5 Silly Things I Won’t Do Again Next Year…

batik quilt back

This is the back of one of my bright batik quilts–it was fun!

‘Tis the season to make resolutions, and I’m not big on those, but there are a few things I don’t plan to repeat. And to go with the list, a few of my quilts.

1.  I won’t put a cup of hot coffee on my cutting mat.  Turns out that little sucker is VERY heat sensitive and warps locally just from having a cup of coffee on it for a few minutes!  Of course I knew not to leave it in a hot car, but I really didn’t think the bottom of a coffee cup got that hot.

2.  I won’t drink red wine while free-motion quilting (FMQ).  Yes, wine does help with FMQ, but white would be easier to get out of fabric 😉

3.  I won’t “wait until later” when I see a really

batik quilt

Another batik quilt! I love batiks and straightforward designs.

terrific fabric I “need”.  It can be WAY too difficult to find it again, let alone to find the coordinates to go with it.

4.  I won’t assume a marker will come out of my fabric just because the manufacturer says it will.  The manufacturer also said to “test on an inconspicuous area” before using, and that WOULD have been a good idea!

5.  I won’t set the piecing foot from my machine in a box of binding clips when I need a safe place for it “just for a few minutes” while I use another foot!  That foot walked off with the binding clips and was lost for 2 weeks.

And of course, there are a few things I will plan to repeat:

T shirt quilt

A T shirt quilt for a friend

1.  I’m going on retreat with my best quilty friends.  At least twice next year.

2.  I’m going to at least one big national quilt show.

3.  I’m going to submit at least four of my quilts to shows or contests.

4.  I’m going to take at least one workshop to learn a new technique or get some new ideas.

5.  I’m going to have lots of fun.  I hope you are too!  Happy new year!

baby quilt

A very important baby quilt!

Exciting News x 2!

Woo-hoo!  One of the blocks I submitted to the Modern Quilt Block Contest at Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine was selected as a finalist!  I thought they were going to publish pictures of the finalists, but it turns out they had even bigger plans.  I now have a contract to make a quilt for their publication based on my block!  I am so excited!  Of course, this means I can’t show you the block yet.  My quilt is scheduled for the Summer 2014 issue, and I’m happy to say that one of my favorite fabric manufacturers has agreed to provide fabric for it.

And now that the contest is over, I can show you the other block designs I submitted. Here they are:

My friend Ann over at Sew Messy (don’t you love that name?) also entered, and one of her blocks finished third!!!  She can’t show it on her blog yet, because it’s going to be featured in a quilt published in the magazine, but go on over and check out her blogs:

Sew Messy

Sport Sew

And now the other exciting news:  Somebody bought my Quilt Alliance donation in the eBay auction!  I was worried because I figured out AFTER I donated a quilt that most of the people making donations were much better known than I.  However, it did sell, and for a respectable price by my standards.  So a big THANKS to whoever bought it, and now I’m encouraged to start a donation quilt for the Quilt Alliance for next year.  In case you missed the earlier post, this is the 20″ square quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance TWENTY contest:

Rising star art quilt

Rising Star, made for the Quilt Alliance TWENTY contest in 2013

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

Do You Need to De-stash?

Most of us build our stashes like a king hoarding treasure.  Look!  I have a whole drawer

pile of fabric

Stash overrun

(shelf, bathtub) of blue fabric!!  And here’s a sale on solids so I can have a whole shelf of those!!!  If you’ve been quilting long, you KNOW what I mean!

Unfortunately, stash can be like so many other possessions:

When you buy something, you may own it, but FOR SURE IT OWNS YOU.

And mind you, this stash habit is not unique to quilters!  I know people who have LOTS of wood, stamps, antiques, beads, beanie babies (true story), candlesticks, tools, marbles, books, you name it.  Some of these people ALSO have lots of fabric 🙂

But you may have too much fabric if—

  • You have to move a pile of it to make room to start a project
  • You have to find places for some of it outside your studio (in the guest room bathtub, in the tip-top kitchen cabinets, on shelves in the garage…)
  • You have more yards of fabric than you have days of remaining life expectancy
  • And (most important), you have decided that you MUST put a moratorium on fabric purchases (oh, woe!)

SO:  What to do?

Here are a few ways to deal with a big stash (and my friends and I have used them all):

  • Trade with friends.  For example, you bring a big stack of fabric you MIGHT be able
    onesie and t shirt with iron-on ties

    Make iron-on ties for t shirts and onesies from your stash

    to part with to your next quilting bee (retreat, guild meeting, whatever) to swap for things other people bring.

  • Make donation quilts.
  • Make pillowcases to give with your donation quilts
  • Make pillowcases to donate to the One Million Pillowcase Challenge
  • Make quilts or pillowcases for every family member you’re still speaking to (EXCEPT for the one who put the last quilt outside in the dog house to keep the dog warm!)
  • Apron

    Apron, though not the one I’ve linked to

    Make blocks and use them in the orphan block projects I blogged about recently here

  • Make gift bags in ALL sizes!  Yes!  No more wrapping paper!
  • Make tote bags for your friends and for yourself—no more plastic grocery bags to get rid of!
  • Make pot holders (use Insulbright)
  • Instructions HERE for making an iron caddy (for when you need to transport a warm iron home from a workshop)
  • Instructions HERE for making an easy one-yard apron (think hostess gift!)

    table runner

    Table runner made from a strip of leftovers

  • Make placemats and table runners as hostess gifts (lots of commercial patterns and free instructions available on the internet)
  • Keep reading this blog–more ideas coming up!
  • You can even donate fabric to organizations that make pillows for chemotherapy patients, Quilts of Valor, etc, etc

There are MANY more fine possibilities!  Please leave your suggestions in the comments for others to enjoy!

Happy quilting!

10 Reasons to Have a Good Stash

Fabrics in storage cabinet

Inside one storage cabinet–lots of stash!

We often read that a quilter’s stash of fabric has expanded past the bounds of the studio, taking over kitchen cabinets, the linen closet, and even bins in the garage.  (We ALREADY KNEW stash was stored under the beds.)  Next week I’m going to discuss the possible need to get rid of some stash, but for now I’m listing 10 good reasons to have plenty of available fabric.

  1. Stash saves trips to the store.  Often you need “just a little” fabric to finish a project.  Pulling from your stash rather than making a trip to the store saves both time and money.
  2. Binding:  If you live at a distance from shopping, stash may be a necessity.  I live an hour from the nearest quilt shop and depend on my stash to provide binding fabric for most of my quilts.

    fabric stash

    The solids drawer; one of the batik drawers

  3. Comfort quilts:  Many guilds ask each member to make a single block for a “comfort quilt” to be given to a sick guild member.  If you can pull from stash for this, you can get it done quickly and turned in on time.

    Drawers, fabric

    Fabric in storage drawers

  4. Audition options:  You may decide to add sashing or borders to a set of blocks, and having several fabric options available allows you to lay the blocks out and “try” various fabrics, then get started at once when you find the right one.

    nickel squares in bins

    5 inch squares–two bins!

  5. Instant gratification:  If you have adequate stash, you can start IMMEDIATELY on the wonderful quilt in the magazine that came today!  I’ve done this more than once, pulling all I need for a project from my stash, and it’s VERY satisfying!
  6. Last minute projects:  Who hasn’t been faced with a baby shower, housewarming, or other occasion with little time to make the appropriate gift?  Having the fabric you need on hand can give you a good head start.
  7. Thrift:  By purchasing fabric when it’s on sale and keeping it on hand, you can minimize the amount of full-priced fabric needed for a project.

    Blue fabric

    The blue drawer! But not even close to all the blue fabric…

  8. Try-outs:  Stash can be used to test a block pattern before deciding whether to buy fabric for a whole quilt.
  9. Backing:  Stash can be used to piece the back for a quilt, incorporating scraps or extra blocks from the front.  This provides more visual interest than one large piece of backing fabric.

    Closet fabric storage

    And a closet full of projects, and fabric, and…

  10. Usefulness and beauty:  “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”  ― William Morris     We have lots of stash because fabric is beautiful as well as useful.

Update on the Auction

Now that it is Monday night the group of Quilt Alliance donations that includes mine is up for auction on eBay.  Check it out with this link!  When you get to the eBay site, you’ll need to click on “Items for Sale”, near the top right, to get the full listing.  (Currently mine is listed twice; I assume that will be fixed soon.)  And thanks for looking!

Rising Star for Web


Remember that quilt I made to donate to the Alliance for American Quilts “TWENTY” contest?  If not, you can see a section of it as the header for my blog, and you can read about it here.Rising Star for Web

In any case, the time has come!  The TWENTY entries have travelled to shows around the country and are now up for auction on eBay.  The group that includes my quilt will be auctioned starting at 9:00 EST (U.S.) tomorrow night.

I’ve been happy to learn about the Quilt Alliance over the past few months.  I originally donated a quilt because I liked the idea of the TWENTY challenge and I’m always donating quilts to various causes—who isn’t?  However, I’ve since learned that the Alliance has several missions I’m especially happy to support:

  • They promote awareness of quilting as a grassroots American art form
  • They document quilts so their stories aren’t lost, and encourage all quilters to document their work
  • They make their information available to the public through various forums, including an association with The University of Texas at Austin (where I went to school)

The Quilt Alliance has numerous projects to further their goals, and their staff are some of the nicest people I’ve encountered.  They have a fun blog that presents quilts from various periods in history, and you can subscribe by e-mail so you get to see different quilts from their records.

Check out the Quilt Alliance website and then check out the Ebay auction.  You may become a Quilt Alliance fan, too!

Oh, yes, and bid on the quilts.  Most of them are by people a lot more famous than I am  😉  You might enjoy going to the Ebay site just to look at the quilts!