Saturday, January 28, 2012

Organization and sewing

I have finished organizing in my sewing room and have even gone through all the drawers in my desk. I am disappointed that after almost a month of working at it I have not reclaimed enough space to get rid of one of the shelf units  in my sewing closet. However I do have a bit more shelf space and things are much easier to find.
I tackled the hall closet and that still  needs more work but I did go through all of the stuff in these drawers. I bought these drawer units a long time ago and they were never quite what I wanted but they were the best I could come up with at the time. They work pretty well but waste some space which is at a premium here in our apartment. Nothing was where it belonged  and there was a lot of junk that is now in the trash. Yesterday, I had the contents of these 3 units spread out all over 2 tables and my desk when my daughter called and asked if I was up to having 2 of the great grandsons visit for a while. I put the drawer units back in the closet and everything that was scattered all over for sorting went into a clothes basket in my linen closet. Jack was amazed at how clean the room was in such a short time. The boys played in there with Play-doh for almost 2 hours. Too bad they we were having so much fun I forgot to take pictures.
Today I tackled the drawers again and the clothes basket is empty and the drawers are  labeled with the correct contents.

This week I also worked on our blocks for the BOM for our group at church. I needed to make the 12 inch and 6 inch blocks step by step before I handed out the cutting instructions. As you can see the larger block needs a bit of revision, which will be the second time I had to redo it; the first time I had one of triangle  units going in the wrong direction. The blocks spin in opposite directions on purpose as an illustration  of how it matters where you draw the stitching lines when making 3 piece triangle units.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Today I was putting things away and tidying up my sewing room because tomorrow someone is coming to change our phone service and I am not sure what we will have to move out of the way. I figure the more order there is to begin with the less problems. During my decluttering I made a pile of things I was going to finish to get them out of the way. Once upon a time I was part of an  online block swap group and one of the things we swapped were 25 patch charm blocks made with 2 1/2 inch squares. I just sewed mine all together as they were, without sashing or alternate blocks etc. I was going to layer it up and quilt it and use it for a car quilt. Just something to have in the car to use for whatever. I decided not to do that after all and put in the stack of things to give away, perhaps as a prize to another unsuspecting winner of a race or something.

This is what it looks like now.
One of the other things I was moving around was a little neck pillow I made when I took our old bed pillows apart and washed the covers and the stuffing and made some throw pillows. Earlier today I was piecing some strips to make a cover for my neck pillow and I didn't like the way it was going and shoved it all in a bag.

That quilt top caught my eye and I cut a piece out of it and layered it up with some no so hot fabric. I had a pretty big piece of it and had kept it because it was big. I layered it up with a smallish piece of leftover batting and quilted it with those curvy lines and here is my little pillow now.  I actually like it.
 So I used used 4 things that were just cluttering my sewing room, the quilt top, the backing, the batting and the pillow and.......
 I learned something. When I quilted my Jellyroll Race quilt I should have stitched my curvy lines between the horizontal seams instead of on top of them(no, I am not ripping out those horizontal stitching lines). This has been time well spent. I have some plans for cuttng up and using the rest of that quilt top and that no so hot fabric, more to follow.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Another Finish

This is my second finish for 2012 and actually the first one that I started in 2012. It is my Jellyroll Race quilt. The photo below is the back of the quilt. the colors show up a bit more true in that one.
I worried that the ripples would not quilt out because of the bias edges  in the setting triangles but it is nice and flat on the back as well as the front.
I quilted it in rows of curvy lines about 2 inches apart. That shows up better on the back. I followed the seam lines on the front and the quilting doesn't show up as well in the horizontal lines. No matter, it is not the quilting that  is the star here but the fabric. This was a Moda Central Park Jellyroll and I really love it. The the binding is the orange print that I used in the blocks on the back.
This is a closeup of the block  on the back. The way the yellow with  orange and purple print blends into the yellow and white print might not appeal to everyone but it appeals to me; there is still some colorwash quilter in me.
I gave away all of my 2 inch 1 1/4 inch colorwash squares. I know I would not use them again but I might make 9 patch  colorwash quilts  again and for that I will use strip piecing.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jellyroll quilt

This is not a mistake!  I am piecing a panel for the back of my Jellyroll quilt in order to make it wide enough. I made 4 -12 inch blocks and after I put them together with the setting triangles I realized it was longer than the quilt. I had 2 of the side setting  triangles left from cutting 2 large squares into quarters and I cut them to use on the end corners. I  knew was going to cut through the last blocks on either end and add a plain strip in order to have it look like it fit right I planned it that way.  These triangles would not have been large enough to sew on along the bias edges if I had not intended  to cut the ends off the blocks. Here it is on the right with the block trimmed and a straight piece

I am ready to split the backing and add the panel and  then I can layer up the quilt and start quilting. It looks rippled here and I am hope that will  all quilt out.

I found this  yellow and white fabric yesterday at Joann's for the back. I went to get needles and batting and decided to have a look at the yellow  fabrics. This has a nice weight and a nice hand to it and at 40% off it is a winner. I like the way the blocks blend into it. I bought the Central Park prints (orange print and the yellow with purple and orange) last week at the quilt shop but there was only about 3/4 yard left on the bolt of each of them. I had no plans for it but I was ready to buy something bright and cheerful
Sometime things work out just right. I hope those ripples do.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sewing Again

I am finally back to sewing again. About 8 PM yesterday my machine went back in its table home. Everything that is going back in the closet is in the closet and all my furniture has been moved back to where it belongs.  I have a pile of stuff on one of my tables that I am going to sort through and then decide what to do with it. Other than that I am done for now with the big project. I still have to go through all my notebooks and magazine holders on the two lower shelves of my bookcase (it looks like the bookcase will be staying). That sorting will be done one by one and when I have eliminated thrown out all the clutter I will decide how to combine things so I have more space. I suspect I will gain about 50% of the space being taken up right now. That would give me the entire bottom shelf.
During the decluttering I came across a box of binding pieces, I moved them to a see through box and today sewed a bunch of them together and used them on this Disappearing 9 Patch quilt. The first 3 photos show 3 different borders I was auditioning; in the end I decided to just put the binding on. It really is a pleasant scrap quilt and the backing is large blocks of a lot of different floral fabric that I really like but those Prairie Points and piano keys are destined to go on other quilts and I never really liked that brown floral for a border. But this is just going to be a utility quilt I don't need or want to spend more time making another border or buy more fabric for a border. It is what it is!

  It is finished!  My first finish for 2012.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Almost ready to sew again

I am almost ready to put my machine back in it's table  and sew again. I have not sewed a stitch since the Jellyroll Race last Saturday and I have worked at sorting and purging all week. Once I moved everything around and make a more orderly workspace I made a lot more  progress. On Friday I thought that all  the boxes had been gone through and sorted but I found 2 more baskets on top of my bookcase that had stuff in them. One had Friendship  blocks which I am going to use soon. Really! The other one was a real mess. It appeared to  be something I swept off my cutting table to get it out of sight because I had company coming, in fact, I know that is exactly what I did. There were wrinkled pieces of various sizes, all smallish ,and squares that had been cut and 2 inch and 1 1/5 inch strips that I had cut. I was tempted to shove it all in a bag and get back to it later or, better yet, I was tempted to dump it. However there is that part of me that thinks maybe there is that 2 1/4 inch by 4 1/8 wonky scrap that is the last shred of my most favorite of all time fabric and I can't live without it. It took a long time to go through it but it is done and even though I didn't find that shred of favorite fabric I did find some things that I am glad I didn't throw out. (even though I know I would never have missed them).

I decide to give up my box of squares and rectangles for the Donna Poster pattern and I found a taker. Yeah!!!!   

I also  decided to give this up. These trays hold my 2 inch squares of colorwash fabrics. I have little stacks of 2 inch squares of each fabric and I keep the trays stacked up with a strap  around them so they stay together. They only take up abut 20 inches in width on the shelf. These are five of 8 trays of 2 inch fabric.  I found a taker for these today too. I am a happy quilter!!!!
I also have 5 trays of 1 1/4 inch squares that no one seems to want. These 3 little post card quilts are about 4 x  6; they are made with 35 of the little 1.25 inch squares (finished size is 3/4 inch. I made a bunch and these are the only ones I have left. They are up on the bulletin board in my sewing room. When I cut 2 inch colorwash squares I used to throw away anything less than 2 inches. One of friends used to pick them out of my wastebasket and save them. I thought she was crazy. One day I found myself doing the same thing because what I saw when I looked at them just sparked something. I made quite a few small pieces and experimented with different ideas. They did  present a challenge when sewing them together because the  pieces were so small. However I did have fun with the post card size as it was quick and easy to arrange the squares. I hung on to both of these size squares for a long time  but I have not made any thing with them for  years. Time to move on.

This last photo shows 1 of three sections that I put together at  least 3 or 4 years ago, using my box of 3 and  3 1/5 inch squares. Because it is large I planned to quilt it in 3 sections and then quilt the borders and add them. These 3 sections have been hanging behind the door to my sewing room and I was going to give it up but as I was looking at it I realized that I really like it and it has fabrics that go back to my quilting beginnings. It has tons of florals from my colorwash collection. It probably has fabric from every quilt I made for family members up to that time; for that reason alone I guess it is a "treasure". I think I have to keep finish this one. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Back to Organizing

Yesterday I spent most of the day getting everything  except my desk and bookcase moved around just to  make it easy (not to mention safe) to work on sorting and purging. I took my sewing machine out of the sewing table and raised the shelf it sits on to make the top flat for another horizontal surface. I raised one of my 2 foot x 4 foot tables to match the height of the other one and moved it so they are at right angles. With the table raised to a new height I can put my little blanket chest underneath and make room under the window to put my little sewing chest and stack things I am finished sorting. Did you catch the word FINISHED. I am making progress.

The large box holds all kinds of blocks from years of demos for classes. They are all bagged up by size etc. I wish I had tackled this box before THE RACE I would have used a lot of them for prizes. The box on the top of it is full of blocks that I actually plan to make into quilts. The other 2 boxes are 1.5 and 2 inch log cabin strips that I sorted last evening while watching  NCIS reruns. On the floor next to the chest  is a stack of empty boxes. Yeah!

This is one  of the big problems in my sewing room.It looks untidy no matter how I try to make it look neat. It also takes up a space I could use  more efficiently. Not sure what it would be because it is one of those things that I never move. Most of that stuff I could do without. The bottom 2 shelves are papers that I put into different notebooks and magazine holders. I could probably get rid of almost everything on the bottom shelf and all but 2 or 3 of the notebooks. I am not going to get into that now however as it will be a "whole 'nother mess" when I do.
This is one little area of my sewing room that is pretty much in order, a little oasis of calm. I really need to have this to look at as I walk by or into my room. 

The snow has arrived and I will be staying in all day so I am planning on another long working session. I do have quilting tomorrow with my church group  so I am hoping the streets have been plowed and are passable by then. If not maybe I will have to stay home.
We'll see. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More on The Race

I am beginning to regret the way I started going through all my stuff. I am in such a mess right now that I am having a hard time finding anything, including a place to sit. I am now in the process of trying to make some order out of the chaos so I can continue. I have come to the conclusion that what I have does not qualify as a stash. I  have so few pieces of fabric anymore that are large enough to use for something more than scrappy blocks that if I want one cohesive fabric to pull it all together I will have to buy something. Of course, this was my ultimate goal.
Those empty shelves would lead you to believe and am making progress and I guess I am actually getting somewhere.

This is what the rest of my room looks like. I  will not show you the other 3 side of the room as I do not want to end up on TV.

When I mentioned that my intention was to get rid of things Lori, our Jellyroll Race hostess, asked me if I would  put together some prize packages. I cut a lot of  5 inch squares for Notso Packs (not so charming squares) and also not so charming 10 inch squares (Mudpies). I cleaned out a box of leftover and packaged up in zip locks Ninepatch Colorwash blocks. I also put together a bunch of not so great ugly brown pieces. I made up an "Insanity Quilt Kit"  with the little triangles I cut off when I inserted solid bone colored spacers between my Jellyroll Strips. I sewed them together and trimmed the blocks  to 1 1/2 inches. "guess who  is insane). There was more but I have already forgotten what I put in the bag to give as prizes. I guess I will never miss it.

Lori also put together a few  things of hers for prizes and this is what I got as a "Thank You" for all my work, along with that chopped up piece of fabric hanging off the table in the above photo. (I am quite sure that I had added that to one of my prize bags to give away.) I have weeded out the two brown fabrics and put the green with my landscape and housing elements and the rest will be cut into log cabin strips. Who knows where they will end up.

First Place

The Final Finisher

Here are  the first and last place finishers. Lynn was  the recipient of the brown fabrics and I am not sure what fabric prize Fran received but they

both  seem to be more interested in the topiary they receive than the fabric  prizes. 
As I said before a good time was had by all.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Florida Jellyroll Participants

I have one more photo of the basement group Jellyroll race.

  Kate, Candy and Debi
  Candy use to live in NE Ohio and was part of oour Friendship block group and part of our basement group when we first started.
We miss her and were  happy to have her join us via Skype.
I am sure they had a good time racing together in Florida.

Jelly Roll Race

The night before the race

  The Jellyroll Race with the basement group was held Saturday. Lori, who hosted the event had planned well for everything. Mike her husband carried machines and bags, made coffee, watched Brady their 3 year old and stood ready to take care of anything that might go wrong. (nothing  did) It was Brady who gave up his playroom to provide us with a wonderful,large, well lighted space to sew.  Everyone finished a flimsy, everyone got a prize or two, lunch as usual was spectacular. What more can I say it was a great day with good friends  and I think  it exceeded everyone expectations.

Here we are sewing away as fast as we can, that is me in the green sweater right in the front. In the back on the counter if you click to enlarge the picture you can see the laptop with the Florida contingent who joined us via Skye. There were three of them. I don't have photos yet of their quilts

Here is Lynn with the first quilt top finished:her time was 47 minutes.
Diane cut her strips from an impressively large stash of bright fabrics. 
 Fran,  was last at 1 hour 44 minutes but only a few minutes behind me. She had some machine issues at one point and ran out of bobbin thread another time.
She cut her strips from a large stash of red fabrics.

 Gwen, who  had an all batik Jellyroll.

Jan on the left who cut her strips 3 inches. Jan was also our referee and had a whistle to keep us in line.
 Kathy is hiding behind her all batik Jelly roll. Kathy is my hero, she taught me to paper piece, which was no small challenge

Maryann, on the left,had a Kate Spain Christmas Jellyroll. 
Suzie , on the right, used all batiks and I think  she cut them from her stash.  Just a note here about Suzie and Maryann; they are sisters. This fact somehow escaped me until I was looking at them one night at our friendship block group  and I noticed how much the resembled one another. This was probably during the second year Suzie was sewing with us. I don't know why they kept this a secret from me. Everyone  else knew they were sisters. Do you see the resemblance? 

This is me with my quilt made from a Kate Spain Central Park Jellyroll.
 This is Lori who hosted the event. She did a super job of planning for the event. There was also some planning a while back when they begn to finish their  basement that made Brady's playroom work out to be such a wonderful space for us to play in once a month.  I didn't want to leave Mike out even though my photo is rather poor. He not only went along with the plans that made this space quilt group friendly, he cheerfully puts up with us and never seems to mind the invasion.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Getting back to normal

Here it is Friday and  progress has been made. The tree is down and everything is put away and my Christmas dishes are back in the cabinet and the hand painted china is back on the hutch with no mishaps. For the first time that I can remember Jack helped take the ornaments off the tree. All the Christmas quilts are back in the closet and everything is back to "normal". This all happened on Tuesday and I have been busy since with decluttering.
This is the first time I have gotten things together to actually leave the premises.  Usually when I attempt to declutter I end up reorganizing instead; that never frees up any space. There is still a lot more to do and I find it to be very tiring so it is going slow but I am making progress. I keep repeating that to myself.

This is one of the things I am having a hard time letting go of. It probably has enough for a king size  quilt or 2 twin size. I dated it Feb 2010 and that is the last time it was down off the shelf. Those are 4 1/2 inch squares, 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 rectangles and 6 1/2 by 2 1/2 rectangles. They are scraps I cut over time for 12 inch scrappy quilt blocks from a Donna Poster pattern. I really like scrap quilts and I particularly like this pattern as there are no matching seams within the block. The fact that it an easy pattern and the pieces are all cut, makes it hard to let it go. The box is 13 x 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches deep; that doesn't take up much space and there are some other boxes the same size so  they will stack nicely. I guess I want to keep it but deep down I know it will sit on the shelf till next year. We'll see how it goes.

Today was a beautiful, sunny, 53 degree day, remarkable for January in NE Ohio; I would be happy to have this weather for  the rest of the winter. Jack got out on his motorcycle so he is happy. I would also be happy to look at this every day at sundown. This was on Tuesday and the second photo was 10 or 15  minutes later. It sure is better than gray. I took this without the flash through my window. As usual the photo doesn't come close to the real  thing.

Tomorrow is the Jellyroll Race with the "sewing in the basement" group.  It has been a long time  since we last met and I  am looking forward to it. My sewing machine and supplies are all packed and ready to go. I  better go and pack my camera so I will have some pics to show tomorrow. 

Monday, January 2, 2012


I have started going through my boxes and I  am finding that most of my stash is not much to my liking anymore. Every morning as I have my coffee I read my mail and go through my list of favorite blogs. Many bloggers have posted collages of the  quilts  they have finished this year and as  I  am seeing them I realize why for the  most part I don't like what I have on my shelves. Look here and here and here and here

Baby quilt
 Those posts will give you an idea  of  why I am unhappy with my stash. I am drawn to the light and bright and what I have on my shelves is mostly not light and bright. I do have a lot of bright scraps and I love working with those; that is what I am going to keep for sure; all of the rest is up for consideration as to whether I will keep it or not and I am thinking right now mostly not.

large throw

I am showing some of the quilts I  made this year that feature the type of fabrics I want to work  with.

place mate and pot holder

 I still like  all of the quilts I have  made over the years but reviewing what I am presently drawn to  confirms my opinion that if you make a quilt with fabric you like you will always like it but if all the wonderful fabrics sit on your shelf long enough pretty soon you will not like them so much anymore. So in view of  that I  am getting  more ruthless in my purging and I am only keeping what I really want to work with now. 

This is not a resolution; it is an immediate goal that I am working toward right now and I am not going to quit  until I am finished and have half of my closet freed up.
In the meantime between decluttering session I will put away the Christmas dishes and Christmas quilts and take down the tree. I am already a day late on the tree. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Starting over again

The New Year always seems like a good place to start anew to do/fix all the  things that need to be done. I don't make resolutions but I do look forward to fresh starts.
In spite of thinking I was  back to normal after my one day stay in the hospital I realize this morning that I have not be feeling as good as I could. This morning I am feeling so much better that I can really tell the difference. It always takes me a couple of days of mostly sleeping to get back not feeling like "my get up and go got up and went". It's back this morning and that is a good way to start the new year.
 In between all my naps I tackled my Jelly Roll. I worked on it a little at a time and it is now ready for our race next Saturday. First I opened it up and separated the strips in stacks in the way I would sew it together. I showed that in my last post. I decided  I would add spacers of Kona Cotton Bone in between the strips and I knew if I added them all first I would have the order of things messed up so I did it as I went along and I trimmed off the corners at the joining, finger pressed and continued.
After I finished one stack I would go to the ironing board and press and then rolled it up around a cardboard paper towel roll. That kept it manageable as I went along. I let it rest for a while while I took a nap and then I stretched it out on my bed so I could find the two ends and I pinned them together. I did remember to cut off 18 inches. I accordion folded the whole thing in a stack and put  a selvage band around it and I am ready for the race.

Before Christmas as I was searching for something  I pulled out some things from my boxes of fabric and made some rolls of things to cut up and use or get rid of. No pics of that today but I will tell you that when you first start out it is hard to purge but when you run out of space to sort you get more ruthless. This is going to take some time because it is boring and tiring and I am not going to push myself.  I will say that I have gotten pretty ruthless already and that's not easy for me.  (pun intended).
I wish everyone a happy, healthy,and blessed New Year,