Sunday, February 28, 2016

Advice from a Tea Bag

It's been a while since I did an advice from a tea bag post, but today I came across one that's perfect for this post.

So what have I been doing with yesterday's junk? Flinging, of course! We are debating a move in 2017, and just in case we do decide to move, I'd like to weed out some things now. I've done some extensive flinging of crafts in the last few years, and I've gotten rid of most of my non-quilting fabrics. I want to keep my quilting fabrics, but there are still areas I can weed out.

I went through my garment patterns, and I got rid of 80% of them. I'd rather be quilting these days, so I don't need to keep a bunch of patterns I'm not likely to use. I did keep a few that I am likely to use, but the majority are out of here!

I'd like to whittle my quilting magazines and books down by at least 40%. So far I've tackled my magazines.

This is 60% of my magazines, ready to fling. I'm keeping almost every Quiltmaker magazine I had, and I got rid of every Quilter's Newsletter I had. I think I kept only one Fons and Porter, but I kept several American Patchwork and Quilting and McCalls's Quilting. For me to keep a magazine, it had to had at least three quilts I would like to make. If it had less than that, I took photos of the things that interested me, and put the magazine in the fling pile. I don't like cutting large pieces, I'm not terribly fond of appliqué, and if it was a traditional pattern that I likely have in a book, it had to have a different twist on it that made it worth saving. I went from 10 magazine holders of magazines to four, and those four can fit a few more in them. Going through that many magazines in just a couple days was enlightening. Although looking at art quilts is fun for me, I'm not much interested in making one, so any magazine focusing on that was a fling. I'm sure someone else would have kept a completely different set of magazines.

I did have a couple things come into the house. DH and I went to a few thrift stores, and he found this book, which I'd like to read.

For the $2 I paid for it, which went to charity, I can fling it after I read it, if I so choose. I figured it would be fun to read.

I also brought home this.

Anyone recognize that trapezoidal case? I sure did!

Yes, I bought another Singer 301! I have a custom painted 301, and I used to have another one just like this one, but without the case. I sold it a while back. I've kind of regretted selling that one, so when I saw this one for $45, I snagged it. If I change my mind, I know I can sell it for $150 or so on ebay at any time. A Singer 301 is my favorite travel machine. A lightweight, fast, straight stitcher that is full sized? Perfection!

A couple things in, a lot of things out! Next I'll be tackling my quilt books.

We had out of town company for a week, and tomorrow I'll finally be back in the sewing room. I need to finish the swaddling blankets for the baby shower next weekend. So much to do, so little time!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

My First Rag Quilt

I know a lot of quilters start out by making rag quilts, but the truth is, I had never made one, until now that is. DD#3 is always cold, very cold. I wanted to make her a warmer quilt to use on the couch. Even with two quilts piled on her, she's still cold, so I decided I would make her a four layer thick flannel rag quilt.

I had purchased six yards of Wonder Woman fabric a couple years ago, planning to make her a pair of pajama pants and a couple pillowcases, but those never got made. It's just as well, because I used all of that Wonder Woman fabric in her rag quilt. In fact, there are 24 yards of fabric in her rag quilt.

Here is the front of her quilt. I had read several tutorials on making rag quilts, and one of the suggestions made a lot of sense to me. They said if you were making a large rag quilt, to clip the seams as you assemble, so you aren't stuck clipping all the seams while the quilt is fully assembled and hard to move around. I sewed all the rows across, then joined those rows into pairs. Once that was done, I clipped as much as I could. I sewed the last four seams on the quilt, sewed around the outside twice, then I clipped the last four seams and around the outside. After getting the clipping done, I was very glad I had listened to that advice. Having to clip all the seams once it was all assembled would have been much more difficult. It is a HEAVY quilt.

Here is the back of the quilt. I had recently read a post about washing rag quilts in a front load washer, which is what I have. There was a note to check your filter on the washer, because a lot of loose threads get caught in the washer filter. I was so glad I read that, because sure enough, my washer filter was full. I knew the dryer lint filter would be full, because the burp rags I make have ragged edges. I had to empty the dryer lint filter halfway through the dryer cycle, and it was still full again at the end. I was very thankful I already had the spring loaded scissors designed for ragging quilts. The shorter blades make it much easier to clip the seams without going into the stitching.

DD#3 loves her new quilt, and hopefully it will help keep her warm. I always get her Wonder Woman stuff, because she is 5'10", and so I started calling her my Amazon woman. Wonder Woman is a Amazon, so it made sense for me to get her Wonder Woman stuff.

Aside from working on this rag quilt this week, I finished 17 burp rags, cut out 14 pairs of pajama pants, 2 scrub tops, and 6 swaddling blankets. I am so used to using leaders/enders, that I used some of the pajama pants as leaders/enders while assembling the rag quilt. I now have 5 pairs of those ready to hem and make elastic casings. I could have had them all at that point, but I only sewed up the ones that worked with the thread color I was using for the quilt.

Now three of my eight deadline quilts are done for the year, and I have a jump start on some garment sewing! So far I am on track for what needs to be done.

All those pajama pants and scrub tops took 45 yards of fabric off my shelves, but now I have a bin of scraps to cut up. Garment scraps can be a pain to process into quilting pre-cuts, because the pieces are so oddly shaped, but I think I'm going to do the same thing I did last year when tackling several years worth of scraps. I just cut everything into 2" (1.5" finished) strips. I use that size a lot, and at that size, the pattern on the fabric makes little difference, it's just a color at that point.

DS the Elder and his family are flying in today, so no sewing for me for the next week. I'm happy as can be to forego the sewing and spend time with my family!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

First Finishes of 2016

I sewed bindings on two quilts today, so I now have two finishes for this year! Granted, they are both baby quilts, but they are two of my eight deadline quilts for this year.

This one I've showed before, but now it's finished.

The colors on the front were inspired by this funky vintage fabric I backed it with. I picked up the vintage fabric a couple years ago at a thrift store, and knew a pyramid quilt was what it was meant for. I cut too many triangles, and I have just a little of the vintage fabric left, so I think I'm going to cut the vintage leftovers into more triangles, and make a bonus quilt to use up all of that fabric.  I might have enough triangles to make another baby quilt.

The other baby quilt I finished is this one. These are for different babies.

Isn't it adorable? The pattern can be purchased here, since I know someone is going to ask me where it originated. Not my design, but it's soooo cute! Mine isn't exactly the same, since I used stash for both quilts. The only purchase I made was for the backing of the Fox and Friends quilt.

This fabric was too perfect for the backing, so I bought it, but at least I used it immediately.

Now I have several other baby things to make, like a stack of burp rags and some swaddling blankets, so quilting will take a back seat for a little while. I need to get all the baby stuff done before the shower on the 27th. The shower was originally going to be at our house, but the baby was in a hurry, so arrived 8 weeks early! He's doing great, so all is well on that front, but he'll be in the hospital for a while. Now the shower will be at DD#2's house, which is much closer to the hospital.

Here's a pic of the new baby, breathing on his own, and doing great for being so early. He's a "grandbaby" of the heart, not blood or legally related, but family all the same.

It feels good to finish something, and I'll be very happy when all the baby stuff is done. We have out of town company coming the 20th, so I really need to have all the baby stuff done by then. The company will be here all the time up to the shower, so I need to get to work on that.

Oh, I only have about ten more blocks to make on the mystery quilts, before I start piecing the setting triangles!!! I'd like to get those into quilt tops fairly soon. I decided to use the brights version of the mystery quilt as one of my deadline quilts, so at least that one will get finished this year. If I can get the shirts version into a top this year, I'll consider that a win.