Shopping your own Stash

I had been moving into this realm of thinking and two bloggers have helped me turn that corner and decide to go full-fledged in that direction. The first is Molli Sparkles with his post No Value does not Equal Free. Quilting is actually a very expensive hobby and especially so when all the new fabric comes out and it is all so gorgeous and the desire to have it ‘in my stash’ overrides the common sense of ‘I already have gorgeous fabrics that will do just fine.’ The cost of creating the beauty we all enjoy is high. Fabric prices are going up and the quilting community tends to lean toward a designer esthetic and make it seem that the big box fabric store fabrics are not good enough. Some big name designers design fabrics for those companies that are printed on quilting grade cotton. I shouldn’t feel as if I cannot feature them in a project on my blog or use them from time to time, especially if I can get them at 40% off and be able to use an additional 15% off coupon.

The second post was a very open and honest look at spending addiction by Diane at from blank pages. Her post hit home because I have struggled with debt and having to curb spending. I know I have plenty in my life and I really don’t need to add any more fabric to my stash or any more Vera Bradley bags to my closet. A good deal is no longer a good deal when you are spending money you don’t have.
I got myself out of a large amount of debt a few years back. I still have some but it is in a more manageable state. I pay cash whenever I can. I still live paycheck to paycheck but that could change, for the better, if I curbed my fabric buying. I need to save up for when my car dies in the next year or two. I want to have more money to travel and visit my friends more often. I want to be able to pay the bill outright if something in my 10 year old house breaks down. I’m going to make thoughtful purchases – purchases with a plan.

I’m going to start with my Instagram Miniswap quilt. I will be using fabrics exclusively from my stash for the front, back, and binding. I have enough fabric so it shouldn’t be much of a struggle to do that.
I will still share on Sunday Stash but it will be with fabric pulls rather than purchases.
Speaking of Sunday Stash – this is my most recent purchase. It is Hollywood Sparkle. The pink, black, and grey will be used for the outside of a Mary Kay inspired Sew Together bag. I already have some pink and black laminate to use for the inside and the pockets. I’ve been planning this one for awhile now.

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I used my own stash for this baby quilt top that was made for a guild charity project. It’s so sweet and pretty.

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The fabric is Spring Fling by Me and my Sister designs. I do need to stop at Joann’s to get flannel for the back since I don’t have any pinkish flannels in my stash. I will be using all the coupons that I can. :-)

I was also able to get the backing done for the Kitty Mini Quilt Swap.

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My newest goal is to make thoughtful purchases. That Hollywood Sparkle bundle was in an online shopping cart for 3 weeks before I decided it was the perfect fabric for that project. Here’s to saving money for what I really need and not just what I want. Diane started the #shopyourownstash tag on Instagram and I plan on playing along.

The One with the Giant Chucks

The gift has been given so the post can be written! I was so excited when I came across this sneaker block from Kristy @ Quiet Play, which was inspired by a request from the ever-sparkly Molli Sparkles.

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I knew this was the perfect pattern for one of my besties for her birthday. I made it in San Francisco Giants colors as that is her favorite baseball team. The orange and black also represent Halloween, which is her favorite holiday. The colors would be just right for her! Black with white dots for the shoe, black spiders for the tongues, and orange crosshatch for the laces was how I was going to go. I found this baseball fabric that would work so incredibly well for the background.

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You really cannot tell they are baseballs until you look really close. I downloaded a free logo and printed it on fabric sheets and then appliquéd it on in the negative space. I adore how this turned out and now I need one for myself. It’s the perfect size for the wall in their Giants themed guest room. She loves it!

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My mini for the Kitty Mini Quilt Swap is coming along wonderfully! I decided on a Flowering Snowball block in a 3×3 pattern. That came out a little too big, and I had already cut out all the pieces, so I opted for 1/2 blocks around 2 sides.

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I like it. Now I need to decide on a backing design.
I’m also putting together a small pouch as one of the goodies. I wanted to add some cross-stitch into the mix and came across this sweet cat.

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The fabric pull for the pouch includes some Essex Linen in Olive which will make up most of the pouch and some other colors, including cerise, orange, and dark teal, will be supporting players around the cat. This swap isn’t due until the beginning of October so I’m a little ahead of the game and pleased with progress so far.
This week’s stash additions include this Rainy Day bundle from Connecting Threads. I just love the green Wellies!

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These next two were acquired when I bought the Catnap bundle from Hawthorne Threads. They are Pin Spin by Michael Miller Fabrics and Modernology by Art Gallery Fabrics. Both were in the clearance section at a great deal.

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These mini quilts are a little addictive! I must get back to my machine.

Swap-a-Rama

I mentioned in my last post that I entered my first swap: the Kitty Mini Quilt Swap. I have picked out my fabrics, which is a mix of Catnap and Chickopee. I polled some of the #kittyminiquiltswap mates about pattern selection and then went with a design not on the poll. I chose the Flowering Snowball block, made the templates, and started sewing.

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I went with 9 inch blocks in a 3 by 3 pattern. That makes the mini too big. I had already cut all the fabric pieces so I decided to just do half blocks for some of them to make it a 24″ square. It’s turning out so cute.

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I have until October to get everything together. After sewing I get to shop for some local goodies to ship to my partner with the mini. I’m already having so much fun participating.
The Instagram Mini Quilt Swap popped up and I told myself I wasn’t going to do it since I was already doing one. But then all these awesome quilters started joining up and I caved. The ship date isn’t until December so that gives me plenty of time and shouldn’t interfere with anything I have going on. This swap is international and could have up to 500 people signed up. The kitty one was limited to 60. So the Instagram Mini Quilt Swap is going to be epic! Entries are open until August 23rd so if you are interested in participating click the link above. I cannot wait to get my assigned partner’s info so I can start planning their mini.

Happy Mail came this week from the Intrepid Thread courtesy of Julie’s big clearance sale. I’ve been eying these for a while now.

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Stitch in a Square and Domino Dots.

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I passed them up when I was in the shop in April and have been dying to get some. The colors are all just gorgeous! I love that teal grouping of Stitch in a Square. Those bundles were not on clearance but these lovelies were:

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That’s Just my Type, Fun and Games by Riley Blake, and Bespoken by Art Gallery. I love the purples and olives swirled together.
Maybe some of these newbies will be included on the mini for my new swap partner. If you have not joined a swap you should. It is so much fun.

How Lori got her Groove back

I’ve been in a sewing slump for about a month. I would periodically sew but it was small and quick. The projects I began earlier in the year have been hanging out on my design wall getting lonely. Poor, neglected Wavelength quilt. I miss you.

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I created a foundation paper-pieced design and have yet to write up the pattern so I can share it all with you.

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So, how do you get your sewing mojo back? Mine came back full-force this week. The catalyst: project deadlines. You see – the Wavelength quilt and my Cropduster design are for me. There are no deadlines on projects for my home or to enhance the beauty of my space.
However, there are deadlines for a project for my quilt guild. We are making preemie quilts for the NICU at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and they are due at our next meeting early in September.
I received some Charm Pack happy mail this week and knew the Here Boy! charm pack was the way to go for one of the preemie quilts.

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It has bones, bouncing balls, and bright primary colors. It’s perfect for this project. I made the quilt 27×40 so I may have to trim it down a little if I want it to be 1/2 crib size. I used 9-patch blocks so the fabrics would be the focus.

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I backed it with flannel and did not use any batting. I stumbled upon a blog post written by the mother of a preemie and she uses that combination for quilts that she and her daughter make for donations. It doesn’t match the front at all but it is so cute!

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I’m going to wait to bind it until I decide on the proper finished size.
All of my block of the month blocks came out last week so I have a few more blocks to work on. I’m also working on some other random projects. I signed up for the Kitty Mini Quilt Swap. I figured it would be a good challenge and it sounded like a lot of fun.
The minis need to have cat shapes or cat fabric in them. I immediately got online and bought some fabric. Of course I needed to do that. This is a speciality swap. :-)

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Every cat themed quilt this year must have Catnap in it somewhere and the other bundle is Here Kitty Kitty. Hawthorne Threads had each of these bundles at a great price.
This mouse print is my favorite of the Catnap line.

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I’ve already got a plan to get the Nested Churn Dash Block.

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But, that may change if I want to focus on the fabric more. The deadline for this is the end of September so I need to make a decision soon.
I’m so happy to be back at my sewing machine and actually feeling productive when I’m there. Lots of projects coming up in the next month or two. I’m excited!

Stash Build – July

That dang Craftsy sale gets me every time. I gave in and ordered another Free Spirit Fat Quarter bundle box. It’s such a beautiful sight to see when you get that box open and remove the plastic.

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This one had a few repeats from previous boxes. There was more Chicopee by Denise Schmidt:

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Which was being admired by the quality control engineer. And more Enchanted by Kathy Davis:

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But then there were these pretties:

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Wildflower by Kathy Davis. I love both of these prints. The trees are Pretty Little Things and there is no selvedge for the orange one or the butterfly print.
One of my local quilt shops had a clearance sale with 40 to 70% off selected yardage. I grabbed this print – Rainforest Buzz – for less than $4 a yard. I think it will make a great blender.

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I also stopped at a local cross-stitch store and picked up these patterns. I may have a little something up my sleeve…

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The only sewing I did this week was on this:

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The fake leather cover of my bible was toast so I took some leftover Boho mini charms and some of the Polka Dot Stitches fabric that I got last week and went to work. They blend together so well!

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I also added a few more ribbons for page markers in the book binding space. I think it turned out great and was exactly what I had in my head!

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Paper Piecing Tips

I’ve been working on a Paper Piecing Pattern and thought I would share some of the tips I use or have come across. These are a few paper pieced blocks that helped hone my skills.

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First up – Paper!

I use copy paper. My first pieces came from a ream that was purchased for a teenager’s school project. He needed certain colors and a ream full of those colors is what I bought. He used about 5 sheets of paper and I had a full ream left in some really pretty colors that I would not ever use for anything. Instead of using my good copy paper, or buying foundation piecing paper, I decided to use this ream while learning this technique. It’s 24# so it is actually pretty thick.

I have also used 20# that I got during the Back to School sales that are happening right now and that is definitely a thinner stock and tears a bit easier that the 24#. You want the paper to tear pretty easily since it is attached to your stitches. The easier it tears the less your stitches get pulled during the removal of the paper. If you will be doing a lot of paper piecing and like to use copy paper then I would suggest stocking up during these Back to School sales on the cheaper copy paper that is thinner and tears easier.

Now you have to prep the paper for easy removal later. There are a number of ways to do this. You can score the lines by sewing with an empty needle on the paper itself, basically puncturing it to create the little holes prior to actual sewing. I hate to do the same thing twice so I just score my lines by folding it on the edge of one of my rulers and then pressing the line with my fingernail to secure the fold.

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A wavelength pattern piece with folds:

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Second – attaching that first piece of fabric.

When I first learned paper piecing, I learned to pin that first piece to section 1 and that worked pretty well to keep that piece from sliding around. But, recently I came to possess a Sewline Glue Pen and I love it for paper piecing! Just a small streak on the paper and attach it to that first piece of fabric to keep it pretty secure.

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It’s also repositionable, which I really like, and keeps the fabric nice and flat. It goes on blue but dries clear and the fabric is easily removed from the paper after stitching is complete.

Third – sewing – this is really where the precision comes into play.

If you get off of that sew line then it throws the precision off. I will admit, that even as a Virgo, I am not that precise in my assembly. This type of piecing helps me overcome the lack of skill I have sewing a straight line or keeping my points nice and pointy. Now, that only works if I can stay on that sewing line. Take piece 2 and lay it right sides together, with the seam allowances aligned, on piece 1. Flip the entire unit over to prepare for sewing on that line.

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The stitch length should be smaller than what you would use for normal piecing. This helps later on when removing the paper from the fabric. Sew on the line per the numerical order written on the pattern. I backstitch at the beginning and end of the line to secure the stitches. This is especially important when attaching smaller segments.

Once the first piece is attached to the pattern, fold the paper on the line between piece 2 and 3 and trim with a ¼” seam allowance.

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I trim with a rotary cutter that I use exclusively for paper piecing as I don’t want to take the chance on dulling all of my rotary cutting blades. Line up the 3rd piece of fabric with the seam allowance and then flip the unit over and sew on the line between 2 and 3 on the paper. Fold where piece 3 attaches and trim with a ¼” seam allowance and continue until all pieces in that section are attached.

Trim around the whole section using the ¼ inch seam allowance by lining up the ¼ inch marker of the ruler on the outer line of the block section.

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Also trim those strangely shaped points on the end of some of the patterns.

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I remove my paper prior to piecing all the sections together. I find it more difficult to remove them after the sections were joined to each other. When removing the paper be sure to also hold on to those first stitches so they don’t stretch or pull out. I make a small tear on the end, hold those first stitches, and remove that section.

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When sewing any pieced sections together make sure to match up those little end pieces. It will help with the accuracy of your piecing.

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I love how paper piecing blocks look and I enjoy the process of putting them together. It does, however, create quite a bit of trash.

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Here’s a peek of my Crop Duster pattern that I hope to post soon.

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I’m loving that section where all my points line up! And I am falling more and more in love with this fabric as I piece it all together. The main print is called Aubrey and it’s so pretty.

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Birds and the Bees Pillow

At my most recent guild meeting, we had a English Paper Piecing lesson and were asked to bring some scraps to work with. I decided I needed a pillow to go with my Birds and the Bees quilt. So, I brought some yellow, black, and gray scraps and was able to get a few done while at the meeting.

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I decided to do a small cluster and added some small triangles that I sewed into hexies and a couple of random triangles as well. I zig-zag appliqued the pieces onto the gray background fabric. I love how this turned out!

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Earlier in the week, I created some hoop art with my favorite fabric: Polka Dot Stitches by Lori Holt for Riley Blake designs.

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I took some variegated colored threads and stitched around the stitch diagrams. This fabric just showcases the beginnings of my stitching journey that I experienced as a child. I keep buying it and hate to cut into it in any way. So, I thought I’d make it a feature piece in my sewing room.

On that train of thought: I found the Polka Dot Stitches fat quarter bundle on #thegreatfabricdestash and I just had to have it. I hadn’t seen the rest of the bundle and I was very pleasantly surprised when I received it and was able to open it up. I love them all!

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The text prints are definitely my favorite but this red color story is the grouping that I love most:

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It included some solids, some large gingham, and some adorable large prints. I’m not sure how I’ll use them but there may be another Sew Together Bag in my future.

I’m also working on a block that I will be making into a mini and I hope to share that soon. Until then – happy sewing!