Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Now the blues

I tackled the mess in my other stash cupboard.

It contains the blue yardage, and a lot of neutral floral yardage, most of which I purchased for $2 a metre at a spectacular sale 15 years ago.  I bought everything that was on the bolt, how can you go wrong at that price. 

It doesn't look like much on the shelf, but there was a lot of blue to sort through.

It still doesn't look like much.  I think I need to go shopping for dark and mid blues.

This is so much tidier and easier to access.

That stack in the photo above is all blue florals.  I don't think I need anymore of those.

There were some pieces that have been so nibbled at over the years that they don't deserve to be in the yardage cupboard anymore; these will get filed in with the FQs in drawers.

The yardage will go down to the workroom, to the backing shelves.  None of those prints are likely to be cut up for piecing, but they will be perfect as backings where the big prints will show to advantage.

I'm so gad to have restored order to the fabric stacks.  One major thing that made it easy was setting up a folding table right next to the cupboards. I didn't have to cart the fabric over to a table, sort it and cart it back. NO steps were taken, I could make sense of what I pulled off the shelves straight away and the whole thing took less than an hour each time.  Why didn't I think of that before?


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A Speedy Finish

I dug through my stash drawers trying to weed out anything that I didn't love, and anything that was so small it got lost amongst the larger pieces.  It was slim pickings.  I've done this many times over the years, and there wasn't a lot of 'blah' fabric left.  I pulled out a few pieces to strip up for the strip drawers, but there was very little that I could use to cut 8.5" squares as I had planned.

I found a big piece of blue that I loved, but it had fade marks all through it, so that was set aside to cut up.  Then I found some backing scraps, and a few pieces that I still liked, but was willing to sacrifice, and started cutting. It took a night to cut it, arrange it and sew it in rows, and then another night to assemble it and find a border fabric.

All in all, it was fairly painless to get this top in one piece, and it cleared out more than 4 metres of fabric.  There are leftover 8.5" squares, of course, and while I was looking for a container to store them in I found a box marked "Scrappy Mountain Majesties", a Bonnie Hunter quilt

Inside were a heap of 8.5" squares and strips from the quilt I made a few years ago, so I added the new ones, and I have the beginnings of another quilt.  I know it's more work to make those blocks, but the squares were a bit boring to sew together.  It will be much more entertaining to make the SMM blocks.


Monday, September 28, 2020

Shaking up the stash

Have you seen Bonnie Hunter's blogposts just lately, showing her stash re-organisation? Here and here.  I was inspired to do something about my messy cupboards and stash drawers.

The pink and brown yardage was all over the place. Why is all that red in there? I've been pulling things out of here, and shoving them back in a hurry, till I couldn't see everything I had.

Much better.

The greens were in even more of a mess.

That is so much better, and I found new homes for most of the stuff on that fourth shelf, so now the browny-pink yardage can live there.

I have a thing for this reproduction green and yellow fabric.  I think I have enough for at least half a dozen quilts, so surely I can stop buying it now. Maybe.

Tomorrow I'll tackle the other cupboard that holds the blue yardage, and the lengths of pale floral fabric.

I also put away all the fabric that was cluttering up my working space, sorted 8 (eight!!) drawers of neutrals, and put away all the new fabric. It's a wonderful feeling, seeing the cutting mats cleared, just waiting for the next bout of activity.  In the last week I've started 4 new projects, and all I want to do is get cutting, but I have borders to attach tonight.  It will be good to have a finish, before the sewing room is covered in fabric and scraps again.


Friday, September 25, 2020

Brickwork quilt

I was doing really well with my leader-ender project. I sewed the bricks in pairs of light and dark, and every so often I'd sew them into rows.  It was a fun, easy project with no pressure.

And then I started wanting to lay out all the bricks first, so it took over the design wall.

And then I just wanted it finished so I could have the design wall back, so it was no longer a leader ender. I'm reeeally bad at leader-enders.

So now it's all in one piece, and just needs it's borders.  They are cut and ready, but I want to have a play with something else for a while, so they'll have to wait.

I'm going to make another brick quilt very soon, because I really would like the bricks to be a little larger, 2.5" x 5" finished.

I needed something else to use as a leader-ender, and because I had nothing prepared it was back to the 1.5" squares container; I now have eleven 3" brown nine-patches. 

 I guess I'm going to have to think of a project to use these up.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Quick quilts

 My stash drawers are in chaos, it's really hard for me to find anything that I want straight away.  I'm sick of searching high and low for a single piece of fabric, only to have it turn up in an entirely unexpected place.  It's such a waste of time when I could be sewing or cutting. I'm determined to do something about it over the next few weeks.
  • Sort out the stash drawers properly, label each one.
  • Weed out everything that is a fat eighth or less. Store them in a  wire drawer, for cutting into strips or squares whenever I have time.
  • Go through all the small containers, file that fabric back in the stash drawers.
  • If something needs to be in a small container for a project, label it
  • Re fold and stack all the fabric on the shelves
  • Find a better home for all the shirt materials.
  • Put bolts of fabric back on the shelf neatly.
  • Have a maintenance plan so it doesn't get messy again. Excuse me while I have a bit of a laugh over that.  I never put stuff away properly, that's why I'm in this mess in the first place.  But I can live in hope.

While I'm sorting through the drawers I want to pull out FQs that I don't absolutely love, and make a quick quilt with them.  If I cut each into a 16" square, and sewed them 5 x 5, I would have a top that was 80" square. That would be really painless. or I could cut them into 8" squares, and sew them 7 x 9, like the quilt below, which is 70"x 86". Then I can add borders, and get a big length out of the cupboard as well.

 It would be a really quick way to get some less than treasured fabric out of the drawers, and make room for new stuff. And the offcuts would restock the strip drawers. I'd need more like a metre of most materials, or use different greens and blues.  I'll come up with a plan when I've weeded out more fabric from the stash.

Or I could make some pieced backings the way Bonnie does. I did that about 10 years ago, and I really enjoyed those quilts with virtually another quilt on the back. I donated those quilts, and I sometimes wondered if the recipients chose to use them with the back facing up.  They were pretty.


Monday, September 21, 2020

A quick little finish

I was quilting a little quilt for someone else (no photos allowed), and there was a large piece of backing fabric still on the rollers.  I grabbed this little baby quilt that I made at the start of the year, added a scrap of batting, and had it finished in no time.

I even bound it, so it's ready to go into the donation pile.

I used a panto called Jilly, and it gives the right amount of movement and interest without overwhelming the simple piecing. This is my 3rd quilt quilted this year, not a great record, but there has been so much upheaval that I haven't been able to do more.

School holidays are coming up, and I should have a little bit more time at home.  If I get 1 or 2 tops and backings ready then I may squeeze another couple finishes in.


Friday, September 18, 2020


I concentrated on making the borders for my Tiny Album top, and sewed them on without a hitch. 
I'm so pleased with how it turned out, it looks quite antique, which I was aiming for. 
I had a lot of fun with these blocks, and they used up a pile of my small scraps and strips. And the sashing used up a treasured piece of archival stash that I'd been hoarding for 19 years. That was one of my goals this year, to use up yardage from deep stash, and I certainly achieved that. I don't know what my next project will be, but I think I'll rummage through the special fabrics and see what else I can turn into a quilt. It's a good feeling. 


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Stash enhancement trip

At the very start of August Mereth and I planned a little trip to visit our favourite fabric store in Adelaide, Tricia's.  There were some new Covid cases showing up, and we were afraid that there would be another lockdown and we wouldn't be allowed out, so we needed to go while we could.

We went to Tricia's before lunch, and spent hours browsing.  That shop is so crowded, there are stacks of bolts in front of the shelves of fabric, we had to work hard to get some of them out. We made a few purchases, took a heap of photos, then went and had lunch. Over coffee we consulted the photos, decided what we regretted not buying, then went back and topped up the purchases. It was a fun way to shop, no regrets later over something we didn't get.

I debated a long time over these border prints and large florals, but none of them came home with me.  Some of them went home with Mereth though.

Not a bad haul from Tricia's, and I could have bought so much more but I was being a little bit sensible for some reason.
Ah, Neutrals! Can never have too many of these.
This is a pretty random bunch of half metre pieces; no reason behind any of them, they just caught my fancy.
Some more pretties; love that pink.
I got 1.5m of this lovely pale paisley. I think it's from a Christopher Wilson-Tate range.
These should spice up future projects.

There were a few FQs to add to the modern stash.
And two wideback lengths, because I want to get some more quilts on the machine before the end of the year, and having the backing ready to go will help that. I have so many blue and white quilts, I'll have to choose which one I use this for.  The cream text print will go with a number of tops too.

It was a lovely trip, and we enjoyed every bit of it.  There was no uptick in the Covid cases, and no lockdown, so we could do it again if we wanted. Maybe some of those border prints will still be there. Just have to add to the bank balance first....


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Getting closer to a finish

And the blocks are  all set together.
It took a lot of late nights to get it to this stage, but I'm very happy with how it's looking.

The next step is a 2" border of pink, and then the same green as the setting triangles around that.  Unfortunately there's no more of the pink, so I will have to find a substitute.  There isn't a lot of that green left either, so it may end up being only 3" wide. The green is from 2006, a line called Calico Craze, so I've only been hoarding this for 14 years. 

I do have a possible replacement fabric in mind, but I don't want to use that unless I absolutely have to.

I was wondering how old that pink was, so I consulted my fabric book and found it right at the start, 2001. I bought it at a discount patchwork shop in Sydney, Patchwork Products, which has sadly now closed.  That shop was like an Aladdin's Cave full of wonders, and all affordable which was a little miracle in those days.  So that piece has sat on the shelf for 19 years; it really is from the archives.

None of the more modern pinks seem to match this, and I had nothing large enough for a border in the old fabrics; a hunt through the scrap drawer found a strip that would do, but I had used it all in other quilts.  A shout-out to Mereth, and she found yardage in her stash drawers.  I'm not surprised, because she uses scraps so much that she doesn't get to cut into the yardage very often.
This one is also 19 years old, it's a better colour match in real life. My phone can't handle vibrant pinks apparently.  In return for the pink I gifted her a neutral beige that she needed for her latest project.  It was so old it predates the fabric books, from last century in fact. Some of my stash is Ancient....

Going through my fabric book was interesting.  So many of the fabrics I am currently using came from 2000-2002, I would never have said they were that old.   I feel even more determined to start using them and not saving them for another 20 years.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Progress on the Tiny Album blocks

I'm moving slowly towards a finish on the Tiny Album blocks. I chose a pink from the stash, and it's a really old one, I think it was from the Cocheco range. It has nothing printed on the selvedge, so no clue there.

I made the blocks in several long sewing sessions, I was grimly determined to get this closer to a finish, and there were quite a few nights that I called it quits at 2am.  Silly of me, but I don't have anyone to answer to.

I use the parts of one block as a leader-ender for the block I'm working on.  During one of those late night sessions my concentration slipped, and I did this.

I was about to press it and then thought, 'Hmm, that doesn't look right....'  
I fixed it with a bit of seam ripping, but it was time to call it a night. I didn't want to make a mistake trimming those blocks to size, I would be devastated to make a slip with the rotarty cutter.  Cant fix that.....


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Still working on those bindings

This tumbler quilt is finished at last.

This donation quilt is finished as well.

I'm glad I decided to focus on finishing off the binding on all those quilts.  I'm guilt free now, until I quilt something else.  For some strange reason I really enjoyed those 10 bindings; it was nice to be completing projects, instead of rushing on to something new.

I have several quilts that I was quilting on my Janome around 2006, and then I never finished them once the Statler arrived.  I might dig them out of the dark recesses of the cupboard and see what they need in order to be finished. Better late than never.

I really need to finish one of my piecing projects though.  I seem to be sewing constantly and never getting anywhere. I'm doing a fair bit of yard work, so I'm not sewing as much as usual.  I need to research some quick patterns that will give me a finishing fix.

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