Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NYE Mystery Fabs and Organization!

I will be participating in a mystery event on NY Eve day.  Here are the fabrics I picked out yesterday.   Usually I think my pictures are pretty true to color.  Not today.  The yellow is intense but it isn't this orange looking.  But even off it still matches the focus fabric.  Turquoise, yellow, stars and white.  I'm making a baby quilt.  Now to the cutting done. 

Organizing fabric has been a topic of conversation at Smallquilts yahoo group.  Several folks are organizing and cleaning up their sewing spaces.  How do you organize you fabric?  I've gone through several different methods but am very happy with what I have going now:

First -- all my 1/2 yard and bigger fabric is folded with my 8.5" ruler and piled with like colors on open shelves. Very easy to see and I know I have at least 1/2 yard when I pull them. 

Then fat quarters are all folded neatly and put in open baskets or box tops. (I really like the tops of copy paper boxes...) Recently I color coordinated these.  When I have a quick block to make I always check these boxes first.  They are easy to see and readily available without pulling out bins. 

I use Bonnie Hunter's of method for strips.  I cut 1.5", 2.0", 2.5" and 3.5" strips.  I mostly have 2" and 2.5" strips. These are kept in a 4 drawer clear plastic unit.  I also have several boxes of squares, triangles and half square triangles made up. (Of course, the hst are never the right size!) 

Sometimes I keep strings for string blocks.  These are currently stored in two lunch-bag-size gift bags.  Hum, probably time to make a few more of these blocks and clear out the bags so I can put more in.  

Last I have several clear plastic boxes where odd pieces are stored with like colors.  Some are small, some fat quarters.  Sometimes I rummage in these looking for a piece that matches another piece.  Eventually, I will move all of these odd ball pieces into the appropriate place.  But for now they hang out near the half yard and more fabric.  

What I haven't figured out is how to store charm packs.  I don't buy turnovers,  layer cakes, or jelly rolls.  Well generally I don't.  But, on occasion I do buy charm packs.  It makes me think I  am getting new, exciting fabric without spending a ton of money.  I should put them all in a basket so they are visible.  

I have been very pleased with my organizational design.  I am pretty good about keeping up with the fat quarters and the larger pieces of fabric.  I am not doing so well on the scraps.  I haven't gotten a basket under the cutting table yet.  (Thanks to many readers who suggested that as a way to contain them.)  My cutting table is big and becomes covered with detritus easily.  

I also use the box/basket system for my projects.  Everything for a particular project goes into a box when I start it.  When done for the day I try to put all the pieces back into the box including the directions and an index card with a note about what needs to be done next.  It keeps everything together so nothing gets lost.  I have a spot under the table where I can stash the baskets if I don't want to work on a project for a while. 

How do you organize?  Are you happy with your method?  Any changes planned for 2011.  Nothing like the beginning of a new year to make you think about what you have done in the past and what you want to do in the future.

Plans Today: 
• Finish loading bow tie quilt on Ruthie and quilt it. 
• Make binding for bow tie and apply it. 
• Finish hand sewing binding on Christmas Pineapple wall hanging
• Start cutting for the NYE mystery quilt
• Start sleeve for Sophia's newest sweater. (oooh, all done but one sleeve and it is so cute.) 

Shoot, if I want to get all that done I need to get up and get going! 


Monday, December 27, 2010

Design Wall Monday 12-27-10 -- Last of the Year

Not much studio time last week.  I did get these blocks sewn into rows.  OOPS some unsewing is coming my way today! 

I started two of these cute little baskets before I realized the instructions were wrong at one point.  The two shown on the right are about 4" too small.  The one on the left I made a year or ago using selvedges.  The instructions are at Pink Penguin.  If you make it with the pieced top as shown the directions are fine. It's where she says you make 2 6 x 2 patched pieces.  Actually the pieces are more like 9 1/2 by 2".  And, I won't guarantee that size cause I refuse to think that hard this morning. I finally figured out where I was going wrong and changed that measurement and got the little basket made. Now, what to do with the really little baskets! 

We drove up to Maryland to spend Christmas with Sophia and her parents.  Here she is with her new bear.  Yikes, it is bigger than she is! 

 Watch out Sophia -- Mommy might just want to steal that bear! 

Here's Sophia's bear with Mommy's bear.  Two Snuffles -- 30 years apart.  Grammie and Grandpa went a little wild with the size of the bear but we hope he will be well loved and snuggled. (And, a lovely trip around the world quilt too.) 

Today I will be spending time in my studio trying to finish the bow tie quilt.  Hopefully it will be done before the end of the month. (You know me, still trying to use more fabric than I acquire! I lucked out at Christmas and no one gave me any fabs...) And, I'll be getting ready for the annual Fabricholics Annonymous' New Years Eve Mystery. (sorry, but the group is closed until February.)  

Don't forget to pop over to Judy's site to visit more blogs showing off design walls. 

Happy Quilting All! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Photos of Table Runner

This is Mystery #16 from Mysteries for Relay yahoo group that Marge runs.  I haven't done all 16 mysteries but I have done many of them.  My hat is off to Marge because of her creative fund raiser for the American Cancer Society.  Several times a year Marge sponsors mystery quilt weekends.  For each $5 donation to ACS through her site she says thank you with a wonderful mystery quilt.  And believe me Marge writes a very good mystery.  They are all very doable although some of us take longer than others to finish them.  With no further ado, may I share Mystery #16?  Point of clarification "Duck, Duck, Goose," on the left, is the mystery part of this table runner. I decided to make it double sided so added an easy block done in Halloween fabrics and colors on the back. 

I decided it needed two sided binding to look right.  So, here's up close on the bindings: 

This side is the same green print as in the rest of the blocks.  And below is the black side.  Way fun to do.  You can also see a bit of the quilting -- I did some ditch stitching from the Duck, Duck, Goose side and was happy to see it worked fine for the Halloween side also.  Now to get this ready to mail, well, honestly it is so late now it won't make any difference if I mail it next week.  
Blogger and I are having quite the argument over the placement of these photos.  Sorry about that.  I hate it when blogger wins but some times you just can't fight it. 

Yesterday I finished quilting the Christmas Pineapple Quilt.  I also got the binding  sewn on by machine. Just need to do the hand sewing on that.  I also started sewing together the next bow tie quilt.  I doubt if I can sneak into the studio today but if so, I'll do some more on the bow tie blocks. Hey, even if I get a row sewn that would be further along! Hum, wonder what I will use for the backing? 

Now, to finish the Christmas cards and get them in the mail.  My goal was to have them mailed before Christmas day so I may actually succeed.  

Happy Quilting All! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Design Wall Monday 12-20-10

Something New/Old
This has graced my wall before and been replaced.  Today I put it up again because the wall was bare! It started as 9 squares but where I donate these likes bigger quilts so I needed to add some more.  I haven't liked adding a normal row so today I thought about breaking up the row. 
I added loose blocks I had hanging around. (Honestly, I still have enough blocks left over to make at least one more quilt this size....I make these blocks whenever I don't have another leader/ender project to work on.)
I have enough blocks already made if I unsew some of them.  I figure that will save some time so I don't have to find some fabric, cut, sew.  You get the picture.  Hum, now the big question is can I get this done this week?  And, if so, what do I put on the wall for next week??  It looks like the green one third one in from the right on the bottom might be too light.  It's green hearts on a white ground. If I have a decent green hanging around I'll change it.  If not, it's going in.  Don't forget to go to Judy's site to see more Design Wall Monday postings. 

I keep forgetting to take pictures of the finished table runner.  Soon, but don't hold your breaths! Update on the pineapple -- it's quilted except that lovely border.  Goll darn it now how do I quilt that thing?  In one start -- I don't want to tie off a million more strings! Or would tying strings be faster than the _|-|_|- I have planned? The middle horizontals should be at the top of the up and down lines. I was thinking of following the red, white, red section between the checkered board and piano keys. Clear as mud right? 

Today's plans are to get a few last minute Christmas presents.  And, to really buckle down and get our Christmas cards made and in the mail.  Which means a trip to the post office to buy stamps.  I'll be out and about for most of the day but I sure hope I have some sewing time. (note need to make C. cards... sewing time maybe non-existent!) 

Happy Quilting Everyone 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Moving Right Along -- Corners Done!

Spent part of Tuesday working on the corners for Christmas Pineapple wall hanging.  I know it looks like black is the dark color in the photos but it's really a dark green.  Here's what two of the corners will look like:

And the other two will look like this: 

I've got all the paper off the back of the blocks.  I should have put the borders on today but I spent my studio time doing a little clean up.  I went through a couple of plastic storage boxes trying to empty them so I could put my current projects in.  I have a box/basket for each project I am currently working on or have been working on.  When I want to switch over to a different project all I do is put all the pieces back into the box, cover and put on the shelf.  I've been trying to make a note of what I need to do next when I put it away.  When the quilt is done, all the left over fabrics get put back in the stash.  The box is ready for a new project.  

And, from the fabric I found in the two boxes I cut strips and squares.  Some I am gifting to another scrap quilter.  Just how many scraps do I need?  And, how small?  I figure anything smaller than 2" square I really don't want.  My strips are cut 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.5 inches.  I have a million squares cut at 3" but haven't decided what to do with them yet. Decisions, decisions.  

Still haven't finished the table runner but it is almost done.  Maybe I'll work on it tonight.  I want to show it at Saturday's guild meeting. 

Happy quilting all! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Design Wall Monday -- 12-13-10

I was very productive at the Sit and Stitch on Friday.  All of the border pieces were done but the corners are a real bugaboo. Here's what the pineapple looks like this morning. 

I planned out this corner while at the S&S.  But when I put it together Saturday -- um, don't like that all that much. Original plan is in the above picture.  While taking pictures this morning I tried a few alternatives:

Turned it. Maybe I should have turned this once more the red and white corner is against the green and white part. Will try later when I am upstairs. 

Then I thought I could make some sort of half a log cabin block and attempted to do it with some small pieces of the red fabrics.  One of the problems is the border pieces are an even number so they will end the same way every time. Start with a green, end with a white.  At least I think that is the problem.  I rather like the log cabin idea all though I am going to see what I can do improve it.  First is I will remove the green and white four patch.  I may also see about changing the last or first of the border pieces.  Perhaps I can have the greens end and begin in two corners and the whites end and begin in the other two corners.  There is going to be some unsewing happening in my life today. Go check out what's on other's design walls by visiting Judy's blog

What a shock it was to wake up and look out the window today.  
Who said it was going to snow?  I know I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to the news/weather report last night but you would think I would have heard the "snow" word. 

And then there's Raggs.  Shoot -- we must have gotten 3" of snow or so as measured on his leg!  And, I think it is still snowing.  

Lots to do today.  Happy Quilting All! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sit and Stitch Day

Yes, all day today is a sit and stitch with my guild.  

Except, wild dog was awake a lot last night because he was home alone a lot yesterday.  

I'm draggin' tail but will shortly be getting ready to go ... I'll be lucky if I get there by 11 am. Darn.

The pineapple is my major project today although I do plan to sew the binding on the table runner before I go and might get some hand sewing done on it. 

Happy Sewing All 

Sigh, does anyone know how to make this signature block stay centered? Just askin'.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Making Progress --

How do you center a two sided quilt?  Or, in may case, table runner.  That was my dilemma yesterday.  My solution was to put the quilt on the second side and leave pins outlining where the top side would go. I spray basted the batting to the backing, did the pin thing and then spray basted the top on it.  I was pretty close to the top being centered on the back.  Front of the table runner is fall themed with the back being Halloween blocks.  I hadn't given much thought to how to center it until I got to that stage.  Luckily it went pretty well.  It's been quilted and today I'll put binding on it.  But, wait, why make this easy.  I found this tip on how to do double-sided binding so I'm going to give it a try.

Monday I made a few more units for the pineapple quilt.  It is on hold as I finish the table runner that is a late wedding present.  Pictures once I get it finished. 

Monday I was doing a load of laundry in our HE washer.  The darn thing nearly spins itself off its platform when it goes into the final spin.  Silly me.  I had shrunk several squares of fabric and had spread them on a towel on the washer to dry.  You got it.  Several are now residing behind the washer not to be gotten until we get a new one or we move.  Both are unlikely to happen any time soon.  Here's how I was drying other fabric that I got from the guild auction a while ago.  Of course, Raggs liked to get these.

Friday I go to an all day sew in geared to finishing Christmas presents.  Heck, I'm not making all that many Christmas presents.  So, I'm going to pick a new old project to work on.  Or a new, new project to work on.  

I'm on to the studio.  Happy quilting all.  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Design Wall Monday -- 12-6-10

This pineapple top was started in a class with Jane Hall in, um, 1994 or so.  I was working at a quilt store and we were allowed to take one class a quarter for free.  So I signed up for this foundation pieced pineapple class. I hadn't taken a lot of classes at this time and I wasn't sure I would like the pineapple so I used old christmas fabrics I had in my stash.  Heck, you know the types -- basic calicos.  Of course I didn't finish the 9 blocks in the class.  So, every once and a while I would work on it.  

Fast forward about 3 years and I had finished all the blocks and had a plan for the borders.  But, of course I couldn't find any fabric that went with the 80's calicos.  After several years of searching I found a green.  I finished all the little angels I was going to use around the border, laid it out and yuck. You can check it out for yourself.  Didn't like it at all.  Don't worry, I just fused and cut out the angels no sewing. So came up with this border and auditioned it in a big size or a size that matched the logs on the pineapple. More to read here.   Yep, little ones looked better.  Sigh.  After deciding that I put it away again.  When I finished the bow tie quilt I decided it made some sense to pull out a project that I want to finish and use it as an ender.  Except I've been sewing more on this than the blocks for the back of the table runner.  Most of the pieces that are done are pinned and waiting to have another piece sewn on. And, I haven't really done any sewing since Friday. We'll see if I get bored with it again or if I get this UFO finished. Stop the presses or the computer or the sewing machine...  when I viewed the two previous posts about this border I realized I had liked the bigger one, not the little ones.  So why the heck am I making these itty bitty little pieces? Hum, why not go back to the big size that would take me way less time to make considering they are at least 2xs bigger than what I am working on now.  I'll let you know what I decide once I get back into the studio this morning. 

Today's plan is to finish all the blocks for the backing of the table runner. PUt them together and add whatever amount of extra fabric I need.   And, maybe get it basted.  (Depends on how long I hang out with the computer.)  The little pieces for the pineapple border will continue to get sewn.  I was thinking of doing them in groups of 8, which is exactly what the left corner is showing.  Who knows what I'll decide about that border!  

Don't forget to visit Judy's Design Wall Monday

Happy Quilting All!  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snow, Southern Style

We had snow yesterday evening.  And, Pat and I decided this was the perfect snow.  It snowed and stuck only on the grass.  

And, it looked beautiful in the lights. 

The snow didn't last long.  In the morning it was a beautiful sight  before the sun had come up. And, best of all it all melted before noon. 

Not much quilting has been getting done recently.  Saturday we spent part of the day up in Columbia celebrating a very good friend's birthday.  All of us worked at the same elementary school for many years.  Denise in the center was the birthday girl.  Her family did a great job surprising her including her son coming in from Colorado.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Stash Report

Fabric Acquired: 21.5 yards

Fabric Used: 22 yards
Net Fabric Acquired  : (.5) yards ( yeah used more than acquired!) 

Year To Date Report
Fabric Acquired:  64.75 yards
Fabric Used: 64.875 yards
Net Fabric Acquired:  1/8 yards 

OH MY GOODNESS! I hadn't realized I was actually in the use it up phase. Although 1/8th yard is nothing to write home about it does mean I haven't succumbed to buying more than using.  Now if I can make it through Christmas with no new fabric -- that would be great.  (Hum, how to politely ask my kids not to buy fabric for me this year...) I've acquired and used about 20 yards less than last year.  My big splurge was buying the fabric at the guild's auction. Duh -- never thought I could give fabric to be auctioned and I would be in better shape.  Live and learn.  

I worked really hard to finish a small baby quilt after Thanksgiving just so I had a better chance at keeping the fabric under control.  It is rainy here this morning so no pictures of the finished quilt.  But here it is on Ruthie.  
Batting: Warm and White, preshrunk. Thread: Robison-Anton white cotton thread top and bottom. Free motion stippling.  This took about an hour and a half to quilt once it was loaded.  The results are much more pleasing to me than a panto where my curves look funky and flat.  Why do I spend any time at all doing pantos?  Except before the move I was quilting enough and I had gotten pretty good on the pantos.  Now, most are looking pretty pathetic. 

One of the things I've finished is reorganizing my fat quarters.  I keep most of them in 4 open baskets/boxes. For years I've just been folding and stashing them away paying no attention to color.  Look how great they look now that they are color coordinated. Not all of these are fat quarters.  I have a few pieces that are bigger and many that are smaller.  If I need to make a single block or  get a color for an applique this is my go to collection.  Open, easy to see and now organized.  (of course, this doesn't include the 20 fq's I pulled for a quilt and now am not going to use or the new ones I bought a few weeks ago...) I did this after I straightened out my 2" strips drawer that had become unusable it was so jumbled.  Amazing how much more can be put in a neat space than a messed up space! (note to self -- time to use some 2" strips...) 

Today's question -- What do you do with smaller scraps before you cut them up and organize them?  I've recently finished 3 quilts big and small.  I have a pile of cuttings from after trimming them.  Right now the pile is spread out on the cutting table and a group is stashed in a shelf on top of my print fabrics.  I'm thinking of putting a basket under the cutting table so I can throw these scraps in until I want to deal with them.  How do you keep up with this?  

Today's Plan -- finish the backing on the table runner and maybe start the quilting. This has been on the burners (both back and front) most of the fall.  Now to get it done.  Part of the problem is I've changed what I like and don't like about the colors I've been pulling for it.  Enough is enough.  Let's get it finished! 

Now on to my day! Happy Quilting all!