Sunday, March 1, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching - Waiting for More Snow

Another snow storm is on it's way to Northwest New Jersey.  Seems to be the pattern this year of snow on Sunday into Monday.  That's okay - the perfect excuse to stay in my studio today and sew.
Today I plan on continuing to work on the Delicous Berries block from My Enchanted Garden.  Here is the progress as of today.  Still some pieces to be added.
I decided to make the wings of this bird two different shades of wool, just to add some interest.  Or was it because I couldn't make up my mind...  Hmm.. don't remember. :-)
This pretty blue flower still needs some circles added to it.  Need to do that today!
And what is this?  What would the week be without something new??? :-0
I decided to jump into the Stars In A Time Warp quilt along on Barbara Brackman's blog - Civil War Quilts.  Anyone who knows Barbara's work knows she is an incredible CWR fabric designer and fabric historian.
This quilt along is a little different than most.  First of all it is weekly; second Barbara shares a history lesson on each style of fabric chosen each week.  Along with history on the dyes and manufacturing of fabrics  and even setting options for your blocks.  So interesting to learn the history of some of the fabrics we use!
So I had some catching up to do.  Here is my first block featuring Turkey Red fabric.  
Week 2 was Prussian Blue.  The blocks are the same each week: Evening Star block.
Shirting Prints came next, used in the background of my block.  The blocks measure 6".
For week 4 the color was Chrome Orange or Cheddar.  This is a color I have come to really like in my reproduction quilts.  It adds an unexpected spark among some of the duller colors.  
Overdyed Green Solids was a challenging fabric for me.  Barbara describes it as a grassy or lime green.
Double Pink has always been one of my favorites.  Again, love the spark of color!

I  have one more block to go to get caught up.  Need to understand what Madder-style prints are! :-)  I am getting an education along with making these wonderful star blocks!  
Thanks to Barb over at Fun with Barb for inspiring me to join the quilt along!  
Of course I will keep you posted... or you can join too!!!

Happy Stitching!

Deb

Linking up at Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Organization... or Disorganization?

Sometimes it's really hard to tell, right?  Quilters often comment that when their sewing space becomes unruly it inhibits their creative process.  I would agree with that and definitely fall into that category.  I am very blessed to have a wonderful, large space for my quilting studio.  It has not always been that way,  I have had a variety of sewing spaces, both big and small.  However, regardless of the size of the space, organization is key (a little OCD goes a long way too! LOL). 

You might recognize this from my post last week.
I think we all would agree that the one thing quilters have the most of, and that needs the most organization, is FABRIC!  Some of us verging on "hoarding" proportions... but I like "fabric collector" better. :-)
 
I read a blog post recently where a quilter was talking about how her fabric was organized... the Civil War Repros would never touch the 30's Repros, etc. So I started thinking how I organize my stash and wondered how the rest of you handle this challenge!  So....
 
How Do You Organize Your Fabric?
 
Here is a look at how I manage the bulk of my stash.
I used to store fabric chronologically... meaning the newest stuff on top. :-)  I soon realized that I needed a better system.  Initially everything was sorted by color.
I love these plastic drawers for keeping fabric separated and dust free. They fit nicely under my work table.
They also fit nicely under the extension of my sewing table.  Yes, they are usually closed. :-)
However, right from the start I knew I had to keep the batiks separate.  This was the start of further division of the fabric stash!  Now this is not protected from dust, etc. but it is a visual feast for the eyes.  (I think I need re-sort this - it's looking a little messy these days!)
Next came various styles that I wanted to keep together for easy of selection - as with these Civil War Repros.  It makes it a lot easier when working on a certain style quilt.
Plastic totes are great for all these different style fabrics


Two more plastic storage drawers hold florals and brights.  They also raise the small ironing board to just the right height! (I am 5' 9" tall!)
Now that we have the fabric hidden stored away, we can look at some of the other storage ideas I use.
To the left of the ironing board are plastic containers of various styles and sizes for buttons, quilting thread, patterns, and fusibles.
Spray starch, water and Best Press are kept to the right of the ironing board.  Easy reach!
Books and cd's are located on two book shelves behind my sewing table.  Easy reference and I have to have my music!!!  Jazz is the main selection!
My design board sits on top of the book shelves.  Visible from any spot in the room.
I forget where I found this tip.. but soda fountain glasses and glass candy dishes make great holders for pens, marking pencils and pens, etc. These are located on the left side of my work table.
And right above them are my scissors and rotary cutters in one wall basket and special templates and rulers in another. Also within easy reach!
Large plastic rulers hang on the wall within easy access to my work table.  The work table is also set up perpendicular to the wall so I can work on either side of the table. Makes working on big projects much easier!
Sewing thread racks are mounted on the wall behind my sewing table and organized by color.. of course!
Some specialty thread is kept to the right of the sewing machine for easy thread changes while doing machine applique or machine quilting.  Again, plastic storage drawers are perfect for this too!
My sewing table sits in the middle of the room.  It is a good use of the space rather than facing against the wall.  Someone said something about good Feng Shui... not sure if that is true.. but it is a great spot to sew.
One last tip.  I always unplug my machine when not in use.  Surge protectors are great, but if they fail a power surge can blow out your computerized machine. (Now that's a hot flash!!! LOL)  Power surges can occur even when the machine is turned off, but still plugged in.
Of course a good sewing chair is essential...to everyone in the room!
 
So let me know how you organize your fabric stash.  I would like to hear your comments and/or suggestions on any organizing ideas you may have.  I still have a lot to learn!!!!
 
Happy Stitching!
 
Deb

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Own Worst Enemy ... But I Can't Help Myself!

So I was so ahead of myself (who me?) that I got my Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) pink hexies for February done in one sitting, before the month even started! You can see them here. So what was I supposed to do the rest of the month while I gazed upon all the wonderful pink blocks at the RSC at So Scrappy week after week??   I can only resist for so long.. so of course I came up with some ideas (surprise.. surprise). 
This is why I should stay off of the computer (Blogging, Pinterest, etc.) for awhile.
Some small 6" liberated stars would be very cute.  I remembered making a few when I was working on the liberated star blocks back in September.  These are smaller than those 10" blocks....but that is what makes them so adorable!
So of course I had to make the blue blocks for January to catch up. :-)
And then somewhere in my overloaded brain I thought about a paper pieced block.  Hmmm... maybe a paper pieced teapot block... which would become a teapot wallhanging.  A teapot in a different color for each month of the challenge. (what was I thinking??)
I found this one on eQuiltPatterns.com. Needless to say I was off and running and definitely in need of an intervention. 
Now, I am not responsible for this. :-)  But I wanted to share since they fit so well with the RSC color this month. (pink.. if you haven't guessed)
My co-worker, Maya, has been making these adorable crocheted, catnip infused, cat toys.  How cute are they???  
They are cat tested and cat approved.  Here is her cat, Ghillie, with his little fish cat toy.
I can attest that they are very popular at my house! >.<


Stop by So Scrappy to see some very creative pink projects underway.  It is a bit of Spring during this artic blast some of us are living with.


Happy Stitching!


Deb

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Enchantment Continues

Work on the My Enchanted Garden quilt continued this long weekend.  I was finally able to get the stitching and beading done on block number 2 - Happy Bouquet. 
Here is the finished block, pressed and trimmed down to the final size - 12 1/2" x 16 1/2"
Some detail on the lovely flowers in this bouquet
And of course, the beading.  Which I finished on Sunday. :-)
Love all the detail in this quilt.  See the petals on the sunflower top layer are not sewn down.  Nice dimension.
I have even moved onto block number 3 - Delicious Berries.  Here is the photo from the book and part of my color palette in cotton and wool.
I start with the embroidered stems, using a size 8 Valdani Perle cotton.  Next are the leaves in cotton and wool, and that wonderful bird. 
My sewing room is feeling a little out of control these days.  Can you imagine that I might feel a little overwhelmed?   I need to learn to focus.. More on that later. :-)
 
Happy Stitching!
 
Deb

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