50 Little Gifts: Triangular Logcabin Pincushion

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Happy Thursday! Keeping things short and sweet today. I have a cute pincushion to share, which is featured in a new book!

Last year I contributed a project to a new book from Lucky Spool, 50 Little Gifts by Susanne Woods. It's filled with small projects that would be perfect for a swap or to give as a gift!

You can find my Triangular Log Cabin Pincushion in the book, it's actually the second project in the book, so it's easy to find!

I used this fun dropcloth fabric from Habitat by Jay McCaroll for my starting point, and pulled blenders in similar colors.

These are really fun to make, and the shape makes it a little different from most pincushions! They whip up fast too, which is one of my favorite things about making pincushions. Perfect afternoon project.

Check out my post for how I stuff and close my pincushions: All About Pincushions

Find the book here: 50 Little Gifts: Easy Patchwork Projects to Give or Keep

Happy Making!

Kriss Cross Quilted Pillow

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Happy Tuesday! I have another quilted pillow to share today! As I mentioned in my last pillow post, I'm making an effort to make more pillows for our living room. I like having a variety of covers to switch between, and it's fun to try out new blocks or color combos on such a manageable project.

This pillow was made from a block that I stitched up last Fall from Modern Quilts Block by Block, a book by my friend Emily Dennis. I chose to make a block using the Kriss Cross pattern, one of 12 projects included in the book.

I pulled these fabrics together months ago and I was just waiting for the right project to come along. I had just barely enough of the dark purple fabric (long out of print Lizzy House), so this turned out to be the perfect project! The rest of the fabrics for the pillow top are from the following collections: Sunprint, Brush Strokes, and Widescreen.

I actually took the time to use colored thread for the quilting! I had a light purple that was a perfect match for these fabrics. I kept the quilting really simple, just some diagonal lines.

For the backing I used one of my very favorite prints from Sugar Pop. I have a couple different cuts of it, and it was the inspiration for the entire color palette for this project. I finished off the back with a matching purple zipper.

Happy Quilting!

Strawberry Minimalist Wallet

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Happy Thursday! Today I have a little recent finish to share with you. A couple Friday's ago I printed off some PDF patterns that I hadn't gotten around to printing out. Now I have a nice stack of patterns to work from when I need a new project!

The Minimalist Wallet Pattern by my friend Anna Graham was one of them! I went from picking fabrics to finished wallet in an afternoon, so it was the perfect spur of the moment project. I made the small size.

I've been collecting strawberry fabrics lately, so I knew I wanted to use this cute Japanese strawberry fabric that I picked up from Miss Matatabi on Black Friday (it's no longer available and there is no selvedge info unfortunately!). I wanted to keep the focus on the strawberries, so I chose this simple bow tie blender print from Flower Shop by Alexia Marcelle Abegg to go with it.

I happened to already have a 4" metal zipper, which was such a nice detail for this wallet. I love the YKK metal zippers that Zip It sells.

On small projects like this I love adding little extra touches. A simple piece of leather cording on the zip makes it feel really finished! I was really glad that I also had matching snaps already in my stash.

Sometimes it feels like spur of the moment projects can get derailed easily, but this one really came together nicely!

Find the pattern in Anna's shop here: Minimalist Wallet Pattern

Happy Making!

Super-sized Unicorn Half-square Triangle Quilt

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Happy Tuesday! It's time to share a newly finished quilt!

I finished this quilt the day before we left for our holiday traveling back in December. I was determined to get it bound so that I could take photos of it on our trip! It was also my last finish of 2018, so that's fun too!

This quilt top has been waiting to be finished up for a while! I have a pattern for this quilt that can be found here: Expanse Quilt Pattern

For the background of this quilt I used a beautiful teal shot cotton. I know it's a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton*, but I'm not sure exactly which color (I bought it almost 4 years ago)! The rest of the prints are quilting cottons from my stash.

I used Quilter's Dream Orient Batting* to make this quilt extra lightweight. To give this quilt even more lightness I backed it in the firefly voile print from my Curiosities* collection. It's so silky smooth! The combination of shot cotton, batting and voile makes it super summery.

For quilting I sent this quilt to Melissa Kelley of Sew Shabby Quilting. I chose the Tickle design, which is a nice mix of feathers and swirls. The thread is actually a light orange which really makes the quilting pop!

For the binding I used this funky sparrow print from Honor Roll* by Anna Maria Horner.

It feels good to finally finish up this quilt. I only have two quilt tops left now, and one is already basted and ready to be quilted! I am so determined to get them all finished up this year!

Pattern: Expanse Quilt Pattern

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.

Stash Management: What I've Learned Tracking My Fabric Yardage

Thursday, March 7, 2019

One of my goals for the last few years has been to reduce my fabric stash. This means bringing in less fabric than I use up, give away, or destash. Tracking my yardage each month has been a huge key to meeting that goal. I am now in my fourth year of tracking my fabric yardage, and I thought it would be a good time to share what I've learned throughout this process.

This is all based on my personal experiences and what has worked for me. There is no wrong way to manage your stash. For many years I didn't worry about managing my stash at all, and that's okay too. No judgement either way!

If you are at all curious about yardage tracking, I encourage you to give it a try. Commit to a single month of tracking and see what happens! It can be as complicated or as simple as you'd like it to be. I have a big post with details on how I track my yardage and also some simplified options too.

Find it here: How to Track Your Fabric and Yarn Yardage

Buying Habit Awareness

The biggest thing this exercise has taught me is what my fabric buying habits are. I realized that my fabric buying falls into five main categories:

1. Fabric I actually need to complete a project.
2. Fabric I really love.
3. Fabric that's on sale.
4. Fabric I'm afraid of missing out on.
5. Fabric I buy on a whim, as retail therapy.

Keeping track of all my fabric purchases helped me become more aware of what I was buying, how much, and how often. I didn't think I was buying that much until I had to input each purchase into my spreadsheet and reality sunk in! This is not to say buying fabric for any of the above reasons is bad, but with this understanding I can evaluate my potential purchases better.

Being able to ask myself why I'm buying fabric not only stops me from bringing in too much, it also stops me from buying fabric I don't like that well or won't actually use. And it means I don't feel guilty treating myself to fabrics I've lusted after for months!

For me, it's all about the numbers. It's hard to get your fabric buying under control if you have no idea how much yardage you're buying or how much you're spending. Keeping track of it takes all the guesswork out and can help you make some goals for how you'd like to change your stash habits.

Forces Creativity

Challenging myself to reduce my stash every year has given me a new perspective on the phrase "Make Do and Mend". Making do doesn't have to mean choosing an option that's second best. Making do with what you have can push you to make choices that you wouldn't make if your options were unlimited. It has forced me to be more creative with the fabric that I have. Now when I'm planning a project, I consider all the ways I can make it without purchasing anything extra first. Sometimes I still end up needing to buy something, but that's now the second option, instead of the go-to.

Added Motivation to Finish Projects

An unexpected bonus to keeping track of my yardage was how much it motivated me to finish projects. There are definitely months where I buy too much fabric and finish up a few things at the end of the month to help balance my totals. It's also very satisfying to be able to visually see a list of the things I finish each month. Any extra motivation to finish up old languishing projects is very welcome in my craft room!

Allows You to Splurge

This was a big one for me! By cutting back on my sale fabric buying and buying in general, I can buy fabrics that are a little more expensive. Instead of buying two yards of quilting cotton, I can spend about same and buy a yard of Japanese double gauze, or half a yard of Liberty lawn. Being able to think about my fabric purchases in this way has taken away some of the guilt for splurging on something a little fancier.

Sharing is Caring

Sharing fabric with friends became twice as fun! Not only does it feel nice to share, I get to subtract fabric I give away in my tracking. Plus it's really fun to see those fabrics pop up in someone's project, often times in a way I wouldn't have imagined using them. At our yearly cabin retreat we always have a fabric table where we share fabrics and notions from our stashes. You could do something similar in your sewing group or guild. We all end up with fabrics in our stash that aren't our favorite or we don't know how to use, this is a simple solution for some of those!

It's an Opportunity for Community

Turn stash management into a game and do it with a friend! It's great to have someone you can check in with. You can keep each other accountable and cheer each other on! Plus, everything is more fun with a friend anyways.

Accountability is Key

For me, this is the secret reason it all works. Knowing that I will be sharing my progress each month in my Monthly Report posts is a huge motivating factor for me. I don't want to be embarrassed about how much fabric I buy in a given month! Finding some way to hold yourself accountable can help you stay focused on the task. Share your progress regularly with a friend, on your blog, or on social media.

Change Takes Time

When I first started tracking my fabric yardage I had really good intentions. I didn't think it would be that hard to bring in less fabric than I used each month. Those first six months were a wake-up call. I didn't think it would be hard because I had no idea how out of control my buying had become. I was finishing a lot of projects, but it wasn't enough to offset everything I was bringing in. All of this to say that it took time to change my habits. I had to retrain myself to pull from my stash first and to just buy less. It meant being patient and sticking with it, even when I felt like I wasn't making any progress.

How do you manage your stash? Do you keep track of your yardage, buying, or finishes? What has worked for you, and what hasn't?

Again, if you're interested in tracking your yardage, don't miss my post all about it: How to Track Your Fabric and Yarn Yardage

Happy Sewing!

February Monthly Report

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Happy March! It's time for February's monthly report. See past reports here.

I've been slowly working away on an expansion pattern for my lined drawstring bag pattern. This has meant lots of experimenting and playing around with ideas. This was one experiment, sticking a little quilt block on one of the main panels! I'm hoping to have the pattern ready sometime this Spring.

Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial + Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern

I made another scissor cozy this month! This one was for my friend Deedrie. I love making projects like this. They're quick, they don't take much fabric, and they are useful! Check out sotak handmade's scissor cozy tutorial and make one too!

I'm finally putting together my fantastic quilt voyage! This quilt started as a few orphan blocks, then became a traveling quilt, and I've continue to add blocks to it for a couple years. I've pulled it out a few times to finish it, but always ended up putting it away. The only way this is coming off my floor is as a finished top, I'm determined! I know I'll love it when it's done, so it's a shame for it to languish as blocks.

I finished another knitting project! I'm trying to work on smaller things to keep my momentum going, and these fit the bill. I used the Friends pattern by Dani Sunshine to make these fingerless mitts. I have never made any before, because I can't really imagine wearing them outside. I've been wearing these up in my craft room, which is pretty cold right now! I used some stashed hedgehog fibres merino dk in shiver. More details on my Ravelry.

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 February:

February Fabric
Used up: 4 yards
Brought in: 3 yards
Net: -1 yards
Year to date: +.5 yards

February Yarn
Used up: 121 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -121 yards
Year to date: -199 yards

Another low month for intake, but also a bit low on using up yardage too. I only made one fabric purchase last month and it was for two cuts of sweatshirt fabric! I've been wearing almost nothing but sweatshirts, and this stuff is the best. You can find it here from Imagine Gnats (they're out of both of the blue/gray color right now).

Added to my confetti stash! Pick these up from Dollar Tree and Walmart. More confetti pouches are in my future! See the two I made this month here.

My scrap project for this month was a tiny pincushion made with Liberty Tana Lawn Scraps! It was a satisfying and quick project!

I got the itch to dye this month, and finally gave ice dyeing a proper try. I did a couple batches in our bathtub in Wisconsin, but wasn't super happy with the results. This time around I think I've dyed 5 or 6 yards and I'm getting the hang of it. Will share some of the results soon!

George the bunny, always looking so handsome!

Have a Great Month!