Friday, May 31, 2013

Does Stash Include Thread?

I've been trying so hard to use my stash rather than buy new fabric when I work on my quilts.  And I've been relatively good... hardly buying any new fabric this year or last, only when I absolutely had to to complete a quilt. 

But today I ordered 6 new spools of Aurifil in colors I didn't have before.  I am working on two applique blocks and just didn't have the thread to match to do the edge stitching on some of the applique pieces.  Aurifil isn't cheap, so six spools is a major investment, even at the discount price of $9.50 a spool.  (They are $12.00 each in the quilt shops, but the shops never carry the colors I needed this time, so I ordered online). 

So I started wondering about thread and whether or not it actually counts as stash too, and I think in my case it does - especially my Aurifil.  I'm sure there are people who have more than I do, but I DO have a lot of this wonderful thread.

Here is a pic of my Aurifil stash:
There are a few more spools that are sitting on machines at present that aren't in here, so there's actually even more... and a few spools in here that aren't Aurifil - like my invisible thread and a couple of Mettlers in colors I didn't have in Aurifil. 

So, I ask you, is this stash?  or just notions?  haha... I am in a quandary about this, to be honest.  If I have to count it as stash, I shouldn't be buying more, because I promised myself it was time to destash my life.  If it's 'just notions', I'm good and can buy more!

I know a lot of folks would say 60 is too young to worry about destashing, but honestly, I own too much fabric - I went a little crazy  buying the stuff when I first started quilting.  My husband will be retiring in 10 years or so, and we will probably be moving.  So I figure the less stash I have to move the better.

Thread is small, but it does add up... so I have this sticky question bugging me... Stash or not stash??

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Northern Wilderness Top is Finished

And here it is...

I finally finished making the pieced border and sewed on all three borders in the past couple of days (the last one went on yesterday - Weds. the 22nd of May). 

Making this quilt has been an amazing journey of trying to perfect my applique techniques and precision piecing.  Lots of fun!

I was going to consider sending this quilt to Stovers for quilting as I've seen some wonderful work come out of their company - but their website is disabled and I'm wondering if they're still in business.

It would make me very sad to have to find another custom quilter for this one.  For obvious reasons, an overall pattern or pantograph wouldn't work on this quilt at all.  It needs custom work and I don't want to quilt it myself.

Any suggestions on an alternative to Stovers?

Edit: Hooray!  Today I called Stovers and they are still there... they weren't even aware their website was down (*later edit*:  and it is now back up again).  I can still have them do my quilts!  I have two in the pipe, ready to send to them to have them do before I decide what level of quilting I want on this one (they have custom and heirloom, and I'm not sure which one I want... they also have pantographs, but I KNOW I don't want that).

Anyway, didn't mean to worry anyone - Stovers is still there and quilting away!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Journey to Alaska

Today I put together my Northern Wilderness quilt.  I got the sashing pieced, and the blocks put together.  A lot of fun just staying organized and sewing so the blocks were in the right order in the rows, and the rows in the right order as well.  But I got 'er done!

The quilt measured exactly 57x75 when I got done, which is what it was supposed to measure.  Yay for that.  I cut my border strips at 1.75 inches, just like I was supposed to.  I put borders on the sides of the quilt, and when I got done, it should have measured 59.5 inches wide, but instead it is measuring 60.5 inches wide now.  I can't figure out what's wrong and I'm feeling stymied.

I think I will just fold it up for now and let it sit for a day or two while I mull it over and decide how to proceed.

It's very discouraging to feel like you've done everything right and it comes out wrong anyway.  I'm sure somehow I'll figure something out, but I'm worried about the next border, as it is heavily pieced and the quilt needs to be the right size to put them on properly.

Ah well, it is what it is and I will somehow 'Make it Work!'

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mother's Day

So I know it's not traditional, but I tend to think of Mother's Day as May 5th.  It's the anniversary of my mother's death, and I always think of her a lot, but especially on that day.  So yesterday was a tough day for me.  Luckily I have my DH, who provided a lot of help and small distractions during the day to keep me from dwelling too much on sadness.  Then he invited a friend over to spend the evening with us, and we had a little fun playing board games and relaxing together. 

I did spend the early part of the day keeping busy cutting fabric and sewing, which is something my mother would have appreciated.  She was always the type to keep very busy - if she wasn't cleaning or working in her garden or cooking, she was crocheting or doing something creative.  She wasn't a quilter, but really appreciated the quilted items I made for her. 

So I worked on the sashings for my Northern Wilderness quilt.  I finished the last two pieced and appliqued blocks of the quilt earlier in the week:

These are the glacier and mountain blocks... I had saved the easiest two blocks for last because I'm lazy like that.  I knew I'd want to do the easiest ones at the end.  Turns out with the intricate trees on the glacier block, it wasn't the easiest, but it was close, and doing the two together was great because they used the same colors so doing them together, I had a lot fewer bobbin and thread changes to make.

I also found this little quilt that I'd made on retreat last year.  It is called "Sisters Nesting Dolls".  I bought the kit for it on my trip to Alaska at the QuiltAlaska/Rushin' Tailor shop... I think it was in Skagway, but I could be misremembering the town.  Anyway, I had finished the embroidery on the quilt and lost the pattern, so I wasn't sure what to do with the border fabrics - how wide to cut the strips, so I emailed the shop and they emailed me the information.  I just trimmed the block, and am working on borders now.

I am hoping to have at least the first borders on before Wednesday when I go to my weekly sew-in with my mini-group.  Then I can put the final borders on there.  The outer border fabric has nesting dolls all over it, so it will be very cute!

Once the Alaska quilt is done, I will be down to two appliqued BOMs to work on each month - a much more manageable than working on three, especially since the Woodland creatures blocks are very detailed and intricate.  My last kit was short a little fabric so even though I've partially done the block, I have to wait for my replacement fabric to finish the applique.  The shop was very nice about it and promised to send me the piece with my next block, so I'm looking forward to that. 

I've heard some horror stories about by-mail BOMs from some shops and them not replacing short or missing fabric.  But I have to say that Quilting by the Bay was very nice about it and even offered to mail the missing piece immediately, but it seemed silly for them to spend extra money on shipping when they are going to be shipping me another block in a couple of weeks anyway.

Anyway - I hope you are looking forward to the REAL Mother's Day and enjoying your own quilting journey.

A Mysterious start to the year

Well, I finished one of last year's mystery tops... The Meadow Mist Mosaic Mystery.  I have to say I really like how this one came out.....