14 July 2014

Stash Management

Stash Management in quilt studioSometimes I really like Mondays.  The fresh start of it all.  I like being able to put everything in its place, think through what I need to be accomplished that week, and then begin.  Since I'm quilting full time this summer, I get to have my Mondays in the studio and I begin by cleaning up.  

This morning's tidying mostly consisted of putting away fabric--both new purchases and the fabric I had strewn about the room while working last week.

As I went around putting each bit of fabric where it goes, I thought about how enjoyable it is to have a space where everything has a place and there's a system for maintaining order.  And then I thought maybe I'd share the specifics of my stash management with you, because perhaps some of my ideas will be helpful and if nothing else, everybody enjoys photos of fabric, right?

The picture to the left is of the inside of my green Billy Bookcase from Ikea. This is where all of my cut of a half-yard or larger end up, and some of my smaller cuts as well.

Stash Management in quilt studioThe fabric on these shelves is wrapped around comic book boards. This is a method that I've seen a lot of bloggers and instagrammers using and talking about--check out this tutorial if you want to know more.  When I blogged about my fabric back in 2010, I was not using boards yet, I was folding the fabric to the same width and then stacking it on open bookshelves.  Eventually, this system stopped working because smaller cuts were getting lost and going through my stash looking for something often resulted in the need to refold a lot of fabric.  By putting the fabric on the boards, I am able to  keep everything visible and tidy even when it gets shuffled and reshuffled!

While most of the shelves are arranged by color, the top shelf (pictured below) is a little bit different.  The fabric up there is in different little segments, divided by extra comic book boards.  These are little color stories or pairings of fabrics that I think will be together in a quilt some day.   These fabrics tend to be my favorites, so I've been known to get a bit Smeagolly with them...

My precious.

Stash Management in quilt studio

Stash Management in quilt studioThe bottom shelves are less crammed with fabric, and its mostly piles.  Each of these piles is different.  One stack is large cuts that I bought with garment sewing or bag sewing in mind.  Another stack is fat quarters of solids.  There are a few groups of fabrics that have different substrates--double gauze or linen blend.  Most of it is fabric that I'm just not sure I'll ever use and don't want to have to look at all the time; I keep it to use for test blocks or muslins or a hidden lining, but I don't want it mixed in with the more attractive parts of my stash.

As much as I love this shelf and the comic book boards, I find that handling this part of my stash is the easy part.  What has been harder is handling fat quarters and fat eighths and large scraps, so I think what I've worked out for them is really what has made the difference in keeping my stash tidy and my studio in order.

Scrap and small cut storage happens along the top of this shelf at the back of my room (right by the green shelves.)
Stash Management in quilt studio

At the far end, there's a CD organizer and I've got fat quarters and other small cuts stacked up in there.  Some are arranged in a little grouping that I might make a quilt from, but most are just in there in no particular order, ready to be used at a moment's notice.  These are all about the same height when folded so that they are all visible.
Stash Management in quilt studio

In the next organizer, which I believe was originally intended to organize a sock or underwear drawer, I have my smallest scraps as well as some fat eighths and leftover bits of jelly rolls wound around toilet paper rolls.  The fat eighths end up in here if they are so small they're likely to disappear in the other organizer.  You'll notice that I don't have too many scraps here.
Stash Management in quilt studio
That's because I don't keep tiny scraps of very many fabrics around.  For fabrics that I truly love, I will keep tiny bits, but for the most part, I know that I'm not a true scrap quilter, so I give away my scraps to friends that will actually use them (and not just feel burdened by them like I would.)

I collect scraps while cutting and sewing into two small baskets (one next to my machine and the other under the cutting table).  When these fill up, I sort the contents into two piles--scraps I love and want to keep and scraps I think I should give away.  I put the scraps to give away in a medium sized box that's up on the green shelves, and once or twice a year I go through it again and give away and contents I know I'm done with; the waiting period is nice because sometimes I change my mind and want a fabric back that I had previously thought I was done with.  Or I might do the unexpected and make a scrap quilt and need more scraps!

Stash Management in quilt studio

So that's the scoop!  Let me know if you have any questions!
Oh, and one last photo...orphan blocks on the walls...

Stash Management in quilt studio

Related posts:
shows more options for fabric storage.

09 July 2014

Had to Make It -- Poolside Tote

Do you ever see a new pattern and just know that you have to make it?
That's how I felt when I saw Anna's (noodlehead's) new pattern, the poolside tote.

I bought the pattern last night.  Eager to begin, I printed out the pattern pieces, loaded the instructions to my iPad (I use google drive to transfer and archive files), and I read through the pattern before going to sleep.

Today, on my way to the studio, I stopped in Joann's and picked up a zipper and some green thread to match this strawberry print I had stashed.

I pulled out the white print from my stash to be the lining and then hopped over to Pink Castle Fabrics (next door to my studio) to pick out a fabric for the handles and the facing. Then, I started sewing.

And by the time I came home to my doggies?  I had a bag to show them!
Poolside Tote

Don't they seem impressed?  (Actually, they are wanting me to pet them and not sure why I'm standing there with a camera.)

Poolside Tote

And YES, the bag stands on its own, but this is because I used different interfacing than what is in the pattern.  All of my fabrics are quilting cottons, but the pattern suggests using something sturdier.  To compensate, I interfaced the main part of the bag using Sew Lazy Dreamy Fusible Fleece Interfacing (it's 45" wide, so you only need 1/2 yard, which costs about $5.)  I also put a 1-inch strip of the fusible fleece inside the handle so that it would be more stiff and because I didn't have the Pellon 101SF on hand for the facing and handles, so I had used Pellon 906F, which might be a little flimsier than the 101--I can't recall and am not an expert--I figured a little more heft couldn't hurt.

Anyway, overall, a really pleasurable sew.  The cutting out of the fabrics takes longer than the sewing and the pattern comes together without any issues.  I don't have any notes except to say that I attached my handles with four or five rows of stitches just in case I end up using this bag to tote as many books as towels!
Poolside Tote

Poolside Tote

Exterior: Strawberry in Green from Briar Rose by Heather Ross
Straps: Mockingbird in Turquoise from Up Parasol by Heather Bailey (fussy cut from a yard)
Facing: Family Unit in Cherry from Pretty Potent by Anna Maria Horner
Lining/Interior: not sure what that is...either a vintage sheet or a piece of fabric my Aunt Mary destashed to me
Ribbon loop: pretty sure that's a piece of Tula Pink ribbon I had from a Camp Stitchalot swag bag
Interfacing on main body pieces: Sew Lazy Dreamy Fusible Fleece
Interfacing on pocket, facing, and handles: Pellon 906F (plus a strip of the Sew Lazy in the handles)
Time to cut and sew: Around 4 hours

Poolside Tote

If you need me, I'll be at the pool! 

20 June 2014

Shadow Boxes Patchwork - with tutorial and giveaway

Hi all!  What's up?  I'm back after a FANTASTIC honeymoon, a super-fun time at Camp Stitchalot, and a week or so of trying to get my feet back on the ground and get to work.  Thank goodness for deadlines or I may never have come back down to earth...I'd be floating off into the atmosphere...desperate for a snack!


Today's post is part of the blog hop for RJR solids and it had to happen on time, so it has pulled me back to lovely quilty reality.

As a part of the blog hop, I got to make my own fabric bundle. At first I was a bit overwhelmed by all the choices, but then I realized I just needed to think of a project first and then pick my fabrics!

The image that was my initial spark for my project was a picture of Squares and Triangles's Scrap Box ii quilt (photo shared here with permission).

Her quilt block is basically a sort of scrappy micro-log cabin.  Each one has a single ring of logs around a white center and then the white background.  I really liked the simplicity of it...so pretty and calming.  I wanted to play with my own micro-cabins!

I picked three medium-valued colors I really liked out of the color card (overcast, haviland blue, and driftwood) and then three light colors to go with each one.


You might be able to read my note in the photo above, but the fabrics here are (from top to bottom):
  • 283 On the Rock (light gray) 
  • 319 Overcast (medium gray) 
  • 179 Hyacinth (lilac) 
  • 297 Driftwood (medium purpley brown)
  • 169 Haviland Blue (medium blue) 
  • 102 Celeste (light blue) 
  • 033 Optical White (bright white) 
In order to piece the blocks, I simply cut a small square of the dark fabric (no measuring, just cut!) and then used strips of the lighter color to go around it (I cut the strips freehand, at approximately 2" wide).  I tend to prefer the courthouse steps variation of log cabins, so if you look closely at my blocks, you'll see that they were pieced that way, rather than as straight log cabins.

Finally, a border of white is added to the blocks and then the blocks are cut to the same size for ease in combining them; I just add more white if the block isn't big enough yet. 

You'll see in the block above that I also included some plain patches and I have some log cabins that are missing some walls.  The plain patches were added to give the piece some breathing room and the incomplete cabins happened because I decided to use up all my fabric and I ran out of the lighter fabrics before the darker ones.    I love how this quilt is coming together!  I can't wait to make more blocks and join everything up!

As to the RJR Cotton Supreme Solids...I love them!  They have a really nice feel and lovely drape...a nice middle ground between Art Gallery (super drapey) and Kona Cottons (somewhat stiff.)  I tend to chose my solids based solely on color, not feel, and I was impressed by the colors RJR has available, I found a few new favorites on their color card!

Would you like to play with some RJR Cotton Couture solids?
I've got two bundles you can win!  (Update: The winners have been chosen)

I've got a bundle of my choices from RJR for one winner.  Let's call this Subtle Shadows.

And another winner will a Daisy Field bundle from Pink Castle Fabrics.  This is also RJR Cotton Supreme Solids, Pink Castle Fabrics has a monthly club where they send you a bouquet of RJR solids each month--Color Inspirations (sign up any time!) All of the combinations were hand-picked by shop owner Brenda Ratliff, who is also the designer picking new colors for RJR's line-up (best job ever?)  Daisy Field was March's choice and it's sooooo pretty!

In order to win, simply leave a comment below.
If you are outside of the US and Canada, please let me know--you'll only be eligible to win the Daisy Field bundle from Pink Castle.

For more stops on the blog hop, check out RJR on facebook!
I'll pick the winners on Monday and email them, please be sure I can reach you via email!
Thanks and good luck!

Full disclosure:  RJR sent me my fabrics at no cost.  All opinions are my own and are genuine.