Sunday, October 4, 2015


I have a mental list of things I should blog about.  I don't always remember all of them when I write.  Sometimes I skip things on purpose.  (Because who wants to read a novel of a  blog post?)  I try to remember them for later when I skip them.  I should probably start writing lists.  I'm getting old...

But today I have something that's not been on the list yet.  A problem I encountered just today.  Because I need more problems.  (Don't we all?)  So it trumps most of the current list.

I have a friend who is pregnant.  (This keeps happening...)  I want to make her a super cool quilt because she's super cool.  I found one I loved.  I bought fabric.  I washed it.  I ironed it.  And I waited until I finished all the Farm Girl blocks (that's on my mental list...).  And I did chores and family stuff and whatnot and FINALLY this afternoon I got to sew.

Oh, the pattern:

It's called "Cowboy's Star" and it's from the book Treasures from the 30's.  I bought this book about a year ago for another pattern, but this one screams baby boy.  And the friend is a horse-girl and the facebook birth announcement included cowboy boots, so can I go wrong?

You can see my fabric selection there in the corner.

The pattern requires templates.  Curved piecing.  Stuff that's new to me or not well-liked.  But she's that cool, so I'm gonna do it.

I followed the instructions.  I really did.  Then I got this...

I sewed a nice 1/4" seam.  I pinned (look at the one seam - how perfect those seams match).  I tried re-sewing, but with bias edges, I hesitate to rip out again.  

And I cannot for the life of me figure out HOW to fix this.

A wider seam allowance seemed to be the way to go at first, but nope.  

(Never mind that right now I can't seem to make iTunes play the songs I want to hear on the computer as I type either - apparently today is not my day for things going the way I want them to go?)

Anyone have any suggestions?

I can live with this if they ALL turn out this way, but since I made just the one (and didn't even finish it with the curved pieces to square up the block yet), I have no idea how consistent my error might be.  If it is in fact an error.

In other news, I celebrated a birthday last week and got quite a few awesome gifts...

From one aunt, who is also a quilter:

...oh the wheels are churning out ideas for all sorts of stuff...

From my sister-in-law (another quilter):

...and I WAS running low on white thread...

From my mom (yet another quilter):

...a book I nearly went and bought the morning on my surprise birthday party (that I had a very good idea was coming because my hubby is no good at keeping secrets and had I asked him, I would have known for sure...but he was acting funny and I thought I'd let him have his moment)...there's a pattern inside I really love - don't let the cover fool you!

And the last I'll share is from my uncle (not a quilter):

...I believe this box was more appreciated by my furry children than by me, but it was truly fun to get so many fun gifts in the mail over the past week.

Time to go find an apple muffin recipe.  We went to the local apple orchard yesterday with family and though it was too cold to pick any apples, we bought about a bushel of "utility" apples (great for baking - and already picked!) and now I'm excited to have apples to make fresh baked goodies.

Happy quilting,

Sunday, September 20, 2015

stash storage

In my last post, I mentioned that I'd changed my way of storing my stash.  Maybe I alluded to "managing" my stash, but it's really just a way to keep it more visible.

I have some nice built-in cupboards in my sewing room.  I wasn't going to put my sewing room in this bedroom when we moved here, but my mom was helping us move (along with 9 guys and 7 trucks - this included my brothers and my's good to have friends with pickups!) and made the suggestion this would be great storage.  The light in this room is also much better than the room I'd originally planned to use, so it all worked out well.  (Thanks, mom!)  Anyways, here's a shot of the cupboards closed - a rare occurrence...

I took this photo a few years ago and it pretty well illustrates what I had going on before behind those closed doors as far as my stash storage:

On the upper shelf (there are four total), there are fun fabrics.  Stuff I don't want to use for just anything.  Leftover backing fabrics (I tend to go wild with those).  Stuff that doesn't really fit in any other place.

On the lower of the two shelves shown here, there is a bin with fabrics sorted by color.  To the left of the bin is an overflowing shoebox with flannels.

As you can see, this is not very organized.  It was hard to find anything.

In the past two and a half years since this was taken, I have done some work to reduce the stash.  A lot of the flannels were used as quilt backs for the doll quilts I made last year.  I've made a few scrappier quilts, too, and tried to shop my stash first.

On the uppermost shelf (not seen here), it's a disaster still.  It was then, too.  Odds and ends of everything crafty that doesn't have another place.  But it's up above my eye level, so out of sight, out of mind!  The lower shelf (and other parts of the shelves where stash isn't shown/stored here) have more boxes with projects in them.  I try to keep my projects limited to a box so I can find everything, it stays together and it's pretty easy to just pick up and go if I want to sew somewhere else.

But with the sorting and using that went on for the Girl Scout project, I used up a lot and just generally got things organized.  And decided that box system for the color-sorted scraps was loony.  Nothing ever fit right and it was always a smooshed jumble that wasn't really sorted.

So this is where this part of the cupboard stands now...

A slightly different angle, but this is the same shelf that had the box-o-scraps on it.  The scraps are now stored in tidy-ish piles by color.  The shelf above it has black/grey/white/neutral and a few stacks of fun/novelty-type fabrics.  More organized than before.  The shelf below has a few bits from leftover projects that will become leader-ender doll/charity quilt projects as I work through them.  (Sorry it's not all pictured, but I think you get the idea.)

So far I haven't done much with my stash in this format, but I know it's going to be easier to work with.  Easier to shop when I start a new project (and am disciplined enough to do that first).  There are a number of projects in the works, so it will be a bit before the stash gets touched - and will be added to as those are finished - but it's a start and it makes me feel better when I see it.

I don't do any of those cut-strips-to-uniform-sizes of management.  I just fold up what I have and put it in the right color pile.  I'll cut it when I need it.  And this way I'm not limited by strip size later.  Sometimes that' key!

And no, I don't have a big stash.  The biggest piece of fabric I think that's in my entire stash is probably 3 yards and it was bought to be background for a project I never started.  I buy what I need for projects as I want to make them.  I am not much of a scrap quilter and I don't believe in buying fabrics just to have them.  Usually.  I do have a few pieces, but I try not to do that.  I never know what to do with them afterwards...

Today I found some time to sew.  Our electricity issues aren't fixed.  The electrician friend believes we need to rewire the whole house.  Super excited about that news.  But with it being cooler, the air conditioner can stay off, so my iron and sewing machine can function at the same time!

I sewed five of these blocks today, four last weekend.

There are only four more to go and then I'll have to start the less-fun portion of sewing them all together.  But when that's done, I can start something else, right?

Happy quilting,

Monday, September 7, 2015

quilting and stuff...

I know it's been a while.  A few of you have been asking where I am.  Life seems to enjoy throwing curveballs at me a lot lately.  It's taken a lot out of me to dodge them...and nurse the bruises where those I've missed have hit.  I'm trying to keep quilting, I am.  I'm trying to keep up with blog reading, I really am.  Some days it's easier than others.  But today I'm going to share with you what I've been working on for a while now.  To prove to you (and myself maybe a little) that I HAVE been quilting something.

About 5 months ago, I saw a super cute quilt on Pinterest.  Oh Pinterest...if only I could sew as fast as I can pin...  I followed the link and found there was a quilt-along for a new book to make this quilt online.  Starting about 2 weeks from my discovery.  I didn't jump in at first - I had to think a bit - but I decided to do it and ordered the book.  Then I had to wait the agonizing four days for it to arrive!  Once it was here, I dug through my stash, as this quilt is supposed to be a good stash-buster, and assembled a box of fabrics I thought played nicely together AND captured the look I was wanting.  (I should probably go take a photo of that box...)  I was ready to go when the quilt-along started!

Anyways, the deal with the quilt along is that you make two blocks from the book each week - on Farm Girl Fridays...well, except week one where you make just one.  I've sort-of been keeping up and am currently only about 5 blocks behind.  (I'd be making more right now, but one of the curveballs includes an electricity issue that doesn't allow us to run many things at a time in our house - the iron takes a LOT of juice, so I'm trying to let the hubby enjoy some air conditioning right now - we're working on it...slowly...)

So today I sewed block #32 (of 45) so I could have even sets of four to share in photos.  (Though Emma did offer to sit in for the last photo, she's not as easy to position as a piece of fabric...)

If you didn't click the link above to the blog where the quilt-along is happening, it's from Bee In My Bonnet with Lori Holt and the book is called Farm Girl Vintage.

Each block represents something farm-ish and the blocks are named accordingly.  A few are traditional blocks with farm names and a few are her own design.  The book is great because it has instructions for either 6" or 12" blocks and they're very detailed.  I decided to go with 6" blocks - what was I thinking?!

I guess this is a good stash-buster, but really the only fabric piece I've noticed a change in the size is the white I'm using for a background!  But I am having fun.  I've learned a few new ways how to make block parts, though I'm not sure some of her methods are the most frugal.  (But when the biggest piece I've cut so far is for the pumpkin (which was supposed to be 1" squares of different oranges - I don't have enough different oranges), I suppose I'm not wasting that much.)

This is also new to me to make a sampler quilt.  I usually stick with quilts that have one or two blocks making up the entire quilt and have never really been interested in making a sampler quilt.  They say tastes change, but maybe it was just that the right quilt had to come along?  (Because though I can still appreciate all the effort that goes into sampler quilts, I've yet to see another one that appeals to me as much as this one still does.)  Funny, though, that I've been quilting for 20+ years now and this is the first sampler quilt I've made!

There is an Instagram "group" (as much as you can have a group there, I guess) that are posting their blocks, too, so I've been sharing there as I get them done.  It's fun to see colors others choose and sometimes (like when I'm behind - like usual), I can get inspiration for a different color placement than the book has given.  Look for #farmgirlfridays over there if you want to see a good variety!

I'm enjoying the process, too.  Many of these fabrics are fat quarters I've hoarded for a while - being favorites I don't want to cut into.  Or that one fabric you rearranged a whole quilt plan around while standing in the middle of the store because you couldn't not have it in your quilt and so now that scrap is priceless!

This quilt is for me, so all those fabrics I've only wanted to pet until now are being used.  And I can keep it and pet the whole finished project one day.  Maybe soon?

In other quilty tidbits, my guild sent a box to Diana's Golden Needle - the Girl Scout Gold Award project project.  We had 251 blocks in our box.  I had counted and thought we had 247.  If I had known we were ONE block short of 6 entire quilts, I would have made one more that night before the box went out the following day.  And being the responsible adult I am, when filling out the FedEx shipping form, I included my phone number.  Little did I expect the phone to ring a few days later, but it was Diana's mom calling.  She was overwhelmed with what our box contained...not a surprise to me, but I'm fairly certain this will be the largest donation of blocks the project receives from one group!  I'm pretty proud of my guild and what we accomplished and I had fun making the blocks and seeing my stash reduced a little.

This photo was taken a week before the blocks were due.  It's not all of them, but you get the idea - it was a big box!

I haven't been working much on my Arcadia Avenue quilt.  I worked on a block at quilt retreat at the end of July and had some difficulty (due to a lack of thinking ahead on my own part) and it's been frustrating me ever since.  So time for a break on that.  It's not one to rush through anyways, what with it's 200+ pieces per block!

I also quilted a top that had been hanging around a bit to put on my bed at retreat, but I haven't gotten a photo of it yet.  I'll have to do that soon, but it was finished for retreat and looked great on my bed.  I hope to start a tradition for future retreats!

I've been doing leader-ender sewing with all sorts of stuff I found after a semi-cleaning of my sewing room.  The removal of fabrics for the Farm Girl quilt led me to a new method of storing my stash.  I think it will be more user-friendly next time I need to go looking for stuff.  Making little quilts for dolls out of what I've found feels good, even if it seems to take forever doing it leader-ender style!

And a coworker announced this week that she's having a boy in January, so you all know that means I'll be making a boy quilt here in the future!

So there you have it.  Alive and kicking, though not sewing as much as I have in the past.  I hope you're all having a good holiday weekend (for those of you who this weekend IS a holiday) and I'm going to try to be more regular about posting, but don't go holding your breath!

Happy quilting,

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

another block!

I'm trying to catch up on the Arcadia Avenue quilt-along, so last week I worked very hard on block #2.

I cut out all the pieces - only 13 per block this time - and placed them where they'd go in the block:

(I'm still loving how this book tells me what to cut!)

Then I started sewing... doesn't look like much yet.

But a few more pieces...

...and it's starting to look like something!

Then I got to the pointy-point corners and had rectangles to cover triangles.  Hmmm...


This first one came out right.

But wait...what if I flip that back over to the sewing position...

...and layer the next section on top... figure out placement of the rectangle section?

Totally worked!  So I only had to do a little fussing with 2 of 12 sections.  The other 10 were just making sure the papers lined up with each other!  Some days my inner genius comes out.  (Others, well...)

So finally I had all the sections made and could start joining.  Those coral strips are skinny (like 1/4"), so it was a little scary to get things to match and keep them there...

...lots of little clips again!

And there she is!  The points aren't all as good on this one, but I'm happy with them and know that when the papers come out, points might look a little better.  Maybe?

There is still the other project to talk about, but I'm going to put that off yet again in favor of another, newer, project.

My guild was contacted by a young lady in North Carolina who is working on her Girl Scout Gold Award project.  Her project is to make 16 twin-size quilts to give to the foster care system in her area to be given to kids who age out of the foster care system.  There's a lot more to it, but if you're interested in helping, you can read a lot more on the facebook page she's created for the project.

These have been sewn now, but they are the first two blocks for my donation for the project.  I've made another set of three that are in varying states of finish, as I will be teaching a mini-class to my guild next week and needed class samples.  So - we'll be participating!  I think this is such a great project and know this gal has gone through a LOT to get to the point of actually doing a project and I'm so excited to participate.

Off to (maybe) cut out parts for Arcadia Avenue block #3!

Happy quilting,