Monday, July 24, 2017

Quilter's Recipe Box Alternate block for Lozenge Unit

I was looking through some quilting magazines this weekend and found some terrific scrappy quilt patterns.  One of them actually used a combination of lozenge units and four patch units so I thought it would be fun to use that combination for this weeks block:
To make this block you will need to cut four 3 1/2 squares of your featured fabric, eight 2 inch squares of your background fabric, and one 2 x 22 inch strips of two different fabrics.

Sew four lozenge units from the featured fabric and the background fabric and lay out like this:

Make five Four Patch units by sewing the two 2 x 22 inch strips together.  Press and cut this pieced strip in half.  Place right sides together with the opposite colors facing each other, then cut into five 2 inch strips.  I like to use my June Tailor strip cutter for this step, it's super fast and easy!

I experimented with laying out the Four Patch units, because I was not sure which way would look better.  First I tried with the green squares lined up with the lozenges:

Then I tried turning them so the red squares were lined up with the lozenges.  I liked it this way best.
Sew the squares together and you are finished!  That's it for July - next week I'll round up our progress so far - 28 blocks - plus will have a fun surprise for you.  Then the first Monday of August we'll learn a new unit - can't wait!  You'll also want to check out my posts later this week as I am working on my Island Batik challenge for the month - Oh Baby!  You'll notice some familiar units in this project :)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hustling and Bustling

The first part of this week was taken up by some rather interesting, but not very blog-worthy projects, but nevertheless I shall tell you about them!  Monday and Tuesday were spent working on a VERY large cushion for a bay window.  Large as in over 108 inches long and 31 inches wide.  Needing about 16 yards of cording, plus a 3 1/4 yard zipper installed.  Yikes!

I decided to try out using Aurifil 28 wt thread for the upholstery and it worked wonderfully!  It was just as strong as the upholstery thread I have used in the past, and is a lot easier to use on my machine, with little adjustment needed for the tension.

I hemmed some pants for my neighbor using this thread - it makes such a lovely topstitch!  I also used the same spool for the bustles on three wedding dresses yesterday.

This is not the finished bustle, just a trial pinning.  I ended up doing a simpler bustle that looks very elegant on this dress.  I sew grosgrain ribbon loops and ties to make a french bustle, and the 28 wt thread is great for hand sewing - I love the way it doesn't seem to tangle and snarl, it pulls through the fabric very smoothly.  I plan to try some hand quilting with this thread soon - I have a feeling it will be awesome...  Back to the dress - here is how the finished bustle looks:
 Isn't this a pretty back?
The other two dresses were bustled on the outside, and both had a sheer layer to be dealt with as well.  For those, I usually tack the sheer layer to the dress in a few spots to help keep the sheer layer from puddling on the floor.  This one already had a lace overlay and a corset back, so I added a button to hold the bustle up with.  The ribbon loop has a small button at the back to make it secure.  Up goes the train for dancing and moving around with ease!

The last dress already had a button back, so I just reinforced the bottom button and used that for the train:

Three brides will be ready for their big day in August!

Today I plan to work on the baby clothes project, plus do the cutting for a couple of the projects on my long list.  I am inspired to cut that thing down to size in record time!  We are having a get-together for the ladies of our church this weekend to work on our craft projects, so I will have some quilt kits ready for sewing.  Last time we did this I got several tops done, so I want to be ready to have a productive day.

Hope you are making some progress on your projects as well - let's clear out the old and get ready for some new ones!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Alternate Block for Lozenge Unit, Quilter's Recipe Box

After a week of cleaning up my sewing room it was a real pleasure to spend time this weekend sewing!  I love how much nicer it looks, and even though there is still a lot of stuff in there, I know what all of it is and what needs to be done.

This week's block uses the Lozenge unit in the corners again, and this time I set them so they would make a frame for the center of the block:

I decided to call this block Merry Go Round.  It doesn't take long at all to sew this one up, and I think you could do lots of interesting things with the center of the block.  I decided to use a 9-patch, but wouldn't it be cute to do different mini blocks?

To make this block you will need to cut four 3 1/2 squares and four 2 x 3 1/2 rectangles of your feature fabric.  Cut eight 2 inch squares and four 2 x 3 1/2 rectangles of your background.  For the nine patch center you will need four 1 1/2 inch squares of one fabric, and five 1 1/2 squares of another fabric.

Sew the four lozenge blocks and arrange in the corners so they form a frame:
Sew your nine patch block for the center:

Next, sew the four split square blocks and place them on the sides, with the feature fabric toward the outside of the block:
Sew it all together and you have your finished block:

It's a good thing today's block was a quick one, because I have a BIG project to work on today!  A cushion for a window seat - I'll have to get back into upholstery mode for this one.  Lots of piping to go around the edges and a long zipper to make it easy to remove for cleaning.  I love a little variety in my projects, and just one cushion isn't too bad, even though it is a large one!  I'll try to remember to take a picture of the AFTER for you you - though it won't be fancy, it will look a lot nicer than the foam and batting before :)

Have a terrific day!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sewing Room Clean Up - Day 5

I finished up my final day by cleaning out the basket I keep by the door of the sewing room. This is usually where I put the mending projects and items that need to be picked up after mending.  It gets pretty messy, so I usually try to clean it out once a month, but I'm behind on that.  At any rate here is the before shot:

Yep, it's pretty full!  The top item is a pair of sweat pants that need the seat patched up a bit - I'll take care of that over the weekend.  There was also a big pile of batting scraps to be sorted through and put away or tossed.  A couple bags of pants that need to be picked up.  A sweater that I pulled off on a warm day and left, as well as one with a hole that I need to mend so I can wear it next winter.

It only took about 15 minutes to put things away and then I had a nice after to enjoy before I left for work:

Much better!

The next area I need to tackle is my way overflowing scrap bin, but that's going to be a longer term project.  I think I'll try to dig it out in increments over the rest of the month.  I've pulled out a couple patterns for scrappy quilts and plan to cut some 2 1/2 strips to sew up and some squares as well.

For the weekend, my goal is to get a couple of those UFO projects off my list.  I have a sample quilt for the quilt shop to quilt and bind as well as a small panel quilt that I can quilt and add to my Etsy shop.  Then I can plan out my week - that Baby clothes quilt is ready for working on and several wedding gowns have arrived and are ready to be bustled!  Always something to do, but at least now I feel like I have tamed the mess in my sewing room and am ready to be productive.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sewing Room Cleanup - Day four!

Even though I worked a half day at the quilt shop yesterday, I kept up on my cleaning project!  Yay me!  My goal was to clean up the top of the two large storage drawers.  Here is the before of the first one:

I sorted through the piles and bins, put away some stray items and decided that I need to finish up my luggage tag/lanyard projects so I can use that basket for something else :)  Here is the after:

The second one was a bigger mess!

Definitely needed to do some cleaning here!  After sorting, putting away and straightening up (added a couple more projects to that growing list)  it looks like this - what a big improvement!

I am resisting the urge to buy more storage containers and plan to finish projects so I can use the current ones for the projects that are piles right now!

I like the idea that Barb posted in the comments.  Finish two UFO's for every new project!  Since I ended up with a new shop sample coming home with me yesterday, that means I better finish two UFO's this weekend!  I did get backing for three projects yesterday, so if I go on a mad quilting spree this weekend I can definitely reach that goal.

Today's cleanup goal is easy, it is the basket by the door - I have to work all day at the quilt shop, so I new it would have to be a simple one.  Off I go - have a great day!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sewing Room Cleanup - Day 3

Yesterday I tackled the dreaded corner.  What a mess!

Just piles of stuff.  Not very inviting, efficient or attractive.  First I pulled everything out and gave a good dust and cleaning back there.  It was very dusty, but no critters or skittering creatures, thank goodness.  All of this stuff was definitely not going back there, but I had to decide where in the world was it all going to go.

Here is how it ended up.  The filing and pattern boxes are now under the cutting table where they are a bit more accessible.  I moved one of the storage drawers to the corner.  (I will deal with the stuff on top of those tomorrow.)  Then I looked in each of the bins, baskets and box and started a list of the projects.  There were over 20!  No wonder I feel like I'm not making any headway.  I think I spend more time shuffling things around than I do sewing!

Even though the list is overwhelming, I have prioritized it and color coded it.  I have personal projects, projects for the quilt shop, projects for my Etsy shop, Pattern ideas, and projects for Island Batik.  I marked the ones that are highest in priority and will start getting those done first.  I'll never be a one project at a time kind of a person, but I think 20 is a bit overkill.  At least I won't be too tempted to start anything new for a while!

Plus, my room looks a lot more inviting without all the piles threatening to fall over!  Today, it's time to clean off the top of those storage drawers.  Who knows what treasures I will find there?  I'll show you my list as well.  Maybe it will help me to be more accountable if I actually make it public? Still thinking over how to set some goals to finish these up.  I don't want to over commit, but you know the saying, Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.  I want to make a plan to get on top of this craziness!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sewing Room Cleanup Day 2

Yesterday I tackled the cutting table.   That tends to get pretty bad, but it's usually just stuff that needs to be put away.  You know, piles of fabric, marking pens, rulers, more fabric...

The pile of cut up baby clothes is a work in progress, so that got moved to the sewing table.  Rulers were re-organized into the ruler rack.  I went through the little storage bin and removed some of the excess items so it would be more useful to me.  The storage box was a project that I moved to the area that I store those in and I went ahead and cut up the charm pack that I set aside for another Cobblestones Table Runner.

While I am at it, I want to give a shout out to the Calibre Art Rotating mat!  I purchased it on Amazon a while back - it was a very reasonable price.  It is the 8 inch size and I love it - it rotates like a dream, and the cutting surface is awesome.  I have a larger rotating Olfa mat, but it doesn't rotate very well - maybe the size?  Anyway, the Calibre Art mat spins with a touch, but is super stable when cutting.  I purchased this mat myself, so this is not a paid promo,  just me recommending a product I like!

After that I tackled the scrap bin.  I didn't sew up any blocks, but I did do some sorting and trimming.  I put some larger pieces in my strip bins, and threw out anything that was not bigger than 1 inch wide.  I love scraps, but I have to draw the line somewhere!  Then I decided that the scrap bin needs to go on the storage units to the right, not on my cutting table.  The only things I want on my cutting table are my cutting tools and small storage bin to hold pens and other notions.  I want to be ready to use it when I walk into my sewing room every day!

Today's task is the dreaded project corner.  It contains several stacks of project bins, filing containers and odds and ends.  I think my biggest job is going to be coming up with a way of prioritizing my projects and keeping track of my progress.  Will have to think about that as I pull these things out and assess them!  I do know that my filing containers need to go somewhere else.  I don't use them as I should because they are at the bottom of the pile.  Taming paperwork needs to be another priority in keeping my sewing room functional!

With that, I suppose I should get busy and tackle it.  How do you keep your projects organized?  Do you have a secret for knowing what to work on and when?  I'd love to know!