Category Archives: Organization

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!!

Two More Quilt “Kits” to go

Last week I shared the flannel rag quilt kit I prepared for a week long retreat I’ll be attending. Of course one isn’t enough, so I now have two more ready to go!

First up is a string block kit. I pulled from some beloved batik greens and blues and one almost white and cut into varying strip widths. The plan is to sew them onto paper piecing paper doing a diamond design. I love to do string quilts! For me its both fun and therapeutic sewing. Sewing this quilt will also be perfect for a retreat as it doesn’t require much concentration. And again, I planned, made notes, and saved them in the kit box.

The second kit I prepared this week isn’t really planned out. When diving in a bin of blocks and miscellany, I came across these triangles cut from sewn very colorful strips. I barely remember these!

And then there were cuts randomly sewn into blocks. That was it! I’ll bring these to retreat , cut them randomly, sew and put together however the mood strikes at the moment. This will be fun play!

I am really so excited for this get away. I have a retreat checklist that I prepared years ago and having been going through it and putting everything in a guest room ready to pack. Good thing I’m traveling alone – it’s a lot!

Moving on to….?

More sewing? Organization? Purging? Yes on all three! In this new year, I will definitely be sewing, because that’s what I do! Organization is a continuing process with me. Some things in the studio are somewhat difficult to keep tidy and organized, especially when I’m in “creative mode.” Purging? Oh yes. My goal is to reduce my fabric inventory significantly. There are several places on Facebook marketplace where I can sell fabric. I’ve done a fair amount of that this year and plan to continue. And some fabrics will be donated.

Sewing: As of this writing, I haven’t sewn in five days. It’s a good thing as I will no doubt feel more joy when I turn on my machine again. I have two fairly labor intensive projects that I want to actively work on right now. One is a log cabin wall hanging – block above finishes at 5 1/4″. The other a tiny house quilt. The house block finishes at 3″ and will be doing each as a square in a square. Lots of progress on the first, not so much on the second.

Hospice quilts – I have a bin with dedicated blocks, fabric, partial quilt tops that have all been donated. I need to take inventory and make a plan. An empty bin would be quite an accomplishment!

And here is my 2020 rundown:

May your 2021 be filled with joy and success in all you pursue!

On the Design Wall

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Scraps, scraps, scraps. A container full of one and one half inch scrap strips! There is also a bin of polka dots that has been waiting to be used. The blocks are quarter log cabins with the centers made up of four patches of polka dots.

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This option for arranging the blocks just didn’t work for me.

I’ve arranged the quarter log cabins several ways and putting four together for one full log cabin block was most pleasing to me.

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For now, this is my layout choice.

There’s a long way to go. I’m now piecing more four patches. Adding the strips goes fairly quickly and is fun sewing.

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Lots and lots of strips to choose from!

I’ve been doing a lot of organizing and although I don’t feel as though I’ve been sewing that much, I have really been quite productive. Hmmm. Maybe it’s because I’m not going anywhere during quarantine?!

How about you – how have you been using your time?

Lots Going On

Like everyone else, I have extra time at home because we are truly isolating.  This has led to accomplishments! First, I cut ALL my scraps.  Yowza! It was a lot!! Below are just the 1 1/2″ strips.

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Then, I completed ten face masks. There’s a thread out there that we may be required to wear them out soon, so I made one for each of my family.  I plan to make more for family, friends and neighbors. Honestly, I found these somewhat tedious to make, but also important to do. I did have a couple of 1,000 thread count pillow cases that we never used that I cut as the layer on the face.

Quilting and batik fabrics were used for the other two layers. Not only did I not have any elastic, but I understand that health professionals have said that the elastic is taking a toll on surface skin, so I used t-shirt material, cut one inch by 18 inches and pulled to make a cord.

face mask cords

At the November 2019 retreat, blocks were pieced by the retreaters.  I put those together for a Hospice quilt. Would really like to get this quilted in the next week.

Hospice 3

Social media has been wonderful during this time.  As the Quilt & Sew-In had to be cancelled, we have been doing an “on-line retreat.” It’s also so easy to text or face time with family and friends. Imagine isolation before internet – Yikes!

I truly pray that all of you are staying safe and happy. So glad it’s spring!

Prep & Progress

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Lots of prep has been going on here.  Saturday I leave for the mountains for the Fall Quilt & Sew-In! Even though I’ve been doing retreats for thirteen years, I still get a little antsy and anxious a few days before it begins.

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Blocks have been prepped for the charity quilts from the bin of precut scraps above. There are a couple of layout possibilities for one:

And here is the layout for another quilt:

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A bucket of blocks with instructions are available for anyone who chooses to complete one or more blocks. They then put their name in for a drawing and on Show & Tell night names are drawn for prizes. I and another quilter put the blocks together for a quilt –  it certainly helps to get more Hospice quilts completed!

My projects – I always bring more than I could possibly complete. When you are the facilitator, time sewing is reduced. I love it though, and wouldn’t have it any other way! First and foremost, I plan to work on my Tula strips.  I already have several blocks complete and all is very organized (completed block above).

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A nine patch I worked on at a recent sew-in is also in the queue.  The plan is to do a disappearing nine patch, but I just haven’t decided which pattern I will be using.

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For when I don’t want to actually sew, there is this bin of half-square triangles that need to be trimmed to size.  There’s a bunch, so trimming a little at a time will make the task less daunting.

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And finally, a bin of 3 1/2″ squares for a leader-ender.  I recently spent two (exhausting) days sorting my batiks by color.  There is now a bin full of scraps, and six bins of larger pieces.  The batik squares will be paired with black and white squares.  I think this will be quite stunning. I love to have a leader-ender project going – makes me feel so productive!

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A fun and productive week is ahead! I can’t wait to share all that is Quilt & Sew-In!

 

Prepping and More Prepping

Off to another retreat! I’m a  guest at this one, so I get to do a lot more sewing. Prepping has been going on for about a week and I am SO ready! There’s something wonderful about being in a room full of creative quilters that serves to feed my creativity and productivity.

First – a scrappy flimsy that needs a border. It’s a strip quilt and I’ll be doing more strip blocks, making them into small half square triangles with a white-on-white, and adding as a border.

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Second – a baby scrappy quilt that was started a very long time ago. The paper piecing portions are complete and now I need to do the curved piecing. Each block is cut, pinned, and on its own paper plate.

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Third – Log cabin wall quilt. I worked on this last year at this same retreat – made many, many blocks but didn’t like the way they were squaring up. So now I am starting all over but this time on a paper foundation. I’m definitely committed to accuracy on this one!

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Fourth – not that I’ll really need it, but just in case something goes awry with one of the other projects, or I just don’t want to work on one of them. This will be a queen size for our bed.  Very simple – green leaf prints and white on white, all 3 inch squares finished. Simplicity is what I’m going for.

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Hopefully I’ll be back next week with some impressive results!

The Last Scrap Attack

At least for now, that is.  I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I had my scraps sorted by color. None had been precut to any particular size. I devised a plan to get a better grip on things (or at least my scraps!)  There were a lot of larger pieces which I cut into 5 inch strips.

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I also cut 2 1/2 inch strips:

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1 1/2 inch strips. I have a scrap string quilt in the process for these.

3 1/2 inch squares and 2 1/2 inch squares. There is a leader-ender quilt in the process for the 2 1/2 inch squares.

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There were fabrics in the bins that I have used many times and have had around for up to ten years. I am very tired of looking at them so they are headed to my next guild meeting to give away. No doubt they will make one or more other quilters very happy.All these scraps are so neat and tidy! I do still have a bin of black and white scraps that I will not cut until needed. I also have a bin of Kaffe scraps that will stay in their bin of disarray until I have a specific project for them.

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I used my two fabric cutting machines – the Sizzix Big Shot Pro and the Sizzis Big Kick. Oh how much easier and quicker it was with those two work horses.

And the very scrappy scraps? They’re packed tightly in this bag and will be going to someone who stuffs dog beds with them. I like that so much better than putting them in the trash. Yes, mile a minute quilts could be made from them, but I don’t have the interest nor will I live long enough! If you think about it, there are the equivalent of many yards of fabric in here (the contents are quite compacted).

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Now, feeling quite accomplished, I can proceed to finish a project or two!

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