Sunday, October 5, 2014

Potholders: Just Fooling Around

I'm not a football fan. In fact, sports in general simply bore me. But my sister is a rabid Steelers fan, so I made these for her birthday.

I found the Steelers fabric in a bag of scraps which was a gift from one of my other sisters. They were oddly shaped pieces which is why I had to piece the front of the potholders with that black strip. I backed them with some heavy red fabric that was the wrong weight for quilting or doll clothes. And instead of batting, I used some Table Felt (a.k.a. Silence Cloth) which had been sitting around in my sewing room for years. I think it will be thick enough for functional potholders. Even if it's not, I doubt if that will be a problem. My sister was so pleased with my gift that she plans to use them as decorative objects so that they will "stay nice." 

Because this was a small project, and I was making it up as I went along, I decided to experiment a bit with the binding. I used 2.5 inch wide strips cut crosswise to the grain of the fabric and folded it bringing the long cut edges together. (This is what I usually do with all my quilts because it protects the edge of the quilt which tends to get a lot of wear.)

 On one of them, I sewed the raw edges of the binding to the raw edges from the front of potholder using a 1/4 inch seam and using the standard method of mitering the corners. (Here's a tutorial if you've never done this before.) I brought the folded edge of the binding to the back and then glued it down using dots of Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It. (I also tried Jillily Studio's Appli-Glue and Elmer's Washable School Glue. I liked Roxanne's best. It's a little thicker and seems to grab hold more quickly.)

Having the folded edge of the binding glued down makes it a lot easier to machine stitch the other side of the binding because it can't shift and is not distorted by pins. And this is important because I was planning to attach the folded edge of the binding by sewing a line of stitches right next to the binding, in the ditch so to speak,  on the front of the potholder. I've found that if I use a thread color that matches the binding, the stitches blend in with the binding and do not really show up on the front of the quilt. On the back of the quilt, the stitches stay on the binding because the part that is folded to the back is wider than the part that is in front.

On the second one I sewed the binding to the back of the potholder. Then I brought the folded edge to the front and sewed it down by machine right on the binding. At the corners I sewed a little past the corner, then reverse stitched back to it before lifting my presser foot (with the needle down) and pivoting the potholder to go down the next side. In effect, I was back-stitching in both directions on each corner. (There's a close up below, though I don't know how well you can see it since both the binding and the thread are black.)

In this second method, I liked the reinforcement of the corners, but when stitching down the binding from the front, my stitches sometimes wandered off the binding in the back. But hey, it's just a potholder. And that's a liberating thought considering how tense I sometimes get about my quilts.

So on the whole I was pleased with my quickie project. I wish I had chosen a white or unbleached muslin for the backing so that the lines of quilting wouldn't show up so much. But as I said, it's just a potholder. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Carolina Chain

About two months ago I hurt my right shoulder. I'm not sure how I did it, but I was feeling pain whenever I lifted my arm up or to the side. And despite physical therapy, it got worse before it got better. I couldn't drive for a couple of weeks, and I couldn't even use a fork with my right hand. But the worst part was that I couldn't sew or quilt or wield my rotary cutter for what seemed like an eternity.

This was especially frustrating because just before my injury I had started a new project which I was eager to work on. I'd been watching one of Bonnie Hunter's Quilt-Cam episodes wherein she was sewing Carolina Chain blocks. This pattern had appeared in her "Addicted to Scraps" column in the May/June 2010 issue of Quiltmaker Magazine.They looked like such fun that I just had to start cutting and sewing them. Bonnie's are made with 2 inch strips, but I decided to cut mine at 2.5" inches. So my basic unit finishes at 6 inches instead of 4.5 inches, and my finished blocks measure 12 inches.

The basic unit is a modified Nine Patch. It's one of the easiest blocks I've ever sewn. No triangles or bias edges -- and only two spots where you're matching seams. Half are made with a dark background and half with a light background.

When four of them are joined together, a pattern of light and dark chains emerges.

This pattern would make a striking two-color quilt, but I've decided to go for a totally scrappy look.  However, I can see that I'm going to need lots more variety to really make it sing. 

Since this was a spur of the moment project, I'm planning to make it into another baby quilt. Because after two months of inactivity, I am really in the mood for a quick finish. 

Today I'm linking to "Let's Make Baby Quilts" at Michelle's Romantic Tangle.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The UFO Solution: Baby Quilts

Way back in January, Bonnie Hunter wrote about choosing a one-word mantra and making it your focus for the year. Her word was "Finish." I decided to adopt it as my word too. But although I've managed to make progress on many projects, none of them has actually reached completion except for a few tiny things like doll clothes.

The obvious solution is to work on focus -- concentrating on one project until it's finished. Bonnie talked about the importance of focus on a Quilt Cam episode on Dec. 28, 2013, and I found it very inspiring. But this past week I realized that another solution is re-thinking the project.

While rummaging through a drawer I found 10 of these crazy "slash & shuffle" blocks. I made them at least 15 years ago using some instructions I found online. I never made more than one batch because I just didn't enjoy the method. So I just shoved them in a drawer with the vague intention of making them into place mats someday. Only . . . I never use place mats.

Last week it occurred to me that I could set them three by three with sashing and have a baby quilt. And then I'd have another quilt top on which I could practice my free-motion quilting.

They'd already had the seams pressed open, so I just repressed with steam to get everything as flat as possible. (I almost never use steam when pressing blocks for fear of distortion. But these blocks weren't anywhere near square would need major trimming to make them all the same size.)

Ten inch squares, nice and neat! The fabrics are all '30s repro prints, so I chose white sashing and pink cornerstones.

I used a sash-as-you-go method in order to stabilize the slightly bias edges. 

And I chain-pieced the blocks and sashings on my Singer 301.

It seemed like the top was done in no time! And I realized that many UnFinished Objects might well be converted to baby quilts -- especially if the blocks are unloved or I've lost my enthusiasm for the project. 

I waited a day or two to see if I wanted to add a border. I think not. I've got a killer fabric for the binding, so I think this top is done. Time to make a backing and get it on the frame.

Today  I'm linking to "Let's Make Baby Quilts" at  Michelle's Romantic Tangle.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

7 Posts in 7 Days - Final Edition

The depressing thing about doing Stash Reports is that I'm such a slow quilter that I hardly ever get to record any fabric used. A lot of things are in progress, but the only one I've finished is a sun dress for my niece's doll which used up a mere quarter of a yard.

Quite a lot of fabric came in this week, but they were all thrifty purchases.

I bought the Ultimate Fat quarter Collection from Nancy's Notions: 42 fat quarters for $41.99. Although I love buying fabric grab bags, and it was a good price, I really hesitated when I placed the order. A customer had left a bad review of this item because she felt that most of the fabrics she received were dark gloomy colors. However, as a scrappy quilter, I thought it likely that most of the fabric would be useful. And I was not disappointed.

At the thrift store I found 2 yards of this print for only $1.90.

Then my brother gave me 6 large men's shirts. I'm not sure how you figure the yardage on these.
I'm going to say 1/2 a yard per shirt since they have short sleeves.

Weekly Stash Report March 2, 2014

Added this week: 13.5
Added year to date: 73.5
Used this week: .25
Used year to date: .50
Net year to date: 73

Today I'm linking to the Stash Reports at Patchwork Times.

This is the last installment of 7 Posts in 7 Days. This week I joined Jennifer Fulweiler in writing seven posts in seven days. To check out other bloggers who were doing the same, see the list here.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Crazy Quilt and a Crazy Acquisition

Many, many years ago, when I first started quilting, I made some crazy quilt blocks. I didn't know what I was doing, so I tore up an old sheet to make 13 inch squares to use as foundations. For my crazy blocks I used scraps of all kinds -- including polyester blends. I used the sew and flip method and decorated some of the seams with the fancy stitches on my sewing machine. And then the blocks sat on a shelf for decades.

Recently, I pulled them out again, squared and trimmed them to 12.5 inches, and actually put them together to make a quilt top. It's not a very pretty quilt top, but at least it's done.

I find myself looking at the different fabrics. Sometimes I recognize them. Here's a bit of my daughter's dress. And there's a bit of the printed panel from which I made a dinosaur toy for my son. When I look at some of the other fabrics I can't help wondering why in the world I ever bought them. I would never make this quilt now. At least, not in this way.

It's an odd size, but I intend to quilt it. Previously, I would have felt intimidated at the thought. The quilt top is rather thick, especially at the seams. But now I have no fear because during my blogging hiatus, I acquired this:

It's an Innova long arm quilting machine, and it fills my entire living room. (I don't really need a couch, right?) It took three years of shopping, researching, and testing various brands before I settled on this one. I love it!

It's got an 18 inch throat and a 10 foot frame. I could do up to a queen sized quilt on it. (But so far I haven't done anything that large.) It's very well engineered, and it glides so smoothly that I can guide it with one hand if I want to. I don't have much upper body strength, and I also have osteoporosis in my spine, so I wanted something that I could move without struggling or strain. It's very versatile in that it can use almost any thread. And the manufacturer offers 24/7 technical support. It's also modestly priced compared to most long arms.

I bought my machine from Let's Quilt in Utah. They were vendors at Road to California. (However, they are now cutting back on that sort of thing for heath reasons.) There's a lot of useful info on their website as well as some great videos about ruler work. And this is the link for Innova itself. I'm not connected to either the dealer or the manufacturer in any way; I'm just a really happy customer.

The thing that everyone asks when they find out about my machine is, "Are you going to be doing this as a business?" And my answer is, "No. At least, not yet. And maybe never." But if I'm not planning to make money with it, how did I come to buy such an expensive machine?

A couple years ago I decided to become serious about learning to machine quilt. I took some classes, read some books, and tried out various tools. I have problems with my right hand and elbow (which I injured in my youth). And I found that the motions used in quilting with my domestic sewing machine really stressed my body and made me more reluctant to quilt.

Using a long arm machine just works better for me ergonomically. And of all the machines I've tried, the Innova is the easiest to use and does not stress my body.

Having it has made me eager to finish up some of my long standing UFOs. And that's a good thing. Why, you ask?

Well, some quilters like to say that she who dies with the most fabric wins. But I think that she who uses the most fabric is the real winner. When I die, I don't want to leave behind a hoard of unused fabric that my children will cart to the curb for the trash pickup. I want to leave behind a legacy of finished quilts, most of which will have already been delivered to their recipients. And if my kids get rid of any of the quilts still remaining in the house, I'll come back and haunt them!

(Just kidding. I'm sure they wouldn't do that.)

This week I'm joining Jennifer Fulweiler in writing seven posts in seven days. To check out other bloggers who are doing the same, see the list here.

Friday, February 28, 2014

More Fun With Dolls

Here's a cute little apron and pot holder sized for an 18" doll.

The Sweetheart Apron pattern was designed by Laura Johnson. It's fully lined, has a real pocket, and is very easy to sew. You can download a free copy of the pattern here.

The tutorial for the potholder is at

The set is being modeled by Katie, a Madame Alexander doll which I found deeply discounted at Tuesday Morning. I bought her because I thought she would be nice for modeling strappy dresses, sleeveless dresses, or dresses with a low neckline. (Madame Alexander dolls have vinyl chests and shoulders, unlike American Girl dolls whose torsos are cloth from the neck down.) I'm a bit disappointed in her hair though. It's very fine and fragile, and looks as though it would not stand up to ordinary play.

In fact, my hunch was recently confirmed; my little niece has this same doll, but her hair was in a dreadful state. She asked if I could fix her doll's hair and make her a dress (since she also was stark naked.) So first I bought some braid spray as recommended by American Girl Wiki, and wrapping her in a towel, I spritzed braid spray and water on her hair a section at a time. Then, using a doll brush with metal bristles, I slowly brushed her hair from the bottom up to take the tangles out. When it was finally smooth, I braided her hair  into two pigtails in hopes of keeping it nice for a while.

"Welcome to the doll spa!"
"I'm having a very bad hair day."
"Are we done yet?"
I was pleased with the way the braid spray helped me untangle the dolls hair. After it was dry, it felt the slightest bit sticky. I wonder if I should have washed the doll's hair first. Perhaps it was dirtier than I thought. I wiped the surface dirt from her limbs with a damp micro fiber cleaning cloth and then dressed her in a quickie sundress I made from a free pattern downloaded from Pixie Faire. I think it would have looked cuter if I had used self-fabric for the ties instead of bias tape.

Her hair was cut or broken at several different lengths, so I couldn't make the braids as long as I would have liked. I had to trim her bangs because they had lost their original curl and were now too long.

"Thanks for the make-over."
This was fun. I hope that someday I'll find a used American Girl at a thrift store or yard sale. I'm really interested in learning how to refurbish dolls.

UpdateI was so sleepy when I wrote this last night, that I forgot to mention that the person who originally had the idea of using braid spray on dolls is the author of the blog American Girl Outsider. Please see her post here.

This week I'm joining Jennifer Fulweiler in writing seven posts in seven days. To check out other bloggers who are doing the same, see the list here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

DAGMT Update and Invasion of the Dolls

February is nearly over, so it seems a good time to take stock of Drop And Give Me Twenty 2014. The first half of the month was fantastic! Making a priority of quilting for at least 20 minutes per day made me feel great. And since I often ended up quilting for more than 20 minutes, my baby quilt was progressing nicely. And then THINGS began to happen. LIFE began to intervene, a tax appointment needed to be prepared for, and all of my spare time began to revolve around an insidious new interest.

Yes, dolls (specifically American Girl and other 18 inch dolls) were taking up more and more of my online time. I was reading doll reviews, doll blogs, and doll forums as I researched various brands of dolls, browsing eBay and the websites of various doll dealers. And well is it said that no man can serve two masters because there are only so many minutes in a day, and more and more of them were being sucked up by the Invasion of the Dolls.

In a previous post I wrote about how much I've enjoyed sewing clothes for my granddaughters' American Girl dolls. But I originally fell for American Girl a long, long time ago -- when they first came out in the mid '80s. My little daughter and I used to devour their catalogs, but we couldn't  afford to buy one. So she saved her minuscule allowance and requested money for her doll fund in lieu of birthday and Christmas presents from her parents and grandparents. Finally she was able to buy Felicity who was also one of my favorites. I also loved Samantha and Molly because of their time periods. (Addy and Josefina were not yet available.)

But I couldn't justify ever buying a doll for myself, especially since my husband always worked more than one job so that I could be at home with the kids. Even now, as a widow financially on my own whose children are all adults,  I couldn't justify buying myself an expensive doll because I'm an adult, and I wouldn't actually play with it. Would I? But I do love sewing for them. And it would be so much fun to make or find tiny little artifacts to complete their world. (Have I mentioned that I've always loved miniature things?)

I was able to justify buying Alejandra, who was on sale at Target for only $15.00, to use as a dressmaker's dummy. And then, somehow, modestly priced 18 inch dolls began to cross my path, and I had to bring them home. Without meaning to, I now have ten 18 inch dolls. No wonder my mother says I'm entering my second childhood! I've also amassed a nice little stash of patterns, and I look forward to sewing clothes, both current and historical, for my family of dolls. And I'll enjoy introducing them to you once I've gotten them clothed. I've even become interested in restoring scruffy American Girl dolls. (I'd love to find a cheap one in a yard sale!)

DAGMT has been a valuable exercise even though I "failed" the second half of the month. It's taught me that I'm happier when I regularly make time to be creative. And "7 Posts in 7 Days" is confirming the same thing, though in a different area. The one thing I think I have to be careful about is excessive Internet reading about my creative passions. As a quilter, I already know what a time sink the Internet can be. It's inspiring to be able to see amazing quilts online and to talk with other quilters. But too much of that results in too much dreaming and precious little sewing getting done. Ditto with articles about writing or blogs and forums about dolls. Well, Lent is coming up, and what better time is there to work on discipline and moderation. Who knows, perhaps I'll actually get the hang of Thursdays.

This week I'm joining Jennifer Fulweiler in writing seven posts in seven days. To check out other bloggers who are doing the same, see the list here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dolly Quilts and a New Book to Read

It's another late night blog post, so I'm typing as fast as I can. I just took my nightly dose of muscle relaxant, so here's hoping I can get done before side-effect of drowsiness kicks in. (I hurt the ligaments near my left knee a few days ago though I'm not sure how I did it. I didn't do anything.

(Oh, no! The yawning has already started!)

Well, let me show you this cute little doll quilt. I made it out of some "twosies" left over from another project. Alejandra, an Our Generation Doll from Target, looks nice and cozy.  The finished size of the squares is 2 inches which is about as large as you can make them without their looking horribly out of scale. I used a very thin batting for this quilt, but it still too stiff to drape nicely over the side of the bed. I think next time I'll use flannel for the middle layer.

I'm currently working a on doll-sized quilt with 2 inch Log Cabin blocks. And the logs are 1/4 inch wide. That means I'm saving even tinier scraps that I used to. Here a picture of a completed block next to my rotary cutter -- just to give you a feeling for scale. As you can see, these blocks are made using a stitch and flip method. The sewing lines are printed onto thin muslin with a rubber stamp.

Well, the yawns are starting to overcome me, so I'll just leave you with a very brief book recommendation: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.

It's a YA fantasy with a gorgeous cover. But what's inside is even better. It's being marketed as a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast, " but I also see a strong influence from  the myth of Cupid and Psyche.

Here is the blurb from the publisher:

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom—all because of a reckless bargain her father struck. And since birth, she has been training to kill him.
Betrayed by her family yet bound to obey, Nyx rails against her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, she abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, disarm him, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her. As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. But even if she can bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him?
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the BeastCruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

I'm not a big fan of Young Adult books. But this one was different. For one thing, it has more depth because of the moral compass within which the characters operate. I like the world building. And what's really cool is that the author uses many elements of YA fantasy which normally leave me cold. But in this novel they work. And I found myself loving them.

I'm about to fall over with dizzy fatigue, so for a really competent appraisal of Cruel Beauty, please read Happy Catholic's review here.

And here's where you can read the first 70 pages of Cruel Beauty for free.

Disclaimer: I am personally acquainted with the author, but I bought my own copy. My opinion of the book is honest and frank -- though possibly incoherent due to sleepiness.

This week I'm joining Jennifer Fulweiler in writing seven posts in seven days. To check out other bloggers who are doing the same, see the list here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

First Steps to Second Childhood

A while back my granddaughters were given some used American Girl dolls. And when I say used, I mean very used, Somebody's brother must have gotten hold of these because one of them suffered from burned toes, another had been partially scalped, and a third had a very loose arm. Nevertheless, the girls loved them tenderly and their daddy hinted that these mostly naked dolls might appreciate some doll clothes if Grandma felt so inclined.

Which of course she did. Because 18 inch dolls, such as American Girl, are the perfect size to sew for. Her clothes are more interesting than a baby doll's. And they aren't impossibly tiny like Barbie's. And there are so many lovely patterns out for them. Not only can you dress them in clothes from many different time periods, but you can make Star Trek uniforms or Star Wars costumes or Steam Punk outfits or almost anything you can imagine.

Of course, I really needed a doll of my own to use as a dressmaker's dummy. Not an American Girl -- they are far too expensive. Though I had wanted one since the mid-1980s, I could never justify buying such an expensive toy for myself. So I bought Alejandra, an Our Generation doll from Target who is the same size as the American Girls. She had a cheerful, appealing face, the long dark braids I'd always wished for as a child, and she was Hispanic. (Something you never saw during my childhood.)

Soon "Allie" was helping me fit all kinds of outfits for her "cousins" in Ohio. And even for my niece's doll in California.

We started with the basics: underwear from Kwik Sew 2830.

Of course, everyone needed a nightgown.

This one, made from McCall's 6137, was kind of meh.

This is better. I used the same pattern, but changed the sleeves, lengthened the gown, and added a ruffle.

My favorite nightgown is also from Kwik Sew 2380. It's the easiest to sew and the best looking.

Here's a drop waist dress from a pattern I found online. (I couldn't seem to get the collar to lie flat.)

A classic little girl's dress from Kwik Sew 2921 which demonstrates that it is much easier to sew a fully lined bodice than to make facings for it.

And here's a lovely pintuck blouse designed by All Dolled Up Doll Clothes. (It's easier than it looks if you have a pintuck foot for your sewing machine. And the pattern includes instructions for those who don't have a special foot.)

And finally, here's a hospital gown in case dolly gets sick. Here's the front view.

And here's the back -- authentically chilly!

This week I'm joining Jennifer Fulweiler in writing seven posts in seven days. To check out other bloggers who are doing the same, see the list here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Let's Make Baby Quilts 2/24/14

Welcome to anyone who has come here via Jennifer Fulwiler's "7 Posts, 7 Days" challenge. In case you're wondering, a bibliophagist is someone who devours books. And when I'm not reading, I quilt.

This past week both books and quilting took a back seat to Obsessive Research on the Internet (about which, more later). Nevertheless, a few things did get accomplished.

My Storytime Stars quilt is slowly growing, but I don't have a lot to show for it. Since each star features a different novelty print, each block requires a different color scheme. Selecting fabric is my very favorite part of quiltmaking, but having to do it 16 times for one small quilt is time consuming. I hope I can finish this quilt before my new grandson outgrows it. (Maybe I should make it larger so that he can use it longer. But then it would take even longer to make... )

I tried two more different ways to make my flying geese units. I tried the No Waste method demonstrated here in a video by McCall's. Lots of people swear by this method, but my units came out too small for my center square.

An eighth of an inch may be "close enough for government work," but it's not in quilting. So I switched to doing my geese with the Sew & Flip method.

I drew a diagonal line across a 2.5" square. Then I opted to draw a second line using a cardboard template that was a right triangle with 2" sides. (See Bonnie Hunter's Bonus Triangle tutorial. She goes into a whole lot more detail which includes some invaluable tips which will increase your accuracy.)

Stitching on both lines and then cutting between them allows you to end up with a perfect Flying Geese unit and two perfect 2" squares.

I end up with eight of these bonus Half Square Triangle units from each star. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but it's fun to see them pile up.

I've cut out the parts for six more stars. The Banana Star is completely finished.

The Nursery Rhyme Star is almost finished.

Before I made the star points, I laid out the other components and realized that they made a pretty nice block all by themselves. I guess I could have saved myself a lot of time and trouble if I'd just made all the blocks like this! Or maybe I'll make another quilt someday using this simpler version.

Today I'm linking up with "Let's Make Baby Quilts" at Michelle's Romantic Tangle.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Let's Make Baby Quilts & Stash Report: February 2, 2014

I gave away a baby quilt last week as a shower gift. It was a simple whole cloth quilt using a floral fabric which I thought would be appropriate for a little girl even though it's not actually babyish. I quilted it in an all-over Hearts & Loops design which tends to impress people, but is actually pretty easy once you've had a bit of practice.

Unfortunately, I finished this quilt last October, so I can't count it in my stash report this week.

I also continued work on my Storytime Stars quilt. Currently I've made 210 black & white "twosies" out of the 360 required. So far I've only finished one of the star blocks and I'm unhappy with my Flying Geese units. The sides of my block seem wavey. Such a pity, since I love my fabric choices.

I'm going to try again, possibly doing the Flying Geese by another method.

Weekly Stash Report February 2, 2014

Added this week: 0
Added year to date: 59.5
Used this week: 0
Used year to date: .25
Net year to date: 59.25

For more baby quilts please visit Michelle's Romantic Tangle.

I'm also linking to the the Stash Reports at Patchwork Times.

Friday, January 31, 2014

DaGMT 2014

I like listening to episodes of Bonnie Hunter's Quilt Cam when I'm working on a project, and I was much struck by a topic which she discussed at the end of December. People often ask her how she manages to accomplish so much. She said that one reason she appears to make so much progress is that she limits the number of projects that she is working on at any one time. I don't mean that she limits herself to only one project and forces herself to finish it before starting another. But she focuses her effort on a small, limited number so that her progress is more visible. 

She also urged her listeners to make a push this year to actually finish things and to reexamine our piles of UFOs and decide whether or not we really want to finish them. I think this makes sense. If we no longer like a project, we should give it away to someone who does. Or, as she also suggested, perhaps we should repurpose a project, turning an incomplete queen-sized comforter into a lap quilt -- or even a baby quilt.  Or redefine a partially completed project as offical "Orphan Blocks" which could then be used in a charity quilt or on the back of some other project we are more eager to complete.

Then when I discovered the "Drop and Give Me Twenty" challenge at Quilting Hottie Haven, everything just clicked. Beth Helfter is challenging quilters to quilt for at least twenty minutes a day during February.

I'm a "process" rather than a "project"sort of person, which is to say that I don't care how long it takes for me to finish project -- ten hours, ten months, or ten years! For me, it's the journey not the destination. And I've been perfectly happy working on many, many projects at once. But as I've gotten older, I've finally begun to feel the need to focus lest I die with nothing more to my credit than an unused fabric stash and a tower of project boxes.


"I, Catholic Bibliophagist, owner of too many UFOs and/or more fabric than I can hope to use up in my lifetime, am joining Quilting Hottie Haven's third annual DaGMT event, and pledge to quilt for at least 20 minutes every day of the month of February, 2014. In doing so I hope to actually FINISH some of my many Works In Progress, and I think Beth Helfter is brilliant for coming up with this concept and inspiring me to join. (And thank you, Bonnie Hunter, for your inspiration too.)"

Monday, January 27, 2014

Stash Report: January 2014

Rather belatedly, I have decided to keep track of fabric bought and fabric used this year. So this post will include all purchases in January. Although this is supposed to be my year of sewing from stash, a couple of special needs and some really good sales have prompted more fabric buying than usual. 

January 4: Whittles was having a sale of Civil War Fat Quarters for the enticing price of $12.00 for a bundle of 10. So I bought four bundles (blue, green, brown, and neutrals) which comes to 10 yards. 

January 14: I'm making a Storytime Stars quilt for my grandson and I really needed some novelty prints for the center squares, another type of fabric I don't usually buy. So I bought six FQs: 1.5 yards.

January 21: Another sale at Whittles! This time it was wide fabric for quilt backings: 7.5 yards; as well as a bundle of red Civil War fat quarters: 2.5 yards. (The backings were very nice Civil War prints.)

January 22: A local quilt store had its Christmas fabrics marked down to 60% off! And I went kind of crazy here. Normally, when I'm stash building, I buy fat quarters or 1/2 yards because I'm a scrappy quilter and so variety is usually more important than quantity. But some these were stripes which I might want to use as sashings or borders. And some were not overtly Christmassy, such as the turquoise, blue, lavender and some of the greens. And I'm planning on starting a red and green quilt soon. So I ended up buying one yard, two yard, and even a few three yard pieces. The only half yards were the really Christmassy fabrics. My total was 37 yards!

January 24: At Road to California I only bought 1 yard of black on white print, and that only because it was marked down 50% off.

What projects did I finish? Only a dolly apron and dolly potholder. Even though it's lined, it probably took a little less than a fat quarter. 

I don't normally buy this much fabric -- especially not in such a short period of time! But if there's a really good sale I'd rather stock up now than pay full price for less fabric later.

Bought this month: 59.5 yards
Used this month: .25 yard

My goal this year is to use at least as much fabric as I buy -- preferably more. I wasn't quite sure quite how to figure my usage since most of my quilts are scrappy. But today, on Michelle's Romantic Tangle, I read a post titled "How Much Fabric?" which explains how to figure that out.

Now to finish one of my many projects so that I can start posting some negative numbers.

(I'm linking to the weekly Stash Report on Patchwork Times.)