Saturday, March 30, 2013


The idea of making better sense of my sewing area has been on my mind for quite some time.  As of late, like the past year, I have been a little more free and loose in my purchasing.  I have been, in part, because I have no more daycare payments and for the time being I have no car payments.  While orthodontist payments have started, they pale in comparison to daycare and the cars are hanging in there.  But I want to curb my purchasing just because I can.

I’ve struggled with what frustrates me the most in my area.  I have each color of fabric in its own milk crate under the table; some colors share a milk crate.  Each color also has a ziploc in the crate for small pieces.  This works super-well.  So well, I’ve bought more milk crates!  So this I want to keep.

I have made a fair amount of scrappy quilts, both of the controlled and kitchen-sink varieties.  So the milk crates are getting low on inventory.  And recently, I’ve had to, gasp, buy backs.  So I think I need to start by refilling my milk crates with what I’ve got in the purple Rubbermaid bins in the closet. 

Meanwhile, as projects have finished, I’ve just shoved their scraps in ziploc bags.  I now have at least 20 of those.  These are making me nuts; they are everywhere. 

So step 1 of the grand reorganization is to pull out the milk crates and color bags and replenish.  The first part will be to go through the scrap bags and interfile all those colors back where they belong.  Anything that reads multi-color, belongs to a holiday, batik or Civil War will go somewhere else.  The second part will be to go through the bins and put larger pieces / yardage in the bottoms of the milk crates.  When the milk crates are returned to their home under the table, I will have quite the palette to work from, and that excites me.

I also can say that I will eventually go through the milk crates and the color bags and cut stuff up using my Baby Go.  Cut the value die, cut 2 inch squares, cut some drunkard’s path, cut some strips.  I only have 4 dies and that is more than enough for right now.

The other thing that came up recently is that Judy over at Patchwork Times is hosting a UFO parade in 2 weeks.  This is like a Bring Out Your Dead exercise to me, but when I go through the sewing area to reorganize, I might as well.  Many of those bins have fabric and UFOs in them.  There’s no hiding it. 

So I will go through this exercise as well.  This UFO list will be separate from the one I work from now.  I like having about 30 to choose from right now; that’s more than enough variety to keep me busy.  But the 100+ that will end up on this list both scares me and excites me.  I guess that is good that my UFOs still excite me.  So I will try and be positive. 

One thing I will not tackle is culling the books and magazines.  I will organize the shelf and dust it but not go through it.  That would be too much right now. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Quickly...and a finish

I did get a finish.  This is a table topper version of a Dorothy Young mystery that I did sometime after Spring 2003 and before Spring 2007, because I know I made the top while living in the house on Cleveland.  Dorothy offers these mystery quilts at Christmas, and I was dealing that Christmas with a small child and the demands of delivering her, in wonderful spirits at all times, to every relative that wanted to see her.  Not fair to her or me (or Ted, lest we forget him).  So after she went down that night, I took this out and made it.  I remember there was a James Bond movie marathon on TV as well to keep me company.  I thought it quite poignant to make an Easter quilt on Christmas.  The large one is halfway bound; it should be done this weekend.

The 6 little things are coasters made from the scraps.  All told, this used 2.60 yards and these of course are mine.

Nothing else really has happened.  I hope to get a lot done between now and Easter night.  Goals include quilting a blue quilt, finishing quilting a blue quilt, getting binding attached to both of those, finishing the big Easter quilt, finishing the Orca Bay top and getting caught up with homework.  Next week is Renee’s spring break and so there is a halt to all things GS.  I get a huge break.  I of course will continue to work on GS things, but I will not have to attend meetings, etc.  The idea of being home each night is lovely.  The 10 Commandments is on TV on the 30th and even though I have it on DVD, I will watch it on TV.  It is our tradition.  I hope to get to sit and handsew bindings through the whole thing!

It’s good to have goals.

Monday, March 18, 2013

QAYG Strings

Well, here it is.  This is the Quilt As You Go Strings quilt.  I said I had some insights.  Boy do I.

First of all, the block sizes are too large.  These are 12 inch blocks, meaning the center strings had to be over 18 inches long.  I don't have many strings in that length.  The next go around they will be smaller.  I am thinking to have some ready in 10, 8 and even 6 inch sizes.

Secondly, the QAYG method is wonderful.  I like the idea that when the block is stitched, it's done.  It uses up odd batting, weird backs and the like. That's a win.  Again, I will prep several in several sizes.

I also realize I am OK with piecing string blocks onto newsprint but never onto a fabric foundation.  Don't ask; I don't know either.

Thirdly, I am OK with the random colors of this, but I do favor string blocks in all one color.  Bonnie Hunter has so many patterns in string fling that work this way.

Lastly, I can tell I need to work on my joining process.  I do the type where there's a 1 inch strip on the back and a 1.5 inch strip folded over on the top.  Join two blocks together on the back and topstitch on the front.  This is the third quilt I have done it on.  I certainly have room for improvement.

This quilt used 7.40 yards of fabric and measured 71 inches square.  It has not yet revealed its owner to me.

What I have thought about as I discerned these revelations is that I need to sort my scraps.  I am devising a plan for that.  It will take away from sewing time but add to creative time.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

International Quilting Day Update

I did finish a new project – the Easy Street mini.  It used up .76 yards.  Yes, I now know that my 4 sitting turkeys should be orange with red wings and not the other way around.  But hey, it’s done and I like it.  Here’s a picture of it on my cube wall.

I am continuing to bind while watching Last Resort.  I am through 7 of the 13 episodes.  It is very good and I am sad it only had one season.  I don’t think it could have gone on for 7 seasons, but maybe 2. 

This weekend is very busy.  We went north today for a few things, so I bound another quilt in the car.  The strings quilt, which was homework, had actually progressed so far as to be ready to be hand sewn for its binding.  I am excited to be done with this one.  More insight into this project when I post the finish.  I need to snap a pic of it first.

In basketball news, my undergrad alma mater North Central College has advanced to the Elite Eight in D3 Hoops.  We are overjoyed!  D3 doesn't get a lot of press, but it's where athletes are academics too.  On the high school front, Jarabi Parker (who is considered the best player in high school ball in the nation) is currently leading his team to the 4A championship.  Parker plays for Simeon.  To give you an idea, Derrick Rose of the Bulls played for Simeon.  And tomorrow they announce the brackets.  (That I do not follow as closely.)

Why the focus on basketball?  Did you know that the Illinois High School Association trademarked the term March Madness long before the NCAA?  Now, they co-own it.  We love March Madness in central IL.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Goals for the week

This will get me through to Friday 03/15 and maybe Sunday.

Finish string blocks quilt to the point of attaching the binding
Feb color challenge blocks - purple
Mar color challenge blocks - orange
JT2 - 11-16
1 section Orca Bay and attach it to another completed section - top half done

We need to drive to Chicago on Saturday, so I hope to use the strings quilt as the car binding task.

Bonus items - 25-patch center for Beau's completed and 20 logs on the LCRR blocks.

March - 1/3 Through

I've had a good couple of quilting days.  Just sayin'.  Anyway here's how March looks as we are about 1/3 of the way in.  Lord knows weather-wise it has come in like a lion.

The binding is attached on both Easter items.  I have tivo'd all of Last Resort and so I am only binding when I watch that show.  I'm trying to watch one episode per day, so slowly I am getting through all the binding.  The show is very good, but alas it has been cancelled.  When it's done, I have Arrow up next in the tivo for binding purposes.

I have been 100% unable to quilt because I quilt at my kitchen table, and right now, my kitchen table is covered in the nearly 5,000 Legos that make up the London Tower Bridge set.  I am not making this up. We are eating eclectically, since we have no table per se.  Quilting will just have to wait.  So no progress on the Blue Boxy Stars, Easy Street or finishing the baby boy blue quilt.

I also have done a fair amount of homework.  I did everything that I wanted to with the Strings quilt.  The April homework is to join the 3 sections together and bind.  I am trying to do this while I have the quilt out.  I most likely will not bind it until April, but to have it in the binding pile will be nice.  OK, maybe that's not a lot of homework, but I am pleased.

I did spend a lot of time fiddling around with the parts for Beau's quilt.  Here's a pic of what the outer border will look like.  I will need to make some additional units, but that's OK.

Before you ask, over 12 feet.  I'm not sure how this will end up, but here's the border!  This was seriously the only place I could find with enough clear real estate to lay it out.

And I did my BOM blocks for the First Saturday project, so I am ready for April.  All done!

I did finish a knitting project, but I have to weave in the ends, block it, etc.  But I'm close.  Both crochet projects are moving along as well.

I have struggled with the idea of not starting anything new.  This has been a lot harder than I thought.  But it is proving to be a good exercise in discipline.

In other news, my college alma maters are both doing well at men's basketball.  This is a lot of fun to follow.