Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lessons Learned in Year One - Fabric Magic

As threatened, I thought I would share with you some of the things I have learned in my first year of quilting.  Today's lesson:  I have discovered that fabric in my stash self-generates.  That is, it NEVER goes away.  Here's my proof:

What to do on a day that looks like this: start one of these!  It was inevitable!

I have greatly enjoyed looking at all the different versions of this Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt (tutorial here) but I was particularly excited about jumping in and making a dent in my growing stash of fabric.   Perfect project...or so I thought.  Sitting in my sewing room was a pile of fat quarters, scraps and strips remaining from this quilt:

and other projects.  As I was pleased with the overall look of this quilt, I thought I would START my scrappy quilt with this bundle of fabric and dig deeper into my stash for any additional fabric to get the desired size.  So the ironing and cutting began (side bar:  do you iron your scraps before cutting?  Another story for another day).  
My goal is a 5 block by 6 block quilt, needing 180 strips.  My cutting results:

1.  Approx. 180 2.5 X 16 inch strips
2.  Little pile of selvages (love what folks are doing with these, so of course I am collecting)
3.  Little pile of 2.5 inch strips shorter than 16 inches (I am sure I can find a use for these)
4.  Little pile of scraps, threads for disposal
5.  A BIG PILE of remaining fabric!  How can that be???
Remember all the cat fabric, same thing happened there!  Yikes!  In my first year of quilting, I have built a little fabric stash that I am trying to keep under control (limited storage space).    So, why is it that even when I try to "use up" my fabric, it does not seem to go away?
A.  I love every little square inch and even the smallest scrap has potential value.
B.  I am grossly underestimating how far, say, a quarter yard of fabric will go.
C.  There is something magical in the spray starch I use that is altering the fabric's cellular makeup causing growth mutations when I am not around to observe.

Your vote on this topic is greatly appreciated!  In the mean time, I am linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, where people actually DO seem to use up their fabric!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

PS  On the other hand, I am often reluctant to use up the last piece of a particularly lovely fabric...I am so conflicted!  Stay tuned for more drama with my stash...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Staying Warm By My Sewing Machine!

The uber-cold weather continues here in the New England.  Rats, that means I just have to spend more time with my sewing machine.  What a sacrifice!

The first finish for the week is a little pillow for the sewing/guest room/office.  Nothing fancy here except for the very lovely fabric...such great texture.  My bad, I only purchased enough to make this little pillow.  A bit more would have been nice to match the pattern.  Oh well, next time.  I did follow this tutorial from Svetlana for the zipper closure.  Quite straight forward and much easier than an invisible zipper.

Next the wine themed table runner and coasters:

As you can see, they work quite well!

Do you remember the first cat quilt and cat bag?  Well, I think that cat fabric had more than nine lives in my fabric stash!  So, I decided to make this quilt for my dear sister-in-law Kim who is a SERIOUS cat lover and has had a tough year.   I am calling this quilt Cat Smiles and I hope it brings a smile to her.  I used this Moda tutorial by Amy Smart and added a border for a little extra size.

I did a loopy meander quilt with an occasional flower.  I really love the quilting part! 
 I found more of that Cat Amore fabric for the fun!
 Cat smiles!
And hand sewing the binding in front of the fire while watching mindless TV, well that's making the most of a COLD night!

Finally, this week I finished my recap of my First Year of Quilting!  These are just the quilts:
It has been an amazing, fulfilling, fun year!  And special thanks to all of you who stopped by here from Amanda Jean's Finish It Up Fridays! 

PS I have a LONG list of potential projects for Year Two.  Do you ever run out of ideas for projects?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy One Year Anniversary!

One year ago I wandered into a local fabric store (which just happened to be Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, NH!!) in search of a diversion from the complete and total lack of snow to play in.  Fortunately, it was extremely quiet in the store and a very nice (but unsuspecting) employee asked "Can I help you?"  If she only knew what she was about to get into!  MUCH later, I left the store with the ingredients to make my first quilt, the rest is history.
Really, what was I thinking?  This baby has near 1,000 pieces and I was guesstimating a 1/4" seam with my little old sewing machine!  Yikes!  BUT, I loved every minute of putting this together!   It is in my queue waiting to be quilted.  I think I am getting close to being ready to take it on!

In honor of my One Year Anniversary, I have figured out how to do the picture collage thing and thought I would share my first year results (or almost finishes)!
First, the bags
All the other little projects!
And the quilts (including some that I still need to quilt and blog about).
As you can see I have had some fun!  For this old accountant, to be able to exercise the creative/artistic side of my brain has been so rewarding.  I continue to learn with each new project; in fact I try to select projects that will test my skills.   Therefore, I have decided to start a periodic series of blog posts to share some of the big and small things I have learned in this sewing adventure...stay tuned!

And because it is Wednesday, I am linking up with:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
PS  One of my favorite aspects of my Quilting Life is the interaction with all of you who so kindly read my blog and welcome me to yours!  Thank you all!  I will endeavor in Year Two to be an even more active participant in that community!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Frigid Finish It Up Friday Fun!

Hi!  Here we are at another frigid Friday in the Northeast.  What do you do when the high temp for the day is 16 degrees F?  Sew, of course!  The "serendipity" quilt that comes from the left-overs of this quilt.  A fun, fast and easy use of a jelly roll...two little quilts!

And to keep all my projects close by, I needed a bright and happy bag (that I talked about here):

And some progress on the wine themed table runner:
Linking up with crazy mom quilts and all the wonderful inspirational linky posts!  Looking forward to more productive time despite (or as a result of?) the cold weather!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pondering the next big project.... the mean time, I am still working on some smaller projects!  On New Years Day I dragged my very talented sister-in-law Wendy to one of my favorite LQS Quilters Common in Wakefield MA.   She is a great example of why I love this quilting community.   Wendy is into making amazing, very detailed, heirloom quality Civil War reproduction quilts and I, on the other hand, love anything bright and bold! Our styles could not be more different BUT we both had great fun shopping and found some beautiful fabrics for each other!  By the way, as a surprise, Wendy whipped up this beautiful the button accent:

So, on that shopping trip, I picked up some lovely Amy Butler fabric (with Wendy's help) and had to make this bag:

The pattern is the Market tote tutorial by Bijou Lovely.  Fun!  And functional!

In my early days of building my modest fabric stash, I got a great deal on a little pile of wine themed fat quarters (OK, go with what you know).  I have been pondering what to do with them and have decided on a table topper.  This is a WIP on my cutting board:

Between playing with these small projects, I have also been noodling about the next BIG project:  a quilt for my bed.  Last fall we finally had our bedroom and bathroom painted and remodeled to remove the 80's look (think gold paint and pink tile...Yikes!).   As we needed to make color decisions quickly, we went with a neutral color (what a shock) Benjamin Moore Smoke Embers gray.  I would love to do something modern and spa-like.  With the gray walls and the green uber-comfy chair (the ONLY survivor from the early days), I am collecting cool color fabrics to inspire me.  And then there is the question of what quilt pattern to use...oh my!  We may go without a quilt for a very, very long time!
 Samples of fabric with the green chair...
 I LOVE this fabric...but the green does not actually match the chair and my husband thinks it is too "flowery"...
Comments or suggestions anyone???  Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
PS  I really, really must focus on the stack of quilts on the rack waiting for me!  I am thankful that I have lots of projects to keep me busy!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bordering on Healthy!

Despite my foggy state of mind this week, I was able to muster the focus needed to add borders to finish two quilt tops.  The first I told you about on Wednesday's post :

I also completed the sashing and borders for my very first BOM, the Craftsy 2012 with the wonderful Amy Gibson (who seriously has the cutest picture of her twin babies on her blog today...but of course I would love that!  Reminds me of my little twin boys....focus, Kathy, focus...!)...

Honestly, I don't love all these blocks, but as a beginner quilter it was the perfect class for learning lots of new techniques.   So much fun and so rewarding each month!  It too will join the growing pile of quilts awaiting quilting attention.  This one has a slight advantage as I have also signed up for the Craftsy class with Leah Day who will (via blogosphere) hold my hand as I quilt each block.  

Feeling much better today, thank you!  Linking up with Finish it Up Friday at crazy mom quilts and TGIFF! 

Have a great weekend!  Stay healthy!

PS OK, I know you want to see, so here are my twins and their big brother:
...about 23 years ago.   Seems like just yesterday....

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Cold Front

Things have been a little slow going this week at the sewing machine.  I am deep in the midst of my annual post-Christmas cold.  I am not sure which is worse...the cold symptons or the hangover from Nyquil.   Ginger tea with a squeeze of that's tasty medicine.

Soldiering on, I did finish the first of the two quilt tops that will result from the Serendipity quilt pattern; it now joins the three others in the "waiting until Kathy is brave enough to quilt us" pile.

I started to assemble the quilt top from the Craftsy Block of the Month.  Almost done...

And then I thought I would throw together a quick pillow for my sewing room/guest bedroom/office but the zipper was too small, the pillow insert was too big, I couldn't decide on the fabric...
...clearly cold induced foggy thinking!   It's Wednesday, so you know what that means:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

PS  I am thankful this is only a cold.  Did you get your flu shot?  Amazing statistics this year on the number of flu cases already.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

First Finish for 2013!

What a nice way to start my sewing year...starting AND finishing a table runner and set of coasters for my son to give as part of a wedding gift package.  I even broke into my small pile of Flea Market Fancy 6 inch squares for this project.   Now, that's a party.

 I found this backing at my LQS.  Lovely enough to make the backside viewable!

And I had to use a few more of those precious squares to make coasters.

Linking up with crazy mom quilts.  Have a wonderful weekend!

PS  I love working on these small projects...always something new to learn and opportunities to practice quilting.  But I really must get brave now and go  back to finishing some quilts!

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