Thursday, June 30, 2022

Goals Met...and Then Some

 Last week when I blogged, I had a list of goals to meet before company came tomorrow. Well, our guests are running ahead of schedule and will arrive today, but I met those goals anyway.

1) Finish quilt block design boards ☑️

I'll say this about the process, hot gluing is NOT my superpower! Still, I got the dozen boards I wanted done, and I'm happy to be able to use them. 

2) Make pattern weights ☑️

I made these for myself, and I also made a set for my sister, so maybe I deserve two check marks on those!

3) Get borders on at least two more quilts ☑️

Not only did I get borders on those two quilts, but I also got two more quilts assembled!

4) Get at least 3 quilts basted, but preferably 5. ☑️

I got SEVEN quilts basted, five baby/lap, and two throws.

*bonus goal- get the next clue cut out for the Ruby Jubilee mystery ☑️

The fourth clue had us making 12 blocks, and I had just finished making 12 block design boards, perfect! I'll still have to keep the magazine handy because the blocks on the bottom have a bunch of knocked off corners that I'll have to make sure I'm doing correctly, but it's still an easier way to keep the pieces for each block together.

Before I could baste quilts, I had several backings to piece. One backing I pieced from the fleece I got from the thrift store last week, it was just enough to back one of the quilts after I cut the long strip in half and pieced it. My favorite of the backings I pieced is this one.

I love how colorful and fun it is! 

Two of the quilts I basted I used the same fabric to back, and it was the end of a 25 yard bolt I had bought several years ago. Now I'll only see bits of that fabric in the scrap user system, the yardage is gone, gone, gone!

I'm really happy with my progress this past week, I won't have much, if any time to quilt in the next two weeks, but I'll be all set to get back to it when I can sew again. I'm taking advantage of the non-sewing time, and just packed up my Bernina to get dropped off at the "spa" tomorrow. It's overdue for a deep clean and this was the perfect time. If I do end up having some sewing time, I can piece on my vintage machine, or quilt on the Janome, no problem either way. I have a lot of cutting to do though, a few projects just got added and/or moved up on my to do list. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Another Step Forward

I've got a lengthy UFO list, and although which projects are on it changes all the time, I'm not likely to ever be one with a short UFO list. I need to always have projects at different stages, so I'm not doing any one motion too long at a time. That said, I don't want my UFO list TOO long, so my goals are to get projects to the next step, no matter which step that is. 

I did manage one finish this week, and I finally have a quilt on MY bed, though this quilt was not originally made with my bed in mind.

Town Square is finished and in use. The original pattern used jelly roll strips, but I resized it and used honeybun strips. This is only my fourth finish this year, so I better get a move on! It is a large UFO off my list though!

I did get several other projects to the next stage. I added borders to some small quilts. Borders is something I often get stuck at, which is likely one of the reasons I don't use borders as often now.  Sometimes a border changes the whole feel of a quilt, and that's not always something I want. On a couple of the quilts I bordered this week, I think the borders were needed.

This quilt was looking a bit muddy, until I added that green outer border. It really made the green diamonds pop and the whole quilt top looks more cohesive now.

This quilt was looking too busy, but even though I chose a stripe for the border, it still calms the quilt down. 

This quilt was made from bonus HST's from a pieced border on another quilt. Most of the colors are batiks, and the batik I used for the border was the only batik I had in stash that had enough of the right colors in it. I only had 17" of it, and I needed 5 strips for the border, so I ended up cutting the border 3". That's often the way I decide border widths, especially if I decide the right fabric is something I don't have in quantity. 

I've got the borders cut for two more larger quilts, but those will go into the quilt closet once the borders are on. The smaller ones like these I'm planning to baste ASAP.

I haven't wanted to leave the house much with the weather so hot, but I had a load to drop off at a thrift store, and I wanted all of that out of my way before we get out of town company next week. DH and I ended up going to two thrift stores, and I only bought stuff at one.

This stack of fabric cost me $8. Not all of it is appropriate for quilting, so I pulled out what I wanted to keep.

This was my keep pile, definitely more than $8 worth. I gave the fabrics I didn't want to my sister, and told her she could use it or donate it, I knew I had gotten my money's worth already. My sister does a lot of different crafts, so she makes use of a lot more types of fabric than I do. There was a really pretty piece of heavy home dec fabric in there, almost a canvas, but I knew I'd never use it, I hope she does. 

I knew most of the big bag had mostly non-quilting fabric in it, but it also had a bunch of fat quarters in red.

I have a red and cream quilt started, and I liked it so well, I decided to make it bigger. These will be a fun addition to the reds I've already used. 

Since I've got company coming the end of next week, and I've got stuff going on most of the first half of July, I'm trying to get things done now, that will help me get back to working when things calm down. I have lots of garments to cut out, so I want to get those pattern weights done. I'm making a couple prototypes today, in two different sizes, to see which size I prefer. Once I know which size I want, I'll make up the rest, hopefully this weekend. 

My quilt block design boards are coming along. I'm making a dozen, and I just finished making the binding for them this morning. I've already got the batting glued down on all of them. So many people use all color coordinated fabrics for the binding, but I just went through my scrap 2.5" strips, and grabbed whatever I had two identical strips of. I wasn't going to cut yardage when I could bust some scraps instead!

My goals before company comes-

1) Finish quilt block design boards
2) make pattern weights
3) get borders on at least two more quilts
4) baste some quilts (at least 3, preferably 5, but they are all smaller)
*Bonus goal- get the next clue of the Ruby Jubilee Mystery cut out. 

I don't know if I can do all that before the first of July, but better to try than not stay busy just because I know I'll have a couple weeks without sewing. As usual, my goals are getting me to a good starting place, not a good finishing place. Since I need to cut out garments, having the pattern weights made helps me be ready to do that. I want to get several smaller quilts finished, and having them basted will help me get that done, when I am back to quilting. Even getting the borders on quilts gets them to a stage where I can put the in the quilt closet and clear surfaces so I'm ready to work. If I get the next clue of Ruby Jubilee cut out, I can use it as a leader/ender project while I sew other things. 

To me, it's always about a good starting place. Good finishing places are easy to find, the key to getting a lot done is to make sure you are setting yourself up for an easy start the next time you sew. If I have to do a bunch of things before I can start sewing, like clean off my surfaces, rethread the machine, cut or baste something, I'm less likely to want to go sew, because my mind is full of all the things I have to do first. However, if I ended the last sewing session by tidying up my area and getting out the next thing to sew, making bobbins and threading the machine in the right color, making sure whatever I need is cut and ready, or basted and ready if it's for FMQ, it makes a huge difference! Don't get me wrong, right now my surfaces in the fabric room are a mess, creative endeavors make a mess. It takes constant tidying to keep it under control. The surfaces in my sewing room are pretty good right now, and it's easy working in there. Once I get the borders on the two quilts that need them, they'll be off my cutting table, and then I'll be able to baste! 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

A Week of Sorting

 All my 2" squares are finally sorted!

Anytime I had 8 squares of one fabric, it was matched to another set of 8 and these will become 16 patches. I stopped counting at 120, suffice it to say there's at least one quilt here, possibly more depending on how I set them. A 16 patch made with 2" cut squares, makes a block that finishes at 6", so even 120 blocks, only makes a quilt that's 60x72 if they are set directly next to each other. I've got more than 120 blocks worth here, and at this point, I don't even have an estimate, nor am I planning on counting them until they are done. There's a lot I can do with 6" blocks, so I'm not concerned about having a bunch of them. 

Some fabrics I had quite a few matching squares, enough that anything I had 32 of, I set aside for 64 patches.

 A 64 patch with 2" cut squares will finish at 12" in a quilt. I don't have enough solids or tonals to use all colored squares for the alternate squares, so I put all the white and cream solids and tone on tones in with these so I can use those when I run out of colors. I'll have whites and creams leftover, but that's totally fine.

Whites and creams with colors on them went with my Scrap Vomit project. I've only got that one block done with the "bullseye" on it, but I did manage to sew up a couple dozen of the alternate blocks this week.

I know a lot of people use lots of colors in their Scrap Vomit quilts, but I have the hardest time using the whites and creams with colors on them. I've made lots of quilts with busy backgrounds, but the longer I quilt, the less I like it. If I want a quilt with a strong background, I prefer using tonals or solids. It's totally my personal preference, and there's nothing wrong with busy backgrounds. I have found I don't mind using the busy neutral fabrics together, if they are going to be a large part of the quilt. This is just another project to bust some scraps I find hard to use. The colors I used for my "bullseye" were simply chosen because I had used wide backs in those colors, and had enough scraps from the widebacks to cut all the squares for this project. If I had been using yardage, I would have chosen something different. 

You might be thinking this bin isn't sorted, but it is. These are mostly squares that don't read as one color. They are half one color and half another, or so multicolored they don't easily fit a category. I'll be using these in a Twirling at the Disco quilt. I'll be digging through the bin choosing my fabrics, so making it nice and neat wasn't necessary. The original quilt was made using 2.5" squares, but I LOVE math, so resizing it comes easily to me. I will need to calm down the scrappy madness, so the last bin of squares will come into play for that quilt too.

These are all sorted by color and can calm down the really multicolored squares for the Twirling at the Disco quilt. 

I also worked on some units with some other pieces found on my rolling carts. I busted some cream TOT 2" squares here too. I'm making a Zipper Quilt with these units, and again I had to resize to accommodate the size of scraps I was trying to bust. It may not look like much, but there are actually 530 units in this bin! I'm thinking ten columns of 53 units each, divided by vertical sashing. If I add a border from yardage, I'll have a twin sized quilt, made mostly from random green and cream scraps buried on my rolling cart! I even have enough cream WOF fabrics on my rolling cart to do the vertical sashing! Since it's all scraps I don't care if the sashing strips match. 

I didn't only work with 2" squares this week. 

My oldest grandson had a skateboarding accident the first day he wore this new shirt. There is a pretty big tear in it, so I patched it, then added two pockets to cover up the patch. 

I finished quilting this quilt yesterday, and I'll be adding that green binding next. 

I cut the scrappy black sashing for this quilt too, and dug into those purple 2" squares for the cornerstones. I haven't started sewing this top together yet, but I'll get there. I think this one will need a border, and I have no idea what to use. 

The Scrap Vomit quilt is really making me want some quilt block design boards. If I can manage to get to the Dollar Store ($1.25 store now) and buy some foam board, I want to make about a dozen of the 14" size. Foam board is all I need, I have everything else. I can get a dozen 14" boards from 6 sheets of foam board, so not too bad. 

I also want to take the time to make some pattern weights. I still have enough plastic pellets left to make these instead of using rice. I decided to make a bunch of pajamas for Christmas, so I'll have a lot of garment sewing coming up! Having some pattern weights should make the cutting easier, so I think it's worth taking the time to make some. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Rolling Cart Tidy

 Is it my imagination, or does it seem like almost every crafter/sewist/quilter has at least one rolling cart? I had one, and found it so useful, I bought a second one. 

I just bought those green bins at the Dollar Tree, because I saw Pat Sloan has red bins in her cart, and she said she got them at the Dollar Tree. I thought being able to take a bin to the sewing machine, working on a project then putting it back might be handy, or even just swapping bins so I could move my current project to the top compartment. Since one of my sewing cabinets is green, I went with the green bins, they also had white, blue, black, and grey, though not all Dollar Trees have any, never mind that much variety. 

I didn't take a before photo of these carts, but believe me, they were barely organized, and way overloaded! The things you find when you tidy! I had looked all over for my sized patterns for fitted facemasks, and I couldn't find them. No wonder I couldn't find them, they were at the very bottom of an overloaded shelf on one of my rolling carts! Now they are put away with my patterns like they should be. 

Once I unloaded the carts, and I was evaluating what was actually on them, and what shouldn't be on them, I got busy. I found a couple scrap projects I had completely forgotten about. One of those I modified my original plan, and I'm already sewing on it. The other one I'm also sewing on, but instead of going with my original plan, I decided to use those units in two scrap quilts I already started. I have so many projects going, it was kind of nice to just integrate a couple projects together instead of starting another one.

But, of course, there's always another project! As I was cleaning off my carts I realized my 2" (cut) squares had completely gotten out of hand! I knew I had one utensil organizer full of 2" squares, what I didn't realize was how many other containers I also had 2" squares in! I brought all the 2" squares, all the 2.5" squares, and a bunch of misc. pieces upstairs so I could organize them while the appliance repairman was here today. (I finally have a working dishwasher again!!!)

What a mess! Some of my squares were already sorted by color, but I'm going through them again. When only 1.5" shows in the quilt, sometimes there isn't actually enough background showing for it to read as that color, especially when it's a large print. If it doesn't read predominantly as one color, I'm tossing it in a tray, and I'll be making some really scrappy blocks with those. Some of these I have several of the same fabric. Those I'm trying to pair together for 16 patches. A 16 patch made with 2" cut squares only finishes at 6" in a quilt. I was doing a google image search of 16 patch quilts, and I found lots that looked like a great way to use up a bunch of these squares. I'm setting aside any fabrics where I have 8 matching squares. I'm not done sorting, It will likely take several days, this is literally thousands of squares! When I match up fabrics to sew into a block, I'm using Wonder Clips to hold the pieces together. These will be great leader/ender projects. A bunch of my squares were not sorted at all, so those are being sorted for the first time! I find it easiest to use scraps when they are sorted by color. Having a plan for fabric pieces that don't easily fit in one color family is pretty important too. I love the super scrappy riot of color quilts, but most of the people in my family don't. I've found if I stick with a color scheme, more people are apt to like any particular quilt. I make a lot of quilts for donation too, and I like to go with a color scheme when I can. If I am going for a bunch of colors, making individual blocks have a color scheme also helps calm things down. I did find some fun quilt patterns where I can use all the misc. fabrics, and with a solid background it will all come together nicely too. So many options for scraps! 

As I finish organizing these squares, more will get put on my rolling carts, but hopefully now that I've refreshed my mind of what is there, I'll get busy finishing up some things that are ready to assemble. Yesterday I did a lot of counting of units, and figured sashing cutting requirements for a couple projects that are ready to assemble, they were just waiting on me cutting for the next step. Once the math is done, the project goes a lot faster!

These blocks were on my rolling cart too. They are made from bonus HST's from a border I made several years ago. These blocks just finish at 5", so I was debating how to make it a bigger so I could at least get a baby quilt out of them. Rather than set them side by side, I decided to add scrappy black tonal sashing, and purple cornerstones, which will make the small purple diamonds that show up when the blocks are put together, turn into little churndashes instead. I had some black tone on tone 2" strips on my cart too, so I'll just use those for the sashing. If I want to stick with all purple batik cornerstones, I will need to cut some. After looking through my purple squares, I only have about half of the number I need in batiks. It's not a problem, I have what I need in the house, I was just surprised I didn't have enough cut already. 

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Trying to Use It All

For someone who has as much fabric as I do, it's kind of crazy how I try to use every bit of fabric. I had a quilt kit that came with three fat quarter bundles, but I wanted to make a king sized quilt instead of a queen so I bought a fourth matching bundle. The pattern that came with the quilt kit required no background fabric. While reading through the pattern, I decided to resize the blocks by just a little, and by doing that and using my EZ angle ruler I could make much better use of the fabric. Just with those two small changes I made sure I had plenty of extra fabric. 

I cut all the fabric into the three sizes of HST's I needed for the main quilt, knowing I'd have no problems using extra HST's. I've got all the blocks made for the main quilt, I sewed those up at the hotel in March. Now I've got all the extra HST's to play with. I had a couple yards of white fabric with me at the hotel, and I made HST's until I ran out of the white.

This is the quilt I made from those blocks. This quilt top is assembled now, and waiting to be basted. 

I really like that quilt and wouldn't have minded making it larger, but I didn't have any more of that white fabric, and if I'm going to mix backgrounds my rule of thumb is to use at least six different background fabrics, or stick with one. The differences between solids is much more noticeable if you only use two different fabrics. 

I still had more colored fabrics in that size of HST, and I liked them with white, so I matched all the rest of that size with a different white fabric. 

This will make a great baby quilt, and I think I only have 6 HSTs in this size that I didn't use. I just spotted a mistake in the top row, so I'll go switch that, but if you see any others feel free to let me know. 

Now I only have the medium sized HST's from the original quilt left, and I cut white HST's to pair those with too. I might make a herringbone quilt from those too, I haven't decided. 

I've been sewing all those HST's as leaders/enders while I assemble quilts. But, of course, eventually those become quilts as well, so I'm constantly looking for more leader/enders. I have several quilt centers that need borders cut and sewn on. I'm using borders less and less as my quilting journey evolves, but some quilts need borders. Other quilts look nice and fresh with just a contrasting binding to finish things off. Sometimes I'll add a border if I just need the quilt bigger and don't want to make any more blocks, but overall, I'm probably NOT putting borders on at least half my quilts these days. 

I am ready to start a basting spree. I ordered 90 yards of batting, so I can baste to my hearts content and not run out. I'll run out of pins long before I run out of batting. I think after I finish the king size quilt I have half quilted, I'm going to try to knock out a bunch of the smaller quilt tops I have ready to quilt. I'm out of hangers for hanging quilts, which means I have over 25 quilt tops hanging! I think knocking out a bunch of smaller ones will give me some momentum. 

Tomorrow we're finally having the appliance repairman come out, so hopefully I'll have a working dishwasher and ice maker soon. Summer is here with a purpose now, so having an ice maker again would be pretty nice, I've been without one for almost two years and I'm bad about remembering to make ice even though I have ice cube trays. I'll be surprised if both appliances actually get fixed tomorrow, with all the supply chain issues I know parts may be hard to get. I'll keep doing without an ice maker if its prohibitively expensive to fix, but I'll buy a new dishwasher if I have to. I'd definitely want another Bosch, because it's hands down the best dishwasher I've ever had, and this is the first time it's needed any repair in over 8 years. I did some online shopping, and there aren't many dishwashers in stock anywhere in town, but I did find a Bosch, so even though that model isn't my preference, at least I could get one if it comes to that. I'm pretty sure it can be fixed though, the motor still works, it's a draining issue, and it could use a new seal. Maybe it just needs a good cleaning in areas I can't access. 

I've already cleared out all the areas the appliance repairman will need, and let me tell you, trying to put all the food from the small freezer into our full sized freezer was an adventure! I try to keep tabs on what's in the freezer, but I did have a few things that were small and had fallen into nooks and crannies and forgotten. I tossed a couple things, but most of it was fine. I'm much better about organizing my big freezer than the small one. Since I did manage to get everything into the big freezer, once the ice maker is replaced, I can organize the small freezer as I put things back. I think I'm only going to put frozen fruits and veggies in the small freezer, which should make it easier to keep things organized in both freezers. I have a good system for storing meat, prepped meals, and leftovers in the big freezer, but not the fruits and vegetables, so only having those in the small freezer would likely make my life easier. Up until now I have had fruits and vegetables in both freezers, and it makes it hard to keep track of what I have, so this could be a great solution, but I won't know until I try!