Most of us quilters have come up against the problem of “ugly fabric” (what should I do with it?) After all, it followed me home.
It is just fine to describe a fabric as “ugly” – we are talking about an object. All of us have a different opinion of what we think of as beautiful vs. ugly fabric and there is no reason not to be honest. After all, if everyone liked the same colors and designs there would not be the selection of cloth that we currently have.
The fabric looked great at the store, or quilt show… but now that it is home, I wonder what possessed me to pay good money for that. And why did I think five yards would be enough? Am I losing my mind?
I have tried several ways of handling the “ugly fabric” issue in my own quilting world. So far, the two most used answers are cutting it up as small as possible or using it as the backing of a quilt (especially if I can donate it or give it away).
When I would complain to my grandmother about ugly fabric,
she would smile big and tell me that I had “not cut it small enough”. Good point, and it generally does work.
What to do with ugly fabric:
Over-dyeit which for me is a hit and miss method. I have come out with a truly beautiful “new” fabric, and I have come out with something far worse than what I started with.
Mix it with a lot of other scraps in a quilt and it won’t stand out.
Donate it (Goodwill, art class at the school, 4-H, or the animal shelter for bedding, etc.).
Trade it because someone else will probably love it and he/she has a chunk of fabric you just love.
Sell it because you can use that money to buy a piece of fabric you like.
Make a simple pet bed for the local animal shelter. This is basically a pillow case that I keep on the cutting table and stuff with left over snippets of batting and fabric. When 2/3 full, I sew the open side shut and off to the shelter it goes. The shelter here cannot get enough of them.
No doubt other quilters have their own solutions to this dilemma, and I wish you would share them with the rest of us.
I remember years ago using a specific line of fabric to make a quilt. One of the fabrics was just too hideous (in my opinion) and when I brought the finished quilt back to the shop to show the ladies there, I said something about putting the ugliest fabric on the back. The owner was totally offended and made sure I knew it. My comment was thoughtless, but it was my honest opinion.
Ugly fabric is useable:
The point is not that the fabric is ugly, but that we find a way to use it. In the world of recycle, reuse, and re-purpose, fabric should be used. It has not been many years ago that nothing was thrown away because the item was too expensive or too hard to get to waste. We have so many choices today in the fabric world that we forget how hard it was for our predecessors to get nice fabric. So, let’s find a use for it, if only in honor of the quilters who came before us.
Quilting and injury are not a fun mix. I have not mentioned my shoulder injury. It has really slowed down my hand quilting, and all areas of the sewing and quilting journey. I am sure other quilters experience shoulder and hand injuries too.
Repetitive motions such as rotary cutting and hand quilting just make my shoulder throb painfully.
I am not even sure what caused the injury in January. However, during a visit to the chiropractor I mentioned the pain in my shoulder. He diagnosed it as “frozen shoulder” and gave me some light exercises to do to help the stiffness and pain.
The exercises were easy to do and as time goes on the issue is diminishing. But I was not mentally prepared to not do any quilting activities for several weeks. That has been the worst part of the injury.
So what am I doing…
Currently I am hand quilting for one hour a day – at this stage I am thrilled with that. Rotary cutting and hand binding are even slower. But there is progress so I am happy.
I have sorted scraps by size and cleaned up the piles of fabrics.
Quilting books have been perused and new ideas marked. Magazines have been looked at and enjoyed. Some have been passed on, and some reorganized.
I enjoy other quilter’s blogs, but there has been time to catch up on reading (that are new to me, mostly) quilt blogs. It is fun to see what other quilters are doing and their projects. I found some really neat projects to possibly make.
I also found a few new quilt blogs and thought I will share some with my wonderful readers:
As time allowed over the past week, I did some research on quilting trends for 2021. I will probably go my own way for my quilting journey, but maybe I will discover some fabric or design that inspires me.
And this blogs’ readers may find something inspiring as well. I hope quilting in 2021 is much more about fun for all quilters the world over. For many, 2020 was about illness, politics, and isolation.
And the trends are….
According to Gathered (a British publication), the list of quilting trends includes: fabric panels, raw edge applique, curves, eco quilting, the color blue, and hand quilting.
On this blog, I have several posts about quilts that include some of 2021 quilting trends. Maybe I am ahead of my time! Here is fabric panel wall hanging for Christmas, and another that is nautical and blue.
Bernina Sewing Center of Lincoln, Nebraska’s list has three items: the color Horizon blue, simple piecing, and asymmetrical.
Any regular reader knows that I thrive on quick, easy piecing of any size quilts. Here is one of my favorites, and it gets many compliments when I show it off to other quilters. I am not the only quilter who likes blue and yellow together.
When it comes to home decorating, I like a mix of items both old and new. Wall art is great, but I hate to dust around knick-knacks. I like wooden floors (and if they squeak when walked across that just adds to the feel). Colored walls are my preference because white walls look dingy since we heat with wood. I want organization. And I really want a place for textiles.
I checked on decorating trends for 2021, and found that the look is less clutter, more natural lighting, and mixing old and new items. Wow, what I like is finally popular! Now, if only the featured slideshow had quilts hanging on the walls! But that means opportunity awaits.
I know some of you are missing quilting classes. This quilt shop is doing zoom classes. While I am not familiar with this shop, some of the readers may like to explore this option.
Quilters – Make a quilt that makes you happy
Check out the decorating and quilting trends for 2021. Find an idea that inspires you and go for it. Have fun. Open the door to inspiration, and make a happy quilt for this year.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
I love my mom-in-law, she is such a cool lady. She does not quilt, but she loves my quilts. Over the years she has given me many, many yards of quilting fabrics for holidays, birthdays, and just because. Today the UPS man showed up with another box of fabric from her – just because.
The mom-in-law is a wonderful oil painter of scenery. We have entirely different tastes in color, patterns, and end products. That is one reason why I love the fabric she gets me – it is fabric I would never buy for myself. Of course the other reason is because I love her.
Is she helping me become a fabric hoarder?
This box had western style fabrics, St. Patrick’s Day fabrics, and brights. You know greens, pinks, and yellows. They ranged in size from a quarter yard to a 2 yard piece.
The box contained right at 25 yards of fabric. Naturally I had to “pet” all the fabric and make sure that it was not hurt in its’ travels from Montana to here. This leads to sorting and dreaming about more projects….
She and I have a great relationship but we have never gone on a fabric shopping trip together! Yes, in 30+ years that has never happened. Why? I honestly don’t know, but it just hasn’t happened.
I have a scrap 4 patch started for her Christmas gift this year and I will be putting in some of the fun and bright fabrics she gets me through out the year.
Look at any of the quilts on this blog, and chances are very good some fabric from my mom-in-law is in it. And she usually gets some of the fabric back in a quilted item for herself.
And you thought I bought all that fabric in my stash myself…
MORAL OF THE sTORY:
When you make up a wish list or “Christmas” type list for yourself, always say you would like 100% cotton fabric. I tell anyone who asks what I would like is more fabric for a birthday, holiday, or other occasion gift.
Be gracious and thankful for any fabric you do get. You can use it, trade it, or “re-gift” it to another quilter. Good quilting fabric is always useful in some form.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
It seemed like a forever long winter here in central Indiana this past winter. Normally I like winter. I get to work from home more, I bake bread, and I generally hunker down and just enjoy the slower pace. Not the winter of 2020-21. I am sick of the whole virus thing, sick of politics, and sick of being stuck inside since there was only a few days with enough snow to do anything outside. Bring on the spring quilting & gardening !!!!
Hallelujah – my daffodils are up and happily blooming. Spring truly is on the way!
And so is the hellebores (Lenten Rose) plant !
Since the kids are grown and gone I don’t have a vegetable garden. However, I have several flower beds full of both bulbs and perennials that will keep me busy until late autumn. There are always weeds to pull, mulching to do, and Winter Creeper to eradicate. And no doubt somewhere out there is at least one poison ivy vine waiting for me to get into it.
The trees are starting to bud out, the neighbor’s magnolia tree is glorious, and I am actually hearing frogs. The woodpeckers have returned, and we have two juvenile owls in the old maple tree. I saw a batch of bunnies in the field across the road.
Apparently other quilters enjoy spring flowers too. If fact, most quilters I know also garden.
We do not use chemicals in the yard so we tend to see all kinds of interesting bugs and birds in our yard and among the flowers. It is also completely fenced to try to keep the wildlife out.
It is time I mention the stray rooster that has shown up here. I have asked around hoping to find the guy’s home but no one claims this handsome dude. He is hard to miss as he struts down the road in front of our home over the past months. Personally, I did not make any effort to feed or approach it.
Then we had about 2 weeks of (for here) cold weather and I felt sorry for the guy. This was also the only time we had several inches of snow, and he could not scratch around for bugs. Since I was putting birdfeed out in the backyard, I put a bit out by the road for him.
Last week he showed up under the biggest bird feeder. He cleaned up the mess the other birds left with the seed and was happy to get a bit more of his own corn on the ground. So now he is apparently a regular – much to my husband’s disgust.
If someone doesn’t feed him fast enough he stands on the back porch and crows until someone comes out. He eats the corn or seed is his little pile and then scratches around for bugs. I have mixed feelings about this situation that I apparently created.
This month I have made two road trips to the Daviess County, IN Amish settlement to buy fabric. No, I do not need fabric. But after the last two years of using my stash and scraps to make quilts I am ready for something new.
I have also been looking at chicken fabric and rooster quilt block patterns – go ahead and chuckle. I don’t see myself actually making a rooster quilt but…
So what is on my agenda for quilting ??
I have a stack of 4 patch blocks sewn together. All that is needed is for me to figure out which fabric would make a good alternate block and get that together.
I have a plastic container of 3″ tumblers that would make a really pretty scrap top.
There is finally enough muscle car fabric to make a double quilt for my nephew who is graduating high school this spring. He loves muscle cars and saved his money to buy an old Ford Mustang to restore. I have everything but the border cut out and ready to sew. Bright orange solid is the alternating block with white, orange, and navy blue being the borders.
And there are also…….forget the list, I need to work on these items first.
Better weather is here, my calendar is way fuller than I want it to be, and quilting time will be less until fall. But I still make time to do something quilt related most days. It can be as simple as looking at quilt magazines, talking to another quilter, or cutting and piecing.
I will spend some time collecting ideas for quilts to make later in the year as the weather turns cold. At some point before summer hits, I will clean and organize my sewing room – this is usually an annual event for me.
Happy quilting my dear readers. Bring on the spring quilting & gardening !!!!
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
Today is beautiful outside. Brilliant blue sky. Cloudless. Took the day off and hibernating at home, and having a busy quilting Monday. So fun!
Sometimes a person just needs a “mental health day” as my sister would say to do something fun and personal.
Today I did not listen to the news, or check social media. I put on fun music that I enjoy and opened the windows. The phone is off (I know – scandal right!).
I went through a pile of about 40 quilt magazines that were given to me, and pulled out two patterns. The magazines are now ready to go to the recycling bin in town when one of us heads that way.
Sewed together five rows on the mystery quilt. I love the colors but am ready to move on to another project. This one has taken way longer than I normally spend on a quilt.
Located a pattern I would like to make a wall hanging from next that involves stars.
Washed a stack of fabric that I traded another quilter for. She had some different spring type colors than I do.
My point is this:
If you have a chance to take a few hours or a day to just do quilt related activities, please do so. All of us need time to recharge and do something that fulfills us.
I used to think it was very selfish, but time has taught me that I am a better person, a better employee, a better spouse, a better parent if I simply take a short time for myself to recharge and relax.
Enjoy a busy quilting Monday (or any other day of the week).
Quilting and 7 months of COVID: I read an article this week about how hard COVID has been on people around the world. The “isolation”, the “aloneness”, and the “frustration”. Actually I just shook my head over the article. I get that I am an introvert, but I have looked at these last several months as an opportunity. Back in March I wrote this post about the crisis .
My advice is the same now as in March: “I want to encourage you to take care of yourself including eating properly, getting enough rest, some form of exercise, and of course quilting. If you are not sick, the most important thing is to stay well. If you are already sick, rest and allow yourself to get well.“
Yes, there has been a lot of inconveniences and frustrations. Like being a month into isolation and discovering that I had no more (as in not a single piece) Wonder Under and I was in the middle of a machine appliqued quilt block. Guess what, Walmart and JoAnne’s did not have any either. Put that project away for later…
Up to that point, I had heard the grumblings from other quilters about the lack of supplies in local stores, and for certain products even Amazon was not any help. But I had been in my own little quilting bubble while working remote from home.
It’s an opportunity for quilting
No commute, no overnights in hotels, no constant interruptions. When my work day ended, I turned off the computer and the phone and retreated into my quilt bubble.
I saw then, and still see now, COVID to be a real opportunity to get quilting projects and ideas completed that had been running around in my head and/or sewing room unchaperoned for long enough. I was determined to work out of my own stash, and scrap bins.
I am still very much enjoying the alone time when not at work. Travel is very limited right now for my job. I didn’t even whine much about personal travel plans that had to be canceled – the girl cousin trip to Baltimore, the family reunion over July 4th, the annual trip to Paducah, KY for the AQS show.
So here we are quilting and seven months into COVID…..
I have cleaned the sewing room – twice. The various piles of unwanted but good items have been sold, traded, and given away. That makes room for more fabric. I love having fewer magazines. And fewer scraps. And fewer, well just quilting stuff that is not being used. I hope all that stuff likes the new homes.
When this all started back in March, I tried to follow the news closer. I spent a lot of time reading real medical journals. That lasted about two weeks. After that I dug out fun old movies and music CDs and binged on fun stuff that was in no way related to the current situation. But if nothing else, I rediscovered a world forgotten in the hurry scurry of a time consuming, stressful career.
Life slowed down and joy returned. I got to:
Work in the garden.
Walk 1 – 2 miles a day outside.
Enjoy the frogs singing their little hearts out that spring had returned.
Sort fabrics and play with colors like I normally do not do.
Read other quilt blogs and watch YouTube quilting videos.
Talk to neighbors I rarely see because we are all working crazy schedules.
Enjoy the laughter of children who were playing outside.
Clean the house, and finish small projects.
Ate quiet meals with my husband, who continued to work his normal 12 hour shifts two days on and two days off.
And I quilted. Some quilts were UFOs that needed completed. Some were brand new quilts. I even got some hand quilting done for other folks.
Be Happy and Quilt
In no way am I criticizing anyone for not getting as much done as me. There is no race. I just have way to many quilting ideas that I want to try. And growing up with a hoarder parent, I cannot do clutter.
Clutter makes me sick to my stomach. It distracts me from what needs done. Clutter cannot live at my home.
I just want to encourage you to not get caught up in things you cannot change (COVID, the rising prices, or the lack of fabric in some stores, etc.) and concentrate on what you can change in your life.
It is super easy to let outside things discourage us. Pretty soon we are laying on the couch eating 5 pound boxes of chocolate thinking that our world is ending.
Instead find something to do. Not for the sake of doing something. But for the sake of having a finished item to make you feel good.
So you aren’t happy with the size of the quilt, or the colors. You now hate that pattern. There are plenty of people out there who would love to have the item if you do not want it. Make your corner of the world a better place.
My discovery about quilting and 7 months of COVID
I love my home and my family more each day.
It is ok to slow down and enjoy the world around me.
God is so good, and I need to thank him more for His goodness.
I have no end of quilting ideas.
Saving money is fun.
I need to pay more attention to my own health.
While I hate to cook (always have), I am a good cook.
Giving household items of all sorts to Goodwill is a guilt-free way to clean out unneeded/unwanted clutter.
I hate poison ivy and am completely sure that I can identify it now before I start weeding flower beds.
My neighbors are actually pretty nice people.
I love spending time right here at home, alone or not. This is my happy place.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
Today was one of those days……you know the kind where nothing goes as planned. Have you ever been tempted just to crawl back in bed and hope to start the day over?? Yes, it has been one of those….
Sadly, all the distractions and problems of today interfered with the quilting activity I had planned. But I wanted to get in a few minutes today of some quilt related activity.
I set the timer for five minutes. I pulled out a few scraps from the bins that I wanted to cut for the next scrap quilt.
Next, I set the timer for 10 minutes and ironed those scraps. I hate to iron (am I allowed to admit this?) even though I do so much of it. I tend to get stalled right here trying to pretend I really do not have to iron those wrinkled up scraps (they are so much easier to cut and sew when ironed first). The timer went off just as I was ironing the last scrap.
These lovely pieces of fabric will have to wait until tomorrow for me to cut up – I don’t trust myself to cut the fabric accurately tonight. I am tired and headed to bed.
I know all of us have these kinds of days occasionally and I just think it is important that we just do the best we can. Try to end the day on a good note. It makes for a good night of rest and a fresh start for tomorrow.
Not to dishonor Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be”, but as quilters our question is more likely to be “to clip those loose threads or not?” We all know they can make a mess if just allowed to hang on the back of the quilt top.
This is my take on loose threads, and you don’t have to
agree, but I am rarely bothered enough by those threads to take time to clip
You either gasp in horror at this point or break out laughing.
I am aware they can make a huge mess, and if I am not careful as I sew, a good portion of them end up in the seam and show up on the front of the quilt. Sheesh….now they really do need clipped, right?
I rarely use white or any other light color for a quilt background – because I know this about myself. The first quilt I ever made with a white background I learned the hard way about not clipping those threads because I had it completely basted and in the frame for hand quilting and gasp…. I could see the darker threads. Many hours later, I had un-basted the quilt sandwich and clipped all those threads. Then to put it all back together……Ugh….
By now you are either so horrified you stop reading, or you are rolling on the floor laughing because you do the same thing.
I decided long ago that I was more concerned about accurate cutting and piecing than about always matching the thread to the fabric, or clipping all those nasty loose hanging threads that appear on the back of my quilt top.
I am careful to take the time to pull them back out of the way when sewing the seams and since I usually use darker background fabrics it is rarely noticed if I choose to ignore the clipping step.
Quilters, whether you are a beginner or very advanced in
your quilt making exactly what part of the quilting process is priority is up
to you. No one is going to die if we do
a shortcut on our quilts. Yes, they
should be well made, but some things are not worth the time.
I refuse to stress about loose hanging threads on the back of a top that once it is quilted will never show up anyway. So now you know my awful secret…
To clip those loose threads or not? I encourage you to make your quilts, your sewing process, and your priorities while quilting your very own. Only you can decide what causes you stress while sewing or quilting, and if ignoring some small irritant is right for you.
People ask me what my favorite “quilting” gadget is frequently. I know they are hoping I will name some tool they saw advertised in a quilt magazine or website. My answer is generally met with disappointment, after all it is a very common household item.
And my favorite “quilting” gadget is……….(drum roll please)……….my stove timer (when home) or the alarm on my phone (when traveling) !!!!!! Before you roll your eyes and give a disgusted snort…
Let me explain my reasoning:
I work full time, and I spend hours many weeks traveling. I carry along parts and pieces of quilts that I can work on while in an airport or hotel. In order to prepare for this, I need to have items sorted, cut, and organized. This includes thread, needles, and small scissors. Setting the timer/alarm allows me uninterrupted time to concentrate and prep the supplies I need.
2. Setting the timer allows me to concentrate solely on the task at hand. It is amazing how much sorting, cutting, or even sewing on the machine I can get done in 10 or 15 minutes.
3. If I am lucky enough to be home working, instead of traveling, before I start working for the day I sort, iron, cut, or sew for 15 minutes to start my day already feeling like I have accomplished something. It gives me a good mind set for the rest of the day.
4. Setting the timer for a short amount of time allows me to hand quilt without distractions too.
5. I try to utilize all those little spans of time between other things on my schedule to do something quilt related, but I get so engrossed in what I am doing that I forget to leave on time, or make a scheduled phone call, or get to an appointment, etc. However, if I let the timer pay attention then I can relax and just enjoy the process of quilting.
I would encourage you to try it
Stack the pieces you want to sew together in order by the sewing machine. Remember the machine needs to be in good repair and threaded correctly at all times so you don’t waste time on that when the timer is counting down. Set your timer for 15 minutes and sew.
When the timer goes off, get up (this also breaks the concentration you had) turn off the timer, and go to work or the next thing on your “to do” list for that day. It might take a little practice, but if you get in the habit of setting a timer for those little bits of time within your day, you can get so much more accomplished on your quilting.