Today I’ve decided that it’s time to start cleaning up the mess. There are piles and boxes of fabric all over the place and it’s starting to bother me. I still have some other work should do but soon this will be done and I can start organizing and doing some spring cleaning. My biggest challenge is logistics. What is the best way to stack the fabric and store the supplies so that I can get to them easily. I would like to have the fabric visible. Right now it’s in several different boxes and stacks and I can’t always easily find the piece I’m looking for. The other problem is forgetting what I have and accumulating more. In this year of intention I’m trying to use what I have before I buy anything else. I’ve been thinking about this for several months and today I realized I have a possible solution. I can move an unused desk that is now covered with clutter. In the space where the desk is I can move in some shelves from the garage. This set of shelves is of the wire variety and is on wheels. It has four shelves that will be perfect for my needs. I can keep the large pieces of batting and fleece on either the bottom or the top, stack some clear boxes of works in progress on a shelf and still have room to create stacks of fabrics. These pieces are all less than one yard and when stacked don’t take up much room. I think I’ll sell the desk that’s in the corner although it may get moved to the garage for storage until I know that it really is an extra that I don’t need. Time to stop thinking and start cleaning up!
I have a die that will cut hearts. Valentines day is coming and I love red. Seems to me this is a perfect combination to try something new.
I have thought about this project for several weeks but had not made a decision about the direction. I finally decided I just needed to cut some hearts and then go ahead. I didn’t have any more product to make iron on appliques so the first step was make a trip to Joann’s. Now if you shop regularly at Joann’s you should never have to pay full price which is fine with me. That leaves more money to spend somewhere else. When I came home I had two different kinds of iron on applique product. I did some from both the Wonder Under and Heat and Bond Lite and have definitely decided I like the Heat and Bond better. Its easier to use and peels off the back more easily and cleanly. This however was an indication of how the entire project was going to go.
There were continuous challenges with this project. First not all the hearts peeled well. I decided I was just going to applique them onto a white square and satin stitch them. Sort of a make it up as you go kind of project. It’s been a long time since I have done much satin stitch applique so the hearts are not very consistent. After the third one I had already decided this was a project that was likely to end up in the trash. I did continue however because I decided it was already cut and it was good practice. After two squares of applique, several borders and a quilt sandwich I decided that it still didn’t look very good so I might as well practice some quilting. I started and it was really ugly! At this point I was about ready to put it in the trash. I ended up doing all sorts of free motion quilting patterns on the entire piece. There are many inconsistencies in the stitch length and smoothness but by the end it actually improved the looks of the entire piece. I think that the red fabric is so busy that by quilting the white it helped tie it all together. An instance of more really was better.
I put a binding on and it is on my dining room table. It I just go by and glance it actually looks ok. I sure wouldn’t want anyone to look closely at it and I certainly wouldn’t gift it to anyone but for a home product that I thought I was going to trash, it turned out very valentinish.
When I was growing up I was fortunate to have my Great Grandmother move from Minnesota to live nearby with my Grandmother. She immigrated from Norway when she was young and learned all sorts of handcrafting skills. I have several things that she made me and I cherish them all. One of my favorites are these crocheted Christmas snowflakes. I have 18 of them and every year we put them on the family tree. I didn’t realize how much my mother enjoyed them until I got married and they came to live at my house and adorn my Christmas tree. Oh, she really wanted to keep them but did send them to me when I asked. Part of the ritual of the snowflakes did have my husband befuddled however the year that he decided to store different objects in the snowflake box. I went to get them out the following year to put them on the tree and they were missing. Oh, I was upset! He didn’t know what he had done with them. I’m not sure why he put them away that year and not me. Trust me, now the snowflakes always go in the little red box and I eagerly anticipate putting them on the tree.
The time has come to start the holiday clean up. At my house it seems to take a long time. We’ve been married for many years and have accumulated too much stuff. Hubby especially enjoys large quantities of Christmas display. We have acquired a large assortment of Department 56 houses/buildings and then we have the tree. Oh my! This year Jim decided he was going to see how many ornaments he could put on the tree. After many days and maybe getting tired of carrying boxes up and down the stairs he had enough. Oh dear.. now we have to put them all away!
The fall table runner is finished and I think it looks ok. When I added the oatmeal colored border it really helped pull it all together. It gives your eye a place to rest among all the busyness of the patterned fabric. The dark brown binding really finished off the runner by framing the entire mini quilt. It think it was a good choice. I also decided to try my hand at free motion quilting. I traced a stencil on the middle portion and then just did a rounded zig zag down the sides. It’s far from perfect but for the first time I felt it was acceptable and not so bad I had to rip it out and start again. I figure it’s on the table for only a month or two and no one really looks at the stitching but only the overall effect. I know this is how people get better at a skill but I was lamenting to a friend that it’s hard to admit that at my age I’m really just a beginner. When people get older I think there is a tendency to think you should be able to master a skill the first time and not have to start at the bottom of the skill level. Sort of a humbling reminder I guess. I did have great fun doing the free motion quilting however and really look forward to finishing more projects so I can do it again. I think it’s time to finish up the x’s and o’s quilt and see how I do on that one.