Wednesday, October 2, 2019

It's Happened!

First, there was this:

 My machine has been turned on; see the reflection of the light bulb?

And then there was this:

The center section for my bow tie quilt has been sewn together. From here, it will get a solid border, then a border of more bow ties and from there I still need to decide. This section measures 36.75"x39.5" so will have to do the maths as to how wide I want the border while making sure it will accommodate the bow tie border, but for now, I'm really happy to have finally put my foot to the peddle and accomplish some quilt piecing! Hmmm, now where are the rest of the bow tie blocks? I know they're here somewhere...

[Apologies for the photo quality. I've noticed my camera is not taking good photos any longer, and using my phone for photos & then off-loading & editing is hugely inconvenient. Maybe I should put in a Christmas suggestion to the resident 'Santa'.]

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

New Fabric

Over the past two years, my daughter has been gifting me quilt-boxes from Cotton Cuts. I get one box a month for six months (three as a Mother's Day gift, and three as a birthday gift). The fabric style selections she has chosen for me will stretch me (but she may inherit them still, haha), and nearly all have been wonderful. The ones in the first year included a pencil and a small spool of Aurifil thread in addition to the 1-yard cuts. This year's are half-yard cuts and whatever small monthly surprise is added. Within the last couple weeks, I finally removed them all from their pink shipping boxes, washed, folded and logged them into my system. 

A new box arrived just a week ago, and should be the last for this year unless she decided, unbeknownst to me, to subscribe longer for me.
The six fabrics closest to the front of the image are from the quilt-box. On my computer, the image looks a bit dull, but hopefully yours will show better. All are a bit more vibrant. The orange fabric, a Minion-themed (& licensed) fabric, and the green in the back are my small purchases made while going with Panda yesterday. Those two were both in the clearance bolts so were only $5/yard...I really don't need more fabric, but orange is in short supply in my stash, and I thought the green would just be a nice addition. Any wagers on the Quiltville Mystery Quilt having orange in it? I seem to recall Bonnie really likes orange, and if she bases this year's MQ on her January Japan trip, she showed pictures of orange structures....could/would she include orange again? Is the Japan trip even her inspiration? We'll all know in a month!

I think I'm getting closer to wanting to stitch again. I need to be about 40 years younger to accomplish all that my mind wants to do but my body says "no" to. Doesn't seem fair, but then, I need to recognize I have accomplished much during my lifetime so far, and Lord willing, there'll still be another couple decades to go to bring some of those other desires to fruition.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Hello Old Friends

Whew, has it ever been awhile since I've posted on Webs of Threads!

I still haven't turned my sewing machine on (except to mend a pocket) since December 2017 when I last worked on En Provence, and the week prior on my Bow Ties.

So what have I been doing? It would seem to be not much, though we did do the kitchen remodel as shown at Duck Out of Water though I don't think I posted about the finish which was at the end of May, and I won't bore you with that now...getting things back in place with sometimes reshuffling has taken awhile. I have some sciatic and other back issues which make the process slow. It's perfectly functional and I'm loving it.

I also did my annual summer trip up north. My aunt Irene flew down and stayed two sleeps, then we drove north about four hours and spent a night at a cousin-in-law's. The next day we drove up beyond the border but instead of staying on the interstate we diverged east and stopped at a quilt shop in LaPine, OR. It was five minutes before closing, but the lady graciously allowed us in and we shopped a little. From there, we went to Sisters, OR and spent the night then had breakfast with another cousin who lives near there. The restaurant was great, and we felt obliged to leave a more than generous tip as we hung out for about three hours. We didn't take the time to go to the Stitchin' Post but before breakfast stopped at the bakery and each of us got a couple of their dinner plate sized apple fritters, oh they are so good! From there, we headed on to my aunt's home a couple hours away, where I spent the next couple of weeks.

When it was time to head south, my sister had planned her vacation at my home so she met me at our aunt's and we drove down in tandem spending one night north of Sacramento, CA. She stayed for about 10 days, I helped her with a project she was just beginning, though my heart wasn't really into it. She hasn't quilted before but is retiring in the spring (maybe) so is planning to do some craft-related things. She would say all I wanted to do was play Minecraft (don't judge, lol) and she might have been right, but really, I only played a couple times while she was here and that was when she was sitting at a table I'd set up for her so that we could be in the same room while she learned or while she was working on personal stuff on her laptop. Last year I helped her with a quilt-as-you go block which she wanted to use for pot-holders. This year was quilt-as-you-go table runner.

I've done some "remodeling" in my Creation Station. The upper cabinet originated in the lower bathroom, was removed 7 1/2 years ago with that remodel, used temporarily in the kitchen prior to that remodel and has again found a new home. It's housing office supplies mostly. The bookshelves (both the above and below images) mostly lived in the pre-remodel dining room beneath an 8' window. We replaced the window with a sliding door, so no place for the bookshelves. The plan was to use one of them in a corner in the new dining room area, but between the baseboard and the extension of the countertop, the bookshelf was about an inch too wide and wouldn't fit. We purchased a new unit, which left these two up for grabs. I'd been wanting to replace the pseudo-bookshelf that had been there for a long time, so this seemed to me to be the solution - stack them along with that cabinet. The upper shelves have my color-coded scrap tubs and tubs of projects or pieces and other miscellany.
The lower one has a tubs for selvage trim, patterns, and plastic bags I use in sorting scraps. On the bottom-most shelf is just more office supplies. The Creation Station doubles as my genealogy work room, so I need lots of folders and papers as I use a color-coding system for it as well. This is the first time I've been able to see the top of my sewing machine table in a very long while, and still sitting there is En Provence and Bow Ties. It's pretty much the first time I've been able to sit in that chair in months!  Barely visible on the left is the book case where I have all my books, some of which I decided I'm getting rid of, not all quilt-related. I'll probably hold them to see if my sister wants any of them. I also went through all my old quilt magazines and pulled out patterns of interest and tossed the rest into the recycle paper bag. There's only so much a small room can hold, and the excess clutter needs to be dealt with - in all rooms of our house. This is a start.

My friend Panda just sent me a message to say her machine needs to go to the hospital and asked if I'd like to ride along...there's a quilt store only a block or two away, and we'll get lunch out, so yeah, time to get ready.

Maybe my next post will show some progress on that two year old mystery since we're getting close to the colors reveal for this years. Can you believe that's only a month away? Time is absolutely passing at light-speed!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Tracking Fabric

I was reading at Quiltville's Open Studio (Facebook page) an inquiry by Vireya, about wanting to track how much fabric and thread she uses during 2019. Someone else posted a link to this site, In Color Order... from 2017, and I noticed similarities in my own tracking system, which I developed initially around 1999. I may have occasionally made reference to it in prior posts, but thought I'd share my system. Below is an image of how my own spreadsheet looks followed by an extensive detail of how it works. I've narrowed the columns in order to fit it in a screen grab and selected 'large'. I tried 'extra-large' and 'original' as size options but both extended too far beyond the Blogger-allowed space to view. I hope it opens large enough to see. If not, you'll have to visualize in your minds.

Disclaimer: I use standard features within Excel, pretty basic ones actually, but if you're not familiar with Excel, I won't be your teacher! You'll have to learn it by some other means; I had a few computer classes for my job back in the day, and that's been close to 25 years ago! Just clearing that up here at the beginning.

I'm not directly addressing Vireya's question/comments, and I would not expect anyone to utilize my system but if it is of interest to anyone and you think it would be helpful, please feel free to use and link back to this post. I also would not expect anyone who has been collecting fabric (like me) to go back into their stash and log in every fabric...unless you're one of those who likes to count beans along with me. It would be a lot of work, not to mention most people don't keep receipts like I do. But if you're just starting out, and find this appealing, go for it. Adjust it to what works for you, as simple or as complex as you like. 

If like Vireya, you just want to track a year, I can see that creating a blank sheet with any or all desired columns, and logging in as you use a fabric could work. I write about this just to show how I've been tracking my fabric for nearly 20 years. Feel free to ask questions if I'm confusing anywhere (I'm sure I can be!).

Column A: "#" I assign numbers to all my fabric. I allow four spaces plus I can use a decimal point. In Excel, you can add a comment within any cell. I add a comment in the primary cell for any given fabric notating which project I used that fabric in. Some have been used in many different quilts as the remaining pieces become strips, squares or other scraps.

comment within a cell, designated by the red triangle. Hovering over will make the cell pop up or you can right-click and select 'edit comment'.
Columns B and C: Date of Acquisition and Provider - should be pretty obvious. 

Columns D through G: "D" is the purchased length, before washing (I'm a fabric washer). This is not the place for short-cut or over-cut by the provider for length of fabric, or for shrinkage after washing. 
"E" is the width, selvedge/selvage (you decide how you spell it - I had old-school teachers who seem to have had British spelling habits) to selvedge/selvage. I can be lazy, so I haven't always measured this on yardage, and often use what I've found to be fairly typical with 42" as the norm. 
"F" is the square area of the fabric. In this cell I've placed a formula. This is a function within Excel that can be used if you know how to do it. Re-read my disclaimer. The basic math is D x E = F. Once a formula is in this cell (doesn't show except in the space where you might see a URL on a webpage - see, I don't even know all the terminology so how could I teach Excel?) you can drag the formula through every cell in that column and you don't actually type into it. Entering the length and width, Excel now does the calculation which shows up near-miraculously.
"G" is the approximate yardage equivalent. This column has a formula built into it which is the F ÷ by the number of square inches in a yard** = G. OK, a note here. The number of square inches in a yard is the length of one yard (36") x the width of one yard (42") which is 1512 square inches. Another disclaimer...I don't do metric - that's on you to figure out if you do. I also say 'approximate' because I don't measure perfectly all the time, and because my settings extend to two beyond the decimal which anything beyond that is rounded up or down by the formula & settings. And also, I don't change the 1512 square inch in the formula even if my yardage is actually a 36" x 36"  or 36" x 58" piece. My yardage equivalent is based on if the fabric were the fairly typical 42" width. I can't be bothered with changing it for a single cell here and there. The amounts in D through G are never changed - they stay the same forever. 

You will probably notice that there are some zeros in some of the D - G columns. In some cases these were fabrics which I obtained early on before I started my tracking sheets. Though I had kept most of my receipts from my purchases, I was not able to ascertain which fabric matched which purchase and my memory did little to assist. 

Others are because, and you'll note that there are the same numbers with a .1 or .2 after them, I may have made one purchase of several yards of fabric. It is a single line item. From that yardage and after using some of it, perhaps some full width piece remains along with smaller pieces, maybe a fat quarter, or a pieces that aren't full width. I don't again add it to the original amount because it's already included. Instead, I create a separate line, with the .1, .2, etc. placing zeros in the original columns and the dimensions of the piece(s) in the remaining columns, adding as many lines as needed to account for all pieces. Some of these will eventually be cut down to strips or squares for scrap quilts.

Columns H through K: These columns are handled exactly the same as D - G, except they do change as I use my fabric. Here also is where I'll put the actual size of fabric that was cut over/under or after shrinkage because the totals in columns J & K will let me know how much of that fabric I actually have. Helps when I'm following a pattern that calls for a yard of fabric and I only have a 35" length...could be a close call if I decide to use it.

Column L - N: "L" is straight-forward. The cost per yard paid. 
But, you can decide what you want to track (whether actual costs before or after any applied discounts) and if you have trouble remembering your decision, add a comment in the column header explaining your 'cost' as a reminder. I typically use what I actually paid for a fabric before taxes (we have state sales tax added to all purchases - it changes year to year thanks to voters and government). I'm more interested in what my hobby/craft is costing me, but some may care to have the higher value for insurance purposes, or some other reason only you might know.  It also helps with knowing the truer value of what the materials cost for a given project. 

If I was gifted or otherwise given the fabric, I usually don't put a cost in, or I might use $1 per yard, just to show it has value. The fabric I purchased at the Fain Yard Sale (see sample page)...I bought a huge box of scraps & yardage of mixed fabrics for a set price...I've no idea what it broke down to so entered as zero cost. I may have added a split-value elsewhere for a bigger piece of yardage from that purchase.

The formula in "M" simply multiplies the original yardage equivalent times the cost, whereas  "N" uses the remaining yardage equivalent times the cost. To help me keep them straight, I color-coded them and their respective columns.

Column O: Here is my designation for how the fabric was originally purchased, whether yardage (Y) i.e full-width by whatever length, fat quarters (FQ) ~18"x~22" purchased/received as such, or scraps (S) which typically were given to me rather than purchased.  I don't purchase pre-cuts aside from FQs so I have no designations for those things - do what fits best for you.

Column P: I mostly use shelves and bins. I try to group my yardage on the shelves with a specific way of folding keeping color families close together. Shelves usually house full-width yardage regardless of length up to but under 4 yards. Four-yards up to but under 5 yards are folded slightly differently but still shelved. Five yards and over are folded along the length and placed on hangers (just those with the cardboard tubing to prevent a crease) so that the selvedges then meet. Generally, anything that isn't a full width is folded and placed in bins. I will say, that sometimes things don't get done according to 'my own rules' and are out of place. Scraps are cut and cleaned up and placed in color-family small shoe box size bins. I wrote under the heading "Well, Looky Here" (with pictures) how I do this, though I don't use the open bins for the FQs now, and now all the yardage has been folded the same way. Going for consistency here for my system to work, but it seems there's may still be some minimal tweaking to do.

In this column, I've also started placing an indicator for when I have designated that fabric for a specific project though it may still be on the shelf. I make the same note on the form I pin to that fabric so I don't accidentally use it. Why keep it on the shelf at all as opposed to a project box? Because I may have bought considerably more than the amount for the project. My notes will tell me how much I might be able to use otherwise.

Column Q: Here's the fabric description, often taken from the selvedge, or if from JoAnn's the number from the receipt too. More recently I've started taking a photo of the bolt ends - much easier than writing them down since sometimes the cut is shorter and doesn't get the selvedge's description. I'm not really good at describing colors, like what's the difference between mustard, straw, dark cream, beige, tan, ecru - they all start jumbling, so I also keep a fabric swatch book with correlating fabric number and a 1 3/8" x 1 1/8" swatch glued in. I used Excel to make that sheet too, but use printed copies to put in a notebook.

and lastly,

Column R: I don't consistently use this; it usually extends beyond my screen size and I forget it's there. It's also a more recent addition, and a single word can be used in the front of the description in the same way. Such as: Solid: XYZ Fabrics, deep purple. Other descriptors: T-o-T, W-o-W, Batik, Christmas, Novelty, Children's, you get the idea.

You might also notice a couple lines where the print is grayed. This indicates there is no longer any of that fabric in my stash, except maybe the smallest of a scrap not worth logging. If you're wondering why my spreadsheet is high-lighted in all blue it's because a few years ago, I wanted to combine several sheets I had with different numbering designations. I had kept yardage, pieces, scraps and a couple other listings separately even if of the same fabric, but found that annoying and cumbersome, so began a revamp and clean-up of my stash closet, shelves, bins, drawers and the lists. I had to have two work-sheets open on my screen to compare, and used the high-light to designate which was done. I still have a few stragglers that I need to finish and the blue is easy on the eyes, so I've left it.

Initially, my numbering system was xxxx.x for yardage and FQ, and Pxxx.x for pieces, etc. I'm no longer using the P, but will not be converting the existing P #s to straight numbers. I also am still using Sxxx.xx for scraps, but am seriously reconsidering the smaller pieces of scraps and may give that portion over to non-OCD behaviour, living free of numbers.  My current numbers are at 1336.0, E64.2, J127.0, P293, and S649 indicating the number of different fabrics for each numbering code. The E and J numbers designated specific individuals/purposes of fabric and are no longer used but will not be changed to my standard numbering convention.  

You may say "Why spend so much time doing this, and for what purpose; I'd rather sew." And that's fine, as I said, this is my system; it helps me and calms me knowing what I have and where. It's a tracking method. We all create and work differently. Some are willy-nilly and others are more anal and both work great for that individual. So, if it, or any variation of it work for you for any purpose, whether for just a year, or for a lifetime, go for it...or don't :)


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Today's The Day

My bladder woke me a little earlier than usual this morning, so I took advantage of the earlier time to check for the Quiltville Mystery Quilt Intro. I think it's going to be a wait-and-see as to whether I'm going to do it, based on the color scheme. The one color that appears to maybe be predominant aside from the neutrals is orange. I use very little orange, so there's little in my stash - even if I included FQs and yardage; the total would be not much more than 1/3 of the requirement. I'm considering yellow, but am sure I would have to cut into some FQs and yardage to accommodate the requirement as well.
Sum total of my orange "scraps".

Following along, saving and printing the instructions and getting the paint chips are still on the agenda, so we'll see where it goes from there in the months ahead. I can't deny that I have plenty to do! All one has to do is review my UFO Parade and see how many projects need to be finished. There are a few that aren't even showing on there yet. Digging out of my 'black hole' has been challenging!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Mystery Season

The Quiltville, Bonnie Hunter mystery introduction for 2018 is almost here. Her followers and devotees know of what I speak. Her traditional date of release for colors and yardage is October 31st. That is just two days away, on Wednesday. There has been much expectant chatter on her Facebook group, and while I'm still unsure as to whether I will actually do it this year, I'm looking forward to seeing what she has going this year.

I first 'discovered' Bonnie Hunter in 2011, probably later than many, but have been hooked ever since, attended one of her quilt guild presentations meeting her in person and had my picture taken with her...she's a quilting world Rock Star, and while I wasn't a Beatles fan, I am a fan of Bonnie's, though I still won't scream my silly head off like a teenager.

The first mystery I became acquainted with was Orca Bay though I did not make it.  Some day I hope to. And as you can see by the labeled manila folders above, I have all of the patterns from 2011 through 2017, and if you look really closely, you'll see a folder for 2018 without a pattern name...I'm ready! And to be clear and respectful to Bonnie, I will not provide any part of these patterns to anyone so please do not ask. They are Bonnie's copyrighted property and available to purchase either on her website store, or printed in one of her books.

I'm still working on (well, I haven't really since last December when I last sewed anything) En Provence from 2016 and did not do last year's On Ringo Lake.

I'll briefly explain my organization: 

I trim a regular manila folder to fit an approximate 1/4" stack of 8.5" x 11" paper. That way it's pretty much like any other soft-cover book on my shelf. I crease at the fold closest to the actual fold of the folder and print the pattern name, Bonnie's name as the author, and the year of issue. It overlaps two years, but the year released is to me the actual year date.
Inside the folder, I glue a card envelope where I keep the paint chips. I suppose you could put any size envelope to your liking, in there, or even a zippered plastic bag, but this is my own preference.

I keep the pattern sheets in order - that only makes sense, right? Except if I'm actively working on it, then, while they're still in order, the finished portions are moved to the back of the stack. 

Anticipating this years colors! Will they include green, orange, pink, yellow, red, white neutrals, cream neutrals, black or green and in what shade and hue? From where will she have taken her inspiration? Someplace she's been this year or some other time in the past? Two more days, and we'll know.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Where's The Fire?

No fire, but some cute juvenile print firemen, fire hats, trucks and Dalmatians fabric strips.
firetrucks, firemen
These are from the scraps received from my aunt back in July. She has three grandsons, one of which likely received a quilt made from this fabric. I was looking to trim these but the thought that came to mind was, "Wow, they'd make a cute binding.", even if you couldn't see the entirety of the images.The three strips shown above are 2.25" - 2.5" strips, so would be perfect for binding. I'll probably just trim off loose threads for now.
Dalmations and hats
These though, at 1.25" for the hats, and less than 2" for dogs would do better as a border or in blocks.
one side if folded for binding
I folded one strip as if it were attached to a quilt, and above and below are the results. One side would show the tires, the other a section of the body of the truck. If some of the fabric is used in a quilt, it would make for a fun binding.
and the other side.
I may have to plan a quilt around just these "scraps of fabric". I think there's enough for binding a smaller quilt, or to mix-and-match if need be. 

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