Sewing

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Season 11 of Project QUILTING ended two weeks ago and Kim decided to keep challenges rolling while much of the country (and the world) is sheltering in place during COVID-19. So PQQ 2020 (Project QUILTING: Quarantine 2020 edition) began last weekend with PQ Q.1: Big. Quite frankly everything seems big right now.

I have been sewing while I can, in the minutes I can steal between monitoring two elementary-aged children doing school at home, preparing too many meals per day, and all the other normal household tasks. I'm getting out nearly daily for short neighborhood walks alone. And we're trying to have quality family time among all the chaos. Since I have been sewing, I've been creating schnibbles (all those little bits of unusable fabric and batting). I save most scraps down to about an inch wide, so most of my schnibbles are the truly little bits. I keep them in a little trash bin from IKEA. Well, my pile of schnibbles had gotten quilt big and was threatening to overflow the trash bin. So it was time to do something about it.

I pulled out my fleece cat bed kit from Bay Area Modern Quilting and sewed it up so I could stuff it with all the little bits. It's hard to tell the scale, but the dimensions are approximately 16" x 20" on top and 5-6" tall. The top and bottom ovals are identical, with a double pass of stitching on each seam to attach the strip used for the sides.

I've developed the habit over time that when I have scraps I cross-cut them so the pieces are small. This goes for fabric, batting, and practice quilt sandwiches. All are cut up before going into the bin, so they are ready to go when I stuff a cat bed, or when I bag up my scraps to pass on to another guild member to fill cat beds.

This was a pretty quick project and it turned my big pile of schnibbles into a medium-size pile:

A big thanks to Kim for hosting additional quilt challenges during this weird time.

I hope you and you are healthy and safe. Thanks for visiting. Make sure to pop over to see what others have created for the Big challenge.

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I'm writing today as part of the Aurifil Artisan Sew Organized challenge. (My pictures include thread that has been given to me by Aurifil.)

My thread (and all my other stuff) is stored in Ikea PAX wardrobes. These units are super flexible, both in design and in function. I opted for plain white doors on my cabinets and, with the help of my shopping buddy Mel Beach, chose Komplement pull-out shelves for thread and a few other tools. I added Komplement clear dividers on my thread shelf to help organize.

While I love the aesthetics of a thread rack on the wall, I wanted to protect my investment from exposure to light. (I also keep spools in their factory sealed packaging until I'm ready to use them.) At any given time, there are a handful of spools at my machine or on my table, but the bulk of my collection stays tucked inside my cabinet. It's easily accessible and the pull-out feature of the shelf means I can easily see my whole collection.

The majority of my thread is 50wt since it is my first choice for both piecing and quilting. I've arranged my 50wt thread mostly by color family: pink/red, yellow/orange, green, blue, purple, dark neutrals, light neutrals. The remaining five sections in the front two rows have my other thread by weight. My Aurifloss is kept in a separate container with other embroidery tools. The back row of my thread shelf is where I keep Aurifil brochures and thread which I distribute when I teach.

 

I prefer to match my bobbin color to my top thread color. (In a pinch I'm willing to use something that's close.) Long ago, I decided it was worth the investment in additional bobbins to save myself the time, expense, and confusion of unwinding partially full bobbins when I need a new color. I have two tips for keeping those bobbins organized.

First, I label the bobbin with the Aurifil thread number using a sharpie. It could be erased with a little rubbing alcohol if need be.

Second, I use Bobbin Buddies (affiliate link) to connect my bobbin with my spool of thread. I find they work a little better with a large Aurifil spool compared to the small spool. The smaller size of the opening on the large spools create more tension to hold the Bobbin Buddies in place. That said, both work. On a large spool I loosen the bottom of the spool (it's removable) to tuck in the loose thread to stop it from unraveling.

What are your best organizational tips for thread? Or for other tools in your studio?

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For the past two years I've shared my five favorite finishes of the year. Here are my favorites from 2019. In no particular order...

 

Modern Antique Tiles

I enjoyed designing this piece for my Island Batik challenge for the Vintage Reimagined prompt. I used the extending lines concept from Sylvia Schaefer's book, The Quilter's Negative Space HandbookRead more.

 

Enjoy Mini Mini

This mini mini quilt ties my smallest quilt ever made, measuring just 2 1/4" x 9". It was created in response to the Project QUILTING 10.5 challenge: Abecedarius. I enjoyed (ha, see what I did there?) making the improv letters for my project. I haven't gotten back to this technique, but will use it again in future projects. Read more.

 

Wholecloth

In this Aurifil Artisan challenge we were asked to use at least three different weights of thread in a whole cloth mini quilt. I used a variety of free motion motifs on this piece. Monochromatic quilting on a solid wholecloth quilt is all about texture! Read more.

 

Two Red, White, & Blue Minis in One Week

This is a bit of a cheat since it's two quilts (and I didn't make one of them), but looking back over the year, one of my favorite quilting projects was the week both my daughter and I finished a quilt for the Project QUILTING Red, White & Blue challenge. I love that my kids enjoy sewing and quilting. Read more about mine. Read more about hers.

 

Tula Pink Dress

I really enjoyed making clothes for my kids when they were younger... for some reason that came to an end (or a pause). But we pass along the clothes they outgrow to my sister for her kids (who are 3 1/2 and 1). I've really enjoyed seeing my nephew J wear the clothes I made for G when he was that age. And J loves them! And it has inspired me to sew up some new clothes. I have some new pants in the works for J, but I couldn't resist pulling together some of my favorite Tula Pink fabrics to make a dress for my niece who has just started walking. Read more.

 

FYI, Project QUILTING challenges for the 2020 season start on January 5th with Kim Lapacek at Persimon Dreams. There are a series of six one-week quilt challenges running January through March. (We get a week off between challenges.) Check it out. Join us. It's a great community of makers creating a wide variety of work from each prompt. And there are prizes.

I'm linking up to Cheryl's Best of 2019 Linky Party. And you can see my Five Favorite Finishes from 2018 and 2017. Stay up to date with what I make in 2019 by subscribing to my newsletter.