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.

May Monthly Report

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Happy June! Now that June is almost over, it's time to squeeze in May's monthly report. See past reports here.

I took a bit of an intentional break from posting here the last month. I didn't want to distract from the important conversations about racism and police brutality that our country is having right now. You can read more about how I feel in these two Instagram posts: here and here. I will be sharing more on my plans soon, but for now I just want to reiterate, Black Lives Matter.

May was a busy month over here. We planted all the seedlings I'd started this Spring, some as early as February! We did a lot of yard work, and unfortunately I worked myself into a pretty big flare-up of my arthritis that is still lingering. Hoping it goes away soon, but for now I've been sewing downstairs again. It's not so bad, especially now that it's hot. My sewing room is the hottest room in the house during the summer. Now I'm all set up in the dining room and trying to make progress on some projects.

I pulled out my Liberty churn dash blocks again. This is a very long term project and I've already stretched it out over several years. I'm making an entire quilt, but the block pattern (also made in lawn) can be found in my friend Christina's book, Quilting Happiness*.

Michael requested an apron for grilling, so I dug into my garment fabric stash and whipped this one up. It was really fast and he's already been getting a lot of use out of it. I used Essex Linen Yarn Dyed* in Black and some of the webbing that I carry in my online shop. You can find it here: 1" cotton webbing. I used this pattern by Purl Soho: Adjustable Apron Tutorial

I worked on a few small birthday presents this month, including this little mouse dress. I made my Mom a mouse just like this one a couple years ago (see her here), but I thought she could use some more outfits! I drafted this dress from some other doll dresses I have, but I highly recommend the stuffed mouse pattern. It's the Flora Mouse Pattern* by Jackie Michna. They turn out so adorable.

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 May:

May Fabric
Used up: 1.5 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -1.5 yards
Year to date: +1 yards

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

Continuing to play around with ice dyeing. I love dyeing cotton flour sack towels. They make good gifts and we love having a cupboard full of them too. Since they're small, they're a good way to experiment. Pretty happy with how this one came out. These are the towels I order.*

How cute is this radish we grew? We're missing our radishes that's for sure. Looking forward to planting more this Fall!

George is living the life as usual. So spoiled rotten, 24/7. He loves that we're home all the time. I think he wouldn't mind if we sheltered in place forever!

Take Care!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Tips for Organizing and Storing Fabric Scraps

Friday, May 29, 2020

Happy Friday! Time for another sewing room organization post. If you've missed any of the previous posts in this series, you can find them all here: Sewing Room Organization Series. This week we're going to focus on tips for organizing and storing fabric scraps!

Scraps were the #1 topic that you guys submitted on my instagram post kicking off this series. It makes sense, most of us are constantly making new scraps! Left unorganized, they can get out of control really fast! So having a good system that works for you and your needs is an important part of having an organized sewing space. Let's get started!

Evaluate Your Needs

Before diving into reorganizing your scraps, I'd like you to ask yourself a few questions about your scrap situation:

- What types of scraps do you use most? (strips, 2.5" squares, 5" squares etc.)

- What kind of scrap projects do you make? (completely scrappy or more curated color scheme)

- What is your current scrap storage solution? What about it is or isn't working for you?

Now that you have a bit of a feel for your specific situation, let's get to organizing!

What Size Scraps to Keep

It's important to start by defining what a scrap means to you. This is very specific to each individual, depending on what types of projects you sew and what kind of piecing you enjoy. Also, how much space you have to store scraps! If you often find yourself working with little pieces and doing small scale piecework, you'll probably want to hold onto even the smallest scraps. If you're not interested in doing that, only save scraps the size that you think you'll actually use. Holding onto super small scraps you won't sew with will only clutter up your space!

For larger pieces, if a piece is around a fat eighth (9"x21"), I usually keep it folded in my stash. If it's a scrap that I still have yardage of, I'll often tuck it into the middle of the yardage. Or you could designate a storage bin for super tiny scraps and also for larger pieces that could be big enough for a zip pouch or other small project.

There isn't a right or wrong size to keep or toss. Figure out what works best for you!

What to Do with Scraps You Don't Want

There are a lot of things you can do with unwanted scraps, aside from throwing them away. Here are a few ideas:
- Use as stuffing for a pillow, pincushion or softie
- Give to a friend (or trade!)
- Sell them (I find a gallon ziploc bags full go fast!)
- Donate to your local library/school/community group/neighbors
- Bring to a retreat or your local quilt guild to share

Organizing Scraps

Here are just a few of the many different ways you could choose to keep your scraps organized. I'd recommend considering how you use your scraps when deciding how to organize them.

By Color
Keep scraps separated into color groups.

By Print
Keep scraps organized by print type. Ex: stripes, dots, blenders, solids, focal prints, novelty, holiday, etc.

By Size
Keep scraps organized by size. Ex: strips, small squares, large squares, etc.

By Designer/Collection
Keep scraps from specific designers or collections separated.

By Project
Keep scraps from individual projects organized together

By Fabric Type
Keep scraps organized by fabric type. Ex: Quilting cotton, linen, canvas, garment fabric, etc.

Personally, I use a combination of these organizing styles. First, I have my scraps separated by type. So all my linen/canvas scraps are together, garment fabric scraps and then quilting cotton scraps. Within my quilting cotton scraps, I have those organized by color. I also have two other small collections of scraps separated: Liberty Lawn scraps and extra special novelty fabric scraps. I don't often work with all the colors or fabrics at once, so for me it makes the most sense to have my scraps organized by color.

Scrap Storage Ideas

Just like for WIPs, I'm a huge fan of drawer units for scrap storage too. Basically anything that has separate compartments for the different scrap groups will work! The number of compartments you need will depend on how many scraps you have and how you've decided to organize them. Most of my scraps are organized in these drawers from The Container Store (Tall Opaque Modular Stackable Drawer). They were an investment, but they've held up really well over the last four years and survived a thousand mile move unscathed.

Previously I used these inexpensive drawer units that you can find at Target or Walmart, they worked great too!

Bins, boxes, and baskets work great for storing scraps too, and can easily be stored on a bookshelf or other storage unit. something opaque would be nice and hidden in a shared space!

If you don't have a lot of room for drawers or baskets, you could keep your scraps separated with ziploc bags. I organized and stored my scraps this way for many years when I was in a smaller space! I found it to work well and the bags lasted a really long time so you don't have too feel too guilty about the extra plastic. You could also use paper envelopes for a plastic-free option.

Scrap Processing

As I mentioned in the post on keeping your tabletop clutter free, I keep a big bin on the floor near my machine for tossing scraps as I cut. This really helps keep my sewing room cleaner, and it means I can tackle that bin all at once instead of constantly needing to put scraps away. I highly recommend using some kind of temporary storage location for scraps you're making. It's especially handy if you process your scraps before storing them. This will depend on how you use scraps and how you have them organized. If you are storing your scraps by size, you may choose to cut your scraps into those specific sizes before putting them away. So if you have a running stash of 2.5" strips or 5" squares, you can process your scraps into those sizes first.

I don't currently do much to my scraps before putting them away. I'll sometimes trim off little werid cuts from cutting curves or something, but not too much beyond that. I'd love to implement a bit of this into my process though. I love the idea of slowly cutting out a whole quilt worth of strips or squares from my scraps as I create them!

Scrap Project Ideas

I thought it would be fun to end by sharing a few scrap friendly projects:

Long Scrappy Pincushion Tutorial

Tiny Foundation Pieced Lined Drawstring Bag ( LDB Expansion Pattern)

HST Zipper Pouch + FOB Tutorial

Snack Size Pincushion Pattern

Warm Cool Quilt Tutorial

I hope this post has been helpful! I'd love to hear your your tips and tricks for keeping your scraps organized. Or your favorite ways to use up scraps! Don't forget, there is no wrong way! We all have different needs and preferences, these are just a few of the methods I've used to stay more organized.

Happy Sewing!