Monday, January 28, 2019

Star Crossed

Star Crossed
I enjoy combining blocks to make new designs with EQ8 software. Star Crossed is a combination of the ribbon star block, split by sashing strips to create a cross. I used 3” squares and half square triangles with 3” x 6” rectangles, all cut with AccuQuilt.

Refreshing navy, coral, and sea green prints contrast nicely with cream tone on tone fabric. Six large blocks made this one quick and easy to sew. Backing and binding are navy prints. For quilting I used single and triple serpentine stitches in a pale creamy yellow thread. 

I completed this one in mid December. I have one final finished quilt from 2018 to share next week, with a couple still in progress. 

By the way, my final project count for last year was 47, coming in slightly under my goal of one project per week. Still not bad...perhaps my newly organized room will improve my productivity. It's definitely kick-started my creativeness; I have six designs already done and at least dozen ideas waiting.

Organize your life around your dreams,
then watch them come true”
- Unknown

Monday, January 21, 2019

Quilting Frame and Reorganization Update

Here's my new toy: the Flynn Multi-Frame Quilting System. It's a lightweight three rail frame to hold quilt layers taut while free motion stitching on a regular sewing machine. It is easy to set up once you watch the demonstration video. It's portable and stores in the original box. 

The Amazon price of $136 is very reasonable compared to other home machine frames costing $1,100 and up. Those are really big too, and I don't have enough space for that.

I made a test quilt first, which I've cut into sleeping mats for Callie cat. She won't care that my stitching is cattywampus. There will be a learning curve: most skills improve with practice. Yesterday I quilted my first quilt on it, and while there are a few mistakes, I chalk them up to experience. I won't use the frame for every quilt.  Larger ones won't fit unless I get longer rails, and some designs need more precise stitching with a walking foot. 

Follow up: If you read last week's blog, you know this purchase created the opportunity to make more space around my machine by rearranging my furniture. I did order two new under table cabinets to hold thread, accessories, and tools. They arrived on Friday, and we put them together right away. Don't they look so much nicer than the plastic containers?

I cleaned out my tall white cabinets, arranging supplies closer to where they are needed and moving seldom used ones to high closet shelves. Efficiency rules! I even tossed some things into my donation box. The room is not minimalist by any means, but I am hoping to keep my space neater and organized. Callie supervised the action, and I think she approves.

Last week was busy, now on to practice on a few UFO's that I never got around to quilting. And as always, I need to use up some fabric from my stash so I can buy more.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Domino Effect

I have a new layout for my creative space. It started with 
buying myself a new quilting tool. I wanted to use it right away but because it requires a bit more room around my sewing machine, I needed to clear off and rearrange my tables. Normally I'd shove stuff around, stack things in corners, and get busy quilting. I resisted the urge.

Instead, I took a day to evaluate my space and figure out the most efficient placement for everything. First, I took out all non-sewing objects that had found their way into my room. (Not sure how that happens, probably brought in by gremlins.) I shifted the tables around on paper first before actually moving them. I tried one setup, actually sewed a few pieces, but that seemed cramped. This roughly 12 x 11 room can fill up quickly!

After settling on a final layout, I reworked drawer and bin storage with similar items together, close to where they are used. That led to a lot of consolidating and eliminating. I tossed old magazines, untangled power cords, moved a pegboard to the end of my cutting table, dusted, and swept.

I decided I like fewer things sitting out on my tables. It looks spacious, neater and I don't have to move stuff out of the way to work. I borrowed a plastic drawer unit from a closet and tucked it under the cutting table to store projects in progress. The desk area does double duty, for either my laptop or another sewing machine.

I'm pleased with everything I've done so far. I have more to do: the closet shelves and the white cabinets need attention, plus I'm considering different under the table cabinets to replace the plastic ones.

Next time I'll tell you about my lovely new quilting frame, which caused the domino effect and led to a two-day reorganization of my space. It was definitely worth the effort. I'm inspired to create!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Shattered Chambray

Shattered Chambray

I love this soft blue quilt! I finished it last month as a gift for my husband. Broken dishes blocks in chambray and blue prints are laid out in diagonal rows and bordered with chambray.

Backing was cut from an upcycled 100% cotton sheet that I found at Goodwill for 99 cents (no stains or rips, perfect condition). I used blue thread in a serpentine stitch across the blocks in both directions. At 56” square, this one is just right for a nap in the recliner.

I read a lot when I'm not sewing. Recently I finished How To Stop Time, by Matt Haig. This quote from that novel seems appropriate to consider for the new year.

“You have to choose to live. Everything is going to be all right. Or, if not, everything is going to be, so let's not worry.”

Here's to a year of optimism, of choosing to live life as it comes.


1930's accountability Accuquilt adapt addiction adjust adventure advice affirmations amazing antiques attitude autumn baby quilt balance be yourself beach beauty birthday blessing bliss BlockBase Blue Wren breathe brightness camping card trick cat challenge change chevrons chips & salsa chocolate choice Christmas closet clothes clutter coffee color contentment cooking crafts crazy creativity crochet decorating design designs distraction DIY downsizing drama dreams energy EQ8 exasperating people excitement expectations fabric fall family feed sack festivals flexibility flour sack flowers flying geese Flynn Quilt Frame focus fool free spirit freedom fun furniture garden Granny Hill Granny Rose grateful gratitude Halloween happiness hexagon imagination independence insight inspiration intuition inventory Janome joy just for today karma laughter lemon pepper lessons letting go life lists little things loose ends love magic Memorial Day memories Mother's Day motivation NASCAR nature opportunity organizing paradise passion patience peace perception perspective positive energy productivity quilt quilting quotes reflection refresh relaxation remnant renew resilience resolutions responsibility retro routines satisfaction scraps sewing sewing machine simplicity simplify snow solitude Southern traditions spring st. patrick's day stitching strawberries stress sugar sack summer sunshine thankful Thanksgiving Thoughts tropical prints useful valentine vintage waiting weather winter wisdom wishes yard sales