Drowning in Fabric

Forever cleaning, organizing and creating

2013 goal review

1. Lose at least 25 pounds. And I really mean it this year. It is important.

Yeah. This didn’t happen. Which sucks. I haven’t weighed myself in a while, but I think I was down ten pounds or so from the beginning of the year? I forget where I started.

2. Get back on a budget. Get the car paid off. Get things balanced and get our savings back in line. Think about what house repairs need to be tackled this year. Cash flow tuitions (we will hopefully have). Get a part time job. Figure out what to do with kidlet so that working isn’t counterproductive.

Wow. If I only knew then what I know now. We did pay off the car, but the other car is on its last legs. When I said house repairs, I was thinking maybe refinishing the floors or getting nice countertops. Taking care of odds and ends. Instead, we had to repair and repaint our house, exterminate the attic, replace the a/c and thermostats, fix a plumbing leak… am I forgetting anything? Tuition became sticky when my husband was laid off, but we’ve worked around it and he’s still working and in school. Job thing didn’t happen. It’s been a heck of a year.But financially, at least, at this point at this moment, we are not worse off than we were.

3. Make friends and be a better friend to the friends I have. Get out more (which is sososo hard for me. I have gotten more agoraphobic as I have gotten older). Keep working on not being as judgmental or obnoxious.

I made some efforts at this, but became more self absorbed as things were falling apart around here.

4. Find more ways to make our life greener and stick to them. Reinforce and expand the things we have been doing. Start a garden finally. Will this be the year of family cloth?

I guess we maintained status quo here. Didn’t really embark on much new.

5. Clean out the garage. Clean out the basement. Systematically clean out and declutter and organize and get rid of things throughout the house. Have some garage sales.

I don’t know if these things will ever be accomplished. I feel I am constantly doing them and nothing’s getting done. We’ve made a dent in the garage but have a long way to go. But so much is storage… classroom storage, baby storage, furniture storage… I haven’t been in the basement in a couple of years. I can’t imagine the state it is in. I’d love to make it a playroom. I am always working on cleaning and decluttering, but with a 2 year old the house is always a disaster. This will still be a top goal next year and I hope to have a garage sale to get rid of stuff.

6. Read more.

I started so strong on this. But distractions and non fiction books have slowed me down. I think goodreads has me at 33 of the 36 goal I set. I will probably finish one more.

7. Sewing Goals:

*Complete at least 12 quilt tops
*Complete at least 2 quilts

I made a page of my finishes. I am not sure how to grade this one… I completed 5 quilts. I have 3 more tops completed and one almost completed. And 4 backs which took some work and should count I think. I feel like I am missing something. So I guess I came out ok. Not as much as I hoped, but probably more than I really thought I would do.

*Keep up with my BOM (already signed up for 6 :/)

Oh, this is so sad. And you know I signed up for more in 2014 right? Even the one I actually went to class for, I only have 9 done. Any virtual ones weren’t touched.

*Take some classes

I did! I took my bom class, an fmq class, the stack the deck class… and many Craftsy classes.

*Use what I have

Yeah. No. What I’ve learned is that none of my stuff goes together. Or I don’t have enough. Or I need more fabric that does not have a white background.

*Organize the sewing area so that it doesn’t become a huge mess every time I am working on or starting a project.

It’s come a long way this year. I got rid of the baby gate around my fabric. I got my sewing table. I installed shelves. I got bins. And I still make a mess with every project. Especially when I am working on multiple projects.

*Get my swap up and running

I’ve been very pleased with how this has gone. Please join!

*Create a quiet book or two

I haven’t, and I haven’t found mine either. 😦

*Keep up with my blog

Not as well as I’d hoped, but I am still here!

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Many Trips, continued

Found my picture of the completed top –


So I stalled a bit on making the back. Here’s what I knew:

– I had a bunch of 5 inch squares I wanted to use. But I didn’t have enough for a full back or border or anything.
– I had some leftover fabric I could use.
– I wanted to use a world panel in the back. In fact, I had collected several in my searching and needed to make some decisions about what, how many, and how to include them.
– I needed to do a lot of calculations to make sure everything fit, was big enough, centered, and didn’t get cut off after quilting.

I had a horrible time deciding with the panels. One was a standard map with all the countries listed. Another was just really cute with a lot of sights listed. I had the viking world map fabric too, which I loved – and they just got back from Greenland/Iceland too. I initially thought I was going to do one map with the quilt landscape, but found it fit fine with the quilt portrait too.


For the squares, I eventually decided to make 9 patches with cuts from leftover fabric. Then I went through several placement sketches…. ultimately deciding on a strip of them through the back. I couldn’t choose between the panels, and after a lot of calculations to make sure everything would fit, I decided to use both, and hoped it wouldn’t be overkill.

9 patch messages to my aunt

9 patch messages to my aunt

In the tiny bit of leftover space, I used some fabric that didn’t make it into the front: I bought a piece of darling feedsack, but when I got it, it was a smaller cut than the seller had told me and I couldn’t use it in the quilt. I also thought it would loose a lot cut down in 2.5″ squares, so opted to use it in the back. I had also come across a Munki Munki print that was sooo perfect…. but flannel. I finally did buy it after trying to resist because of the flannel. I had to have it, and decided it would go in the back somehow.



Heather Ross Munki Munki Flannel travel print

Heather Ross Munki Munki Flannel travel print

I chose a blue solid to fill in the rest. Can I tell you how much I am in love with this back??? I am sooo happy with how it turned out.

Finished back

Finished back


I also included squares that listed everyone in attendance at Hawaii as well as my own messages about the quilt itself and my reasons and process for making it. (pretty much everything I said in the first post)

So, the pictures above show the quilt already finished, but at this point it wasn’t. I stalled again trying to decide how to quilt it. In the interest of time (remember, I was up against a fast-approaching deadline!) I chose to just do a basic stipple. I had all kinds of problems quilting this thing, and I really don’t know why. It should have been so easy. But I was running into all kinds of tension issues so I was getting large loops on the bottom. I had to keep pulling it out and redoing it. One time I think I had the wrong bobbin in the machine, and another time part of the machine had gotten unthreaded, but there were lots of times I just couldn’t figure out what the issue was. I had just finished my son’s quilt with no such issues. So the quilting took a lot more time and effort than it should have.

I also did stupid stuff like this.

I also did stupid stuff like this.

I chose a cloud print I had for the binding, in the interest of finishing quickly. I was not real pleased with how the binding looked, but after many 3 and 4 am nights, finished with a couple days to spare.

….Then everyone got sick and we cancelled the party the day before.

So, I pulled off the binding and reattached it. I am much happier with it now. We have rescheduled our party for New Year’s Eve, so I am still waiting to report on her reaction. She has an idea of what I am doing (because she was there in Hawaii when everyone was making their squares) but not the specifics. I hope she loves it as much as I do. I’ve gotten quite attached to having a big quilt on my lap in the colder weather as I’ve worked on it. I need to finish some of my own quilts so that I have some for me!

These photos are before I washed it…. (which I am glad since it was pretty muddy when I took it out for pictures). I tried to take some closeups so you can see the fabrics – I used over 70 different ones. It is roughly 72×96.

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Many trips around the world

This post is a long time coming. I have been planning this quilt for over a year. Soon after I decided to start quilting, I came across the online tutorial for MTATW. This was long before I knew what a blog was or that people all over the interwebs were going nuts making this. I only knew I had to make this quilt for my aunt.

My aunt, who turned 75 this year, made it her goal to join the Traveller’s Century Club. This is a club for people who have visited 100+ countries.  At this moment, she has been to 142, including Antarctica at 72, with many more planned. She also has gathered her own collection of quilts. She says she found many of them at goodwill. I don’t know where she is looking! I’ve never come across anything like these at goodwill! Who better to have a many trips around the world quilt?

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Initially, I had hoped to have this for her 75th birthday, which we celebrated this summer as a family in Hawaii. That was so far from happening. I was still new to quilting, and scared to take on such a huge project. I was trying to get my nephews’ quilts done on a deadline, was searching for fabrics (which happened right up til the last stitch), and decided to get my family involved as well. While we were in Hawaii I had everyone write messages for my aunt on 5 inch squares to incorporate into the quilt somehow.

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I wanted to use fabric that reflected all of (or as many as I could) the places she had been, as well as travel in general. I searched my favorite store, had a travel fabric swap in my Flickr Fat 8 group, and scoured etsy, ebay, sales at my online shops, google images and so on. At first I was trying to be economical, but really, in the end, I spent an absolute fortune on this quilt. There were fabrics I just couldn’t pass up, or had to buy in a quantity, or which were really old or rare (I even have feedsack in it). I finally decided just to go with it. The quilt would be that much better for it and I wouldn’t have fabric regret. Even so, some areas of the world were impossible to find or represent. So, some of my fabric choices cast a rather broader net than I wanted to.

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Then I started assembling. I finished my first blocks at the end of September.

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And, OMG I hated them! I was so disappointed. I couldn’t see the pattern and hated the colors. But friends on instagram urged me to push forward, many of them telling me they hated theirs as well til they could see the full picture.

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And it did start to come together. There were many breaks in between as I worked on other things, dealt with life, and awaited more fabric. The last picture there was taken when I had my carpets cleaned the week of thanksgiving, with 9 blocks left to go.


I finished the top that weekend, and for some reason can’t find a picture of just the finished top except for this one. 🙂

Then I had to figure out what I was going to do about the back…


Finished Friday: Remember this one?

I’ve been busy lately. I’ve always known I work best against a deadline. My deadline was to get my aunt’s quilt done in time for our family gift giving. That’s another post. But as long as I had my quilting table extended, and in the times I needed to ponder the other quilt (or just plain needed a break) I worked simultaneously on my son’s twisted I spy quilt.

I had started this quilt in October 2012 and finished the top and back in February 2013. Then I folded it and put it on the shelf and other than a nagging “I should get to that” from time to time, I really didn’t think about it. First, I was just scared of quilting. But I got a few quilts under my belt since then. Then, I was scared of quilting such a large quilt. And I wasn’t sure how I wanted to quilt it. Finally pinterest provided me with some answers. First I found this picture:

Which I decided might work well on his quilt. Then, as I was working on it, I also found this picture which I took from for the border:

The main quilting went pretty quickly. I didn’t have all the problems I have had on previous quilts, though it was hard maneuvering the quilt and covering the area I needed to. I still have jumps and wobbles in the quilting where I had to stop and readjust. The border on the other hand took forever and was a lot of physical effort. My shoulder hurt for days as and after I worked on it. Once I got a rhythm and figured out a good way to do it, it did go quicker, but I had to rotate the whole quilt every couple inches and it was strenuous.

Well, here are some pictures –

My helper

My “helper”









Quilting from front

Quilting from front



Quilting from back

Quilting from back

As it turns out, we didn’t have our family holiday when we planned to. Two people were ill so we have pushed it back to New Year. So… all the rushing to finish in time was unnecessary. Oh well. It also means my son hasn’t “gotten” his quilt yet, though he has seen it a million times throughout this whole process. I’ll wrap it and give it to him (along with the million other toys lol) at our get together so everyone else can ooh and ahh. 🙂


December goals

Oops. I missed November. Yeah, November sucked, y’all. So did most of October. Just trying to take it one day at a time and figure things out.

So – October review

October Goals


  • Work on aunt’s quilt – finish top – I have finished the top! I am dragging my feet on this again, mostly because I haven’t figured out how I want to go about putting the back together and I keep ordering MORE FABRIC for it!! I have less than two weeks to finish it.
  • Make a plan for auction quilt No longer necessary
  • Make a plan for teacher gifts No longer necessary
  • Figure out how I will quilt the baby’s quilt and do it already. I started this thing a year ago, now.  OMG you wouldn’t believe it! I just have to finish the binding! This is what I have been doing instead of my aunt’s quilt. LOL.
  • Should I find myself with the time: Bloom bloom pow, bento, chevron, prism and anything else I’ve started and not finished. No – I have been focused on the two quilts above and also been in some block swaps.
  • 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. I’ve cleaned my closet and it has stayed pretty good except for the holiday gift stash in there right now. Also pretty much cleaned the guest room closet. Got the carpets cleaned ( then my son promptly dumped pink powder all over the wet carpet). We did spend last weekend in the garage and made a good dent. It still has a long way to go, but there are paths and all the trash/cardboard is gone and it is a little more organized and less hoardersy looking.
  • Put up shelves in sewing room, think (financially) about adding cubes The shelves have been up. Haven’t gotten cubes yet. Been more focused on holiday shopping.
  • blog better Jeez. I did for a while. Then I didn’t again.
  • Get serious about weight loss again Oh this is so far out the window.
  • Stick to budget as is this
  • Get my little free library up and running! It is in the finishing/painting stages.
  • Read read read!

    I don’t remember everything I’ve read … a few things. I feel like I am forgetting one.


December Goals

  • Finish Aunt’s quilt
  • Finish the baby’s quilt
  • Get the rail blocks done for swap
  • Clean garage more
  • Clean/declutter downstairs
  • decorate
  • make decisions/appts
  • get through holidays
  • little free library
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