Sunday, May 30, 2010

Some great blog entries

Thanks to Google for Google Reader! I follow several dozens of blogs now because, using Google Reader, I can skim through new entries in a relatively sort period of time and easily find which ones I want to read more thoroughly.

I'm spending a quiet morning going through new blog posts (I got a bit behind so GR informed me I had over 100 posts waiting for me to check them out--not as overwhelming as you'd think when I can just scroll down through titles in one window to find the ones I really want to read). Figured I'd share a few particularly pertinent ones with you:

Mary Lou Weidman's Ode to Color (Related to my recent podcast episode on color inspiration--see all the places you can look?)

The QuiltRat Uses Lutradur (Another way to use Lutradur--gorgeous!)

Elizabeth Barton's blog on composition (A great blog overall on applying art principals in quilting--but this particular entry has a nice outline of some composition principles, something I wish I was much more conversant in.)

By the way, I'm probably going to hate myself shortly. I'm not quite done with the EQ6 class with Quilt University--I've got my last class to finish this week and it looks like a doozy--and I just signed up for two more classes, one of which started three days ago. So I'll have to catch up with that first class this week. But I couldn't resist--it's a class on color. Had to be done. The other class starts June 11 (on design and composition) so although I'll once again be doing two classes at once for a week or so, it shouldn't be as bad. That's the beauty of online classes--you can fit them in whenever you need to, even at 11p in your jammies!

My sister and I are heading off to the Craft Antique Co-Op for a morning of poking around the booths. Nice way to spend a vaction day!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's a Play Date!

My sister arrived last night around 7p and we sat up far too late into the night catching up. And then, of course, my body just wouldn't let me sleep in this morning--wide awake at 6a. Go figure. I brewed extra coffee--and not just because of my sister being around--and sat with a quilty magazine for awhile until my sister wandered downstairs as well. My son is house-sitting for my in-laws, and my husband had driven my daughter up to spend the weekend with another of my sisters and spent the night, so it was just my sister and me this morning--a nice, quiet entry to the day.

Then we got rolling. I'll post pictures of the process later--or, at least, what I remembered to take pictures of. For now, suffice it to say that my hands are stained all sorts of colors; both my sister and I have decided we're not keen on gesso; I've got my creativity challenge project in pieces and laid out on my cutting table waiting for me to make more decisions in the morning; I got to play with my sister's serger and made myself a tablecloth (more stashbusting); and just to cap it off, I pulled out my angelina fibers for the first time in over a year and just had fun melting different colors together. For no purpose, really. Just playing. And I got the backing pieced for another charity quilt. Just have to hit it with some spray baste and it'll be ready for quilting.

Oh, and I've now ordered myself some Golden Digital Grounds as per Heidi's advice. I should have it in a few days. I have high hopes.

So, altogether a very relaxing day, a productive day, and fun! Hope you're having a nice Memorial Day weekend as well!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Listener Photos--"Stepping Stones Echoes"

Listener Kris shared with me a photo of a project she's working on to teach herself more about working with value in fabrics. I'm posting this now, with her permission, because guess what my next episode  is on? Value! So check this out to get yourself in the appropriate frame of mind for listening to the episode--I'll be posting the episode later this afternoon.

Notice how the placement of darks and lights can significantly affect how the block appears. What part of each block jumps out at you first? My next episode will explore more about value--why it's important, and how you can work with it to affect composition in your quilt.
Thanks, Kris! Can't wait to see it when you're done!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Virtual Quilting

Haven't had a lot of time over the last several days to do any *real* quilting--you know, with actual fabric, thread, and a whirring machine--mostly because I've been having to play catch-up with my Quilt University class on EQ6. I got myself two weeks behind so I had to do three weeks of lessons in one week.

Fortunately, Fran Gonzalez, the instructor of the class, does a great job at outlining each step exactly and in a way that makes a lot of sense. So although it took me several hours over the period of a few days to catch myself up, I was able to do so with a minimum of frustration. There's only one step that still isn't working for me--I ultimately ended up skipping it and moving on. I understood the concept--just couldn't get it to work for me at the moment. I have some setting turned off that's supposed to be turned on and I haven't deciphered which one it is yet. I'm going to go back and mess with it again a couple of days from now when my teeth don't start clenching the second I look at the block I was supposed to be drawing.

I thought I might get my hands on some fabric tonight but allergies are in high gear (dang cottonwood) and I was suddenly more in the mood for a girls' night out with my daughter at the mall than I was sitting in my slightly stuffy sewing room. She and I had a very nice night. And the fabric will still be there tomorrow.

I think I'll spend the rest of the evening playing with some of my newly-learned EQ skills. I also think I'll be upgrading to EQ7 in the near future. Now that I actually feel like I'm starting to know what I'm doing--the possibilities are intriguing! (Thanks, Fran!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Playing with Lutradur, Part 2 (and other life)

I actually did the photo printing several days ago but it's taken this long for me to have a little time to post the pictures. I'm not entirely satisfied with any of these prints but, frankly, I had no particular use in mind when I did them so I still plan on using all three of them in some way.  The images will guide me. And no, this isn't my creativity challenge project--I'm saving writing about that until I'm done. (Just for the surprise factor.)

So here's the original photo I used for this experiment. This is one of my ancestors--a wonderful photo of a woman named "Babette." I love that I have an ancestor named Babette. Especially one with a photo like this. Worlds different from most of my other ancestor photos which are a little dour and very, um, shall we say, plain looking? Then, into the photo album springs Babette in all her glamorous beauty. Funky.

First, I printed Babette onto plain, untreated Lutradur. Nice effect, but a bit ghostly.

Sorry about the image--it was incredibly hard to get good photos of these in the lighting I had available to me at the time--and the flash completely wiped it out. I did a little bit of adusting for brightness and contrast so you could see anything at all, but I didn't want to do much because it would misrepresent the effect.

So, meet Babette the Ghost.

Next, I printed Babette onto the Lutradur treated with medium matte gel.

Again, just a hair of adjustment for brightness/contrast for the sake of a photo for the blog, but not much. In this case, Babette worked pretty well on the version with matte gel. It's still a little on the translucent side, but also clear enough that you can see the actual image.

Finally, I printed Babette on Lutradur coated with gesso. I thought I had saturated it pretty well, and had used my fingers to work it in the way the Quilting Arts Workshop video with Lesley Riley had suggested, but clearly I needed to do more. You can see the streaks.

However, that in itself could be a fun technique to play with. Underlying streaks create their own textural element. As they say, "it's not a mistake, its a design opportunity." Babette actually looks a bit like she's sitting behind a sheer curtain or something, with those streaks.

I was surprised--I'd have thought the gesso version would be the most clear in terms of detail, but I actually find the matte gel version to be the most clear in this case. That being said, if I'd really saturated that gesso and used a photo with more defined edges and detail in it, I'd probably have very different results.

Of the three versions of this particular photo, I like the matte gel the best. That being said, I'm still remaining open to playing with all of them in projects. I'm now in search of Golden digital grounds (I don't think I have the name right but don't have time to check right now) that Heidi recommended--that may give very different results.

My sister is coming up to spend the weekend over Memorial Day and she's a talented artist. When she emailed to ask if it was a good weekend to visit, I said, "Great! We can play with Lutradur--you're going to love this stuff!" I've laid in some more supplies and expect to have great fun, and probably make a terrible mess. She'll push my creativity, I'm sure.

In terms of other quilty projects, I'm still finishing up the last details on my pocket organizer that I started at the quilt retreat. It worked ok but not my favorite project. Very basic, relatively fast, low satisfaction except "another project done." This was a pure stash-buster project--I have more charm packs than you can shake a stick at, although why you'd be shaking sticks at charm packs is beyond me.

Not completely digging the way the colors worked, and there was some puckering along the edges when I put the binding on (which I didn't realize until after I had it done). I still have to hand-stitch the binding to the back, but to all intents and purposes, it's done. I had originally planned to make another of these for my daughter's room with another charm pack and a couple of fat quarters--not sure at the moment whether I'll still do that or not. It wasn't a hard pattern by any means, although there were a couple of details left out. And making something the second time always turns out better because you know what tricky points to watch out for. But I also hate doing the same thing twice, LOL.

Now I need to spend the next couple of days catching up with my Quilt University class on EQ--I'm two lessons behind!--then I can get back to working on some other projects on the docket. Somehow I suddenly got very quilt-busy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Process Pledge

I followed a link tonight and came across, and ended up taking "the process pledge."

"I, __Sandy____, pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them in the in words or be sure I’m being totally clear. I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there."

Rossie seems to be part of the modern quilter world. I'm not a modern quilter, but then I'm also not NOT a modern quilter. I defy categorization, LOL. Actually, I just like playing with fabric in pretty much any mode. But I agree with Rossie's comments that just seeing pictures of people's finishes isn't always enough. I like to know why they chose certain things, what their inspiration is, etc. Even if it's just to say, "These colors are purdy."

We don't always have to be deep. Too much pressure.

The main thing that Rossie seems to be promoting is not waiting until the end to post about a quilt project, but to be more cognizant of posting things in progress, talking about where we've been, where we are, and where we're going. I'm game.

BTW, Rossie's blog has an interesting conversation going in the comments section about what defines "modern" quilts, what's considered "art," and the like. Considering I posted a question in the BigTent group for "Quilting...for the Rest of Us" a few days ago asking, "how do you define your own quilting: as art, craft, or hobby" (or some wording to that effect) and spurred a great conversation there, it's apparently a hot topic. I'm still undecided. I think I don't like to label myself because that would imply there are things I don't want to try. And so far, I've wanted to try it all!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Playing with Lutradur, Part 1

Have you heard of Lutradur yet? Pretty cool stuff. If I recall the story, it actually started out as roofing material but pretty soon some enterprising person decided to play around with it as textile art and an entire new industry was born. We probably pay more for it than roofers did, too, although it's surprisingly inexpensive. (Cheaper than fabric!)

Lutradur comes in two weights--one slightly heavier than the other, although (for comparison) both lighter than that really stiff interfacing you use for fabric bowls and the like. You can print on it, sew through it, glue it, use it with angelina fibers, paint it, dye it, melt it to make it "lace,"....the sky is the limit!

In January I was in Columbus, OH, and with a little free time on my hands I visited Quilt Trends quilt shop, which is heavy on art quilts and materials therein. Lots of embellishments, funky fabrics, and rolls of Lutradur. I was intrigued. Bought a yard or so of the roll, which gives me plenty to experiment with, and the book Fabulous Fabric Art with Lutradur, by Lesley Riley. A couple of weeks ago I downloaded a video on it, also by Lesley, from Quilting Arts Workshop. I couldn't wait to start playing! Decided today was the day--no sharp objects involved at this stage so my cold meds shouldn't be a problem.

To begin, I'm experimenting with photo printing. You can print photos directly on the Lutradur, but you get different effects if you use different "primers" as well.

I'm testing out three methods: one printed on plain Lutradur,

one with gesso applied,

the other with an acrylic matte gel.

I used a large foam brush to apply both--washing thoroughly in between, although I don't suppose there's a huge problem if a little of one gets mixed with the other. I'm not conversant with art materials so I don't really know.

You have to do this on plastic--laying cloth underneath would absorb the primer out of the Lutradur, making you have to use twice as much.

And now I have to let it dry for 24 hours before I can start printing, although I can at least do the plain Lutradur print tonight. I have to change my ink cartridge, though--and will probably go through another one in this experiment. My printer chews up ink cartridges like nobody's business!

I'll post the side-by-sides when I've printed the other two versions. I'll also post pics once I've done something with these experiments. This isn't a tutorial--I'd have to actually know what I'm doing for it to be a tutorial. It's just a "follow along as I play" kind of thing. So, more later~

Use a Charm, Get a Charm

I'm a bit under the weather today. I've either been fighting off a cold or the onslaught of allergies for several days and after being on the road the last few days, it hit full-on this morning. I took half a sick day today and spent a little time in bed. That helped a little, but not enough that I feel confident going near my sewing machine at the moment. We'll see how the rest of the afternoon goes. (I think it's a cold, but sometimes I can only judge by seeing which set of meds actually works.)

Anyway, I took a few not-great-quality-pics to update you on my progress from my guild's quilt retreat last weekend. I had a great time, and managed to create myself a few new UFOs to boot. Bully.

First two projects--no pictures. I got the backing for one quilt done and dropped it off at the long-armers. You'll hear more about that one at some later date.

But I did pick up some pretty pretty fabric there since the shop was having a "buy three yards, get fourth free" sale. I decided to stock up on whites and light creams for my stash--I have almost none--and check out the really cool ombre I picked up! Oooh--can't wait to play with that one. (It's a Daewoo--love that line!)

The second no-pic-project was a charity quilt that took me all day Friday--and I mean all freaking day--to finish and was a total pill. 'Nuff said about that one.

So Saturday I treated myself to easy-shmeasy. A couple of times over the last few years, I've tried to make myself a business card holder that I can love. Here is the most recent effort. First one, made exactly to the instructions from the magazine, came out a hair too small. I redrew the pattern larger, and got this one.

It fits my cards, but I have different sets of cards so I really want something with pockets. So, the search continues. (I have a quilted credit card holder that a friend gave me that I think I'm going to deconstruct and rework. Someday.)

The next project took longer, but I got the entire top pieced. I just have to do the backing and binding now. Won't take long, once my head stops swimming.

Lousy picture--couldn't get a good angle on it. It's one of those hanging pocket organizer thingies--the pockets are all made from a charm pack. The checkerboard borders are two fat quarters. Not sure I'm digging the borders with the pockets but I'll live with it. They looked better when I was picking them out in my sewing room. The colors work, they just don't really jazz me. But I don't have any real plans for this--I really just wanted to use up a charm pack and this seemed as good a use as any. I'll take a better picture once it's done and hanging up.

But...use a charm pack, get a charm pack. Here's what I won in my two door prizes through the weekend:

But, oooh, that charm pack is pretty! And matching thread too boot!

The other two packages are a magnetic shopping list (which I love--use those all the time) and pre-printed quilt labels, very handy. We like presents.

I finished up the work on the hanging door organizer late Saturday night, so Sunday I allowed myself the fun of going back to an old fave: stack n' slash. I had a set of flannel fat quarters in more masculine colors/patterns that I wanted to use to make my husband a cozy throw so he'd stop stealing the one I made myself last year. Stack n' slash is a hoot to do. I've done several. One of the women in my guild tells me I'm addicted. Maybe not quite--but they're fun and easy and when I'm way overtired, they're about the only thing I feel like doing! (Check out this link if you're not familiar with stack n' slash. I do mine more randomly than that but it's the same idea.)

Projects I now have to finish before I can get back to my other UFOS:
1. 4 more charity quilts (long story)
2. Hanging organizer
3. Flannel stack n' slash

Think I can get those done by next week? :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I'm baaa...aaack....

Just got home from my guild's annual spring quilt retreat a couple of hours ago. We have two a year--one in the fall, and one in the spring. I've only been able to make the fall one once because I travel frequently that month and it too often falls on the same weekend I'm out of town. I have a much better shot at the spring retreat--this is my second time making that one. It took me a couple of years of belonging to a guild to even decide to go to a retreat. Once I started going, I realized what a tremendous benefit they are. To be honest, it's not so much how much work I get done--if I had a full, uninterrupted weekend of quilting at home I could probably get more completed because there wouldn't be the constant, "Oops...I forgot to bring thus and so." On the other hand, there's no motivation like 30 other whirring sewing machines around you, people immediately on hand if you get stuck and need some advice, and lots (and LOTS) of chocolate and laughing. Not necessarily in that order.

I'll post pics later of what I did accomplish, but I'm heading out of town for business tomorrow so I have to quickly unpack and repack. Sadly, my quilt retreat paraphenalia probably won't get unpacked at all until I'm home again. Fortunately, this is a short trip--just gone one night--so it won't be long before I'm able to put my sewing room back to rights.

I did just want to give a quick shout-out to my guild, though--Woohoo, Canal Country Quilters!--because they were wonderfully gracious and game to let me interview them for the podcast series. I didn't get to everyone this weekend--after all, I was there to do other things--but I had great conversations with several people and am looking forward to being able to incorporate them into future episodes. So get ready for "Quilters Like the Rest of Us!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Update on Listener Comments--from Vivian

Remember me mentioning in my last episode that Vivian had sent a picture of how she organizes her scrap quilting projects but I'd forgotten to get her permission to share it? Well, she's given me permission now so here 'tis! Vivian  has several scrap quilt projects going at once so she has to keep them extremely well organized.

Each project is in a large zip-top plastic bag, with the pattern or book she's using. Then the pieces are divided into several smaller zip-top bags and labeled, then kept within the large bag. So everything's in one place and well-documented, so it's easy for her to add scraps as she goes and the next time she picks it up to work on it, she knows where she left off!

Vivian shops for fabric by project, and her scraps are made from the leftovers of projects. She chooses scrap projects ahead of time and cuts pieces to the sizes needed. Scraps that are fat-quarter sized or larger just go into her general stash. She said that she currently has about eight scrap quilt projects in the collection phase right now! She also does an annual, self-imposed personal scrap quilt challenge in which she does a project using other scraps or orphan blocks she has in her stash--she allows herself to purchase backing and binding only. She admits that the project doesn't always get finished but it inspires ideas for new projects!

Thanks so much for your email, Vivian! Vivian has a blog too--I'm a subscriber now, so join me and follow along on Vivian's quilty adventures!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Garage Floor Quilt--Yay, Frances!

Frances sent me the photo of the quilt with quilting patterns inspired by an airport parking garage floor. (She actually stopped listening to the podcast episode in the middle to hop on her computer to email me the photo so I'd stop nagging her, LOL!)

Here 'tis. She offers it with the caveat that she's new to hand-quilting--this is her first attempt. Looks great, Frances!

See--you can get inspiration from anywhere!

Frances and I did commiserate over a problem we both have: marking with chalk is great if you can keep the chalk outlines on there long enough to still see them when you get to quilting that section. But sometimes the chalk then doesn't come OUT when you need it to, even with a damp cloth. It tends to really sink into the fabric and thread fibers. If anyone has any great hints about this, lay 'em on us!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fitting tributes on Mother's Day

A little known fact about Mother's Day: it was NOT invented by Hallmark. Mother's Day stemmed from ancient traditions to begin with, then was really given its modern form by women who saw other women, mothers, as the key to peace in our world (cf, as well as other sources).

In any case, having lost my own mother shortly before Mother's Day last year, and also due to my own ever-growing quilt habit (learned from my mother), it seemed fitting to spend part of today in quilty activities, especially those geared towards others.

After church this morning, we held the official drawing for the winner of a quilt that had been made by my mom and her group of quilty friends before her death; her friends finished the quilt and gave it to me to be used in fundraising for my church's work with refugees being resettled in our area. I don't have the total in yet, but from my estimates we raised a significant amount of money to help fund our outreach efforts. Mom would be proud.

Now, as my family is finishing some cleaning downstairs in preparation for my in-laws to come over for a Mother's Day dinner (also cooked by my family)--I was told to enjoy myself in my sewing room for awhile. So I worked on getting backings together for some charity quilts that another member of our church had pieced tops to from some fabric donated by yet other folks. These 5 quilts will have passed through a whole lot of hands by the time they make it to whomever receives them. Definitely women working together for peace.

So, happy Mother's Day, all. May peace rule in our world.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Creativity Challenge from Episode 9

In episode 9 I issue a "creativity challenge"--you're invited to join in whether you're a listener or not!

Creativity Challenge: Use the photo below for inspiration for a project, and send me photos of the results by June 7, 2010 (at midnight Eastern Time). It doesn’t matter what the project is, and it doesn’t matter how you use the photo for inspiration. You might print the photo on fabric and then do something funky with it; you might be inspired by the colors, the subject matter, the feel/mood…it doesn’t matter. You can combine this project with other projects–allow this photo to inspire how you approach some other project that you’re doing. Doesn’t matter! Just be inspired. Post a comment below if you think you want to join the challenge. Then send me a photo (or a link to your blog where you’ve posted the photo) by midnight on June 7. Anyone who completes the challenge will have their name put in a drawing for a fun gift! Here’s the photo:
(Remember, if you want to print this on fabric, you’ll need to email me and I’ll provide a high res version without my name on it. Just please give photographer’s credit if you post pictures of your finished project anywhere. Thanks!)

Hope you'll join in the fun!

Meanwhile, back to quilty blogging. I made another run to Joann's today (may as well sign over my first-born child) and picked up supplies to play with printing photos on fabric. I'm hoping to start doing a little experimenting this weekend with some funky techniques, plus I'd like to get the backing together for my Square-in-a-Square quilt so I can drop it off at the machine quilter's next weekend when I'll be sorta-kinda in the area for my quilt retreat. The weather is supposed to be pretty cruddy all weekend so it's a good weekend to stay inside and play!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Project Finish--with Mixed Results

I finished my scrapbusting project. Here's the big reveal...

Yep, it's a sewing mat! The mixed results are because (1) parts of the pattern weren't written particularly well and (2) admittedly, I got a little lazy in parts because it's just a sewing mat that I'll only use a couple of times a year on quilt retreats anyway. Nothing I felt like making a masterpiece. As I've said before, "Done is better than perfect," at least in projects such as this. (The nice thing about taking a smallish picture and making it even lower resolution to post on a blog? You can't see the problems!)

Maybe the pattern was written just fine, if you had all the bits of knowledge it assumed you had. One or two bits, I was able to quickly pull out a reference and figure it out. Other bits, I just muddled along as best I could. And I did the binding all by machine again, with the same results as last time. So I still haven't gotten that little technique down. Oh well.

It's functional, and it used up 2 1/4 yards of fabric from my stash, and a bit of scrap batting to boot. And it's done. So it's all good.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

So much for 15 minutes a day!

Pioneer Quilter is running a "May Mayhem" challenge this month, encouraging participants to do something quilty 15 minutes a day. I'm trying to participate, but I've never done particularly well at that. I have had times in my life when I've committed to doing 10 or 15 minutes a day...I make it for about 10 or 15 days...and then life happens. So I did my 15 minutes (actually, more than 15 minutes) on Saturday and Sunday. Monday and today? Nada. Unless reading quilty blogs during lunch counts.

I'm not sweating it. The premise of a goal like that is similar to the way I set goals for getting to the gym. If I have a goal of going to the gym 5 days a week, I will most likely make it 3. If I'd set a goal of 3 days, I'd be lucky if I made it one or two days. So if I have a goal of 15 minutes a day, I might actually get in 15 minutes on 4 days out of the week--which might be better than I'd have done otherwise. So it's all good.

Yesterday, the gym, then a meeting. Today, gym again--second day in a row. (Making up for a couple of weeks off!) Then I had a bit of a kitchen-appliance emergency I had to care for before it reached crisis levels, and you'll have to tune into the next podcast episode to hear more about that story! So in both cases, I figure that a good trade-off for 15 minutes at my sewing machine.

Tomorrow, back to attending to the 15 minute goal--the project I wrote about in the last post only needs another couple of 15 minute-ers to be done, I think. So here's hoping I can knock it off before the end of the week!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I Love My Husband

This morning I set myself up an Excel spreadsheet to start tracking fabric in/fabric out to help me meet my stashbusting goals (see last entry). The first column: Date. Second column: Yardage In. Third column: Yardage Out. Fourth Column: Net +/-.

I then set up some formulas so that the last column would automatically calculate the difference between the first two columns--IOW, if one day, I buy 5 yards total of fabric, but a few days later use 3 yards, then the last column would automatically show that I still had two yards more in the "purchase" category than the "use" category. The end goal is that my "use" category should be higher--at least until I knock my stash down a bit.

My formulas all worked beautifully, but the last column kept showing numbers in the positive rather than the negative. I had in my head that if I used more fabric than I'd bought, I'd rather be seeing a negative number--a "fabric deficit," so to speak. So how could I write the formulas as such?

I asked my husband, who uses Excel all the time. He just looked at me drily and said, "the last column is how much fabric you can buy now, right?"

Be still, my beating heart.

So now the last column has been renamed: "Can Buy More". If the number in that column is a positive number, that means I've been successful at using more fabric than I've bought and have therefore made enough room in my stash for that amount of new fabric!

After 10 years of me quilting, my husband seems to have learned the Rules of the Game.

I didn't get as much sewing done today as I'd originally planned, but what's new about that? I had a terrible night's sleep last night--only got about 2 hours' worth. So I'm a bit bleery. We granted ourselves a slow, lazy morning and then went to a ballgame (minor league) this afternoon. We won, in an 11-inning overtime game. Phew! I spent an hour or so tidying up my sewing room and getting myself organized earlier today; when we got home from the game, I decided to begin one of my little stashbusting projects. I didn't get as far as I'd hoped--here's where it's at right now.

You can't really see well in this picture, but so far I cut two pieces of fabric and one piece of batting, grid-quilted it all together, cut it to size, and started the process of binding one side of it. This is one of those projects that I suspect would take others only about an hour to whip together. I'm already at 90 minutes and have a ways to go. Oh well--I'll pretend that's due to sleep issues.

I'm not going to tell you what it is. (Try to guess!) It's something that I hope will be terribly useful on certain occasions--that's as much of a hint as I'm going to give you. If nothing else, is finally a good use of the novelty quilt fabric that I've had in my stash for probably 8 or 9 years and never knew what to do with! Between that, the coordinating fabric, and binding, I can put 2 1/4 yards in the "used" column on my spreadsheet! And May is off to a good start!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Oops--missed it again

I'd really thought I'd do a give-away for 2000 subscribers but if I can believe the stats, we'll be at that before Mother's Day. So much for that. We'll all just have to celebrate together in spirit, with no presents!

Anyway, I have been brewing some great ideas for future give-aways and an upcoming challenge that I'll announce in my next show after this one posts. Episode 008 "goes live" tomorrow (Sunday)--I recorded it immediately after episode 007 since I didn't want to lose track of what I'd already said and repeat myself. The downside is, I won't be doing anything with listener comments on #8--sorry. But the upside is I have plenty of time to collect new comments before recording episode #9 sometime next week! (Don't forget to add your comments to "You Know You're a Quilter When...."--I've enjoyed those!)

It's Saturday--yay! I'm leaving shortly to get groceries--we're scraping the bottom of the barrel around here. I also have a commitment in the early afternoon, but am thinking about treating myself to a stop at a nice quilt shop I'd be driving by on the way home. Can't decide--I really have to start downsizing my stash after some recent adds to it. Other than that and some general housework/yardwork, I have plans to get some quality time in my sewing room this weekend, for the first time in awhile. Hope to have some pics to share by Sunday night.

I'm going to start some stash-busting goals--share yours if you've got them!
  • Month of May: Use at least 4 more yards of fabric than I buy. IOW, I have a quilt retreat this month and those often include a run to a nearby quilt shop, so I'm not punishing myself with a "no buy" regimen. But I want to end up ahead of the game. So if I buy fabric, I have to use at LEAST that much fabric plus another four yards. Not actually as hard as it might sound--I have some quilt backings to do to knock off some UFOs, LOL.
And here's a small project I'm going to try to do this weekend to help go towards those goals. (I've made these before--they're fast and very cute!)