Autumn Update

Hello friends!

Because I’m quite sure you wouldn’t get all giddy over a post that chronicled which boxes I unpacked and where I put the stuff that was in them, I figured it was better to not update you until I had something creative to show you.

I’ve had no inclination to sew, knit, whatever, AT ALL, and I’ve been OK with it because the more I look back on the past twelve months, the more I realize that we went through A LOT of stressful stuff, and it takes energy to deal with all that stress, which came from my creative reserves.  Happy moment, though: This last week I had a brilliant little moment where I wanted to make something.  That feeling has been absent for months, so I’m grateful that things are calming down enough that my interest in crafting is starting to come back.

201811117370910250702226081I did grit my teeth and make my youngest daughter a Little Red Riding Hood costume for Halloween because I did have time for it, and her little brother decided to be a wolf so he could match her, and I think they were adorable!  Her costume was an exercise in frustration–I could not locate the pattern in her size ANYWHERE.  And my best friend rode in for the rescue and bought the pattern* at her local JoAnn Store, not realizing that it came in adult OR child size, and sent me the adult size.  (Oh gosh, we laughed…)  So the costume ended up being the Adult Small skirt, minus five inches around the waist; a plain white t-shirt with aspects of the original costume appliqued onto the shirt; and I tracked down a different pattern** for the cape/hood.  She was so pleased with it all, and totally didn’t care that it was a crazy hodge-podge costume.  A woman stopped me at the school Halloween party to liberally compliment me on the costume, so I’m pretty pleased with the experiment.  (And totally want to make more things edged with eyelet lace!  Such a sweet look!)

20181103_145518-01And right now I am eyeballs-deep in making linen napkins for my Thanksgiving table because I’ve always wanted linen napkins and I have no crafty deadlines on my plate at the moment.  It’s been so. much. fun. researching hemstitching and heirloom sewing, and oh my goodness, do I love me some beautiful heirloom sewing.  So much drooling.

BUT…I massively underestimated how long these napkins were going to take, mostly because I didn’t think ironing the hem allowances was going to take twenty minutes PER NAPKIN.  Four more napkins to press before I actually get to meet needle to fabric!  Ugh!

But look at this gorgeous view from my new craft room’s window…it’s so nice to have something besides a window well to look at!

The napkins are going to be lovely, with mitered corners and hemstitching.  I’m seriously in love with them.  That bit of brown fabric and thread in my craft-room-view photo is the start of one of them.  It’s a gorgeous chocolate brown.  So pleased!

And then it’s on to Christmas crafting, which I was really hoping to not do this year, but something went wonky with my bank transfers to my Christmas savings account when we moved, and there is much less in that account than there should be, so I’ma gonna have to get creative with supplies already on-hand.  Boo/yay

I’ll probably start writing a bit more, now that things have started to settle.  It was such a mistake to think I’d be able to paint everything upon moving in–I’ve come to the decision that I’m going to tackle the house room-by-room, because it’s driving me batty to not have a single “finished” room in this house.  I’ve been working on my youngest daughter’s room, and it’s looking pretty cute.  I’m excited to share that when we finally reach the finish line!  (You can have a housewarming party five years after you move in, right?)  😉

But I am hosting Thanksgiving this year, and there could be as many as twenty people attending, so it’s all about the napkins and the cleaning and the cooking for the next two weeks.  (And my dining room table that was supposed to be delivered in August?  And then October?  They changed the delivery date AGAIN…to December.  Fan-freakin’-tastic.  We’re eating Thanksgiving dinner on folding tables this year.  So classy.)

I hope the onslaught of the holiday season is treating you all well!  I look forward to seeing your posts and photos of what you’re working on in these next weeks!

*Red Riding Hood Costume: McCall Pattern #M6187
**Substitute Cape/Hood: Simplicity Pattern #8729

There is a House in Washington

So, yes, our family made it safely to Washington almost two weeks ago.  We rolled into town just as the fireworks for the Fourth of July started going off, and it felt like the state was welcoming us with gusto.  (And added the much-appreciated side effect of lighting up the heavily-treed highway that was tough to navigate…but the cats weren’t big fans of the fireworks and may have peed…a lot…in their carriers.)

 

We signed the papers for our Washington home the next morning and officially had the keys by lunch.  My aunt made a beeline for us and helped us unload our truck and trailer, and our ward helped us finish the huge task later that evening.  We’ve been screeching, “Where is the [insert a million different items here]?!?!” ever since.

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20180713_131255Where we’re living is *lovely.*  It’s a little removed from Suburbia-proper, but only by a little bit, so running to the grocery store/Costco/Home Depot takes minutes, and the drive is lush and green and has a crazy spectacular view of Mt. Rainier the entire way.  Sometimes I have to sit and wait for the dairy’s cows to cross the road to get to their next milking, and there’s rivers, and hydrangea, and four different types of purple or pink flowers in bloom by the roadsides right now (Fireweed, Sweet Pea, Foxglove, and a plant that looks like Butterfly Bush) and I just…get so happy to see familiar plants again.  I figured out plants in Utah, but these are what I grew up with and can name without thinking because my dad taught them to me when I was in preschool.

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We’ve had family over TWICE in one week for dinner, which is crazy amazing and as fun as you’d expect, and we get to attend a family wedding this weekend because we don’t live fourteen hours away anymore.

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The house is bigger than our last house, which I’m loving a lot–six people in our old house got old about six years ago, so the extra space is much-appreciated by all of our family’s members.  Unfortunately, though, this house is painted in a very warm and earthy color palette, and I lean toward the cool and ocean-inspired color palette.  And the ceilings are painted the same color as the walls…the same, sand-brown light-absorbing color…even the twenty-feet-up ceilings in the front room.  Yep, I gotta paint ’em all…and that sand-brown color is just dark enough to warrant two coats of primer every. time.

So I’m busy for the rest of the month, and probably for most of August as well.

But it’s OK, because at the end of all the painting my kids will all have bedrooms with fully-finished walls painted the colors of their choosing, and everything will be just as lovely inside as it is outside.

We went and got our library cards today, which really does make you feel like you truly “belong” in your town.  And I forgot to turn on Google Maps for the drive home, but it didn’t matter because I got home just fine, with no special mental gymnastics.  I pulled up to this house in this new state without help, and my kids clambered out of the van like they always do, helped by dumping our purchases onto the kitchen table before running off to binge-read their library books like they always do, and in that moment it was clear: This house in Washington is now our home.

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Probably still a bit of time before Happy Crafting Times can recommence, but with each newly-unpacked box and newly-painted wall, I’m getting closer to reopening the fun conversations I get to have with my crafty friends!  I’ve missed you!

Fashion Revolution Week & Integrity

I’ve been an ardent admirer of creative mending for many years, and I love to follow the #visiblemending hashtag.  As I was perusing some recent posts, I noticed that a lot of them were all talking about #fashionrevolutionweek, so I clicked on the hashtag and was transported to post after post discussing the need for higher standards in the fashion manufacturing industry, such as safer conditions and basic rights for garment construction workers, and a deeper commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendlier practices on behalf of clothing manufacturers and distributors.  All the #visiblemending posts were popping up as an example of consumers taking personal responsibility to not add to the growing problem of overflowing landfills of clothing–if you mend torn clothing instead of throwing it away, it 1.) Doesn’t add to landfills, and 2.) Means you’re not buying more clothing.

I’ve been watching this fashion revolution/slow fashion movement for a couple of years now, first inspired by the thought-provoking writing of Karen Templer over at Fringe Association, and furthered by my quilterly instincts to always find extra uses for fabric after its first life as a piece of clothing and curiosity about how people manage to live “like that,” meaning “sewing their own clothes.”  “Where do they find the time?” “Is it truly cheaper?” (Anyone who quilts and/or knits can understand where I’m coming from, am I right?!?!)

My best friend sews a lot of her own clothes and is always stomping me in finish times when it comes to garments vs. quilts, which has been doing a lot to change my opinion about whether sewing clothes is the huge time commitment I once thought it was, and I’ve also knit a few sweaters in my day and have come to realize that they’re also not a huge deal-breaker, time-wise.  But to truly commit to a DIY wardrobe…truthfully, it sounds a little too minimalistic-yuppy/I-only-eat-organic/pumpkin-spice-hipster for me.  No thanks.  I’m a fan of science and don’t feel guilty about the technological advances we’ve made in many areas that allows so many of us to live better lives beyond what our ancestors could even dream.  This isn’t Little House on the Prairie–women today are so liberated to not have to worry about sewing up their families’ wardrobes, and enjoying that extra time that’s not tied up in sewing is downrightfabulous.  Not going to feel guilty about that, either.

But then I saw this post:

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Image via Instagram @ecologiqfashion

…and I literally gasped aloud as my heart did a slow-clap standing ovation.

So often, when you hear about sweatshops (which I first became aware of in the ninth grade) and the wish for better working conditions for overseas workers and the need to Buy American (because I live in the USA), people will say something like, “But just think of those factory workers overseas and how us buying those cheaply-made goods allows them to have a job and earn money!”  Followed by a proverbial pat on the back for helping out those impoverished, third-world workers that would probably starve and just die in the street were it not for wages they earn making near see-through t-shirts of inferior quality that end up with holes at the belly button after three wearings so you’ll have to buy MORE of them.

But with the age of internet and instant access to what’s going around the world, we are privy to the knowledge that conditions in those factories are downright scary, and very exploitive.  That horrible factory collapse in Bangladesh back in 2013 (read: FIVE YEARS AGO) that KILLED 1,134 people and seriously injured 2,500 more?  Nothing has been done to help the survivors’ families.  I am not the kind of person who can brush aside the idea that my easiness of living comes at the expense of another human’s fundamental rights.  Crap wages, unsafe working conditions, environmental irresponsibility…by purchasing, and thereby supporting, a company’s product, when that company engages in this type of behavior, that is the same thing as me shaking their hand and saying, “Yes, I agree with what you’re doing.”  Each of us votes with our dollars.

And, simply put, I don’t agree.  I’ve never thought it was OK to take advantage of other people simply because you can, either because they don’t know any better or because you’ve found a loophole that lets you get away with it legally.  It’s disgusting and completely devoid of the basic code of existence that I think human beings need to live by.  I’m not going to do that to other people simply because I lucked out with the golden egg of opportunity that was “being born in North America.”

Does that mean I need to start making all of my own family’s clothes?  Not necessarily–there are options to buy ethical clothing, which means that the clothes are created by workers who are paid decent wages, and given safe places to work, from ethical materials that were responsibly produced and dyed.  The big difference in going this route is cost.  Paying a worker a livable wage means that their end product is going to cost the consumer more money.  Using responsible, quality materials that won’t fall apart after a year costs more money, too.  (Us crafty types already know about this particular point in the form of wool vs. acrylic, and big box store fabric vs. quilting shop cottons–you do get what you pay for.)  But I am a stay-at-home mama to four; making our clothing is going to be a far more economical route for me than purchasing it at fair value.

In the wake of all this paradigm-shifting, I have a bright moment of joy to share with you: Our family was talking about this issue over breakfast the other day, and I shared the “You can’t exploit women in one country to empower them in another” quote with them, which led to explaining how the clothing industry works, and what it means to look the other way and ignore when bad things are happening.  I used the word “integrity” to explain what I meant, and noticed that my fourteen-year-old daughter perked up when I said that word.  Towards the end of our discussion she said, “I think learning to sew my own clothes would make a good ‘Integrity’ value project, don’t you?” and in that moment I wanted to cry from happiness because this girl gets it.  In a world where teenagers (especially white, middle-classed teenagers, such as my daughter) are painted as screen-addicted, entitled brats, this girl empathized with a less-advantaged girl somewhere else in the world and thought of something that she herself could do, at the cost of her own time and effort, to hopefully lessen that negative impact.  I wasn’t that compassionate at fourteen, so I’m proud of her heart.

There is so much more to say on this topic, but for now, this is enough:  Things are going to change around here, and it’s going to take me a little while to figure out exactly what that means.

Creating, Not Just Crafting

Last spring I wrote myself a reminder that would automatically pop up in my feed on December 26, which is about the time I start firming up plans for the next year.  It says, “Don’t plan sewing & inside projects starting in March–once it gets sunny, you hate being inside!”

I remember being swamped with quilting deadlines last year, and looking out my window at my blossoming yard and just being so forlorn about not being able to be out in the sunshine and dirt.  March and April are weird months here amongst the elevation of the Rockies and the super fun extra element of being in the desert–it’s still pretty stinking cold outside, but spring is hesitantly getting her foot in the door and then quickly pulling it back by throwing a spring snowstorm in the mix, repeat ad nauseum, and then May happens and it heats up FAST.  I’ve had plants just not grow because they were planted too late and couldn’t handle the heat, which is so weird because, hello, SUNSHINE!  It’s what makes plants grow!

With this year’s forced distancing from crafting–thanks to our family believing we were going to relocate to North Carolina until the last minute when that company rescinded their job offer, and already having packed up my crafting room because that’s an easy thing to pack first–the reminder to not schedule crafting starting in March was moot, but still appreciated.

I just spent today out in the garden, which has been in a state of preparation since mid-March, planting peas (might be too late for those, but we’ll see), carrots, onions, lettuce, sunflowers, and various herbs.  A neighbor walking by asked me if I felt like a Winter Quarters pioneer, planting crops with the expectation of leaving them behind for someone else.  And I really do–I don’t know if we’ll still be living here come July, which is when most of these things will be in height of their harvest, but it’s still creating something, and I really need that right now while I’m stuck in this limbo of not knowing where we’re going to be living next school year.  That feeling of doing something and making something is still needed, and I don’t need to create via my regular channels in order to satisfy it.

To be honest, it’s really nice to be out in the garden without any pressure to hurry up and get back inside to meet a sewing deadline!  I’ve been under sewing deadlines for the past three years now, and I’m appreciative of this, albeit unwelcome, restriction that has cut me off from regular time with my sewing machine because it’s good to get a breath of fresh air and be able to look around and contemplate if your life is heading in the direction you think it should be heading.  I’m learning that I probably need to cut back on the sewing commitments so I can more uniformly focus on the many facets of my life.

That sunshine feels good.

 

 

Spring Fever, or, Portable Project Time

I can’t craft, people!  I mean, obviously, because most of my stuff is boxed up, but mostly because it is SUNNY outside, and whenever I think about crafting inside, I just recoil from the thought in horror.  I actually noticed this attitude of mine last year and wrote myself a Google Keep note to not schedule anything from March through August because I just feel so unmotivated crafting-wise once the nicer weather hits.  I’ll do some sewing during the dog days of summer when it’s just too hot outside in the afternoon and all I want is the coolness of my basement, and then something about it turning colder in September just ignites a sudden urge to knit for me, and off I go with crafting craziness.

Unfortunately, just because it’s spring and the weather has turned nicer, doesn’t mean I can really get going on my garden because I live at a high elevation, which means freak snowstorms and freezing temperatures.  The rule of thumb ’round these parts is to not plant anything until after Mother’s Day…and that’s, like, six weeks away!  So I clean up the garden as best I can, and trim errant branches…but that’s not enough activity to fill my days just yet.

But I need to be outside in that sunshine, so I think it’s time to get out the ol’ EPP projects and maybe some knitting before all desire to knit evaporates with the warmer weather.

Does spring fever affect your crafting rituals?  Any great portable/outside crafting suggestions?  I’d love to read ’em!

Oh, my darling Clementine

It’s the twentieth of the month, and, if you’re one of the Clementine Quilt Along contributors, that’s the deadline for submitting photos of this month’s block so that they can be posted on the Fat Quarter Shop’s blog when they do the official release of the new pattern for the month.  Come this month’s release, you will not find my name on the list of bloggers sewing along.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, I announced that I’m no longer a part of the quilt along due to my husband’s employment relocation that then fell through–we got word we were heading to North Carolina, and a few days later were told, “Yeah, never mind.”  But, the damage had been done: I had submitted my temporary withdrawal from the quilt along, we’d talked to a realtor and started prepping the house to sell, AND, worst of all, I started packing up my craft room.  So when we got the whiplash announcement that the job was not going to happen, it was just more than I could do to unpack everything and reset my craft room.

I will, once everything calms down/we’re settled wherever we’re going to end up, finish the quilt along.  I hope that I can jump back onboard before its official end because it’s a very fun thing to be a part of.  But, if life works out that I finally get to sew again after the quilt along is finished, then I’ll do it then.  It will still be cute even after the official ending date.

My kids are NOT happy about this, but it’s because I said I’d sew up the little cat and dog stuffies that come with the Woof Woof Meow fat quarter bundle once I was FINISHED with the Clementine Quilt.  (Apparently they don’t care about childhood cancer research, meaning that I’ve apparently failed as a parent…although they do think we should donate the one extra stuffed animal to a children’s hospital, so that makes me feel a little better.)

Obviously, things might get super quiet on the blog, but I do plan to come back after all this craziness subsides.  Any guesses where we’ll end up?  There’s been nothing local (except for, you know, that one job that wanted to pay him the same wage he made fifteen years ago when he was freshly out of college…um, no), so all his interviews have been out-of-state, which is…nerve-wracking, exciting, and dreadful all at the same time, ha ha.  It won’t matter much in the long run where we end up–we made Australia work, so we can make staying-in-the-same-country work rather nicely, too, I’m thinking.

I just hope our next house has enough room for a dedicated craft room.

Because I don’t think I can make anything work if I don’t have that.

(First world problem.)

(Whatever; I use my craft room to help raise money for childhood cancer research, yo–I’ll pine for a craft room all I want.)

Hopefully I’ll see you again soon with a new Clementine block, because that would mean we’re settled and all this craziness is done.  Let’s hope extra hard RIGHT NOW.  😉

Clementine Quilt Along Block #2

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It’s Clementine time again!  Woo-hoo!

This month’s block is called “Broken Berries,” and it boasts the nice little perk of using up any accidentally-made flying geese blocks from last month:

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It’s not too late to join up with this fun sew along that will benefit childhood cancer research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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There’s a lot of us quilty bloggers participating in the Clementine Quilt Along, and you can check out their second blocks as well:

APRIL OF APRIL ROSENTHAL (@AMROSENTHAL)
BONNIE OF SUNSET FAMILY LIVING (@SUNSETFAMILYLIVING)
CARA OF THAT CRAFTY CARA (@THATCRAFTYCARA) <—THAT’S ME!
CARRIE OF MODA CUTTING TABLE (@MODAFABRICS)
DENISE OF PIECED BRAIN (@PIECEDBRAIN)
ELISE OF ELISE AND EMELIE (@ELISEANDEMELIE)
GINA OF CARPE QUILTIN (@GINA_TELL_CARPEQUILTIN)
HEATHER OF A CREATIVE PURSUIT (@ACREATIVEMAMA)
HILARY OF BY HILARY JORDAN (@BYHILARYJORDAN)
JAN OF COCOA QUILTS (@COCOAQUILTS)
JEN OF HERITAGE THREADS (@HERITAGE.THREADS)
JOANNE OF QUILTS BY JOANNE (@TURTLEQUILTERJO)
KAIRLE OF KAIRLE OAKS HANDCRAFTED GOODNESS (@KAIRLEOAKS)
KENDRA OF GOOD STARTER (@GOOD_STARTER)
KRISTEN OF 3 IN THE NEST (@THREEINTHENESTRALEIGH)
KRISTINA OF CENTER STREET QUILTS (@CENTERSTREETQUILTS)
LEAH OF PONDERINGS FROM MY HEART (@PONDERINGSFROMMYHEART)
MELANIE OF A BIT OF SCRAP STUFF (@MELLIERC)
MELISSA OF HAPPY QUILTING (@HAPPYQUILTINGMC)
PAT OF PAT SLOAN (@QUILTERPATSLOAN)
PAT B. OF LIFE IN THE SCRAPATCH (@SCRAPATCHES)
PATTY OF ELM STREET QUILTS (@ELMSTREETQUILTS)
REBECCA OF ONE WEE BIRD (@ONEWEEBIRD)
SARAH OF 123 QUILT (@123QUILT)
SEEMA OF SSK CRAFT SHOP (@SSKCRAFTSHOP)
SHERRI OF A QUILTING LIFE (@AQUILTINGLIFE)
SONDRA OF OUT OF THE BLUE QUILTS (@SONDRADAVISON)
STEPHANIE OF QUILT ‘N PARTY (@QUILTNPARTY)
TANYA OF TANYA QUILTS IN CO (@TANYAQUILTSINCO)
TERESA OF AUREA’S KITCHEN (@AUREASKITCHEN)
VICKIE OF CROCHETING VIXEN (@CROCHETINGVIXEN)

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Fat Quarter Shop has kitted up fabric for both the top and also for the backing, in April Rosenthal’s newest fabric collection, Mama’s Cottage.

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For more information about the sew along, including this month’s pattern download, you can check Fat Quarter Shop’s Clementine Sew Along landing page.

If you’d like to sew along, Fat Quarter Shop is asking for a $5 donation for each block pattern download, which you can donate here, to help them reach their goal of $40,000 raised to help in the battle against childhood cancers.

Clementine Quilt Along Block #1

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YES!  It’s Clementine Quilt Along time!  Fat Quarter Shop has designed a new block of the month program to help raise funds for childhood cancer research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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I signed on to sew along, and here’s my block:

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It’s called “Watermelon Wheel,” and, if I may, I have some advice about putting it together (aka “Don’t Be Dumb Like Cara Was”)

  1.  When you go to sew up the diagonal components of the block, don’t go on auto-pilot and turn them into flying geese, and
  2.  After you re-cut the pieces for the diagonals, CHECK THEIR DIRECTION before starting to sew them, or you may end up with a whole lot of diagonals that go the wrong way.

However, once you finally remember how to sew like a good little sewist, this is a nice little block to make.  It looks great when you’re done, and part of the fun of this particular quilt along is that you’ll make two sizes of each block:

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I think it’s going to look pretty great when it’s all done!

I’m joining other bloggers to get the word out about this great fundraising opportunity, and we’re all sewing up Clementine blocks of our own.  If you’d like to see the other blocks out there, here’s who’s sewing along:

April of April Rosenthal (@amrosenthal)
Bonnie of Sunset Family Living (@sunsetfamilyliving)
Cara of That Crafty Cara (@thatcraftycara) <—that’s me!
Carrie of Moda Cutting Table (@modafabrics)
Denise of Pieced Brain (@piecedbrain)
Elise of Elise and Emelie (@eliseandemelie)
Gina of Carpe Quiltin (@gina_tell_carpequiltin)
Heather of A Creative Pursuit (@acreativemama)
Hilary of By Hilary Jordan (@byhilaryjordan)
Jan of Cocoa Quilts (@cocoaquilts)
Jen of Heritage Threads (@heritage.threads)
Joanne of Quilts by Joanne (@turtlequilterjo)
Kairle of Kairle Oaks Handcrafted Goodness (@kairleoaks)
Kendra of Good Starter (@good_starter)
Kristen of 3 in the Nest (@threeinthenestraleigh)
Kristina of Center Street Quilts (@centerstreetquilts)
Leah of Ponderings from My Heart (@ponderingsfrommyheart)
Melanie of A Bit of Scrap Stuff (@mellierc)
Melissa of Happy Quilting (@happyquiltingmc)
Pat of Pat Sloan (@quilterpatsloan)
Pat B. of Life in the Scrapatch (@scrapatches)
Patty of Elm Street Quilts (@elmstreetquilts)
Rebecca of One Wee Bird (@oneweebird)
Sarah of 123 Quilt (@123quilt)
Seema of SSK Craft Shop (@sskcraftshop)
Sherri of A Quilting Life (@aquiltinglife)
Sondra of Out of the Blue Quilts (@sondradavison)
Stephanie of Quilt ‘n Party (@quiltnparty)
Tanya of Tanya Quilts in CO (@tanyaquiltsinco)
Teresa of Aurea’s Kitchen (@aureaskitchen)
Vickie of Crocheting Vixen (@crochetingvixen)

Fat Quarter Shop has kitted up fabric for both the top and also for the backing, in April Rosenthal’s newest fabric collection, Mama’s Cottage.

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For more information about the sew along, including this month’s pattern download, you can check Fat Quarter Shop’s Clementine Sew Along landing page.

If you’d like to sew along, Fat Quarter Shop is asking for a $5 donation for each block pattern download, which you can donate here, to help them reach their goal of $40,000 raised to help in the battle against childhood cancers.

Classic & Vintage: Double Nine-Patch Quilt

Good morning, friends!  Today I get to FINALLY share Fat Quarter Shop’s newest pattern with you!  It’s from their “Classic & Vintage” series of patterns, and it’s called the Double Nine-Patch Quilt!

You probably aren’t aware that one of my most favoritest, favoritest things about quilts is NESTED SEAMS.  Seams that have to match perfectly, and so you press the seam allowances opposite each other so they’ll nest into each other and lock themselves into place…oh my goodness, sign me up for THAT.  You can imagine my exclamation of joy when I first laid eyes on the mock-up of Fat Quarter Shop’s newest pattern in their Classic & Vintage line-up, the Double Nine Patch:

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Just. look. at all of those nested seams.

Putting this quilt together is pretty simple–I’d even suggest that it’s accessible by a “gettin’ tired of making charm pack patchwork quilts” kind of beginner.  I actually kept track of how long each of my sewing sessions were with making this quilt, and I went from starching my pre-washed fabric to finishing attaching the borders in a little under twenty hours (spread over five days).  And the finished quilt is sooo beautiful:

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I just love classic patterns, and this is such a clean, pretty look.

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I chose to go with a fat quarter bundle of Riley Blake’s “Comfort & Joy” fabric collection, because, hello,  CHRISTMAS, and I decided that I was going to keep this quilt for myself and I have been in love with this collection since it was first released last year, so “Merry Christmas” to yours truly, mwa ha ha.  I love, love, love the red, green, and white together.  Oh, be still my Christmas heart.

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I had the quilting done by Utah Valley Quilting, in their “Holly AB” pattern.  I love how it turned out!

Fat Quarter Shop has a kit available with Sweetwater’s “Project Red” collection included (oh, it doesn’t get more classic than red and white, does it?), and also a backing kit to match.  (Seriously love the print they chose for the backing!)

As always, there’s a cute little video explaining the new pattern, and you can watch it here:

Oh my goodness, I love this quilt.  Thank you, Fat Quarter Shop, for the opportunity to help you spread the fun news of this new pattern!

Linking Up:
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict

 

My “New & Improved” Plan for Battling UFOs and Scraps

Last year I came up with a plan that would allow me to work through more UFOs, whittle down the overflowing scrap baskets in my craft room, and allow me to work, guilt-free, on some new projects.  In the past, I always start the new year with grandiose plans to blast through all of my UFOs, and the white-knuckle willpower would only last about six weeks because the textile world is constantly releasing new fabric, yarn, and pattern collections.  So, I came up with this project rotation:

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The Original Project Schedule

And it worked really well for about six months until I discovered a glitch with my system–I never chose fabric from my stash when it came around to make a “new” project, choosing instead to use new fabric from a new collection that excited me.  The stash was starting to grow faster than normal, and I had this weird reluctance to cut into any of it because it was dear to me.  You don’t buy fabric or yarn with no plan unless you’re really in love, which makes it hard to use said fabric or yarn.  But, as a wise homeschooling parent told me about art lessons with my kids, “Art supplies is meant to be consumed, not conserved.”  The same is true of fabric and yarn.  USE THEM.

Plus, I’ve been noticing a lot of my contemporaries breaking into the pattern market, and they are killin’ it, which made me start wondering if perhaps I should start at least trying to write my own patterns for my use?  I know how patterns work by this point in my creative “career,” and the challenge involved excited me as well.

And then we did some charity blocks in quilt guild and it just made me feel good to make those.

So my project rotation schedule needed a few tweaks:

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And it’s been working WONDERFULLY.  I love the challenge of coming up with my own patterns, and I really love the idea of #everytenthproject being a service project–it’s like paying tithing on my creative abilities, for which I am so grateful to possess.

I kept a spreadsheet detailing my projects for last year, and it really helped me with my stash management and with branching out of my comfort zone:

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(It also alerted me to the fact that I tend to only knit with new yarn, which led to the decision to stop stashing yarn completely…because once it goes into the stash, chances are high that I’ll not be interested in using it EVER after that.  Interesting.)

It worked extremely well until I started sewing again for Fat Quarter Shop–by the very nature of those projects, they are always “new” fabric projects, which very quickly started eating up the next available “new” slots in my plan.  I’ll have to watch out for that this year, and possibly come up with a plan to accommodate those projects–the turnaround time on them is tight, so it’s not possible to actually have a “plan” to include those projects into my schedule.  I might leave them out of the “rotation” altogether, actually, and just enjoy the ride when I’m asked to ride along…because, duh.

Oh, another important note: Babies and weddings don’t have to follow the schedule because they are also impossible to plan around.  I just plug them into the spreadsheet where they belong and then work around them as necessary because I LOVE BABIES AND WEDDINGS.  I’m a gift-crafter at my core.

What I find, though, is that this schedule greatly reduces the chances of acquiring more UFOs.  I’m horrendously distracted by the new-and-shiny, but when I’d start thinking about cutting for or casting on a new project, I’d consult my spreadsheet and see if it could fit into the next category up for grabs.  If it didn’t, I’d tentatively schedule it; but more often than not, when I came up to its turn in the rotation, my excitement for the new pattern would have waned and I could move on to something that had been on my bucket list and would truly bring me pleasure.  I started 2017 with thirty-eight UFOs, finished (or donated or frogged) nine UFOs, and am taking in two new UFOs–that means I now have thirty-one UFOs, which is totally an improvement!  I have never ended a year with less UFOs than I had at the beginning of it.  Feels good.

And now it’s onwards to a productive 2018!  Happy New Year, and may you find a little time each day to move forward on your projects.

clementine-qal-e1504126058289And if you’re looking for an idea for a service project, maybe you want to consider joining Fat Quarter Shop’s Clementine Quilt Along?  I’ve committed to it, and it would be lots of fun to have some more friends quilting along, too!

You can find more information about the Quilt Along by clicking here to visit the Fat Quarter Shop Blog.  Proceeds from this quilt along will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.