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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Getting organized...

Organizing my craft room is one of those unending, always there tasks.  I felt a bit more inspired to at least get my stash cleaned up a bit when I saw this pin on one of Quilted Cupcake's boards just a few days ago.  Thanks to Amazon Prime's quick shipping, I had a stash of comic book boards waiting for me when my work week ended on Friday, and I was ready to go.

Some of the bits of fabric seemed a bit small to need to put on a bolt.  I tried it with a few half yards of fabric, and loved it.  The best part of having such different pieces of fabric on bolts is that, all stacked together, it's easy to see how the fabrics could work together.

I've arranged them by theme or color, just however it felt right.  I'm sure they'll move around quite a bit as I pull them and use them, and as new members join their ranks.  Arranging them by theme or color also has the nice effect of combining some of my newer fabrics with the older ones from my stash, as well as the older ones from my grandmother's stash.  It's fun to see how the old meets with the new.

There is far more organization to do.  I've got lots of little ideas, like installing a magnetic strip on the wall to hold my scissors, finish the window treatment in there (maybe like this or this?), and a thread rack like this - genius!  But of course, there's always the big scale stuff, like where do you store a huge amount of packaged batting?  (My one Black Friday online score - tons of packages of crib size Warm n Natural batting from Joann for almost nothing!)

Back at it I go....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My (Quilty) Christmas Wish List

Not too long ago, my hubby found vintage Sears Wish Books online, and we dove into the nostalgia like it was the day they arrived in the mailbox!  These days, our Christmas wishes are a little more complicated, given the realities of the world.  The toys we want are a little more expensive, and matter quite a bit less, in the grand scheme of things.  The wishes we really hope to come true aren't nearly as easy to buy - you can't just flip through a catalog and put a circle around health, happiness, and over all well-being for those you love.

Now, to be fair, there are still some material things I covet.  Literally, some material.  Fabric.  Yummy, nummy fabric to fuel my quilting fire.  I'm trying to work through my stash, and so I'm (trying) to hold off on buying too much new stuff.  But a girl can dream, right?

I tend to do most of my coveting over at the Fat Quarter Shop, so, while I know most of these are available in lots of places, I'm linking over to FQS for these, and all images are from FQS too! 

Santa, if you're listening...

     I fell in love with Strawberry Fields the moment I saw it - it's no wonder I want this one desperately as well!

    These colors are absolutely dreamy.  Plus, who can resist those little birds??

    My other passion?  Cakes.  How could I not love, love, love this?

    Speaking of cakes, I feel the need to pick this up, if for no other reason than for me to make a quilt to match the most recent cake I made....

    I adore Allison's Cluck, Cluck, Sew blog...  the tutorials are amazing, and I simply love looking at the work she does!  This bundle of fabric that she's put together is simply gorgeous, and I can see making some lovely, modern baby quilts from every square inch of it. 

    ... because there has to be something on the list that I absolutely cannot get right now, right?  The colors - delicious.  The expressions on the little faces? Priceless! Want, want, want!

    So, Santa?  You still reading this?  I've been a good girl this year, I swear!  **grin** 

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Ahh, long weekends....

    I must admit, my favorite part about Thanksgiving is the fact that the long weekend starts with the big event, and then its a lovely, long weekend of relaxation afterwards.  I host Thanksgiving in my family, and even though we don't have a big crew, it's still a lot of busyness and stress to get the big meal done without a hitch.  (Who are we kidding - there's always a hitch, but that's what creates memories, right?)

    Once the turkey and pie are served, the dishes are done, and we're all lazing around on the couch, my mind starts to wander to all the fun things I get to spend the next three days doing.  I am NOT a Black Friday shopper.  You couldn't pay me enough to go anywhere near a mall this weekend.  I planned to stay at home and craft, craft, craft!

    For the most part, I did! I made one quick trip out for crafting supplies and new quilt fabric.  But other than that, I shut myself into my sewing room, and happily worked away.  So, what did I accomplish?

    Managed to get a couple of mug rugs made (mainly so that I could break into a small FQ bundle I bought a while back):

    ... made some awesome Christmas tree ornaments using this tutorial (so pretty!!!)

    ... and got all the blocks for a new quilt pieced up.

    (Just a few of the blocks up on my design wall.... there are 144 of those little suckers to get up there!) 

     (Dontcha just love neat little stacks of fabric?  Squeeee!)

    (Easy peasy piecing.... woot!)

    The new quilt features Fa la la la la by French General for Moda, and I only had one charm pack when I finally realized what I wanted to do with it.  The Road to Tennessee is a simple block to piece, but it does require a whole lotta charms when you want it to be lap sized.  Thankfully, my LQS had a bunch of them still in stock, so I was able to grab em, and get to piecing.  I'm hoping that this week, after work, I can slowly start to get the blocks laid out and pieced together.  If I'm very lucky, I'll be quilting it by this weekend!

    By the way, the mug rugs and ornaments are available over in my Etsy shop, ifn you're so inclined...

    Also, thanks to those who commented on my last post about my FMQ frustrations.  I think the bottom line is that it needs to go in the shop.  As soon as I can "borrow" back my old Kenmore from my mama (so that at least I can keep doing some piecing!), I think I'll take her on in...  I'll miss you, mon cheri!

    Linking up over at Skip to my Lou!

    ... And at Freshly Pieced!
    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Why, oh why?

    Quilting has been an on-again off-again love affair for me for years. Decades maybe. This has been a good stretch - the better part of a year, and I still can't get enough! I spent hours the other day - HOURS! - looking at other quilting blogs and sites, until my head was bursting with ideas and I couldn't wait to get up to my sewing room. This is not an unusual occurrence these days.

    So then, being blessed with all this inspiration and willingness to do, why in the world would my sewing machine pick NOW to betray me? Oh, little machine, what did I do to you?

    Ok, it's not really that bad. She's still sewing straight lines like a dream. Piecing is no problem, whatsoever. Even straightline quilting is a piece of cake. But somehow, while changing bobbins, I knocked something loose/off/wrong, and suddenly, my free-motion-quilting machine would free-motion-quilt no more.

    This poor quilt has been languishing with one section of awesome stipple quilting, and a whole lotta pinholes where I've ripped out attempts to quilt the rest. I'm just dying to get the quilt finished, because I need that sense of satisfaction that it's done.

    So, the dilemma - do I wait until my machine behaves again and stipple quilt the rest? Or do I rip out the existing stipple quilting and do some straight line quilting?

    My machine had better get its act together soon, because the quilt tops are starting to pile up!

    Side note: the underlying cause here? No clue. I have no idea why my machine is doing this. I took the sucker apart and cleaned out enough lint to make a hamster-sized ball. New needles. LOTS of new needles. Adjusted the tension every way to Sunday. I'm thinking I need to take it in for service? But how do I part with it for that long? If you have any ideas, please, PLEASE feel free to let me know!

    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

    Linking up at Freshly Pieced! 

    Fresh Poppy Design

    ... and at Fabric Tuesday!  

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    My foray into hand stitching binding...

    I mentioned making a bonus tablerunner out of some scraps in my last post.  The piecing was super fast, as it's a relatively small project, and it's always fun to get another quick project out of a longer, more laborious one. 

    The real bonus here was having a project small enough to give hand stitching the binding a shot.  I've been avoiding trying it because I thought it was difficult, time consuming, insert-any-old-excuse-here.  Machine stitching has always been the default, mostly because I get that yummy instant gratification feeling of the project finally being done!

    Last night was movie night at mom's house, and I usually bring a sewing project along, so the tablerunner seemed like a good option.  One viewing of Bridesmaids later, and the whole thing was done!  And it looks great! FAR better than machine stitching!!!  Yippee!!

    Linking up over at Happy Quilting by Melissa for Trying New Things Thursdays!!

    My first link up! WIP Wednesday

    For ages, I've loved being able to follow linkups all around the quilting and crafting blogosphere.  I'm giddy that, now that I've got a blog of my own, I can actually participate in the linkiness! Today, I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced!

    In reality, I have  more WIP's than I can count.  I started to create a to-do list this past week of next steps in all of my current WIP's.  It was a long list.  A very long list.

    Just coming off my business trip last week, I had to play a lot of catch up this weekend, and didn't have much time to work on any fun quilty stuff.  I did, however, manage to make some progress on my Strawberry Fields Double Hourglass quilt!  I think it's now ready to be quilted.

    Maybe.  Over the weekend, I got both the inner and outer borders on.  Only problem is, I can't decide if I want an outer OUTER border.  The current inner and outer borders are only 2" wide, which seem kind of narrow to me, given the size of the blocks, etc.  So, a big fat 6" border is probably in order.  We'll see what happens - I think this quilt has a mind of its own sometimes.

    (In the background there, you can see some traditionally pieced Christmas blocks.  Those were in my grandmother's stash, which I inherited years ago.  It looks like she had pieced them, and then ripped a couple apart to repiece? That's on the to-do list for this weekend.  I'm thinking they'll make a nice wallhanging!) 

    I did manage to get a fun little bonus out of piecing this quilt.  I had some funky chunks left over when I was cutting my strip sets for the blocks.  They've been looking at me for the last several weeks, just begging to be turned into a table runner.  A little quick piecing, a quick little diagonal line quilting, and voila! Tablerunner!

    (Please pardon my dusty table...)

    More on completing that little gem in my next post...

    But for now, I've got my first WIP Wendesday post under my belt!  I think that's been a WIP in itself... 

    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    First up...

    As I just started getting back into quilting, I discovered Moda. 

    Oh.  Mah.  Gahhh. 

    The last go-round at quilting, things like Jelly Rolls weren't around.  Or, if they were, I had no idea about them.  I started quilting when I was in college, and shopping at the local quilt shops wasn't in my budget, so Jo-ann's it was!  This time around, I'm spending almost all of my shopping time at local shops.  I went into Cutting Edge Quilts a while back, just to poke around. 

    Immediately, I was drawn to one lovely little nugget.  The Strawberry Fields Jelly Roll.  Heavenly. 

    I picked it up, and there it sat, on a shelf, for months and months.  I had never worked with a Jelly Roll, so I spent ages googling patterns and trying to find just the right one.  Part of me didn't even want to untie it - it was just so pretty!  

    I finally decided just to suck it up and break that bad boy open.  

    Pull the ribbon.  

    Shake 'em all loose. 

    Ok, well, I didn't really shake them.  Neat and tidy.  Yup.   

    I had seen the double hourglass tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew and thought it would be just the thing to do with my pretty, pretty strips.  

    So far the blocks have come together very easily!

    I've pieced the blocks together to form the body of the quilt, but no pictures of that just yet.  Hoping maaaaaybe I'll have a little time this week to put some scrappy borders on?  Darn business trip this week will suck up lots of time, but this little girl will definitely be quilt ready within the week!