Onward to orange

I think everyone who reads this knows that orange is my favorite color. So as a reward for finishing one stashbuster quilt, I’m looking at orange.

Yummy………..to me, at least! But right next to the oranges, already sorted out of the stacks, were all my polka dots.

They do not all play well together, so……….orange! Yeah! I have a pattern whose technique I am going to borrow to make this. You start with a square, top it with a circle, slash the block, mix them up and insert a strip. Looks like a lot of fun, but with the variety of orange I am using, I have to think about the circles and strips I will be adding. (And for those who are curious, the pattern is Contemporized Country Circles from Patternworkz Design Studio )

Thinking of complementary colors, I’m pulling blues, on the green side, not the purple side.

..

Thinking about it is as far as I’ve gotten. There will be a lot of trial and error before any decisions are made on this one. I want it to look vibrant, not confused!

And then there are those inserted strips…………….not a clue what color to go with for those. Stay with me. This may take a few days!

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Stashbuster 1 done

It really doesn’t take very long to make a quilt top, when you keep the design simple and limit the fabric choices! Hooray!

I forgot to measure it for final dimensions, but it’s a decent cuddle up size! In an effort to totally keep it simple, I used all the smaller blocks in a header section and all the larger ones in the bottom section.

Sewed together super quickly and now we are ready to move on.

As I looked at the shelves, I had a moment of being totally overwhelmed with the task ahead of me. Making one top at a time will not make a dent in the stash until about 5 years from now, but each top made will be progress. Something will change before then…………

I realized that my hand dyes are here to stay, so I started stacking those on two of the shelves. I think I may have three shelves of hand dyes when I’m done.

And there are some things that are definitely heading out the door–like fabric that I bought when my daughter was a toddler and never made clothes with. She’s an adult now, with a 9 year old son, so I think it’s safe to rid myself of those pastel pink and blue knits.

When some of those items are off the shelves, it may be time to sort through for things I just plain don’t like any more. Those, at least, will be useful cottons that I can pass on to someone learning to sew. (My preferred method of disposal!)

I’m no longer overwhelmed, but it is a formidable task.

Next step is deciding on the next quilt top. Simple and pretty, so it will get done!

Assessing the plan

Yes, assessing the plan that really isn’t a plan. My focus on the goal of using the stash could dissipate if I continue on the path I’m on. It will be too easy to get distracted and off track when selecting one group of fabrics at a time and making a quilt. I will continue to do that, but there has to be some immediate action to change bad habits.

My scraps, sorted into baskets by color, are very useable, but very distracting.

I often am pulled off-track by an intriguing bit hanging over the edge of one of those baskets.

And as I scroll through my pictures, I realize that I have tried this approach several times in the past. Obviously, it has not worked.

I became aware that I have been trying to avoid a REAL sorting of fabric. I don’t actually want to take everything off the shelves and see every piece of fabric. If I do that, it means I have to make a decision on each piece, whether is goes or stays. Making things is fine, but it doesn’t move fast enough to be effective.

More soul searching is in the works, but I believe my ultimate goal is to only make art with fabric that I have “made” myself. My decisions will involve facing some hard facts—like the fact that I have spent a lot of money on these supplies and now I am not going to use them? Absurd…but most likely true.

I have distinct areas in my studio–quilting/sewing, knitting, beads & embroidery, painting, stamps, stencils, and dyeing, as well as a library wall of ways to use them! I do use it all, but will I continue to use it all?

Hmmmmmmmmmm…………………….

Stashbusting Start

Yesterday was a total sewing day, all day long! And my shoulders are sore from hours at the machine, but it was very much worth it.

Wonky nine patches are very easy to make and when you get into that repetitive groove of cut-sew-press-cut-sew-press, the stacks get higher quickly.

And since I wanted to use up every bit of these fabrics, I made smaller four patch blocks to go along with them.

I put all of the larger blocks on the design wall (with no thought of design) because it’s always so satisfying to see so much work done!

Then I needed to figure out how I was going to incorporate the other size blocks. That original strip pieced portion yielded 8 small blocks, so I made a medallion of that.

And laid out the other smaller blocks around it.

That’s how I left things at the end of the day. Actually cooked a lovely chicken dinner and relaxed with the Olympics. Felt very productive…it was a very good day!

Not sure if this is how I will proceed. The whole idea is to keep it simple and get it done. When I head back to the studio, I will probaby arrange this grouping as a header, lay out the rest of the blocks in straight rows and GET IT DONE.

Because I’m already thinking of the next one…………………………orange!

Impatience rules!

Once I decided that destashing-by-making was my goal, there was no way I could wait until free days in March to get started! I have been less than thrilled with the way my white silk and thread project has been going, so this is what it looks like now.

Folded nice and neatly into a project bag and going to sit on the shelf for a while. I also packed up the tons of white fabrics and laces scheduled for the other part of the white project.

I thought it all came out of this box, but it sure doesn’t fit back in it! Thankfully, I found the larger box that it actually came from and got it all packed away again, too. It will come out again when the time is really right to make these projects.

So the decks were cleared to start making things disappear by sewing. I wasn’t sure exactly how to begin, so I gathered up lots of those patterns that I have collected, always meaning to use.

Absolutely cannot find my two favorite patterns, that I have actually made! Darn! And none of these really inspired me today, so I looked to the fabric to stimulate action. It worked, but in kind of a strange way.

There is no logic to the way my fabric instincts work. I have been buying mostly fat quarters for years, so I have no huge hunks of anything that are screaming to be used. The fabrics I chose to begin with are fabrics that have been annoying me for quite a few years.

In my beginning improv days, I used a lot of prints and didn’t leave much ‘breathing’ room. I began using these in that same way…

just AWFUL!  And there it sat, for years. So, I gathered up some compatible pieces, added in some ‘breathing’ fabrics and began to sew.

Using the simple wonky nine-patch block, I cut and sewed and now I’m on my way to my first intentional stashbusting quilt!

And true to my last post, scraps are going into a covered bin, not to be revisited until my stash goal is met….or at least a bit closer than it is now! This one should be done before my March ‘free days’ even begin, so I feel like I’ve made a good start.

Perhaps my next quilt will start out organized in an entirely different manner. I may pick a color and try to use it all up. I’m thinking also of using complementary colors in some way–because I have a lot of orange and blue and they look good together. Maybe I’ll make one with fabrics that don’t appeal to me so much anymore and then reward myself with fabrics I really like. Not worried about quilting or finishing at this point–just tops to use up the fabric.

My machine was humming and so was I, as I got started on this gigantic task.

Empty Calendar!

As I checked my calendar for March, I found quite a few blank days. More than usual. Empty, uncommitted, free time! It’s so easy to say ‘yes’ to things and fill up those days, but I refuse to do that!

And I don’t think I am going to concentrate on finishing up art projects. Whenever I go to the studio, THIS

greets me. I am sick of looking at THIS.

I want stuff to be GONE! I am so tired of saving things because I plan on using them someday, or “I’ll get around to it when I have some time.”

I found a picture that I took in 2013 of this same spot.

Doesn’t look much different, does it? I probably had the same ambition to clean it out then as I do now.

Well, it looks like the time is here!

That empty calendar is a clear sign that action time is available. And those actions usually work better with a plan. So in my time between now and the “after March 5” beginning date, I will locate those patterns that I liked, when I used other people’s patterns. I will select some fabrics for each project, though that is always subject to change! I will plan a project or two of original designs, that use up my fabric the way I usually use it. And I. WILL. SEW.

And scraps…………….I get distracted by scraps. They are usually bits of fabrics that I loved and a piece will catch my eye and I’ll be off on a tangent, creating with scraps. This time, everything designated as a scrap will be going into a container with a lid, so I can’t see them!

My ultimate goal here is to get my fabric stash down to one set of shelves. If the other shelves are piled with unfinished tops, that will be just fine!

March will be my month to get it all under control. When I write it down like this, it seems like a very ambitious plan, very challenging. But it IS a goal, and without goals we never make progress.

Wish me luck!

Thread lace and beads

Oh my word–making huge pieces of thread lace is a never ending project! I’ve never made anything but some small leaves before and making this huge sheet is taking way too long. If I had known at the beginning….in the category of  lessons learned, I’d really have gone about it in a different way.

My goal was to create sheer, shiny fabric to attach to the silk background already made. It would need to have beads on it, but those could be supported by a grid of beading thread as the beads were added. Okay–that was the plan. Using up tons of fibers and threads seemed like such a bonus, too.

I wasn’t too far into it before I realized that the threads alone would not create a strong enough fabric.

Adding a sheer fabric back was about the only answer I could come up with. Had I started with the fabric, I would have added light fusible and fused those fibers to it. Still would have added the stabilizer and the stitching, but maybe not as much stitch and maybe not so many thread/stitching frustrations. Next time for sure…

I stitched for hours, free form sewing and finally thought it might hold together. Then I added a grid of stitches just to feel better about it!

And suddenly it was time to bite the bullet, call it good and wash away the stabilizer!

It’s sheer, shiny and looks different from every angle. Can’t really show that in photos, but I think it’s going to work. We’ll judge the strength as I start assembling and adding those heavy beads!

Speaking of which…I have a few choices to make!

I always start by pulling anything that I think might have any possibility of working with my fabrics and colors…and because I have accumulated so many beads, that can become a large pile!

 

I almost immediately eliminated the darker gold beads and the darkest blue beads. The thread fabric changes color with every viewing angle, so most any color should work! I thought about green, but didn’t really have a good green jump out at me.

  

These three were ‘finalists’ and all looked pretty good. Then I kind of thought all white would really be best and spread these out.

The white along with some off-white looks like the solution. Sparkle all the way through and no dramatic color to draw the eye. The piece is going to reflect a snow storm, so the whiter the better………………..I think! It may yet change as I progress with the beading, but that’s the plan right now.

And I got to spend the whole day in the studio! Thought I was going to have most of the week in the studio, but I forgot to put several things on my calendar. So I’m extra grateful to have had today and to have progressed so far. There is no ‘fast’ in this project, so I will either post it so much that you will get sick of it, or I will try to restrain myself and there will not be as many posts.

But I know myself well enough to know that I will work on more than one project at the same time, so there should be something else to look at soon!