Sunday, November 7, 2010

It is that time again...

I get an extra hour today....
I think I will SEW....
and YOU?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Mug {rug} of Scraps

Hi, there!  I'm Jennifer, a.k.a That Girl, of That Girl... That Quilt...  I'm so excited to be posting here on Stash Manicure today!

When Madame Samm asked me if I would be interested in sharing here I paused for a second because I'm not known as someone who has a well manicured, under control stash.  I have only been quilting for 3 years but I have quite the fabric stash.

Got scraps? I do!
I love fabric.  Love. It.  And I buy a lot of it... just ask my habit supporting hubby, Steve.  But after I thought about it for a moment I decided that I wouldn't be a total hypocrite posting here if I shared a project that uses entirely scraps.  Right??

My first mug rug
Have you seen the mug rugs appearing on Flickr and in blogland as of late?  Carol, Madame Samm and jodi comes to mind.  There is something about them that is endearing, a bit quirky, and a lot of fun.  I made my first one on a whim and I was hooked.  They take nothing more than scraps of your favorite fabrics, a scrap of batting, a bigger piece of scrap fabric for the backing and a strip of fabric for the binding.  That's it!

So today I thought I would show you the basics of making one of these cuties.  It takes less than an hour to make one and they are awesome gifts for the fast approaching holidays.

To make the top of my rug, I use a combination of linen and quilting fabric scraps.  I piece them into a simple rectangle that measures approximately 7.5" x 9.5".  You could also make a favorite quilt block for the top.

I add a little linen pocket to my rugs to hold a spoon, a tea bag, packets of sugar, etc...  It's a simple touch that draws a lot of comments and compliments.  Here's how you make it:

Take your scrap that measures approximately 4"x8...

...and fold it in half.  It it's a patterned fabric, you will fold it with right sides together..

Starting on one side of the fold, with a 1/4" seam allowance, stitch down one long side to the corner stopping 1/4" from the edge.  With your needle down, raise the presser foot and turn the fabric and begin stitching down the short side {this will be the bottom of your pocket}

Near the middle of this side, stop, backstitch and leave an opening of 1.5".  On the other side of the opening, backstitch again and begin stitching to the corner.  Again, stop 1/4" from the corner and with your needle down, raise your presser foot to turn the pocket to stitch the last side.

To reduce bulk clip each of the corners, turn the pocket right side, make sure your corners are pointing nicely, and press. 

 Don't worry about stitching the opening closed; you will catch this when you are attaching the pocket to the mug rug.

If you want to embellish the pocket now is the time.  I stitched a few of my favorite scraps onto the pocket  with a zig-zag stitch.

Now you are ready to attach the pocket.  I just eyeballed where I wanted the pocket to go and measured to make sure it was straight.  Topstitch it onto the mug rug.  Make sure you backstitch at the corners for a little extra strength.  Done!

Layer your backing, your batting and then your top just like you would a quilt and either baste it with pins or a little basting spray and you are ready to quilt.

On this rug I just did a random grid of straight lines with my walking foot.  I changed the distance between the lines by changing my needle position.  This is a great way to try out new quilting techniques, BTW.

Once you are satisfied with your quilting square up your mug rug and bind it.  I did a tutorial for a complete binding by machine and you can find it here.  It's quick, easy, and I love the precise results!

 Thanks for letting me share here today.  Enjoy your new mug rug!

PS: I'm giving this mug rug away... stop by my blog for a chance to win!

Love to hear what you think, it encourages me to make more.
Like I needed an excuse.

Thanks everyone!
Jennifer :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

I ammmmmmmmm back and keeping up with the paperwork...

Hello all you fabulous stash trimmers (and stash stuffers...).  This is Teresa of Fabric Therapy, back again to share a little more of the organizing going on in my quilt cave.  Thanks for checking in and leaving a comment!

Today I want to talk about paperwork...books, patterns, magazines, quilt show photos, free pattern downloads, etc.  It's all got to go somewhere and we all need to be able to find it again when we want it, once it enters our quilting domain.

Let's start with magazines and all that loose paper.  A few years ago, I simply had to come to terms with quilt magazines.  They were taking over my house.  I was really afraid to throw them out because there were so many yummy things I wanted to keep.
Meet my best friend...SHEET POCKET PROTECTORS!!  I LOVE these things!  I'm a total office supply geek and these are available at most office supply places like Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, etc.  I now go through my magazines and only save the things I want...patterns, how-to's, reference articles, and pictures.  The patterns, "how-to's" and articles I slip into these fabulous clear pockets.  If the pattern or article has multiple pages, all pages go in one protector. 

Sometimes I just want to keep a picture or sketch, no directions.  I set these little pictures aside (I'll show you what I do with those in a moment).

From time to time, I find a project that I saved and wonder "whatever made me want to keep THIS?!?"  I just throw those pages away and reuse the pocket protector for my NEW favorite thing that I want to make some day.

I keep all my "how-to's" in a magazine file.  By "how-to," I mean articles on things like binding, making hourglass units, yo-yo's,  labels, English paper piecing, foundation piecing, comparing battings, etc.  Fons and Porter's magazine is a great source for these "how-to's," but I find them in just about every publication. 

I like the magazine files because I have not met a 3-ring binder yet that has not disappointed me!  I hate it when pages slip out of the rings!  And these magazine files fit so nice on the shelf next to my quilt books, and I can remove the page I want without wrestling with a heavy binder.

Now, what to do with the patterns, etc. in these sheet pocket protectors...

I file them in labeled hanging file folders.  You can come up with your own filing system.  I tend to use many kinds of categories...I file by holiday (Christmas, Halloween, 4th of July, etc.), style (row quilts, medallion, Redwork, scrap, etc.), pattern (star, basket, flower, house, log cabin, etc.), designer (Bunny Hill, The Rabbit Factory, etc.)...the sky is the limit.  It only has to make sense to you.  The whole point to this is being able to find things later.

The nice thing about using these clear plastic pockets is that you can also store plastic templates, fabric swatches, or freezer paper templates (sometimes I re-use my freezer paper shapes from doing hand applique) in the same pocket with the pattern.
I also sometimes shrink or enlarge templates from commercial patterns...I can save all that in the pocket with the pattern.
Perhaps you are thinking that this kind of storage can be expensive.  Well, I use second-hand, two-drawer filing cabinets that I find at the University of Michigan property disposition center.  They cost me about $10 each.  Check out your local college or university - most have one of these places where they sell their old office and lab stuff that they no longer want.  I've also found them at yard sales and recycling centers.  I space them on the floor, then use recycled doors as a table top over them.  This is very sturdy and gives me a flat work space to look through my files.

OK, remember all the little pictures we cut out from magazines?  I combine these with others bits of inspiration...quilt show photos, greeting cards, etc...and glue them in to my "Inpiration Book."

I save little pictures to give me inspiration about color, form, etc.  Any little thing that will inspire my applique or piecing.  I use a large, bound record book (also available at an office supply place).  I use this mainly because I had one left over at home from the days I used to work in a reserach lab and I would use these kinds of record books to store experimental data.  Now they hold my quilting "experimental data!"  I just use a glue stick to glue things to the pages without much thought or planning...just getting as much on the page as possible.

They are comical looking...I kind of like the fact that the books expanded to hold all my little ideas.  You could also use a binder or spiral notebook if you want your book to look more normal when it is full.  LOL

  I store them right above my main work area so I can grab them when I want some inspiration. 

Now we come to books.  As I have told you, I sew in the basement.  I used to NOT store my craft and quilting books down there because I was afraid if the basement ever flooded my books would ruin.  I used to store them in my bedroom, two floors away from my stash and sewing machine.  That did not work.  I like having them near where I work. 

So I store them up, off the floor.  I put bookshelves up on top of my filing cabinet/door tabletop structures.  Very sturdy.

I sort my books by category...applique, Christmas, antique, rotary cut, liberated, Baltimore Album, tie quilts, reference, etc.  I tried doing it alphabetically by title or author, but then I could never remember titles or authors correctly and got frustrated trying to find a certain book or project.  This really works for me.  There are certain authors I love and Blackbird Designs.  I keep all their stuff together. 

I did spend some money on good quality bookshelves from Ikea...I used to use something less sturdy, and I came home one day to find that a shelf collapsed and there were my books...all over the floor.

I tend to use sticky notes in my books to mark things I really liked so that I can find them again some day.

I can see the little colorful notes sticking above the books...just like old friends waving at me, saying, "remember me??"

So, was that easy?  Does it inspire you to organize all your inspiration??  Don't get overwhelmed...I started this many years ago and now I only have to maintain the madness.  This is something to work on over time...especially going through old quilt magazines and organizing all the patterns you've bought.

Thank you for reading along and I am grateful to Stash Manicure and Madame Samm for the opportunity to share my quilt cave with you.  Good luck with your organizing!

See you next time,
Teresa  :o)

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!  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pick your color any color but today mine is GREEN!

You will be seeing GREEN...

Good Morning my name is Deanna and I am from Wedding Dress Blue.
However this is not about Blue at all it is about on..

About a year ago I took a good look at my stash and discovered that I had a lot of green. More green, in fact, than any other color.

Why do I have all this green?
"I don't really like green," I said to myself. "I have never made a green quilt."
Well, that explained the green overload. It came in, through a variety of means, and it never went out.
Time for a challenge.

So, during the past year I have made three green quilts.
Two are finished.
One for my aunt and uncle in the colors of their alma mater.

One for my parents.

One, still underway, for a high-school graduate to be.

I have decided that I like green. It has a place. It makes a great quilt...
or two, or three, or FOUR.

Yep, I have started a fourth quilt. This one in green, blue and brown. I think it will be wonderful.

So, the next time you need inspiration, or a challenge, or just need to get rid of some fabric, try a Color Sensitive Manicure.

Thanks to Stash Manicure and Madame Samm for the chance to share. What about you? Want to share your "color" or idea. Leave a comment here or contact Madame Samm and sign up as a guest blogger. Hope to see you again, here at Stash Manicure or over at my house, Wedding Dress Blue.