Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Stash

As I looking over my last post, I started thinking about how excessive it seems to purchase 37 yards of fabric, even if it will all be used very soon. There is a line of discussion on Stashbusters about not spending money on fabric and it has made me think about my fabric spending habits.

The picture here is of my stash. Except for a few pieces of yardage in a drawer and my mostly empty boxes of strips (except for those pesky 2" strips...have a ton of those!), this is the whole thing. I have to admit, I'm a fabric snob. I will only buy quilt store quality fabrics. When I first started quilting I made 2 quilts, one for my son and one for my daughter, with fabrics from Joann's. Those quilts have not held up well...especially my son's quilt which has literally fallen apart at the seams. They were not heavily used, just slept under at night. I figure if I'm going to do the work, I should use the best supplies I have available to me. That includes quilt shop fabric. I'd rather buy smaller quantities (except when it's half price, of course!) of better fabrics and combine them with those already in my stash, if that's possible.

I joined Stashbusters and Stash Quilts because I want to use up what I have and needed inspiration to do so. I've found that inspiration in both places...even though I just lurk at Stashbusters! I've used quite a bit of my older fabric...which has made way for some newer ones. I don't think I could ever have a stash that is huge...I'd feel the weight of it hanging over me and would have a hard time going into my sewing room. I think my stash is just right for me. I guess we all need to find that place where we're comfortable with what we have in our stash, and can add to it if we find a great deal or a fabric too beautiful to pass by. I've come to that point with my stash...made my peace with it.

That being said, I'd still like to use up quite a bit of it so that I can purchase new fabrics to add to it! I'm doing that with the inspiration that comes from all these sources available to me online. I love looking at pictures of everyone's projects and imagining how I can create that quilt with what I have on hand. What would make it mine? The colors? Adding a different border? Setting the blocks on point? I find that with a small stash of small cuts, I have to try to be more creative in getting things done. I guess that's what makes us mavericks, the ability to change a design to make it distinctly our own.

As for my spending habits, which is where I started this post, I guess mine aren't too bad. I subscribe to Sweet Treats and receive a package of FQs monthly. I used to leave them all tied up with their pretty ribbons, but now I immediately take them apart, and add them to my stash or use them in current projects, if it's appropriate. Other than that, I make it to a quilt shop about 2 or 3 times a year. Funny, when I worked in a quilt shop, I rarely bought anything! I guess it was too much of a good thing!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sometimes....

You just need a fabric fix! How about 37 yards worth? I NEVER shop like that...but today I made an exception! I went to the Pennington Quilt Works which has just moved into a brand new store and it's bright, large and wonderful. :o) The first group of fabrics here is just for me because I liked them. The second group actually has plans. The top yellow is a flannel for a rag quilt my 11 year old has started. The other 2 yellows are for a Sister's Choice quilt I'm making and didn't have enough yellow for. The pink is for the borders of my daughter's friend's graduation quilt. She doesn't graduate for 2 years so I'm ahead of the game!


The last pile is for a Christmas quilt that I've already picked out the pattern for and will get done...I swear! AND...all of the fabric in this pile was 50% off, so I didn't feel so bad buying so much of it! I may be able to do some of the quilt as a leader/ender project since the pattern has some flying geese in it. I guess I'll just add this one to the list...the list just keeps growing!

I have to smile when I read all the notes about hiding your stash from your husband. I'm so fortunate when it comes to that. You see, my husband has always supported my quilting habit and tends to push me to buy more than I would if I were alone. Not only that, he travels all over the country as the national sales manager for a boiler company from Philadelphia. When he has the opportunity, he stops in quilt shops and buys fabric for me. Sometimes he'll call and ask if I need a color or a style of fabric, but usually he just surprises me with something. Today, he was wonderful enough to drive me an hour back and forth to the shop, encourage me to pick more fabric that I would have, carry all the bolts for me, tell them what to cut so I could keep shopping, then he paid for it all! So, I treated him to a cup of Starbucks tea on the way home. :o)

All in all, I think I have it pretty good!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A New House

No, not really, it just feels that way! We've lived in our house for about 6 years and one of the things I've always hated has been the front yard. We can't grow grass very well, too many trees, pine needles, a high water table and very sandy soil. (That's what happens when you live in the Pine Barrens!) Our house was also built on reclaimed swamp land, which means if we get the teeny-tiniest amount of rain, it floods. Since we're now staying in the house, we decided it was time to do something about it. We called on the experts at a little bird store near us called "A Wild Bird Oasis". We love this place and were so happy that they reopened after our floods 2 years ago...they were completely flooded out after having only been open a few months.

We decided we wanted to go with lots of perennials, virtually no grass (we have lots of moss though!) and a very natural landscape, that would hopefully reduce the flooding during rainstorms. We had the paved driveway ripped up and replaced with stone. Then Dan came with his crew and did his magic. I'm thrilled with how it looks (especially my new walkway and dry creek bed!) I can't wait until the perennials can go in and to see how it will look come summer.
So, the top picture is the "before" and the two below are "afters". Enjoy!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Stash Rescue



A few years ago, I worked in a quilt store. It was great fun. While there, I made a flannel rag quilt as a store sample. Once finished, the extra blocks were thrown into a bin in the closet of my sewing room. Just before I had to rip the quilting out of that quilt, I rescued them from the bin and decided to make a little quilt from them.

I just set them into diagonals and put them together...doing most of the sewing last night and today. I put a narrow border on, then finished it pillowcase style, since I didn't have any more fabric to bind it. I turned it, slip stitched it closed and did a little quilting on my sewing machine...SID around the border and tacks at each corner. Everything from stash...even the back. Now there's no more of this fabric left in my bin....hooray!

This little quilt will be donated to Rosie's Calico Cupboard for the kids at Camp Reach for the Sky. I quilt about 12 quilts a year for the children. Rosie is always looking for people to help quilt...if you have a longarm and time to quilt for charity, get it touch with her...and let her know I sent you!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Family Treasures

Several years ago, my mother visited my grandmother who lived in Racine, WI. She brought home a beautiful machine appliqued, tied basket quilt. She gave it to me. As we were looking at it, she turned it over and said, "Look at all the beautiful hand quilting on the back!" Lights started flashing, bells started ringing and I said, "WAIT!!! There's no hand quilting on the front, it's tied! I think we have two quilts here!" Sure enough, I clipped the threads around the back edge of the quilt and we found this buttonhole appliqued beauty underneath! My mother looked at it and remembered the quilt from her childhood...her grandmother made it. Apparently, my good, German grandmother made a second quilt when the first one got worn and put it right over top of the first quilt! No need to waste that quilt...it was perfectly good! I'm so glad she did because although they are worn, they are wonderful! In the second basket quilt picture, you can see that she added a last row of baskets upside down and off centered. This part was folded over and stitched down on the back of the quilt...maybe to be folded down when the bed was made and the baskets would be right side up? I plan to fix what I can on the baskets and quilt it with Baptist Fans on my machine. The other quilt is in very delicate condition and I have it hanging on a quilt rack. I feel so blessed by these treasures...and now I have quilts from 5 generations of quilters in my family...from my great grandmother, grandmother, mother, myself and my daughter. On another note...I finished unquilting the quilt and it is back on the machine to be quilted again. It's going much better this time! Thanks for all of your encouragement...I certainly needed it!
And now I'll post this again...blogger hasn't let me do anything since yesterday!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday Musings...

A gentle rain is falling and it's warm enough to have the windows open...seems like a perfect day to sew! Unfortunately, I'll be "unstitching" a quilt that I was unhappy with the back of when I took it off the machine...LAST Sunday! I've spent about 30 hours frog stitching...it only took 2 hours to put all those stitches in! I hope to have it undone and back on the machine by tomorrow morning.

Of course, since I've been unstitching, no stitching has happened in my house! I'm so ready to sew...but it will have to wait. The quilt in the photos is one that I purchased from eBay a few years ago. I love the blues against the pinks and especially how the maker threw in a few reds and navies among the pastels. She was a maverick! It's actually just part of a quilt...3 sides are bound and one is just folded back and sewn. It was sold as a "cutter quilt", but I couldn't bear to cut it up. It's hand quilted in a hanging diamonds pattern. If I get a chance, later this week I'll post some pictures of my great "find" from my grandmother!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Philadelphia Flower Show

Just thought I'd share a few pictures of spring...taken at the Philadelphia Flower Show this morning! It really is coming....LOL




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