Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WIWOW- July 27, 2011

Hi everyone:

Warning: this is a lengthy post!

Well, as I mentioned yesterday, I've just returned from vacation in Montana. I managed to visit 3 quilt shops, thanks to suggestions from Facebook.  Not bad for being away for only 6 days! Of course I did manage to pick up some items - translation - too much! Now I have to find somewhere to house my new purchases. If you read my post yesterday, you know that I'm rearranging the storage in my quilt studio so that it will be better organized and will make it, hopefully, easier for me to find the items I need when I need them.

So, today what I'm working on is storage and organization. I always hesitate to rearrange my studio since I usually know where things are and, even if it isn't the most organized solution, it seems to work for me. Recently, however, I've been reading some organizational books, such as "Unstuff Your Life" by Andrew J. Mellen (thanks to Mark Lipinski's Creative Mojo radio show), where he suggests that everything should have a place and like should be with like. Okay, so I guess storing threads in four different places isn't really the most efficient storage solution.  I'm going to try to follow Mr. Mellen's suggestions - to the best of my ability - and rearrange my studio in the hopes that I won't spend hours looking for that fabric that I know is in here somewhere.

I first purchased some storage towers and plastic boxes from Wal-Mart. I then moved out the boxes and bags of fabric in my sauna/fabric storage room to see what I had - a lot! Once I saw what I actually had, I could make some decisions as to where the fabric should be stored. I also gathered all my thread together to decide where it could be stored more efficiently. I managed to get the thread in one storage tower under my long-arm frame. That was quite easy. The fabric was another matter. 
Thread now in one storage tower - and labelled!

Smaller spools of thread sorted into separate containers by thread type 
I'll admit that I don't fold my fabric so it fits very well in my cupboards (see the photo below). It was getting to the point where I couldn't tell what I had and it wasn't fitting very well in the cupboards. I've decided to start folding my fabric so it's all the same size width and length and this will help me to see what I actually have in my stash. While it may take me awhile to fold my existing stash, I vow to fold all new purchases before they are put away. So far, I have been able to keep this promise. (Guess I didn't buy as much as I thought I had!). It will take me some time to fold my existing stash, but I think I can accomplish this while watching tv at night.
These definitely need tidying up.
Notice the fabric inspector to the right.
These fabrics will be going in the storage towers in the sauna.
I put the two new plastic storage towers in the sauna (an existing smaller tower contains my fat quarters and Christmas fabrics) and put some kits in the bottom two drawers. Daiwabo fabrics are in another drawer and I will be putting my novelty fabrics in the remaining drawers. I'm not sure if I'll have room left for any of my other fabrics, but this will free up some cupboards in my quilting studio area, which will be great. I still have some kits in boxes and plastic storage bins, but these are marked, so that's not a problem. 
Here's what I've accomplished so far. I think things are looking better already and I love how the fabric looks when it is all folded up. It certainly makes it easier to see what I have. 

And after! Kits are in the 2 drawers to the left and folded fabric is in the middle drawer on the right. Still have to sort out some of the fabric in the bottom right drawer. Lots of room left for novelty fabrics.
There's even visible floor space!

No more thread and lots of room for some notions.
The only problem I still have is with the thread storage. I need a way to keep the large cones upright, rather than rolling around in the drawer. Perhaps one of the thread storage stands with pegs on them that you usually hang on the wall might work in the drawer to keep these cones upright. 

A lot of "drunken" thread cones!

If you have a suggestion as to how I can store my thread cones in this drawer, I would love to hear it - as well as any other storage tips.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quilt Studio Redux

Hi everyone:

I'm back from a quick vacation to Montana to visit with an old friend. My family and I had a great time and the weather was perfect. We hated to come back to reality, but have wonderful memories - and lots of photos - to remind us of our trip.

Speaking of reality, remember how I showed you some pictures of my quilt studio awhile ago? Well, some people have suggested that these photos don't accurately reflect the normal state of my quilting space. They have implied that I may have tidied up the studio prior to photography. They have even questioned why I didn't open up cupboards to show you my fabric and notion storage, implying that it might be a jumbled mess. Such insinuations and allegations! Unfortunately, they are partially true. 

My studio does look somewhat more disorganized when I'm actually working on a project. I do, however, tidy up after working to some extent. My storage space is another story. It definitely needs to be tidied up and this will hopefully occur sometime this summer.

So, just to show you that I'm not hiding anything, here is what my cupboards and storage spaces actually look like. 

Fabric storage under the cutting table - sorted by colour, can't you tell? 
Charlie loves to check out my fabric storage.
Plastic storage towers under my long-arm table for thread and other odds and ends.
Thread storage for cones of thread.
What evil - or quilt supplies - lurks behind this door?
Even the Shadow wouldn't be able to guess this one!
Yikes! I didn't really think things were this disorganized.
Fabrics and kits and fat quarters (in the storage tower), oh my!
Kits are stored in the large plastic bins.
And yes, they are labelled! Teeka keeps a close guard on them.
This space above my sewing area doesn't look too bad, does it?
After seeing the photographic proof of the jumbled storage in my studio, I decided to take action. After a visit to Wal-Mart to purchase some plastic storage towers, I am now ready to tackle this project. 

Check back tomorrow to see how I'm doing. If you have any storage tips, I'd sure like to hear them. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Hi everyone:

Yes, it happens to everyone, sometimes you make mistakes. And when you make mistakes, you have to rectify them as quickly as possible. 

Today I received an email from one of my customers advising that one of the templates for my Hoot-mon! pattern was missing when she purchased her pattern. I quickly checked on this and discovered that she was indeed correct and one page was missing from this pattern. I was, of course, upset that this occurred, but sent her out the missing page immediately and thanked her for letting me know about this. I was very grateful that she had advised me about this as I had not been notified about this before and certainly didn't want my future customers to be missing part of the pattern. So, if you have purchased my Hoot-mon! pattern, please email me and I'll be happy to send you out the missing page.

And, continuing along the line of ooops!, I've decided to withdraw my Harry Potter Inspired Stitchery Set from sale. Although it is my daughter's original work, there has been some discussion of the possibility of copyright infringement by using the name "Harry Potter". I certainly don't want to enter this realm at all, so I won't be offering this little set for sale. I will be posting it on my website if you would like to download it for free. 

I'd like to thank Sarah for all her hard work that she put into both designing and making the samples for this, simply because of her love of all things Potter. I appreciate her maturity and understanding as to why I won't be selling this pattern. She has been inspired by J.K. Rowling's success with the Harry Potter series and I know that she'll be just as successful an author herself when she's all grown up. Thanks, Boo-boo, I love you!

Hope you're having a non-ooops! day :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WIWOW - July 13, 2011

Hi everyone:

Here's what I was working on the past few days. Very preliminary in this photo and you'll have to wait a bit until it's completely together and I've photographed it. Or, if you're in the Calgary area, you'll be able to see this project at Country Creations quilt show this upcoming Saturday from 10:00 until 4:00, where I'll be promoting my upcoming Let's Get GO!-ing class. I'll be teaching this pattern at Bow Bench Retreat this October. I can tell you that it uses GO! dies and is super quick to construct. I'll have more photos of this pattern on future blog posts.

Also this week, in anticipation of the Calgary premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, my daughter, Sarah, has created an embroidery set consisting of Harry, He Who Must Not Be Named (Voldemort) and her own version of the Deathly Hallows symbol.
Harry Potter - notice the HP props - no
shortage of these in our household!

Not only did she create the designs, but she stitched up the samples too. I must admit that her hand embroidery is better than mine (but don't tell her that!). She was very diligent in finishing the samples so we could get these up for sale. You'll find the set at Chatterbox Quilts should you be a Harry Potter freak fan and embroiderer, such as Sarah. 
How was I involved in this pattern, you ask? Well, who do you think did all the pattern instructions? Sometimes I think it's easier to actually make the projects than to do the computer work, which always seems to take longer than it should. Or maybe I'm just a little slower than I should be at it :)

Off to finish up my sample so it'll be ready for the show on Saturday. If you're there and see me, be sure to say hello.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bust your stash!

Hi everyone:

I'm currently working on another sample for an upcoming class, which gives me a chance to clear out some of my stash - and I have lots of stash to clear out!

Do you ever wonder if you have too much fabric in your studio? Of course, "too much" is such a relative term, don't you agree? Well, finally, there's a reward for having stash-itis. AccuQuilt is having a "Bust Your Stash" photo challenge and here's all the information you need to enter it.

Bust My Stash Photo Challenge
Have you stared at your fabric stash and wished that you had the time and energy to cut up your fabric for future projects?  AccuQuilt has the answer!  Click on the following link to participate: or go to AccuQuilt’s Facebook page and click “Like”.  Then go to the ‘Bust My Stash’ tab under their profile picture and upload a picture of your fabric stash.  Submit your photo by Friday, July 22nd and you’ll be eligible to win a GO! Mix & Match 12” Starter Set.  The photo with the most votes by July 31st wins!  Photos will be voted on by viewers and fans of the AccuQuilt Facebook page using the following criteria: relevance, creativity, and originality.  Share with your friends during the voting period to increase your odds of winning!

In case you're wondering what my stash looks like, well, here are some pictures of it. 
Fat quarters in drawer unit; kits and fabrics with patterns in
boxes - all stored in my sauna. No, I don't quilt in the sauna - yet!
Novelties and 30's prints - I've cleaned this up
since this photo was taken. Well, a little bit anyway.
Fabrics stored by colour - sort of - under my cutting table.
Okay, so it doesn't look very tidy and I do intend to straighten it up - someday. Right now I'm more focussed on actually quilting and preparing some new patterns. 
Hopefully this doesn't overwhelm you. I also have batiks stored in a large container, as well as charm packs and jelly rolls which are also packed away elsewhere. It would be nice if all my fabric was in one area, but that's not possible in my quilt studio, so it will stay like this for now. The main thing is that I know where all my fabric is and it's sorted according to my own particular system so I can find whatever fabric I need quickly. Now, where did I put that polka dot fabric...
Hoping to see your fabric stash on the AccuQuilt challenge. Good luck!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

WIWOW July 6, 2011

Hi everyone:

Okay, you caught me. I'm actually posting this on Thursday as I was so wrapped up in printing out patterns yesterday to send off to my wholesale distributor, The Pattern Peddlers. I was up late last night to finish them all and wrap up the parcel so I could drop it at the post office this morning. Another thing off my list - check!

I have several more items to complete this week, but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've been very busy with deadlines these past few weeks and it will be nice when I've actually met them and can then enjoy some of the summer sunshine.

As you know, I have been working with my AccuQuilt GO! cutter these past few months and am still amazed as how many ideas I have for the dies, especially the appliqué ones. I really thought that it would be limiting to use these since they are typically in only one size. I'm delighted to discover that I was wrong. The ideas continue to flow. 

Since I am partial to fusible web appliqué, the GO! dies are perfect for my projects. I just fuse the fusible web to the back of my chosen fabric, pick a die, whip it though and voilà - all ready to become part of a new project. Of course then I have to finish the edges, which takes me a bit longer than the fun cutting and fusing part. In order to hasten the completion of my projects (I'm an impatient gal!), I tend to use a narrow zigzag stitch to finish my appliqué pieces. Most of my projects are wall hangings, so this stitch is sufficient to hold the pieces in place. Below is an example of the look of this type of finish.
Narrow zigzag stitch to finish appliqué pieces
I find this stitch is not as time (and thread) consuming as a satin stitch, however it is not as permanent either. The satin stitch is more elegant in appearance, definitely more visible and is better at holding the appliqués down wash after wash. While I have matched my thread to the appliqué pieces in this project, I sometimes use a contrasting thread for a more fun and relaxed look or to tie various appliqué shapes together.
I used a contrasting thread on the
dog appliqués in Posh Pets
Again, contrasting thread was used on the cat appliqués
to achieve a uniform look to all the appliqués
For more information on appliquéing, I rely on these must-have-in-your-library reference books:

Machine Appliqué for the Terrified Quilter by Sharon PedersonAppliqué: the basics and beyond by Janet Pittman
Mastering Machine Appliqué by Harriet Hargrave (I purchased this when I first started quilting and didn't even know what appliqué really was and am I ever glad I did!)
The Ultimate Appliqué Guidebook by Annie Smith (I just received this book yesterday and it is wonderful and very readable)

as well as I-go-to-these-all-the-time blogs and websites:

Holly Mabutas of Eat Cake Graphics (Cute patterns, great stamps and a wonderful hand appliqué technique)
Kay Mackenzie's blog, All About Appliqué (Kay has wonderful information about appliqué techniques on her blog and in all of her books) 

Obviously, there are many more reference books and websites than I have listed and I find my local library has a good collection for me to browse. 

I'd love to hear about your preferred appliqué technique and what resources you use for reference and learning.