Saturday, November 26, 2016

Lots of little projects

After several big finishes this week, my studio was a bit of a jumble. I rarely get motivated to straighten up when I'm in the middle of a project. Instead, I literally push stacks of fabric aside on the bed until they fall on the floor.

But we have guests coming to stay aboard the boat with us in a couple of weeks, so there is definitely a deadline to get the room cleaned up. For those of you who are new to the blog, my quilting studio is the guest stateroom on our boat. It's a really small room, only about two feet wider on all sides than the full-sized bed. My cutting mat, ironing board, and sewing machine are all set up on that bed, and fabric and notions are tucked into every nook and cranny of the room. It all has to move out so that guests can sleep! So this week I've been chipping away at organizing everything, because tidy fabric takes up a lot less room. And tidy fabric in containers will be simpler to move into *our* bedroom later.

My string scraps had gotten quite disorganized, so I'm trying something new. It's that most wonderful time of year, allergy season, so we have a seemingly infinite supply of empty Kleenex boxes which I'm using to sort by color. Box color doesn't match fabric color, alas. And yes, that is a bathroom sink off to the left. This is the tiny guest loo; I sat on the lid of the potty to take the photo.

Of course, the very best way to organize fabric is to sew with it. And it seems that every time I started refolding a pile, I found something that could just as easily be sewn up into a project as put away for later.

One box contained a bunch of charm squares from various fabric lines. Back when I was a rank beginner, I fell prey to the lure of charms. Meghan of The Bitchy Stitcher calls them "quilter's crack" because they are so addictive and yet often so useless.  One pack isn't enough for anything, and I had single packs of Fossil Fern, Valorie Wells, Kaffe Fassett and heaven knows what else. So I sewed them into quarter square triangle (QST) blocks by color family and now they feel like they could become a cohesive future project. I had to include the obligatory shot of the trimmings, because that seems to be "thing" with quilters.

I also found a mini charm pack, an even more useless item. But at 2.5", the little squares are so cute!! It was a freebie of American Made solids that I got in Houston last year. Still feeling the QST love, I stitched up this pillow front and edged it with a piece of grey linen that had no other foreseeable use.

I've already sandwiched the pillow top and it's ready for quilting. The back is the last piece of the Makower UK holiday fabric from the Advent Calendar I made a couple weeks ago. It's cute fabric, but doesn't match any other Christmas stuff I have, so it will be hidden inside the pillow.

Next I made backings for three finished quilt tops, and matched them up with the right sizes of batting pieces. You might recall that I use a bit of painter's tape to label the batting with its size. That's been working so well that I decided to do the same with tops and backings. Otherwise I keep measuring the same things over and over again! "Hmm, is this the one that's 42"x50", or is it 46"? I think this backing is 52"? Will this batting be an inch too small?" So you can see bits of blue tape on everything now. The tops in this photo will be revealed in another post.

This super soft piece of brown herringbone flannel was kicking around without a home, so I added a bit of an Asian inspired quilting cotton to make a nice infinity scarf. I don't use much flannel, and most of my stash is kid-themed, so this brown just needed to be something else. Problem solved!

This is a very thin lumbar pillow for my chair, to help improve my posture while sitting. My normal position tends to curl me forward which has not been helping my sore shoulder. The pillow, really just a pad, is made of scraps of fleece covered with this little house print. That jaunty angle for the photo hides a strange stain on the chair. You're welcome.

I used the rest of the house print to recover the pad on Sean's computer lap tray. The original had completely disintegrated and we were talking about buying another tray before I had a "duh!" moment and just recovered it. My matching lap tray of the exact same vintage isn't wearing out at all, so I don't know what my husband does with his kneecaps while I'm not looking.

Last but not least, I cut the science and math improv piece into circles for the next stage of that project. I'll be piecing them into some Essex linen background which I'm actually buying NEW. I scored some Essex used on eBay this spring and fell in love with it, but it doesn't come up often in my searches. Craftsy is having a great sale this week, though. I will have to wait 2-3 weeks before we have a good delivery address, so I must be patient.

And that's about it for projects for the rest of the day, because the studio now looks like this. What you are looking at is the entry way of the room, with the floor panel pulled up. That exposes the four foot deep bilge below it, which now has a fan blowing into it to dry it out. Last night at 2am, the shower sump pump failed and dumped a couple gallons of soap scummy water into the bilge. We have a VERY loud alarm that goes off when that happens, and we got the flooding stopped, but it takes a while to get it all dried out. In the meantime, I'd rather not step across that hole very often. I fell into it a couple years ago and don't need to repeat that spectacular bruising performance.


  1. You have been busy with your little projects. Great idea for using charm packs! I have a few hanging around, waiting for something. Enjoy your visitors!

  2. Louise, enjoyed the tour and hearing about your process! Quilter's crack...that's cute, but true!

  3. Excellent post, Louise! Love seeing what you've been up to, and as usual, am very motivated by your progress! I keep a mini charm pack and a bag of hexie templates in my to go bag for emergencies. Heaven help me if I can't keep my hands busy! I love what you did with yours! Enjoy your guests! XO

  4. Great ways to use up some more fabric! Have you checked out Twiggy and Opals use of charms- you can use charms or mini charms. I love making these.

  5. Wow, you've been so productive!! Both organizging and sewing. Love those QST's you made. Way to go!!

  6. you have been busy. I find when I am tidying there are all sorts of 'projects' to start, finish, do something with too..... great idea with the labelling - I'll do that too!

  7. Love your creativity with all your small pieces. I found that quilting in my small space it's a most to keep everything organized. Your use of Kleenex boxes is brilliant! I keep a tote in our storage building where I dump all my strings when we are in the area. Dread separating them by color. Enjoy your cruise down the Mississippi. From Tiptonville TN to Vicksburg is all familiar territory for me.


Please feel free to leave a comment and I'll reply as soon as I can.