Drowning in Fabric

Forever cleaning, organizing and creating

Meanwhile, in another fabric…

I’ve been keeping myself busy with some other crafts as
well… This is kind of a long, roundabout story which led to my
current crafting. It involves busy bags, and my son, and trying to
find more structured activities for those long days when school is
out… All fodder for another post. But one of those activities is
a felt board. I’ve been wanting to make a quiet book for him for
some time. I had one my aunt made for me when I was little, and I’ve
torn apart my house and my mom’s looking for it, and just can’t
find it. Quiet books today seem to be made primarily of felt. I’ve
spent quite a bit of time reading and pinning ideas, but never got
to work on it. Like everything else new I set out to do, I’ve been
irrationally intimidated. So, somehow a felt board seemed like a
good foundation to build from. After more reading and pinning, I
finally got motivated to get a foam board. I covered it with some
felt-by-the-yard I had gotten at my favorite store when that was the flavor of the month. I
taped it around the back with duct tape and used clear removable
mounting squares (a lot of them!) to mount it to the wall outside
my son’s bedroom door. I think if he really gets into it, I will
want a much bigger one at some point, but this one fits perfectly
there. I cut out some quick shapes to test it out.

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Then I set out making some
things to play with. My son has a slight obsession with Bad
Piggies. My husband had downloaded a free copy and my son came
across it and just loves it. He doesn’t know an angry bird from a
rock, but piggies he loves. They didn’t look hard, so I printed
some pictures, made quick patterns and some piggies for him.

Bad piggies!

Bad piggies!

He
also loves these Shiny
Driver books
that I got at Dollar Tree. In fact, I’ve
gotten a couple sets of them now, he loves them so much. His
absolute favorite is Fire Engine Freddie, so I decided to make the
story into felt pieces to play with on his board. I haven’t quite
finished yet, but here is what I have so far.

Here is firetruck Fred

Here is firetruck
Fred

Here he is in the firehouse garage

Here he is in the firehouse garage

Here he is putting out a car fire. (Note - no fire)

Here he is putting out a car fire. (Note – no fire)

Here he is rescuing the cat from the tree

Here he is rescuing the cat from the tree

Close up of cat

Close up of cat

He was thrilled by the shapes and definitely recognized the
likenesses. He does go and play with his felt board (I also made
him weather shapes that I didn’t seem to photograph). Some of them
are pretty heavy, though, and he gets frustrated when they don’t
stick, then pulls them all off and throws them. Welcome to 2.5.
These are all just glued together with felt glue. I have another
page with Tractor Ted, then I have completed this book and suppose
I may as well continue with the Tractor Ted book, as he will
already be made. There’s a lot of complicated vehicles in that
book, though.

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Stack the deck, class 2

I had my final class for Stack the Deck this weekend. I had worked primarily on completing my blocks since the last class. The teacher had suggested 30-36 blocks and I did 42. The number of blocks was determined by the number of fabrics I used. I also hoped to use the “extra” blocks to make a bigger quilt.

I had a plan for how I wanted my quilt to turn out. One of the ways to set the blocks makes like a zig zag pattern. I liked that look and expected to copy it. I laid my blocks out, and either because of the different colors or values or prints, you just couldn’t see it. I think you need a stronger contrast and less stuff going on.

Class example of zig zag placement

Class example of zig zag placement

So I started playing around. We found I got the most successful design with the star placement. Against my instructor’s advice, I tried placing the same fabrics at the center of the quadrants. I found I really liked the look, and it gave my quilt some focus. I have a thing for bugs, and felt they looked like different butterflies in flight (once you see it, you can’t unsee it!). My instructor came back around and decided she really liked what I was doing. We played around with value placement and “wing” shapes for a while and I got to work putting it together.

My completed top

My completed top

I also like the fractured shapes made by the randomly placed background. As far as the class was concerned, I am “done”. However, I think I am going to make a few more blocks and add another two rows. I used 12 fabrics, so I should be able to have 12 individual butterflies, and that will extend it to a better size for me. I am glad I had the extra blocks. It allowed me to pick and choose and have enough “center” fabrics to complete this much. I also have several I can use for the last two rows, and some extras to add in the back.

I had thought this might be a donation quilt for my son’s school, but now I don’t think so. Between the colors and the pattern, it is just so me. Most tops I start because I love them and love the fabrics and can’t imagine parting with them, and by the end I hate them, or at least am indifferent. This one went the complete opposite way. I had no connection to the technique, pattern or top and I really like it now.

Here is some of my classmates’ work, and you can see how different they all turn out –

The only one that managed to pull off the zigzag/lightning bolt

The only one that managed to pull off the zigzag/lightning bolt

More randomly placed

More randomly placed

I loved her colors.

Working on the star shape

Working on the star shape

She was planning to sash.

 

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Cleaning

I am attempting to systematically go through each room of our house and declutter and purge, organize, etc. I work very very hard to keep my house below a certain level of clutter. I could so easily find myself on Hoarders if I ever let it go. But I am at a point where I feel like it is just too much stuff. When things are gathered everywhere, and can’t find places to put things, and I have clothes I’ve had for 20 years and 6 sizes, and we can’t park a car in the garage… you know. I need to do this.

I actually started in my bathroom. I didn’t finish, and I am sure that doesn’t thrill other people, so no pictures. 🙂 I did my vanity and under sink area. Still need to finish the drawers and the rest of the bathroom. I went through every bit of makeup and hair thing. I really tried to be brutal. I did have things dating back to highschool (or earlier). I know it is gross or outdated, but it is so against my nature to throw things away, I am really trying to purge though.

Then I headed into my closet. I do not have before pictures – and actually, my closet is oriented in a way where pictures at all are hard to get, but things had gotten to a point where I couldn’t even walk in there. I had just been throwing things into my closet, I had folded laundry, toys, sweaters, shoes, books etc, all over the floor. I took everything out of my closet and sorted and went through it piece by piece. I originally wanted to do it in a week, but it took the better part of the month. I tried so hard to be brutal. I got rid of a lot of shoes, and a decent amount of clothes and bags. Some of my clothes I did just move to the guest room – some of those “I’ll fit into this again” hopefuls and maternity clothes I still had hanging in my closet… you know, three years later, as a just-in-case. I could certainly still stand to get rid of more of all of it, but like I said, I have a hard time parting with things, and even just doing this much was a huge accomplishment.

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The bag pile… before. I might have a bit of a bag problem.

 

This is the best I can do for pictures... after

This is the best I can do for pictures… after

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Here is my closet now. The floor is completely clear, except for the stool, because I am freakishly short. I have tons of shelf space left. All those hangers used to have clothes on them, and there were more that were plastic that didn’t get put back. I used to have triple rows of shoes, and now it is barely one row. Very excited. I just hope it’ll stay this way.

I also finally got shelving for my sewing area. In hindsight, I could/should have gone with the 48″ shelves instead of 36″. Oh well. I may end up moving these above the tv and replacing them, but I could easily put 48″ shelves there too. I’ve only started to throw stuff up there, but it has already helped so much to get the clutter off my cutting table so I can better use it. I’ve also put some of my designer fabric up there to make room in my cubes for other fabrics, some scrap/charm bins, and some unfinished quilts are at the top. I am sure I will rearrange more in the future, but was trying to just get things out of the way for the time being. I went today to look for another small cube unit to mount on the wall for folded fabric, but they were out of it. LOL. I’ll take that as a hint to watch for the sale. Still quite a bit of plans in here too, but it is a start.

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ABC Polaroid finish

(ETA – I was just informed this is my 75th post)

Confession: I have been sitting on this post for months, not wanting to post it. It is, in small part, another reason for my hiatus this summer. Certainly not the main one, but whenever I sat to post and was faced with making this post, I was not encouraged to continue. I had such high expectations for this quilt. Up to the moment I sat to quilt it, I was certain it was going to be the best one for some time to come.

Basting

Basting

Then I quilted it.

And, as far as I am concerned, ruined the whole thing.

I still sent it, and still got many thank yous and cute pictures from my sister-in-law, but I know in my heart I ruined it. I am not even sure the pictures will be clear enough to show the issues.

I FMQd it. I tried to use a pattern I learned in the class I took in May. It wasn’t a huge quilt- I don’t remember the size but somewhere in the neighborhood of 42×48″- but the blocks were large. I had a lot of trouble navigating the entire block without stopping to readjust. And when I did, my needle would still take many stitches in place, making like a knot in the back.

Can you see the knotting?

Can you see the knotting?

My stitches didn’t meet, were wobbly and uneven, I broke my thread several times, I had to unpick a few mistakes, and at some point kind of just gritted my teeth and busted through it, unhappy as I was.

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Bobbin ran out on second to last block

It came out very wonky. I like wonky, but not so much in the quilting. It looks like a mess ,which is what it is, not like intentional wonkiness.

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Wonky quilting, a look at border quilting and binding

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Some more close ups of the quilting

Some more close ups of the quilting

The back, which I also loved up to this point

The back, which I also loved up to this point

A look at the quilting from the back

A look at the quilting from the back

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Backing and binding are from Mischief, which I got on 50% sale from Fat Quarter Shop, just as I was starting to look. Perfect timing and the perfect backing for an ABC quilt. Second time that has happened.

Here are some finish pictures

Here are some finish pictures

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Close up of blocks o-z

Close up of blocks o-z

close up of blocks a-l

close up of blocks a-l

My nephew

My nephew

Older brother nephew with his tumbler quilt

Older brother nephew with his tumbler quilt

That’s all I have to say about that.

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Tula Pink modified houndstooth WIP

So, as I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve been in Mama Spark’s  Tula Pink layer cake swap for many months. We are on round 9, now, I think, and I only missed the first round since I hadn’t heard of it yet. I was also in another charm swap for TP prints. I have a huge stack of TP squares, not to mention my yardage. So I set out to do something with it. I am starting to feel like a hoarder with all these fabrics that I have but can’t use. Silly, right? Whenever I go to start a project, I look over my fabric and mentally eliminate at least half of it because it is “special” and can’t be used.

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I decided to pick a pattern that would work easily with charms and showcase as many prints as possible. I selected what I’ve been calling the modified hounds tooth. They call it houndstooth, but it just isn’t. This is very easy to put together as long as you pay attention to your order. It is two squares and two hsts per block. My blocks are 8″ finished. I am – at this point – planning on 11×12 blocks, so 132 total. It’ll be queenish size. I’d love to keep going, because I have the fabric for it, but I am already terrified of quilting this thing eventually.

First 60ish blocks - floor of my sewing room

First 60ish blocks – floor of my sewing room

The problem I am already having is finding a place to lay it out. It takes up a ton of room! And while we have a roomy house, the rooms have furniture in them. I currently have it laid out on the floor of my living room with all the furniture pushed to the walls, and it still isn’t big enough! I’m going to pick it up for a while though, because we are about to do a few more rounds of the swap and some really cool prints are swapping through now. I have almost 100 (98 I think?) blocks made already, so that only leaves a few more. I am going to have such a hard time narrowing down these fabrics, though some of my choices will be made by color – I need more yellow, for sure. I was hoping to be able to get most of the fabrics represented, but that is certainly not going to happen. And her next release has been announced already! Wow. Well, I have the fabric to make many more, I guess, but I was planning on having this one for me, and was really hoping to have it for the winter. I think that’s a long shot, though.

This pattern can be found in Quilty. It’s floating around on Pinterest and they also have a Quilty video for it. I don’t remember which issue it was – I am not at home right now – but like I said, it is really easy to do. I chained, pressed and trimmed about 40 blocks at a time.

Laid out on my living room floor - about 100 blocks done.

Laid out on my living room floor – about 100 blocks done.

 

OMG! I can finally join again!!

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Stack the Deck

I am taking a Stack the Deck class at my LQS right now. It looked like an interesting system, and I had a discount, so I thought it would be fun. I am glad I chose to take the class, because I didn’t find the instructions in the book very easy to understand as far as the shuffling (which actually isn’t that complicated). On the other hand, I don’t know that I would ever have heard of it if it weren’t for the class, so there you go.  I am the only one in the class not working with batiks, which I find so interesting. I suppose the pattern does lend itself more to working with color more than prints/ solids. It will be neat to see how they all turn out and differ. We are working with the block shown on the cover, however, depending on how you lay out your blocks, you can make many different patterns.

stack and whack

stack and whack

You start with many square sets of contrasting fabric. They recommend light/dark; I am using two colors. You cut them in a stack, shuffle the stack so that you have all different fabrics in each block, then sew them back together in the reverse order than you cut them. That is the shorthand description. 🙂 Then depending on how you position your blocks, you can make many different designs.

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I have no idea how to lay these out.

For homework, I am finishing 42 blocks. The instructor wanted us to do 30-36, but because of the number of fabrics I am using I will have 42. That way, I can possibly make a bigger top and/or pick and choose blocks and have extra for the back. I have 20 done now, and the above shows my first ten. Next class, we learn our layout options and start sewing the top together.

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Join my swap!!

I still have two openings in my fat 8 stripe swap. It is for three yards of stripes, cut into 11×18 fat 8ths. Send to me, I swap them out, and you get back 24 different stripes! I’ve been running my swap with different monthly themes since January, and am thrilled with how it has gone. Please come join the fun! (Here’s a tip – October’s theme is Low Volume.)

 

 

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September review/October goals

What happened to September?!?!

Things are finally looking up for us. We are coming out of the mess of the last 6 months. My husband is adjusting to his new job, and we are adjusting to our new schedules, my son is adjusting to preschool. I am cautiously optimistic.

September goals

  • Work on aunt’s quilt I have started making blocks for it. It requires many fabrics, and I am slowly buying them and cutting/incorporating as I go. This needs to move up to the priority now, though, so I need to make my final fabric decisions and start busting it out.
  • Make a plan for auction quilt (Can probably wait til next month) I have a couple directions I could go on this… I have a top I am working on for a class (post forthcoming) that could potentially be finished and donated, as I am not overly attached to it. We’ll see what I think when I finish it. I also just got back my Ispy layer cake swap, and am kicking around making something with that which would be a more child-friendly quilt idea.
  • Work on Tula quilt (though I am slowing down on this since the swap is running again and I may want some Acacia in it) I have around 100 of 130 blocks done, and currently spread out on my living room floor (post forthcoming). I am stopped on it for now because, as I said, the future Tula swaps are bringing out the old stuff and I may want that in my quilt. I am having a hard time picking and choosing. I feel like my life has been taken over by Tula…. I have gotten tons of it from my favorite fabric store this go around and I’ve been hunting constantly for the older stuff for my swap.
  • Make a plan for teacher gifts (Can probably wait til next month) Yeah, haven’t thought much about this beyond I’ll probably do some sort of bag.
  • Figure out how I will quilt the baby’s quilt and do it already. I started this thing a year ago, now. No
  • Should I find myself with the time: Bloom bloom pow, bento, chevron, prism and anything else I’ve started and not finished. No
  • Pick a room/closet a week and go through and clean/declutter/get rid of/organize, etc. And I mean seriously. OMG! I have been in serious closet cleaning mode! I took everything – absolutely everything! – out of my closet and have systematically gone through, sorted, gotten rid of, and replaced (most of )it. I’ve done my clothes and bags and am working on my shoes. Then I just need to deal with the random crap that was in there. It is looking so good. I still have way too many things, and some clothes just got moved, but it is a huge improvement. I also worked on my bathroom vanity area. I am sad that’s all I’ve gotten done, but it has been a huge undertaking and at least I am doing it.
  • Get serious about weight loss again 😦
  • Figure out what sort of income we are dealing with and get back on a cash budget to replenish savings and pay off repairs. Get my spending (Looking at you Fabric.com (among others)!) under control again. Spending is not under control  for sure – but we are sorting out the rest of it, and have paid off the repairs.
  • Get my little free library up and running! My builders have started building it. I guess I really thought I’d be done by now?! Again, where did September go?!? I am hoping they will be done by the end of this month. They also went through job changes and are very active people so they have to work around their schedule.
  • Read read read! Oh wow. I haven’t read a single thing this month. How awful. I have a stack of books to read before they go in my library, and I’ve tried to start a couple, but I am so tired or can’t get into them.

This will look much the same –

October Goals

 

  • Work on aunt’s quilt – finish top
  • Make a plan for auction quilt
  • Make a plan for teacher gifts (Can probably wait til next month)
  • Figure out how I will quilt the baby’s quilt and do it already. I started this thing a year ago, now.
  • Should I find myself with the time: Bloom bloom pow, bento, chevron, prism and anything else I’ve started and not finished.
  • Pick a room/closet a week and go through and clean/declutter/get rid of/organize, etc. And I mean seriously. – Finish closet, work on garage, dresser.
  • Put up shelves in sewing room, think (financially) about adding cubes
  • blog better
  • Get serious about weight loss again
  • Stick to budget
  • Get my little free library up and running!
  • Read read read!
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