Friday, January 31, 2020

January Stash Report and Goals Update

Not as much time as usual was spent in the sewing room in January because of a lot of other stuff going on, although there were some accomplishments. Let's see how this month ended up.

January Stash Report
IN this month and YTD: 13 yards (4 yds potential bkgd fabrics from on line order.   4-1/2 yds daisy bkgd fabric from Jackman's and 1 yd vine fabric from Jackman's.  3-1/2 yards add'l vine background fabric)
OUT this month and YTD: 15 yards (Strip flimsy, incl border - est 4 yards.   Have Faith flimsy, 6-5/8 yards (not counding block fabrics from others).  Backing and binding fabrics sent along with donation tops, 4-3/8 yards.)

Bright Strippy Race top

I'm annoyed about the amount of yardage added this month but at least I have more out than in. I ordered a yard each of some potential background fabrics for my Fan Medallion and rejected them all. I bought yardage locally of what I thought I would use for it, then changed my mind. So I bought more yardage to have enough of the print I finally selected. This means I have 8-1/2 yards of yellow prints I don't need but can't return. Sigh.

January Goals Recap: 
1. Make progress on the Have Faith WIP left over from STLMQG retreat in October.  DONE, completed flimsy. No photos yet, weather hasn't cooperated. 
2. Do something with baggie of 1-1/2" strips that I've been moving around on my sewing table for months. DONE, made the bright strippy race top.
3. Add final bottom border strip to WIGSP Piecing Group project. DONE
4. Find or make decision about background fabric for Fan Medallion blocks. Yes, finally selected background fabric and started stitching fans down. 
5. Keep up with Bee blocks. DONE
6. Find homes for donation tops and/or quilts. YES, sent five unquilted tops plus some backing and binding fabrics to someone who can finish them and donate them to a good cause. 

Background chosen

Donated top

February Goals: 
1. Hand sew remaining rows of the WIGSP* together and attach to top; add final top border if possible.
2. Start figuring out how to put together the Color Spoke BOM blocks from last year.
3. Layer, baste, and quilt the purple chunky churn dash.
4. Layer, baste, and start quilting Have Faith.
5. Keep up with bee blocks.

I think February will be like January, lots of non-sewing activities going on, so I'm scaling back my goals for what I can achieve in the sewing room. I am going to push myself to do as much hand sewing as possible on the WIGSP, although hand sewing makes my hands sore. We'll see how much I can get done. The project is so close to being a finished flimsy and I want it finished to show the girls who have worked on it with me for all these years.

*Work In Glacially Slow Progress

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Look What I Found

It's amazing what you might unearth when you sort through everything to decide what to move or leave behind after 35 years.

Or longer. I first moved to St. Louis from my parents' home near Kansas City in the summer of 1977, when I was engaged to a St. Louis guy. I moved into a small apartment above some stores. While I was living there I started making a quilt. I had no clue what I was doing, but I was an accomplished apparel seamstress, so I just jumped in.

I found that original project: Five blocks and a lot of cut pieces.

Lightweight poly-cotton background fabric. 

Crispy calico parts.

I am being ruthless and unsentimental about getting rid of stuff. This long-time UFO is now gone.

Also gone is my high school and college "time capsule," a foot locker full of memorabilia from back in the day. I read through a few pages of old diaries and shredded them. Junior high crushes just don't hold the fascination they once did! I dumped all the old theater programs, football tickets, etc. etc. etc. in the recycling. I put photos in an album (yes, I added pages into one of the albums I just worked on recently). Do you remember notes passed in class, folded into a tight triangle? Yes, I got rid of the first (and only!) note a boy ever passed to me. Also my first corsage. It was enjoyable to revisit all this stuff for an afternoon, but I don't need it and don't want to keep it. I filled several grocery bags with trash and took a load of paper stuff out to the recycling bin.

Have you done this kind of purging? How did you feel afterward? I'm feeling both lighter that this much is gone, and still overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in this house that has to be dealt with.

PS - that St. Louis guy? We'll be married 42 years in March. I think I'll keep him.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Fan Medallion Background

I had a specific concept in mind. I searched locally and didn't find anything. I ordered fabrics on line to choose from. When they came, I rejected them all. I expanded my concept a little bit and searched locally again. I found a couple of possibilities.

1. Daisy doodles, the right color and more in keeping with the funky bohemian vibe I was going for. I really wanted something more geometric, not so floral, but the color, scale, density, and non-directional aspect of this print work well.

2. Vines. Not at all the concept I wanted, much too traditional. But so pretty, and it complements all the prints in my fan blades so well. Also the right color, value, density, and non-directional.

I dithered. I laid out blocks on both fabrics at the shop and talked to other quilters shopping there that day. Opinions were mixed, whether I should stick to my original concept or go the traditional route. So what did I decide?

I talked myself into the daisy print. I bought enough yardage for background for all the blocks, 4.5 yards. I treated myself to a yard of the vine fabric just because I like it so much.

And then over a week at home, I dithered some more. I reconsidered. I asked here on the blog for opinions, and the results were mixed.

The more I reconsidered, the less I liked the daisies. I chose the vine print. 

I went back to the store and bought enough more of the vine fabric for background for all my blocks. Even though it's far away from my original concept, I love the look and I know this is the right background print for this quilt. It doesn't fight with or overwhelm the prints in the blades, but it's a strong enough print that it's not just a ho-hum boring background.

I've started stitching the fans to the background squares and I'm sure I made the right decision.

Linking up with
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, January 24, 2020

Whooping for a different reason

Is it okay to celebrate getting rid of stuff?

As part of my downsizing/destashing efforts, I found some unquilted tops that I know I'll never finish. I was able to find someone who will take them and get them finished for a charitable cause. (I won't mention who because they don't want to be inundated with unquilted tops. They'll blog about it if they want to.)

So today I'm whooping because these UFOs are going to a new home where they'll be finished, donated, and loved. A weight has been lifted off me - literally, nearly 12 pounds according to the postal receipt. Here's what I sent:

Modern Triangles: all from stash, pieces cut when I first got my die cutter a couple years ago. Worked on at Sew Me STL retreat in 2018 and 2019. This was always intended to be a donation quilt. 52 x 60"

Mitered striped borders demo sample: This was a partially finished top that I used for demonstrating how to match up and miter the stripes in the border. A few months ago I finished the last couple of border seams. I sent fabric for backing and binding along with this one. 52 x 64"

Emerald Isle: This was a BOM from a local quilt shop in 2016 or so. I modified the alternate blocks and the layout from their plan and added some of my own fabric to the monthly kits. It sat in flimsy status because I had no need or plan for it and it's too large for me to comfortably quilt myself, 66 x 79". I sent along binding fabric for this one. 

Solstice: Blocks from Pat Sloan's Solstice Challenge from several years ago, some of them modified and some additional blocks of my own. Like Emerald Isle, I had no need or plan for it and it's too large for me to quilt. ~60 x 80". I sent along binding fabric for this one, too, the same fabric as the sashing. 

Jagged spiral in batik: I had seen something inspiring by Wanda of Exuberant Color and I wanted to experiment and play, and this is my result. Again, no purpose or intended recipient and too big to quilt myself. 64 x 84"

For me the purpose of these tops was the pleasure of creating and making them. Pulling the fabrics or modifying the shop's concept and designing them. It didn't hurt that I was able to work on some skills and practice accurate piecing, too. 

So these tops are moving on. Whoo-hoo! Someday they'll be finished quilts and will be donated to new owners who will get some use out of them. 

In other purging and moving news:
 - I finished sorting and filing the photos. It took weeks. I now have 11 new albums ranging from early 1970's to about 2006. I guess everything was digital from that time on because I don't have prints later than '06. Anyway, now the albums take up less than one bookshelf instead of 3 huge cartons in the closet. An awful lot of duplicate photos, photo processing envelopes and negatives got trashed. 

 - I reached out to friends in the guild to see if anyone is interested in non-quilting fabrics, and if so I'll bring them to the guild's fabric swap next month. There's some interest, so I'll bring them. Two huge shopping bags. 

- A friend will take my leftover Fidget Quilt materials and trimmings. 

 - I'm sending all my old counted cross stitch patterns to someone who would like them. I did a lot of stitching before I got into quilting. The patterns are this person's taste and she can use the canvas and design books. 

- I've been going through files (this has been ongoing for months) and shredding what's not needed. I found personal property tax receipts going back to the mid 1970's - apparently we just shoved the current year in the folder with all the old ones. Are we packrats? After my most recent shredding session, I've once again filled the recycling bin with shreds. 

Overall, I've gotten file drawers down to one banker box for my dad's stuff (includes small heirlooms) and 3 file drawers for our stuff. Two empty file cabinets will go in the estate sale, not be moved. 

 - Even though I regularly donate no longer wanted clothing and shoes to the local charity who picks up in my neighborhood, over the holidays we needed to paint the ceiling in our closet so I made my husband purge his stuff. I had a lot of sample shoes from when I worked at a footwear company. I also had a lot of professional jackets and skirts that I no longer wear.  Several enormous trash bags of clothes, shoes, and purses went to others who can use them.  Since we had to empty the closet anyway, we designated a lot of non-clothing stuff to go in the estate sale and got it out of there. 

 - I'm trying to estimate how much stuff we have to be moved. Movers/PODS want to know how much stuff and how much space it will take up so they can estimate a cost. So I'm going through all the rooms deciding what to keep and what to part with so I can count up how much is being moved. My head is about to explode.

The answer to the above question is Yes, we are packrats. We've been in this house for 35 years and we've accumulated way too much stuff. 

But I'm making progress, and I've gotten rid of a lot of stuff already. The plan is to eventually have an estate sale. But meanwhile I'm whooping over the progress made. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Have Faith Project Back on the Wall

Last year the girls in the Sew Bee It bee made Have Faith blocks for me, story here. I gave them focus fabric and asked them to use navy, aqua, or mustard for the large plus in the blocks they made.

Each block has low volume backgrounds and the focus fabric for the small Plus.

The blocks are shown side-by-side above, but I'm adding pieced sashing to my layout, using a lot of 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" low volume pieces. At Sew Me STL retreat I was able to piece together all the LV portions of the sashing.

Other projects took priority since then so this project has been in time out, but now I can get back to it. I put the blocks and sashing bits back up on the design wall. The pieced sashing units and the placement of accent colors will create additional Plus motifs

Working from the wall, I added the vertical sashings to each block. Then I pieced the horizontal sashing rows. Here's where this project stands now, ready to sew the rows together for a flimsy.

If I can stay focused, I should be able to have a completed flimsy by the end of the month. It will finish at about 62 x 76".

This will become a donation quilt, probably for Hands 2 Help later this spring, depending on the charities' needs. I like that the colors in this are cheerful and modern, neither masculine nor feminine, and not juvenile, so this quilt could go to anyone.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Monday, January 13, 2020

Fan Medallion: the Background Search Continues

Last update, the fan blades were laid out on the wall and sewn together in trios. The plan was to find a better background than this yellow print. I'm afraid since this is a directional geometric, where the block seams come together it'll be too chopped up and distracting.

I definitely want something in the yellow family and enough of a print to read print, not tone-on-tone or solid-ish. I'm going for an allover funky vibe. For my test blocks I used an old print, probably early 2000's and no longer available. I only had enough for the test blocks. This would have been perfect if I could have gotten more.

I've been looking for the right background print since before Thanksgiving. I couldn't find what I wanted at any of the local shops so I looked on line. Over a month I debated, put options in carts and on design walls, eliminated some prints, added others. Finally after the new year I ordered the minimum one yard cuts of four different prints, planning to order more of the one I liked. I need at least 4 yards, preferably 4-1/2 yards.

Option 1: Crescent geometric. I had high hopes for this print because it's a bold but all-over geometric and the color is the butterscotch yellow I'm looking for. But in reality those crescents are life size grinning teeth. Creepy!

Option 2: Safe...but boring dots. Ho hum.

Option 3: Tight allover floral. From a print standpoint this would work well. But the color is much too harsh, too mustard. In reality, the color is even worse than it looks in this photo. So many yellows now are mustard cast, not butterscotch cast. I'm looking for more of an amber.

Option 4: Foulard on a lighter ground. This was iffy anyway, not the concept I was looking for, but I thought it might be different enough to work. It has little bits of  yellow, orange, and green in it. Um, boxer shorts or hospital gown, anyone?

I can't even begin to say how disappointed I was with the fabrics I ordered. And annoyed, because I spent about fifty bucks on prints that won't work and that I don't need, but their minimum order was one yard each.

So I went shopping locally again and convinced myself to expand my vision a little bit. Maybe I could find something that would work, even if it doesn't look like what I originally saw in my head.

Option 5: Daisy doodles. This could work. It's the right yellow cast, dense enough to not look choppy where the block seams meet, and whimsical enough for the overall funky look I want.

Option 6: Autumnal vine. This really complements the colors in my fan blades, but it's much more traditional that what I thought I was going for. It's kind of expected. I really like it a lot, but it will give the whole quilt a more traditional vibe than what I thought I wanted. But it's really pretty with the fan blades.

So, I need your input. Do you like option 5 or option 6 better? Why?

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, January 10, 2020

Strips, a Finished Flimsy

It's colorful, to say the least. After a black stop border to contain the riot of color, the outer border is magenta with orange dots. The colors are reading a little warm in the photo above taken during the "golden hour" but are more true in the shot below.

From an annoying baggie of strips that I kept moving around on my cutting table, this really turned out okay. With borders, it finished about 52 x 62" for a lap quilt or a good size for a donation quilt for a kid.

And one more photo because, wow. The sun was glowing through the fabric as it was hanging from my deck rail.

Link ups:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Alycia Quilts
Wendy's Quilts and More
My Quilt Infatuation

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Strips, Continued

So I remeasured the length of my pieced strips and found that I had mentioned the wrong measurement in my last post. I could have continued race-style, but that would have yielded a very long skinny piece. Using the actual length I had, I was able to cut it into three sections.

After joining them together and squaring up, I ended up with this piece measuring about 41" by 51". 

Since the design wall is occupied, the closet door will have to do. Please pardon the blue tape.

41 by 51" is a little small for a lap quilt so I'll think about adding a border. I'll see what I can find in my stash; surely there's something that'll go with all these colors. Meanwhile I don't want to handle it too much - there's a lot of seams and until I can get the edges staystitched and a border added, I don't want it to fray apart too much. 

I do like how well all the colors ended up playing nicely together. I started with such a random pile of strips that it could have been a mess. The black and white connectors definitely help. My husband really likes this, which surprised me that he would go for something so wildly colorful, but he spontaneously admired it hanging on the door. It's so not his usual color palette! 

It's destined to be a donation quilt. Fun to make, to enjoy the experience of figuring out what to do with the big baggie of strips, and just mindless sewing. It's very satisfying to see it come together into a whole that's better than the sum of its parts. 

Monday, January 6, 2020


One of my goals for January was to clean up and regroup in the sewing room, set priorities, and work on finishing some WIPS. Well, you can guess how that turned out. The sewing room is now a bigger mess. It's good, though, because actually two WIPs are now being worked on.

The first started as a baggie of strips. I had cut a lot of 1-1/2" strips for a class that was later cancelled. I mean, a lot of strips, all colors, an over-filled gallon zipper baggie so stuffed with them that it couldn't close. Of course, I forgot to take a picture. I've been moving this baggie of strips around on my cutting table for months. They keep spilling out and I keep cramming them back in. Time to do something with them.

Maybe something mindless on the order of a "race" quilt. I pulled all the bright colors, about 3/4 of the strips in the bag. There were a lot of bright pink, orange, and green prints, very random with a lot of Kaffe mixed in. In order to tame the brightness, I made black and white connectors to splice in when joining the long strips.

I have no idea how many strips there were and what the length came to. I just know it took about an hour to sew the first long seam. Keeping the tails untangled was the most difficult part of the process.

Now I'm up to 16 strips wide, and over 190 inches long. The general look of the piece is starting to take shape.  Those black and white connectors fall randomly wherever, and they add a bit of sparkle to the overall riot of color.

I need to figure out what size I'll end up with and decide whether to keep going "race" style or ???.
This will end up being a donation quilt so I'll check the sizes wanted and see what I can do.

Meanwhile, the rest of the strips - low volumes and dull or neutral colors - are still in that baggie, but at least now it closes and it fits in my parts drawer with other baggies of cut pieces. Those pieces will have to come out and play some other time. I'm having fun with these brights for now.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt