Friday, January 23, 2015

The Fabric Stash

Seems like this is the time of the year when everyone is discussing their fabric stash...  admit it, the Christmas holidays are over, there's not much in the way of entertainment in the cold Midwest in January, so it's probably timely.
I've shown you some of mine before...  I have a sewing room in my basement.  I used to put things out on shelves and in baskets.  But then I was invaded by a family of field mice who chewed a couple dozen holes in a piece of silk and linen that rendered a yard and half completely unusable except as patchwork.
I hate mice.  Even when I don't see an actual mouse, I hate coming across their leavings.  You see tiny specks of things that weren't there yesterday and you wonder what it is.  Aaagh!! Don't touch it!
Enter the bins.  And a hubby with traps filled with peanut butter.  Get them OUT!!

Now I have so many bins, and they take up a lot of space.  At first I tried to organize by fabric type for garment fabrics... all the cotton/poly knits together.  Sometimes that worked.  I've also put groups together for what would work for an outfit, or all the pants weight fabric together.  It's kind of a mishmash, admittedly a work in process.  It helps to label the bins.  I've taken packaging tape and a small square of cardboard and placed a tag on the outside of each bin.  Portable and easy to change.
If I don't do that I have no idea what I have where.
OK I KNOW it's too much.  But it's my only vice.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

 Quilting fabric at first was just a small problem issue...

I could group things, tie them nicely and put them in a bin for a future project.

But the stash just started to grow on its own, I swear, while I wasn't looking!

It did help when I was planning a project.  I organized by fabric length.  Over a yard, a yard, half yards, fat quarters, etc.  Then I organized by color, a bin of blue, a bin of red, all the browns from cream to chocolate.  That led to bins of Christmas and a bin of batik, plus a bin of plaid and a bin of dot.  And just for fun, a bin full of miscellaneous pieces that could be cut up for scrap quilts.

The current box of stuff to be cut up into usable bits...
I got the Scrap Insanity book, did the recommended 2 inch, 3.5 inch and 5 inch squares.  I branched out to strips too.  2 inch, 2.5 inch and 3 inch width of fabric strips had bins of their own.  I made my own jelly roll bundles.  Those are very convenient when you want to actually sew, not figure out what you WANT to sew.

One day I took out the bin of 2 inch squares and went wild...

The right side of my design wall looked like this.

I have a box of projects that are not quite finished, and quilt blocks left over from either testing a pattern or where I made too many or maybe just made some because I could.  Some day there will be a whole rash of finishes!  Really, it IS possible!
a box of UFOs and orphan squares.
 Not only do I have responsibility for my personal stash... but I have to help Suzi manage the church group's stash!  This is how it looked after we spent a little time working on it in November.

It doesn't look that good right now, but we have about a dozen quilts in various stages of completion and there are kits galore for the ladies who want to sew tops.  I think messy and working is much better than neat and organized but nothing's happening anyway, don't you?

I have taken to calling this a personal collection instead of a stash.  After all, does your husband have a beer can collection because he's going to USE them all???  Ha!  I'm stocking up against inflation.  Or a snow day.  Or my retirement.  Whatever --  I love my collection.  Every single inch of it.

If I have to use up everything I have, I am going to freakin' live forever!

Sew on...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ooops! Fixing a Knitting Blunder

So you know how sometimes life gets in the way of what you're doing?  I think this story might be like that.
Someone who shall remain nameless (but it isn't me) was knitting a child's sweater while watching TV or something.  I have knitted this sweater at least a dozen times so I know how this can happen!
The sweater has a hood and zips up the back.  You start at the face edge, knit the hood, then you bind off.  You fold the hood, pick up stitches at the sides and join the sides to make the face opening.
I don't know how clear it is in this picture, but this person flipped the pieces when picking up the neck stitches, so the face edge is okay on the right side and flipped on the left.
She was having trouble on the sleeve cables and frog stitched one sleeve a couple of times.  It finally came together.  Almost.
The edge on the left is actually the face edge, the diagonal down the center should be at the center back, not the center front.

Wrong way.
Right way.

Normally I do the hand picked zipper when she's done with the sweater because she hates doing the zipper and I don't mind.

She showed me what happened and was really upset with herself for doing this.  I sympathized!!  Who would want to frog stitch the whole dang sweater???

ME:   What I would do if it was mine would be to clip the picked up stitches, turn the hood the right way, and use the mattress stitch to put it back together.

SHE:  OK, here you go.

ME:  Oh boy.  I was wondering what I was going to do with all my leisure time...

Actually this didn't turn out to be such a bad task.  FINDING the picked up stitches might have been the hardest part.  But since I would be separating a bound off edge from the top edge of the neck band, I was pretty sure it wouldn't unravel.

I put the neck band on waste yarn with a big yarn needle.  That's the light purple you see in the photos.  I cut at the center and unraveled the picked up stitches.  Then I flipped the hood the right way and pinned it to the neck band again.

Now all I need to do is stitch the pieces back together, block the sweater and sew in the zipper.

Piece of cake.

I should be able to knock this off while watching Jeopardy tonight!

Knit on...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Charity Sewing

The church quilting group met this past Saturday to catch up from the holiday hiatus and show what we've been working on since we last met.

Wow, all I can say is wow.

Bonnie worked on a new pattern, a big chevron using strips, not triangles.

This pattern is called Cut Apart Nine Patch.  Quilted and finished.

The pattern for this purple number is called My Favorite Donation Quilt.

Rail Fence, quilted and finished.

Shirley even tried her hand at free motion quilting, a new skill for her!

Another chevron, this time with smaller strips.  You need more strips but you get more colors.

This pattern has a name, but I can't recall what it is;  it is essentially snowball blocks with sashing.

We love our string quilts!  Quilted and finished.

Xs and Os, quilted and finished.

Yellow Brick Road pattern, quilted and finished.
I pieced this 60 degree triangle pattern a while ago and decided it needed to move OUT of my UFO box...

Our new Welcome banner.
Someone asked us if we could make something to cover up the chip in the paint on this wall.  I don't know if it was a joke or what.. the space is about 18 inches wide and the chip is down below where the O in Welcome is!  What could you put there that wouldn't look odd?

So we got creative and I pieced some wonky letters.  I was very into wonky that week!  Then I passed it along to my co-leader, Suzi, and she did an amazing job of quilting it.  We got a dowel and a string and voila!  Chip covered, and not at all awkward.  It's right inside our back door and now is one of the first things you see when you come into the Fellowship hall in the church.

Now, back to those UFOs...

Sew on!