I knew it! Sew Sampler and Cotton Cuts always come right up on top of each other! Here's my unboxing video for Cotton Cuts--a lot shorter than yesterday's.
For more information about Cotton Cuts, visit www.cottoncuts.com.
I knew it! Sew Sampler and Cotton Cuts always come right up on top of each other! Here's my unboxing video for Cotton Cuts--a lot shorter than yesterday's.
For more information about Cotton Cuts, visit www.cottoncuts.com.
I got my March Sew Sampler box! Plus, I show what I almost got finished from my February Sew Sampler box.
To check out Fat Quarter Shop's Sew Sampler subscription boxes, click here. (They don't do affiliate links so this is just a straight click-through for your convenience!)
As I said when I did my Stitch Fix unboxing video, I knew I'd be getting a Natalie Attired box fairly soon. I actually got it on Monday. I recorded this video on Monday but I'm just getting it uploaded today. See below the video for the "end of the story" before you answer the question I ask in the video. :-)
So, the end of the story is...I didn't end up keeping anything. I wasn't in love with the blue gingham checked blouse. I liked it, but I didn't love it. So I decided that meant it should go back. I am being very picky these days.
Because I didn't keep anything this time, I went ahead and scheduled myself for another Natalie Attired at the beginning of April, and I'll be getting a Stitch Fix around then as well. I have several work events in April and May so I've asked for the types of things I'd be looking to wear at those events. We'll see how it goes!
If you're interested in Natalie Attired yourself, here's a link! (And yes, it's a referral link--thank you!)
I could’ve done some sewing on Sunday. I spent a couple of hours on my thesis after church and still had free time in the afternoon, but that hour clock change hit me like a ton of bricks. I was yawning all through church (which is tricky now that I’m singing in the choir!) and by the time I was done with my thesis I was definitely dragging. I tried to take a short nap to see if I could regroup, but it only marginally helped.
So, instead of sewing and risking messing something up, I just played with EQ8.
Mostly, I decided to work on my fabric libraries. Several years ago I had scanned a bunch of my stash fabrics to include in my EQ fabric library (I think it may have been when I first bought 7 but don’t recall). I wanted to move those into EQ8, plus the Stash collections I had purchased back then as well. I figured out how to do that and then downloaded some freebie fabric collection images from Moda and added those to libraries too.
Then I treated myself to a couple of EQ8 add-ons. I had Kimberly Einmo’s Jelly Roll Quilt Magic for EQ7, so that’s reinstalled for 8 now. Yesterday, I added her other two EQ programs, Jelly Roll Quilts & More and Clever Combo Quilts. And then I just played with pulling some of her designs into EQ and coloring them with fabrics from the libraries I’d built.
I’ve got some free evenings this week so once I’ve caught up on my sleep, I plan on actually powering up my sewing machine.
I recorded this on Friday but wasn't able to get it posted until today. That just means I can give a better "end of the story" report. Video first:
End of the story:
Deux Lux Maribel Double Zip Crossbody purse (black): Keeping.
Urban Expressions Brixton Adjustable Strap Work Tote (burgundy): Returned.
Olive and Oak Atherley Pocket Open Cardigan (green): Keeping. In fact, I wore this to the mall the evening I recorded this video, as well as (since that was only for a couple of hours), the entire next day. Love this cardigan--very comfy!
Soaked in Luxury Genovar Shoulder Embroidered Knit Tee (gray): Keeping. See comment about the cardigan above. Love this shirt and got a nice compliment on it at the mall!
Carol Tulip Sleeve Blouse (white with black polka dots): Returned. Just too snug in all the wrong places. I liked the style, though.
All in all, mostly a success! The work tote looks bigger in the image of it on the style card than it does in person, so it's possible that Kathryn, my stylist, thought it would absolutely be big enough for files. Hard to imagine a company would name something a "work tote" that isn't big enough to hold papers. The tulip sleeve blouse certainly looked like it would fit--it's just a cut thing (or a body thing, whichever). I'm pleased at how closely Kathryn has listened to what I like and my feedback on items!
Interested in trying out Stitch Fix for yourself? Click here for information. (That's my referral link so yes, you'd be giving me a nice gift by using it--thanks in advance)
I got month #2 of the Cotton Cuts Puzzle Mystery Quilt. Once again, I bumped it to the top of my projects for Sunday afternoon's sewing session in my fear of getting behind on the darn thing. It took me all of an hour to finish the four blocks. I probably could've gone faster but I was starching and pressing everything as I went to try to avoid a case of the stretchies.
Still, I love a quilt I can get done in only an hour a month!
Still loving the Portofino colorway. Can't wait to see how this thing will look once everything's together!
I'm still plugging away at the table runner project from the February Sew Sampler project. It's cute and fun! I've got all the blocks made. I had more work to do on my thesis yesterday or I would probably have gotten the whole top together.
I don't know why, but I always think snowball blocks are cuter in their un-pressed form. Maybe they look like little doggie ears to me or something.
I also played around a little with the ruler included with the February Sew Sampler box, the Mini Simple Folded Corners ruler. Frankly, I forgot about it until after I already had the pieces all sewed together, but I did use it for trimming just to get used to the feel of the ruler. It'll take a little learning to figure out how to use it for realsies. I could see where it would come in handy, if I made a lot of a certain type of block. Right now, I don't, so it's lower on my list than some other specialty rulers I've had my eye on for awhile (ahem, Creative Grids Pineapple Trim Tool--I'd love to make a pineapple quilt).
Plus I've been using the Aurifil Sea Biscuit thread from Sew Sampler on this project. Love it, as I usually do!
This past weekend, Craftsy had an unlimited-streaming-for-free deal so I tried out a few classes I'd been thinking about. I've been avoiding doing their monthly subscription deal because I didn't think it would really work out financially in my favor--and because I still own so many classes I haven't gotten to.
But after doing the streaming-for-free thing, I realized the major benefit to it: I can hop, skip, and jump my way through classes! There are several classes I'd been looking at but not buying because I was thinking, "I'm really only interested in that one aspect of it, not the whole class." When I was watching streaming for free, I was able to jump into a class where I wanted, and then skip the rest that I already knew. It was really, really helpful! So...maybe? How many of you have gone for Craftsy Unlimited? Why or why not?
I'm getting a yen for doing another Log Cabin quilt--that's been my favorite block ever since my Mom first started quilting when I was a kid and I was beginning to identify different blocks by osmosis. Now, as a quilter myself, I love the versatility of it. I've done a small handful of log cabins and still would love to do more. I'm a huge fan of the traditional block, but I enjoyed Marti Michell's Better, Faster Log Cabin class on Craftsy, showing a few variants of the block (love the Greek Key). I also own her rulers and her class made me want to pull them out and give them another shot. I also watched portions of Fast and Flexible Log Cabin Quilts with Nancy Smith (I already own her strip quilt class). Put those together with a tutorial I saw on YouTube about QAYG log cabin blocks and I might be seeing my next project formulating. Great way to use stash fabrics I don't love--when you're only looking at a 1 1/2" strip of them (or so), they all look gorgeous!
For a change of pace, I watched bits and pieces of Startup Library: Hand Embroidery with Kat McTee. I would never pay full price for that class, and would be unlikely to buy it even on sale as I've already done a few different embroidery classes so I already know the stitches she shows. But I love the class sampler project, and you can always pick up new tips, so streaming would give me the chance to do that without paying for the whole class.
Basically, I'm undecided on the streaming thing. Let me know what you think!
Dang, but it feels good to be sewing again.
As a side note, Auggie had his "interview" and test run in a doggie day care Saturday afternoon. When I travel for work it's hard for my husband to get home to let the dogs out during the day and he always feels terrible about it. Princess Doggie is used to it and has a bladder of steel anyway. Auggie is still just a pup. Plus, by the time my husband gets home, Auggie is so starved for attention he's a bit insane in the evenings and won't leave Princess Doggie alone. So, for her sake more than anything, we're going to try taking Augs to doggie day care on days I'm gone. And I may just do it once a week even when I'm home, just to give him some doggie playmates.
He passed his interview with flying colors. And passed out when he got home.
(I'm out of town for work most of this week, but hopefully I'll be able to catch more sewing time next weekend!)
Added 3 yards from Cotton Cuts. Total added: approx. 3 yards
Net for the month: Down 11 1/2 yards (plus 2 strips!) Woo! Watch me go!
In the interest of simplicity and having to do less math, I decided not to keep track of total for the year but, rather, just go month by month. If I can keep it in the negative most months than I'll obviously be using up stash.
I took an hour or so for sewing yesterday (had lots of other stuff to get done too), and decided that I wanted to start a new, relatively fast project. The table runner pattern and charm packs I’d gotten from Sew Sampler seemed just the ticket, so I got things started!
It’s just a bunch of snowball blocks so it’s very easy, but I can’t say it’s particularly fast. Part of that is that their assumption, I think, is that I’d be a lot more random than I’m being. I took awhile to sort out which squares would be centers matched with which squares on the outside, which then means I need to do my cutting and sewing in a more organized fashion to make sure I keep those together. You can see in the pic I’ve used my little mini-clips to keep the pairs together. (I’d love to have more of the mini clips—those are great! I have the other two larger sizes already—every size has a perfect use!)
Once I cut the background square into 2” squares for the corners, I clipped those back to the foreground square again. I’m then sewing each set of four background squares to each foreground—chain piecing around the foreground rather than chain piecing a bunch of blocks all at once. I suspect it comes out about the same amount of time either way.
I got about 8 blocks done last night. I have 24 to go.
The colors are feeding my need for spring.
They both keep coming on the same day! This time I've divided up the videos, though, to spread out the goodness.
Here's a video of my unboxing of Fat Quarter Shop's Sew Sampler Box of February, 2018.
Want to subscribe yourself? Here's the link!
Hey! I've been out of town most of the week for work but came home to my February Cotton Cuts and Sew Sampler boxes--woohoo! I recorded unboxing videos for both of them (two separate videos) today, but am only posting one today and holding the second one off until tomorrow. No reason--just spreading things out a bit!
Today is the Cotton Cuts unboxing. Have a good time!
he retirement party was yesterday and the quilt has been gifted, so now I can post the pictures.
No, as I’ve said before, quilting is not like riding a bike. I made just about every rookie mistake I could have on this puppy but I persevered and, eventually, things started flowing again. Mostly, I got ‘er done!
This is the 9-Patch Pizzazz technique by Judy Sisneros. It’s a great way to use large scale fabrics, and it’s also a design that leaves a lot of room for your own sense of color and artistic layouts. This is the second one of these I made, and I may make more in the future. The part that takes the longest is deciding on your layout.
Before I sat down to quilt it, I pulled out a muslin practice quilt sandwich and ran myself through a FMQ design that I used to do, just to see if it was going to give me grief. Surprisingly, this was the part of quilting that was like riding a bike! I immediately got back into the rhythm and movement. I have to say my practice sandwich wasn’t half bad!
That made me feel a lot more confident about quilting the whole quilt.
I had some difficulties with batting. I didn’t have any big enough in batting bin (and not enough scraps of any one kind to be able to stitch pieces together for use), so I made a quick run to Joanns. This is where my being-out-of-the-game came into play—I couldn’t for the life of me remember which brand of cotton batting I used to like. I prefer cotton to poly as I like the drape and the “antique” look you get when you wash it. Batting was on sale so I chose Mountain Mist—and bought three bags of it so be prepared for another couple of quilts I want to finish. When I got home and started spray basting it to the backing, it gave me no end of grief. It was super thin—almost see-through in some places—and as I tried to smooth the wrinkles out of it, it just keep stretching, puckering, and getting thinner. I was afraid I was going to pull right through it.
After about a half hour of monkeying with it, I finally gave up, ripped it totally off the back, and decided I’d have to go back to Joanns again. This time I picked up a poly batt, then one Warm and Natural cotton batt to work with later. Looking at it more closely, I’m pretty sure that’s the one I used to use—it’s much sturdier than the Mountain Mist but still really drapable.
Anyway, the poly batt went down beautifully and I had the entire quilt basted in about 15 minutes this time. Go figure.
Once I had it under the needle, the quilting went really well. I’ll talk more about that on my next podcast episode. Meanwhile, here’s what you’re really waiting for...
(The pictures automatically transition every 4 seconds. You can use the forward and back buttons to go through it faster/slower. If you're viewing this in a blog reader, you may not see the pictures--just go through to the web version.)
This week, I'm thinking...
I'm trying out a new clothing subscription service!
Natalie Attired works much in the same way as StitchFix. You set up your account and fill out a style profile. You can choose how often you receive your boxes, and you can change it on the fly as needed. You determine your price range for each type of item. The $20 styling fee is discounted off the price if you purchase one or more items, and you receive an additional 20% discount off the total cost if you purchase all five items in a box.
When you get your box, you have three days to return them, and they provide a postage-paid envelope that you just stick right in your mailbox. Can't be easier. You give them feedback that they then take into account for the next box.
I was intrigued by the fact that the style profile was more extensive than StitchFix's, and I was able to put in my color analysis results. As I reference in the video, although I've been very happy with StitchFix, I've noted that in the year I've been getting Fixes, I haven't really ever gotten anything I could call "bright," and I love bright. StitchFix leans towards darks and toned colors rather than jewel tones or brights. I want a mix in my closet.
So--here's the unboxing and try-on, with my first impressions. Below the video I'll give some follow-up information. (To speed through, use the scrubber button at the bottom or watch it in YouTube to use the double-tap-30-second-forward trick.)
All in, I really liked my first time out of the gate with Natalie Attired. I'll definitely be getting more boxes. The communication in the box itself isn't quite as good as StitchFix's. Although it's a nice personal touch that it looks handwritten, it was a little hard to read and I didn't get as much information as I do from my StitchFix stylist. They also don't have the styling card that StitchFix includes. I rarely use the styling card when I'm putting together an outfit, but it's nice to get ideas. The price list is also a little more standard-invoicey; StitchFix's looks nicer and is a lot easier to read and interpret.
All of those are quibbles, however. More substantial differences are probably due to the fact that Natalie Attired is still the new kid on the block. I think they've only officially been launched about a year or two--they were a crowdfunding campaign prior to that. There are very few reviews on YouTube whereas StitchFix, Trunk Club, and Wantable are all over the place.
Natalie Attired doesn't carry shoes yet. Natalie Attired also doesn't seem to have handbags/purses/totes yet, although that's hard to tell as it's not something that would necessarily show up as a style profile question. I love the bags I've gotten from StitchFix. I've basically stopped buying my own bags and just ask my StitchFix stylist for what I need. Natalie Attired does have a question about jewelry on the style profile so I may get some in the future. That's something that's always a win for me from StitchFix.
I noticed that four out of the five items I got were all the same brand: Tribal. That's probably because I noted my boho chic preference. With StitchFix, although I see some brands frequently through my boxes, I don't know that I've ever had one box so completely immersed in a single brand. Again, it could just be that Natalie Attired is working up its sourcing, and I certainly liked all the pieces I got, so I'm not arguing!
I tried everything on for my husband this evening and he confirmed my thoughts. I’m keeping the red shell and the red floral tunic—everything else is getting sent back. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with the next box!
You may recall me mentioning awhile back (and on my podcast episode too, I believe) that I'd signed up for the mystery quilt available through Cotton Cuts. I had in my head that I wouldn't get it until the middle of February but it shipped on February 2nd and I got it Monday!
I didn't have anything on my schedule Monday evening and had already planned on spending some time sewing. I confess to some "Squirrel"ing, however, as I really should've been focused on the 9-Patch Pizzazz (aka 9PP). However, I was excited to break open the Cotton Cuts bright pink padded envelope, plus I really don't want to get behind in this thing, so I sat right down and got to it.
As you can see from the photo, the first month included a pattern page, the die-cut pieces, and a little package of doo-dads.
At first glance, I thought the doo-dads were embellishments for the quilt that I'd have to put away and keep track of. Then I realized...wait, they're snackies!
And very tasty, too, especially since I was doing all of this in the hour before dinner. Ahem. They're like little slices of fruity candy-canes. Yum.
Anyway, back to the sewing. This mystery quilt BOM is all pre-cut. All you have to do is follow the directions to put the blocks together. It's about as fool-proof as you can get, although I did still manage to have to do a little reverse sewing a couple of times. I'm rusty. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
They provide this very handy swatch sheet to use. Since there were something like 12 possible colorways, this allows us to all follow the instructions easily. They only send this swatch sheet once, though, so they warn you to make sure to keep track of it.
I chose the Portofino colorway, which makes me #teamportofino. Woo--I'm on a team! I love these colors even more in person than when I chose them on the website. This is going to be so bright and cheery.
And here are my finished blocks for month 1.
All in, it probably took me about an hour, including the reverse sewing. I had to unstitch one set of half-square triangles because the stacks of fabric pieces were obviously packaged "as-is" from when they were die-cut. In other words, each stack had one piece right-side up followed by the next piece wrong-side up, then right-side up, wrong-side up, etc. I noticed it on the print fabrics right away as they're really obvious which side is which. I had already sewn one of the background pieces in wrong-side up, though, before catching myself. It's a tone-on-tone and not as obvious...until you do it wrong. The other unstitching was just because I didn't like the way one of my long strips had gone on. I knew I could do better.
Boy, it felt good to get one "assignment" for the month done. And this one wasn't even on my list! Now it's back to the 9PP.
(Oops. I meant to schedule this for posting Monday morning but I accidentally clicked "save and publish" rather than "schedule." Sorry!)
My goals for last week were:
I’m at a solid 50% for this week, but I threw in an extra so I’m not sure what grade that would give me.
I got all the blocks done for the 9-Patch Pizazz (aka “low-volume quilt”), but it’s still on my design wall. I had hoped to get to it this weekend but I had some finishing touches to put on the thesis and every time I got close to being done I found another set of things I needed to double-check. Oi. It got submitted for the second format review on Sunday night, though, so now I don't have to think about it for a few days. The quilt has definitely moved into priority this week as the deadline for gifting it looms!
I did, however, finish cutting all that fabric for scraps. That felt good. My cutting table was completely clean for a few days although, admittedly, they were mostly days I was out of town.
I was gone Wednesday through late Friday night. Saturday we were hosting my family for a very late, semi-Christmas gathering. No gifts, just getting together and playing games. It was all very casual but there was still cleaning to be done and snackies to shop for and lay out. You’ll hear a little more detail on this in another blog post due to another subscription box review I want to share—a fun one!
I had a couple of hours on Saturday morning before we started all the prepping. I went into my sewing room/office intending to just lazily browse through my jelly roll books and start thinking about what quilt I might want to start when I get these February-marked quilts done. But then I got looking at my bookshelves and suddenly had a rush of energy to deal with them. I pulled every book off my shelf and made myself make some hard decisions: Sure, I like this book in theory, but how long has it been on my shelf? How many times have I passed it over in favor of other projects? How often do I find the information in it on the Internet instead of going through my books to find that one technique or that one helpful tip? Was I hanging onto it for purely sentimental reasons? (I still had a lot of books I’d taken from my Mom’s library after she passed.) The end result?
89 books are leaving me.
89 perfectly good books, with a lot of great inspiration, are going to be taken to my May guild retreat and put in the silent auction.
89 books will hopefully now provide great inspiration to others who may actually use what’s in there.
89 books are making the sacrifice to lighten my load, help me feel a lot less guilty about seeing things on my shelves that I don’t actually use.
Now—before you think that I now have a tiny little library, I'm including a picture of what my quilting bookshelves look like now. I should’ve taken a before picture. They were crammed full. Not only did I have difficulty seeing what I had, but trying to pull one book off without an avalanche was a trick!
Clearly, I still have a pretty decent library. But now it reflects things I’m actually doing, books I actually use as reference. For example, I still love the Rodale collection on my top shelf—I got them from my Mom and they’re hard to find nowadays so those will stay with me.
And the bottom shelf of binders? Those were all crammed into my other set of shelves which is mostly office-work related. It feels good to have them where they should be.
I still kept a lot of books I’ve owned for a long time and have never used, but they’re books I SHOULD be using. By cleaning out the stuff I don’t use, the ones I have left are much more prominent and easy to access.
Here’s something I learned from David Allen’s Getting Things Done: Books like these represent mental promises I’ve made to myself. “I love this book! I’m going to make quilts from this book!” When the book then sits on the shelf for years, it becomes a symbol of broken promises. It now brings with it guilt, regret, a sense of obligation...because of those promises I once made to myself, consciously or unconsciously. By being brutally honest with myself and saying, “Great book, but I will NEVER actually make those quilts,” I was able to release myself from a whole lot of mental baggage.
Here’s another something I learned from David Allen: I’d known for a few years I really needed to do a serious de-stashing of my library and my fabric. But I kept thinking, “I should figure out a way to sell all that.” There’s always the sense of feeling less guilty about getting rid of perfectly good stuff if we can get something back of our initial expenditure. The reality is, however, putting into an equation the amount of money I’d actually have made against the amount of time and energy it would take me to make that money...it truly would have ended up in the negative. And it was stopping me from actually taking care of the problem. You have to be realistic about what you can actually do. By figuring all that money spent was so long ago as to no longer really be relevant, I was able to just clean house. My earnings will now be in making other people happy with what they get from me for free. And that’s good enough for me.
I’m sharing all this with you in case you find any of it helpful in thinking through your own stuff!
Goals for this week:
I missed posting this on the 31st as I was out of town. A couple days late doesn't matter!
In the month of January, I:
Net: Still down 25.5 yards!
*If you recall, I'm not counting fabrics I had to buy for a project that will get used within a reasonable time period.
With thanks to Jaye of artquiltmaker fame for the phraseology...
I had planned to spend a lot of Saturday sewing but, while I was still caffeinating first thing in the morning, I got this text from BFF/BQF Katie.
Who am I to say no?
So (after a quick slog down of the rest of my coffee and getting myself prepared for public viewing, and some quick measurements of WIPs), off to the quilt shop—Mt. Pleasant Quilting Company in York, NY— I went. To move most of my UFOs forward, I did need to engage in the "hunting and gathering" phase for borders in a couple of cases, and backing in all cases.
I dropped an inordinate amount of money. But with the 25% off sale, I saved a lot from what I would’ have had to spend eventually anyway. I could piece backings from stash but I hate doing that. Once I get the top pieced, I want to move on as quickly as possible to the finished product. Plus, I generally do try to coordinate my back with my front in style and color. Frankly, backings are my least favorite part of the entire process, hands-down, so whatever I can do to expedite that part, I do.
Grand total, I got what I needed to complete five projects. So I rewarded myself with a little extra.
By the way, I’ve decided not to count fabric needed to complete current projects (backings, borders, etc.) in my stash-in-stash-out count. I always “shop my stash” first, but if I don’t find what I need, I have no choice but to purchase. If I didn’t buy it, I wouldn’t finish the project, and it’ll get used as quickly as possible. So I’m only counting the fabric I didn’t actually need in my stash-adding total. That blog post happens in a couple of days. But, on to the pretty pictures.
This will be the backing fabric for my current 9-Patch Pizazz project. It’s from the same line as the focus fabric I used on the front—in fact, it’s one of the two companion fabrics I used. I rarely stay matchy-matchy like that for my backing (I coordinate, but I don't always use fabrics from the same line) but since I had so many projects I was purchasing for, when I saw this I grabbed it to take one set of decision-making off the table. The line is Serenity by Daiwabo for Maywood Studio. I don’t recall for sure, but I think it’s 4 yards.
I’m not 100% sold on this one yet. I really struggled to find border fabrics I liked for what I’m calling my Shabby Chic Jelly Roll Race. I was hoping for a large floral that would fit the same mood but the quilt shop had very, very few large florals to choose from.
The fabric on the left (1 yard) was my final “settling for” possible border fabric. (Bear Essentials 3 by P&B Textiles.) It’s actually a lot closer to a darker tone of the rose colored strips than it looks in this picture. But I want to keep looking for a large floral while I'm finishing up other projects. I have another fabric from my stash I’d originally chosen as an inner border that, if I can find a good large floral outer border, I’d use instead of this one. It’s a closer colorway match. This new one is a good stash fabric one way or the other, though—so I’ll add it to my stash accumulation figure and then count it as used if it does actually get used.
The fabric at the bottom is what I bought as backing. (Riley Blake Designs Pattern C4546.) I’d looked at it originally as contender for the border and it may still end up being that, but it is the perfect backing. Sheesh: Who’d have thought this JRR would end up being my trouble-child?
For my other Autumn Jelly Roll Race quilt, I found a border fabric that I love (far right), although I’m not convinced I love it for this particular project but it definitely works. (Plush by Sandy Gervais for Moda). Since I don’t love this JRR to begin with, I decided that maybe having a border fabric I loved on its own would help. We’ll see.
The light inner border fabric (between the JRR and the new border fabric) is from my stash. I don’t think it comes across as bright in person as it does in this picture. The fabric at the bottom is backing fabric purchased Saturday (Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini for Red Rooster Fabrics DSN #26104). I hadn’t noticed until I was folding it to put it on my shelves that it’s actually got a bit of a gold metallic thing going on with it—subtle, but works well for an autumn/seasonal quilt. It’s nice when you discover a fabric you bought works even better than you thought it would!
I haven’t posted pics of these next two projects anywhere yet, that I remember. These are the two baby quilts I want to get done by March 1, given one baby will be turning one very soon, and the other will be about 5 months old by then. You'll get full shots when they're complete.
This first baby quilt was made using the Little Golden Book Poky Little Puppy fabric collection. I’d bought it with a pattern years ago before I had any next-gen-babies in my life. It’s good to finally be able to use it. I still have to add the borders on this but I’ve already got them cut and ready to go. I only needed backing.
The fabric on the left is what I found for that purpose Saturday (Jurassic Jamboree by Abi Hall for Moda Fabrics). This is a crib-quilt size, so I needed about 3 1/2 yards of fabric for backing because of the shape and size of the quilt and how I’ll have to cut the backing, etc. The footprints are actually dinosaurs, but who cares? The colors matched well and it’s just dang cute.
This baby quilt got pieced at a retreat I was at in September, maybe? Last year February? I don’t remember how long ago it was now. 2017 is a bit of a blur. In any case, again, I’d had the Goodnight Moon panel and coordinating fat quarters for a few years and loved being able to finally use them.
The blue fabric on the far right is stash fabric I’d already picked out to use for binding, but I had nothing appropriate for a backing so the project languished. Finally found the perfect backing at Mt. Pleasant (ABC Safari, Diane Eichler Design Studio by Studio E Fabrics). It’s not the same line, but the dots speak to the dots in one of the coordinating fabrics and the colors are perfect.
I usually try to stay away from really light fabrics for baby quilts but I decided that it was too perfect to pass up and keeping it clean was the parents’ problem!
So, those are the five projects I brought with me to the store to problem solve. Once I did that, I finally had to go back and look at a couple of bolts I’d walked by multiple times in my hunting and, every time I saw them, thought, “Holy cow, that’s just beautiful.” We all know, of course, that they’d have to come home with me.
First, have you gotten the impression that I’m a sucker for a large floral, especially an abstract one? The fabric on the far left called out to me every single time I walked by it. (Main floral and deep rose linear floral are from the line Blushing Peonies by Robin Pickens for Moda Fabrics. Green is Flower Mill by Corey Yoder for Moda Fabrics.)
It’s hard for you to get the full impression of that floral without seeing it in person. It is literally such a large repeat that I can’t get it all in the picture at the same time. I got three yards of it, assuming it will end up as a border.
The other two fabrics were right next to it and all three attracted me (1 yard each). They work together well. I could see myself using the green in the same project with the large floral (an inner border, perhaps), but I’m picturing the more linear deep rose fabric as a great border for an embroidery block in a small spring wallhanging. That's a definite maybe possible perhaps.
The owner of the shop pulled out the triangle mirror tool (do you have one? I do—handy!) to see how the large floral would look as a kaleidoscope and that’s a definite possibility. I did a Bethany Reynolds’ Stack and Whack years ago and I've always wanted to do another, but I’m not sure I want to chop up this particular floral like that. These three will likely live in my stash a little while as I ponder their best use. The green, by the way, works perfectly with the green fabric I got from my Cotton Cuts box last week—a nice happenstance!
What can I say? I love everything about this—the abstract design with a mix of geometric and organic shapes. The colors.
How could I possibly have left it in the store?
I was waffling how much to buy and one of the staff talked me into 3 yards as it will most definitely be a border fabric for something.
I could easily use this as color inspiration to pull a bunch of 2 1/2” strips for a project out of my jelly roll books that I’ve been looking through. Or it would make a great fabric for another 9-Patch Pizazz type of quilt. Or something. I don’t care. It's mine now. I can love it and pet it and gaze adoringly at it any time I want. (It's True Nature by Flora Rowley for Red Rooster Fabrics DSN 26705).
Oh, my. I haven’t fallen in love this hard with a fabric in a long time!
And because I was there, and everything was 25% off, I did pick up a couple of other things.
I follow Sharon Boggon's Pintangle blog and recently bought one of her sets of crazy quilt embroidery templates, so I picked up her book. I do plan on getting back to my crazy quilt embroidery soon. I’m still learning how to “see” what stitches to put where, and how to combine stitches for different designs, and so forth. This book is wonderful for all of that. And the templates will help me have more consistent stitching.
The other is a storage tool I’d had in my shopping cart at the Fat Quarter Shop for awhile and hadn’t clicked the “buy” button yet. It’s the It’s Sew Emma Stash n’ Store. Again, at 25% off, I decided to support my local shop. I have good tool storage at my sewing machine (you saw that in an earlier blog post) and on my cutting table (3M containers to the rescue), but this will be great on retreats. I have problems with things “wandering” about on my sewing station when I’m at retreats. It’s remarkably stable!
Finally, it’s a long story, but I ended up stopping at another quilt shop (Chestnut Bay) that I hadn’t planned on but had to drive by it multiple times and finally succumbed. I've been there a few times before. It's small, but in addition to fabric she carries a lot of wool embroidery supplies, which don't exist in other quilt shops in the area. She recently remodeled and I was curious, but I really didn't need to spend any more money. Curiosity got the best of me the fourth time I drove by the place and I stopped to see the new interior. I felt bad about the fact that I mentioned to the shop owner that I had gone to the sale at other shop and really didn't want to buy any more (I was overtired and therefore over-candid), so I did buy some stuff.
I don’t have solids in my stash—I’m not particularly interested in doing a full-solids quilt, although I never rule anything out. However, I do sometimes use solids alongside other stuff and, since I’ve got a boatload of jelly roll projects in my future, this jelly roll of American Made solids seemed like a decent idea. This shop has a ton of fabrics from the line. I don’t like the hand of Kona solids and, having heard Frances of Off-Kilter Quilt talk about American Made brand solids I was interested to try them out. They do have a much nicer hand. Getting a jelly roll was an easier decision at the moment than trying to figure out what solids I might actually want yardage of, and it'll give me a chance to work with the fabric to form a better opinion of it.
I also picked up a glue applique pen I’d been looking at, and a pack of micron pens as mine is just about dried out.
So there’s my shop-hop expedition. I’m now ready to go full-steam ahead on getting some UFOs off my shelf!
It took me about three or four hours all-in, but I set aside a lot of fabrics for donation, and re-stashed fabric that had been set aside for, and/or UFOs of, projects that will never get done. And yes, I tossed some stuff altogether. I don't feel guilty at all. I feel liberated.
I didn't think to take a "before" picture of my fabric shelves, so this isn't quite as impressive now, but boy does it look a lot better!
The fabric has always been sorted in piles like that, and by color, but the last couple of years took a toll on how neat it all looked. Also, in the process of re-stashing and donating, I looked at every single piece of fabric I own. There were a few that I thought, "Wow--that's really pretty! I'd forgotten about that one!" So I'm a little less bored with my stash at this point.
And what did I get rid of?
1. A grand total of 41 1/2 yards of fabric (not all shown in this picture). That's a big WOO!!!
2. A whole bunch of scraps--those will show up in future quilts by Charlotte Hawkes, just you wait! That's the bag you see leaning against the stack of fabric--I'll be delivering it to her next time I see her at our build meeting.
3. Some scraps of pieced borders and such--things where I ended up with a whole lot more than I needed, so I'm taking them to our next guild retreat. If someone thinks they can use them in a project, fantastic. I'm just done with them and have no reason to have them hanging around any more.
4. And this. This comes under the heading of "What was I thinking?" I bought this (4 yards) to make a jacket. Have I said enough times that I hate garment sewing? That is SO not happening.
It's a little on the "loud" side because I needed something fancier that had a certain mix of colors in it--it would've worked well in my work life. But it's not something I would probably wear otherwise. And have I said, I hate garment sewing?
Someone in my guild will probably love to make a table covering or something out of this. Fortunately I bought it at Joanns so it wasn't all that expensive.
My next organizational step is to tackle my books, but that's going to take awhile. Still, I have the deadline of my May guild retreat, which is when I'll be able to donate whatever I'm getting rid of (we have a silent auction), and I always work better to a deadline.
I had a lot of 1/3 yard, 1/4 yard, and large scrap pieces that I want to cut into 2 1/2" strips or other pre-cut sizes to make them faster to use in projects. I started the process last week and still have a stack of them left to do. I'd like to get that done sooner rather than later as they're taking up space on my cutting table--plus, I'm a firm believer in "putting the time in at the front end saves time at the back end." If I've got a little time here and there, I'd like to break fabrics down into easy-to-grab-and-use projects.
I "offed" several of them, as I'd said I might in the last list. Of those that remain, I only have a few that have solid deadlines attached. If you want to see the results of my choices on the UFO list I posted last week, go to my WIP page on this blog: https://quiltingfortherestofus.squarespace.com/wips/. I'd sort of forgotten about that page for a long time but I just updated it with the current information.
I decided to enter into my guild's two UFO-related challenges this year. One is just a straight-up UFO challenge, in which we list 10 that we want to complete. To enter, we create our lists and then put $5 into a kitty. Those who complete all 10 by December get their names in a drawing at the end of the year to win the kitty. Last year, no one won, so all that money went into this year's kitty. (I don't know how many participated last year--I only got to one guild meeting last year because of school.)
The other is a "Quilt Three" challenge, in which you list three UFOs that are at the quilting stage. You have to quilt them yourself--no sending them off to a quilter. (It's meant to encourage people who are nervous about the quilting step.) As long as you quilt them yourself, you can have the same three quilts on both UFO challenges. Woo! For the Quilt Three challenge, the entry fee is a fat quarter, and whoever finishes all three gets their name in a drawing to win all the fat quarters. Someone did win it last year so it's a fresh start for 2018.
So, my Quilt Three Challenge list is:
My UFO Challenge list is:
So, for those of you playing along at home, that means that last week I finished goals #1, 3, and 4.
I'm keeping my goals limited because I'm not sure how much more piecing I'll have to do on the low-volume quilt. There's some figuring-out-as-I-go involved. Stay posted for more on that one.
Here's just a quick update on something I posted a few weeks ago. I'd mentioned that we were trying Terra's Kitchen meal subscription service to see if it would help us eat healthier, more easily, on a more regular basis. This week was our third box (we skipped one week when we were out of town). As I unpackaged the ingredients for the meals, I was surprised and extremely disappointed at the number of packets I was sent. I've tried to reconcile myself to so many plastic containers for the pre-measured, pre-chopped ingredients, even though I always felt slightly guilty (it was all recyclable). But foil and plastic packets of condiments I'd find at a ball park? I expect better from a "healthy and environmentally friendly" meal service.
Terra's Kitchen expects that you have olive oil in your home. But apparently it doesn't expect that you have:
I get that maybe not everyone has honey, mustard, or balsamic vinegar on hand, although I have plenty of all of them. But butter? If I have olive oil, don't you think I'd also have butter? Seems an odd choice on their part. And that means I have several extra little pieces of greasy foil to deal with somehow.
Plus, instead of sending a bulk container of dried cranberries, I got four or five individual snack-sized boxes of Craisins. I buy my dried cranberries in bulk from the store so I don't have to have all the cardboard of the packets. Sure, it's recyclable, but really? Plus, for the price I'm paying for the subscription service, I wouldn't expect I'd get wholesale snack packages resold to me.
On the plus side:
On the negative side:
I cancelled Terra's Kitchen today and told them I was doing it because of all those stinkin' packets. I'm debating trying another service that is partnered with Weight Watchers so you get the Points info as you're choosing the meals, but they're not pre-chopped and such, so I'm not sure it would be any real help during the week. For now, we're back to our own cooking. Time to get the slow-cooker and Instant Pot out again!
This week, I'm thinking...