Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I'm using my scraps!

In March, Bonnie Hunter visited our guild. I've admired her use of scraps to make stunning quilts for years and, between my recent scrap organization frenzy, her visit, and an urgent need for a retreat project, I determined it was time to make a scrappy quilt. After much research (thank you Pinterest), I decided on the Garden Party quilt because it uses a variety of scraps and all 1/2" strips, which I have a ton of.

I found the book containing the pattern on The printed version is $19.99 and the Kindle version $9.99 so, for the first time ever, I decided to buy a digital "picture book".

I cut all the background strips (solid scraps, because somehow I don't have light scraps) in advance and, come retreat time, I was ready to get to work.
When I got home, I put all the blocks up on the design wall to gauge my progress. Not bad, but I have to make 100 "flower" blocks, so I have a long way to go.
Back at it this morning.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fabric Organization, Part 3

It's been a while since I posted the previous two installments sharing my fabric organization/storage method: yardage & medium pieces. There's a reason for that (other than life getting away from me).
I'm not quite sure my "small scraps" storage method has been 100% finalized. I'll share where I'm at with this and, if you have any input, please share.

I knew the secret to the smaller scraps would be standardization. My problem was (and still is) figuring out which size cuts would be most useful. Maybe, when I eventually get around to making a scrappy quilt or two, it'll become clearer.

This method applies to anything smaller than around 1/4 yard of fabric.

This is my "scrap" bin. When it gets full (or I have time on my hands), I'll either fold the larger pieces or cut the smaller ones into strips and/or squares.

My rule is as follows:
If I can cut a strip of at least 12", I'll cut a strip. If not, I'll cut squares.

The sizes I'm using right now are:
1.5", 2", 2.5", 3", 3.5", 5", 7", and 10". (Update 04/18 - I've eliminated the 7" cuts. No idea why I ever thought that was a good idea.)
I do not cut 1.5" or 2" squares (only strips) because I've already determined that I will NEVER be sewing together squares that tiny. I could do strip piecing and make 4, 9, or 16-patches though...

At the moment I'm using these Sterilite containers for storage. I have to admit I'm slightly addicted to these. I have 12 and counting!

These bins are getting a little full so I'll either have to get more (yay!) or start sewing...

Stay tuned...

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Monday, February 12, 2018

New Obsession

Hi! It's me! Still kind of on the fence about blogging but thought I'd give it a shot again.

When I was at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November, I saw an exhibit of Sue Spargo's quilts. If you don't know anything about her, she is known for her folksy wool applique quilts. One of them really spoke to me.

What most of you probably don't know is that I grew up in South Africa. So did Sue. Many of her designs are inspired by her childhood in Africa, especially Folk-Tails.
Photos of her quilt in Houston:

Between the exhibit and a friend asking me to pick up some needles at Sue's booth for her, I was hooked. I bought the pattern book there and then.

The next step was a journey of sourcing wool for the project. And then I could start!

The pattern was originally a BOM and the quilt consists of 30 blocks.
I started the project around Christmas and hope to have it completed this year. It's quite addictive so it shouldn't be a problem.

Pics of my first blocks:

I'm going to try to post regular updates again from now on. There will still be "real" quilting posts too.

Also, if I'm a little lax over here, you can follow me on Instagram where I'm a lot more active.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Fabric Organization, Part 2

In my previous post I shared how I organize scraps between 1/4 yard and 1/2 yard.

The rest is a bit of an experiment.

My larger pieces of fabric (> 1/2 yard) have always just been folded up and stored in a tote. I never even looked at them and, frankly, was pleasantly surprised at what I found when I started looking through them.
After some online research, I did the following:
I decided to "file" them. I ordered these magazine backing boards from They're acid free and not too thick.

Next, I found these file storage bins on They were kind of pricey but exactly what I needed.
(Interestingly enough, when you fold yardage twice along the width, it's around 11"!)
I know that yardage rolled onto cardboard sheets would get to be bigger than 8.5" x 11", so I needed bins with a little more volume. These are 11.19 inches H x 13.75 inches W x 17.5 inches L.
I also needed them to be clear-ish so I can see what's inside each bin without opening it.

I folded each piece of fabric along the length one more time (since yardage is already folded once) and then rolled it onto a cardboard sheet as tightly as possible without bending the cardboard. Lastly I secured it with a pin.

As you can see, these fit quite nicely into the tote.

The most yardage I have on a sheet so far is around 6 yards and it's working just fine!
Up next, the small scraps.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Still here...and fabric organization

OMG! A blog post!
I tried using my iPad to post but Blogger doesn't seem to have an IOS app. Let me know if I'm wrong. I'm contemplating migrating the blog to Wordpress.

Anyhow, in the mean time I'm trying to get a hold on my personal fabric stash. I don't have a whole lot since I have a store full of bolts to choose from and I feel guilty buying fabric, but that will hopefully change in the (fairly) near future.
It's more about being pro-active. I'll be saving some yardage of my favorite fabrics in the store before it all sells out. And I'll probably be saving my scraps more religiously since I won't be getting fabric at wholesale prices any more.

I've divided my fabric into 3 categories:
A. Yardage - more than 1/2 yard
B. Smaller pieces between around 1/4 yard and 1/2 yard
C. Anything smaller than 1/4 yard

I've always mostly had control of B.

I fold the fabric around the short side of my 6" x 12" ruler and two rows fit neatly in these 15 quart Sterilite bins I got at Target.
I've had them for years and they still have them, which is a minor miracle since usually, when I want a couple more of a specific tote, they've changed the design.

All color coded!

In my next post I'll talk about my organization choices for the little scraps and the big pieces.

Oh, and all 30's Reproduction fabrics are 30% OFF for the next week!

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Heart to Heart Runner Quilting

I've had a couple of questions regarding the quilting design on the Heart to Heart Runner, so I thought I'd share the process I went through. I'm pretty new to any quilting other than stippling, so this was a fun process.
Heart to Heart Valentine's Runner
First I have to say that I use Pinterest A LOT for inspiration and had seen something like this over there, so this is not an entirely novel idea.

I printed a diagram of the finished runner from the pattern.

I knew that I wanted to echo quilt around the hearts so, using good old tracing paper, I traced the hearts and added an echo line around each of them. (Ignore the "swirly" bits. That was my first, unsuccessful attempt at the design.)

On another piece of tracing paper, I traced the outline of the quilt, then removed that paper and just free-handed some lines. I think my previous experiments with Zentangles helped a little here.

Next, I overlayed this design over the previous tracing of the hearts, put a blank sheet of tracing paper over the top and traced everything. I then erased the bits where the lines went into the hearts, and adding a second line to the swirly design.

After this I marked the quilt top loosely resembling this design. I did not scale it up or anything, just kind of tried to duplicate it.

As for the actual quilting, I quilted the hearts in the ditch, then echoed about 1/4" away. After this I quilted the swirls following the lines I had drawn on the quilt top.

Next I randomly picked some filler designs (thanks Pinterest!) and filled the blank spaces. I tried to do it in somewhat of a logical fashion so it would look like everything flowed but I wasn't too scientific about it.

Lastly, I felt that the hearts themselves needed straight line quilting, since there was already so much swirliness going on. And that's it!

Be sure to look at my previous post for pics of the quilting detail.
The pattern is available on Craftsy and Etsy and is actually a fairly quick project since it's "just" a table runner and not a whole quilt.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Spring Shawl

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen this one already. I thought I'd add a couple of extra photos.
Spring Shawl
The pattern is the "Spring" shawl by Bernadette Ambergen. I have used one of her patterns before and loved it. I love this one too. I'm not an overly experienced crocheter. This looks harder than it is.

I was, once again, amazed by the difference blocking can make.

Here is the shawl before blocking, all curly and too small:
Spring Shawl
I blocked it by getting it really wet,
Spring Shawl
rolling it in a towel to get as much of the moisture out as possible,
Spring Shawl
Spring Shawl
and pinning it down in the correct shape and size.
Spring Shawl
Spring Shawl
Spring Shawl

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