Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hustling and Bustling

The first part of this week was taken up by some rather interesting, but not very blog-worthy projects, but nevertheless I shall tell you about them!  Monday and Tuesday were spent working on a VERY large cushion for a bay window.  Large as in over 108 inches long and 31 inches wide.  Needing about 16 yards of cording, plus a 3 1/4 yard zipper installed.  Yikes!

I decided to try out using Aurifil 28 wt thread for the upholstery and it worked wonderfully!  It was just as strong as the upholstery thread I have used in the past, and is a lot easier to use on my machine, with little adjustment needed for the tension.

I hemmed some pants for my neighbor using this thread - it makes such a lovely topstitch!  I also used the same spool for the bustles on three wedding dresses yesterday.

This is not the finished bustle, just a trial pinning.  I ended up doing a simpler bustle that looks very elegant on this dress.  I sew grosgrain ribbon loops and ties to make a french bustle, and the 28 wt thread is great for hand sewing - I love the way it doesn't seem to tangle and snarl, it pulls through the fabric very smoothly.  I plan to try some hand quilting with this thread soon - I have a feeling it will be awesome...  Back to the dress - here is how the finished bustle looks:
 Isn't this a pretty back?
The other two dresses were bustled on the outside, and both had a sheer layer to be dealt with as well.  For those, I usually tack the sheer layer to the dress in a few spots to help keep the sheer layer from puddling on the floor.  This one already had a lace overlay and a corset back, so I added a button to hold the bustle up with.  The ribbon loop has a small button at the back to make it secure.  Up goes the train for dancing and moving around with ease!

The last dress already had a button back, so I just reinforced the bottom button and used that for the train:

Three brides will be ready for their big day in August!

Today I plan to work on the baby clothes project, plus do the cutting for a couple of the projects on my long list.  I am inspired to cut that thing down to size in record time!  We are having a get-together for the ladies of our church this weekend to work on our craft projects, so I will have some quilt kits ready for sewing.  Last time we did this I got several tops done, so I want to be ready to have a productive day.

Hope you are making some progress on your projects as well - let's clear out the old and get ready for some new ones!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Alternate Block for Lozenge Unit, Quilter's Recipe Box

After a week of cleaning up my sewing room it was a real pleasure to spend time this weekend sewing!  I love how much nicer it looks, and even though there is still a lot of stuff in there, I know what all of it is and what needs to be done.

This week's block uses the Lozenge unit in the corners again, and this time I set them so they would make a frame for the center of the block:

I decided to call this block Merry Go Round.  It doesn't take long at all to sew this one up, and I think you could do lots of interesting things with the center of the block.  I decided to use a 9-patch, but wouldn't it be cute to do different mini blocks?

To make this block you will need to cut four 3 1/2 squares and four 2 x 3 1/2 rectangles of your feature fabric.  Cut eight 2 inch squares and four 2 x 3 1/2 rectangles of your background.  For the nine patch center you will need four 1 1/2 inch squares of one fabric, and five 1 1/2 squares of another fabric.

Sew the four lozenge blocks and arrange in the corners so they form a frame:
Sew your nine patch block for the center:

Next, sew the four split square blocks and place them on the sides, with the feature fabric toward the outside of the block:
Sew it all together and you have your finished block:

It's a good thing today's block was a quick one, because I have a BIG project to work on today!  A cushion for a window seat - I'll have to get back into upholstery mode for this one.  Lots of piping to go around the edges and a long zipper to make it easy to remove for cleaning.  I love a little variety in my projects, and just one cushion isn't too bad, even though it is a large one!  I'll try to remember to take a picture of the AFTER for you you - though it won't be fancy, it will look a lot nicer than the foam and batting before :)

Have a terrific day!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sewing Room Clean Up - Day 5

I finished up my final day by cleaning out the basket I keep by the door of the sewing room. This is usually where I put the mending projects and items that need to be picked up after mending.  It gets pretty messy, so I usually try to clean it out once a month, but I'm behind on that.  At any rate here is the before shot:

Yep, it's pretty full!  The top item is a pair of sweat pants that need the seat patched up a bit - I'll take care of that over the weekend.  There was also a big pile of batting scraps to be sorted through and put away or tossed.  A couple bags of pants that need to be picked up.  A sweater that I pulled off on a warm day and left, as well as one with a hole that I need to mend so I can wear it next winter.

It only took about 15 minutes to put things away and then I had a nice after to enjoy before I left for work:

Much better!

The next area I need to tackle is my way overflowing scrap bin, but that's going to be a longer term project.  I think I'll try to dig it out in increments over the rest of the month.  I've pulled out a couple patterns for scrappy quilts and plan to cut some 2 1/2 strips to sew up and some squares as well.

For the weekend, my goal is to get a couple of those UFO projects off my list.  I have a sample quilt for the quilt shop to quilt and bind as well as a small panel quilt that I can quilt and add to my Etsy shop.  Then I can plan out my week - that Baby clothes quilt is ready for working on and several wedding gowns have arrived and are ready to be bustled!  Always something to do, but at least now I feel like I have tamed the mess in my sewing room and am ready to be productive.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sewing Room Cleanup - Day four!

Even though I worked a half day at the quilt shop yesterday, I kept up on my cleaning project!  Yay me!  My goal was to clean up the top of the two large storage drawers.  Here is the before of the first one:

I sorted through the piles and bins, put away some stray items and decided that I need to finish up my luggage tag/lanyard projects so I can use that basket for something else :)  Here is the after:

The second one was a bigger mess!

Definitely needed to do some cleaning here!  After sorting, putting away and straightening up (added a couple more projects to that growing list)  it looks like this - what a big improvement!

I am resisting the urge to buy more storage containers and plan to finish projects so I can use the current ones for the projects that are piles right now!

I like the idea that Barb posted in the comments.  Finish two UFO's for every new project!  Since I ended up with a new shop sample coming home with me yesterday, that means I better finish two UFO's this weekend!  I did get backing for three projects yesterday, so if I go on a mad quilting spree this weekend I can definitely reach that goal.

Today's cleanup goal is easy, it is the basket by the door - I have to work all day at the quilt shop, so I new it would have to be a simple one.  Off I go - have a great day!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sewing Room Cleanup - Day 3

Yesterday I tackled the dreaded corner.  What a mess!

Just piles of stuff.  Not very inviting, efficient or attractive.  First I pulled everything out and gave a good dust and cleaning back there.  It was very dusty, but no critters or skittering creatures, thank goodness.  All of this stuff was definitely not going back there, but I had to decide where in the world was it all going to go.

Here is how it ended up.  The filing and pattern boxes are now under the cutting table where they are a bit more accessible.  I moved one of the storage drawers to the corner.  (I will deal with the stuff on top of those tomorrow.)  Then I looked in each of the bins, baskets and box and started a list of the projects.  There were over 20!  No wonder I feel like I'm not making any headway.  I think I spend more time shuffling things around than I do sewing!

Even though the list is overwhelming, I have prioritized it and color coded it.  I have personal projects, projects for the quilt shop, projects for my Etsy shop, Pattern ideas, and projects for Island Batik.  I marked the ones that are highest in priority and will start getting those done first.  I'll never be a one project at a time kind of a person, but I think 20 is a bit overkill.  At least I won't be too tempted to start anything new for a while!

Plus, my room looks a lot more inviting without all the piles threatening to fall over!  Today, it's time to clean off the top of those storage drawers.  Who knows what treasures I will find there?  I'll show you my list as well.  Maybe it will help me to be more accountable if I actually make it public? Still thinking over how to set some goals to finish these up.  I don't want to over commit, but you know the saying, Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.  I want to make a plan to get on top of this craziness!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sewing Room Cleanup Day 2

Yesterday I tackled the cutting table.   That tends to get pretty bad, but it's usually just stuff that needs to be put away.  You know, piles of fabric, marking pens, rulers, more fabric...

The pile of cut up baby clothes is a work in progress, so that got moved to the sewing table.  Rulers were re-organized into the ruler rack.  I went through the little storage bin and removed some of the excess items so it would be more useful to me.  The storage box was a project that I moved to the area that I store those in and I went ahead and cut up the charm pack that I set aside for another Cobblestones Table Runner.

While I am at it, I want to give a shout out to the Calibre Art Rotating mat!  I purchased it on Amazon a while back - it was a very reasonable price.  It is the 8 inch size and I love it - it rotates like a dream, and the cutting surface is awesome.  I have a larger rotating Olfa mat, but it doesn't rotate very well - maybe the size?  Anyway, the Calibre Art mat spins with a touch, but is super stable when cutting.  I purchased this mat myself, so this is not a paid promo,  just me recommending a product I like!

After that I tackled the scrap bin.  I didn't sew up any blocks, but I did do some sorting and trimming.  I put some larger pieces in my strip bins, and threw out anything that was not bigger than 1 inch wide.  I love scraps, but I have to draw the line somewhere!  Then I decided that the scrap bin needs to go on the storage units to the right, not on my cutting table.  The only things I want on my cutting table are my cutting tools and small storage bin to hold pens and other notions.  I want to be ready to use it when I walk into my sewing room every day!

Today's task is the dreaded project corner.  It contains several stacks of project bins, filing containers and odds and ends.  I think my biggest job is going to be coming up with a way of prioritizing my projects and keeping track of my progress.  Will have to think about that as I pull these things out and assess them!  I do know that my filing containers need to go somewhere else.  I don't use them as I should because they are at the bottom of the pile.  Taming paperwork needs to be another priority in keeping my sewing room functional!

With that, I suppose I should get busy and tackle it.  How do you keep your projects organized?  Do you have a secret for knowing what to work on and when?  I'd love to know!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sewing Room Clean up Day 1

I decided to focus on cleaning up one area of my sewing room a day so that I don't make a bigger mess than I already have!  I am really trying NOT to just move piles from one area to another.  And I am just working on the piles, not on the insides of my storage pieces!

This is the top of my two narrow storage drawers.  I try not to pile too much on them, but as you can see, the layers were starting to build up!  I put away the cat fabrics for a project to work on in August, and cleaned off my white board so I could make a list.  This way I don't forget that I want to work on something in the near future!  The notebook was taken to the dining room so I can go through the paperwork and organize it in the evenings.

So I had a few things left in this area, but no towers of fabric and junk!  There is my Farmer's Wife box - so I remember to make a block here and there (once I find the book, that is!)  I left out the small  plastic bins to contain the bits for specific projects (leftover triangles are in one - I'll be playing with those soon!)  The small pile of fabric is for a fun Row by Row starting up in September - ready for Christmas?  And the box is what I use to add scraps for my Mini Dresden plate quilt.

I did have a pile of muslin foundations for string quilts that I had to put in the overflowing scrap pile, but other than that I didn't add to any piles!

And I found this tray that I've been looking for!  I wanted to use it to organize my tea supplies.  Now it looks like a purposeful collection of items, not random stuff left on my counter.

After all the cleaning was finished, I worked on cutting down a pile of baby clothes, then finished putting this top together for a shop sample:

I'll probably get that quilted next week.

Today, I tackle the cutting table.  Definitely needs some help, I'm tired of shuffling things around to make room for cutting!  And I need to tame the box I've been using to make scrappy blocks.  It is overflowing again, so maybe I'll just have to sew some blocks to tame it down :)

Have a fun day!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Whirligig - Alternate block for Lozenge Unit, Quilter's Recipe Box

Welcome to month number seven of the Quilter's Recipe Box. If you are new to the series, check out the Quilter's Recipe Box tab at the top of my blog for an overview and a look at all the blocks I've made so far.  For this project I've been using Dotalicious from Island Batik.  Such a fun line!

I was having a bit of a mental block for working on this week's block - I think my sewing room has reached a tipping point - I've got to do something about the mess and disorder in there or I'll just start pitching stuff in the closet so I don't have to look at it anymore.  I did do some rearranging and tried to get rid of some of the clutter.  You know how it goes, though - I mostly just shuffled piles from one spot to another!  I did get it clean enough to feel like working on this block finally, though.

I liked the idea of using the Lozenge unit to make a star in the center of the block, but really fussed around about what to do with the corners.  I tried the white on the outside, but that was pretty blah.  Finally I tried it with the green on the outside and that made it come to life for me!

Quite a few pieces for this block, but it goes together quickly!  Cut four 3 1/2 inch squares of your darkest fabric.  Cut twelve 2 inch squares of a light color.  You need two 3 7/8 squares of your background fabric, cut in half diagonally for the half square triangle units.  Cut two 3 7/8 inch squares of a contrasting fabric for the corners (cut in half diagonally) and one 3 1/2 inch square of the same for your center block.

Sew a light 2 inch square to opposite corners of your dark 3 1/2 squares.  Arrange them so that the light corners look like star points.
Sew your four half square triangle units for the corners.  
Then sew the Square in a Square unit for the center and you have all your units completed for the block:
Sew the units together and you have your finished block!  

I really like the spinning motion of this block - I think it could make a fun quilt on its own.

My plan for this week is to work on two custom quilts using baby clothes and try to make a bit more progress in organizing my sewing room!  I also have several blog posts planned, so I can show some projects I've finished up this last week.  Maybe I'll even show you my progress in cleaning up...we'll see, it's a bit embarrassing at the moment!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Strip Pieced Baby Quilt finish!

I've had a busy week in my sewing room.  I'm gearing up to work on some custom quilts using baby clothes and needed to get some loose ends tied up before I get myself going on those.  But before I get into that - let's have a winner for my giveaway from Monday!  I had 16 people leave a comment on my blog post, so I went to and plugged in the numbers...and the winner was comment number three!
Congrats, Mary O - I sent you an e-mail so you can let me know where to send that pretty spool of thread :)  Thank to everyone who took the time to enter - I appreciate it!  I'm having a little difficulty with blogger not sending notifications of all the blog posts to my e-mail so I couldn't answer all the comments :(   But I do appreciate each and every one of you for taking the time to do that, and for reading my blog.

So - one of the quilts I've been working on this week is made from 2 1/2 inch strips.  I finished the top earlier this spring, but haven't had time to get it quilted, so now seemed the perfect time to get it out and finish it up.  I found the backing in a pile of fabrics I had purchased for a different project that ended up differently than I originally planned - yay for using up some stash!

Aren't the colors fun and cheerful?

It took almost exactly two bobbins of thread to do the machine quilting and the binding for this quilt.  I used Aurifil Natural White (2021) 50 wt because it just blended in so nicely with all the brights, giving this quilt great texture in a subtle way.  I did loops and heart quilting because it's so much fun!

It's hard to get a good full on shot of it, but you can see how fun and colorful it turned out!
I have this quilt available for sale in my Etsy shop - you can just click the picture to go there!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and get to do some quilting!  I have a stack of quilting ready to go for my weekend - so I'm off to get started.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Quilter's Recipe Box - Unit Seven, Lozenge

Welcome to month number seven of the Quilter's Recipe Box. If you are new to the series, check out the Quilter's Recipe Box tab at the top for an overview and a look at all the blocks I've made so far.

This month's unit is a variation of last month's Square in a Square Unit - but instead of adding to all four corners we will only be adding to two corners.  The block is Linoleum.  It is featured in the Farmer's Wife book, as well as EQ7.  I haven't found any more information about it, but it's a nice block!

So, let's get started and make the block!  You will need one 3 1/2 square of your feature fabric, four 3 1/2 squares of a secondary fabric, and four 2 x 3 1/2 rectangles of a third fabric.  From your background fabric you will need eight 2 inch squares and four 2 x 3 1/2 inch rectangles.

First, you will sew the four Lozenge units.  Mark each 2 inch square on the diagonal.  Sew one square to two of the corners of the 3 1/2 inch secondary squares as below:

Trim, and press to the outside of the block.

Make four Split Square units from the 2 x 3 1/2 inch rectangles.  Then lay out your block like this:

Then sew it together and it will look like this:

Easy as can be :)  Go download your Recipe Card for this unit and block here, or click the picture above.

Last week I mentioned a giveaway.  I have an extra spool of Aurifil thread to pass on to a lucky person.  I accidentally bought a duplicate spool of red that I thought I would pass on.

This gorgeous red is called Paprika.  It is a beautiful bright red and would look awesome on a patriotic quilt!

If you would like to win it, just leave me a comment here about whatever you like. (Sorry, US residents only unless you are willing to pay for the postage.)  Make sure to leave me your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win!  I'll draw for the winner on Friday, July 7!  Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Curvalicious Quilting for the Finish!

Well, I didn't quite get my quilt for the Island Batik Ambassador challenge finished in July, but it was pretty darn close!  (If you want to see the start, click here)  I added the borders early this week, but had to finish several other projects before I could actually start quilting it.

Yesterday I managed to get all the curves quilted and part of the border, but as close as I was, I had to let the rest go for today.  The quilting was really fun, kind of a sampler of different free-motion fills.  They are all done with Aurifil thread, mostly 40 and 50 weight, but I did use 12 weight for the straight line quilting in the border and in one of the dark blue arcs.

I finished up the borders this morning, and added binding.  I was a little sad to see that it is a very friendly quilt.  Yes, the borders are waving!

I added more quilting to the border, and even gave it a wash and dry, so it's a bit better.  I suppose I should have quilted that border more because it really did lie flat before quilting :(  I might try blocking it next to see if I can get it to lie right.
But look at all that lovely texture!

It was really fun to come up with all the different quilting designs.  I love it as a sampler of different motifs!  Not one thread break even with all the tight quilting and different weights of thread, either.  Batik on the top and bottom, with cotton batting.

This was a fun challenge - it was really great to be creative and do something out of the routine for me!  The July Challenge is Oh, Baby!   I've got a plan for that one, so I'm ready to get started.

Isn't that a cute graphic?  Totally adorable!

I'm spending my weekend adding labels to a pile of quilts.  One of these days I'll make sure to label as I go.  While I'm at it I'll have to make a label for my Curvilicious quilt, but I need to figure out a name for it.  Any suggestions?  Thanks for helping!