Thursday, November 4, 2010

A dent in my stash, perhaps?

Howdy from Oklahoma!  I am Alicia Key-- the original one!  When I was growing up, I thought I'd never meet another Alicia.  Then I got married and thought I'd surely never meet another Alicia Key. Lo & behold, there's an Alicia Keys that's FAMOUS!  Funny thing is--- I have a college piano degree & I do sing but I sure don't get paid for it!  So my name may be familiar but I'm not the one on the radio.  I'd love for you to visit me, though, at my blog: , and at our new website .

I'm glad to get to share my little bit on the Stash Manicure blog. I'm honored and grateful for the opportunity so thank you to you ALL and especially to Madame Samm!    When I took up quilting in 1980, all other crafts went by the wayside.  Do you have any idea how much fabric one can accumulate in 30 years of quilting?  In the early years, quilt shops were few & far between. We bought fabric where ever we could find it, and we bought enough to use it for a backing if it was a good print-- a good 10 yards! If not, we bought 2 yards if we just thought it was good, and 3 yards if we really liked it!  And actually, I still use kind of the same formula.  That makes for a lot of fabric.

This summer, I shed about 70 yards of fabric by donating 65 pillowcases to the Million Pillowcase Challenge.  Have you donated yet?  I took most of the cases we made to our local DHS to be given to the foster kids, and nearly 20 of them went to the foster kids in another county.

I scheduled a sew-in during a June Saturday Sale in the lot behind the Farmer's Market in our town.  I was hoping to entice lots of people to try making one. As it turned out, a couple of ladies did come to help, and a teenager from the booth next to ours did sit-n-sew, her first time ever!  And that's what we want isn't it, to get the younger generation involved in the FUN of quilting? YES!

So think about it.... 70 yards of fabric. Shouldn't that have made a dent in my stash?  It did make some room in a few drawers so that I could put away some of the other fabrics lying around.   But you can't tell there's much difference in my studio.  You DO know, don't you, that "studio" is just another name for the double car garage that I took over-- it's just a fancy name but it sounds better than "I sew out in the garage!" Originally, my fabrics were stacked on a metal shelf rack. I found that didn't protect the fabric well enough so I purchased plastic I'm a long arm quilter since 1995 and 3 years ago I took the Square in a Square Certification class with Jodi Barrows.  That gave me the opportunity to teach a specific quilting technique and at the guild meetings & classes , I had notions, fabrics, patterns, books and kits for sale.  Remember that stash that had built up since 1980?  Now add in all the stuff I was prepared to sell and the fabrics for making kits! and the backings for people's quilts that I quilted! Can you say chaotic studio?  Stuff everywhere!  I'd show you a picture- I did actually take a picture several months ago but it was so embarrassing that I immediately deleted it. But what's a girl to do?  If I had stopped to take time to organize, I wouldn't have had time to sew! 
 That's when a buddy came to the rescue.
drawer sets and filed the fabrics by color group.

Enter stage left a fellow quilter for whom organization comes as easily as eating. She's been coming periodically to straighten up the room and now I can even see some flat surfaces!  Little by little the studio is taking shape. In return, I get to quilt some of her quilt tops-- what better deal could there be, I ask you!  She even straightened up the scrap basket!

These really are just scraps. They're pieces that I intend to cut up with the GO! and make scrap quilts, and lots of the pieces in the plastic drawers will end up that way as well.  I'm really looking forward to getting this cutting done.

I hope you have a GO! or take the opportunity to "get a GO!" 
You know they've come out with a BABY GO!  
I saw the Baby Go at Market over the weekend.  It's quite stable and uses any of the GO! dies that are 6" wide or less. It's more affordable than the bigger GO! It's also portable so that you & a friend could party while using it together!  Plus, there are new software packages for embroidery machines so that the applique shapes that you might cut can be stitched-- very fancy, I might add-- without having to manipulate the project all around the sewing machine.
OR--------- you might want to try the easy applique way that I've been using lately.  I've
known "how" to do this for many years but 
had let it slip way back in my worn-out memory! 
These appliques 
were just cut with the dies,  NO fusible, then I touched with the Sew-Line glue stick
just enough to hold it still while I did the freehand stitching around the edges.  Oh- you've never tried that before?   Please visit Kellie Wulfsohn's blog to investigate her lovely patters and method for doing just this!  Here's her blog address: .  Lots of
my colorful scraps will be used as flowers & leaves in patterns such as hers. I'm quite sure you'll be seeing more of her great designs very soon! 
So-------what really are valuable "tips" to share here?  1st, have a great quilting buddy to HELP YOU! 
2nd, consider the GO! products,
and 3rd, consider projects that use mixed fabrics- all colors and patterns.  Just be sure to add some zingers like purple and bubble-gum-pink while locating methods that make the whole process easier & faster!  Immediate rewards go a long ways toward keeping us sewing!   
.........oh yes,   4th --- don't buy quite so much!  These little samples and some quilting thread from Superior Threads is ALL I BOUGHT at the Sample Spree at Market last Friday night!  


  1. It's like listening to my mother! Although she may have another 10 yrs of collecting on you. I had my daughter help me "organize" and she took half my fabrics home. But that's OK - the legacy continues. I adore that cute smiley box!

  2. Good Morning Alicia...I am still stuck at the 70 yards of fabric gone from your "studio" and it did not even cause a dent..ok maybe a little but was filled in with more Love the idea that you created that many pillowcases though wow! Your scrap quilt is pretty amazing, hardly looks like scraps though..but I believe You gals scare me...I have been quilting only since June and I have a very manageable staff and proud of that...I do not want to think what 30 more years of gathering will do to me and my studio...Wait no problem I only have 20 years left...whew....As I was are a hoot...and it was a pleasure to have my coffee with you this morning...piece be with you madame samm

  3. I too have a garage "studio". But I have never been able to call it a studio, I just say, I'm going to the room to sew, lol.

  4. My mom was my quilting buddy till I moved away. I am hoping to move back closer in the near future and get my quilting buddy back :)

  5. Love your pegboard of notions and things...lets you see things you're looking for! I wish I had some wall space in my quilt cave...

    In stitches,
    Teresa :o)

  6. I, too, am having my coffee (a bit late) with you this morning & really liked the hints for taming the stash. My "studio" is a small, particle board-walled corner of our basement which I call the "Quiltery" as it sits across from my husband's particle board-walled "Winery". Cozy.

  7. Thanks, gals! I'm mentally working on re-arranging the "studio" but I'll keep the peg board, that's for sure! Another project I didn't mention is the Quilts of Valor. I do the longarm part (quilting) but now that there's a new QOV push with NINE fabric manufacturers making special fabric lines for them, I'm sure I'll be making some tops as well. Please visit, click on UNDER OUR WINGS for the new program. Basically you take a newbie quilter "under your wing" to make the top. Hope you ALL get time to sew today!

  8. I would like to get a go cutter, and then I can cut up more blocks and make some charity quilts. Great stash buster and helping others, in the process.


  9. "wannabegodly's" comment made me laugh. What happens when you accidently combine the two spaces..
    Your post just goes to show how generous quilters are and how most are a little OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) (I am not making light of that as a diagnosis we have major traits of it and one diagnosis in our family) We collect all the fabric we must have and then we have to find ways to get rid of it. I have only met one quilter who only collects for the project at hand. How disiplined.
    Most quilters are extremely giving people. What great things you have done to help others.
    Thanks for letting us into your room.

  10. Your post brought a smile to my face...Don't you know? Once you "git-er-done" it'll be time to mess things up again! Organizing a stash is ONE thing - keeping it organized is a whole 'nuther beast! xo, Nan

  11. You did have me chuckling when I saw all the Go dies, love to see what ones you have and recommed. thinking of ordering one, fun guest you are. thank you Teah

  12. Wow!! That's a large stash. I love using the GO! cutter to use up my stash. I don't have as many dies as you though. My plan is to buy one die a month. That way it's not so hard on my pocket book. Love the pillow cases you have made. Such a great thing to do. I love the idea of getting younger people involved in the sewing. It is such a great thing to share. Hugs Ariane

  13. Hey, my DD is an Alicia too! I'd love more of how you are oganising your stash in the studio, I have a studio change coming up in the new year, I'd love some tips :)

  14. Alicia, thanks for such a great and inspiring post. My first studio was in the garage, now I am happy to be in my home.
    I love your scrappy quilts. I think you are the quilter with the most go cutter dies.

  15. Seeing your generosity with all the pillowcases made me smile. As for the GO cutter and the baby GO cutter....I'm adding them to my Christmas wish list....I'd be glad to receive either! Your scrappy quilt is beautiful.


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