More on Go Bags

Reader Colleen was kind enough to leave a comment about her experience with quiltmaking Go bags. She wrote, which reminded of more detail I should have included: “I do have a go bag. It’s one of those big, flat bags they sold about 10 years ago that holds an 18×24 cutting mat and a 6×24 ruler, plus lots of pockets and sections for smaller tools and a project.

I don’t actually like it for carrying projects. I got plastic lidded totes that are about twice the size of a shoebox, that seem to work well.

While I do have some duplicate tools, I have created a list of what I need to take, so I can grab the items quickly when packing up. I just joined my quilting group last year, so I also wrote down everyone’s name and a brief description, so I could refresh my memory before going the first couple times.”

Best Bag Ever
Best Bag Ever

A go bag like the black one I showed doesn’t include everything I need to sew at Sew Day, on retreat or in a class. This bag includes basic supplies. I also have a flat bag like Reader Colleen describes. I probably wouldn’t have made myself a bag like this, but I got it in a swap. I find that it is very useful. It keeps a large rotary mat flat, a few rulers and a flattish, portable ironing board ready to go on a moment’s notice. I don’t always take this bag, but I have it available if I need it.

The point, however, is that I can’t just grab the black bag and go. I need to pack. The black bag does not include projects or fabric, specialty supplies or a sewing machine.

ArtBin Project Box

As Reader Colleen says I also put some of my active projects into ArtBin project boxes. I just started this practice in the last year. I also use larger bins (larger projects, quilting) from the Container Store. As I said in that post from last year, I like the fact that they are stackable and I can keep all the stuff for one project (or a group of projects like the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club bag supplies) together. This helps A LOT with Grab & Go.

Whatever is leftover and loose, I toss into a Chubby Charmer. Sometimes, these items end up in the project box/bin later; sometimes not. On a good day, I have 4-5 bags and boxes with me plus a sewing machine sometimes. This is a lot of stuff, but it is much more organized than having to cannibalize the supplies from my workroom, hunt through fabric for a project and find notions. I like to be organized in this way, because it gets me sewing or working on my project faster.

Quiltmaking Go Bag

At Sew Day the other day people were asking to borrow various items from each other. I dont’ mind loaning thing, but am a huge proponent of  quiltmaking Go bags. Even if you have a Go bag, there is always something not included. One of the advantages of Sew Day and group sewing is being able to continue with your project because you can borrow something. This whole scenario led me to think about quiltmaking Go bags.

A ‘Go’ bag is just like what they talk about in spy films except with quiltmaking supplies you take to class, retreat or Sew Day rather than clothes and new identity credentials. I have one that I have developed over the years. It is a great help to just pick up the bag and know I have a rotary cutter, mat, rulers, snips, and other basic supplies that I need for my projects. I like not having to hunt for them around my workroom to take to class. I like not having to cannibalize my workroom supplies to go on retreat. The downside is that I have duplicates of a lot of tools and they have to live somewhere.

Small Go bag supplies
Small Go bag supplies

The way my system works is that my Go bag has static supplies. As mentioned, I consider static supplies to be things I won’t use up like fabric or thread. Rulers, mats, rotary cutters, scissors, etc are all static supplies. I can just grab this bag when I am packing for a class or Sew Day and know that it is ready. For supplies like fabric and thread, patterns, etc, I toss all relevant items for a project into one of my Chubby Charmers. When I return, the Go bag is slotted back into its home and the Chubby Charmer gets unpacked.

I don’t like to have to hunt around for static supplies, which is why I have worked on gathering duplicates. Having duplicates is also helpful when someone comes over to sew.

Quilting Go Bag
Quilting Go Bag

My current, actual Go Bag bag, made of some kind of washable slick-ish fake leather/plastic, was a premium from some makeup I bought about 1,000 years ago. It has one main section and six pockets around the outside. The main pocket zips closed although I have no idea when it was last zipped closed. It can be set down on a damp surface with no harm to the contents. It looks ok, but it is showing its age. The handles are getting especially worn.

Small travel sewing supplies
Small travel sewing supplies

In the bag I have a Tupperware box that has a removable tray. This box holds all the small static supplies I might need such as rotary cutters, snips, writing implements, latex gloves, WonderClips, etc. All the small things that need to be corralled are contained here. This box is starting to be too small and I am considering replacing it. I made the Tool Tote last year with the intention of replacing the box, but never made the exchange. I am not sure why. The making drama I experienced sewing the Tool Tote, perhaps?

Runs with Scissors Tote
Runs with Scissors Tote

After the Sew Day discussion, I started to think again about replacing my Go bag and the Tupperware box. I think I really need to upgrade my bags and totes. The problem is that they are working fine, except for the Tupperware box tight squeeze, but are showing their age.

During this thought process, I remembered the Runs with Scissors tote I mentioned in a January Various & Sundry post last year. Mrs. K was kind enough to gift me the pattern. It might be the right tote to replace the Tupperware box. The problem is that I need a bag that will hold the tote. I need this imaginary tote to be large enough to fit everything currently in my Go bag and made of a material that will not allow damp to seep through. A special Chubby Charmer might work, but I am thinking that I might need to buy something.

Quiltessa Ultimate Carryall Bag
Quiltessa Ultimate Carryall Bag

The other bag I am thinking of is the Ultimate Carry All by Quiltessa Natalie. Natalie was kind enough to allow me to post one of her photos. I bought the pattern and have started to assemble the supplies, but haven’t dedicated much time to this project yet. In terms of going to class, I am thinking that the Runs with Scissors tote could hold more flat items like scissors and this Ultimate Carry All could hold more dimensional items, such as the small iron, extension cord, light, pincushions, etc. If I used both, I would still need a larger bag in which to place them.

This is still a work in progress, as you can see. Questions:

  • Do you have a quiltmaking (or other craft) Go bag?
  • Do you have duplicates of your static supplies or do you have a system for swapping them in and out.

2019 Cutting Chart

Once again, it has been awhile since I showed my cutting chart. It is something I meant to do in January, but it never seemed to get done. The same thing happened last year, so it has still been a year, which is my actual goal. Once a year.

2019 Cutting Chart
2019 Cutting Chart
  1. Spin Wheel – 3.5×4.5 rectangle – all fabrics except background fabrics
  2. Blue Lemonade – 2×2 square – blue, green and purple
  3. 30 Something – 2.5 x 4.5 rectangle – foreground and background
  4. 30 Something -1.5 x 2.5 rectangle
  5. 30 Something – 2 7/8 x2 7/8 square
  6. 30 Something – 1.5 x 1.5 square. I also cut one of these for a friend and send those off when I have a chance.
  7. 2.5″ squares for different projects. One square is for the 16 patch donation blocks, one is on spec and one is for FOTY 2019
  8. 5″ squares – no particular project, but I thought it might be a good idea to start storing some up for a future project. The impetus was that DH got me a 5″ square keeper for my birthday. That’s as good a reason as any, right?
  9. Half Hexie Stars – 3.5 x 12.5 rectangle
  10. Blue Gradation quilt – 2.5 x 4.5 rectangle – this has been on the Dream Projects list since at least 2014. It might be time to put up or shutup.
  11. Pink Gradation quilt – 2.5 x 4.5 rectangle –
  12. – this has been on the Dream Projects list since at least 2014. It also might be time for me to put up or shutup about this project. I am not sure how many gradation type projects I can do in a row.

As you know, one of the major aspects to my quiltmaking is hunting and gathering. I prefer to make quilts, usually, that use a lot of fabrics. I think many different aquas will be more interesting than just one. This means that many projects, I need to cut a lot of patches from a wide variety of fabrics. It doesn’t work for me to decide to start such a project, open up a fabric bin and start cutting. I don’t want to always stand that long, I get bored and the whole situation results in me hating the project or just stopping about halfway through. Also, if I use that strategy, I get tend to have too many of one color and not enough of others. None of this is good for my stress level and definitely not they way I want my quiltmaking to be.

My system, which I have explained in similar terms before, is that once a project is in my queue, I decide if it requires a ton of cutting. If it does, I can figure out what kind of cutting I need to do (coordinated fabrics or scrappy fabrics as well as size). Either requirement can work with my system. Then I put the shape and color on my list, which I keep the list near my cutting table.  When I have a new piece of washed and ironed fabric I have a good list of exactly what to cut.

Also, I don’t know of another way to really randomize this type of fabric selection. Cutting from fabrics I buy new or pull out to use seems like as good a way as any. Also, as an added bonus, I use fabrics that I like right now -> immediately.

Another problem I had was that I would take fabrics out of bins and find that NOTHING would be cut from them. Not one square. Shameful! This problem was alleviated by the Fabric of the Year project. You can read about the beginnings of that project for me in a post from 2008. Using this method for cutting started the solution to my Hunting and Gathering.

As I got use to cutting one shape, the Fabric of the Year shape, out of new fabrics, it became easier to cut more than one shape. I thought it was a good idea and it became easier to use this new system to make progress on projects I was not yet ready to start sewing. Pretty soon I was up to the number of pieces I am cutting now. And the stacks of those pieces were piling up.

I also found that the fabrics became less precious. I started not to save them for a better project. This meant that fabrics that I loved RIGHT NOW were in a project RIGHT NOW.  I also found out, which I have talked about in terms of the FOTY projects, which fabrics were going to work for other projects. I could go and buy more before it was 3 years later and too late to buy more.

Now, there are many fewer fabrics that not been cut into. When I buy fat quarters, there is not much of them left after all this cutting.

One of the great things about cutting pieces from new fabrics is that it is a great warm-up. Sometimes when I need to get started, pressing fabric and cutting new pieces from new fabrics is a good way to get started. If I have 10 minutes, I can cut, feel like I made progress and got a little stress relief in.

Sewing Machine Table Mats

On Instagram, @Lillyellasworld has a sew-a-long happening for the Undercover Maker’s Mat. The pattern is free. People have made the whole mat and they are showing some great versions of this pattern. I also saw one with a heart instead of a butterfly. Despite the foundation piecing, I am thinking of making one for retreats. I can’t see using it at home, but it would be really useful to keep everything organized while I am away.

As a result, I was thinking about sewing machine mats in general. Before I madethe Undercover Maker’s Mat, I wanted to see what else what out there.  As I am wont to do, I did an image search. I found a lot. Still, after sifting through the duplicates, I found a few that were interesting.

I know you are wondering about the Crafty Gemini Sewing Machine Table Mat & Organizer. I made it (and am not showing  it to you yet, because it will be a gift, so stay tuned) and am not super happy with it. I didn’t do a crappy job and it isn’t ugly, but it isn’t for me. It’s possible I won’t like the Undercover Maker’s Mat either in which case I will try one of the other free tutorials that are available.

One that was interesting was a tutorial from Michelle of Creatively Blonde. I like the way it looks tailored and hangs down in the front of the machine.

I also like the way the We All Sew tutorial has a long length. I also like the rainbow.

Katie from Katie’s Quilting Corner has a tutorial that clearly shows how to customize the tutorial for the size of your sewing machine.

The thing that is great about the Crafty Mummy pattern is the scissor loop.

I like the pattern in issue 35 of Love Patchwork & Quilting – free pattern not available. I like the way the front hangs down. I don’t know that I would put all vinyl in the front, but I know why the vinyl is used.

And then, I found that someone did a list of table mats already.

Indulgent and Pragmatic

Accuquilt Go!
Accuquilt Go!

The other day I wrote about using the Accuquilt to cut up some scraps. SherriD asked me some questions about the Accuquilt and it made me realize I had never really articulated how I use my Accuquilt. Perhaps I have and I just can’t find it in the blog?

I bought the Accuquilt on sale in order to cut about 10,000 strips for the Renewed Jelly Roll Race quilt. I felt like it was an indulgent purchase, but also somewhat pragmatic. It worked really well for that type of cutting (as long as I was able to straighten the fabric accurately). I don’t have a large cutting table so cutting long strips can be a nightmare of folding. The Accuquilt works really well for this purpose.

I determined, early on in my Accuquilt ownership, that I was not going buy every die. I also did not plan to buy the applique’ dies. I don’t do much applique’ and I saw no reason to clutter up my shrinking fabric closet with dies I would never use. Having a complete collection is not important to me.

I also decided I would buy basic dies – squares and strips. I want dies that give me as many options as possible, so I buy sizes of squares, mostly, that I can use in various quilts. 2.5 inch squares is the die I use the most for ‘on spec’ cutting. I also use the 2 inch die as I am still collecting blue, green and purple squares for the Blueberry Lemonade quilt I plan to make at some point.

Accuquilt-HRT die
Accuquilt-HRT die

I have branched out a little. I have an HRT die. Never used, but I have it. It is a great example of why I try to be careful about the dies I buy. I bought it thinking I could pair it with 2.5 inch square a la the Spiky Stars quilt. It isn’t the right size. That is an obvious drawback for dies. With rulers, you can cut whatever size you need. The dies are usually limited to one size. I have seen dies with multiple shapes or sizes, but that isn’t always the case.

I often use SIL’s Peaky & Spike die, so much so that I have thought of buying my own. Up until now using hers is fine. She and I coordinate die buying now that we live near each other. That expands both of our collections.

Triangles are a pain to cut, so I either use the Triangle Technique or some other quick cutting method. Triangles are great to cut with the Accuquilt, but I haven’t invested in the dies. I have a few, I think, but I find they often aren’t the right size for my project.

I probably would have bought the electric version if it had been available when I was shopping. If you are thinking of a die cutter, see if a local shop has one they rent. Some shops do and that can be a good way to try them out.

The bottomline is that there is no one way for me to cut. I use rulers, dies, templates and whatever else works for my project. Do what works for you.


Cutting Scraps

I am in a little bit of a quiltmaking funk at the moment. Not sure why except work is taking a lot of brainpower. One of the results of these feelings is that I tidy. You saw the column quilt I posted the other day. That was the result of leftover pieces and blocks.

Accuquilt work on scraps
Accuquilt work on scraps

At Craft Night on Monday, I brought down a drawer full of scraps and cut them up with my Accuquilt. I made it through the whole, mostly white, drawer and came up with, perhaps, 80-100 2.5 inch squares. I’ll have a good supply for donation block backgrounds.

Project Organization

Project boxes
Project boxes

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had bought some project boxes. I have few boxes and baskets that I used for various things, mostly gathering fabrics together for various reasons that I often quickly forget. I hadn’t really used project boxes before. After I brought the boxes home, I actually did put projects in them almost immediately.

While this is a teetering stack, it actually works a lot better than the stack of fabrics I was using before. First, all the stuff for a project is all together. I can even put smaller trays of cut pieces inside the larger boxes. Second, they are much easier to move. I pick up one or two, put them aside and then the step stool is usable again. Finally, I don’t have to hunt around for materials. All the materials are in one place (3 might be the same as 1, but they are different in my mind).

After I got the larger boxes organized, I cleaned out the smaller boxes and re-purposed them to organizing projects as well. The small box with the handle has all of my Crafty Gemini Organizer Club supplies in it except for that fusible foam stuff, which doesn’t fit. It would fit in one of the larger bins, but all I had was the smaller one. Needs must.

Two bins have fabrics and such for the Stepping Stones n.2. That is a lot of organizer bin real estate devoted to one project, but scrappy projects will do that to you. I hope to finish that project soon (though I haven’t worked on it recently, so not sure how it will happen.

All in all, I am pretty pleased with this solution. I need to sew more to get through projects, but that is a completely different issue.

2018 Cutting Chart

It has been awhile since I showed my cutting chart. It is something I meant to do in January, but it never seemed to get done. The previous post describes my process very well.

2018 Cutting Chart
2018 Cutting Chart

I am still working on some of the same projects as I was the last time I showed my cutting chart, but others are off the chart and finished. I think the number of patches I am cutting seems very paltry, but at least I have some organization. I think I should add grey windmill pieces to the list, because I still don’t have enough for that project and I would like to get going on it. I didn’t think of it until now.


Organization Update

Someone asked a question in a comment this week about organization. This sent me back in time to review my posts on organization, as it is always easier to point someone to a previous blog post than to write the whole thing over and over. Not that you aren’t worth it, of course. 😉

Organization of Fabric Closet: Plastic Bins
Organization of Fabric Closet: Plastic Bins

I am not sure I ever said, but I store most of my fabric, primarily, by color in plastic bins. Occasionally, I will put a special group of fabric together. For example, I have some silk fabrics in one bin (bottom right). I can’t buy those bins anymore, which is too bad, because I like the flat tops, but in an ideal world I would have some other system where the fabric wasn’t confined like it is in the bins. I am grateful to have the bins, but if I need light blues, there is a lot of manhandling that has to happen before I can get that bin out.

Fabric Closet Drawer System
Fabric Closet Drawer System

Some fabrics have spilled over to other parts of the closet, so I can’t just look in the orange bin if I want orange fabrics. I also have a drawer system, holds a lot of my dots. Not all, but a lot.

TFQ helped me pick out this as well. I like it and it holds a lot.

One issue I have is non-fabrics and non-patterns. I have pre-cuts waiting for me to make my intended project. I have blocks from the City Sampler project. I also have blocks from the quilt class with Frances. These are still a problem I haven’t resolved. I put them where I can find some space. This isn’t an ideal solution. The pictures in this post from 2008 make me sentimental for the good old days when this closet was clean. At least, I am continually removing fabric I no longer want to use for my own projects and making it into donation quilts or giving it to the guild. I am also paying more attention to fabric I buy so I don’t buy things that will end up in a donation quilt sometime.

Translucent Office Storage Boxes
Translucent Office Storage Boxes

One of the posts I wrote talked about organizing projects in project boxes. I have a couple of project boxes like the ones pictured and I don’t use them for projects. I want to use them for projects, but they take up more space than file folders. In my current space, with the current furniture, etc, it isn’t possible. The ones I have I use for patterns, especially bag patterns. And they are full, which means that I have to start churning out bags. HA! We’ll see since I have two bags on my to do list and all of those patterns are bags on my ‘someday’ list.

As I mentioned in another previous post, I still use the hunting and gathering method to make quilts. At the moment I am hunting and gathering for at least the following someday quilts:

  • FOTY 2015
  • SpinWheel
  • Blue Lemonade
  • Windmill
  • Pink gradated quilt
  • Blue gradated quilt
  • 30 Something quilt
Patch boxes
Patch boxes
'Free', but unstable organization
‘Free’, but unstable organization

There are other patches as well such as 2.5″ squares (you just never know when you will need some), donation patches, random HSTs and others.

I still use the scone boxes for hunting and gathering, though that trickle of new boxes has slowed. The company changed the cranberry orange scone recipe 🙁 and they just aren’t as good as they used to be. Not bad, but not worth the 360 calorie commitment. The scone boxes are a good size, but they have some issues. The rounded edges don’t poke me, which is not. They also don’t stack very well because of those rounded edges. Also, being disposable, the plastic is pretty thin and tends to break easily. Still since they come into the house filled with something rather than empty, they are economical.

Of course, I probably shouldn’t stack them 8-10 high. Fortunately they don’t open and spew fabric patches everywhere when they do fall. One thing to think about would be not to have so much hunting and gathering going on all at once.

I have a few miscellaneous plastic, former food containers as well. Good ones, for me, come from chocolate covered cherries and spinach.

At some point, I plan to replace these with more stackable and sturdier boxes.

There is a lot of other stuff to organize in my workroom, but it is all badly stored if adequately organized and I don’t want to show you photos. I really want better shelves or something for my books, embellishments, etc. I think I will be able to work better and get more day.

Off to buy a lottery ticket!

Rethinking Scraps

I was reading Pam’s recent Sunday Stash post after listening to her podcast and thinking that perhaps I should rethink my scrap storage. I bought a little drawer system some time ago, which works pretty well.

Scrap Organization
Scrap Organization

Still, random sizes of scraps doesn’t work that well except for mosaic piecing. Piles of scraps shoved in a drawer are not fun.

Pam and Bonnie Hunter cut their scraps into certain sizes. Pam has talked about the sizes she uses, which differ from Bonnie’s slightly. Bonnie calls her system the Scrap User’s System, which is a good moniker. I have just never embraced that method, because I never seem to have the right project for some of the sizes. And I don’t want to make projects just because I have certain sizes of patches.

Bonnie Hunter Scrap Saver Systems:

  • strips in sizes of 1.5″, 2″, 2.5″, 3″ and 3.5″. These are strips 12″ or longer.
  • Patches 1.5″, 2″, 2.5″, 3.5″ squares
  • bricks in 2″X3.5″ and 2.5″ X 4.5″

Bonnie Hunter writes “*Note* Just for your information, did you know that you could get three 1.5″ strips, three 2″ strips and three 2.5″ strips all from a 1/2 yard of fabric and it would be out of your nagging stash, into your strip bins and ready to be used? If you really want to slice up larger pieces, this is the way to go. Cut a few slices of different sizes and feed them into their bins! You’ll be using those strips in no time.”

Pam’s Scrap System:

  • 2″, 3 1/2″, 5″ and 10″ squares
  • 2 1/2″x WOF strips
  • random 2 1/4″ strips (since I got rid of strings I will keep 2 1/4″ wide strings to use for scrappy bindings)

As I was cleaning out my magazine pile, I came across the magazine I bought last year and was reminded of Joan Ford’s system. It is a little different and much simpler than Bonnie Hunter’s. I did a pretty thorough review after I bought the magazine. With this system we have the following sizes:

Joan Ford ScrapTherapy / Scrap+1 System:

  • Squares: 2″, 3.5″ and 5″

Of course, I do cut certain sizes from new yardage and have let that practice bleed over to some scraps as I make them. I don’t usually go to the scrap bin later and do a bunch of cutting, though I do think that would be a good idea. Generally, I cut the following out of new fabric:

  • 1.5″ squares – all colors
  • 2″ blue, purple and green squares
  • 2.5″ squares – all colors
  • 3″x3″ squares – used fabrics (for FOTY)
  • 5.5″x3″ rectangles – new fabric (for FOTY)

I do use the scraps from the actual scrap bin for various things. I sew my scraps using the mosaic piecing method to make journal covers and other small items. I also fill in weird places on the backs of quilts using scraps.

If I make a scrap quilt, I want it come out like Scrapitude in its cheerfulness and fun style. I do NOT use Bonnie Hunter’s method of just grabbing any color and using it. I want my quilts to look good and that means choosing pieces carefully. That is designing.

I do believe in using up my fabric. I have a working collection and not just a collection so the above would make sense for fabrics that I like, but aren’t going to be used for a project.

The other sad part is that my scraps are bugging me and I need to do something about them. Pulling all of these systems together

One Hour Basket #2

One Hour Basket #2
One Hour Basket #2

I wanted to make some progress on something. I felt like I wasn’t making progress on anything, so I got out my To Do list and looked up what I felt like doing. The first thing I did was make progress on the Pinkalicious Journal Cover.

Once that project was well on its way, I made a second One Hour Basket. I don’t think it took me an hour, even if I subtract the time it took to sew pieces of Soft & Stable together. It didn’t take much longer, though. I was pleased to get something finished.

Sewn together Soft & Stable
Sewn together Soft & Stable

I had some weird pieces of Soft & table leftover that were on the small and thin side. I decided I had enough to use as stabilizer for this pattern. I sewed them together much like I would sew a piece of Frankenbatting together. I was able to use most of the leftover S&S, which pleased me.

The pattern is free on Craftsy, I think and the directions are fairly good. The weird part is that the pattern uses 3 different seam allowances for this one pattern. I think there is something off as the lining seems a bit baggy when the whole piece is finished. It is fine for my purposes, but if I were going to give it as a gift, I might use a slightly larger seam allowance for the lining. If I make more I’ll have to play around.

One Hour Basket #2
One Hour Basket #2

I am pleased that I got something done and have something I can cross of my list.

One Hour Basket

One Hour Basket
One Hour Basket

I finally made something in which to store the TP! Hooray! Only one, though, so I have another for the other bath off my to do list.

This is not a difficult project and I am glad I made it when I did, which was at the end of a long day of sewing. It was a very satisfying day where I was basically getting stuff done that had been hanging around on my to do list for way too long.

One Hour Basket
One Hour Basket

I needed less than a yard of fabric. The partial half yard worked fine for the exterior.

The following are simply some things to know about or to consider:

  • The pattern used three different seam allowances
  • I did not have fusible fleece on hand, so I used leftover Soft and Stable
One Hour Basket Side with Soft & Stable
One Hour Basket Side with Soft & Stable

Since I used Soft and Stable I sewed a couple of lines of quilting to attach the fabric to the Soft and Stable. Also, I had to do a Franken-batting job to the Soft and Stable, because I only had small pieces and didn’t want to open my new package. I used a very large zigzag stitch to hold the parts together. Where you see the zigzag in the picture (left) is where I had to sew bits and pieces of the Soft & Stable together.

I did a few lines of quilting since the pattern calls for fusible fleece and Soft & Stable isn’t fusible, just to keep the fabric attached. I don’t think it was really necessary, but it made me feel better.

The one thing I couldn’t do was add some Vinyl Fuse to the bottom. I like to do this for bags to keep them clean. I only add the VinylFuse if I can also sew all the sides of the Vinyl Fuse into a seam since there is a possibility of the fusible coming away from the fabric. Since this is for use in the bathroom and there is always a possibility of water on the floor, it would have been nice. On the other hand, I can always make a new one if this one gets nasty, especially now that I know how easy it is.

I put this in the tote bag hashtag basket. I am not sure it is really a tote bag, but I don’t have a basket tag and I am not about to make one at this moment. I may make a few more of these, but not tons, so into the ‘tote bag’ hashtag bucket it goes.

One Hour Basket in Use
One Hour Basket in Use

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with this project. Getting the TPoff the floor has been on my list for an eternity. Finally! Yay!

Tanesha over at CraftyGardenMom website and podcast made one of these. I love the fabrics she chose! Pam at Hip to be a Square podcast made one as well.

Quilt Display

How to Display Quilts
How to Display Quilts

We live in a house called a Doelger House. It is split level and very open plan. That means we have a railing in the hall that is open to our living room. After I ran out of space in the Fabric Closet, where I hang quilts, I started draping them over this railing.

Basically the photo shows one area of my house and how we display quilts.

Recently we had dinner guests and they wanted a quilt show. We pulled quilts off of the chairs, couch and rail in our living room and held up many, many quilts.It was really fun to see some quilts I hadn’t pulled out in a long time. It is also always interesting to hear the reaction of people who really don’t sew or make quilts.

My friend, also a law librarian, commented on how different the quilts were and what a lot of creativity was involved. My thought was “if I was allowed to use this creativity to solve problems at work, my library and information services would be way more awesome than they are.” I don’t know where that popped from but it was kind of a revelation. Lesson? Show your quilts to non-quiltmakers!

As  you have seen on this block I make a lot of quilts. I do give some away, but a lot of them just pile up around the house. They get used as nap quilts or TV watching quilts, but mostly they just pile up.

Some of you may think that is a big waste, but making the quilts really keeps me sane and able to live with people.

I actually have at least two quilts that I need to send off as gifts; I just need to spend a little time wrapping and packaging and writing notes. I just haven’t done it yet.

The Rag Man

In various books I have read, especially set in Edwardian England, a Rag Man has been mentioned. This person, presumably not always a man, came around and collected scraps of cloth, clothes to worn to use any more, bits of fabric too small for quilts, etc. That is all I know and I have to say that I have longed for a way to get rid of fabric (not quilt fabric!), items made of fabric that are no good for the various charities that take clothes and linens. I just hate tossing them and thinking of this perfectly good fabric, once cleaned and shredded and reused for …what? Something no doubt — ending up in a landfill. Sadly, no such person is forthcoming.

I was thinking of my mythical Rag Man last Friday when I tried to cram some recently washed socks into an overflowing sock drawer. I thought of him again two minutes later when I tried to do the same with some undergarments. That was it. I took everything out of the drawers, both sock and undergarments, one at a time, and sorted the good from the bad, then reorganized the drawers.

In the process, I found some handkerchiefs with the brown spots that come from fabric touching wood. I decided that I would line the couple of drawers I was cleaning out.

As an aside, I like a clean and tidy house, but I am much happier when someone else lines the drawers and cupboards. As I moved to this house when the Young Man was six months old, and I was more concerned about keeping the tiny being alive than lining the drawers, the drawers of my dresser were never lined.

Mod Century Geometrics Dots in Cream
Mod Century Geometrics Dots in Cream

My mind raced around the house for Contac paper or some other type of drawer liner. Nothing came to mind until my mind’s eye rested on the ironing board where I had pressed but not yet cut up a half yard of one of the Mod Century background prints. When I thought of fabric I thought “yes, something warm, but fresh and light.”

Pretty soon, I was cutting a rectangle of the fabric for my underwear drawer and glue sticking it directly to the wood of the drawer. Probably not the ‘right’ way to do it, but since the interior designer had the day off, I went ahead. The sock drawer was next and a giant pile of singles and knee socks went out. I put some more of the Mod Century print down to line the drawer, put the revitalized socks back in an order that surely only makes sense to me and felt very pleased with myself.

Drawer lining in process
Drawer lining in process

We have a lot of house projects to do. There is a long out of date list somewhere that is overwhelming to me every time I come across it. I have decided that one drawer is good. One shelf makes progress. Getting rid of three blouses that have not been worn since 2004 creates space and lightness and that is all good. I don’t have to clean out the entire closet at a go. Incremental or iterative progress is good.

The funny thing is that with this mini-success, I am eying the closet hungrily and can feel the clothes in there quivering in fear. I am also looking at fabric in a new way. 😉

Drawer lining finished
Drawer lining finished

My Next Big Idea

I spent a happy hour last week in my workroom after dinner trying to get a handle on the un-ironed fabric that is causing havoc in my workroom. I feel like I have been ironing fabric forever. I know that is why many of you don’t pre-wash your fabric. Trust me, if it weren’t for the smell of burning chemicals when I press, I’d be right there with you. Still, I found a couple of pillowcase bodies that I had cut who knows when. I cut a couple of pieces of Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets dark green for the cuffs and pinned together a couple of pieces of fabric that will be pillowcases soon.

Pearl Bracelets
Pearl Bracelets

Yes, I am using up some precious Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets. Frankly, I have enough fabric and my fabric is currently overwhelming me, so it is a good use. Also, that green went really well with the taco and burrito fabric I had previously cut for the body of the pillowcase.

The above two paragraphs are a precursor to my post-Star Sampler idea. I don’t know if it will work, but I am going to try to work through some small projects and patterns for bags, etc. Of course, there are quilts on the 26 Projects list that I want/need to finish, so I will work on those. Also, I have bought a number of pieces of fabric for specific small craft items such as pillowcases. I want to get those sewn and out the door. I also have patterns and some fabric for other projects such as bags. I want to make another Petrillo bag. I need more journal covers. I am thinking that I am going to take some time and work on these types of projects. I am going to try, at least.

I may sneak some leaders and enders for charity quilts in, but that is my idea.