Friday, August 22, 2008

It's Not Quilting But It's Fun Sewing!

Our ward is involved in a service project for the Humanitarian Center for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are making dresses to send to girls in Africa who need them to wear to school. Somebody very clever, I'm not sure who, figured out a way to make an absolutely darling dress using a t-shirt and adding a simple cotton gathered skirt. So very cute! Honestly, when I first saw the ones someone in our ward had made, I thought you could sell these in a store. Any little girl would be happy to wear one.

You can download the pattern at this website:

It's the simplest thing ever to make them, just straight sewing for the skirt and a little bit of cutting off the bottom of the t-shirt. You'll need a t-shirt, some fabric for the skirt, and a little bit of fusible interfacing to keep the bottom of the t-shirt from stretching. That's it! I have made two so far. They need them from sizes 2 through 14, so here's a picture of a size 2 dress and a size 14 dress. I made these two in about half-an-hour this morning. What a great way to use up your stash and how rewarding to use it for such a good cause. I have lots more t-shirts ready for skirts that I plan to do in the next few days when I have some spare time. Come join me!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yoyos Old and New and Organizing Update

I finished sewing all my lovely red, white, and blue yoyos together to make my flag, which is now framed and sitting on my quilt shelf in the kitchen. I love it! And I love yoyos. They are so easy to make, so quick to sew together, and so darn cute, plus as many of you may know, the best dog in the world was named Yoyo. He was my dog from age 12 to age 18, when he met his untimely demise due to a love of chasing cars. I said he was a good dog, not a wise dog. I still miss him. Honestly. If I saw him today somewhere, I would be almost as happy to see him as anyone else in my family.

Here is a picture of the cloth Yoyos, and as for the dog, Yoyo, I used to have an old black and white photo of him, not very good, but now I can't even find it. I know it's around somewhere, not lost forever, but lost for now, so imagine a cute, little Lassie-esque dog, only smaller and that's Yoyo.

As for the organizing update, I have been having great success! I organized and refolded all my fat quarters, took out the ones that weren't really fat quarters (corner missing, too small, too big). Here is a picture of said fat quarters. I know you may not see the organization in this, but I can. I guess that's all that really matters.

The next thing I did was fold all yardage one-half yard or greater and put a label on it stating the yardage and the width. I just did labels written on masking tape. They don't stick all that great, but they're okay for right now. I don't want anything permanent anyway. I have two places for this yardage. The drawer below the fat quarters is for pieces one yard or less. Then I have a tote (not pictured) with anything over a yard. How jealous are you?

Lastly, here's a picture of some strips I have cut from scraps. I have cut widths from 12.5 inches down to 1.5 inches, basically leaving the scrap as big as I could. If it was big enough to make a fat quarter, I cut a fat quarter out of the scrap, put that with the fat quarters, and cut the rest into strips. I'm still trying to decide how to organize them, by size, by color, by type of fabric (flannel, stripes, florals, etc.) or a combination of all of the above. I would say I'm about a third of the way done with my scraps. I think they will be so much more usable now.

So hooray for me! Hooray for Yoyos (old and new)! Hooray for fabric that is so fun to cut and fold and touch and create with!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Scraps No More

I was lamenting to Lori the other day about all my bags of scraps and how useless they are, mostly because I don't remember I have them, and I don't like digging through bags to try and find something suitable, so I go buy more fabric, which is fun, but not necessarily frugal or even necessary. She told me a great idea for organizing my scraps, and then I read another good idea in the latest issue of American Patchwork and Quilting that I will also pass along for any who may not have read it.

Lori's idea is to take all your scraps and cut them into the largest usable size you can. You need to decide at the outset how small your smallest scrap will be. Personally, I don't think I'm going smaller than 1.5 inches, as that will make a one-inch finished square. That's small enough for me. So, utilizing Lori's plan, if you have a scrap that is smaller than a half-yard but bigger than a fat quarter, the first "scrap" you would cut is a fat quarter. Then from the remaining fabric you would cut squares as large as you can until the scrap is used up, and any itsy-bitsy leftover pieces you can feel good about throwing away.

Any fat quarters can then be put with your fat quarter stash, and the remaining squares can be sorted according to both size and color. For example, you might have a shoe box or Rubbermaid container, whatever, for all your eight-inch blocks, and within that container, blocks of different colors would be in different Ziploc bags. Or, conversely, you could have a container for all yellow fabrics, for example, with Ziploc bags for each size. I'm not sure which would be more useful. I suppose everyone will have their own preference.

The second idea for organizing scraps comes from Kathie Holland, whose quilt, "Scrap Happy" appears in the October 2008 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. Kathie buys half-yard cuts of fabrics, and then when she gets home, she cuts that half-yard into two fat quarters. One fat quarter she leaves as is, and the other fat quarter she cuts into strips of 6.5, 4.5, 3.5, and 1.5 inches. I haven't done the math, but I assume that uses up all the fat quarter. She organizes her stash then according to widths, not color. Kathie says this method gives her fabric to use for nearly any application, piecing or applique, including up to an 18-inch square from the fat quarter. For those of us who love the scrappy look, this is an awesome way to organize those fabrics.

I'm planning to use a combination of the two methods. If I have a half-yard of fabric, I will cut it like Kathie recommends. If my scrap is less, I will cut it into strips or squares as per Lori's suggestion. If the strip is long enough to be useable, I will keep it as a strip. If not, it then becomes a square. I think I want to organize by color and then by size, so my boxes will contain all strips or squares of one color, then organized by size.

I have a lot of work ahead of me to organize my fabric this way, but I think when I'm finished I will be amazed at how much fabric I have. I am hoping it will inspire me to make a lot more scrappy projects, as I love that look. Scrap on, quilters, scrap on!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Quilt Retreat!

At long last here are some pictures from the Sisters Quilt Retreat. I was going to call it the First Annual Sisters Quilt Retreat, but who knows where we'll all be next year, so it might not be annual. We'll definitely do it again, though. As they say, a fun time was had by all. There was much talking, amazing amounts of laughing, some tender moments, quite a bit of quilting fun, and even a brush with the law.

My project was the first one we did. It was a landscape quilt of three mountain peaks in the Canadian Rockies called the Three Sisters. Could there be a more appropriate quilting project for three sisters? I think not. Plus, it was an easy project, all fusible applique, and even though none of us got our quilts quilted, all of us got them finished and ready for quilting. As an added bonus, we also got to travel in person to see the Three Sisters in the Canadian Rockies near Canmore and take a picture of the three sisters with the Three Sisters. My absolute favorite quilt shop is in Canmore, Sugar Pine Quilts, and, well, let's just say it was a hit with all of us. We loved the fact that there were so many patterns, most of them with the option to buy a kit, in such a small store. Here are pictures of the three sisters with the Three Sisters and my landscape quilt (nine sisters in all in these photos).

Lori's project was the next one we did. She had brought prodigious amounts of fabric from both her stash and my mom's stash so that we could have lots and lots of choices while we made fabric postcards. I loved making fabric postcards. You can use up lots of cute fabric scraps. They go pretty quickly. You can embellish them within an inch of their lives, and, according to the lady at the post office where we went to mail some, you can mail them with no problem. Hopefully Vanessa and Emily get theirs soon. Here is a picture of the one I made for Jenny, my daughter's roommate. I also made one for my mom but did not take a picture of it before I gave it to her. Sorry!

Gayle had brought a fun book, Mosaic Picture Quilts, by Pat Durbin. We were hoping to get a chance to try making a landscape quilt out of a picture of Mom and Dad's house, but we ran out of time. I was very intrigued by this method of landscape quilting and I plan to try it sometime. Here's a picture of the book.

Lastly, my niece, Tresa, sent a project with her mom that became the hit of the quilt retreat because it was so portable and easy to take with us on road trips and do in front of the TV in the evenings. She gave each of us a Clover yo-yo maker and enough fabric squares to make a yo-yo American flag. I've only got about 20 of my yo-yos made, but here's a picture of the Clover yo-yo maker and five of my very cute yo-yos. I liked doing it so much that when I was in Utah the next week I bought the small Clover heart yo-yo maker and the small flower yo-yo maker. I highly recommend all three. Thanks, Tresa!

So that's the Sisters Quilt Retreat. I wish we could do it all again next month. I envy those of you with sisters at close proximity. I have to enjoy mine through email or phone calls or short but sweet in-person visits. Love you both!

Nothing of Significance

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Non-quilters do not understand quilters. Sure, some of them try, like my daughter, Denise, who went with Lori and I to six different quilt shops on Saturday. By about the third shop she was so bored she confided in me that she almost wished she had gone with her dad to look at underground sprinker system parts at Lowe's. Thanks for trying. I do appreciate it. I was not bored even by the sixth shop. In fact, I'm sure I could have gone to six more.

The second example and the title for this post comes from a non-quilter at the Canadian/US border. While crossing said border, my sisters were asked about purchases made in Canada by the US Border Patrol guy. When they said they had bought quilt patterns he said, "Oh, so nothing of significance." Well, I guess what he meant was they didn't spend much money, but to a quilter them's fightin' words. Wisely my sisters did not fight with the guy, who had a sidearm and probably wasn't afraid to use it, and who could have kept them at the border indefinitely and confiscated all their quilty stuff, but we were all a bit up in arms over the casual classification of our treasures as "nothing of significance."

Dear non-quilters, you don't have to like quilting, you just have to understand that we love it. It is of significance to us, and it is seldom, if ever, boring. We quilt because we love the joy of creating. It is not to have a "blanket". I personally don't even care if I keep what I quilt usually. It is the journey that we treasure, not the end result, although it is fun to have a project completed, but, honestly, we are looking forward to the next project (and usually starting it) before the first one is finished. To those of you who try to understand, thank you. To those of you who don't, it's a sad, sad little life you live.