Friday, May 24, 2024

The Scrappiest Stars / Beauties Pageant 252

Over the past few weeks, Ive been addressing the mountain of scraps in my house. It has been a big time suck, but I see the light at the end of the fabric-y tunnel.

Part of this process has involved putting some scraps to use right away, and Ive cut maybe a half-dozen projects. Has doing so complicated my efforts? Yes, it most certainly has. But if Im going to be touching almost every piece of fabric I own in an attempt to organize it, I might as well pull fabric for some projects.

The scrappiest of those projects is Quilty Stars, a pattern by Emily Dennis and the first of hers that Ive sewn. (Can that be right? Ive never made one of her patterns before?) Its a little outside of my comfort zone because its just so very scrappy. I think a more Michelle approach would have been to make two quilts, one with solid stars and a scrappy background and one with scrappy stars and a solid background, but its too late to change course now.

While organizing my scraps and sewing this project, I realized that my pattern library isnt as orderly as I had thought. I purchased the PDF of Quilty Stars only to find a printed copy in my stash, so this post has turned into an impromptu giveaway ...

If you would like this printed pattern to make your own scrap-tastic Quilty Stars, let me know in the comments. If more than one person is interested, Ill pick a name at the end of Sunday, May 26. Im happy to mail this pattern anywhere in the world. If you’re a no-reply blogger or comment anonymously, please include your email address in your comment or send it to me at frombolttobeauty (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
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Friday, May 17, 2024

Reining in My Stash and Scraps / Beauties Pageant 251

 

Years ago, I was at my parents house, and my mom, who also quilts, was looking for a particular cut of fabric. I remember following her around as she looked in drawers in various bedrooms. She pulled some storage bins out from under a bed or two. She consulted the stash residing in the guest room. Truly, that woman had squirreled away fabric all over the place!

I realized this past week: I have become my mother. The stash that once lived in three drawers in my guest room is now throughout my house.

There are so many problems with storing things here and there. Despite my best attempts at labeling the bins and bags I store fabric in, I dont know what I have, and its easy to think that I should go buy a particular print when a perfectly acceptable substitute resides somewhere in my home already.

So Im centralizing everything in some yet-to-be-purchased furniture in our finished basement. Eventually, once our house is free of teenage boys, Ill take over that space entirely. For now, one wall of it will serve as the home to my fabric. 

Compiling all my stash hasnt proved to be problematic. Organizing the scraps, however, is sucking the life force from me. 

Here are my best words of advice on that front:

1. Come up with a plan that works for you. 

I consider anything much less than a quarter yard as a scrap, and I press those pieces and organize them by color in a single drawer. Ill be moving the contents of that drawer to the basement during this reorg.

Weirdly shapes bits get cut into 2.5- or 2-inch squares, and solid scraps get chopped into 2.5-inch strips. Storing those scraps in neat piles (as opposed to chaotic jumbles in plastic bags, as I once did) makes my heart happy and means I’m more likely to actually use them.

2. Be smart about cutting. 

If you choose to cut down your scraps, it is always easier to prevent quilting-related injuries than it is to recover from them, so set up a cutting station at a comfortable height. I recently did some trimming at my dining room table, and I paid the price. NSAIDs, rest, and ice resolved the rotator cuff discomfort, but I wont be making that mistake again anytime soon. The kitchen island is, for me, a better place to cut.

I also make use of the strip dies with my Accuquilt Go. One pass through the machine can save my body multiple swipes with a rotary blade. Over time, that makes a difference.

3. Embrace maintenance.

It is so much easier to deal with a small pile of scraps when you’ve finished a project instead of dealing with a mountain later on, which is the predicament I am in now. I just hadnt had the time to organize consistently as I went about my projects over the past few years. So I’m doing a lot of cutting (over the course of days, to be kind to my body). The situation is not pretty, but the time investment will be worth it in the end.

Do you have any words of wisdom about stash storage or scrap management? Please share them with the rest of us in the comments!

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The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, May 10, 2024

The Return of Me and My WIPs / Beauties Pageant 250

Hello. Is anyone out there?

Its weird for me to take time off from blogging, to be creating behind the scenes without sharing with those of you whove been walking alongside me these past 10 years. Im very happy to be back and in the swing of things.

The truth of the matter is that I just submitted the manuscript for my first quilting book. It has proved to be both one of the most exciting and most anticlimactic events of my quilting life. On one hand, I wrote a book! Its going to be beautifully photographed and designed, and I cant wait to share it with you! That. Is. Exciting! On the other hand, it wont be released for another year. Many amazing publishing professionals will leave their mark on my work before its ready for public consumption (the book-production cycle is more complicated than you'd think). Still, twelve months is a long time to wait.

One of the challenges of writing a book is that you have to commit to making a certain number of projects upfront. Theres little room for much else, and I am eager to chase a few quilty squirrels.

In the few days since I turned everything in, I have been planning all the things in all aspects of my life.  On the quilting front, I am preparing some projects that bust through scraps and stash. These include:

  • Chamomile: I am going to sew this pattern by Allison Jensen (Woodberry Way) in fabrics from Fig Tree and from Bonnie and Camille. The instructions call for strip piecing, the thought of which makes me very happy.
  • Quilty Stars: The background of this design from Emily Dennis (Quilty Love) is going to make a huge dent in my low volumes. Now to decide on a color for my stars ...
  • Tall Tales Block: Kate Basti is once again organizing a summer sewalong for her super-popular Tall Tales Block. I know Ive signed up in the past and sewn zero blocks, but this year is my year, friends. Im pulling fabric, ordering some newsprint for foundation paper piecing, and getting started. If you want to join in, you can sign up for free at the Summer Book Club site.

And then theres the sweet miniquilt at the top of the post, made with a pattern by Kid Giddy. I was hoping to have her quilted and in the mail already, but did I mention I had a manuscript due this week? Ha! Im hoping this lovely mermaid will still be appreciated when it arrives a few days after Mothers Day. 

I cannot wait to hear what you’ve been up to! Please, upload what you have finishedanything from blocks to full quilts to other fabric-y projectssince I went radio silent back in late March!

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The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter