Spring and batiks–right?

My new stashbuster project was inspired by a photo that I backtracked to a free pattern. Now I know you all will want to know which pattern, so here’s the link  Kite Flight  by Robert Kaufman and it’s a beginner friendly, strip pieced pattern.

Easy to make the strip sets, of course, and I was eager to see how the actual measurements and instructions work on my machine, in real life! The assumption with jelly rolls is that the strips are all at least 42″ long and of course that’s not always true. It also assumes that your seam allowance is sewn exactly like theirs. The pattern cautions that there is not waste, which means ‘be careful or you’ll run out of fabric.’

I used my fast stitch machine and I know that the 1/4″ I sew on that machine is a scant 1/4″.  And I used the very edge of the pinked cut as my edge. And the instructions said to press all the seams open…………..fat chance! I am not going to spend forever picking open those pinked edges on a 5 strip set! I just pressed them out each way from the center strip. If it’s an issue later in the construction, I’ll figure it out and deal with it then.

It came out as a skinny 10 1/2″ strip set. If you are a beginner, and yours comes out a touch small, don’t panic! The next step is to cross cut into squares, so you make your squares the same size as your strip set. The objective is to make the square! If it’s 10 1/4″ instead of 10 1/2″, there may be some other adjustment needed later on, but for this pattern it’s more important that it be square.

I certainly did not mean this post to be all about the pattern instructions, because they are fine. This is to reassure you that perfection is not always necessary to achieve great results. And for me, the goal is to use up the stash, not produce an heirloom masterpiece! I quilt for fun, aim for precision and don’t stress over any part of it. My favorite quilt teacher said that fabric is forgiving and it’s a statement that I’ve lived by as I work with textiles.

Now, about that 42″ WOF measurement…so far, so good, by measuring carefully. But how to avoid panic and having to make more strip sets if these are short? I decided while I was sewing them together that it’s a scrap quilt. If it was short I was simply going to add a piece of fabric on the end and cut out the square. In a different situation, I would make more strip sets or seam the ends of the ‘short ones’ together to make large enough blocks.  (And that may yet happen!) I’ve only cut one set so far, but this is what I had left!

I hope all the other strips work as well! I’m eager to keep going on this one. It should be quick and I’m liking those strip sets, so I’m positive I’ll like the finished quilt.

I have to tell you once again, I am having so much fun working on these stashbuster projects! And getting an actual, useable end product is a big bonus!

Quilt on………………..




The Stylized Tree—Finished

Finished, except for label and hanging sleeve, but sometimes those wait until I actually need to hang a piece!

I tried very hard to get it nice and straight, square and even, with no wavy edges. It came pretty close for as wonky as it was when I started! I’m certainly not going to stress over it.

And I didn’t try to get a professional looking photo. It’s just stuck up on the design wall so I could look at it and breath a sigh of relief!

But even as I was working to finish this up, I was thinking about the next project. A FB photo caught my eye and I tracked it down to a free pattern. The actual picture of the sample quilt was quite uninspiring, but the FB photo was very colorful, and mine will be also. I’m using strips of batiks, and it looks like a jelly roll that I have no recollection of buying. Some of them were already sewn together in pairs and that’s actually part of how the pattern is created, so bonus there!

Now all I have to do is find something compatible that I have 2 yards of to finish it. And I don’t have many fabrics in large chunks. A yard is a big piece for the way I work! I absolutely will not buy anything to finish this with, but I’m sure there is something in the pile that I have been hoarding that will work!!!

I’m really excited to get this one started. Using up my stash is turning out to be lots of fun, and I may actually get to a point where I feel it’s truly getting close to “used up”—don’t laugh. It can happen!

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!

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!

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!

Nothing but thinking…

Today is a day of total relaxation. No obligations until hockey tonight, and that’s fun time. I like to begin my days with coffee and computer time, especially with blogs by people whose work I enjoy.

I have heard that blogs are a thing of the past, that no one is writing them anymore, that Instagram is the only viable social media app to use. It could be true. Many of the bloggers on my favorites list don’t post very often any more…but most of them have lots of posts on Instagram. Easier, quicker, and still keeps you in the public eye. I can understand that.

This was my IG post the other day!

However, I so enjoy learning more about the individuals and the work they do. I love to hear about their thoughts as they create and design. I want to learn more about them, not just a quick photo of one second of their day.

I’m disappointed in this trend. I understand it, as busy people are busy! For some, it’s a huge time burden to post a blog. I get it. I just miss that (electronic) connection, that ‘getting to know you better’ feeling. C’mon–if you are taking pics for IG or FB anyway, add a few words and post a blog!

Oh, well…I have never been the fashion queen, and will not be as a blogger, either. I will continue my blogging because it has become part of documenting my work processes. It tells my story, good, lazy, mistakes and all.

So today is coffee, computer, laziness and no planned sewing! Maybe ’cause I’m still designing my next piece, mostly in my head. I go down to the design wall and move a few pieces of fabric around and then go away and think for a while.

Add a few more or shift them around.

I will admit that I might be a tad bit afraid to start it. I may make the wrong choice or cut wrong or sew it wonky…………..oh, wait a minute! That’s my normal working method. I guess I simply need to get after it!

Or, maybe I’ll have another cup of coffee and think about what I’m going to cut and sew for a little while longer. Sounds like the best option for a no-obligation day.

Assessment Time

I’ve been a bit under the weather with a cold, so I haven’t really felt like starting a new project right now. But having finished the purple and red projects, I thought this might be a good time to take a look at my UFO pile–maybe with an eye to elimination of some of them. Very unlikely that I will throw away a quilt top, but I could easily pass it on to my guild for a charity quilt. And, yes, I will feel guilty about not finishing it myself for our charity, but sometimes you simply cannot embrace a project enough to finish it!

I have pics of lots of UFO’s—that are still UFO’s! Most are samples for classes when I was teaching other people’s designs, so they are pretty old. I’ve been doing only my own thing for at least 8 years now, so they are at least that ancient!

This is one of the first improv-originals that I started with.

There are some like the one below that may actually see the inside of a waste basket…or maybe it’s another one that I can pass on to someone who loves purple!

This one is less than a year old and ready to quilt….and sits in the pile, neglected.

And that’s just completed tops!

There are more and this time I am trying to be very realistic in my assessments. If I truly cannot see myself finishing them, I need to unburden myself. There is at least one that I really love and yet…it sits. That is a prime candidate for ‘quilting by check.’

And in the back of my mind, there are two new project ideas swirling around. They are pressing to become priorities, but I’m trying to hold back. Soooooo much UFO guilt that I need to get rid of…………………………………………..sigh!