Thursday, December 27, 2012

Archiving My Growing Stash

Since my the fabrics I'd been getting from Joann's were really not worth documenting, at least most of them, some of them are actually good fabrics (there's some Me and My Sister, for example), I haven't been keeping track of what I've bought, quantities, or anything of the sort. Now that I am starting to amass some good quilting cottons, I want to make sure I remember what they are called, what line they are from, and who the designer is.

In the interest of doing so, I pulled out my stack of unwashed fabrics and took a picture of every single one. I have them saved to my Dropbox folder so I can pull them up from anywhere with internet, including my Nook in my craft room. The title of each picture is the name, collection, designer (and producer if applicable), they are then divided into folders labeled with the general color, since that is the way they are sorted on the shelf as well. I am thinking of also adding a spreadsheet with yardage in, yardage used, etc. Because I'm just crazy like that. Now I just have to find my receipt from Tomorrow's Treasures to figure out what some of the FQ are that I bought a while back.

I am also adding another project to my list using the fat eights from Madrona Road you see above. It can be anything, it just has to be ready to share with the rest of the DC Modern Quilt Guild by our sewing day on February 16 or by the end of January if I want it to be considered for the Michael Miller booth. I am thinking a patchwork drawstring pouch, with some Kona Snow as the liner and ties. But I have to mull that around a bit more.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bees and Charity Quilts Galore

I was updating my Works in Progress page and realized that I have a lot of stuff going on next year.

I'm now signed up for quite a few Bees:

Add-A-Border Block Swap - which moves at whatever pace you feel comfortable. I have made several starter blocks and am actively working on one Round 2 block (it's slow, my first paper piecing pattern, so I don't want to screw it up) and have several Round 2 blocks sitting and waiting for something to happen.

Color Bee Shocked - my month as Queen Bee was in November, but it's a one year commitment with at least one block a month. I have completed the December flying geese blocks which were a lot of fun and the fabric for the January Bento Boxes is sitting on my desk

3x6 Mini Bee - I finished the first round's worth of blocks for Quarter 4 and you can hop in and out of this Bee as your schedule requires. I am hoping to sign up for 2013 Quarter 1 and have even been thinking about leading one of the groups. Each quarter is a 6 Block/2.5 month commitment, but once you're done making your blocks and have sent them off, it's just a matter of waiting for everyone else's to arrive.

HOPE at do.good Stitches - I was just accepted into the HOPE circle for do.good Stitches. This is a 1-year/2 blocks a month commitment starting in January. It's a great cause and will let me play around with the fabrics I'm slowly accumulating.

Bitty Block Committee - I logged onto Flickr today to find a message waiting for me. I had requested to join the Bitty Block Committee and after being judged by my peers I was deemed acceptable. How cool is that! This one is great because you can jump in and out at any point for a 1-month commitment. They post two themes a month and you can sign up for 12 of one type, 24 of one type, or 12 of each (24 total). The blocks end at 3.5" square, hence the "bitty."

That's it for Bees, although I had considered joining Nubees, where you sign up to make 5 blocks every month. Looking at my current list, maybe that plan will have to fall by the wayside for a bit.

I also signed up as a quilter for the Hurricane Sandy Block Drive hosted by Michele at the Quilting Gallery. I have received my first stack of blocks and plan to do QAYG to put the quilt together.

In addition, I have started a baby quilt for a Charity Drive hosted by Pigtales and Quilts. I have all of the scrappy log cabin blocks done and have even sewed on a solid purple border. But I want to do a second scrappy border and then of course it needs to be quilted and bound.

I am also working on various other projects, both quilting and others, including two baby quilts with two more planned. I'm clearly crazy! But I love it.

Fabric, Fabric Everywhere

'Tis the season... to be shopping.

I got started quilting just under a year ago and at first I would only buy what I needed for the particular project, but I am slowly building up my stash.

My first serious stash building came about because I needed unwashed fabric for my 3x6 Bee. I usually pre-wash everything the second it comes through the front door, so that was a problem. It also wasn't high quality quilting fabric, so that was another problem.

In the process, I got a chance to go back to Tomorrow's Treasures, my new favorite LQS.

Here is what I walked away with, partially for the blocks I was making and partially because I just loved the fabrics and couldn't not buy them.

The fabric I didn't use for the bee blocks is still sitting unwashed in my closet for my next bee. I also decided to stop washing my fabrics until after I had decided on what I wanted to use for a particular project so that I could use my stash for future bees.

Then came my first give-away win. Which I had previously blogged about here.

I also found a great sale at Pink Castle Fabrics, where I got the following:

I am totally in love with text prints and I love 1001 Nights, so I was in heaven all around. I have also decided that I need to start a collection of house/building fabrics as well as a text fabric collection and use both for quilts for myself. My goal for next year is to be selfish and make at least one quilt for myself (and not the cheating way of participating in bees).

Next came Christmas shopping and in the process of getting presents for a friend, I stumbled across these on sale:

I just couldn't resist. More text fabric, and I love the Mama Said Sew line. I've never tried using a charm pack before, so I decided to go for it. We'll see what happens with it. The text fabrics in the line may just get hoarded for my text quilt.

I also just ordered several half yards of fabric from LiMa Sews on Etsy. Three of the new Saltwater by Tula Pink line and three other random ones. I will post pictures once they arrive.

Thanks to a friend, I stumbled onto a nice deal for a full FQ stack of Nightshade by Tula Pink at the Fat Quarter Shop which has been on my wishlist from the second I first saw it on someone's blog. I had to get it!

Equally exciting is that the December Stash Stack Club bundle from Pink Castle Fabrics just shipped. December is brown, and I don't think I have a single bit of decent brown fabric in my stash yet. I took a look at the fabrics that are being shipped and I'm really happy that I decided to sign up. I like some more than others, but it's a great way to fill in some colors that I'm sorely lacking. They have several options for joining, and I went with the 12 FQ a month option. These are the fabrics that are winging their way to me right now:

1. Pearl Bracelet in Brown - Guising by Lizzy House (Andover)
2. Tiny Diamonds in Brown - Town and Country (Dear Stella)
3. Squiggles in Brown - Indochine (Dear Stella)
4. Dot in Brown - Fly A Kite by October Afternoon (Riley Blake)
5. Bike Path in Brown - Lucky Penny by Alison Glass (Andover)
6. Jewels in Shadow - Guising by Lizzy House (Andover)
7. Damask in Brown - Fly A Kite by October Afternoon (Riley Blake)
8. Loft in Brown - In My Room by Jenean Morrison (Free Spirit)
9. Line Work Stripe in Brown - Bukhara (Dear Stella)
10. Nap Sack in Timber - Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry (Free Spirit)
11. Nook in Tan - In My Room by Jenean Morrison (Free Spirit)
12. Spot on Tiny Dot in Khaki (Robert Kaufman)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Charity Quilts

I have signed up as a quilter for the Sandy Block Drive. Right now they need more people to make blocks, so I haven't been assigned any block makers yet. This is a long-term effort, but once you sign up to make blocks you have about 2-3 weeks to get them finished and ship off to your assigned quilter. My roll of batting shipped, so it should be here well in advance of any blocks I may get, and I am planning on trying out QAYG since I have a major fear of trying to quilt anything that large in one piece on my little home sewing machine.

The other thing I've been thinking about doing is making a quilt for an orphanage. Details can be found here. When I told my husband that I was thinking about making a quilt for charity and that I had signed up as a quilter for the Sandy Block Drive he got mad about the money we'd be spending on charity when we barely have enough for ourselves, etc. I told him that all I need for the Sandy quilt is some batting (which I just bought a full roll of) and some fabric for the backing, no biggie. And that we could afford fabric for a baby quilt, which is what I had planned to make for the orphan quilt.

But that conversation stuck with me. So I took a look at my pre-washed fabric stash, and decided to throw together some log cabin blocks. I already had a few 2" strips, so I decided to cut more. I ended up with pink, yellow, blue and green blocks with different centers. I finished all 12 today and they measure roughly 7 3/4" square. I just need to figure out how I want to put them together now. They'll definitely need a border, I think. I just don't know if I want to do a double border or a wide single border.

Here is my progress (there's 3 identical blocks of each color):

I can't decide if this one is my favorite or the blue one below.

Blue with a pink center. I did two solids and two prints for each block. The light blue print used to be a white before I washed it with the blue batik from the Ocean Life Quilt. Now it's a light blue. Oh well, it's still pretty.

I originally considered using the light blue solid from the blue block, but I like the dark blue better with the light green surrounding it. With the flash, the blue looks a lot more cobalt blue than it really is.

This is my least favorite block. Maybe should have gone with the lighter green solid instead. But I don't want to remake it.

I already know what layout I want to go with, but piecing them together will have to wait until I move my sewing and cutting stuff back to my craft room where I left my square ruler. I'm thinking they'll end up at 7.5" square after trimming and finish at 7" square. I do love seeing all of the different fabrics and remembering what I used them for. That lighter yellow print, for example, was used on one of the giraffes in my very first baby quilt. The leaves in the green block are from my Bug Quilt and the light pink print is from my breast cancer awareness jellyfish for my mother-in-law's Ocean Life Quilt.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


A few weeks ago I won my very first blog give-away hosted by Lyanna at PurplePandaQuilts. I was so excited when I received her email letting me know I had won.

I was even more excited a few days ago when my package of fabric arrived.

It was wrapped with the most darling twine and with a little note attached to it. The fabric came from LiMaSews on Etsy. She has a great selection of fabrics. You should go check it out.

Here are my newest lovelies all laid out. I do not think that I will be using them in the same project, because I just can't get behind the whole showcasing a line notion. I love mixing and matching, so that's my plan.

These fabrics are my favorites and I may have to hoard them for a while and then be selfish and actually make something for myself with them. Part of me wants to cut into them right this second, but another part of me wants to savor the experience.

Lyanna and LiMaSews, thank you so much for the great give-away!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Roll of Batting

Guess what I just bought.... That's right, a whole roll of Warm & Natural Batting 90" x 40'. For a steal, I might add. No more buying batting by the little package from Joann's. I feel like I've made it into "the big league."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dice Pouch

I am a totally unapologetic nerd. I play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) and WoW (World of Warcraft) and various other board, tabletop, Wii and Computer games. For the past few months I have been playing a Shifter (think partial werewolf - i.e. they only shift partially, not fully - but a cat person and mostly controlled shifting) in a beta version of a friend's new gaming system based losely on White Wolf and set in the Wizards of the Coast Eberron world.

To keep my D10s (10-sided dice) separate from my other dice (regular D&D uses mainly D20s, but also D4's, D8's, D10's, and D12's) I decided to try making a dice bag based on the In Color Orders' lined bag pattern which I bought from her Etsy store. I used the smallest bag pattern.

I chose fabrics based on my character: she has white skin with black markings when she's shifted to her half-cat form (I didn't have pre-washed fabric that was black on white, so I went white on black) and is very feminine (hence the pink drawstrings and lining).

The bag went together very quickly, although I made the mistake of not leaving an opening in the lining thinking I might be able to pull it through the one inch openings. Not so much! So I had to go in and seam rip.

I have put my dice inside and it is now ready for my next gaming session. I can finally get rid of the plastic baggie I've been using to carry my dice in.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ocean Life Quilt - Part 4

I taped off a section of my craft room floor in the general dimensions that I wanted the quilt in and then arranged the blocks until I was satisfied. In the process I realized that I needed one more seahorse, the little black and white one.

Then I started with the measuring and "log cabin" style piecing.

Finally got the top done, which took an eon and was boring beyond belief. I sewed together the two pieces of flannel for the backing although I had originally intended to do something fun with scalloped edges I figured out that I barely had enough, so just went with a straight seam.

To baste it, I had to lock my cats in the basement and the dog in her crate and sweep and vaccuum the downstairs so I'd have an area big enough to lay everything out. It worked just fine and I used every single one of my basting pins.

I tried my hand at free-motion quilting to outline the seaweed and sea life, which didn't work as well as I had hoped it would. Then I switched to my new walking foot and quilting wavy lines from one side to the other in varying intervals. I really loved the way the walking foot kept everything straight. I only had one small pucker on the back. I machine sewed the binding onto the quilt, another first. That worked out reasonably well, although I think I prefer the clean look of the hand-binding. But this was so much faster, so I'll likely use it again at some point. But maybe this time I'll just sew the binding from the back, not the front.

And here it is, the finished quilt.

My mother-in-law loves it. I'm really happy with how it turned out as well, but I am never sewing that much seaweed ever again.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ocean Life Quilt - Part 3

So after the red and orange jellyfish, I decided to figure out my own fabric placement and figured that separating the different tentacles was the way to go. The only thing I don't like about this one is that the front pink tentacle is so much wider at the top than the other ones. But I call this one my breast cancer awareness jellyfish.

I cannot even begin to tell you how sick and tired I got of sewing the middle sections of this seaweed. I found the pattern online as part of a really awesome Block of the Month for a Rio Negro scene. So I am happy to give credit to Ula Lenz for this block, I just took it way beyond her three block wonder to this 12 block monstrosity (4" per finished block, that totals a height of 48"). Man was I glad when I finally finished it.

I wanted a few less obvious fish so the eyes could rest a bit while moving around the quilt, so I went for this more neutral looking Angelfish. Having experimented with the one-finned Bannerfish, I just decided to go with the original pattern for the second one. I even got the directionality of the fabric right for the fins.

Another small seahorse. No mistakes on this one.

A smaller version of my seaweed monstrosity. This one only had 4 blocks. I really like how well the light green stands out against the turquoise. If I had to do it over again, I'd have done the large seaweed in light green and the small one in dark green.

After laying out the blocks that I had made so far, I decided that I needed one more block. Since I didn't have a small left facing seahorse yet, I decided to go with that.

That's all of the individual blocks, I'll do the big reveal after work on Thursday. Hope you like it so far. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ocean Life Quilt - Part 2

To continue, I made a small (about half the size of the big one) with black fabric. Unfortunately I was tired at the time and after unpicking several pieces of fabric finally gave up (see if you can spot the mistake I left in because I just didn't care anymore).

First jellyfish. Another pattern that I got from I went by the fabric division listed on the pattern, but didn't like the clear divide between the different parts. I do like the color combo though.

First sea turtle. Found the free pattern here. Unfortunately, the pink and teal were just too different to really flow. And the teal blended too much with the turquoise background, so I decided to leave it out of the quilt.

Large version of the 11 small fish. The bottom fin looks weird because it doesn't have a blue border yet.

Another large seahorse, this time facing the other direction. For some reason the nose and belly seem off, but the seams look alright. I still like it, definitely one of my favorites.

Second attempt at the turtle. Did the back flippers in the same color as the shell. This also blends a bit into the background but I liked it much better than my first attempt.

Last one for today, another Brill fish. I really love how well the body shows off the large pattern fabric.

Can't wait to show you the finished product, although I had more blocks than I thought. Might need to divide it into two posts.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ocean Life Quilt - Part 1

I have an amazing mother-in-law, aren't you just jealous! Unfortunately, her life has not been all rainbows and unicorns lately, since she is going through some really tough times health-wise. That's right, the big C. She's a strong woman and she's going to get through this, but it hasn't been easy thus far. She's on her last round of chemo, and I thought that all of those hospital visits must be a little depressing and decided that she deserved something fun and colorful that she could take with her to the chemo sessions. She loves seahorses, so after doing a test run with some fabric scraps, I decided to go for it.

I'm breaking this into a few pieces, since the individual blocks really need to be seen close-up to really appreciate the work that went into this quilt. It's only fair, I'd have been revealing these block by block if I'd been showing you the pictures during the process. This way you get them in two or three sittings.

So, once again, the fabric. I got a whole bunch of fat quarters in a rainbow of colors for the ocean life. I also pulled some of my existing fabric into the mix. The turquoise batik served as the background fabric (I ended up with a total of 8 yards of that before I was done, but made the mistake of buying it in three trips, so the last batch is darker than the rest, lesson learned). The two blues in the top left are two panels of flannel I bought for the backing.

Next up, since I'd made a practice seahorse, I wanted to start on something else. Unfortunatley I have no clue who the credit for this pattern should go to, since I recreated it from a block I found on the internet. I decided to chain sew 11 little fish. In order to expedite the process I actually cut the fabric to size with plenty of spare. I'm really glad I did that, because I ended up realizing very quickly that I had forgotten to cut the red fabric upside down and the scale pattern was pointed the wrong way. Luckily all the extra fabric I had left on the pieces made for a little less swearing since I managed to turn almost all the pieces so the scales pointed the right way.

Here are all 11, although I went with a different final configuration.

I found an Angelfish pattern here and bought it. However, Angelfish are freshwater/brackish water fish. So I looked online until I found something called a Banner Fish. The colors are not the same, since I was going for as colorful as possible, but the general outline is there. I made one bottom fin instead of two long ones.

I had to show you at least one seahorse. This is another pattern I recreated from a finished block I found on the internet, so I cannot give credit where it is due, but this is not my original pattern. I decided to do the fins of the seahorses in a different shade than the rest of the body. I really liked this color combo.

This Brill Fish pattern also came from All of those fin pieces were a little crazy, but overall it's not hard. I think that's good for now. Hope you enjoyed my first installment of crazy colorful sea life. More to come.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

First Paper Piecing Block

So a while ago, I posted about my very first paper-piecing block. Since the recipient of the secret quilt has received it, I can now reveal both. You'll have to wait for the next few posts, since I haven't decided whether I should slowly reveal the secret quilt project or show it all in one post. I'm thinking the former, although I think I'll only divide it up into two or three posts.

However, here is my first paper-pieced block:

So the reason I couldn't post this picture before is that my mother-in-law loves seahorses. And she was the recipient of the secret quilt project. I feel I would have given away the game if I'd posted this.

So, I used scrap fabrics for this seahorse, since I was just testing to see if it would even work. The only issue I ran into was directionality of the background print, which is why I went with a very safe turquoise batik for the background of the secret quilt. Otherwise I was quite pleased with it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

3x6 Bee Blocks Finished

Yay, for pictures...

I finished the 3x6 Bee blocks today. Here are the rest:

Block for Deb - Colors: blue-green and aqua, Background: white.

Block for Erika - Colors: green, blue, and fuchsia, Background: white.

Block for Joanne - Colors: warm (red, orange, yellow) and cool (grey, green, blue), Background: any neutral.

Block for Nicole - Colors: aqua, grey, and red, Background: white.

And here is a picture of all seven blocks. Top row: Deb, Joanne, Erika. Middle row: Nicole, Laurel and Jenn. Bottom Row: mine. I think Erika's, Laurel's and mine are my favorites of the blocks. I just can't seem to get behind the aqua for some reason, and Joanne's would not have been a color combination I would have ever attempted.

All in all, a great experience using color combinations I have never tried before. Lately I've been on this pink kick (fuchsia or other bright pinks, not that horrible baby pink), which is kind of surprising. I usually shy away from anything pink, but the bright pink against the cobalt blue and green really pops.