Thursday, September 26, 2013

Taming the beast- organizing fabric Part 1

    This is for you, Elizabeth. I am sharing what has worked for me right now. Tomorrow, I may get smarter or someone smarter may set me straight. How to organize fabric so that it can be found, easily put away and easy to go through during a project. I use no cardboard boxes. I guess I am still smarting from getting cited by the fire marshal when I was teaching for using cardboard boxes to store art supplies in. What I was to use was not revealed.
   I love plastic bins- I am always looking at every dollar store and housewares section for perfect plastic. My family rolls their eyes when I keep seeking out better plastic, the perfect solution, the elusive perfection. I keep all my batiks separate from my regular fabric. I use every scrap. So, I will post a number of things I do now in hopes that you will do even better and tell me.
   My batik fabric is all folded in plastic shoeboxes or something like it. By color. These are all on one shelving unit. I will talk about scraps later.
The whole unit, other one next time
Shelving unit top

Individual batik boxes on the shelves, easily removed, put back

Then the bottom of this shelving unit holds all the sewing machine attachments and parts behind the door.
Shelving unit bottom, I know, it needs to be better organized
The regular fabric is all in one cupboard, in plastic boxes, and also the flat scrap baskets.
Bottom two shelves have flat baskets at right hand side, one regular, one batik
The flat baskets have scraps by colors. I find using zip lock bags hard to use  and fill with scraps. The baskets let me sift through and thow in easily.
Baskets by colors, then stack inside each other. Batik works same way.
I am having a hard time sorting and saving the teeny, tiny scraps I use in my Batik collages. Those are in zip locks but I am on the quest for some squarish, boxish, shallow plastic boxes that stack. Like real big ice cube trays. Where can they be?

Projects that are in progress (lots of them), I put in plastic zip bags that I got from Quilt in a Day and keep them upright in a plastic bin. Everything I need for that project is in the bag, gets put back in the bag.
Individual Bag

Plastic bags stacked in plastic bins, baskets. I do a lot of projects at a time.
I keep all my rulers, etc. in wood blocks that my husband cut slots into. I never leave the rulers laying flat to get covered by my fabric mess.
Have 2 of these side by side

Next part, I will show sewing machine storage and the other shelving unit. I hope this is understandable, if not, comment. Thanks for viewing!

Finished comfort quilt out the door

The finished crumb quilt went out the door yesterday to a woman named Sandra. Prayers for her as she is having difficulty with treatments. Sewed on 301s. Purchased bag, pockets sewn inside and out.
Crumb quilt with Faux piping binding

Bag with book

Cell phone bags

If you want to make something quick and neat, I recommend these cell phone bags. They don't have to be used for cell phones. I bought the pattern, and then I buy the pre-printed interfacing, 3 to a sheet. It is from Quiltsmart. One piece of fabric, even I, the 3D challenged queen, can make them. Sewed on the 401. Instead of fabric, I used my little Spinster tool with yarns, and made the straps. Someone tells me you can do this on a bobbin winder, but I have not attempted it. I made these for my quilt show boutique next week.
Group of 9 done

Opened up to see the 2 pockets

Closed with made yarn handle


  Last week, I had to thrill of the year, to go to a treadle machine gathering. We just sewed on multiple machines, learned to clean and troubleshoot, learned how to use the attachments in demo and sample, asked questions, sewed and sewed wonderful straight stitiches. I fell in love with a Singer 237, which is kind of an ugly duckling, but sews awesome. It is an electric machine, converted to treadle. Zig zag and treadle. Wow, what a wonderful thing. I also got to sew on a 201 and the worn one I used hummed so lovingly. The setting was magnificent, in the country in a little red barn. Who needs Disneyworld? Now I am back to sewing all alone.

Attachments demo

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My 15 Minutes of Blog Fame

  Vicki Welsh, on her blog,, has an interview with me today. You can check out her awesome hand dyes. She will do custom colors for you and is just super to deal with.
  Tomorrow, I am headed east towards Cooperstown, NY for the CNYTOGA, treadle sewing machine gathering extraodinaire. It is hosted at Elizabeth's, Can't wait. I will take pictures of all the cool machines and people.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Just the Binding, then it is Hot Flash!

    I have been quilting like crazy to get ready for the guild show Oct. 4th and 5th and next week I am going to the Central New York Treadle Conference, so I have been in high gear. All Hot Flash, pattern from Strip Therapy book, must be the first as there is no number on it, needs is the binding which I am making right now. I made it from a jelly roll, but I did not like all the colors, I added a few, but I should have taken out the white one. Each row has a different Leah Day kind of leaf, all Leah Day patterns from her blog. Thank you, Leah! I just love batiks, but hand dyes are getting to me now, especially multicolor ones. The binding is going to be a yellow orange. Sewn on the Singer 301s, Isacord thread for quilting.
Sans binding

Border pattern

Leaf patterns per block

Heart Bargello- it's a wrap!

     After 4 years ago buying the fabric and book, the Heart Bargello, all batik, is done. All bound, sleeve on for the quilt show. This is the first quilt for my own bed. Now, I think I would have picked another design, definitely curves, circles. Still love the colors. Pieced and quilted on a trio of Singer 301s. I have the Heart Bargello book, but will never make another. If any of you have a burning desire to make one, let me know, you can have the book for shipping if you really are going to make one. If it wasn't for the encouragement of my guild, the Kenmore Quilters Patch, I would not have finished so it is fitting that it will be in our show Oct. 4th and 5th- Only have a show every 3 years. I used the Sharon Schamber washable glue binding method, but I sewed the binding to the front, folded to the back, glued, sewed in the ditch from the front with invisible YLI thread on the front, Bottom Line on the back. No hand sewing. Sorry, I just can't make myself do it for binding. I can hear the quilt police whistles already. The designs are from Leah Day's except I kind of made up the last border.
Queen size all done

Edge of border

Inside borders

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My faithful helper

    No matter which machine I am sewing on, Tugger gets right in there, sometimes pulling through fabric before it is time. I don't know if he likes the heat from the bulb or just snuggling on new quilts, depositing much fur.  When I move to the next machine, he always follows, sometimes with a wide yawn like I am interrupting something. The machine noise does not bother him and he seems to enjoy chain piecing especially.

Trying it out

   I love to try new ideas. I have to force myself to just do trials so I don't just jump into projects and decide I don't like it when I am too far into it. In between all the machine quilting, I tried two ideas. I had ordered some thin paper from Missouri Star Quilt Company to try as foundation paper for string piecing. The papers are 10" and nice and thin. They had free shipping, so 250 sheets for $9.95 seemed like a good idea. I sewed four of them to see what I thought. I don't like all the waste when trimming.  I can't figure out how to use those random half sewn pieces. When trimming, the paper was not a true 10", maybe because it got distorted sewing? I used my square ruler and cut it 10". After looking at them on the design wall, I am not sure I like it. I think maybe because I usually work with small scraps. Maybe I need to cut the papers down to 8"? It wasn't speaking to me. Comment if you have any thoughts.

   The other idea was from Missouri Star Quilt Company's new video, Silly Goose, which is so simple you could laugh. I sewed six squares, but I made mine 6" white, with 3" squares for the corners using scraps. Before I cut off the triangles, I sewed a second seam to hold them together, and I got bonus half square triangles that I can use in my crumb quilts. I really like this, but I am not crazy about so much white. How about a subtle print or blender?
Six 6" blocks on the design wall to see the Silly Goose pattern

The bonus squares from the edges, sewn before cutting, about 2 1/2"

Pushing ahead, one stitch at a time

   My quilt guild is having its show Oct. 4th and 5th (once every three years) and I have a couple of quilts to finish quilting (Isacord Thread) for it. Quilting bigger quilts is hard on my neck and shoulders, so I take it in small chunks of time. I try to do other quilting things in between to keep fresh. I would love to sit and quilt these until they are done, but I would need some serious traction and medication in order to move.
  One quilt I'll show here is the Heart Bargello that is almost quilted. I am working on the outer border. I mostly use designs from Leah Day's patterns. I bought her book, page through it to find something I like, look up the video on her blog, and then quilt away. The border is something I made up. So here is the progress of the quilt. The other quilt I am working on is Hot Flash from one of the Strip Therapy books; I have to get it off the machine to photograph it. I have one Singer 301 with the Heart Bargello on it, another with Hot Flash, and another to do my piecing. I just move around like musical chairs.
All but the borders quilted

Closeup of some Hearts quilting