Winter!

Time for knitting mittens, scarves and hats! I’ve been doing those portable projects during work and Christmas travels. I get most of my patterns at RAVELRY – a super resource.

I made grandbaby hats and mittens this year, as well as a scarf for myself. So fun!

The Four Remaining Boot Blocks

I admit… I was very tempted to throw them out. I thought there were three left, but when I cleaned my sewing room, I found another. *sigh*  I made two totes and two little wall quilts. The binding on the wall quilts is not stitched to the back yet, so it looks a little messy here.

The bags are lined and have interior pockets. The back of the pink one is pieced . The drawstring bag is made  with Michael Miller’s medium teal Fairy Frost fabric.

Now I have to take a break to do a current project – making a bench cushion for a client. But I’ll be back to my UFO Reduction soon!

UFO Reduction Report

This flannel baby quilt is made by sewing pairs of circles, having right sides together, cutting a slit in one side and turning them right side out. Find the inscribed square and sew along the straight edges. Open up the sides and stitch them down. Hey Presto. Instant quilt.  The pieces for this instant quilt have been sitting in my attic for about four years.  They were already turned right out; I just had to sew them together.

I think the reason I abandoned the project was that I started cutting slits on the solid side of the circle (WRONG!) instead of the printed side (RIGHT!), so I had to sew it in the pattern opposite of what I intended.  This is the one I finished four years ago. I like it much better:

I had three pieces left over, so I stacked them up, quilted a spiral through all six layers, and cut the edges so it would “rag up”.  A hotpad for my kitchen table!

Then I moved on to a Tumbling Blocks quilt. I cut the pieces many years ago, intending to piece it by hand while traveling or sitting on the bleachers at Little League baseball games.  (My sons are now 22,24 and 31.)  In the interest of finishing it in my lifetime, I just pieced it together by machine. Still a lot of work, with all those short little inset seams! I made it a nice wall quilt size, about 49″ square, because it wouldn’t have the same visual impact on a bed. I confess… I threw out the remaining 100 diamonds.

About six years ago, I made tote bags for all my female friends and relatives at Christmas time.  These two never got sewn up and have been sitting in a bag in the attic:

Then I moved on to those Cowgirl Boot blocks I mentioned earlier. I had 33 of them. They were kind of boring sitting up straight, so I set them cockeyed with spiky triangle borders.  I made a 20-block quilt, a 9-block quilt and am currently working on 4 totebags.

I’ll post pics of the Boot Bags when they are done.  I’ve also started on the pre-printed fabric project. I’m mixing up that fabric with some cute Noah’s Ark fabric to make a baby quilt. It’s pretty wild… I’m not sure the baby could actually sleep with it!

In the Attic

Our attic is about 110 degrees in the summer, and dusty and dry. The air is heavy with insulation particles. Why clean the attic now? Because just a month or two ago, it was freezing up there! This is Wisconsin. When June finally chases away the winter, we have a few glorious days before summer hits hard. And who wants to spend those rare glorious days in the attic?

As I mentioned earlier, I get distracted in the attic. (Was cleaning the attic a squirrel?) I burrow through the disorganized totes and shove things into whichever is convenient. What was a perfectly organized system became a polyglot mess. The label might say “rayons”, but the tote might contain calico, corduroy, tulle, and swimsuit material. It was like having every one of your kitchen cupboards spill over with pots, Tupperware, coffee cups, silverware and dishrags. I’m better with the quilting calicoes than the dressmaking fabrics, but those weren’t in good order because I had so many pieces down in my sewing room.

So yesterday, I cleaned it all up. There are still some heavy totes in my sewing room, awaiting some male muscle, but the task is finished. After throwing out 5 – 25 gallon totes of “stuff” that I had been hanging onto for many years, moving from one home to another over the past twenty years, I have neatly organized and labeled:

4 – 20 gallon totes of quilt batt (but two only hold one large natural wool batt each)
28 – 18 gallon totes of quiltmaking yardage, pieces, strips and projects
20 – 18 gallon totes of dressmaking and craft fabrics
4 – 18 gallon totes of denim for quilts, rugs, mending and various other projects
10 – 10 gallon totes of dressmaking and craft fabrics
4 – 3 gallon totes of dressmaking and craft fabrics
7 – 3 gallon totes of unfinished projects and notions/sewing supplies

Oh, and although I am a big fan of Rubbermaid, I also have at least 30 of those clear Sterilite containers and stackable drawers for trims, craft supplies, unfinished projects, thread, notions, patterns, tools, misc business stuff…

And then are are the binders and file cabinets for patterns, client information and other records. Bookcases filled with books and stacked fabrics and (unfinished) quilts. My really important records are stored in my computer, of course.

My husband put in the air conditioner and rebuilt my big beautiful cutting table. All of my fabric is under control. I have no more excuses… back to work on those unfinished projects. I found 33 of those Cowgirl Boot blocks, so I made one quilt with 20 blocks, one with 9 blocks and I am currently working on 4 totebags. After this, I have an odd sort of panel quilt project. A friend and I picked up a line of pre-printed quilt blocks at the International Quiltmarket in Kansas City in 2004 for her (now defunct) local quilt shop. It seemed like a good idea at the time. We made some samples, taught a couple classes and sold some. Most ended up on the clearance table. I’m sure I will think of something good to do with it.

Look – A Squirrel!

I love to start new projects. I’m easily inspired. I go up to attic to find a piece of blue fabric and end up bringing armfuls of things back down to my sewing room: fabric for a dress for one of my granddaughters, a backing for a tablerunner, some fabrics to make a new tablerunner, a piece of wool to use for an interlining for some potholders I want to make, a piece of lace that maybe be big enough for a curtain for the back door… Then, if I have time, I might actually start some of those things. Frequently, I cut out all the pieces and maybe even do some sewing. But then I need a piece of blue fabric and run up to the attic to get it.

So….

I have been cleaning out the attic, finishing some of the many projects I have started and abandoned. In the past six days, I have finished up a flannel baby quilt, two tote bags, and a tumbling blocks wall quilt. Just the top – I can’t afford to buy battings and backings for everything!

Now I am working on another kind of unfinished project. I’m making a Rodeo Princess quilt — cowgirl boots in pink, purple and other girly fabrics, sparkly whenever possible. It’s so cute! I had all the boot pieces cut and coordinated, so last night I cut out the background and heel fabrics and even got two boots finished. Those pieces were cut when I was making another one, and I decided that while I had the appropriate fabrics out and I was already cutting, I might as well cut out enough for a second quilt. Or maybe a couple more quilts. It was fun to select fabrics for that one, so I just kept going. I finished one of the quilts and – SURPRISE! – stuck the rest of the pieces in a box in the attic.

I’ll post some pictures later, but I am easily distracted by the computer, so I am staying up in my sewing room as much as possible. With my netbook and very close to the door to the attic, of course.

An Old-fashioned Quilting Bee

Do you have a bride-to-bee in your life? Create an heirloom quilt and a precious memory at the same time, with a GloryQuilts Women of the Family Bridal Bee.

jill

A new generation of women is reaching adulthood. These women value family history and relationships, and they want to establish extended family ties that will last beyond their own lifetime. Separated by busy lives and distance, many of us seldom have the opportunity to really visit with our mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, grandmothers, nieces, and old friends. A quilting bee provides this opportunity. Conversation is easy when the hands are busy. There will be time for leisurely reminiscence, catching up on current events, advice on marriage and motherhood and life in general, laughter and maybe a few tears. New brides and new babies are wonderful reasons for women to come together.

Red, White and Blue

I love red and white! My bedroom is all red and white/offwhite. I have a lovely little statuette of the Apple Girl from the painting by Carl Larsson. My bed is covered with red and white quilts, and I have red and white pillows and wall hangings. Last Christmas, all of my decorations and paper were red and white. I collect red and white coffee cups!

But since I have used up all of my red fabric (the quilts, pillows and wall hangings!), I have decided to do some blue and white this winter. I even painted a small bedroom in preparation for it. (We have an empty nest now, so there’s plenty of room for creativity!) The walls are blue, and the trim is white. I found a lovely, long-ish white lace valance at the thrift store and painted an old dresser. My sweet sister in law made me some pillowcases with handmade lace trim. It’s all quite feminine, which is fun after raising three sons!

In addition, my kitchen is (and has been, through many moves) blue and white with yellow highlights. One of my bathrooms is blue and white, too! It’s a classic combination. Antique blue and white quilts are valuable collectibles.

I will also be making some doll quilts for etsy and my website, so be watching for them!

Winter is looming

I’ve finally had to cave in and hang up the autumn wall quilts and dig out the appropriate table linens. Our favorite flannel sheets have already been on the bed for a couple of weeks.

It’s time to start new projects!

(as soon as I get the studio cleaned up to a functional level….)

Christmas gifts or self-indulgence

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Stash Reduction Part 2

My stash reduction project is coming along nicely. It has been timeconsuming and sometimes hard on my feet and back. The high cutting table that my dear husband made me last Christmas has made it less painful, though. I don’t think I could have done this on a standard table.

A few months ago, I had two boxes of 2″ strips and one box of 1 1/2″ strips. I know have more than that, but that’s okay. I really do use those strips. Recently, I used strips cut from fabrics that I purchased in Germany when my son was a baby. He is 23 years old now.

This is an example of my starting tote, except that it’s too empty to be representative. Virtually all of the totes were absolutely crammed full of fabric and I had to work hard to get the lids to stay on.  This was the second tote full of clear blues (the green/teal blues are in a separate tote.)

stash1

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, I cut the smaller or narrow pieces of fabric into 2″ or 1 1/2″ strips.  This is from the pink box, obviously – a real priority, since I couldn’t get that one shut even if I sat on it!

stash2

This is one of the totes for 2″ strips:

stash4

And this is what most of the totes looked like after I had purged them of the scrappy, stringy pieces:

stash3

After I cut strips from the blues, I was able to fit the bigger pieces into one tote, which was good, since I needed another tote for strips.

That was the calico.

And…
I have a good friend who sews flannel nightgowns and baby items. She sends me her scraps, and I have been shoving them into miscellaneous “flannel” boxes in the attic. A few weeks ago, I decided that I need new napkins for my diningroom table, so I sent one of my big, strong male people up to the attice to bring down all of the boxes labeled “flannel.” There were four of the 18 gallon Rubbermaid totes crammed full of flannel scraps.

I spent the next few days cutting them into usable squares and strips. I cut squares according to the size of the flannel, starting with 9 1/2″ (still thinking of napkins), all the way down to 4″ squares. Pieces too narrow for squares were cut into 3″, 2 1/2″ and 2″ strips. There were two main groups of squares: sweet baby/child prints and then some that were darker, plaids, wildlife prints, etc. I did not separate the strips – just tossed them into three smaller totes according to width.

With my squares already cut, I was filled with energetic enthusiasm for using them up. In the space of a few days, I made eight baby quilt tops, and I still have piles sitting on my cutting table:

flannel1

d9pblue

d9pteal

d9ppink

flannel4

flannel5

flannel3

flannel2

This burst of productivity coincided with a good sale at JoAnn Fabrics, so I picked up some more flannel to use for backing as well as a king sized quilt batting, which can be cut into pieces for the baby quilts. I haven’t actually got to that part yet, but I will. Really.

And I never got around to the napkins.

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