Second Monday in January

Good morning, lovelies! Hopefully the new year is still treating you well and you’re making progress on the things that matter most to your heart. This week I’ll be (hopefully) finishing the Cat Lady quilt. The quilting is finished, and it’s trimmed; I just need to get going on the binding and label. I’m thinking I’m going to use the loads of C+S Bluebird scraps I have on-hand from when Denise made a dress for Em out of that fabric, which means I’ll be doing a scrappy binding construction because the scraps are very weird shapes–there’s very little yardage that will work for WOF cutting. BUT…it’s C+S fabric, and I have loads of it that I’ve been trying to sew through for years, so this will make a significant dent.

I had hoped to finish the Cat Lady quilt last week, but geez, what a week! Washington got a lot of snow and ice and rain and it just threw everything off kilter all week long. My kids had a two-hour late start for school four days out of five, the roads were flooding over…you don’t realize how stressed you’re feeling about stuff until you get past it and realize that you’ve been holding your shoulders up to your ears for days. And now we have to deal with rescheduling all the stuff that got cancelled, and adding it on top of all the regularly-scheduled stuff…I just wish that people would let things go when they get cancelled? Like, it’s too bad it didn’t happen, but let’s try again next year, rather than trying to fit it into the next couple of weeks that are already booked? Please? But alas…that’s a rare outcome.

Once the Cat Lady quilt is complete, I’m hoping to start work on Rachel’s birthday gift, and I can’t show you anything about it or she’ll figure out what it is. Which also means I have to clean it up everyday and not leave it lying around on the cutting table or the ironing board. Let’s see if I can actually remember to do that everyday…who else thinks that I’ll forget and Rachel will know what her gift is before it’s even finished? It also just occurred to me that I can’t work on this over the weekend days because she’s somewhat of a constant fixture in my craft room on the days that she’s home. So I guess it will take twice as long to stitch this up because I really will only have two days a week that I can work on this. Awesome.

I’m still working on the Nereid Fingerless Mitts for my bestie, and hopefully will have good news to report on them soon. This “tell people you were making them a gift if you didn’t finish it before Christmas” idea has been the perfect motivation to keep me working on those gifts. It might add extra incentive to get things done before Christmas in future years, too: I’m going to lose that special moment of surprise if it’s not done before Christmas because I’ll have to announce it on the blog. I don’t like doing that. But I do like finishing stuff, and so here we are.

Scrappy Thursday this week is for working on the Clementine Quilt. I don’t know if anyone remembers that I was one of the quilters in the original Clementine Quilters group, but I had to quit because we were moving. I hated quitting, but it was definitely the right call at the time because here we are, four years later, and it’s only now that I have the feasible time to work on it again. Fat Quarter Shop supplied me with the fabric to make the quilt, and I don’t feel right accepting fabric from people and then not using it, so it’s been on my mind ever since that I definitely need to get this completed so I can fulfill the obligation that I signed up for originally.

Update on Marshmallow: He’s doing better than he was. It looked like his hind legs were permanently paralyzed for many days, but in the last three or so days he’s started using them again, somewhat regularly. We changed up his meds the day before that development, so it looks like we’ve hit on a combo that works well for him. Pretty sure he’s gone blind though–he seems to only be responding to sounds, and he runs face first into things a lot. He got pushed down the stairs by Charlotte the other day because he walked near her, which is not a thing he used to do because she’ll bat any cat in the face that gets that close to her. (She’s such a GRUMP.) I feel like I need to set something up that will keep her away from him while I’m gone from the house because I’m afraid I’m going to come home to a murder scene or the like. Sigh.

So yeah, bad weather and geriatric cats…last week was intense. Hopefully things are a lot calmer this week!

Scrappy Thursday: Brickhouse Quilt: Blocks 1-4

It’s always a good thing when you make a goal and you complete the first part of it! I’ve completed the first occurrence of my new “Scrappy Thursdays” goal to work on getting the scrap bins down to a more manageable level each Thursday. This week’s scrappy project in the rotation was the first four blocks of my Brickhouse quilt.

I am really liking this pattern. It uses slightly bigger than I normally use pieces, so it eats up fabric a little better, and the construction is super easy. I’ve decided to use aquas and turquoises for the roofs of my houses, and pinks and reds for the bricks. And then I’m pairing all that with scrappy low-volume prints for the background. It turns out that I was pretty low on skinny red scraps, so I’m actually having to dive into my next-larger bin of scraps for the reds.

I’m thinking I might make multiple Brickhouse quilts this year because I like this pattern so much. House quilts are adorable anyway, so having lots of them would be so cute.

Alright, one Scrappy Thursday down, fifty-one more to go! Anyone else have scrappy goals for this year?

3 Ideas for More Organized Quilting in the New Year

I have a nifty little project rotation schedule in my mind that I try to use to work through old projects and not let the scrap bins get out of hand, and it’s just not working. I sat down to figure out what was going wrong, and just decided that I needed to make it work alongside what I want to do, instead of it being the main operating system of my craft room. As I’m sure you’re aware, every new year and month brings up new potential projects that you need to decide if you’re going to pursue or not. New babies, weddings, graduations, a crazy pattern that comes out that NEEDS to be made ASAP because it’s amazing, a new dress because of fifty thousand reasons…there’s just a lot that you can’t plan for, and it wreaks havoc on a system designed to corral the creative madness.

So…Idea #1: Each month will have its “must makes” that I will work on until they’re done, and then the remainder of the month will revert back to my UFO/Project Rotation schedule and I’ll make headway on the projects collecting cobwebs until the month ends. It’s simple, far too simple, but until I wrote it out I couldn’t see it as my solution.

I came up with this idea in October and finetuned and planned it out, but it felt like something was missing, and I finally realized what it was whilst lounging in my bed during the Great December Sickness of 2021–I’m not making enough scrap quilts. At all. The scrap bins no longer close, and I don’t have time for scrap quilts even though I won’t be able to use my craft room by the end of the year if they keep multiplying like they have been, completely unchecked. And then I randomly remembered that I came up with a weird little system for THIS EXACT PROBLEM back in 2019: Scrappy Thursdays.

Scrappy Thursdays were devoted to working on scrap projects and block of the months. It didn’t matter what I was working on outside of Scrappy Thursdays, I’d set it aside and work mostly from the scrap bins for that one day every week. I have four separate storage bins that held the fabric and patterns for four separate projects, and each week had its Project #1, #2, #3, or #4. It was still in experiment form when it dissolved out of my life, but it was a rather successful experiment while it was in progress! I just got really busy with the Blank Quilting ambassador thing and had no extra time for play, which was fine because I was having a lot of fun with all the yummy Blank fabric. Ah, memories…

Idea #2: I’m going to reinstate Scrappy Thursdays in 2021. I’m really looking forward to it. My chaos-loving brain really enjoys the break from my serious “get ‘er done” projects that I work on for the majority of the week, and my “obsessed with productivity” brain loves that I’m making progress on so many different things.

Beautiful Mammoth Flannels being cut for one of next year’s Christmas quilts!

I had another good idea during the Great December Sickness of 2021, which is my Idea #3: Use my leaders and enders for greater Christmas productivity. As in, cut the fabric for the Christmas quilts I want to make for Christmas next year NOW, and use them as my leaders and enders throughout the next year. When it comes time to work on said Christmas quilts at a later date, I’ll already have a ton of the piecing done. I’ve even set up an annual reminder that the week after Christmas is for cutting next year’s leaders and enders!

I’ve got the fabric for two of next year’s Christmas quilts prewashed and in the process of being cut. I have at least one more, if not two more, Christmas quilts I want to make this upcoming year, but no idea what pattern and/or fabric I’m going to use just yet, so obviously can’t precut anything for those quilts.

I’m excited for this extra bit of organization to help things run smoothly in the craft room! Do you have any good tips or tricks for quilty organization? I’d love to hear them! Happy New Year!