I begin with an apology for the delay in getting this issue out. Digging out from the blizzard and a couple of family issues required immediate attention. But what are we quilters, if not good at piecing together the many patches of our lives?
Thank you for your patience. Now...
It's time to get busy with some quilting!
If you're like me, after Christmas my quilt workspace is a mess.
Projects ambitiously started for a Christmas completion sit forlorn and undone. Fabric purchases await washing, pressing and folding. Patterns and magazines are piled to be read and sorted.
This year my resolution is to get my stash and work area in order. What about you?
The Best Quilt Store on the Planet...
...is YOUR QUILT FABRIC STASH!
It's been personally selected just for YOU by the person who knows the most about YOU!
But do you ever find yourself starting the next "BIG QUILT PROJECT" and instead of shopping your own fabrics, you go to the quilt store...because it's easier?
So what can we do about it...
"Welcome to my Underwear Drawer!"
That was the original name of this enlightening blog post on the StashManicure blog. In it Teresa, from Fabric Therapy, shows AND describes how she tames her fabric stash.
Click here to see the full (renamed) article "Can You Be TOO Organized?". There are a lot of good pictures of her organization techniques.
Even if you don't go to the lengths she uses, you can use some of her ideas:
Sort fabrics by color AND value.
Keep fabric in see through or translucent boxes.
Use a temporary labeling system. Your stash will change over time and this keeps you flexible.
Use storage boxes that are easy for you to use/lift. If you're using boxes, storage the fabric so that you can see it all when you open the box.
Use a system that works for you!
Practice your system until it becomes second nature.
It's easiest to keep your workspace organized when everything has is own permanent space.
Go! Tame Your Stash
With an AccuQuilt Go! that is!
I'd sat on the fence about the AccuQuilt Go! fabric cutting system for awhile but at the last minute scribbled it on my Christmas list.
Lo! And behold! It appeared!
Think of it like a rotary cutter and mat on steroids. With a single pass you can cut through multiple layers of fabric with precision. (You'll see it in action in the YouTube video below.)
The Go! retails for $349.00 which is pricey (in my book) for cutting quilt fabric. As of this writing, Amazon.com's current sale price is $206.00 (it also includes a 'Value Die' that cuts a 4-1/2" square, a 2-1/2" square and and half square 2" finished triangles, a fabric pick to clean loose threads from the die and a 10"x10" cutting mat).
So why'd I buy it?
I don't like to rotary cut...could hand sew on binding all day long...but don't think I've ever rotary cut a complete quilt in one day. I also like to work on quilts with lots of pieces like the "Birthday Quilt" and "My Oh My Gosh Quilt". Mountains of 1" strips needed to be cut for both of those quilts.
So the first die I bought for it is the 1" strip cutting die (#55052) and the 10"x24" cutting mat (#55113) to go with it. I can now cut many 1" strips through 6 layers of fabric in one pass. That's a lot of time rescued from a task I really dislike.
What really pushed me from a 'looker' to a 'buyer' was the following YouTube video by Ebony Love of quiltpossible.com. Watch this 6-1/2 minute video to see an AccuQuilt Studio (the larger, more expensive version of the Go!) in action.
Using this quilting tool to help convert my messy menagerie of fabric scraps into usable strips sold me on the whole thing.
Don't you just love how Ebony just folds up the freshly cut strips for storage!
Look for more information on AccuQuilt fabric cutting systems on the website later this month.
Something Truly Special: My Tweets
One of the best things about writing this newsletter is to be able to share neat things! And I've found something that I just can't wait to share with you.
Center medallion block from My Tweets BOM See NOTE to the left
Erin Russek, from the One Piece At a Time Blog, has begun her new 2011 appliqued Block of the Month (BOM) called "My Tweets". It is in follow-up to her 2010 BOM called 'Florabunda'...also a spectacular quilt.
The twelve monthly blocks will be offered as free downloads. Check her blog to find when each block design will be available.
NOTE: To complete the quilt with twelve blocks surrounding this medallion block, you must purchase this center medallion block pattern from her Esty shop.
You can do so by using the pink "Visit My Shop" button at the top of the lefthand side of her blog to get to her store.
Erin has indicated on her blog that she will also offer a way to put the blocks together for a twin size quilt without the purchased center block. All the other blocks will be offered as free downloads throughout the year.
You'll find background and sashing fabric requirements in Erin's entry dated 1/12/11.
Erin has done a simply amazing job with tutorials to take you through some of the techniques she uses as she does her hand applique on this block. (To find just the blog posts pertaining to this "My Tweets" BOM, go to the lefthand column on her blog. Scroll down to "Categories" and then down to "My Tweets" and click on it. Voila! Just the blog posts for "My Tweets" appears.)
For more ideas, see what other quilters are doing with her pattern. Check out Erin's My Tweets Flickr Group. You're certain to find some inspiration. I am particularly fond of the block by the gal using inks to enhance her fabrics.
For those of you who love applique quilts, but aren't fond of hand applique, don't despair!