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!

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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.

Priorities

Making time in my studio a priority is not as important as it used to be. In the last couple of months I have started to feel really and finally retired. I am not looking for speaking or teaching jobs, but I wouldn’t turn them down!

I knew so little when I started!

Anyway, I don’t feel like I have to constantly be in production mode and if I miss some time in the studio, it’s no big deal. I’m thinking of projects that have lain dormant in the back of my brain for a long time and I’m trying to create in a more thoughtful manner.

My current project is totally laid out in my brain. I love when that happens—and I hate when that happens. Getting from the brain picture to the actual piece is not always a straight road.

It has grown larger than I thought it would be already.

My brain picture had it about 20″ wide but these projects make their own demands. It is huge and I’m not used to working with silk, so it’s a little daunting to think about quilting this part of it.

Practice pieces are not big in my process, but I thought I’d better try it out for this one. I grabbed several scraps and put them on batting and backing and started stitching.

No issues whatsoever, so off I went on the real thing. Spoiler alert: Nothing fancy was attempted on this piece! Simple straight lines are all that is required on this part.

Know what? Channel quilting is boring, no matter what fabric you are using! That’s all I got done on the project today, but that’s fine.

In my newly retired state of mind, spending the day with my hubby, going out to lunch, stopping at the bead store……….it’s all so good! Having relaxing days like this is what it’s all about!

And the studio will be there tomorrow…after I lunch and chat with a friend…and maybe do some local shop hopping with her…life is good!

 

Sittin’ by the lake…

That’s what I feel like when I’m looking at this piece. I think it’s done, except for the mounting!

Since it’s part of a challenge, one of the rules was to finish with raw edges, no binding. Not a problem for me, since I love those raw edges, but it was stitched without a backing, since I didn’t know how I would finish it. I believe I have it figured out, but haven’t had time to actually TRY it out. Some days there are just not enough hours!

My water and sky were large areas of the total, but I didn’t want to make them focus areas. Similar big stitching, fat threads got the job done and I’m excited to get it finished!

Water

Sky

You never know where a little challenge in your art group will lead! I love this piece!

Done and on a detour…

Quilted, bound and in the washer–whenever I do a bed quilt, I don’t feel like I have a lot to show you. It’s often days of similar pictures since I’m working on the same pile of fabrics. But that’s part of working on larger projects!

And the quilting detail

Leftover binding, because I don’t measure. Not too much this time, and I have at least one more black, white and red quilt to make……………it will be used!

Another one done and now Keith can snuggle with a new quilt on cold days!

I was going to tackle a couple more from the UFO pile, but I got a request to make a quilt for my grandson. Well, that’s a no-brainer!

This panel was supposed to go into a Halloween quilt, but that didn’t happen.

However, AJ and his dad are into ‘space marines’ and those soldiers have skulls hanging from their armor, so it might still work! No Halloween orange and probably some gray camo and what 9 year old boy wouldn’t like it?

That’s the next project……………….but not really. I have embroidery floss that I soaked in soda ash when I did my last little fabric dyeing. I want to  finish the dyeing and clear my space before I start that next quilt.

And then there’s Christmas………………

Quick Update

In case you don’t follow me on Instagram (quirksltd) or FB, here’s an update. I quit procrastinating and started the quilt that was actually all ready to go!

I got the entire middle section of it done–the part that would have been the art quilt from Joe Cunningham’s workshop.

 

However, since I decided to use up some other blocks that I had made from scraps, it is now bed quilt size. The blocks were already made, they went with the part from class—what else could I have done?  But I do have a bit more to get quilted now!

Looking forward to Monday, which is the next day that I have available to work on it. If the borders go as quickly as the middle, it could be done. And that is my whole goal right now–finish, finish, finish!

Red houses–essentially done!

When you finish up the quilting with the last spool of thread like this…

…you know that you are having a good day!!!

I’m certainly ready for this project to be finished and all I need is to decide on the binding and get it done. Probably traditional binding, in the dark blue.

What lessons did I learn from this piece and the way in which I constructed it? First, if there is going to be hand stitching involved, don’t build your piece on lightweight interfacing. It’s not strong enough to stand up to all that folding and handling. Better to build on a fabric foundation. Second, if you want to have lots of loose, raw edges, think carefully before you start quilting and quilt in the direction of the edges!

It was a fun project, done in a different way and I like the way it turned out. That’s the absolute best I can expect and now it’s on to something new….or old! I have quite a few quilts that need to be quilted and finished and off my to-do pile. It’s time to turn my attention to those and get them done! I think that pile has 17 bed size quilt tops on it, so we’ll see how far my resolve goes!