in a special bowl. And then I looked in the trash can.

Look at all that fabric. I am trying to be more conscientious about wasting things so this much fabric in the trash can just would not do. To rescue it, I am making a muslin pillow form. All of the scraps that are too small to sew will be thrown in the pillow form. When it is stuffed full, I'll make a scrappy pillow cover for it. Waste resolved.

Cutting up an entire stash of scraps is not a job for the faint of heart. What I've shown here represents about one tenth of my blue fabric stash. It will take a really long time to get this all done. However, I enjoyed what I've done so far. It is relaxing in the sense that as I cut a fabric, I think about what it was originally used for, who else I know that has some of the same fabric, and what else was going on when that fabric came into my stash.

As an added incentive, I asked my husband to pick out his favorite quilt on Bonnie Hunter's web site. We're trying to have a homemade Christmas this year, so a scrappy quilt just got added to my list. I guess I better get busy cutting some more scraps.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zipper ornaments

I've been seeing lots of zipper crafts and have been wanting to try some for myself, and possibly for the shop. Indygo Junction has some really cute zipper patterns and I love how they made ornaments out of them. They also have packages of zipper tape in assorted colors that is perfect for their projects. I ordered one of each to try and here are the partially completed results. I think they're cute.

They still need to have hangers attached. I like the look that is on the pattern but I'm not sure how secure they will be over time. The pattern suggests hot glue which is not something I'm fond of using. It would be okay for a temporary bond but I'm determined to figure out a way to securely sew them.

These will look good with some of the other ornament ideas that are in the works. These pattern and ribbon packs will be showing up at the shop soon.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Feels Good to Finish

Oh, how good it feels to mark a few things off the to do list.

Last week, I mentioned that I was participating in a blog sew along with Daisy Janie. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed making the project. There were lots of reasons I decided to participate:
  • It looked like fun (and it was!)
  • It allowed me to use up some really old supplies.
  • Not a planned reason, but it really helped me understand better how to write good instructions. Jan did a fabulous job in both words and pictures.
  • I might want to host my own sew along some time in the future, and what better way to learn than to participate.
So, from my point of view, it was a huge success. It is a really sturdy hip pouch because it is lined with canvas and has two interior pockets. I love the use of the overall buckle. This is definitely a project that will get used on a regular basis.

The other project I finished is the Nancy Halvorsen Jingle All the Way quilt top. This quilt top will be hung in the shop tomorrow morning. I'd love to get it quilted first, but that will have to wait a bit.

I really like the scrappy look and the pieced border. It is a bright, cheery quilt that will certainly freshen up any place it hangs.

There are still plenty of projects hanging out on my to do list. The next couple of priorities are to write a pattern and prep for a class I'll be teaching in a couple of weeks and to make some cute Christmas ornaments using zippers. I'm looking forward to sharing both with you in the not too distant future.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fun on the 4th

Even though it's been almost a week since our country celebrated its independence, I wanted to share all the fun we had that day. It all started with a good ol' southern parade, which included an entry by my dear friend John and his beautiful truck.

I really appreciated him advertising the shop while riding in the parade.

From the parade, we visited Lake Buckhorn where we enjoyed a traditional hamburger and hot dog cook out, watermelon, pound cake, and homemade ice cream. I was determined to fit in as much fun as I possibly could in the day so I...

paddleboated (pedalboated?),
and fished.

The little guys preferred to play in the water, and did so almost the entire day.

It really was a great day for all of us.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Progress and Projects

The Jingle All the Way quilt top is coming along. Here's the finished top without borders.

There are three borders on this quilt. I'm at a stand still until the fabric arrives in the shop. None of the three borders are typical (the middle one is pieced) so I think the finished top is going to look fabulous.

So while I'm waiting for fabric to arrive, I found a sew along that I'm going to participate in. I recently started following Daisy Janie's blog and she's doing a sew along on July 6, 7, and 8. She's making a cool hip pouch. If you'd like to play too, you can find the supply list here. I've never participated in a sew along and I thought it would be fun to try it.

The best part about this one is that it uses supplies that I already have on hand. Over the years, I have collected quite a few notions. I think about cleaning them out from time to time, but they all fall into that "you never know" category. This project is one of those "you never know" times.

Check out the packaging on the supplies. I am certain they were purchased in the 1970s. We'll see if they self destruct once the package is opened. It will be a fun sew along for the next few days.
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