Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Fabric Organizing

My fabric stash was getting out of control.  I had piles gathering in various places around my sewing room, and between projects I hadn't been putting it away correctly, so even my storage was a mess.  This picture is after I've started tidying up:

My fabric storage on GORM shelves from IKEA.  I keep my quilting fabric in the short bins on the middle shelves.  There is one short big for apparel and bag making fabrics.  The big bins contain fleece, flannel, random fabrics people have given me, random fabrics I inherited from my mom, exercise equipment and batting.  My scraps are kept in the wire basics on the left--sorted by color and kept in gallon ziploc bags.

I realized if I was going to fit it all in the bins it needed to neatly folded and I needed to get rid of fabrics I knew I wouldn't ever use.  A few years ago I came across this post on how to fold your fabric to fit in this style of bin, so that's what I am following.

Fabric folding area.  My old methods are on the far right and left, the new method in the center.

The first (of four) bins was kinda fun!  I got to revisited/discover fabrics, and I was trying to be critical about what was really my style, and what I thought I would actually use.  I created a pile of fabrics to try and destash on IG (@quiltsnfeathers though I may set up a second account to destash stuff) and another pile of stuff to donate.

Destash pile as of this morning!  There is a second pile in another area.  My bin of solids is next to sort and fold.

The second bin was where things started to be an eye-opener.  I was folding and folding, my motto being "just because it was given to me doesn't mean I have to like it, use it or store it for all eternity" but I started to feel anxiety about all the fabric I had!  And guilt over how much I had purchased, and how much I wanted to get rid of.  To be honest most of the fabric I want to get rid of was given to me, or was part of a scrap pack, or was from a giveaway and I didn't end up liking all of it, or was for a project for someone else and isn't really my style, or I've already made what I wanted to from the fabric and am ready to get rid of the rest of it.

My bin of neatly folded fabrics!  Greens-blues, browns, tans, low volumes and purples.  Don't worry, teal is kept in a different bin!

Today I don't have quite as much guilt or anxiety about the fabric I've decided to keep, but it is a bit worrisome how quickly and easily ti accumulates, and how much I'd forgotten I even had!  And a few pieces I have absolutely no memory of at all.

This really helped to support and encourage my resolution to buy fabric with more intention!  How do you store your fabric and keep track of what you have?  How do you monitor your stash and make good buying choices?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Butterfly Mini Quilt III

Here's the newest rendition of the my butterfly quilt!  You can see the first one here and the second one here.

Butterfly mini quilt, measures about 20" x 16.5".

I made this little quilt as an angel mini for the IG mini swap--though whether or not it will be needed after all is up in the air.  If it's not needed I have a couple of other ideas of what to do with it.

Butterfly quilt back.

I used Aurifil 40wt for the first time, it quilted beautifully!  I used medium blue-grey (#1310) and grey-blue (#5007).  I used 50wt #2605 in the bobbin and didn't have any issues with the tension or needle.  My sewing machine loves Aurifil!

Butterfly quote reads: "Just when the caterpiller thought the world was over it became a butterfly."  I quilted this part the day my grandma died, and it seemed rather connected...though I was obviously distracted (typos).

The butterfly is made mostly out of bright, modern scraps I have.  It's always fun to use scraps in new ways!

Butterfly detail.  The wings are made using a dresden template.

Quilt stats:
Size: 20" x 16.5"
Front: RJR cotton supreme solids in Burlap
Backing: Kona Cornflower
Binding: Kona Navy
Thread: Aurifil 40wt on the front and 50wt on the back.
Batting: Warm and Natural

Sunlit butterfly mini quilt.

Monday, January 19, 2015

15 Quilty Resolutions for 2015

I know I'm a little late for these, but life has been one curve ball after another!  First my ankle recovery was longer than I expected, then figuring out a new preschool schedule that both kids like (yay a few hours of Mommy Time twice a week!) and then my grandmother died and I've been trying to help my dad clean out her house whenever I can.  But I've been doing a lot of thinking about this new year and what I want out of it!

15 Quilty Resolutions for 2015

1. This first one is a big one, and it has taken me two weeks to solidify my determination to make this announcement to universe: I want to get a longarm (quilting machine) this year!  For the first time since the idea entered my brain (around 3 years ago), I think it might actually be possible.  My goal is to start a quilting business soon after getting the machine!

Me playing on a longarm at a show last year.  I try to play with as many as I can at shows--in the name of research, of course ;-)

2.  No more big swaps!  I find them more stressful and annoying than fun.  Individual swaps, on the other hand, are very fun and gratifying, and I already have 3 lined up for this spring!  Also I am doing the Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts again, and am really looking forward to working with this group.

Quilts of 2014--only 8 of these were not for a swap!

3. Give back by making and donating a quilt.  This will be my fourth year doing this, and although I don't have a charity in mind yet, I know one will find me when the time is right.  Last year I donated one to a children's hospital in Kenya.  In 2013 I donated one to one of the families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots (wildland firefighters) that died in the fire near Prescott, AZ.  In 2012 I donated a baby quilt to Quilts for Kids.

4. Go on a quilting retreat!  The kind where the whole time is dedicated to sewing and hanging out with other quilters!  I'm thinking autumn of this year--so if you've heard of any, let me know!  I know you need to sign up early for many of them.

5.  Make more clothes.  Last year I made only one shirt for myself (oh and a swimming suit!), and this year I'd like to make some more shirts and dresses and skirts!

6.  Balance: this is so hard with a young family.  How can I eat well, exercise, sew, spend quality time with each other, sleep, have a social life, clean and blog??  I have started with recuperating from my ankle surgery last month, and now I'm experimenting with changing my diet by doing the Whole30, and in an attempt to be fit again I'm also doing the Ripped in 30 by Jillian Michaels and running again (believe me it is a slow start on those!).

7.  Saying NO--mostly to people that want me to make them a quilt for a price that doesn't support the cost of supplies PLUS my time and effort.  And also saying no to designs that I am unfamiliar with (as they are usually WAY more time consuming than I anticipate), and try to focus on simpler designs.  My enthusiasm to try something new needs to be tempered by the fact that I have a huge To-Do list that any commission will displace.

Showing off the quilt top at the Albuquerque MQG meeting.  

8. Continue to develop relationships with other quilters both online through my blog and IG and in real life through my local guilds.  QuiltCon will definitely be supporting this!

9.  Stop making quilts to enter in shows!  Instead make quilts I love, and then enter them in shows.

My QuiltCon reject.  It is without purpose now (though I will be entering it in at least one more show).

10.  Make myself a new bed quilt!  This has been my plan for over a year (I've been collecting fabrics for it for several years!) but other things keeping taking priority.  

My grey and teal fabrics!  <3  Destined to be a medallion bed quilt.

11.  Enter my quilts in at least two quilt show (state fair doesn't count).  

12. Buy fabric with more intention.  What I mean by this is to think more critically about the fabric I want--do I want it because it genuinely appeals to my tastes and is it something I will actually use to make clothing, bags or quilts, or am I just excited about the newest fabric due to the marketing and hype?  It is so easy to be swept up in the excitement!  So I am trying to make better choices in my fabric purchases and be more mentally present and not just react to the "Everyone else wants it so I must want it too!" feeling.  

13.  Continue with this motto: "Start where you are, use what you have."

14. Destash some fabric!  I hope to sell some via IG (@quiltsnfeathers) and donate/give away others.  I have so much I just know I won't ever use, so I really just need to purge it from my life!

15.  Start teaching!  I am already signed up to teach a program at the ABQ MQG in April on feather quilting!  I'd also like to expand to teaching a class local quilt shops. 

This is certainly a big, full and exciting year with all these resolutions and goals!  What are your quilty resolutions for 2015?

What's Your QuiltCon Alter Ego?

My friend Yvonne from Quilting Jet Girl and I had a conversation via email last month and somehow came up with the idea that we should dress up as our quilting alter egos (aka Quiltcon Cosplay) at Quiltcon!  To me this means some kind of embodiment of my blog name.  Although I guess this could also take on some other forms!

What is YOUR QuiltCon Alter-Ego?

As our discussion of this idea progressed it somehow turned into me being a quilting monster (not unlike Animal from the Muppets, but with a sewing machine!).  So here is my game plan--I bought a red jacket and feathers.  I plan to attach the feathers somehow, and add lots of long threads and/or strips of fabric.  And a feather headband or something.

Quilts of a Feather costume supplies!

So, will you be going to QuiltCon?  We would love it if you dressed up too!  We are planning to wear our costumes to the Thursday evening Moda Party and again on Saturday, and I hope you will join us for the fun!  You can also checkout these hashtags on IG for more inspiration:  #QuiltConAlterEgo and #QuiltConCosplay

Linking up with:  

Grab button for Cooking Up Quilts
Hug-a-Bit Quilts

Thursday, January 15, 2015


My latest TARDIS quilt is finished!  The weather has been quite gloomy and soggy lately, so I'm afraid these photos are not the best.  If you'd like to see more photos of my TARDIS quilts, you can see my first one here and my second one here.  On with the show!

A fancy TARDIS quilt!

The front is a cheater panel (which means the tardis and stars are printed on the fabric--I didn't piece those together) I bought from Spoonflower. I had this one printed on the Basic Cotton Ultra, which is said to have better washability and color brightness (the one I had printed on the Kona cotton faded terribly in the first two washes).  You have to sign up as a beta tester, but it is definitely worth it as the fabric held up to washing much better (I prewashed the fabric and washed the quilt when it was done and it still looked great).

TARDIS quilt detail.

I quilted the TARDIS using Aurifil #2740 (dark cobalt) and #2605 (grey) in the bobbin so the quilting would show up nicely on the Kona Navy backing:

TARDIS quilt back detail.

In the grey areas and around the lettering I used Superior So Fine #411 (black):

TARDIS quilt sign detail.

I used one layer of Warm and Natural batting and Kona Charcoal for the binding.

TARDIS quilt custom Gallifreyan panel.
TARDIS quilt other panels quilted with wood grain.

It finished at about 39" x 68" I think--I forgot to measure it after the first wash.

TARDIS quilt back.

Hurray for my first finish of 2015!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WIP: Butterfly Mini Quilt III

Back in August I signed up for the #igminiswap on instagram (@quiltsnfeathers), and because I'd had such a bad time with swaps up to that point I volunteered to be a swap angel so others wouldn't miss out on getting a quilt!

I was told my new partner likes simple design and modern fabrics.  I did some brainstorming for a little while, and finally decided on revisiting my butterfly/moth quilt (you can see my first one here and my second one here):

Butterfly made using a dresden ruler.

I tried doing things a little differently (especially staggering the wing sections), but don't like how it turned out and probably won't do it again.

Butterfly quilted what?

Every time I get stuck on how to quilt it!  It's such a big part of the quilt that it really makes a difference how I quilt it.  Finally last night while trying to fall asleep I came up with a plan and will get started on it later today.  Hopefully finish it today too, so I can mail it out to my new partner ASAP!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Beginning of TARDIS Quilt III

I've been commissioned to make another TARDIS quilt, my third to date (you can see my first here and my second here).   For this one I was able to get the Spoonflower panel again (yay!).  Here it is after I've finished the straight line quilting:

Tardis quilt with straight line quilting only.

You can see the quilting lines a lot better from the back:

Back of Tardis quilt, straight line quilting only.

For this quilt I will be adding lots of free motion quilting details (swirls, feathers, loops, etc) and a custom Gallifreyan panel.  I will have more progress photos soon!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Museum Medallion (drunkard's path edition)

The last time I posted about this quilt I was just starting work on the drunkard's path blocks (the quarter circles).  I'd never made the block before, so had no idea just how long it would take to cut all the fabric for the 176 blocks, or to sew them together, or to press or trim them.  But finally it was time to sew them together into circles!

Drunkard's path border progress.

At least I became proficient in making them, and I'd say 90% of them turned out quite nicely.  Hopefully the other 10% aren't too glaring.

All four drunkard's path borders sewn together and cornerstone stars finished.

I'm glad I decided to stick with the drunkard's path blocks, despite the time investment.  I love how they echo the center circle and add even more color to the quilt!  Here's how it looks today, with border 11 (the narrow stripes) on:

Museum Medallion progress through border 11.  Currently measures 80.5" square.

The next border is the last one!  WOOHOO!  The quilt definitely turned into a labor of love!  All that's left (for the quilt top) is cutting out the next border and then matching the prints:

Top one is a bit off, but not too obvious, bottom one matched quite nicely!  Fabric is French Wallpaper in Spruce.

Matching the prints is tricky!  Here's one I failed at twice and then gave up for the day:

Tomorrow my son is back in preschool, so I am hoping to have a little more time and energy to put into this quilt again!