Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thinking about the Stash

Like many quilters when I first got started quilting I bought fabric.  Lots of fabric.  Anything that caught my eye, or was on sale, or was just pretty.  It was so exciting starting a new fiber interest, that I went a bit nuts with fabric, and books, and tools.

After all, having a stash is part of being a quilter, right?  Just like a yarn stash was part of the knitting explosion.  Revelry has tons of people "flashing their stash".  I talked to the husband of a quilter, and he said to me knowingly, "I bet you have a huge stash".

Well this may be blasphemy, but for me the stash is not a good thing. I don't actually like scrappy quilts, and if I did make them I would use, well, scraps!  Which I am accumulating pretty rapidly.  I like using coordinated fabric lines for quick quilt projects, I have even done a couple of kits where the fabric was provided.  And when I design a quilt using my own fabric going shopping for the fabric is a whole lot of fun.

And I am finding that too much clutter in my crafting life sucks all the joy out of it.  All that stuff sits there sort of quietly nagging me to do something with it, and makes me feel guilty when I plan a new project and go buy new fabric that fits the design idea.

I am really trying to pare down to things I can finish. I can’t help but have a few UFO’s in the works, especially in different crafts, but am trying to pare down on random things I may never do. This is currently a big deal with me, I am going so far as to clean my studio and do some serious de-stashing. I have just found that the sheer amount of stuff, especially in my craft world, is making me miserable rather than bringing me the joy a hobby (or three) should bring.

The funny thing is that this is the second time I have come to that realization, I went through this with yarn a few years ago, did a ton of purging and pared it down to a small bin.  I have more than enough if I randomly need to start a project and can't shop -- but odds are the next project I knit or crochet I will start with a trip to a store or a wander online.

And with the quilts, I have a list of UFOs much longer than I posted a few weeks ago.  Most of them aren't started enough to qualify for a UFO challenge, but I have been through the weeding process twice now and those have stayed.  Some of them I have more than enough fabric for, so there will be more de-stashing once I pick the ones that make it into the project.  But it feels so much better to have a manageable amount of fabric in the wings, with a small cupboard of stuff I just really liked in case I want to make a small item without shopping.

And I found a link to some great projects to help with stash

Feel free to share your thoughts on stash building, does it work for you or just benefit fabric and/or yarn companies?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Super cool quilt basting technique

I am trying to finish a birthday quilt in the next couple of weeks, today I am pin basting it so I can get it quilted.  I just had to look up again my favorite basting method, so I thought I would share it with you.

Board Basting

This is just genius, I have used it for two or three quilts already, much better than crawling around on the floor, and spraying nasty spray basting, which I did before I read about this.

Here is the top I finished (pieced on my lovely Singer 66 from the 40s).  I'll have to introduce you to that machine soon.

And here it is being pinned:

I hope this helps someone, I sure love this technique.  I bought some pre-finished mdf boards at a hardware store, they are 6 feet long and work great.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A pause to post some UFOs.

I am pausing the sewing machine parade to list some UFOs (UnFinished Objects) for my participation in a challenge on a quilting forum on Ravelry.  We have to have at least 5 unfinished projects to participate, and although I have more than that I decided instead of listing them all I would just list the ones I hope to actually work on the next 3 months.  We will see how that goes.

#1 is really my top priority, as it is a birthday present due in early August.  I know, you are thinking "GET BUSY".  I need to get back on it tonight.

#2 is a quilted grocery/picnic cooler bag.  I have all the pieces cut:

I did a bit of test quilting, since it is so thick, with two layers of Insulbrite batting.  I am planning on using my new Davis New Vertical Feed, so I was wondering how it would do, well I shouldn't have worried.

It went through the thickness like butter, with no slipping or sliding of layers, and no catching of the batting on the feed dogs (since there aren't any!).  I love this machine!

The bag is based on the tutorial from SewMamaSew

#3 Is my Fourth of July quilt, pieced on my White Family Rotary treadle, I just need to sandwich and quilt it, and bind it.  

#4 is a simple Christmas table runner.  Yes folks, this has been hanging on the design wall since, oh, November.  

Those are Christmas trees.  Now that I have shared this, I really need to finish it.

# 5 is my guilt trip.  I won these blocks from the Block of the Month drawing at my guild meeting. Everyone worked so hard on them, so I feel guilty they are languishing in my studio.  There are a lot here, maybe even enough for two charity quilts.  

# 6 is one of those "easy little projects" that should have been done long ago, a set of potholders from squares I got at a yard sale.  

I think of these often when I use the ones in the kitchen that have gotten so ratty.  I think it's only been a year, but maybe more.  

The challenge only requires finishing ONE quilt or quilted project, so I am very hopeful to meet that and do a bit more.  I really want to finish these before starting on anything new, and even then it should be from the projects I planned and purchased for, that are lurking in little plastic bins.