Sunday, December 28, 2014

Rediscovering my stash!

What a marvelous Christmas celebration this year! My younger daughter hosted and it was so low-key and relaxed with everyone getting along. It's always interesting when the blended family comes back together with the in-laws, out-laws and ex-laws. Spending time with the grandkids is always a welcome bonus!

With this most recent move I have found that I'm missing several projects that I was working on before I moved in October. So, my post-Christmas project has been to find and organize my stash in the new place. I had no idea what a huge undertaking this would be. On day 3, I'm still finding fabric and am still missing some projects. Sheesh!

In the past I've had my stash sorted in plastic totes that were stacked in the closet. The problem with this is they kept getting mixed up, partially emptied and refilled with mismatched stuff, and pieces I would be looking for were seemingly lost in the black hole of totes. The other problem is what I wanted was usually in the bottom tote, which meant emptying the closet (which is remarkably clean in this picture!) in order to get to the lower levels. Definitely a frustrating system.
I've been watching some of the Facebook quilting groups to see how others sort and organize their stashes and decided I'd switch things up for this place. I'm using the cube-storage units that I purchased at Target. I already had a 3x4 cube unit which I put in the closet next to the stacked drawers that hold fat quarters, kits, and old patterns. I figured if I could get two stacks of fabric in each 12x12" cube, I could get a lot of fabric in that unit! Well, after 1-1/2 days of folding and sorting, the unit was beyond capacity and I still had a ways to go with more fabric in boxes and bags under the sewing table. Notice the stacks on top waiting to be sorted into cubes! 
I took myself on an outing yesterday and picked up an additional 2x3 cube unit, which I assembled and placed on top of the first unit, filling the space completely from the floor to the shelf. Yep, I had to remove the rod to hang clothes in this closet, but I wasn't using it anyway. I discovered one more tote in the other closet (yep, there's two in this room!!!) and it's FULL, but the fabrics are bundled in ziploc project bags for specific quilts, so I'm leaving them alone for now.

So, how did I do it? Here's the system I used. First I measured the cubes and found them to be almost exactly 12x12" square. I knew the fabric being rolled up would take up some space, so I cut a piece of foam poster board 5-1/2" x 18" (the length of the available piece) and tried a few pieces out. When stacked up, they were too wide to fit next to each other, so I shaved an extra 1/4" off of the board and found the 5-1/4" width worked just right.

I opened up the fabric on my sewing table, putting the fold on my right and the selvage edges on my left, placing the board near the end nearest me. 
Next step was to fold the fabric over the edge of the board and begin folding/rolling the yardage onto the board, tucking and pulling gently to keep it snug around the board.
I continued rolling the fabric until it was all wrapped neatly around the board. I did my best to have several inches of fabric on the last wrap so it would stay wrapped when I folded the finished piece.
At the end I would slip the board out of the folded fabric to use again with the next piece. 
 The finished piece is then folded in half and ready to be stacked in the cubes.
The stack of cubes is now as full as I'm going to get it today. There are more pieces to add that will get folded in a similar fashion as I come across them in various bags and boxes. I know there's more (besides what's in that full tote of projects) because I know I haven't seen several pieces I purchased recently. The search continues until I have all of my stash out where I can see it.

What I love about this system, in this house anyway, is that it is inside a closet that I can close the doors on and keep everything reasonably dust free. Also, the sewing room has one window that faces east, so it only gets morning sun and because of the way the house next door is located, the sun doesn't reach the closet.

The next major project will be to tame the bags and totes of scraps that have been collecting over the past year. After making Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery quilt last year, I got hooked on scrap quilting, too. My quilting buddies have been very helpful providing me with more scraps than I know what to do with! For now UFOs and projects I had already planned are at the top of my list for 2015. After that? Well, I'm guessing I don't need to buy fabric for a very, VERY long time! LOL!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Monday, December 1, 2014

Life keeps getting in the way of my keeping up with my blog. I had great plans, but those were dashed by school assignments, another move, and many projects. I'm grateful for all that has been going on and hope to continue sharing here those changes.

First off, I've gained yet another grandchild! My oldest daughter and her husband have adopted a baby girl who missed sharing my daughter's birthday by just a few hours. Little Joslyn is just adorable and a true redhead! She's such a blessing to our family. With my son-in-law's older two girls, this makes six grands for me now. Big brother and sister, Joe (14) and Jordyn (11) are enjoying having Joslyn in the family, and little cousin Jacob (2-1/2) thinks she's pretty cute too!

Back to my quilting... Well, there have been too many projects to list as I attempt to play catch-up. One that I'm quite proud of is a set of wall hangings made for a friend to present as gifts earlier this year. I have been a member of Eastern Star for closing in on 40 years. I was asked to turn our Worthy Grand Matron's ideas into a quilted wall hanging for each of her officers. What began as a simple drawing came into reality and was duplicated 20 times! Everyone was so happy with them!

The design, made entirely of dupioni silk and shantung included a paper-pieced star with the points made in the five colors of the Eastern Star emblem, surrounded with ivory shantung which was machine embroidered and bordered in fuchsia and teal, the Worthy Grand Matron's colors for the year.

I was able to set up an assembly line for myself, making parts for each and assembling in what I think of as progressive chain piecing. Once they were all made, then I used 1/4" Steam-a-Seam 2 tape to seal the binding to the back before machine stitching from the front in the ditch of the binding seam.

Working with the silk was a challenge at times. I ended up adding a light weight fusible stabilizer to the shantung to make it more manageable. I also worked with a pinking blade in one of my rotary cutters to reduce fraying. It worked, but it sure did leave a lot of short little teal threads everywhere! My ironing board cover is still in need of some serious cleaning!

I have plans to write up instructions for these beautiful wall hangings, a task I probably should get to before I forget the details of how I went about it!
I made 20 total, 6 having already been presented when I took this picture. They measure 14" x 18" and were thank-you gifts for the Kansas Easter Star Grand Officers for 2014-2015. What a fun project to take a rough concept from my friend Donna and turn it into reality for her to present to each of her officers at their respective receptions!

My current project is another for this group--a special Christmas gift to the Worthy Grand Matron and Worthy Grand Patron (only two this time!) from their grand officers. They are nearly done, but can't be shown until after they receive their gifts next weekend. What fun being asked to create unique quilted items for my Star sisters and brothers. 

More snippets from the sewing room soon,