Monday, December 30, 2013

Fabric Stash

Do you have a stash of fabric that you keep on hand encase you feel inspired to create?  I do. I have a small stash (compared to other quilters, really its small) that I have on hand to be there when I have an idea that I need to see materialize and I use my stash to inspire ideas as well.  Sometimes when I am stuck and in need of ideas I can pull out fabrics and tryout different color options.

With the New Year just around the corner and my fabric stash getting used faster than I have been rebuilding it I made a resolution to rebuild my stash a little each month. I decided that each month I would purchase fabrics in a certain colorway for that month. I set a budget and will do my best to stay within this budget.  Just to be clear, stash fabric is not the same as fabric I buy for planned project. Totally different.  My house, my rules.

Because I intend for my blog to be informational I will let you know what my budget is and how I intend to spend said budget.  Let's start with the basic understanding that good quality quilting fabric goes for on average $12.00 per yard.  My budget is $100.00 each month. So I can get 8 + yards of fabric. If I get just one fabric that is kind of boring. I can get 8 different 1 yard cuts and that's fun but what I really want to get is 16 half yard cuts, not that is exciting!  16 different fabrics in one colorway is just divine on my budget.

Okay so we have the basic math out of the way we can then look at how I am planning to divide up my purchases each month.  Sure I could buy one of this color and one of that color each month but what I am trying to do is build my stash by colors. I want color, I don't want to pick a fabric I like, this exercise is about walking into a quilt shop and in 5 minutes pick out all the color for that month. No thinking.

DISCLAIMER:  I cleaned up a little so that I could show you these photos. It doesn't always look like this nor will it stay this way for long.

January- Low Lights (these are fabrics with just barely there color, they are soft and muted colors)

February- Red

March- Green

April- Purple

May- Yellow

June- Pink

July- Blue

August- White w/ Black

September- Brown

October- Black

November- Orange

December- Christmas fabrics ( reds, greens, gold, white anything that screams Christmas)

My sister M sent me a text on Friday night to tell me that the quilt shops in Columbus were all having fabric sales this weekend. She knew I was planning to visit my Mom on Saturday. So of course I had to go check out the sale at one of the shops closest to my Mom.  My husband, Mom and my sons fiance' all went with me to the shop. I walked in intending to get my 16 half yard cuts of low light fabrics. I just walked around the shop pulling out fabrics that fit in this category, I didn't stop to think if I liked it I just grabbed a bolt and handed it to my husband. When I took all the bolts we could carry up to the cutting table and asked for half yard cuts the wonderful women informed me that the sale was only for 1 yards or more. Dang...there went my plan.  However all was not lost. 1 yard of fabric was 25 % off so that's like getting 18" or a quarter yard of fabric for FREE. So I ended up getting 13 1 yard cuts of fabric.  Oh are they lovely.

 My total....$125.00 with tax. A little over my budget but I got 13 yards of fabric instead of 9+ yards.  I saved like $40.00 with the sale.  I am patting myself on the back right now.  The next big sale is Super Bowl Sunday and that is in February when I need to get my reds!!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Have Bag, Will Travel

What do you look for when purchasing a new purse?  Me, I look for function. Okay I want it to be pretty to but what  really want is a purse than can function as a knitting bag too.

Here is my new purse!!!

First off, its pretty. Second it is really roomy on the inside.

Plenty of room to add a knitting project. A medium to small knitting project. Blankets and sweaters are not take along projects to me. But dish cloths and hexi puffs and barn raising squares are prefect to take anywhere.

I have several bags to chose from when packing a to go project. The above picture shows a pink nylon one and its the only one that I have purchased. I have made a few more and love to have ready to go to shove in a bag and head out the door.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


My couch time hasn't gone to waste these last couple of weeks. I have been making hexipuffs.  My goal is to make 34 each month so that by the end of next year I will have enough to make a throw. So far so good. I am right on track to get my quota for this month. Yay me!

I have gone so far as to order some mini skeins of yarn so that I have an incredible array of colors in my quilt.  These mini skeins are just 20 yards of yarn and make 2 hexipuffs each. I ordered them from Etsy. (check out etsy for all sorts of cool things)

I found that 20 yards is just a little short for one row short on the 2nd hexi so I am going to order some mini skeins that have a bit more yardage and see if I like those better.

Today I am heading to visit my Mom for the day so I will be taking some yarn and needles with me. I think I am just going to take along one ball and knit as many as I can from that instead of hauling a bunch of little balls with me. Less to lose.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mystery Quilt Weeks 3 and 4

I am so far behind on my Mystery Quilt. Clue #5 came out today and I still have to finish 3 and 4.

I got all the cutting done in 2 days last week. With my ankle I can't stand more than a 2 hours without feeling it the rest of the day.  All this cutting took about 5 hours.  WOW!!

 Clue # 3 was cutting out 488 pairs of triangles and sewing them together. Each of these piles is 50 triangles. It takes time to sew them and press them open.

They are just 2".

  Here is all of them sewn together in stacks of 10. Then I needed to put 244 of them aside and make 61 pinwheel blocks from the rest of the half square blocks.

I still have 59 of these bad boys to sew together.

Clue #4 is sewing 4 patch blocks. This is somewhat easier as I am sewing 10.5" strips of green and orange together first. (Remember I am going for a scrappy look so the more combinations the better.)

These strips need to be 3.5" when sewn and pressed.

Now I need to cut these strips up and sew them back together into 4 patches. I need 300 of these guys. Time to get to sewing! I hope by next Thursday I can show you Clues 3-5 done. Wishful thinking I know.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Yarn Order

With my Dish Cloth Challenge of knitting 52 wash cloths I know I needed to have some yarn on hand. I ordered some cotton yarn from If you haven't looked at their yarns and their prices I encourage you to head over to their site and look around.

Here is what I got today in the mail:

Comfy Worsted 75% Pima Cotton, 25% Acrylic 

Dishie 100% Cotton

Dishie in Multi
 My plan is that each person whom I knitting for will get 4 dish cloths. Here is my idea for a few pairings.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Beekeeper Quilt Update

I have a goal of knitting the Beekeeper Quilt in one year. I need approx. 400 little 3" hexipuffs!  Sounds crazy but if I break it up into knitting 34 each month that doesn't seem SO bad. I just started knitting these little things this week and look I already have 20 done!

Okay I have been laid up with a bum ankle and yes other projects are lagging but it was nice to get a jump on this quilt. I will try remember to post each month with the progress.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Making Plans

While I am still recovering from the injury to my ankle not much is getting done around here in the crafting department. I am WAY behind on my Mystery Quilt as Clue#3 came out on Friday and I haven't finished the 2nd Clue.  I am knitting on the Beekeepers quilt...those little hexipuffs are fast to make but even on that progress seems slow.  I hate sitting here on the sofa day after day. I thought things were going good until I over did it on Saturday and set myself back.  Ugh!

Anyway, I saw this posted on someone's blog (and now I can't remember who's) but and I thought it was something close to what I do without even thinking about what I am doing.

1. Put your plans on paper (or screen).  I am a huge plan maker, I write everything down on paper. My husband is always asking why I don't use the computer and its just not the same for me as using paper and pen.  While I don't always stick to the plan I do look at it and make adjustments. I don't feel I have to check things off I just need to have a place where my thoughts are organized.

2.  Break big tasks into smaller tasks to remove excuses for not starting.  I like projects with lots of little parts so that its easy to break into "chunks". Like my dish cloth challenge...52 seems like a lot until I break it down into 1 a week. That is so doable. 

3.  Decide how you want to start.  I always start with gathering my supplies, then I make my plan on how to eat the elephant.

4.  Establish checkpoints in your progress.  Again I go back to my written plan...did I do one dish cloth this week? 4 this month? Am I caught up on my mystery clues? And so on adjusting as needed.

5.  Know the difference between "I can't" and "I don't want to."  This is a BIG one for me. I am horrible at finishing things. I think its because I am so excited to get on to the next project that I want to tell myself "I Can't" finish this, its to much.

6.  Remind yourself of the benefits of completing the job. Who doesn't  love finishing projects and the satisfaction of being done with something. However sometimes its overshadowed by me then missing the project that I enjoyed working on. Silly but true. Long projects become part of you and I miss them when they are done. Another reason why I enjoy projects that take FOREVER.

7.  Do a small part of it right now.  Do something EVERYDAY. Even if you say you don't have time. Knit one row, stitch one block, just make forward motion.

8.  Be optimistic.  This is huge. I get overwhelmed sometimes but then I just review my plans and make adjustments and all is right in the world again. You can do anything with time and forward motion.

9.  Establish an action environment. I am fortunate to have room in my home for a whole quilt studio however I find a basket of knitting sitting beside me is just as productive an environment. Find what works for you. Be organized if your time and space is limited. 

10.  Avoid places where distractions occur.  This is a hard one for many of us. I have a hard time working in silence. I need background noise. Maybe its because I spent so much of my day alone with myself that I need the sounds of others. I knit while watching TV. I enjoy books on tap when I am quilting. But I can't sew or use Lola if someone else is in the room. Find what does and doesn't work for you.

11.  Know your energy patterns and take advantage of your peak times. I enjoy my studio in the morning. After lunch I am of no use to anyone. Knitting I reserve for the evenings....unless I am laid up with a bum ankle.

12.  Use the stimulation of good news to do extra work.  I am able to get more accomplished when I am happy or excited. This however is also the time that my brain says I can add on more project on to my list.

13.  Recognize when indecision is causing inertia.  This catches me a lot. Its when I need to get a quilt on to Lola but I have no idea how I want the quilting to go. Right now I have a huge project on Lola that I have barely begun because I don't have a clear vision of what I want to quilt. Sometimes I just need to sit and stare at the top and listen to what it wants. I just haven't taken the time to sit and get the thoughts going.

14.  Use visible reminders. I refer to my plans all the time. Once a week I review as things come up and life happens, babies are born and people you love pass away (or you fall and twist your ankle).

15.  Give yourself room to make mistakes.  I make mistakes ALL THE TIME. I give myself permission to not be perfect. Its okay with me if my points don't make perfect on my quilts or my stitches are not even in my knitting. I can choose to dwell on the mistake, fix it, or say that it artistic licence.

16.  Don't set goals you don't expect to reach.  Why my plans may be far reaching I do try to make my goals, be it the weekly or the monthly ones attainable. Its no good to be stressed out about reaching your goals. Again I say, life happens when you make plans.

17.  Enlist a partner. I am very fortunate to make a wonderful husband who will sit and listen to my plans and he encourages me along the way and aks how things are going. Find your partner and share.

18.  Keep reading to increase your skill.  I am HUGE on continuing education. I have been a quilter for 20 plus years and I am still learning new and exciting things. I read books on the subject and watch videos. Try if you want to take an online class, they have something for almost everyone.

Its not pretty but its my plan. Each week I need to knit one dish cloth, one Barn Raising square and 8 hexi puffs. Totally manageable.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Beekeeper Quilt

I have been regulated to the sofa for a few days and I think I might be losing it.

What do you do when you are on the sofa so many hours a day? I knit. I have been knitting squares for my Barn Raising Quilt and few dish cloths. But I was bored. I need a challenge so on to the web I went and Oh Buddy did I find a challenge.

From Ravelry

What is wrong with me that even when I knit I have to do things that have a gazillion pieces? Maybe its because I have a short attention span and I want quick results.

This knitting project calls for 384 hexagons to make a 3'x 4' throw. Each hexi is just 3". They are adorable! I will just have to add this to my basket of nightly stitching. I can make these from the same yarn I am using for my Barn Raising Quilt. Its all fingering weight ...sock yarn.

Now here is the adorable stuff the hexi with fiber fill to make it puffy!!!

Close up the top and viola, one hexagon done.

For some reason when I was trying to make my first one last night I could not for the life of me knit this pattern right. Its stupid easy and yet I knit it twice wrong...3 hours. I just was not getting the directions. The pattern really is stupid easy. Beginner easy. Mindless easy. I could not get it! I went to bed and laid in bed wondering what was wrong with me, and that's when I smacked myself in the head with what I was doing wrong. Sometimes we over think things.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Accidents Happen

I had a little accident yesterday that totally derailed my plans for the day.

While walking in the school I tutor at I twisted my left ankle and fell on my right knee and right hand. So instead of spending the morning with some kids I was off to the Urgent Care to get some X-rays done on my very swollen ankle. On the bright side no broken bones but boy an I sore all over and my ankle is extremely painful so I will be spending a few days on the sofa.....knitting.

So instead of tutoring , running some errands, and working on my mystery quilt I spent the day on the sofa with my ankle propped up on some pillows.  All was not lost as I was able to start a new Barn Raising Square. I knit on and off all afternoon and got almost one whole square done. I really enjoy the self stripping yarn as it keeps the knitting interesting.

Tomorrow I plan to knit dish clothes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I haven't spent much time taking about Lola. Heck in truth I haven't spent much time at all even using my long arm machine in the past year. I feel guilty and I have a quilt on her now that my goal is to finish by the end of the month. My unfinished tops are stacking up and I need to get some finished. My plan is to use Lola on the days I am not sewing clues for my mystery quilt. So far its not looking good but I hope to have maybe a day and a half this week to spend with Lola.

Anyway, I wanted to show you my sketch books. I keep a sketch book handy to doodle quilting designs in when I am bored or need something to distract my thoughts. Below are just some of the doodles that I have drawn up. I am not a sketch artist in any since of the word but if I can draw it I can quilt it. Lola is like a really big pencil.

This next one is a good example of how a background fill can change the look of the design. One side has a meander and the other side has pebbles.

Sometimes you need something to go in the sashing between blocks.

Overall designs are good too.

Designs to make open area interesting.

This drawing.....

Became this....