Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Learning to make do

When I first started to quilt, my local quilt shop was a 40-minute drive away. I'd think nothing of hopping in the car to find the perfect fabric for whatever project I was about to embark on. Then I was even luckier when another shop opened up a mere 5 minutes away. Well, it was nothing for me to hop in the car or sometimes my bike and go check out the latest and greatest of whatever I needed. I was spoiled, to say the least.

Last year, the shop that was 5 minutes away closed. The owner wanted to retire and spend more time with her grandchildren. At first, I felt let down - I was going to miss chatting with the ladies in the store. I was going to miss zipping over at a moment's notice to grab some more fabric.

But in hindsight? This was a very good thing. While I do miss the lively conversations with the staff, I don't miss all that EXTRA fabric that I was buying! I would go in for something and come out with stuff that I didn't need. Although I do have to say that in the last year, I was getting much better. If I needed a quarter meter of something, I could go in and buy the quarter meter and get out with only that. It took a lot of discipline though!

Now when I need something, I'm shopping at Chez Elaine. I don't have the time to drive 40 minutes one way to look for fabric so I try to time my purchases at that shop when I'm teaching so I kill two birds with one stone. This is how I've been shopping lately.

I go into the stash room and I dig out the appropriate basket of fabric. I tip in out on the work tables and I search. There have been many times when I think to myself that this is NOT the exact fabric I want, but you know what? I make do with what I have. Saves time and money. Can you believe how rational I've become? I'm shocked but shoot - I've spent a lot of money on those baskets of fabric and I had better use it up or at least make a good attempt.

This is the neutral basket. There's NO printed muslin anymore, there isn't a lot of light "solid" neutrals anymore, so that might go on a future shopping list, but for the moment I'm good. Notice that the fabric is still spilling over the top - I don't need to buy more!

Basket of neutrals

Here's the brown basket. It's definitely spilling over the top. I rarely pull this basket out from the shelf. It's way down low. I guess I don't use brown often, but yet look how full that basket is. That's obscene. The purple basket is even worse. I rarely use purple and it's tucked in the bottom corner.

Brown fabric basket
And you'll notice that I use the term "brown" loosely here. Some of those could technically be in another basket but for the moment, this is their home. I've used this system for storing my fabric for many, many years and it definitely works for me. The brown basket looks much neater now that I sorted through it and picked out some fabrics and straightened it up. Since it was hard to get to, I just shoved browns on the top and not neatly either. I'll show you what I pulled in a minute.

Yesterday was Monday sewing and I got a lot of stuff done. I'm very happy with my progress, but when I look at that list of UFOs for last year and this year, well - I've got a long way to go. It's going to be crazy to get all that done. What have I been doing all year??

I did get a few more enders/leaders done. I'm almost through the stack for this step. Then a LOT of pressing to do and I can move onto the next step.

 I tackled those Farmer's Wife blocks. Seems like they will never end. I managed to get six of them completed. Yes - the one on the top left looks a bit wonky with all those different fabrics, but I'm working with what I have. Only to come home and find more of that light fabric in the basket of Kanas Troubles fabrics. DRAT!!  Well - I think I'm going to leave it like this. Who the heck is going to notice once it's all together? And that's the pioneer spirit in me. Got to start thinking of making do, not making perfect.

Six more Farmer's Wife blocks

I counted the remaining blocks hoping that somehow more of them were completed. Nope after counting twice, there are still eleven blocks to finish. Drat! I was hoping to finish the blocks by the end of September, but there's only one more Monday left. I can't do 11 blocks in one day. But there are two sit n sew days. OK - my goal is to finish those blocks by the end of the month. Then I've set a goal of working ONLY on the UFOs for the remainder of the Mondays and the Sit n Sew days.

Eleven blocks left
Eleven blocks to go. BUT - we should be celebrating the fact that ONE HUNDRED blocks are done. That's super exciting and I've decided to put them all into one large quilt. I'm good with that.

Next on the list of things to sew was a couple of blocks for that little autumn quilt that I'm supposed to have ready for my Mom on Saturday which is the first day of fall. It's not going to happen. I got two blocks done, there are 9 in total.

Two blocks for the mini autumn quilt

I'll do what I can on this but it's sure not going to happen for the weekend. At least the winter one is done. It just needs a new hanging system on the back so all of them have the same hanging system. I'll work on it. I pulled fabrics for the next two blocks. I pulled from my scrap boxes since the pieces needed are very small.

I got back to work on the scrap quilts which are part of the UFO lists. There's still a ton of work to do to get all three of them in the "to be quilted" pile. But I'm doing what I can.

I got the third top together as much as I could. I ran out of the light sashing strips. The bottom three rows are together and part of the sashing for the top four rows is there, but I had used up all the fabric that I had with me. 

The third scrappy quilt

When I got home, I emptied the Monday sewing bag and did a LOT of prep work so I'm good for next week and probably the week after that and the one after that!

I dug through the neutral basket. ACK! There's no more of those muslin printed fabrics. Oh well - I might as well use the "good" stuff. Why am I keeping it anyway? So I found three fabrics (one was plain muslin) that coordinated with what's in the other quilts. I cut 18 strips in total and hopefully, I'm good to go.

Light neutral strips for the remainder of the sashing and the inner border

While I was rummaging through that neutral basket, I remembered that I needed some more neutrals for another project. I pulled some that'll have to work. They're a wee bit on the yellow side, but gosh - if I don't use them now, I won't ever use them. They're with the pattern and hopefully used by the weekend!

Neutrals for another project
I have to say that when I first started to quilt that I had some fabrics that were just too gorgeous to use. Isn't that just silly? Now, I have no qualms about cutting ANYTHING up. Anything that's in those baskets is up for grabs. I don't even hesitate anymore.

This is what I selected from the various baskets of colored fabrics for the borders of the scrappy quilts.  Oh - the brown fabrics didn't get included in the photo.

The fabric that I pulled for the borders of the scrappy quilts

And now those fabrics are cut into strips and ready for the next sewing day. I probably have way too many strips, but that's OK - I have TWO borders to make. And if there's any left over? Well, I'll find a use for it or it goes into the scrap boxes.

Strips that are cut for the borders of TWO of the scrappy quilts

Here's what I've chosen for the border (top blue), binding (bottom blue) and the backing of the first of the three scrap quilts. Remember there are THREE scrappy quilts - all the same. Each one is getting a different border treatment.

Borders, binding and backing for one of the scrap quilts

So not only am I getting things finished, but I'm also trying to use up my stash by making do with what I have. It's actually very refreshing to do that. I love going through the baskets rather than just looking at them in a nice neat pile on a shelf. By the way, they are in a nice neat stack that is EASY to move anywhere. Everytime that I go through the baskets, I get to see what I have. I get to pet it and enjoy each one as many of them have a memory attached to them. As I use something up, then I make do with what is left. And there's going to be loads of ugly scrappy backings made with some of that stuff. But only after I use up the yardage I have for backings. In a few years that is.

I had the opportunity to buy some FQs the other day. I had six in my hand. I put them back. A fat quarter doesn't work for me anymore especially if I don't have a use for it. Let's just say that I'm PAST - long past being a fabric company marketing department's target customer. I'm very discerning in what I buy and how much I buy. They won't get me sucked in!

On that note, there's a ton of stuff to do today.  Oh wait - before I go, I wanted to share with you the events coming up this weekend. Sorry - they are local to me since that's the information I have.

There's a LOT going on. September is just a crazy busy month. Hopefully, October will be a little quieter????  I can't go to any of these events as I'm booked solid this weekend.

Yorkshire Rose Quilt Show  - September 22 and 23 

Quilt X - September 21 and 23 (if you didn't see the mini quilts that were at Quilts at the Creek - they will be displayed at this show)

Elora/Fergus Studio Tour - September 22 - 23

International Plowing Match - September 18 - 22

Color Improvisations 2 - an International Exhibition of contemporary quilts - ENDS September 23

That's a whole lot of exciting and very interesting stuff going on.

Oh - don't forget that there's the Charming shop hop this week as well. It starts on September 20 and runs through to the 29th. Twenty stores. The cutest little metal charms (for bracelets or necklaces - I need to show you what I did with some of these type of charms that I've collected in the past) and some exciting blocks to make a cool quilt. Check it out!!!

And NOW on that note, I'm out of here. Loads of paperwork to get done this morning (I might go to jail if I don't get one done TODAY!) and then I have to hit the long arm, the embroidery machine and the sewing machine this afternoon. And a class tonight. It's at Oh Look Fabric - rope bowl making!! That's always a super exciting class. If you haven't come to one of the classes, you should! It's a lot of fun and EVERYONE goes home with a finished project.

A quick aside - it's garbage day today. I always put out our compost bin every week even though there's ONE tiny bag in there. We really should use our black composter in the back. It's recycling day and we have that huge bin which is picked up every two weeks. But it's only 1/3 full, so I wait until it's full before I put it out. What do you do??  It seems a waste of resources for the truck to lift that thing when it's only 1/3 full, but if I put it out next time, it'll likely be full - or at least fuller.

Now I'm gone,

Have a great day!!!!


OH -- I'll show you tomorrow about that new tool I got. NO time this morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment