Category Archives: Fabric

It’s Been a While

Where have I been the last few weeks? Mostly in the garden. We did have a little cool spell that found me out there about 4 hours a day. Once coming inside, there was no motivation to sew. It has gotten back to hot, hot, hot days so I’m back inside. But instead of sewing, I’ve been doing some organizing for which there never seems to be an end!

One project did get finished – a special quilt for a special person. At one of my retreats one gal told me about a patient of hers who is 25-26 years old and is disabled – body has struggled to hold up and has experienced pain, surgeries and much more that most people do not have to endure during their lifetime. My immediate reaction was: this person needs a quilt! I made it a little bigger than the usual Hospice quilts and I do hope it brings warmth and comfort to this person. As usual, the backing is fleece making for a warm and cozy quilt.

Hardy Amaryllis given to me by a neighbor over 25 years ago! Only lasts a little over a week, but such a joy while it blooms.

Scrappy Batik

There are seven bins full of batiks in my studio, one of which is scraps. From the book “Scrap=Basket Bounty”, I chose the Snippets pattern to make use of the scraps. The cuts are 1 1/2″ squares and 1 1/2″ by varying lengths. There are 80 blocks with 16 pieces in each – in all 1,280 pieces! Here is the first round of piecing:

Then another. Chain sewing makes for quick work, but I’ll admit to getting bored part way through and switched to another project.

Finally, there were blocks to put on the design wall:

Finally, a flimsy complete with border! Now, hanging in a closet, it’s waiting its turn to head off to the long arm quilter. And that scrap bin? Yup, it’s still full!

This past spring, this is where I’ve spent most of my time. Lack of rain has been challenging, but it definitely remains my happy place. I have learned to embrace the shade and make the most of what sun the garden does get.

Squirrels, Squirrels, Squirrels

Everywhere! Last week I wasn’t much in the mood to sew. When I went into my sewing closet, I followed a squirrel and emptied most of the fabric and some other goodies out! Sorting and folding for several hours. I now have this basket of goodies to cut into scraps. Some day soon I’ll get out my studio cutter and reduce the pile to squares and strips.

The closet looks so good now. I could not bring myself to take a before pick. Such a coward!

Not all my fabric, just yardage and batting scraps.
Packaged batting and a few more scraps.

And as often the case with a project like this, there was a bonus. I found a large piece of the gray shiny ironing board cover fabric. My handy wall board cover was getting quite picked looking. I sewed a new cover and after adding another layer of thin batting, there is now a nice new shiny cover! I prefer this type of covering – it holds the heat well and can be washed off if there’s starch residue. And, I love this little board. It has a tile at the end for placing the hot iron (hubby’s idea as he made this for me) and it folds down on the wall when done.

Then, on Friday (which just happened to be my birthday – yes, happy April Fool) we went to the city of Greensboro, an hour and a half from here. Visited a sewing machine store I’d done business with in the past and I purchased a Pfaff Passport 3.0. I have the 2.0 and use it as my retreat machine. A backup machine is always a good idea, but a couple of years ago I sold my Featherweight and have been without one. I have borrowed my sons little Janome, but that gets to be a pain for both of us. The 3.0 is almost identical to the 2.0 with just a couple of new features. Now the two will go with me when I travel.

All in all, the squirrels were all welcome. Maybe now I’ll get some sewing done! Thank you daughter for the lovely flowers.

Cutting Out Another Quilt

This one may very well do me in! Several years ago, after seeing a friend’s finished quilt “Jolly Tartan Quilt”, I was in love. Having scoured the internet, I found one last kit available and scooped it up. I’m finally in a good place to commit to this project. There are thirty (30) different fabrics – oh my! I’ve gone about this very methodically. The kit was put together beautifully. Each fabric was labeled with a letter to correspond with the instructions.

First, I made an enlarged copy of the cutting instructions for each fabric and then cut each out separately. Each fabric with its corresponding cutting instructions went into these nifty plastic zip lock envelopes.

The cutting has begun! I’m working slowly and intentionally. Mistakes cannot be made as it won’t be easy to find more of these specific fabrics. After cutting each fabric, I’m putting the cuts back into the envelope with its instructions inserted into the outside.

The leftover of each fabric is going into a separate bag together with it’s selvedge.

Once it’s all cut, I will use the paper plate technique for the sewing steps. Hopefully, by the end of next week, I’ll be at that point.

And yesI began this project with a nice fresh blade in my cutter. Whew!

Hint of Spring

Prepping for Retreats

This April I’ll be heading to two quilt retreats. Not having any works in progress to take with me, I got busy prepping for the first retreat. Two charity quilts were prepped – baby quilts, 36 inches by 36 inches using 3″ finished squares. I even have the backings and bindings ready to travel. It would be a hoot to come home with two completely finished projects!

My next endeavor is for the quilt pattern “Snipits.” I raided my batik bins – oh so many, many batiks. I don’t usually prewash my quilt fabrics, but I do with batiks. It softens them and it’s amazing to see the color catchers at the end of the wash.

There were 1280 pieces to cut for this quilt, varying lengths, 1 1/2″ wide. Not as bad as it sounds – I pulled out my studio cutter and went to work cutting strips, then subcutting by hand.

I like using these clear zip envelopes. The pieces are kept separated and tidy and then all in a project box.

I’m really excited about these projects and am fighting the temptation to begin while still at home. April seems forever away! Next I’ll prep a long awaited kit for the second retreat. The cutting is a bit more complex for that one, so it will probably take me a couple of days.

I’m sure I’ll find plenty more to do to keep me busy in the studio after that. Also, we’re expecting some glorious weather so maybe I’ll get to some long awaited and much needed yard work!

Ready to Go!!

Passing it On

For the last year I have done a LOT of cleaning out in my studio. A box full of fabric went to a friend who sews charity quilts and a box full of fabric and miscellaneous sewing things went to the quilt guild that meets nearby. And still so much. Again I attacked a large bin and sent a substantial amount of partial projects and some fabrics to Goodwill. I was gathering more when a friend suggested I consider giving to the Navajo Quilt Project. I was thrilled to read about this project and knew that’s where some goodies were going. Sent were:

I stuffed a medium USPS Priority Flat Rate box and sent it off.

I’m hoping the bright variety of fabrics will be enjoyed. It’s so much better than them wasting away in my storage and most probably never to be used. Yes, there’s still LOTS more – another day!

How do you tackle you overflow of fabulous goodies?

My red Camelia in bloom – in the snow!

Snow Day Sewing

The North Carolina Piedmont has snow! Unfortunately, it soon turned to sleet. And then snow again. So confusing! What it means for me and hubby is a day (plus more) of not venturing out of the house, and a crock pot full of chicken and goodness! For me, it also equals sewing!

Some time ago I pulled a bunch of fabrics in preparation of making a bookcase quilt. I have seen so many on the internet and have wanted to make one for a person who is a great lover of books.

For some of the books I inserted a piece of selvedge as a book title. For a few, I just used a plain piece of fabric. I really like the look of both! There are three shelves of books put together and trimmed – one to go which is in the process of piecing. I have some “wood” fabric that will be added as the shelves.

The goal on this snow day is to finish the top and then it’s off to the longarm quilter later this week. As for putting all that fabric away – Ugh!

I hope you are having a safe, warm and enjoyable day.

This One’s for ME!

It’s been a while and am glad to be back. I was out of town for several weeks and blogging was just not on the list.

Blue batiks, green batiks and a few white thrown in and what do you get? A string quilt! The blocks were positioned to make diamond shapes. This was a LOT of sewing but so worth it! I have found that fleece is a wonderfully warm backing for quilts, and batting is not necessary. So, I went with a dark blue backing and straight line stitching.

I’m really happy with this design and decided I’m keeping this one for me. Kitty and I will probably have to fight for it this winter, although I will give her a corner to snuggle in. The quilt is on the back of my living room sofa and I got one of the best compliments ever. Sitting across from it, out of the blue, hubby said “I love that quilt.” How awesome is that!

A name? Well, the diamonds are big so I was reminded of the very old method of cutting diamonds – mine cut diamonds. So, this beauty is “Mine Diamond.” So good to finally have another finish!

It’s a BIG Fish!

Fifty Five inches long, thirty six inches wide! How fun this was! Hubby was responsible for the fabrics I chose. He suggested I use some of the home dec fabrics in my stash. They are all bright. colorful and a nice heavy weight, and a no brainer as I have a ridiculous amount!

It was a bit odd to be cutting such large pieces and even odder to be sewing 5/8″ seams. My quilter’s brain had to really work on placing the fabrics at the right place under the needle!

The sewing was easy, but the stuffing – oh the stuffing. It took four large bags of poly stuffing and several hours. As much as I stuffed into the corners, it didn’t stay. I do know, however, once the fish is on the floor, played on and laid on, the stuffing will shift and disperse evenly.

The eyes are painted on with acrylic paints. It was definitely fun to play, even if just a little bit, with paints again – so artsy craftsy!

Then came the hateful part of this project. Hand sewing the openings on the bottom. Because of the size of the fish and the location of the openings, it was a bit awkward. I had to lay the fish on my cutting table to get a little comfortable. My back was definitely happy when that task was completed!

My brother will be delivering the fish to NY for me. It would have been a chore to mail it. It’s going to an almost three year old. I hope she gets as much enjoyment with this big fish as my children did when they were young.

Off to Give Comfort

One of my favorite things to do with quilts – take a pic of them hanging on the line together before they get sent off! There are eight quilts this time round, all going to Hospice. All are lap quilts, varying sizes and one is a wheelchair quilt. There are five Hospice flimsies with backings hanging in the closet. Not sure when I’ll get them quilted – just waiting for inspiration to hit!

The list of Works in Progress is still doable for me. I no longer want 20 projects in the wings that are half sewn. There was a time I actually loved that, but my focus has changed. I’ve also been keeping my quilting expenditures down. Let’s see what I can do between now and my next update posting!