Friday, November 21, 2014

Oldies but Goodies

My stint as a knitter was illustrious but brief. I loved making scarves and baby hats and even more scarves. My arms, however, couldn’t keep up with all the repetitive motions. After more doctor appointments than I can now remember, I had to acquiesce: I wasn’t a knitter after all.

My friend Miss C has had the opposite experience. As an art-school graduate and graphic designer, this lady knows her way around a sewing machine. Her arms are on board but her heart isn’t: she’d rather knit and pearl than thread her vintage Singer any day.

Miss C and I, we make a good pair. She welcomes my knitting and graphic-design needs and knows where to go when she wants something sewn. So far in the bargain, I’ve received a fancy-pants header for my blog as well as a big box of fabric-y goodness. I will transform some of this, most notably the unidentified print with the Matryoshka dolls, into pillows for Miss C’s living room. But I have yet to determine the destinies of the rest of these older-but-still-beautiful fabrics.

When I first opened the package from Miss C, I spied various Marimekko designs. My favorite is a red fabric with 11” red dots on it. This swath is a generous 54” in width. The repeat is huge, and photographing it requires more ironing than I can be bothered with. You’ll have to wait until I use it in a project to see it. : )

Other highlights include a fat quarter of Heather Bailey’s Freshcut ...

... and this lovely unidentified green print.

The real gold in this booty? Denyse Schmidt.

There are three fat quarters of Katie Jump Rope, which I should have stockpiled by the bolt when it was released. I know I won’t cut into these anytime soon; I’ll visit them regularly in my stash cabinet, though. And there are 2 yards of Flea Market Fancy. I don’t know what to say about such a find—something so coveted and so large!—other than WOW.

Rediscovering out-of-production fabric designs is like spending time with old friends. Man, it makes me happy. I have my sources other than Miss C, both online and brick and mortar, for older bolts. I’ve shown great self-control on that front of late—passing up on bolts of Tula Pink, Anna Maria Horner, and Denyse Schmidt—as my friend Sarah at Smiles Too Loudly can attest to.

How about you? What oldies but goodies do you covet or have to buy when you encounter them?

Follow on Bloglovin

Sunday, November 16, 2014

X Marks the Spot

There are so many contests and sew-alongs in the quilty corner of the blogosphere. I often find it difficult in deciding what to participate in and what to let pass me by.

It’s hard to say no to Le Challenge, however. Each month, the creators of Le Challenge—Lucy of Charm About You and Nat of Made in Home—post a theme. Crafters then interpret that theme, sometimes in very different ways, and post a project in line with it the next month. Previous themes have included nature, charity, and small.

I joined the party back in September, when the theme was era, and made a Rubik’s cube Christmas ornament. In October, the theme was mix, and I made a Christmas tree of cross-stitch blocks. (The tutorial is available here.) And then the theme for November was revealed: X.

The beauty of that—for me!—was my October project fit the bill for November. So I made another Christmas tree of cross-stitch blocks. The first one will be gifted. This second one is for me, me, me!

I like working with the tiny 2½” cross-stitch blocks. My seams match up well, but my Xs are a bit off in places. I think that would bug me if the blocks were bigger. Somehow the dense patchwork of smaller squares seems more forgiving. I stitched in the ditch, as I did with my first tree. Admittedly, that part was a little annoying. I like stitching in the ditch, but the seams in this project are bulky, and it shows in my quilting lines.

I still have a stack of cross-stitch blocks in Christmas fabrics waiting to be made into something. With two quilts to wrap up before Christmas 2014, I think those X’s will have to wait until Christmas 2015.

With one submission for Le Challenge complete, I opted to make a second one that interpreted the theme completely differently. X can also represent the Roman numeral for 10, so I made 10 quilted tissue holders as teacher gifts for Christmas (my goal is to make 20!) ...

These are identical to the tissue cozies I made last month for myself and are based on this tutorial from Leland Ave Studios.

Lucy and Nat have unveiled December’s theme: ink. I have zero idea what I might do for that. If you have a suggestion, I’m all ears. Share it in the comments below, or post it to the Le Challenge blog!

Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Getting Smarter About Stashing

When I started sewing, I did a lot of bags and home-dec projects. (I still make a lot of bags and I am in denial about the home-dec projects I should be working on. It’s been seven window-treatment-less months in my family room now. Alas!)

Those projects were not conducive to establishing a stash because they often required at least a yard of a particular print. My selections at that time were haphazard. I bought what I liked and chose the amount to buy whimsically. I even invested in fat quarters, which were not particularly helpful for the projects I was making. I still find myself today using some of those fats that were purchased six, seven, eight years ago.

Now I’m a quilter and I’ve gotten smarter. Fats are appealing, but I try not to stash them; half-yards work better for me and my projects. And although my stash contains many designs purchased only because I like them, I try to focus on almost-solids. They have a longevity that the latest and greatest can’t always offer. (I’m convinced that in 10 years we’re going to look back at our owl-adorned quilts and sewing projects and think, “What the heck?!”) I’d argue that those sensible almost-solids can also transform a good quilt into a great one, offering a visual interest that even the best solid can’t.

I put my stashing instincts to the test at Sew Fresh Fabrics’ going-out-of-business sale.

First up: oranges, aquas, and teals. I have been obsessed with these colors lately. (Click here for a recent orange project, here for an aqua one, and here for a teal one.) From left to right, I scored selections from Comma by Zen Chic, Juggling Summer by Zen Chic, Acacia by Tula Pink, and Fox Field by Tula Pink. Actually, I like Tula’s scribbles so much that I got the hot-pink colorway, too.

My favorite is the fabric from Juggling Summer. Eep—I adore this and wish I had bought a full yard!

I also purchased Lizzy House’s butterflies in two different colorways, convinced that they’ll soon disappear from store shelves. Little did I know that Andover plans to release that design in a slew of new colorways next spring. Woo hoo! These two pretties will soon have some sisters.

How about you? What is your stashing strategy, or are you one of those disciplined quilters with a slim stash?

Linking up to ...

Follow on Bloglovin