Monday, March 16, 2015

Well, Looky Here

I actually have something I can post about!  I know, I've been absent a lot.  Y'all will just have to bear with me on that, and I appreciate everyone who still stops in now and then, and especially those who leave comments, even if I don't get around to responding to your comment in a timely manner.

 Last week, my friend Essie called me and said she had something to bring over to me.  She had finally given up on her one quilt project that she bought a few years ago.  She had started it and it wasn't bad, but she was tired of it cluttering her space and she didn't feel she'd ever finish it.  The blocks were all very large with the smallest pieces being 3.5" square.  Upon examination and looking at what still needed to be done, I decided it would be best to deconstruct and then reconstruct.  It wasn't that what she had done was not okay, but I would have had to make my own seams large enough to match hers, and that just didn't gel with me.  I took photos of each of her blocks so that I would re-sew them with the same layout.  Below are just a couple of the blocks.

I have six blocks done and there are three more to do.  As the cutting was not precise, I had to draw stitching lines on almost each piece; some have very narrow seams, one in particular, I had to use some Stitch Witchery and a narrow strip of extra fabric to make it work without fearing it would tear out.  This project was from a kit, but she also had purchased and also passed on to me the fabric for the backing and a batting.  I was reading the batting label and notice it is a fusible batting.  I'd never heard of such a thing.  According to the instructions, you set your iron on wool and use bursts of steam to set the fusing and then can quilt by hand or machine without pinning.  Have you ever heard of that or used it? I would be interested in learning from the experience of others with this product.

My plan is to not only finish this as a flimsy, but to completely finish it and gift it back to her as my way of saying thank you, though this could never repay, for all that she has done to help me over the last few years.  She has come to my (and Nick's) rescue far more times than I can count.

Over the last couple weeks of being home, I have been reorganizing my stash closet.  I use the word, or variant thereof, "organize" quite loosely.  It's tidier than it was, and has a slightly new layout and a new way for how I fold and/or store fabric.  I'm not sure it's yet where I want it to be.
This is looking into the closet from the room itself.  The shelves visible on the left are not in the closet.  The closet has the shelves on the back wall, a rod and high shelf on the right with space below the rod for the tubs.  On the left side, barely visible are more shelves but they are shallower than the ones on the back wall.

On the rod I fold any lengths of fabric that are longer than four yards and hang on pants hangers.  I just grab the selvedge edge and fold along it until it's the size it needs to be to fit over the hanger roll.  This keeps most of them looking uniform, except for those oddball fabrics that happen to be more than the standard 42"-44" wide.  I also cover them with tissue paper.  Most of these have been purchased as backing fabrics, but some were given to me.

Above the rod is an open shelf where I fold and place - in no particular manner at this point - anything that is over three yards, but under four yards.

I didn't take a photo of the very uppermost shelf; it only has some oddball, rarely used non-fabric items.  Three shelves have yardage measuring over one yard, but less than three yards.  I use to fold them one way, and have not changed those that were folded thus, but newer or remeasured fabrics have been opened up to having been folded once down the middle with opposing selvedges lined up.  Then, I lay them on my table with the excess falling off the back, take my 6" x 24" ruler and lay it across, then start folding the fabric around the ruler.  When I reach the end, I slide the ruler out.  If the edge ends up in the middle, I grab the ends (selvedge on left, fold on right) and 'roll' it until the fabric edge meets even to the side.  Then I fold the fabric over itself so that it becomes approximately 6 x 11.  Because of all the layers, it will obviously always be more than 6".  You can see in the stacks those that are folded this way versus those that weren't. This way shows the fabric better than my old one when viewing from the end.  I use to do that "final" fold before using the ruler, which would be fine if I positioned the fabric upright - which I did until I ran out of space!  Stacks are more space efficient than lining up like a row of books or bolts of fabric.  I know some buy the comic book cardboards, but I feel, why go to that expense when this works just as well.

The two lower shelves hold (basically) full-width fabric that is less than one yard.  I fold it exactly the same way, but instead of using a 6" ruler, I use a 4" wide ruler.  My 4" ruler is only 14" long and I'd like to know if there's one longer; I searched on the internet but couldn't find one.  There's a bin there too for tossing fabrics I've pulled and not yet put away.  Notice it's empty :)
 By having the different folding techniques, I can know just by glancing what shelf or group of fabric to look in for what is called for in a pattern.  Each fabric has it's own unique number pinned to it and is detailed in an Excel spreadsheet.  A bit anal I know, but there are some areas of life, of which I just need to know what's what.
The deeper shelves do not extend the full width of the back of the closet, and I did not put the shallow shelves all the way to to the bottom because that would have restricted functionality of the closet.  So these project tubs fit perfectly as long as I stagger the lids above or below a shelf.

These tubs are still a bit contentious for me.  They hold pieces of fabric that generally are not full width.  I calculated the yardage by measuring the length x width then divided by 1512 (the number of square inches in a yard of fabric based on a 42" width).  Presently, I have bins designated .1-.29, .3-.49, .5-.69, and .7+.  Anything less than .1 yard is scrapped into strips or held in the scrap holding bin.  There is also a tub that holds just Christmas fabric, and one that has some odds and ends, such as panels, in it.  Tucked way back under the lower shelf is a smaller tub with plaids & homespuns.

On the shallow shelves, along with rulers and other odds and ends, are my containers that hold the fat quarters.  There are three of those containers.  They use to be my son's toy bins - re-purposed! and the rack that held them has become a quilt rack. Win-win.  Some of my FQs had multiples so I took plain white paper strips and bundled them together.  I still need to color or theme coordinate them.

And speaking of sorting by theme or color, my thoughts about fabric storage stashing go to what IS the best way to sort?  And I know there will probably be as many different ways as people who have stashes.  With what I have, I could keep all the colors together on the same shelf regardless of size (over yard and under a yard), so that when I'm looking for, let's say pink, it's all together.  There are those fabrics that don't easily lend themselves to any one color so if I put it with purple, it looks like it should be with green, and vice-versa.  There are 1930's repros - ok, those are easy, they're kept in a drawer in the bedroom just because that's where they've always been kept.  What about 1800s repros?  Or florals? Or western?  Or that color that when you put it with yellow looks orange or tan but then when you put it in one of those looks yellow?  Stashing fabrics can really drive one bonkers!  Especially if you have an extremely analytical mind :/   So what do YOU do?

Oh, and lest you think I forgot that today is Design Wall Monday, I'm linking up at Patchwork Times.
Essie's blocks

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Brief 'No Photo' Post

It may be that I've been home for nearly three weeks, but I'm not sewing yet, so having nothing to blog about.  As much as the vertigo lets me, I've been re-organizing my fabric stash closet.  With all the purchases I brought home, things just weren't fitting right, and when I left in January, a lot of things just got shoved away after working on Grand Illusion.  I'm getting close-r.  It became a big project! 

I also had a friend drop by with a big bag in her hand and she said "I'm just never going to get this finished, so I thought I'd pass it on to someone who might enjoy having it."  In the bag was a quilt project she was working on over the last three or four years.  It appears she has most of the large blocks done.  I already have planned to finish it and gift it back to her as my way of saying THANK YOU for all that she has done to help with Nick during the past year when I've been gone so much and she was the one who came by and took him to school and brought him home every day when I was laid up with my broken foot a couple years ago.  I've really been wracking my brain to come up with something meaningful as a thank you, and now I have it :)  She has been an absolute angel and never, ever complains about helping.

When I'm done with my closet, I'll take some pix and share them.

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