July Monthly Report

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Happy August! It's time for July's monthly report. See past reports here.

I actually did a fair amount of sewing this month! Mostly small projects, but I finished a quilt top (that I can't share quite yet) and finished/gifted a quilt. Felt good to make some progress on a few things.

I needed a pick me up the other day so I stitched up this summery tiny drawstring bag. This size is so cheerful and cute, it might be my favorite. Popsicle fabric is from Sugar by Erin McMorris. Pattern is my Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern.

I also made the largest size in the pattern, the Laundry size. It's my favorite way to gift quilts. Will share the quilt soon!

Another finish this month was another bed for George bunny. I have a few beds I bought for him years ago but I can't get a hold of anymore. So I used those as a guide to make my own pattern. I made one for him last year and promptly cut out more. It's such a great use for my sweatshirt fabric scraps. And he seems to approve!

I made more masks this month, mostly for Michael. He prefers this style mask. I am still partial to the fit of the Craft Passion mask. I used Dana Willard's tutorial, which can be found here: Fabric Face Mask with Ties. The ties are knit fabric cut into 1" strips and pulled to curl it up.

Another thing made in mass quantities was scrunchies! These were made with another tutorial of Dana's, you can find it here: How to make a Scrunchie. These were really fun to make and they're really comfy to wear. I mostly used off cuts from quilt backings which was satisfying. I made sure to make some that match my masks, so I can coordinate. :)

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I track my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track here. Here is how I did in July:

July Fabric
Used up: 14.25 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -14.25 yards
Year to date: -8.5 yards

July Yarn
Used up: 0 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: 0 yards
Year to date: 0 yards

I'm finally in the negative!! So happy. I didn't bring in any fabric this month, which helped. And all those finishes added up! Hoping to keep it up the rest of the year.

Thank goodness for our garden this year in particular. Going out in the morning and evening to check on it's progress has been something good to look forward to every day. I'm growing strawflowers again this year and my handful of plants have been quite productive!

Baked something new this month too, English muffins! I've made this recipe by King Arthur Baking a few times now. I think it could still use some tweaking, but over we like it! They're fun to make. Although will be easier to make in the winter when it's not so hot and humid!

Please enjoy this photo of George bun lounging in his basket. The basket is his current sleep spot of choice. He routinely wakes up and licks it, which is pretty adorable.

Have a great month!

Upcycled Vintage Tablecloth Tote Bag

Friday, July 31, 2020

Happy Friday! I'm excited to share this tote bag with you today, it has been on my do to list for a long time.

A little over four years ago, we were grilling outside our apartment in Madison and my very favorite vintage tablecloth caught fire. We had it over a picnic table and set a citronella candle up on it. We didn't have the edges secured and the wind blew one of the corners right into the candle. It was scary and I was really sad about my tablecloth getting ruined. Thankfully, I was able to find the exact one on Etsy that night, so it worked out okay. I cut out the badly burned parts of the fabric and tucked away what was left to be turned into something one day.

Fast forward to this week, when I finally cut into the fabric! I decided on a simple tote bag. I really wanted the fabric to shine and that seemed like the most useful project for it. I've been using plain cloth tote bags like this one for groceries because I can wash the bag when I get home. This is the plain option included in my workshop tote pattern, which you can find in my shop here: Workshop Tote Bag Pattern

I knew I wanted to keep it easy and simple, so I decided to use webbing for the handles. The natural webbing color would have been fine, but then I got the idea to dye the handles to match. I love doing this to add a little something extra to a project. I happened to have the perfect color on hand, Dharma Fiber Reactive Dye in Marigold. It was a quick dye since it was such a small amount. If you're interested in dyeing your own bag handles, I have a tutorial (which uses RIT dyes) here: Dyeing Webbing for Custom Bag Handles.

I also stock the 1" cotton webbing I used in my shop, here: Cotton Webbing.

I love the way the handles bring out the gold accents in the fabric. I got really lucky on the color match!

I lined it with some really lovely woven fabric that a friend gave me, I'm not sure exactly what it is. The weight and texture is pretty similar to the tablecloth fabric though!

This was a really satisfying project for me. I had held onto these pieces for so long and now they finally get to see the light of day as a beautiful, useful tote bag! I still have some smaller pieces of the fabric left so I could make a few zipper pouches or maybe some cloth napkins with those. We'll see.

Happy Sewing!

June Monthly Report

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Happy July! It's time for June's monthly report. See past reports here.

How have you all been? We're still primarily staying home here and always wearing masks when we have to go out. Michael is back at the lab part time and I make a run to the grocery store every two weeks or so. Otherwise we've been spending a lot of time in our garden, which has kept us busy.

I used the Face Mask Tutorial by Craft Passion to make our masks.

I pulled out a really old work in progress this month! I cut out this big half-square triangle quilt back in 2014? Finished making, trimming and pressing the HSTs and I have it all stacked up in rows. Time to get this one finished! I have given away all my quilts made from Dreamin' Vintage, so this one will live with us.

I squeezed in a scrap project on the last day of June. I made a little pride flag to hang near the back door. It's my interpretation of the Progress Pride flag designed by Daniel Quasar. I thought it would be nice to display it by the door so that when people visit our home (some day), they'll know that all are welcome here. I used my DIY Enamel Pin Banner Tutorial as a base and added the paper pieced bottom. I made a little PDF with instructions and the block if you're interested in making one. Find it here.

Project update! We filled our grow bags with peppers and they're doing fantastic! We were both commenting a few days ago that we've never had pepper plants look this good, especially this early in the season. Hopefully they continue to do well in the bags! We'll definitely have some jalapenos to harvest soon.

I've just restocked my online shop with copies of my book! Grab a signed copy here: Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle.

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I track my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track here. Here is how I did in June:

June Fabric
Used up: 2.25 yards
Brought in: 7 yards
Net: +4.75 yards
Year to date: +5.75 yards

June Yarn
Used up: 0 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: 0 yards
Year to date: 0 yards

Whoops, bought some fabric this month! Pink Castle Fabrics is closing and I wanted to support them in their closing sale. They still have some goodies left, if you're interested. I loved working with them on many projects throughout the years, they have always been so supportive of my work. I am sad to see them close, and I wish their staff only the best!

During this pandemic we've upped our amount of baking quite a bit, which has included adding some new recipes to our rotation. Our favorite addition has been these burger buns! They are super tasty, I can't imagine us buying buns anytime soon. They are the Beautiful Burger Buns by King Arthur Flour. They're so buttery and soft.

George doesn't stretch out when he sleeps much, so when he does we can hardly handle the cuteness. Caught him sleeping all curled up in his basket the other day!

Double George photo this month, because he is just too cute!

Have a great month!

Moving Forward

Monday, June 29, 2020

I shared this on Instagram earlier today, but I want this list to live permanently here on my blog too. This is how I plan to continue working in the quilting industry going forward:

1. For collaborations and partnerships with brands, I will be evaluating them in a different way. It can no longer be just about whether it's a good fit for me, but also how these companies behave and contribute to our industry. Is the brand committed to providing opportunities for BIPOC? Is the compensation equitable?

2. For teaching/speaking jobs, I'll be considering who the other teachers/speakers are. Is the event accessible and safe for a diverse range of makers? Am I adding something to the conversation or event, or would my spot be better filled by someone else?

3. Shop intentionally. This has been something I've been focusing on in all aspects of my life. I intend to be more selective about where I spend my money in the industry. I'll be focusing my dollars on small business, brands that show good social responsibility, and on products/businesses by BIPOC.

4. Share my experience and knowledge. I don't work on much outside of my pattern business these days, but I have a lot of experience in the industry that I think could be put to better use in service to our community. I'm not sure how exactly this will manifest yet.

5. Highlight your work. I absolutely love seeing your projects and I try to comment on every post I'm tagged in. I intend to make a better effort to share your projects and use my platform to highlight the work of other makers.

6. Speak up. I am a people pleaser at heart, and I generally avoid confrontation. I acknowledge that operating in this way is a result of my privilege. I will continue to speak up for what is right and amplify causes I feel strongly about. I will work to make my feed/blog a safe space. I take comment moderation seriously, and I will continue to. Hate and racism are not welcome in my spaces.

This is an imperfect starting point. My practices will continue to evolve. I hope these small things can contribute to greater change across the craft industry.