In 2017, I really enjoyed the focus that my fabric diet gave me. Purging a lot of my stash, using a lot of it, and attempting to be very deliberate and thoughtful about my fabric purchases was a big learning experience and actually left me with a stash that I like (mostly), but which may not be big enough. Look above - see how much smaller the current stack of red fabrics is?!
I'm a person who likes to pull from stash, and who doesn't like to use bundles of collections for quilts. I like to mix it up, and I like a lot of different fabrics in a quilt. But recently I went to pull red fabric for a project and I found that I really didn't have much.
In 2018, I want to continue refining my stash, and I don't want to spend a ton of money on new fabric, but I do anticipate getting rid of some fabric, and making some new fabric purchases. I am going to once again focus on really making sure that I'm purchasing fabrics that are usable and are "me;" and aren't just trendy or cute. First up: reds! I need more red fabrics.
For 2018 I plan to continue my fabric diet, but I also have a few quilt goals that I want to accomplish this year. They are as follows - in no particular order:
Quilts to make or finish
1. Tangelo Quilt - I want to finish: my "Tangelo" quilt top (pattern by Carolyn Friedlander). I started the quilt at the Sewtopia retreat in New Orleans, and I plan to finish it this year. Maybe that'll happen at the next Sewtopia retreat in April. (A depiction of my Tangelo quilt can be see above, lower right.)
2. Polka dot quilt - in 2017 I really enjoyed making several scrap quilts. This year I think that I might choose to make a polka dot quilt as my scrap quilt. I really enjoyed making a few polka dot blocks for a traveling quilt bee project last year. (Click here to see them on Instagram.) My depiction of a potential polka dot quilt is shown above, lower left.
3. At the end of last year, I purchased several yards of Robert Kaufman Linen, and I hope to use it this year. I haven't used their linen before, but I think I'm really going to like it. My current thought is that I'll make a scrappy off-set star quilt (shown above, top right) - maybe for my own bed!
4. Memory quilts (2). I've never attempted to make a quilt with clothes before, but I have a definite idea, or two, in my head for what I want to do with some shirts from a special loved one who has passed away this year. One idea is shown above, top left.
5. My local guild is going another challenge this year and this year the theme is "Stars." I have an idea for this project which is a little bit out of my comfort zone.
6. Range backpack - I would love to have a completed Range backpack (pattern by Anna Graham of Noodlehead). At Sewtopia New Orleans, I purchased the pattern from Pink Door Fabrics. Originally my thought was to have it prior to Quiltcon in February, but I have since realized that is an unattainable goal.
7. Tone it Down quilt pattern. For a few years, I've been toying with the idea of making one of these quilts. Currently I'm in love with the idea of doing it in red and green for Christmas. Pattern can be found at All People Quilt (click here).
Whew - that makes 7 quilt/sewing projects PLUS I have four finished quilt tops that need to be wrapped up.
I'm a big believer in goals, and I'm excited the projects I've picked out, but I also really enjoy going off on whim or tangent when it comes to quilts. I hope to finish the quilts and projects listed here, but I also look forward to where this year may take me. Here's to lots of sewing time and accomplishments in 2018!
December is a month of looking both backwards and forwards. I'm one who likes to look back on the year to see what I've done (call it an accomplishment or just a completed task), and start to think about what I want to do for the next year. It's also a time where I scurry to try to wrap up unfinished projects.
Above shows all the quilts that I completed this year (from baby-side to king-size). In addition to these 11 quilts, I also have 8 other quilts waiting to be quilted or bound (shown below).
I also finished 11 mini quilts and/or pillows this year: 2 for fabric challenges, 8 for swaps, and 1 for myself.
One year ago, I spent the Christmas school break sorting my scraps and cutting them in to 2 1/2" and 3 1/2" squares. I used those squares in 7 of my quilts this year and loved having them available and pre-cut. I also really enjoyed tracking my fabric usage and purchases this year. My goal was to donate, sell, or use up at least 100 yards of fabric. I made one last purchase of fabric this December, and this is how my tallying ended up:
Fabric Diet Standings
Fabric Purchases: 7
Fabric Used in Projects: 11.75
Net for the Month: -4.75
Net for the Year: -102.0
I made my goal!
I also find it interesting to note that overall, I used/sold/donated 289.25 yards of fabric this year, and I purchased 187.25 yards of fabric. Those numbers seem crazy when you start attaching dollar amounts to them. 187 new yards of fabric cost me around $2,244. Yikes!
Next up I hope to have a post with goals, fabric and quilty, for 2018!
Happy New Years to all of you, and thanks for stopping by.
This fall I was looking for a tutorial to remind me how to make the Scrappy Trips Around the World block, and I stumbled across this similar pattern: Many Trips Around the World. (You can see my first Scrappy Trip quilt here.) The tutorial for this quilt is really nothing more than instructions for a pattern of 2 1/2" squares that you lay out on your design wall. You can find the tutorial here.
My design wall was empty, so my son and I began playing with scrap squares of fabric.
I started this project thinking that it would be super colorful, using all the colors in my scrap bin. However, I quickly began editing and came up with this more limited palette - and I love it!
Once the squares were all laid out, I used the "Net piecing" method (aka 2-D piecing) to piece all the squares together.
When we were laying out this quilt, if we didn't have enough scraps of one fabric to make a complete "round," I substituted in a similar fabric. I love how this only becomes apparent when you study the quilt closely.
I backed this quilt in a wide-back gray and white star print by Elizabeth Hartman, and quilted diagonally through every-other row of squares.
Most of the squares of fabric used in this quilt were already in my scrap bin. I did end up having to cut some navy blue squares for the quilt, and then used that navy blue fabric to bind the quilt.
I wanted a throw size-quilt, so I laid my quilt out with 30 squares x 35 squares. Using my scrap 2 1/2" squares, the resulting quilt is roughly 60" x 70."
Here I am: summarizing November. I've done 11 months of tracking! This month I sewed several quilt tops in the first week or two, and then I sewed several quilt backs - and dropped most of them off at my local long-arm quilter.
I took advantage of sewing time at the Sewtopia retreat in New Orleans and sewed up the football quilt above (and blogged about here), and the wild quarter-log cabin quilt (also above). Once home, I worked with my son to make the red half-square triangle quilt. Remember the fabric that I bought in Madison (blogged here)? This month, I succeeded in sewing all of the fabric that the kids picked out in to quilt tops for them. My goal is to have them finished and under the tree for them on Christmas morning.
My long-arm quilter (Lora Smith from Quilts by Grace) is awesome! Not only did she get that football quilt done in time for me to gift it to my Father-in-law at Thanksgiving, but she also has quilted all three quilts for the boys and now I have them back and just need to get them bound. The kids know that the quilt tops have been made, but I've told them that they probably won't be back from the quilter until January. Sneaky Mommy.
Here is how this sewing month worked out:
Fabric Diet Standings
Fabric Purchases: 12
Fabric Used in Projects: 30.75
Net for the Month: -18.75
Net for the Year: -97.25
My goal this year was to use up or donate (or sell) over 100 yards of fabric. I did better this month using up a lot of the fabric that I bought last month. But I still have more work to to. At the Pink Door Fabrics pop-up shop at Sewtopia, I bought several more yards of fabric, and then I won a slew of fat eighths as a door prize (all that added up to 10 new yards of fabric). Isn't it pretty though?
I have only 1 month left, and I have to use up at least 2.75 yards more than I buy or accumulate. It's going to be close, but make it or not, I'm happy that I took on this project. I'm so much happier with the fabrics that I now have in my stash.
Check back at the end of December to see the wrap-up for my 2017 Fabric Diet.
A quilt finish! Wow, it has been a while since I finished a quilt. My ankle surgery slowed me down, but now I'm back to near-normal.
This pattern is called "Rookie Quarterback" and is from Robinson Pattern Company. I made it as a present for a certain mid-western football fan, and had my son help me choose which brown and white fabrics to use. More information on fabrics is included below.
Man does this quilt go together quickly! I cut it out ahead of time, and then assembled it on the first night of the Sewtopia retreat in New Orleans. It took maybe an hour, but I love it's simple graphic design.
I wanted this quilt to be super snuggly and soft, so I backed it in red "cuddle"
fabric. Quilting with this high-pile fuzzy fabric isn't my favorite thing to do, so I had it quilted by Lora at Quilts by Grace. I chose a panto called "Lincoln Logs" that I now can't find anywhere on the internet. Regardless, it had the overall consistent texture that I was after for this project.
I made the lap size version of this quilt, so it finished at about
Size: Lap Quilt 52" x 64."
Batting: Hobbs 80/20
Quilting: Longarm quilted using the Lincoln Log Pantograph.
Fabrics: Cream and Cappuccino by Michael Miller
Backing: Red cuddle fabric
Binding: Cappuccino by Michael Miller
October was a big - an epic - sewing month for me. It was like the stars aligned: the kids' school schedules finally settled down (not as many random days off), I had a sewing retreat with my Quiltn' Sisters, and I was preparing to attend the fall Sewtopia sewing retreat in New Orleans (more on that in my November blog post).
I plan to write complete separate posts for each quilt top that I finished this month, but WOW, I pretty much started and completed 4 quilt tops this month. Let's celebrate that for a moment!
In addition to those four quilt tops, I also had fun making some mini-quilts and pillows. All three of these applique cloud projects were done for Sewtopia in some way. I plan to do another blog post this week with more pics and details on these cloud mini-quilts and pillows.
Another fun project I tackled this month was ordering a custom stamp to use to label my quilts. (See the top picture.) I got the idea from my Quiltn' Sisters retreat swap - the item I got had been stamped with the maker's information.
I searched on Etsy and found Tailor Made Stamps, and then I searched Font Space for a font that looked the part. I sent my font selection to the folks at Tailor Made and less than a week later I had my new stamp in hand. I'm so excited to have a completed quilt to use it on.
In addition to all this sewing, this month I think I bought more fabric than any other month this year. I took a trip to Madison Wisconsin, and stopped by Blue Bar Quilts while we were in town. The kids, my mother, and I all had a ton of fun pulling fabric. It has been ages since I've taken any of them to a quilt shop and all of them had fun pulling fabric for projects (for me to make). It was fun to see their enthusiasm, but I ended up with WAY more fabric that I would have, had I gone by myself.
In an attempt to illustrate where all the fabric came from, I came up with the image below.
The fabric in the center is what I actually picked out for myself. My mother also added a pile of fabrics for me to make bags for her, the kids threw in some random (yet oddly fun) novelty prints, then each of them picked fabric for a quilt for themselves (to be made by me). That all made for a whole lot of fabric.
The last thing that I want to mention, that factors in to my fabric totals for this month, is the "Get Your Quilty Wishes" phenomena that has happened each fall for the past three years. It was started by Christiane of @Raven2006 and is an Instagram hashtag. How does it work? People post wishes for fabrics or sewing related items. At the same time, they scroll through the hashtag and see if there are any wishes that they can grant for other people. If you find a wish that you can grant, then you reach out to that person and send them what they wished for. Then you cross your fingers and hope that someone can grant your own quilty wish. This year I went with a long-shot wish: I wished for fat quarters of the tone-on-tone Lizzy House Pearl Bracelet prints. You know what? One of my good quilty friends spoke up, said she had some, and sent them to me! How amazing is that? She sent me an entire bundle of fat quarters. What a treat! I've already happily put them to use.
Here is how this big sewing month worked out:
Fabric Diet Standings
Fabric Purchases: 68.5
Fabric Used in Projects: 19.75
Net for the Month: 48.75
Net for the Year: -78.5
Ouch. The vacation fabric shopping this month definitely hurt. But you know what, the memory of shopping with my kids and mother are something I won't soon forget. So I'm OK with being up - way up - for the month. I have two more months to try to get back over 100 yards used, and I have plans for lots of the fabric that we bought all together in Madison.
This past month, I realized that my Etsy store was getting a little thin, so I re-stocked with new gift bags!
For the past few years my stash was so large, and I had so many pieces of fabric that I had earmarked for gift bags. When I had the need, or opportunity, to make new bags, I was pulling from a selection of fabric that was 5 years old or more. I kept buying fabric for bags, and yet I still had to much to use up. I couldn't keep up with my own purchasing. BUT...in the past 9 months I've used up, sold, and given away a ton of fabric (spoiler alert) - 127 yards to be exact. That meant that this time around, when I went to make new fabric gift bags, I was pulling from newer fabrics - fabrics that I'd purchased in the last year. It felt great, and I love the new bags. The bags can be purchased on my Etsy site - click here to see them.
I had a couple other fun projects this month. The first one was another sew of blocks for the "I wish I could go too traveling quilt bee." This time the subject was "Party Animals." I had fun putting some of the other blocks together (see below), and then I made two purple party hamsters - complete with appliqued party hats. (Hamster pattern is by Sew Fresh Quilts.) This quilt will be handed off to the next person in the bee at a sewing retreat that some friends and I are holding this month. Expect to see some pics from the get-together in my next Fabric Diet post.
In my quilting life, I am always so pleasantly surprised at the paths that I find myself traveling down. In this part of my life I have so much more freedom to get a whim and totally throw yourself in to following that whim. This month I spent some time cutting scraps in to 2 1/2" squares.
Then while I was investigating tutorials for a Halloween quilt I want to make, I stumbled on some "Many Trips Around the World" quilts that I liked and immediately set about laying out a new quilt on my design wall. This quilt mainly used scraps, but I did use a little navy yardage. It was so fun to immerse myself for half of a day just auditioning colors and fabrics. I also had help from my son this past weekend.
This month I did purchase some fabric (see below). I had been looking for fabric for commissioned wine bags and found it! Since I was placing an order, I decided to replenish my stash with a few more grays and low-volume prints. The fabric for the bags has already been cut and is ready to be sewn in to new fabric wine bags.
Fabric Diet Standings
Fabric Purchases: 8.5 yards
Fabric Used in Projects: 21.25
Net for the Month: -12.75
Net for the Year: -127.25
I've got three more months left in my 2017 fabric diet tracking program, and I'm happy where it's gotten me. The first three quarters of this year have been very productive and I'm happy with what I've made and what I've purchased. I can't wait to see how the next three months go!
Another month has come and gone.
At the end of July I had surgery on my ankle, so most of August was spent on the couch. Who doesn't itch to buy fabric when one spends a lot of time on the couch (and therefore on the computer and phone) reading quilty blogs and newsletters?! One day I spontaneously decided that I wanted to make some Halloween quilts. So I immediately set about finding some background fabric for the Halloween quilt that I had in mind.
Then I came up with a plan for a second quilt... and a new set of drapes to hide my fabric stash on the shelving in my sewing room. In all I bought 13 yards of fabric online for these projects. The good news is that all of the fabric purchased was for very specific projects (not just stash-building), so it should get used up in October when I plan to sew these quilts.
Here's the other good news - in a round-about way: the fabric that I originally bought online for the background of one quilt was the skull and bones fabric shown above. When I received it, I was sad to see that the skulls were actually fluorescent orange, not a normal orange color (and I didn't like the combo of the two types of oranges). In the past I would have just put the fluorescent fabric on a shelf and never used it. However this time, since I knew I was going to have to count the fabric in my tally, I reached out to the store where I purchased the fabric and asked if there was a way I could return it. The answer was yes! So I sent it back and deleted it from my tally. I'm so happy that I was motivated to ask about a return option and don't have to stare at the fabric on my shelf for the next 10 years.
Once I started feeling a little better, I hobbled in to my sewing room and started on a scrappy flying geese quilt. The top is now finished and can be seen here.
The flying geese quilt was both a scrap-buster and stash-buster (win-win!)
I used about 288 of my scrap 3 1/2" squares for the geese, and cut up a bunch of low volume fabric for the background. I cut up 7 yards to be exact.
Another project that was easy to work on from a sitting position is folded fabric stars. You can read about the Christmas table runner I made here using these stars. This project used lots of prairie points (and 2 yards of fabric) and was kind-of addictive.
This month I finished (I think) the quilt that I started in my Quiltcon class with Denyse Schmidt. I'm not completely 100% sure it's finished because I may want to make it a little bigger. Regardless finishing this quilt caused me to use up 1.75 yards of Kona silver for sashing. But...it also left 13 yards of previously pulled fabric unused (and therefore put back in to my stash). When I was getting ready for the class I pulled lots of fabrics and counted them as "used" in my spreadsheet. Now that the quilt is done, I re-measured the remaining fabric and added it back to my stash.
Overall, I'm up for the month just about 15 yards (which sounds a bit shocking compared to my past few months). But I'm ok with it. Why? Because I thoroughly currently plan to use up those 11.25 yards that I bought before the year is over. (You know how quilty plans change, right?)
Fabric Diet Standings
Fabric Purchases: 26 yards (gasp)
Fabric Used in Projects: 11.25 yards
Net for the Month: 14.75 yards UP
Net for the Year: -114.5 yards
Last fall when I was in UT sewing with some friends, I picked up a project (pattern isn't the right word) for a folded star hot-pad at a local quilt shop. The "pattern" is made by "Plum Easy" patterns and can be ordered from Amazon if you're interested.
It took me until now to actually cut up some fabric squares, iron them in to Prairie Points, and sew them down to the interfacing/template. But when I did, I thought it was kind of fun. You can see the first folded star project I did on my Instagram account.
Once I had done one, I wanted to do more!
At the same time I bought the project for the hot pad, I also purchased a plastic template for folded stars. I figured that the template would be the same as the pre-marked piece of interfacing. But I was wrong. The interfacing comes marked to make a star with 4 different layers of fabric, but the template only lets you do three layers. I'm sure that there's a way to add more markings to the template, but I wasn't in the mood to do math. So the template got filed away and I ordered more of the pre-marked pieces of interfacing.
Once I had more interfacing templates, I made three more stars and sewed them together to make a mini-quilt of sorts. Maybe a table runner?
It's always fun to try something new, and even better if it's clever. I love learning how things go together and this project was unlike anything I'd ever made. Now I'm going to pack this guy away for a few months and look forward to seeing it again in December.
The blocks are each 8 inches finished, so this guy is just under 23 inches long and 8 inches wide. I did use batting and quilted just right around each outer star.
Thanks for stopping by!
This year I've been on a mission to tame both my scrap bins and my fabric stash. Over the holidays I spent a lot of time cutting the fabric in my scrap bins in to 2 1/2" and 3 1/2" squares. When that was done I had piles and piles of fabric squares and wanted to use them. So I drafted the pattern below using the double bear paw block (a take on the traditional bear paw block), and got to work. I talk a little bit about all of my fabric squares here.
I backed the quilt in a piece of "wide back" Sketch fabric by Carolyn Friedlander. This was my first time using wide-back (108") fabric and it was awesome not to have to piece my backing together. The only down-side was in-spite of pre-washing the fabric, the blue backing bled on my gloves as I quilted it, and scared me that it was going to bleed on all the low-volume sections of my quilt.
I quilted this big-guy on my home machine and did simple echo quilting down the sashing between the blocks, and then diagonally thru each bear paw, and bound the quilt with Michael Miller's black and white "Clown Stripe" fabric.
This quilt is a big one!
It ends up at 86" square and is made of 1,849 squares. Do you want to know the sad part? I still have soooo many squares of scrap fabric left over. So many.
I created a tutorial on how to create the double bear paw-blocks and that can be found here.