Monday, May 30, 2011

Finished Quilting a Fun Quilt

This quilt started out as an idea to simply use up some of my fabric abundance (overstock). I pulled out several fat quarters that coordinated in color, and started cutting them. My inspiration was the book Rule-Breaking Quilts by Kathryn Schmidt. I was making blocks and they turned out to be odd sizes - 9x8.5, 10.5x9, 8.5 in. square, etc. None were really uniform.

Then L saw my beginnings and claimed the quilt. She pulled out more fabrics, I made some wonky 9-patches to add more variety, and used various strips and scraps to make some of the little checkerboard areas. Then I put all the separate blocks and pieces away until she came to visit again - I just didn't know what to do with them.

She stepped up to the challenge to arrange them, and used some of the bigger leftover pieces to fill in between blocks. I sewed them all together into the center of the top while she was still here to correct any mistakes.

Then I made the spiky border following Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking II. I used up all the rest of the scraps to make some blocks and pieced the back. When I quilted it, my goal was to use different quilting designs in different areas and blocks. Maybe this can be seen in the picture of the back.

This was a really fun project to use up all the scraps and I would like to do this type of quilt again, with L's help, of course!

Confining the Pile

The fact is, a small, organized pile still looks like a messy, unorganized mess. So I found the perfect little basket at Target to contain my notepads for grocery and to-do lists, pens, crossword books, Bible, coupons and ads, etc. on my end table. Everything I need, within easy sight and reach, and much less messy.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Scrap Management

I've been lucky to have a few hours of spare time lately, and my coworker and I took our cutting tools and mats to work for a few lunch time cutting sessions. We both managed to make big dents in our scrap piles - well, the piles are still there, but the scraps are cut into usable pieces now. She has an Accu-Go cutter, which was fun to try. I just used my ol' (dull) rotary cutter mostly. I've found I like having random strips, not necessarily with parallel sides, so I cut lots of them. The wonky log cabins were fun to make, so maybe having a bag of strips will inspire me to make more.

When I put up the new shelves, I went to Dollar Tree for a few small storage containers. One find was these three green baskets. A few days ago, they were full of wadded up big and small fabric pieces. Some of them were ironed before cutting and that made it easier.

Now I have just two baskets full, many squares in marked baggies, as well as a couple of bags labeled "Misc not sized" and "almost square" which will be good for points on wonky stars, etc. These baggies only take up two of the three baskets, so I have an empty one for more scraps!

For your viewing pleasure:

Check out some more empty spaces and decluttering ideas at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wonky Log Cabins

I was reading blogs tonight and Vicki at Sew Inspired wrote about some log cabin blocks she is making.

She asked about how others make improv log cabins.

As she does, I also have felt that maybe I was putting too much effort into fabric placement, which fabrics to use, etc.

I made a baby quilt with wonky log cabins with fussy cut centers, and got so tired of making them that I stopped at 5 and made the alternate blocks as wonky 9-patches instead. I made each block individually, which meant even though I started with a pile of strips/scraps, I got up from the sewing machine after each seam, pressed it and cut the next side straight, and then often had to cut a strip or scrap to use as the next piece. That was time consuming and tiring.

Recently I found a bunch of odd scraps from old 4-H workshops I taught, and wanted to use them as the centers of wonky log cabins. This time I allowed myself to be much more random.

First I fussy cut the center pieces. Then I chose all the strips and scraps that were the colors I wanted to use. Then I started sewing them chain style, by sewing a piece on the right of each center.

I had 15 center pieces, so I didn't have to stop to press and trim until I had 15 sides on. I kept adding more pieces in the same way, pressing and trimming after every 15 seams. I purposely chose the shorter scraps and strips for the first rounds, leaving the longer ones for the end. And I did try to select fabrics to contrast with the previous piece on that block, such as using a green print after brown or red, etc., so one block wouldn't be too monotone. Even though it felt really random as I worked, it was fast and fun!

The blocks are coming out great. I am adding a last round of beige with white dots. After that I may put sashing between the blocks - not sure yet. They are set aside while I finish up a couple of other projects.

Sewing Closet Heaven

Above you see the results of a big project that has made me very happy! In the past few weeks I have been able to clean out and totally reorganize my sewing closet, including putting up new Elfa shelves. Major improvement!!! I love the shelves. They are wonderful! Below: you might not want to look at it, but it's the embarrassingly messy before picture.

Laura at Organizing Junkie talks about labels this week in her 52 weeks of organizing project. I have used lots of labels for a long time. You can see the colored labels on my fabric bins - they either note which color family is inside, or note other items such as elastic, notions, fabric type or pattern category. Sometimes labels help to know where to put things away more than where to find them later.

I've even taken on the role of Label Police at work to label bins and drawers in our storage areas, so even when the containers are empty due to the items are out for their intended use, everyone knows where to put them back, and knows if we need to purchase more consumables.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Some Of the Quilts

I've worked on the past few months. In order from the top down: a top made for DD#1's new bedroom. It is not yet quilted.

A top in progress made for DD#2 - it has been added to and is now on the quilting machine and about half quilted.

A quilt I made for DRH - the saw blade pattern worked out well to use up fabrics I'd been collecting for him for the past couple years. You can't see much but it has all his favorite things - tools, guitars, airplanes, wood textures, International Harvester logos, the moon, typewriter keys, baseballs, bikes and pretzels, and more.

A quilt I made for my little granddaughter's toddler bed. DD#1 then made matching curtains with the leftover fabrics.

What Have I Been Doing?

Just working, sewing, quilting, running, going to the gym, cleaning, having a new grandson, and being so busy I can't remember what else, except NOT blogging. But I think I might be starting up again.

Today I spent making a man's thrifted shirt into a cute toddler dress and bloomers. I should've been cleaning and doing laundry, but I am tired of housework! And it rained all day so I couldn't go running either. I used all but the collar and a few scraps, so I added a little cotton print to make the bloomers.