Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Secret Stash-Busting Weapon

Before I was a quilter, I was a bag maker. One of my favorite bag patterns is super easy and practical to boot: It’s the Jane Market Bag (JMB), by Alicia Paulson.

I’ve made many of these bags—like, over 40. (A few have been blogged about here, here, and here.) The way I make the pattern, it requires half-yards of two different fabrics and a three-quarter-yard cut of a third. Since I most often buy half-yard cuts, the JMB is perfect for stash busting.

Ideally, I would have no need for a secret stash-busting weapon like the JMB. I would buy fabric for a particular project and then make that project. The net fabric gain would be negligible—just some scraps. The truth is, my stash grows in not-so-predictable ways. Can you relate to these predicaments?

I buy it and then my plans change.

I can’t buy for too many projects on the horizon. Sometimes I change my mind after already having purchased fabric. I had a lot of this fabulous mustard net design from Dear Stella, originally slated for another project, and it works well on the pockets here.

I buy it because it’s cute and on sale.

These bees from Creative Tuesday were less than five dollars a yard. I couldn’t find a spot for them in a quilt, but paired with some subtle dots from Jen Kingwell’s Behind the Scenes collection, they’re irresistible.

I buy because I might need it.

I thought I would need more pink for this quilt and figured it was easier to pick some up when I was at the fabric store instead of making a second trip. As it turns out, I didn’t need it, and then it didn’t really work with anything else from my stash. Into a bag it went!

I buy it because it may go out of production.

I love me some Amy Butler fabric and intend to embark on an AB quilt of epic proportions someday. That day is not today, though. I thought it best to give these beauties life as a bag instead of waiting for that quilt project to happen.

I buy it because it did go out of production.

Pop quiz: Who designed the pocket fabric below? Rashida Coleman-Hale, when she was designing for Timeless Treasures, well before her current gig with Cotton and Steel. I had to buy some when I came across it about a year ago. But then I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I made it into a bag.

I buy it and then it doesn’t play well with others.

I bought half-yard cuts of Rae Hoestra’s first fabric line, Lotus Pond. I love the fabric, but it didn’t work well with my stash—the greens and blues, in particular, weren’t what I usually sew with. (My greens and blues trend more teal and aqua of late.) It’s beautiful fabric, though, and this green selection makes a cute and spring-y JMB.

How about you? There are many ways to chip away at an unruly stash. Do you whip up some pillowcases, destash on Instagram, or something else? The rest of us are dying to know!

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Double-Sided Diamond Quilt

Read the Tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop

One of my goals for 2016 has been to finish a throw-size quilt every month. It’s almost halfway through the calendar year, and I’ve managed to meet this goal each month. Woo hoo!

I’ve been itching to show you May’s finish—my Double-Sided Diamond Quilt—but it’s been under wraps. Now that the corresponding tutorial has gone live on the Moda Bake Shop, I can reveal this beauty, with her 18” diamonds in Bonnie and Camille’s Little Ruby:

This quilt requires just one layer cake. I get a kick out of using precuts with the greatest efficiency—the fewer the scraps, the better! Since the quilt top doesn’t use the whole layer cake, I extended my design skills to the back:

I think dividing the fabric collection into two palettes—red/pink/gray/blue and red/pink/green—underscores the idea that this is two quilts in one.

Let me know if you give this pattern a try. It’s a great way to use up an orphan layer cake from your stash or an excuse to indulge in a new one.

If you’re a Bonnie and Camille fan, you may have noticed the Happy Go Lucky binding. A local quilt shop still has a bolt of it, as well as a bolt of the low-volume blue flower print on white (see 55063 22 in this PDF). I’m sure if you give the proprietor a call, she’ll hook you up. : )

Read the Tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The “Hardest” Quilt Block I’ve Ever Made—
Ba da bum!

I love the quilt blogging community. I have bunches of real-life quilty friends, but my connection to other quilters started here, online.

And nothing thrills me more than having a front-row seat to my fellow quilt bloggers’ achievements. During QuiltCon 2015, my quilty BFF, Kim (Leland Ave Studios), won first place in the Modern Traditional category. With the way I shared the news on- and offline, you would have thought I had won myself. More recently, Lara (BuzzinBumble) released her first book, Crafting Appliqué. I haven’t jumped on the applique bandwagon yet, but her novel technique may change that!

Similarly, when Terri (Childlike Fascination) showed me a sneak peek of her Mini Barn Quilts last summer, I knew she was on to something big, and man, was I excited for her. She designed 6 kits to begin with and plans on adding 10 more through the end of this year. Each of them contains wooden pieces to construct a miniature quilt. Add some favorite fabric scraps, a little Mod Podge, a bit of glue—and any crafter can be the proud owner of a miniature quilt suitable for display.

Terri sent me a kit last fall, as her creation was debuting. She claimed that her kits were easy to put together, but she didn’t tell me that picking the fabric would be difficult. As others finished up their mini quilts, I was plagued with indecision.

I finally—months and months later!—decided on a color palette. I re-created the mostly monochromatic backing from this quilt, in shades of teal.

I feel like a dolt for not jumping on this project sooner. I started my kit one night, allowing the Mod Podge to cure overnight. Less than 12 hours from when I began, I was taking pictures and writing up this post. A super-fast finish is just what I need every now and then, and this Mini Barn Quilt fit the bill.

After adhering my fabric selections to the hexies with Mod Podge,
I followed the guidelines on the wooden plaque to lay out the block.

The final product—the hardest quilt block I have ever made!

What is your go-to quick-turnaround project—the kind that gives you a breather in between quilts? The other readers and I want to know! Tell us about it in the comments!

The requisite disclaimer: I like Terri. I’m pretty sure she likes me, too, because she sent me this cool crafting set. The preceding opinion is all my own, based on my experience with her product. Nope, there are no affiliate links in this post (or any post, for that matter).

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