Sew On

I had a super fun time at Cherri's open studio, Sew On. It was really nice to get to talk to some of the PMQG members outside of a meeting environment. Such sweet ladies, all of them!

Also Cherri's studio was dreamy and it was great to give her longarm a spin. Seems like a lot of the women there really enjoyed it too. I wonder how many of us went home and straight to a quilting project? ;^)

PS: Thanks for the cookies Cherri!


Fabric Friday

Remember when my friend Kristel sent me some lovely limey greens for my pending patio quilt? Well in the same package she also sent me some Heather Ross "Mendocino". This is incredibly generous of her! I tried to buy some of this fabric after the fact and it has become very coveted and rather over priced (IMHO). So WOW! I feel very special that she chose me to share a bit of this little treasure with. I also now feel a great deal of pressure to make the coolest thing evar with it! lol I'll have to find some worthy project to put it toward. If anyone has any pattern ideas please let me know, I could use the help... though I do have a vague notion bubbling in the back of my brain. The Mendocino amounts are pretty small so I'll have to be extra creative.


The other thing she sneakily snuck into her package was a covered note book. It's adorable!

I may put this little cutie to work when I pay my bills. I have a little note pad I keep track of spending in, and the one I'm currently using expires in August so this may step up and take it's place. I always need a little bit of HAPPY when paying bills and what better to fix that then pretty fabric that came from a friend?

Last week you may remember me talking about giving up fabric shopping. Laurie over at Dodging the Butterfly asked a couple of great questions in regards to that,
I am curious to know how 2009 went? Is this something you do every other year?
I started to answer her in the comments but realized that I was *rambling* and I thought for anyone else that might be interested I'd answer here.
I quit my day job and became a SAHM in mid 2008. Naturally we went from two paychecks to one. As we adjusted to a new income bracket lots of things that we took for granted were cut. Fancy cable? Out! Eating at restaurants? Out! Excessive fabric shopping? Out! This was probably the first time in my life I'd ever made a conscious effort to not buy fabric. The truth is, if we could have continued to afford it, I never would've given it up. Heh. But as it turns out that was not the case.

At first it took some getting used to. I'd still try to sneak in a FQ or two every trip to the fabric store (when buying other supplies like thread) but after a few times doing that I realized I was "robbing" our grocery fund to realistically have fabric just sit in a bin in my sewing room because I thought it was pretty. It was easier to give up then.

I do have my exception rules: it's okay to buy a FQ or two if we take a day trip out to the beach (which doesn't happen but a couple of times of year at most) or if some other special occasion presents itself, like going out to the Sister's Quilt Show.

It was good to embrace the heart of quilting again, which is use what you have. Yeah, it'd be nice to buy all contemporary fabrics in the same line that are color coordinated and aesthetically appealing but where's the challenge in that? ;^) One of my most favorite quilts I've made to date came out of this thrifty decision. Forced to use only what I had - and a lot of it didn't (and still doesn't) really "go together" I had to get creative in how to use the fabrics to make a cohesive aesthetic. Enter, my Colorworks Quilt.
charm quilt

I only strayed once or twice in 2009 and then after New Year in 2010 with my "resolution" over, I kinda allowed myself a little freedom. Apparently given an inch I'll take a yard mile! By the end of 2010 I was spending more then I should have and was having a hard time reeling back. While a little better off financially due to raises and payed off bills, etc. I was still straining our budget. (Wow - that makes it sounds like I was spending a lot more then I actually was - lol) I'd also bought enough fabric to make more quilts then I'll get around to in the next year so it was easy to say in 2011 I needed to go back to not buying fabric.

In case you haven't checked out my Nu's tab I've got enough to keep me busy for the next five years at least... not to mention my WIP's and UFO's... okay ten years. I really don't need any more fabric. I think it's time to just enjoy the quilting process.

Honestly though, I wonder if that's possible without a little bit of fabric shopping thrown in? lol Maybe I'll keep up my abstinence till I go back to work though and just try to take more vacations. ;^)


WIP Wednesdays

Portland Modern Quilt Guild
I went to the PMQG meeting Thursday night. Click the link to see what we're up to. Want proof I was there? Third picture down (on the PMQG blog), that's me in the black hat right behind the lady in green. What? You can't tell that's me? lol Sadly I didn't win anything this time around but it's still fun to be excited for those who do get the give-a-ways.
For the FQ swap I wound up with a cute little green one - my favorite color!

Hexagon Quilts
Also it was *awesome-possum* to see Tania finish the bulk of her squid hexagon quilt - so cool! We both started our hexagon quilts at the same time. She's super speedy. I loved getting a chance to look at all the fabrics close up. We had a nice little chat after the meeting about hexi's. (Yay for crazy english paper piecers!)
And I didn't know they took a picture of my hex in progress... ::grin:: Yeah, it's been stalled out a little bit but you can see I've finally finished the orange star. Next up with that project is to add in the diamonds around the blue star and attach the teal and orange stars so it's all one big piece. Then I can start working on the outer stars. What? You thought that was it? No, no. I am insane. Ha.

Kaleidoscope Quilt
Sunday was not a good quilting day. I was in the middle of working on my sister's quilt when...

...my kiddo comes into my sewing room with a red permanent marker. Yes. You can imagine what happened next. I nearly knocked her over in my rush to run from my sewing room to the laundry room, quilt in hand, to hit the effected area with a stain remover. The good news is, I was able to get most of it out.
You can hardly see where there's just a little bit of the red pen mark left.

The bad news, it was sitting there mostly stain free but also with a couple of spots of stain remover on it. The stain remover isn't supposed to dry on the fabric so I really needed to wash it out. However, because it's still all mostly pinned together, there's no way I could put it in a washing machine. I knew if I didn't treat it right away though it'd have a permanent mark. So after I sprayed it, I tried my best to rinse out just those spots. There was a big drippy chunk of it that then needed drying. I draped it over the shower curtain rod in the bathroom where it took all day and night to dry out enough to move back into the sewing room.
After all the rinsing and scrubbing I couldn't find any mark once it was dry. Whew~!

So in the meantime, instead of working on my sister's quilt I started the apron my daughter's been begging me for.
The Lola Apron

She picked out the pink fabric and I chose the coordinating fabrics to go with it. I'm not planning on any rick-rack (as shown in the pattern) since she said she didn't want any. I love how sophisticated this will all look together.
The pink will be the main body, the light grey patterned one will be at the top chest and for the pockets, the solid as the binding.

Here it is all done and sitting on the work table long after everyone else had fallen asleep.

She tried it on the next morning and it fits her perfectly!


Fabric Friday

I was thinking that my fabric Fridays were going to be pretty sparse this year considering I've decided to give up fabric shopping.* But? So far so good! I still have things to share with you. I'd like to say THANK YOU! to Kristel for donating a wee bit of lovely green fabric toward my Oregon Patio quilt. She is such a dear! I'd been hoping to get some of these patterns but this line sold out quickly around here. How sweet that she offered to send enough to make a few "tiles" each for the patio? They'll go perfectly. Yay!


She also sent me a wee bit more fabric (Oh my generous friend!) but I'll save that for next week. It'll be a nice thing to share with you next Friday. Plus the suspense might be fun, yes?

*I've decided to get back on the "no new fabrics" wagon this year. (I gave up fabric shopping in 2009 too) Meaning that I'm not allowed to make trips to the fabric store to buy random beautifully patterned fabrics just because I like them. Oh no. I am however, allowed to buy fabric that will complete a project. For example buying backing fabric. Really that's about it. Maybe binding fabric if I really have nothing in my stash. I'm also allowed notions as needed, needles, thread, etc.

My one other exception to this rule is vacation fabric. Heh. So if I'm on vacation (unlikely since we're a bit broke) and go into a fabric store I'm allowed a fat quarter or two. When in Sister's this summer for the quilt show (my one guaranteed vacation) I'll also let myself get some fabric... probably more then a FQ though, since it'll be all about the quilting that weekend. Yes I'm excited already. ^^ I'll try not to break the bank.


WIP Wednesdays

Slowly but surely working on my sister's quilt. There's so much quilting to do still. (Why do I feel like a broken record? Heh.)

Also I'm sure you all remember this lovely little top I pulled together? I'd asked Andi to share her modified pattern with me.

Well I have to laugh because it turns out I didn't need to after all. I'd done the BIG clean up of my sewing room which I've talked about a wee bit but what I haven't really mentioned was the residual activities of that.... I've gone though and sorted all my magazines and patterns, I've updated containers (from shoe boxes to nice little plastic pull out drawers) inside my cupboards, etc. Anyway, I found this pattern in one of my many piles of things. Look familiar?! Guess I really like it... but just not enough to remember I already had it. Ha!

The only other thing I've worked on the past week are the QAYG blocks which I posted a bit about. I was surprised that my Bernina could not even put a DENT in trying to sew the binding between blocks. It was just too much fabric for the poor little delicate dear. I did however manage to get them all sewn up. How might you ask? The mighty little Spartan is how. Even though this was gifted to me a few months ago I haven't really had the need or excuse to use it until now. I had to fiddle with it a bit and I don't think it'd been oiled in an age! It was much happier after a bit of a cleaning and a newly wound bobbin. It had no problem plowing through all those layers of fabric then.


Helping can be addictive

So I'm sure you've all heard by now about the disastrous flooding in Australia. Well Jan over at Sew Many Quilts - Too Little Time is organizing a donation point for QAYG (Quilt As You Go) blocks to make into quilts to give to the victims of the floods. To see all the quilts as she finishes them, click here. She organized over 2,300 of them for the fire victims a few years back. Impressive!

I thought I'd make a couple to send along. I've never done this technique before and - wow - it's addictive! And fun. I shouldn't be having fun - this is serious stuff! But I did. I made eight blocks and they're fast to whip up. I was also just bemoaning what I was going to do with a bunch of batting scraps I had laying around. Happily I didn't toss them in the great Clean Sweep of 2011. I'm glad I found such a good use for them.

The thing I really love about this kind of quilt is the true quiltiness of it. It really is all just super random scraps I have laying around - nothing matches, nothing is terribly "hip" but it is still beautiful and functional and a delight to look at. I even zig-zagged batting scraps together as well as used an old sheet for the backing.

These are four blocks I've got half packed up and ready to go to Jan in Australia.

I'd like to try the whole technique out for myself so I thought I'd also try attaching the sashing to some blocks too. I probably won't sent it to Australia due to prohibitive shipping costs but may donate it to a local charity or Linus. I guess I just started another quilt?! Oh shoot! lol

Four blocks with the sashing partially attached. Yay.


Fabric Friday

Sometimes it's not about the fabric you get but the fabric you let go of...


WIP Wednesdays

So besides the BIG CLEAN UP that I was doing last week - aaah so clean - I also went through all my quilting magazines that have been lying around for ages and figured out which ones I want to keep (some have patterns I'd like to make someday) and others, while fun, I'm now done with. That was a pretty fun "task". ;^)

I also went and did something I've not ever done before. I went through my *entire* fabric stash and purged. I've got two grocery bags full of fabric ready for the curb. I might go donate them to Scrap since there's one close by. At least there I know they'll get used properly. I never know what happens to stuff that goes to Goodwill or similar. I guess I could bring it to a guild meeting but I don't know that I want it sticking around the house that long.

Besides that I've mostly been working on my sister's quilt:

I finally picked out the last of the last of the dark stitches and have been able to move forward with actual quilting (in the cream colored thread). Yay progress! I think I might want to sneak in some writing somewhere and not tell her, to make it fun. I'll have to wait to see how long it takes her to notice it. Heehee.

In mid-fabric-purge I also went though the fabric I was getting rid of to see if any of it would work in my crazy-making postage stamp quilt. I know I've put this one down for such a long time but I'm still in love with the idea of making it so it was nice to go back and revisit it. I was able to match up a few more colors. Someday I might even be able to start assembling. I have a lot of cutting left as well.


All Swept Up!

TA-DA! It's all nice and tidy now. ^^ And H. and A. came over last week for some crafty goodness - Love those ladies!

(Anyone know where I can get a replacement ironing board cover for an extra wide ironing board? Mine is shot.)

Yes, there really was a table top under all that junk!

The side view of my "fancy" new bookcase.

And a shot back toward the door... (There's H. who showed up *literally* as I was finishing picking up...)


Fabric Friday

Still collecting for the Patio quilt... I think maybe another yard or less in FQ's or thirds of the green and I'll be done... then I've really got to cut myself off this year from fabric shopping. I spent way too much last year on fabric. I need to go back on my fabric diet! Of course there are exceptions, such as backing and batting and thread and such... can't run out of supplies but whoo-hee, I don't really need any new fabric.


Rug Mug

Well it was bound to happen sooner then later... my sweet little kiddo keeps breaking my coasters so I went and made a mug rug. Super fun and fast to pull together, especially since I used an extra block I had laying around.



Pickin' Up

How's everyone's cleaning going? (It's my semi-annual Sewing Room Clean Sweep) I've been making a little bit of progress... (Actually I'm almost done!) but I'll give you a little teaser right now.

So here was my little bit of fugly I was talking about earlier:
Um... apparently I wasn't talking about it here. Ooops. So here's the back story...
Happy to report that after two hours of cleaning (last night) I can actually see surfaces I haven’t seen in ages! I also had a great idea for how to make a section of my sewing room less um, ugly. Let that be a lesson to me though….

Once upon a time we had some extra funds (a rare thing in our house) and I really wanted to replace the fugly garage shelving that I’d been using with an adorable white sideboard. We had the money! I had the motivation! BUT… I let my dear sweet hubby talk me out of it because he thought it was friv… well, we wound up spending that extra cash on a lot of little piddly things until it was gone and I’m still left with the garage shelving. WHY oh WHY did I listen to him on that one. Ug.

Anyway::smiles serenely:: now I need to make lemonade. ;^) So for a lot less then a new piece of furniture I could replace the top shelf (currently raw pressboard) with a white melamine shelf and about three yards of fabric and some sticky velcro I could make a cover for the lower portion to hide the shelving and all the junk on it. It’s my goal to try to pick up the supplies for it today.

So I bought all the supplies yesterday and got to work. I had them cut the melamine down to size at the hardware store so I didn't have to deal with that at home. I just picked up the old top and replaced it with the new one. Easy-peasy. The skirt took a couple of hours just because I had to figure it out as I went but I wouldn't say it was hard. I would say I wish I'd bought about 1/4 of yard more in length... there wasn't any wiggle room. And I think a pleat would've been nice in the center front too. All in all though I think it came out nicely. I even cleaned up my bulletin board a little bit too.

A close-up of the fabric...


WIP Wednesdays

  • APRONS (2010)
    I've got two aprons in works. One holiday one that I'd started for my self but my sister really wants, so I'll finish it up and give it to her. And another that's in the process of being pieced together, quilt like, for myself as an everyday apron. While I most likely won't add batting, I do think I'll line and quilt it.
    Here is the little stack of fabric I'm making it with. Most of it I pulled from my Single Girl quilt stash.
  • STRING PLATES (2011)
    I bought a little bag of stringy scraps from a single line for another project that I actually only needed very little of the fabric for. Now I have this lovely little pile of fabric that needs a project. For once the fabric will dictate the pattern! (I usually decide on a pattern first then find the fabric to fit it.) Anyway I was rather inspired by Andie's quilt and I think it would be the perfect match of pattern and fabric. Isn't her quilt adorable? Now I just need someone to have a baby to give the quilt to! (Oh wait! I need to make it first! lol)
    Here is my pile of scrap fabric (Verna by Kate Spain for Moda)...
    And I still have lots of the espresso brown fabric laying around which does in fact seem to go with so much...Pictures of it however always seem to come out black looking. In fact this is more of the "real" color when seen with the naked eye.
    And this is pretty much how far I've gotten with the top assembly. I'm actually really enjoying this pattern and think it would be great fun to make another one to fit the new Queen sized bed for the guest room.

    Edited to add Sunday night (I add to these all week in an as-I-go-along fashion):
    I um. Finished the top tonight. Heehee.

    This pattern was seriously *perfect* for the fabric I had. If it had been any bigger I'd have run out. It wasn't a lot to begin with. I was also trying to not have spend any $ on new fabric or supplies. As mentioned I have a ton of espresso fabric I'm trying to use up and a large spool of matching thread. I have a lot of Warm 'n Natural cotton scrap batting left over and I'm trying to decide if I should zigzag it together and use it up (wouldn't that be nice?) except most of it is in 8" strips. Can anyone use that size batting? I feel like it might make my quilt lumpy. On the other hand I do have two largish chunks of poly batting (shudder) so it'd only be one zig-zag seam and I wouldn't have to buy any batting.

    Now my other thought is backing. I'd like a flannel back but all I have on hand is some citron green and white striped stuff someone gave me long ago. It'd be okay (but not ideal - other then "free") if I wasn't planning on "hiding" my quilting on the front by using dark espresso colored thread. If I do that and use matching bobbin then all my quilting would show up dramatically on the back, which I don't really want. I prefer to always have my quilting be "invisible" on the back - that is matching thread to fabric. If I use a bobbin that's light to match the back and a dark to match the front, I usually wind up getting "stars" in my stitching on the front... meaning you can see little bits of where the light colored bobbin thread overlocks the dark thread that runs on the top of the quilt. Ideally I should go look for a dark colored flannel for the back.

    Oh and the last thing? I'm now not allowing myself to work on this any more until I finish my sister's quilt.

What I really should be working on is my sister's kaleidoscope quilt. I didn't finish it in time for Christmas so now I've got till mid-month to finish it for her BD. I sort of took a break from it as shoving it through my machine knots up my shoulders. I find pushing that much fabric through my machine tiring after a while so I need to work on it intermittently.


Man am I dense.

As you all know kids tend to be rather destructive. When I was a whole lot younger (whole lot) I bought lovely marble coasters with cork "seats" to absorb the condensation of the glasses set upon them. Anywhoodle, the kiddlet has managed to break all but two now so I've been setting my drinks on the floor, holding them in my lap, etc. all while try to do stuff (like type on the computer, eat, etc.) without ruining the finishes on various pieces of furniture around my house. This, as you can well imagine, has lead to a whole lot of FAIL.

So I was thinking I'd buy some more from some where. Yet this seems so friv. Why does my budget not include funds for coasters? I was also thinking just yesterday that I have a whole lot of 8" wide (or so) scraps of batting down stairs and extra blocks for various quilts laying around doing nothing. Hum... *maybe* I should make some mug rugs. Yeah, I'm a regular rocket surgeon over here.

Now? It is a plan.