At Plum Loco Ranch, Door County, WI.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just keep quilting, just keep quilting (stash report week 5)

Happy Sunday!

The sun is finally shining here and I think we're off to the park soon.  It rained so much this week. Is there anything more depressing than rain in the middle of winter?!

DS and I watched Finding Nemo and that "just keep swimming" tune that Dory sings has been in my head.  However, I changed it to "just keep quilting."  Our quilt show entry forms were turned in at Tuesday's guild meeting.  I am now committed to my three entries - must stay focussed!  One is sandwiched and stabilized with SID, one is quilted, and one is in progress - and giving me fits!!

see that big ol' stitch on the left?
there's a needle hole under it
Free motion quilting is not my forte', however, I keep trying.  I'm not a big stippler or meander-er.  Instead, I use stencils and mark, mark, mark.

I've got some firsts in this quilt that are probably great reasons why it should not be intended for our guild show:
(1) using a sheet as backing = tight weave => fmq skipped stitches
(2) the quilting design is placed over 2 blocks elements which means quilting over seams, endlessly => also a possible explanation for fmq skipped stitches
(3) thinking quite seriously about doing my grandma's method of turning the backing to the front for binding

after the unquilting

Numbers 1 and 2 are driving me crazy!  We'll see about #3.  I have had more stops and starts with skipped stitches and breaking thread.  I've re-threaded, re-bobbin'ed (is that word?), changed needles from a universal 90 to a top stitch 90 to a quilting 90, played with the tension over and over. That's why I now blame the seams and the sheet, thanks to a google search and some quilting forums!

Last night I spent about 2.5 hours unquilting one block.  First, I did not like the purple thread on the yellow fabric and will try the gold variegated thread already used in several blocks.  Secondly, the tension was tight on top when I switched to the purple thread.  Finally, the King Tut seemed to show every uneven curve - almost as bad as quilting with Isacord.  Thicker thread is much more forgiving.

Luckily, I have one block that has not been quilted and since I am trying to stay out of the shops, which do not have a great selection of quilting thread anyhow, I will try out some green 28 wt Aurifil that I won last month that happens to match.   (an aside:  there are tons of LA's on our area, maybe that's why the shops don't carry lots of thread)

Since "just keep quilting" is my motto, there isn't much to show atm.  Last night I got one neutral hexie done.  Beside it is a FQ that I won at our guild meeting in our UFO Challenge drawing.

Hhmm....there seems to be a purple theme this week, doesn't there?

To the numbers...
Used this week: 0
Used year to date: 2.15
Added this week: 0.25
Added year to date: 2.50
Net used for 2012: -0.35

Please click over to Patchwork Times and see other stash reports.

Have a great week!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

More organizing (and Stash Report week 4)

Top o' the morning!  

We aren't Irish, but isn't it a catchy, fun greeting?  How was your week?  Did you get a long weekend?  We started our MLK Day at the pediatric dentist, went to the gym, tried a hamburger joint, and made about three shopping stops.  My son called it our "family day."

I was under the weather most of this week, thanks to enjoying our unseasonable 70 degree weather on MLK Day.  And I am feeling better, much better, and have the urge to get some things done.

Let's work backwards through my week.  After going to Chuck E Cheese yesterday afternoon to use up about 80 tokens left over from DS's birthday party, I got to hang out in my sewing space while DS did some Daddy time watching the Power Rangers and trying out some moves.  (Ugh - of all the stuff my son watches, along with almost everything on the Cartoon Network, this is one of the silliest shows I've ever seen.)

this is what's in it this morning
In my organizing mode of action, I came across this Large Flat Rate Box of fabric - again.  I won it at a blog that is no longer active, which is too bad b/c it was a fun one from another farm girl.  This box arrived at least a year ago and I had every intention to take a few things out and send it along to someone else.  Some of the fabric was a little thin - and I knew that when I entered to win it.  Over the past year, I've used it here and there. 

In my niece's doll quilts.
The flannel above and then all the fabric in this small one.

There were some nice Civil War fabric pieces that went into my guild's BOM blocks throughout the year.

Friday evening and yesterday I pressed pieces and discovered for the first time that there were lots of FQs.  I love FQs for small projects and for use in FQ quilts. However they were not really in my style so I cut them into strips.  This is what lots of scrap quilters advise doing, especially with fabrics that you do not like -- "if it's still ugly, you haven't cut it small enough yet." (think I heard at that a LQS once upon a time)

These fabrics weren't ugly but they work together nicely.  There are at least 15 blue FQs and a few green and neutral ones.  The red pieces were all about 6-7 inches wide.  

There are lots of widths you might cut the strips and squares and I think this is what has delayed me from cutting in the past - indecision.  Since most of these, and my scraps, are smaller pieces, I decided to stick with 2.5", 2", and 1.5".  I had very little waste from my week of cutting. If nothing else, I can make 9 patches and 4 patches til my heart's content.  I'm thinking a postage stamp quilt variation would be a cool, and easily organized, scrap project.

Not feeling like sitting at the sewing machine with a headache, I was content to work on the hexies.  Some of this came from cutting the scraps b/c there were strips that lent themselves to cutting for hexies.  

As we start the next 6 month round of the Inchy Hexagon Swap, I wondered what I was going to do with the 1" hexies.  This week I saw a photo on a blog, the fact that I cannot recall which one tells us that I read too many blogs, that caught my eye.  It was simple - alternate flowers with neutral petals between the fun, scrappy flowers.  Now I need more neutrals!

Then, of course, I had to do another polka dot 3/4" hexie.

Back to organizing, I sat in my chair and watched Netflix while DS was at preschool with a brush in my hand.  

Yes, I went to Joann's last Sunday afternoon and got 2 more yards of polka fabric (and 8 yds of tying tape for drawstring bags) for covering those beer boxes.  

And I wanted to get them finished! Now all those projects that were cluttering up my armoir in various bags are contained in these cute little boxes.

Oh - almost forgot...Dee Dee at Dee Dee Quilts showed these cute little panels on her blog and offered to send them to anyone who wanted them. I asked for one.  It measures about 22"x23".

Why give them away?  You can see the ABC's but what you cannot see is that the picture labels are in Italian!  

One more thing....I bought another stackable organizer at Joann's for my perle cotton.  Isn't it cute?

Okay - two more things...must share this link with you about cleaning your sewing machine.  Don't use canned air!!!  My mom uses this vacuum attachment.

To the numbers...
Used this week: 1.00
Used year to date: 2.15
Added this week: 2.25
Added year to date: 2.25
Net used for 2012: -0.10

Please click over to Patchwork Times and see other stash reports.

Have a great week!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stash report week 3

It is the 3rd week of 2012 and I still have no fabric purchase to report!!!  

Usually I wait til the end of the post to say this, but I'm rather excited about it! 
(As DH jokingly says to me, "it's the little things.")  

However, this will be short-lived. In yesterday's organizing post I mentioned that I need some black polka dot fabric to cover 4 more beer boxes.  My mom asked, "Don't you have anything you can use out of all the estate sale fabric?" To which I replied, "But it's ugly.  I want my boxes to match." This conversation is typical of the ones we had while I was growing up!

Sew, today I will be at Joann's getting some Keepsake Calico black polka dot at 40% off.  As I recall, 1 yard did three small boxes and one large one.  Maybe I should get 2 yards at these prices.

I've been to Joann's once this week, in keeping with my organization theme.  I've decided that if I'm not buying fabric I should spruce up my little sewing corner with some useful organizational buys.

Here's the first one.  Quilty friend Karen has one of these stackable tray sets and it has a small foot print for something that can hold so much.  The latch on my old Kaboodle from the 1980's broke at a retreat - uh, hmm - that's been 2 years ago almost to the day.  I've been looking at tool boxes and tackle boxes and nothing really screamed "take me home, I'll carry your notions for you." 

There are smaller square stackables that might work well for my growing perle cotton/embroidery hobby.  I have bags that are great for current projects but it is so nice to have everything in one place, and visible.

The morning sun really highlights the quiltitng.
I have been doing a bit of quilting.  I had forgotten all about this DS9 table topper.  It is all stabilized with SID between the blocks and I had even drawn the pattern onto the blocks.  I truly do not remember why I stuck it on the closet shelf.  

I have no plans to put this in the guild quilt show, we'll see how it turns out - need to add some filler and do the sashing.  It really is my "warm up to FMQ" quilt, before I tackle the quilts that I really want to put in the show.  My stitches are awfully uneven to hang up and let people see up close.  

I have a finish!  Forgot all about this little wall hanging from the Sew Lux Fabrics QAL last spring.  It only finishes 16x21, used 24 charms, and it was quilted ages ago, just never got around to doing the binding.  I did something I haven't done in ages - used continuous binding, a single layer. It was much faster on this little guy and not nearly so bulky.

Here's a block I did last week.  It's from a BOM program that my LQS ran before I knew it existed.  At the summer clearance/garage sale a few years ago, there was a whole plastic tub of 1930s block kits for $.25 each.  I rummaged around and found about 10 blocks and then picked up 2 duplicates for a total of 12 blocks for $3.  

This is one of those projects that's always on my "to do" list and never gets done.  This year I just might get the blocks put together if I treat it like a BOM.  And this block has a duplicate - even easier!

To the numbers...

Used this week: 0.65
Used year to date: 1.15
Added this week: 0
Added year to date: 0
Net used for 2012: 1.15

Please click over to Patchwork Times and see other stash reports.

Have a great week!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A wee bit of organizing

Winter hit us Thursday but that didn't keep this on-a-budget-housewife from going to the grocery store for $10 off a $50 purchase - oh no!

Driving on the snow is an adventure, especially if one can stay off the interstates with their four lanes of traffic - uggh.  I take the the long way around so I might be one of only 2-3 cars on the road - then, it's fun. Actually, the hardest thing about Thursday was the cold blowing wind - bbrrr.

Friday it was still cold and DS was home all day.  We just stayed in.  It was one of those rare days where he was content to watch TV and glue felt and other little items onto paper while I looked at my sewing corner.

Remember these boxes?

I don't have any shelves so I knew I had to make some room for them.  I wanted to put some of my "ready-to-cut"projects in them.  You know, the ones where the fabric is all together with the pattern and you're waiting until you have the time to cut into it?

Yesterday revealed that there are more of these in my little sewing corner than I remembered. I used an old hard plastic sewing machine cover to turn the large shelf in the armoir (background of the photo above) into two shelves covered with plastic bags of projects.  Sorry, didn't think to get a before photo.

So I started taking stuff off the shelf and opening bags.

Here's some fabric and my written directions for a Bridle Path quilt.  It's a quilt block in my perpetual quilt calendar made up of 8 small 9 patches and HSTs that make a star pattern.  I'll have to get some pix for tomorrow.

Then, here's more fabric...

...and more fabric.

Luckily I leave myself notes and, after reading them and the receipts, realized that the top photo is borders and binding, the second is assorted fabric for the blocks, and the last photo is scraps that I picked up from the LQS sale scrap bags that might also work in the blocks.  This quilt has lots of options.  There's a lot of fabric there!

It didn't all fit into the large box, either, but I left myself note as to where I put the rest!

The boxes needed labels and the only fast thing I had were some business cards, a hole punch, and some red yarn.    Since the beer boxes have handles there's a bit of cardboard that turns up inside the box to protect your hands - perfect for looping the yarn around!

Here they are in place.  This is after I tried a few other options and before I put the other project bags on top of them again.  Oh - I should point out that one small box holds my mod podge supplies.  Appropriate, huh?

I'll be hitting Joann's tomorrow to get some more cheap fabric for the 4 beer boxes that I have saved, waiting to be upcycled.  I have requested of DH that he buy a couple more large boxes, too.  He said, "No problem!"

Check out some more WHOOP WHOOP! fun stuff at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Winter in the midwest (stash report week 2)

This can't be winter. Mother Nature is all confused!  We were out in T-shirts at the park in 70 degree weather just a few days ago.

You will all think I am crazy, but I like to feel the cold air on my face when I walk the dog - it's invigorating!  Shores up the constitution and all that.  LOL - I've been watching some British murder mysteries on Netflix, can you tell?

Guess what!  I got to the machine two days this week - Sunday afternoon and Friday night.  Here's what I did last Sunday as DS pulled out his new toys.
There's another little bag but it must be in his room and I'm not willing to risk waking a sleeping child at this time of the morning!

All the fabric is from my stash.  I just couldn't bring myself to use too much of that estate sale fabric for his bags - just too ugly. However, he liked the green.  The rest came out of the stash box. They are all slightly different sizes so I'll guess that the larger ones each averaged about a fat eighth while the two smaller ones together make up another fat eighth.

This is the reason I haven't gone through and cut up all my scraps Bonnie Hunter style.  I like to make little bags, pouches, etc.  "One of these days" I will cut up the ugly stuff first and leave the novelties as they are for a while longer.

That same day, I did .... -mending-. Uggh - that dreaded word.  "Well, you sew, can't you fix my jeans?"  Aye, aye, aye!  "I don't sew, I quilt!"
Then I fix them b/c it's so much cheaper than taking them to someone else to alter. I think I'm getting it down after about 5 years.  It's really not so hard.  It's just time at the machine that's not spent making something, something that's not on my long of projects that are in some state of "unfinishedness."
The most annoying part was running out of of the gold jeans thread after the first pair.  That means there's another pair waiting for me!

However, my mom does sew, not quilt.  For Christmas she made me this jacket using silk that my in-laws gave me last year.  My FIL brought it home to his mother after he'd been on Okinawa when he was in the Marines circa 1959.

Here's a close up.  The details range from reds to pinks.  The fabric had been sitting in someone's cedar chest for all those years. Nice to see it being used. Now, where will hubby take me so I can wear it?!

Have you made out your UFO list?  I have a notebook where I jot down lists of projects "to quilt," "tops to finish," "blocks to finish for tops," and then all those projects that are sitting with fabric and pattern together waiting "to be cut." I won't bore you with my list except to say that I have 7 projects to quilt and bind and about 10 to cut.

Friday night I got a great start on one of them:
I wanted to echo the circle of the Dresden pattern and found that large circles are quite easy with the walking foot and one of its guides.  One more lesson learned - woo hoo!

During the Christmas madness in our house, we had one day "off" and I put 3 of these hexies together after a long session at the gym.
Sometime since the New Year, two more joined them. I need to cut and baste more petals.  I also need to get hexies made and mailed for my January swap partner.

Here are the ones I did in December for the Inchy Hexagon Swap.
I assume they made their way to England around the holidays.

A great effort has been made on my part to stay out of quilt shops right now.  I have unsubscribed to many shop e-newsletters and deleted others without looking.  If I need to buy fabric fabric it will probably be neutrals or others needed to specifically finish a project.  My mantra is, "do you need that fabric to finish a project, do you need that fabric to finish a project, ..."

Used this week: 0.5
Used year to date: 0
Added this week: 0
Added year to date: 0
Net used for 2012: 0.5

Voila'!  I'm on the plus side!!  (it's the little things, isn't it?)

Please click over to Patchwork Times and see other stash reports.

Have a great week!!

Monday, January 2, 2012


What a great idea!  Rhonda at Quilter in the Gap is hosting a Finish-A-Long.  Each quarter we post UFO's we plan to finish and link up.  At the end of the quarter, we show what we finished.

Here are the 3 projects I hope to get quilted and bound for my guild's quilt show in March:

1. Dresden plate wall hanging from the Lily's Quilts QAL.

2. The Embroidery 101 lap quilt from the Clover & Violet QAL.

3. "Aunt Caroline's Rose Garden" made from my great aunt's embroidery blocks.

Check out other UFO's on this post.  Better yet, join in - there's still time!

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A new year, a clean stash report (week 1)

Happy New Year to you all!

Doing the weekly stash reports has been quite an eye opener for me.  Who knew FQs could add up so quickly?!  It has been very helpful to count just how much fabric comes in and goes out of my stash. 

In 2011, I won several giveaways in blogland that included fabric, approximately 16.25 yards.  They were lovely wins including a layer cake, lots of FQs, and even some half yard cuts.

And quilty friend Joyce donated some polka dots to my recently found hexie habit!  Even by cutting larger pieces into smaller pieces, I still came home with about 9 yards of lovely fabric.  

Then, Joyce generously brought another bag of lovelies to our retreat and I came home with another 3 to 4 yards, including a jelly roll!  

Then my mom gave me about 49 yards of fabric that she bought at an estate sale.  I started off really well just taking a few pieces or cuttings but ended up taking almost all of it last week!

While I didn't have separate categories for the "in" source - at least I can say that I didn't buy all of the almost 170 yards that came into my house in 2011! That's about 67 yards that I did not purchase.  That makes me feel better - lol - but I did purchase about 100 yards!  WOW!  I would never have dreamed that I could purchase 100 yards of fabric in one year.  I mean, I'm not a prolific quilter and I rarely spend more than $25 at the LQS but I did a bit of online buying of Civil War fabrics, which were new to me.  (Guess I should start DH's CW quilt, huh? Now that I have the fabric.)

So for 2012, I plan to buy less than 100 yards of fabric!  Counting the yards as it comes and goes really changes one's perspective!

That said, here's my purchase this week - 10 FQs.  However,  since it was purchased in 2011, I'm not counting it in this report, it's part of the 170 yards.

Counting the yards also helps me to look at what I have and try to fill deficiencies when I shop, so that when I start a project I do not have to go buy more fabric.  It is much easier to select fabrics at home on my work table than it is to do so it in the shops.  Fewer opinions and time to let the selections "stew" together and see the colors in different lights.  I love playing with the colors and scales.  It's amazing how I can put together a bundle of fabrics one morning and change them around the next morning and then again in the evening. 

Without further ado, here is my first stash report of 2012:

Used this week: 0
Used year to date: 0
Added this week: 0
Added year to date: 0
Net used for 2012: 0

Please click over to Patchwork Times and see other stash reports.

Have a wonderful New Year!!