Saturday, January 28, 2012

January quilt: zig-zag throw blanket

In February of last year, I posted this picture to my Facebook, proclaiming that it would soon be made into a throw for my couch.

"Soon" wasn't really the best descriptor. After I took that picture, I planned out the quilt and cut out all my squares. In the nearly a year that followed, I moved, got a new couch, sewed a few squares at a time, and made eleven other quilts. But one good thing that's coming out of my no-fabric-buying challenge is that I really get to buckle down and finish projects that I've already started. And luckily, I still have the couch that matches these colors - it's in my den, and I managed to move enough clutter out of the way to get a good picture of the quilt in its intended environment.

And here it is.

The finished product is about 60" X 60", and has blue, green, yellow, and brown zig zags made from 5" half-square triangles. The fabrics were a mish-mash of fabrics that caught my eye at Jo-Ann and Wal-Mart, along with Kona Bone. (The periodic symbol paintings were inspired by this blog post. "Kraus" would be my married name, if my own name weren't already so awesome.)

Forgive the treadmill arm poking into the picture. I used a dark-brown binding, and I quilted along the seam lines using light blue thread. I ended up with a lot more tucks and puckers than I'm comfortable with. I'm still learning the art of straight-line quilting. Plus, I was working with blocks that I made when I was a newbie, but I had to forge ahead even though I could see the rookie mistakes in them. I find that a while after I finish a project, I can usually forgive myself for the mistakes I've made on it. If I were selling it or giving away, I'd feel worse about it, but since I'm keeping this one, I don't need to beat myself up over the oopsies.

This is the pieced back.

If I had known how well this flowered fabric from Moda tied the whole thing together, I would have made the whole back from it. Overall, the quilt is nice. It's a good size, and super soft. Puts me right to sleep, though maybe it's just the winter cold talking.

That's three projects from stash.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New and improved sewing room

When we moved into our house, my husband allowed me to take over one of the bedrooms and turn it into a sewing room. Until recently, the sewing room was the only one in the house that I hadn't decorated. More than that, the room was a nightmare. I had left up the blinds that were there when we moved in. All of the furniture pieces were leftovers from our previous house. The storage was inadequate and uninspired.

Now that we've been in our house for a few months, I know my sewing habits well enough to design a room around them. And with the new year and new blog, I was ready for a change.

Here's a before and after view, looking from the hall through the doorway. You can see the treadmill that became a storage unit - in the "after" picture, it's been cleaned off. That doesn't mean I'm going to use it, but at least it's cleared. I'm very pleased with the new curtains. I picked up a glass L-shaped desk on Craigslist: one side for the sewing machine, one side for pressing. I like that the sewing machine is no longer up against a wall - when I'm quilting something big, it can flop over the back instead of bunching up against the wall.

The room has built-in bookshelves, which are great for fabric storage. Another major change was the chair. The red Pier One chair from the "before" picture was cute, but it didn't allow for a lot of movement. The office chair is a big improvement.

Now, my mannequin is not only dressed, but standing somewhere where she's less in the way.

My fabric-cutting corner is much more tidy now.

My sewing room mascot is ready for some action!

My vision for the L-shaped desk was to have one side for pressing. For that, I had to make up a mat that would fit on the table.

I started with my old cutting mat, which was covered in scars and had a few holes in it. I also added a layer of cardboard.

Using a staple gun, I added a layer of heat-resistant padding.

And then I topped it off with a layer of fabric.

I always have the regular-size ironing board if I need it, but for small pieces, my pressing mat works just fine.

And even though it wasn't a sewing project, making my pressing mat used up fabric from my stash...I say it counts.

That's two projects, from stash.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012: Yearlong stash-busting challenge

In 2011, I decided to teach myself how to quilt, and I gave myself a challenge to create one quilt per month.

For a whole year, I made quilts, pillows, potholders and place mats. I got to know the basics of quilting, and I was feeling pretty confident.

I also bought fabric. Lots of fabric. So much fabric. I went to local quilt shops, haunted Jo-Ann, surfed, bid on rare fabrics on eBay, and cruised my grandma's stash of vintage fabric. I loved everything, and I bought everything. My husband noticed that I had amassed more fabric than I could ever use, and he put his foot down. I mean, he "gave me a challenge." In the year of 2012, I am going to continue my one-quilt-a-month goal, but I am not allowed to buy fabric. I can buy thread, batting, tools, whatever it takes to complete a quilt. But no fabric.

After much wheedling, I got my husband to agree to a slight allowance: if things get really desperate, I am allowed to buy solid white fabric for sashing, but only after I've made every effort to use fabric that I already have.

At the end of the year...I don't know what happens. I'd like to think that I'll get to go on a glut of spending and come home with fabulous bundles of solids, dots, stripes, blenders....

But chances are, I'll go well into 2013 on the stash I have.

So, for today, the first day of 2012, I was able to create a small project from stash. My darling daughter is still at an age where she thinks I can do anything, and always has requests for things I can make for her. She got an Aladdin doll for Christmas, and clearly, he and Jasmine needed a Magic Carpet to fly on. And when my girl bats her eyes and reminds me that she has a birthday coming up, how can I refuse her?

At this point, she put her hands on her hips and said "It doesn't look like that in the movie." Hey, kid. You're about to discover a whole new world...of pain.

You asked for a mini quilted version of an elaborate CGI Persian rug. This is what it's gonna look like.

Aladdin and Jasmine don't seem to have any complaints. And neither do I, because I think it came out great.

That's one project, from stash.