Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Solution to My Fabric-Stashing Ways

I love fabric. I love buying fabric. I love organizing my stash of fabric. I love talking about fabric, educating myself about fabric, and admiring my fabric.

Lizzy House’s Butterflies. Yeah, I love this fabric—especially at $20
for 11 fat quarters at Massdrop!

I own yard upon yard of fabric, but in my mind, my saving grace has been that I don’t have as much fabric as my mom. Man, does she have a problem. Her fabric is squirreled away in drawers in the guest room and my old room. It’s in boxes under her bed. (A stash that is stored in three separate rooms = a problem!)

Back in November, I was at my parents’ house for the first time since I’ve begun quilting. My mom was looking for some jelly rolls that she had bought and wanted to show me, so I went on the search with her. My mom discovered the jelly rolls. I discovered that I own more fabric than she does. Bah!

What had me disillusioned for so long was her method of organizing her fabric. As a more traditional quilter, she buys fabric that coordinates. She often has a pattern in mind when she makes a purchase, and different cuts that will be used for the same project live together in one of her storage spots. As a more modern quilter, I buy fabric because I like it, because I know it has potential in a future project of mine. And my fabric primarily lives in a dresser in my guest room—all the colors and different designs cohabitate.

Clearly, my mom isn’t the only one with a problem; I need a solution to curb my fabric-stashing tendencies. Then an opportunity presented itself, one for which I could buy fabric for other people.

I recently took on a board position with my guild. I research speakers and workshops, schedule some cool stuff for my fellow guild members, and handle the logistics for those events. I also get to buy fabric—I’m in the fabric-buying game without adding to my stash!

At each guild meeting we offer two raffles—for cuts of fabric, new book releases, notions, all sorts of good stuff. I have the pleasure of making the necessary purchases. Before you think blowing someone else’s money on fun stuff is a dream come true, I need to set you straight. I can’t buy everything and anything. We use the proceeds from these raffles to finance some of our activities. I need to find popular fabric—the bigger the cut, the better—at good prices. And have I? You be the judge ...

Three one-yard cuts of Jen Kingwell’s Gardenvale that were raffled off
earlier this month. If you want some for yourself, this line is still
on clearance for $5.38 per yard at the Fat Quarter Shop.

These cuts are designed by (from left to right) V and Co., Kate Spain, and
Amy Sinbaldi. I bought them all at 30 percent off. Woo hoo!

Do you have any purchasing advice for me? I keep tabs on some online retailers that have good deals, including the Fat Quarter Shop, Quilt Home, and Massdrop. I also use my coupons at my local quilt shop and Joann’s for guild purchases. If you have a source for sales that you’d be willing to share, my guild and I would be most grateful! : )

Amy Sinbaldi’s Paperie is my favorite recent purchase. I hope to win it
at the March meeting!

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sewing for My Guys

At my house, conversations about crafts often go like this ...

My 7-year-old son: “Mom, can I have some string?”

Me: “Sure. What are you going to do with it?”

My 7-year-old son: “I’m making nunchucks.”

Sigh. Nunchucks are a martial arts weapon. I’m pretty sure I didn’t know what they were when I was 7 (or 27, for that matter).

Given that exchange and many others like it, I was encouraged when my oldest showed interest in my Lizzy House stash recently. There was hope for a crafty relationship with him yet! So I made him and his brother these sweet pouches, which held their Valentine’s presents ...

I used a well-loved tutorial: the Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial from In Color Order. It had been on my must-sew list for years, so I was happy to give it a try. Everything you’ve read about it is true: It’s an easy, well-written (free!) pattern.

In the samples designer Jeni Baker made for her tutorial, she used all sorts of cute things as the drawstring, like measuring tape ribbon and handmade fabric ties. I used not-so-cute shoelaces because, as I’ve mentioned, my boys are hard on everything—including their clothes, my house, and me (my injuries speak for themselves!)—and the laces are the most durable thing I can think to use.

To be honest, there is a lot of crafting going on by little hands at my house.
Oh, look: these Minecraft-inspired Perler Bead projects include weapons.
(Heaven help me!)

How about you? What have you had success with in your own drawstring bags? Do you have a go-to ribbon? Hmmm ... and if so, do you use Fray Check on the ends? As for me, I’ve also used faux leather cord, but it wasn’t as malleable as I’d like. I am open to suggestions!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday, Let’s Bee Social, and Needle and Thread Thursday ...

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

When Cacti and Quilting Collide

To readers old and new, welcome! You’ve arrived at the day’s stop on Bonnie Christine’s Succulence Blog Tour.

If you’ve visited before, you know that I’m a quilter, and I rarely need an excuse to make a quilt. If there’s a new baby in my life, I make a quilt. If a friend is sick/sad/otherwise not feeling like herself, I make a quilt. If I want to deliver a handmade birthday/Christmas/Flag Day gift, I make a quilt.

Here’s the thing: Quilts, even simple ones, take a long time to make. So aren’t you surprised—maybe even a little proud—that I listened to my inner voice of reason and, when given the opportunity to work with Bonnie Christine’s Succulence fabrics, sewed a bag?

Look! A finish that didn’t require moving a huge
quilt sandwich through my domestic machine!

It was a fast and satisfying finish, constructed with three Succulence fabrics. Bonnie designs for Art Gallery Fabrics, so these lovelies have a soft and supple hand. They sewed—and quilted—up nicely. (Yes, the bag is indeed a quilted bag.)

The entire Succulence line is pretty fabulous, but it’s this print that captured my eye:

This is Rosette in Fireside. So. Darn. Pretty.

It comes in another colorway, shown here at Taylor Made. I chose this colorway, however, for the beautiful raisin color. It reminds me of a hue in Bonnie’s Winged line, which I have also had the pleasure of creating with.

What else can I tell you about this project? The pattern is from Stitched in Color’s Color Intensive course, and it’s the first time I’ve sewed leather straps on a bag. The result was a faster and cleaner-looking finish than when I make my own fabric handles. I’m giving this bag to a friend; I’ll have to ask her how they hold up over time.

Those three short lines of stitches through the top layer of fabric is all that keeps
the handles on. I pray they hold up!

I’m also fond of the rounded corners at the bottom of the bag, which make this project my entry into this month’s Le Challenge (the theme is round).

Truth be told, I did design a quilt for this fabric line. It has been mocked up in EQ7 and is ready to go. Will I have the time to tackle it? We’ll see. If I do, you’ll be the first to know.

In the meantime, check out the other projects sewists and crafters alike have made with Succulence:

Monday, February 1st: April and Mickey Zimmer | Sweetwater Cotton Shoppe 

Tuesday, February 2nd: Taylor Urban | Taylor Made 

Wednesday, February 3rd: Bonnie Christine | Going Home to Roost

Thursday, February 4th: Daisy Aschehoug | Ants to Sugar 

Friday, February 5th: Katie Skoog | The Simple Life Company 

Monday, February 8th: Staci Barrett | A Vintage Fairytale 

Tuesday, February 9th: Denise Palmer | Denise Anne Studio 

Wednesday, February 10th: Sahnda Black | Wildwood Poppy 

Thursday, February 11th: Monica De Leon | Journey De Vida 

Friday, February 12th: Sarah Bertochi | Sarah B. 

Monday, February 15th: Ali Brorsen | Because of Brenna 

Tuesday, February 16th: Maxie Ramey | Maxie Makes

>> Wednesday, February 17th: Michelle Cain | From Bolt to Beauty <<

Thursday, February 18th: Katharina Pferdmenges | Der Rabe Im Schlamm

Friday, February 19th: Isabel Kelly | Lamb and Wolfie

Saturday, February 20th: Emi Shimokawa | Just Add Fabric

Want even more inspiration? Check out the Succulence look book. Need some Succulence for your very own? Succulence is available at Hawthorne Threads, Fat Quarter Shop, and many other online retailers. : )

Linking up to Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, Finish It Up Friday, and Sew Cute Tuesday ...

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Gold at the End of This Rainbow

Friends, this finish has been a long time coming. It wasn’t the design that was difficult—just squares and half-square triangles—it was amassing the fabric. I started back in November 2014 and cut what I could from my scraps. A few months later (with a few months’ worth of new scraps in my collection), I went through the scrap bin again. In the end I did have to buy some teal and yellow fabric, but I finally cut and sewed all I needed to make this happen:

Yay! : )

Check out the coolio quilting.

I got to use so many low-volumes in this project.

The whole (huge!) thing was trimmed in this mustardy net print from Dear Stella.

I’m super excited to have this done. If you’re looking for a good way to blow through your scraps, I recommend this quilt pattern. Here are the important details:

Design: Obsession, from Quilt-opedia, by Laura Jane Taylor

Size: 80” by 80”

Quilting: by the talented Garden Gate Quilting

Scrap usage: 400  4½” and 5” squares—woo hoo!

See Kinda Quilty for another example of this quilt. That’s the one that turned me on to this design in the first place. : )

So I have another scrap quilt in the works for March, but you and I both know that one quilt will not clean out that bin. Do you have a suggestion for another scrappy design? I have a copy of Alexandra Ledgerwood’s Improvising Tradition and am thinking of using her piecing method to do something scrappy. What do you think? Can you imagine a scrappier version of Paper and Plums in cool purples, blues, and greens?

Linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday, Finish It Up Friday, TGIFF, and Scraptastic Tuesday ...

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Succulence Blog Tour

I’m excited to announce the Succulence Blog Tour. This event, which debuts today, features the work of 16 bloggers and their creations with Bonnie Christine’s Succulence fabric line for Art Gallery Fabrics.

I’ve sewn with Bonnie’s fabrics in the past. I adore her Sweet as Honey line, and Winged has appeared in multiple quilts of mine, including my Better Late Than Never Quilt. (I initially fell for the deep colors of Winged, but it’s the low-volumes—those butterflies!—that have stolen my heart since.)

I have a pile of Succulence on my sewing table now, and I look forward to revealing my project on February 17, my day on the blog tour.

Until then, visit Bonnie’s blog, Going Home to Roost, to see what the other participants have created!

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