Confessions of a Quiltaholic

I am a stasher. Yes, that’s a little like a hoarder. I buy fabric even when I have no definite plans for it, to be used at some “future time.” I’ve done this since I first started quilting about 10 years ago, and I can’t see myself stopping now. Last month, I added more than twenty yards to my stash. Some of the fabrics, I’ve been coveting for MONTHS. I fell in love with one piece in particular, the first time I saw it, but I was practicing “restraint.” I don’t know why, really, but I thought I should limit my fabric purchasing. Silly girl! Don’t you know you can’t forget a fabric love? Well, I know that now, so when I headed to that shop for something else, I had my fingers crossed that they might still have some. They did!

I have more pairs of scissors than one girl should be allowed to have (last count, 10), and more rotary cutters than I could ever use (eight). I have one Craftsman tool chest drawer half filled with thread, and boxes of thread on my storage shelf.

I currently have six machines – the Janome 8900, a Brother PC-8500, a Viking #1+ (that is technically my mom’s machine, but … ) and a Brother SQ-9050 I bought from Walmart a few years ago. I also have a White serger They all get used. I added a new machine in March, the Brother DreamCreator VM5100, which is seeing a LOT of use. I love it already.

I have two cutting tables – one for actual cutting, and one I use for various other things – pinning quilts, sorting fabrics, and other quilty type things.

I have one sewing cabinet where the DreamCreator hangs out, and a small Ikea table for the Janome. I’m considering buying a new cabinet next year …

My studio is actually part of my master bedroom. Since the master is H U G E, it isn’t crowded or in any way difficult to work or sleep in. However, I still dream of a dedicated studio that’s at least the size of my current bedroom. Right now, I have a king size bed, a dresser, two end tables, a love seat, a 40″ tv with stand, an ironing board, a set of Elfa wire drawers, a Horn of America 3180 cabinet, a Craftsman tool chest, and a set of nine cubbies in the room. I could put another 3180 cabinet and set up the second cutting table in the room and still have space to move around and not feel too crowded.

I keep trying to convince my husband that we should move our bed into the spare bedroom and let me use the master as the studio. He’s reluctantly agreed, but I really think that’s something I will wait to do once my son is out on his own in a few years.

I sew more days than I don’t, even if it’s just to do a couple of small things. I would sew more, but I like spending time with my husband and he likes being in the living room where he’s more comfortable. I tried to get him to let me move my studio downstairs and he didn’t like that idea either. And truthfully, as loudly as he has the surround sound sometimes, I’m not sure I would want to be down here either.

There’s lots more I could confess, but a woman can’t give away all her secrets! Well, not all at one time, anyway. 😉

WIP Wednesday – Vacation Edition

Yep, I’m on vacation. Or rather, staycation I guess … we had all these great plans to go to the Smokey Mountains and see the sights and then real life intervened, and we decided to stay home instead. So for the most part, this vacation consists of some fall cleaning, some quilting and canning some homemade tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce, just pure tomatoes).

I mean, check out these beauties we picked up at the farmer’s market yesterday.

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I’ve finished Heather’s quilt (more on that in a later post) and I’m trying to get this Halloween quilt made so we can enjoy it this season.

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After I am done with this one, it’s on to Pam’s quilt, which will actually be a double Irish chain (I swear this time it won’t morph into something different). Once I have Pam’s quilt done, it’s on to my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding quilt. And then … who knows? I have probably 10 quilts at least that are either in some form of UFO-ness, or ready to be started. It’s my mission to get as many of them done as possible in the coming months. I had to tear myself away from buying an adorable piece of fabric on Monday at Sew Contempo in Clear Lake, and now I’m kicking myself for it – I should have just bought it and held on to it until I have time to do something with it. Check it out …

Robert Kaufman Route 66

 

Isn’t it awesome? I might need to go back and pick up a few yards of it … or at least I want to, then I look at this and decide maybe I should wait a little while.

 

Current Fabric Stash

Current Fabric Stash

 

But if I wait … will it still be there when I go back?? Ahh, the quilter’s dilemma!

WIP Wednesday

I’ve FINALLY come up with a backing I like for Heather’s quilt! It’s currently under construction …

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A bit of a close up …

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It’s just fat quarters and left over focal fabric sewn together. Nothing fancy, but I really like it so far.

Also, I bought fabric for Pam’s quilt ..

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I really cannot wait to start this one, but of course, I need to get Heather’s quilt done first. 🙂

WIP Wednesday

In an effort to keep myself motivated both on the quilting front and the blogging front, I present my first ever WIP Wednesday. Hopefully, this will become a “thing” with me and I’ll continue to post progress on projects I’m working on each week. At least, that’s the plan.

This week’s work in progress is a quilt I’m making for my friend Heather. Late last year, or early this year, I posted a photo with some fabrics I had in my stash, asking if anyone would be interested in having a quilt made for cost using one of the fabrics. She immediately responded with her fabric choice, and I pulled it out and posted it on my bulletin board. She asked for a throw quilt, design and additional fabrics to be determined by me. Now, I know this might sound weird, but I wait for fabric to speak to me before I start a design. Sometimes, a fabric yells at me in the LQS and I know I must buy it. Sometimes, it simply says, “Hello” and it’s so cute, I can’t resist. This is how I’ve built my stash over the years – fabrics speak to me and I know I have to have it. On occasion, a fabric tells me immediately what it wants to be in a quilt, usually when I go to the store with a quilt or two in mind that I would like to make. But more often, fabrics say their hellos to me and compel me to buy them, promising to tell me what they want to be at a later date. Such is the case with the focal fabric I’m working with now for Heather.

In fact, this fabric was pretty silent from the time I bought it in 2007, until two days ago. I mean, I love the way it looks, and it’s soooooooo pretty, but I really had no idea what I wanted to do with it. And I know it was purchased in 2007 because it says so, right on the selvage – Hoffman Challenge, 2007! I posted it on my design board and stared at it for months before it hit me on Sunday what I want – no, what I NEED – to do with it. And this is the prototype result of that idea.

Heather's Quilt

I am not kidding you that when I finally came upon the idea for this quilt, the fabric was screaming to me from upstairs. As I climbed the stairs, it became more adamant that THIS is what it wants to be, and when I dragged out my fat quarters and scrap boxes, the fabric began to sing. SING, I tell you! It was quick work to match fabrics that work with the focal and eliminate the things that weren’t so great. By the time I had everything out and on the table, I knew this was the right direction.

And I think my prototype, which is now the first square of the quilt, proves I was right.

Fortunately for me, Heather has been very patient, and now I hope that her patience will be rewarded with a quilt that’s uniquely hers. I have since made a second square (there will be 16 – 10″ squares in all, with 6″ sashing and a 6″ setting square (nine patch) to complete the quilt), and I’m even more pleased with it than I am with this one – it is all darker fabrics; subsequent squares will be a mix of light, dark and medium values.

Already, I can tell this is going to be one of my absolute favorite quilts ever. I put each finished square on my design wall, and I stand back and look at it. And with just two squares up there right now, I know. I know that this is going to be one of my greatest quilts ever. And that makes me really happy, because Heather has been a great friend to me for years now.

Until next time,

Me

Three Things Thursday

Borrowing this idea from my friend Heather at 365 days of awesome …

1. I’ve been quiet lately because I’ve been painting and moving into my new office/studio space. It’s quite small, so it’s taking a lot of planning and organization but I’m nearly there. During this move, I took the opportunity to weed through all my stuff and decided to sell three large storage totes’ worth of fabric. None of it is quilting fabric, and most of it I purchased more than 10 years ago, so I doubt I’ll miss it. I also found some fabric that made me think I really need to make myself some skirts for fall (suede like fabric) and buy some boots.

2. I was very nearly ready to back the baby quilt I’m working on when I started the studio space, all the way to the point of having the sandwich pinned together. It just didn’t feel right to me, though – I’m not sure if it’s because of the trouble I had with the back, and the subsequent changes (more on that in a later post) or what, but I didn’t like it. Then I remembered some fabric I have in my stash and thought, that’s what I’ll use! So once I get the studio in shape, I’ll take it all apart and repin it. Then I just need to quilt it, bind it and then I’ll post it, along with the story that goes with it (there is definitely a story!).

3. Am I the only one who’s more than ready for fall? I mean really, this heat is so oppressive! I keep dreaming of cooler days, cute fall clothing, and boots! (Note to self: BUY BOOTS this year!) I am already working on a Halloween quilt, and looking at fabric for a fall quilt … It’s not likely I will get both done this year with everything else, but … yeah. I can at least buy the fabric while it’s available and make it for NEXT year, right?

Until next time,

Me

Dye run complete

So this dye run is complete and I’ve realized a couple of things.

  1. Dharma Trading Company never seems to have a bad dye color. I think I could love them all, given the chance!
  2. I really need to do gradations in the future when I do a dye run
  3. I need to allow several days for dyeing fabric instead of thinking I can start in the morning and by done by the evening. That NEVER happens. In this case, the fabric sat for two days in dye solution before I could get it rinsed out and washed. I don’t do this because it affects the color process; I do it because I get busy with life and don’t get back to it for a couple of days. Most of the dye solution is activated in a couple of hours, so I could probably get very similar results if I rinsed and washed after two to three hours in the dye.

Here are the results from this dye run …

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From top to bottom, they are Chocolate Brown, Cardinal Red, Grape, Garibaldi, Amethyst, Rust Orange, Ivory and Avocado. I am really pleased with everything except the Ivory, which looks more yellow-orange in person than ivory, but that might be because I used too much dye powder. I will do some further testing on this one to see if I can something closer to a true ivory color. Each of these have varying degrees of marbling, as they were dyed in zip-top bags without much agitation, but I think that I may try a couple of them in buckets with agitation every 10 – 15 minutes, to see if I can pull a more even color.

There’s nothing special in my technique – I used 1/2 TBSP dye powder mixed with a cup of hot water which I poured over the fat quarter that was already in the zip-top bag. I then added 2 TBSP of soda ash solution to the bag and closed it, being sure to press out the air as much as possible. Then, I agitated for one minute in the bag, gently. I used Hefty zip top bags and I will not use them for this purpose again because dye exploded from a couple of the bags when I agitated them – every single bag leaked at least a little at the zipper. I don’t have the same problem with Glad Zip-Loc bags, so I will be using them in the future.

Overall, I’m happy with the dye run, and a couple of these (grape and girabaldi) will be incorporated into a baby quilt I’m making right now. I’ll post photos when I have some ready. 🙂

Now I’m off to work on that quilt … See ya later!

 

Lazy Sunday

Today I’m doing a dye run. I received five new colors from Dharma Trading Company that I ordered earlier this week and I’m trying them out. I’ve never done this before – usually I just throw caution to the wind and dye a yard or more of fabric, but today I’m doing a test run using fat quarters. I’m doing this because a) I want to recreate colors I like, and b) I need to start a dye journal (see reason a).

I’m not really what you’d call an experienced dyer – I’ve done some dyeing but not enough to be “great” nor anything more than a novice really. I’ve had some good luck with colors, and results, but nothing I can duplicate if I want to … mostly because I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants, and I haven’t kept records of how I achieved any of the success I’ve had so far. Well, enough of that!

I’m not really sure what it is about dyeing fabric that I enjoy so much – maybe it’s the process, or the control … no, it really cannot be the control, because at this point, I lack control over my finished product. That’s why I’ve decided that a journal might be my best bet … I am making notes of the amount of fabric, dye, and water, along with any other additives, to which I will attach a swatch of fabric once it’s completed.

I have realized, however, that my master bathroom is not suitable for dyeing fabric. I have access to water, but not a good sized spout (the height on the bathroom sink is the problem) so I’m going to have to take it all back downstairs – I’ve tried several times to make it work and it’s always a hassle. In my dream home, with my dream studio, there will be a “wet” studio and a “dry” studio … I really need to win the lottery. /sigh

I’ll post photos of the dye jobs once I have completed them. I just hope the results are post-worthy!