Bienvenido! We moved to The Baja close to...
I do, I often spend a day browsing through my books and magazines for a pattern that inspires me. And then looking through my fabrics for a color scheme. But after a few stops and starts, I find one that really grabs me and I set down to seriously plan my fabrics and the quilt design. The one above is Apples and is from Debbie Mumm's collection. I loved getting involved with all the pieces and how they would go together. Also, the leaves on the apple stems are applique'd and it was my first time working with fusing an applique and blanket stitching the edges. After fusing the wrong side of the fabric or the wrong side of the paper (about 72 times-little tiny leaves), I finally figured out both and was able to move forward. Be assured I wrote down specific instructions on how to do that on the instruction sheet in my notebook. I certainly never want to go through that again. But, I did fall in love with applique's. Since I've finished this quilt, I have been looking for some simple applique'd quilts that I would like to try.
After dinner, when the sun goes down and there are no interruptions, I go into my sewing room and begin my adventure. I either have my ipod on or the TV and I begin to carefully cut out my pattern pieces. My chihuahua is cuddled up on the chair and blanket, my Lapso is curled up on the machine foot pad until I turn on the machine. My Hubby is settled in the living room to watch football. I know from experience, the time you spend in cutting the exact measurements of your pieces will pay off when you sew them together. Many times, I'll make a copy of the pattern and mark my copy with the colors and letters I am using. This is because I'm not usually following the same colors as the book and I get confused really fast. I like it when the pattern calls each color by the alphabet and not by dots, stripes and grays. I use post it notes to put on each piece pile and the quantity that should be there. It's awful to be putting the blocks together and realize that I'm missing one or two from the last one or two blocks. What a pain to get out the fabric and cut again or go through the scraps and hope that I have some big enough for the pieces I'm missing.
It's fun to see how fast it goes when I'm not interrupted. Before I know it the pieces are all laid out in piles, labeled and in the place where they will eventually be sewn to each other. Now because no one is there to tell me to go to bed, of course, I figure will I can sew a few together before I retire. A few! Hah! I've been know to sew until 2 or 3 in the morning without realizing it. What fun! So much accomplished, I can see the soon to be result and I go to bed to dream of shapes and fabrics. I can hardly wait for tomorrow to sew late again.
I recently made seven baby crib quilts for the local Children's Hospital. They were kind enough to give my Hubby and I a tour of the new premi baby wards. So tiny! Some only 2.6 pounds. Many babies there are born of drug addicted parents and this makes their stay and recovery special. They will also give them a quilt if child becomes attached to it. I love knowing that my quilts are making a baby, child happy and to feel better just by being wrapped in my quilts.
I made the Kitty & Duck quilts from Debbie Mum's patterns. They are so fast and fun to make. The Heart quilt pattern came from Hearts are Forever by Four Corners. The Whimsical Cottages came from my own idea. I love the schoolhouse pattern. I gave each house a flowered front yard and green backyard. Must be twilight since you can see the stars. I imagine the pink as roads and three houses on each road. Sewed lace into the windows and a button doorknob. The kittys have applique'd stuffed hearts. This is a great size to make, you can sew them in just a couple of days.
I'm thinking I'll try some more variations of the schoolhouse design. It was a lot of fun looking through my scraps for the houses. This house pattern is just three pieces. Mixing up the fabrics is fun and adding decorative stiches to the edges makes it even more interesting. I've seen some where the windows had embrodered curtains, people and lamps in them. I thought about making the door with a snap so you could open and shut it. Maybe having someone standing in the doorway when you opened it. I'm always looking through Quilt magazines to see other ways to decorate my quilts.
This is the finished organized cupboard. Whew! Have all my scraps sorted into plastic bags (I like the ones with the slide closures). Of course my style of "bagging it" is to have a bag per quilt, extra triangles, then strips by 1", 1 1/2", 2" etc. And various other scraps, which did result in a lot of bags. But since they are all clear, I can now see what I am looking at and looking for.
Not to back up - but this was my first attempt at adding a picture. Very proud of myself that I actually got it sized and attached :) If you look at the way I sorted it, it is by pinks, greens, browns, white & blues. If I pull out a piece, I can put it back by just placing it on the top of the stack. If I had to take the whole pile down and re-insert it according to color graduation, I'd never keep it organized. The fat quarters are set at the side of each pile in the same colors. I usually buy my fabrics in 1/2 yard and 1 yard sizes. When I've found a print, color or pattern I really like, then I get more (but that's one the second trip to the store). My favorite place is the remnants. After a sale, I try to go back often in order to find the ones I like. I know they'll be there, because I'm the one that bought at the bottom of the bolt and there should be a remnant made of what was left.
Just the other day, I went to JoAnn's with my new discount card and several coupons I had collected from the store and my emails. It was a glorious Saturday! I was so excited over the sale prices and the variety of fabrics. It was time to restock and I was prepared. I had a list of colors that were missing from my rainbow of fabrics and the ever needed backings. I stocked up on cotton batting & thread (50% off).
I had become very excited about the backings after reading through my quilt magazines. I found a whole article in American Patchwork & Quilting June 2001 (yes I've saved them all) that gave pictures of what was called "backstage" productions. It was beautiful how on the back of a quilt, just adding a row of "Autum Stars" or squares of 9 patch. Lynette Jensen states in her article that "it makes your quilt as attractive when folded down for the evening as they are pulled up". One even bordered an antique feedsack. It made me think that it would be a good way to use up the leftover blocks from other quilts I've made. I always thought I'd use them to make pillows, but after awhile, one more pillow would be....well you know.
But back to my fabrics, coming home from the store with all my fabric & notions, I decided to take on a new project. Well, I really didn't just decide, it was needed in order to put my new stuff away. I keep my fabrics stored in a cabinet on the wall of my sewing room. The cupboard was in the same shape that it started when we moved in and I stuffed all the fabrics in willy nilly. So I took down small stacks at a time and sorted and folded them into piles by color. I had to keep it as green, pink, brown etc. If I had started graduating the colors, I'd never be able to maintain them. This way when I see a color I want, I can take it down and then put it back on the top of the stack. Having my cupboard on the wall lets me open the doors and sit on my stool to ponder the colors I'd use as I look through my patterns. It's much easier to imagine my color scheme by looking over at my selections. In the process of this organization. I discovered some fabrics that I had bought for backings and were several yards. I also found several that I had bought more than once, thinking I had used it up. How exciting to see how much I had to choose from!
I discovered that I had collected enough Halloween fabric designs to make a quilt, and then all the Patriotic fabrics I didn't realize I had collected. Of course, not to mention the Christmas fabrics, which also had many left over blocks already completed. So I'm set for the holidays, for inspiration and I have the fabric. Ummm what design should I start with?