Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What's In Your Stash....Do You Really Know?

Since the first of the year I have been engaged in a pretty massive scrap management initiative.  It was prompted by the fact that a) our house is on the market, and sooner or later we will be moving; b) I wanted to get more variety and sizes in my scrap boxes for quilts, and c) I bought an Accuquilt GO! specifically to help me cut up and size scraps for future projects. In a future blog, I'll share a few links with my favorite "scrap management" bloggers...because they are the ones that I blame for all this nonsense worthwhile activity.....

In the past few weeks I have been sorting through my fabric boxes, and it occurred to me that it would be a great exercise to see how much "stash" I really had.....although I'm more than convinced that I will come to regret this some day soon!  Plus, having an inventory of my fabrics is really not a bad idea for insurance purposes, moving estimates, and the like.

How do you sort your fabrics?  Many quilters say they sort by color, and frankly, that's the first thing I say, too.  And, indeed, the "color boxes" are the ones I've been sorting through in the last few weeks.  But what you don't know if you look at the picture below, is that only 13 of those containers is sorted by color:

The rest of the boxes contain my little "secret" collections.  Because, of course I sort by color, but I also sort by theme, by designer, by manufacturer, by "process" (hand-dyes, batiks), and by a few weird selections known (or at least understood) only by me.

So today, here is part I of what will be a multi-blog posting.  My goal was to identify each one of my collections, and determine how much fabric I had in each.  I also removed everything from the box, gave it a loose organization by dark-to-light, and removed smaller pieces suitable for "scrapping" immediately. I photographed everything.  I started with this container, since it is "buried" over in the right side corner of my quilt studio:

I keep my Cherrywood dyed solids here, as well as my "small" solids (3/4-yard or less).  Plus, there's a drawer for batik jelly rolls, a drawer for "Australian/New Zealand" fabrics, and Hawaiian fabrics.  I also have Dupioni silks in one drawer, a collection of "hankies" in another drawer, and some pretty ugly plaids stuffed in the bottom drawer.  Here's what I discovered:

I have 17+ yards of Cherrywood Solids stuffed in that left-hand open drawer.  Yes, 17 yards.....that's just kind of mind-blowing!

That's a lot of Cherrywood solids, considering I don't really "collect" them (you are going to hear that phrase a lot in the next few weeks).  They are almost all dark/autumnal hues, with a few light exceptions that I picked up in a few "grab bags".  I really need to think about how I am going to use these.

It turns out that I have the equivalent of about 5 batik jelly rolls in this a charm pack or two....

At slightly less than 3 yards per jelly roll, that's about 15 yards of batiks in predominantly dark greens, black and grey, dark blue, purple and teal, and a small roll of orange/tan/cream.

In the bottom right drawer are my Australian prints.  I bought a lot of these in Australia and New Zealand in 2001 and then picked more up at various quilt shows when I saw them.  I also have my Hawaiian fabrics (3 different trips)'s the totals:  11 yards of Australians and 4.5 yards of Hawaiian....

In the middle drawer are my "small solids".....not such a small group after all:

There are 6 yards of fabric in this photo, and in another drawer I have 11 yards of Peggy Toole designed fabric for Robert Kaufman (well, we went to high school together, what do you expect?)....

So today's "blog total" of fabric is 56 yards of cotton fabric, plus 5 yards of silks and these two small rolling carts.  And I didn't bother adding up the hankies and plaids yet.

It was an eye-opening exercise.  I will share more with you later, but I think I am already firmly convinced that I need to get busy working even more from my stash, not only on "scrap" quilts, but on using the larger pieces as well.

That's a good thing, and another good thing to come out of this exercise is that I have photos, in one way or another, or almost everything that I own.  Now that makes looking for a specific color a lot easier.

And the third "good thing" is that I am really excited and inspired by some of these fabrics again.  As always, there are way more quilts in my head that I have time for.

Have a great day....hope it's dry and warm(er) wherever you are.

Talk to you later,


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What Happened to January?

Wow...January just seemed to soar right on past.  I was busy, busy, busy (but obviously too busy to post on my blog).  Every time I thought about posting something, I thought I would just wait a few days.  Well....I'm here now.  So here's a summary of what I did this month.

I got all the blocks assembled for Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt.  It turns out that I need to do some "fiddling" with the border elements, but this will be done pretty soon.  It's just taken a back seat to my "stash management" chores.

I got my AccuQuilt Go cutter in early January...a Christmas present to myself.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and spend some money to help me alleviate pains in my wrists from rotary cutting.  I am very happy with my purchase.

I used the six-1/2 inch triangle die to cut the pieces for my "Library Quilt",  I stash-managed scraps into all of these 2 1/2-inch strips, and I used the 2 1/2-inch strip cutter to tame my "French Collection" fabrics into the beginnings of this quilt design from Moda Bake Shop.  

I spent some time playing with "10-inch layer cakes", using a design from Missouri Star Quilt Company, to try to tame my "Summer Breeze" fabrics into a usable block, and then I played with my Drunkards Path die and the "Tumbler Die" to get started on these two designs.

I cannot emphasize how enthusiastic I have become about the ability to take relatively small pieces of fabric and quickly (did I say quickly) do the precision cuts necessary to achieve some really nice layouts.  The "tumbler quilt" is done from 1950's dress fabrics and my 1930/1940's reproduction collection.  This quilt just makes me so happy.

Finally, my friend Nancy came out on Sunday, and we had a Scrap Happy Super Bowl Sunday Funday in my sewing room.  We "tamed" a lot of her fabrics and mine.  She went home feeling like a SuperBowl Champion, and I finished up today by emptying a huge bin of fabric scraps and turning them into "strips and bricks".  

Today I finished sewing some more Drunkard's Path blocks, and my little "tumbler" quilt is headed on the long arm tomorrow.  It was a great January, and it promises to be a productive February.  In addition to all my happy quilting adventures, I had a wonderful month visiting with my three granddaughters who are close to us in Virginia and Maryland.  I'm sharing a few photos, of course:
Maya Joy with her first car...Merry Christmas from Nanny and PawPaw

A quick visit to Richmond to see my beautiful VCU student, Brianna, and a fun time looking at Richmond Street Art

Miss Paige came to visit; we stacked blocks and read books, and just played with each other.  Isn't that what it's all about?

Oh, since I'm sharing, just one more photo.  Here's our son, Chuck and Laura....and Baby #2.....due in May....we're so happy for them..and us.

Hope you all are well and happy.  Talk to you soon,

Chatty Kathy