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.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Let's Make Baby Quilts: 1/25/14

I was planning a very simple quilt for my new grandson who was born on Christmas Day. But then I hear the siren song of Storytime Stars by Bonnie Hunter. So I've been sewing and cutting black & white "twosies" to make into 4-patches for the sashings. I have 99 two-patches so far and need 360 in order to make 180 four patches.

I'm also cutting 4.5 inch blocks from novelty fabrics for the center of the stars. This will make a fun quilt for a little boy.

Click here to see more baby quilt fun at Michelle's Romantic Tangle.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Let's Make Baby Quilts

I've really gotten into baby quilts lately. Their small size makes them super easy to piece, trim, quilt, and bind. They're also quick to finish! Even a quilter as slow as I am has a decent chance of finishing before the baby they're intended for heads off to middle school. And they are less intimidating when trying out new tools or techniques.

I've been experimenting with different kinds of machine-sewn bindings lately because a problem with my hands which prevents me from doing much handwork. If I were making larger quilts that really "matter," I think I would would have stuck with my old machine binding technique. But with baby quilts I feel a liberating permission to experiment because I haven't invested that much time or fabric in the project, and the end user will be too young to be critical of my work.

So I have learned several new ways to apply binding by machine, some of which I like better than my previous tried and true method. And I now have a more versitile binding repetoire at my command and can choose the technique best suited to the construction details of a particular quilt.

I recently stumbled upon Michelle's Romantic Tangle which features a "Let's Make Baby Quilts" link-up every Friday. In the sidebar is a link of baby quilt tutorials which I consulted when I decided to make some baby quilts for our church's October Festival last year. This one, Christopher, is composed of one quilt block enlarged to baby-quilt size. I love that  idea and look forward to trying it out with other traditional blocks.

Normally, I choose my own colors, but when I saw Michelle's photo, it reminded me of a particular fabric in my stash of which I have a full bolt. As it turns out, this quilt did not sell. My mom was delighted because it happens to match her dining room, so I let her have the quilt for her table. Here is a picture of it in its new home.

Normally she keeps clear plastic over it to protect it from food spills.
Please click over to Michelle's Romantic Tangle to see the baby quilts that other have made.