Work in Progress: Kaleidoscope Quilt

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Happy Tuesday! I wanted to chat today about one of my oldest works in progress. I picked it up again last week and am determined to finish it, for real this time.

I pulled these fabrics for a Kaleidoscope quilt in early April 2012. Whoa, 9 years ago! It's a mix of two collections by Tula Pink*: Neptune and Prince Charming. I paired it with Quilter's Linen* by Robert Kaufman. I think the color is Parchment, but I am not 100% sure since I bought it so long ago.

All the pieces for this quilt were cut with a template. I used the Marti Mitchell Kaleido Ruler*.

This is one of those projects that I would go years without working on it. I know I brought it to a few retreats without even taking it out of my bag! To be honest, this is not the type of piecework that I really enjoy and that made me avoid it at times. It's also tough when so much time goes by, your tastes change. This quilt was just never a priority to finish. For 2021 one of my goals is to finish at least one long term work in progress. I listed this quilt specifically because it is such an old one for me.

Fast forward to last week, I didn't know what to work on so I decided to set myself a small goal to finish 10 blocks for this quilt every day. I had 50 blocks total left to make. Having that small goal really helped. I worked on them before lunch each day except Thursday. I have access to our car on Thursday mornings so that I can go do the grocery shopping. I didn't end up in the sewing room that day, so I made 20 blocks on Friday to make up for it.

10 blocks a day was so much more manageable a task than thinking about all 50 blocks at once. It also motivated me to sew almost every day, which is good. I've really struggled with finding a good routine, especially this year. I only dedicated about an hour a day to this project, and I made so much progress. I think I'm going to try to use this system going forward, to try to get back into a better routine of sewing every day, instead of in randome spurts.

It is so satisfying to be done with these blocks! Now I'm just finalizing the layout and I can start piecing them together. I hope to have the top put together by the end of the week. I will probably end up piecing a backing from my stash. At one point I had a matching backing, but got rid of it before we moved. I'm tempted to buy a backing for it, but I know I should just piece something from what I have in my stash. We'll see!

My new goal now is to get this quilt completely finished during the first half of 2021, and tackle another one of my long term works in progress in the second half. That would be awesome, I hope I can make that happen.

Happy Quilting!

*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.

How I Organize my Digital Patterns

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Happy Thursday! I'm back today with another post for the Sewing Room Organization Series. I wrote three posts for this series last Spring, and wanted to pick it back up again. Find the other posts in the series here:
Tips for Keeping Your Sewing Table Organized and Clutter Free
Tips for Storing Projects in Progress (WIPs)
Tips for Organizing and Storing Fabric Scraps

For today's post I'm sharing how I organize my digital pattern PDF files. When I asked last year what you all struggle with organizing this was a repeated request. To be honest, at the time my files really weren't well organized. They were all in one central folder, and I often had trouble finding what I was looking for.

Preparing for this post was just the push I needed to really get my files organized and now I can share with you how I do it. I got organized last year and have been living with it for probably 7-8 months. The system I use is really simple and didn't take too long to set up. As always, there is no right or wrong way to organize your files. This is just a method that is working for me, but feel free to organize your digital patterns however you like!

The first thing I did when I decided to get organzied was to create a main folder, which I named "Digital Patterns". Within this folder I created folders for different pattern types. I looked through all my digital patterns to decide what types of folders I'd need. This will be different for everyone, depending on what types of patterns you buy, and how you'd like to have them organized. I set up the following pattern type folders:

Bag Patterns
Craft Patterns
Embroidery Patterns
Garment Patterns
Home Decor Patterns
Knitting Patterns
Magazines + Books
Pincushion Patterns
Pouch Patterns
Quilt Patterns
Softie Patterns

Here's a peek inside my "Bag Patterns" folder. The other thing I did with all my digital patterns was to rename all the files in a consistent way to make them easer to search for. Here is the format I used:

Pattern name - pattern designer.pdf

You could include any other identifying information you want. The date you downloaded the pattern, the type of item it is (if it's not in the pattern name), etc. I'd just recommend you decide on a system and then stick with it. In my opinion that will make it easier to look through your patterns and find what you're looking for.

See my organization method in action in this short video. (Direct link to the video here, if it's not showing up.) I also share how I treat a "new" pattern that comes in and get it organized into my system. I use a Mac, but this method works just as well on a PC.

I hope it was helpful to see one method for organizing digital patterns! It took me a few sittings to get my system set up, but it's been really easy to maintain. For me it has been worth that initial time investment to be able to easily look through and find specific patterns when I need them. The next post in this series will be how I organize my printed patterns. This will include both physical patterns I've purchased and digital patterns that I've printed at home.

Happy Organizing!

March Monthly Report

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

It's time for the March monthly report. See past reports here.

I worked on a random assortment of small projects this month. I share this scrappy pincushion I made in a blog post here. It's the Sit 'N Sew Pincushion Pattern by Shannon Fraser. It was my scrap project for the month of March and also my new-to-me pattern to make in quarter one of 2021.

Made a new lined drawstring bag to share my new wooden beads. I held onto this print by Creative Thursday for many years. It feels good to finally use it up! This is the everything size bag. Pattern, twill tape and beads can be found in my online shop.

This set of coasters was a very long standing WIP. I had a completed set of four and then six more in various stages of completion. I taped a segment for a tv show 5 or 6 years ago and you had to have step-outs of the projects. It felt good to get all of them finished, even if they're mostly the same coaster. I'll never be short on coasters again!

I made two blocks for my vintage sheet bear paw quilt this month. This quilt is definitely taking a while to make, but I'm hoping to pick up steam on it this spring. It's going to be a good one.

Still weaving away! I finished another scarf, this one used up almost two full skeins of yarn. I have so much yarn, I love how much weaving uses. It's been fun.

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 March:

March Fabric
Used up: 4.5 yards
Brought in: 3 yards
Net: -1.5 yards
Year to date: -9.375 yards

March Yarn
Used up: 365 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -365 yards
Year to date: -1400 yards

I made my first fabric purchase of 2021! I bought a couple yards of black canvas to make more grow bags this this season. Pretty exciting! I passed a little fabric on to a friend too.

On my second birthday during the pandemic (whoa), we decided to sneak out and make a trip to a local nursery. It was only for about 15 minutes, but it was nice to go on an adventure instead of just being cooped up at home. They had tons of bulbs and pansies, so there was a lot to see. It was a nice day.

Speaking of plants, I've been busy starting all kinds of seeds. So far I have started dahlia, strawflower, portulaca, rudbeckia, tomoato and zinnia seeds. I've also been doing small batches of microgreens, which has been fun.

Leaving you with a little egg rainbow. I love to dye eggs, but don't really like hard boiled eggs much. So I carefully dye raw eggs. Now we can enjoy them for the next few weeks!

Have a great month!

Shop News: Wooden Beads and New Paper Pattern

Friday, March 26, 2021

Happy Friday! I have some shop news to share today, it's been a long time coming!

Last Spring I started stocking cotton twill tapes in my shop, as my preferred designs were getting harder to source. I hope it's been convenient to be able pick up some twill right alongside a copy of the lined drawstring bag pattern! With that in mind, I have decided to further expand my offerings. After many questions about where to buy the wooden beads I use on my bags over the years, I am finally stocking them in my online shop!

At this time I have wooden beads available in three sizes: 1", 7/8", and 3/4". They all have 3/8" holes, so plenty big for twill, fabric, or paracord ties to fit in them. They're all shown on 1/2" twill tape in these photos. The beads are raw unfinished wood. You can use them as is or customize them to match your project with paint or stain! I'm excited to experiement with customizing them, I will be sure to share when I do! Beads are sold in packs of four.

Find wooden beads (and twill tape) in my online shop here: Round Wooden Beads and Cotton Twill Tape

For now, I only have shipping set up for the United States. I'm happy to set up a custom listing for international orders, so if you're interested just send me a message here.

Here are all three sizes on Everything Size bags! From left to right: 3/4", 7/8", 1". All on different style 1/2" cotton twill tape. Shall we take a closer look at each bag?

I love this one! My friend Jacey gave me this fabric last year, and I cut it up for a bag during the sew along. Perfect timing for seed starting! This is the 1" beads on the yellow measuring tape cotton twill. Main fabric is from Flora by Marisol Ortega.

Next up, an animal cookie bag! I love this fabric too, one of my last fabric purchases in 2020. Makes me want a snack. This is the 7/8" beads on 1/2" natural cotton twill. Main fabric is from Butterscotch by Dana Willard.

And finally a bag I made last year! This is the 3/4" beads on antique ruler cotton twill. Main fabric is from Sienna by Alexia Marcelle Abegg.

Find the drawstring bag pattern in my shop here: Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern
Find wooden beads and twill tape in my online shop here: Round Wooden Beads and Cotton Twill Tape

The last bit of news to share is that my latest pattern, the Bear Paw Pillows Pattern, is finally available as a paper pattern! It's ready for mailing! It is also available wholesale, if you're a shop interested in carrying it.

You can find the paper pattern here: Bear Paw Pillows PAPER Pattern

Happy Friday!