Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Small Town New York City

Monday, I spent the day with my only child and her husband who both took a day off to hang with me in their neck of the woods - which is Brooklyn, NY. We ate at tiny restaurants and visited interesting, small shops, and saw a flower show at Macy's that helped brighten up a rainy snowy day.

It occurred to me that some of the places we went seem more like the way "main street" America used to feel than anywhere I have been in a long time. Small shops that specialize and do not have corporate plan-o-grams for the merchandise and restaurants that have a menu based on how the cook feels like cooking, and what is available, and - about half the shops we were thinking of visiting were closed on Monday, which is very small town reminiscent.

Not Macy's, of course. There was a crush of humanity there that was Black Friday-esque in hustle and bustle!

We went to Soho and visited boutiques that represent the designers whose names go on the work of my hosts, and we went to Purl. (More about the shopping another time.) We also went to Brooklyn General, the only fabric store that I know of that has bolts of 'new old stock' vintage cottons and Barkcloth for sale, along side the latest organics and Liberty fabrics.

We ended the day at the Brooklyn Farmacy for a very late (for me) lunch and huge ice cream sundaes.

Tuesday morning, I took the subway, then a bus and then a train to get back to Philadelphia and The Mister and we headed down the road again. We are in Yogi Bear's Jellystone Campground, which The Mister picked so we could add the Maryland sticker to the map of the US on the outside of the camper. (He would add a sticker for every state we pass through, but I say we have to have spent the night)

More adventures and visiting ahead of us, then the long drive home. Kind of looking forward to it, though..,

Brooklyn General - a wonderful shop!

Brooklyn Farmacy - famous for egg creams

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stash Update - Week 12

In the past week, The Mister and I have traveled to Myrtle Beach, then to Philadelphia and now I am in New York, visiting with Ms A and her husband.

I have been very conservative with my souvenir fabric purchases - up to this point. This week I am counting the 2.5 yards I bought in Myrtle Beach. The five yards I bought today, at Ikea in Philadelphia, will go on next weeks report.

On Tuesday, my SIL and I took a little road trip to Lumberton, NC and visited T and J Liquidators. I saw an ad on Craigslist that listed liquidated clothing factories and retail stores. It was a very fun place to poke around in. (the photo shows but one of the four buildings full of sewing supplies!)

I bought some very long zippers, a thread stand, a treadle belt and some ripstop ribbon, but no fabric Most of the fabric was home dec, but they did have some rolls of the fabric that men's pj's are made from.

Tomorrow, I am going to Brooklyn General and to Purl, so I will likely have negative progress for a YTD total next week.

Fabric added this week - 2.5 yards
Fabric added YTD - 32.33 yards
Fabric used this week - 0 yards
Fabric used YTD - 37.18 yards
Net Stash change - 4.85 yards

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fabric Souvenirs

I ran a few errands with my SIL, yesterday. First stop - post office to send Easter candy to her Grands. Second stop - quilt shop.

It was a cute little shop with very friendly staff. I exercised great restraint and only bought two really cute vintage-y panels, a $2 fq and a 50% off remnant for a total of 2.5 yards.

Less than the price of dinner out (and I cooked dinner in) so that totally rationalizes the purchase!

Photo conditions are less than ideal but will have to do...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Stash update week 11

Better late than never!  I thought I had posted this yesterday, but I have lost all track of time!

No finishes, and no fabric added. No official change to the stash. I did get some blocks made, but I won't count it in the report until it is quilted and bound. 

The Mister and I are on the road, but I brought two layer cakes and some strips to put with them. We will have a few days between visits with family and I may get some sewing done. Or, I may not. 

If I do make some progress on a couple of tops, then I will plan to quilt them at retreat when I get home. 

Fabric added this week - 0 yards
Fabric added YTD - 29.83 yards
Fabric used this week - 0   yards
Fabric used YTD - 37.18 yards
Net Stash change - 7.35 yards

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Precuts Save the Day!

I am a little ambivalent about pre-cuts. I like a bargain and precuts rarely seem like a bargain. 

A couple jelly rolls, layer cakes and a handful of charm packs have come home with me over the years when they were a screaming deal, as well as a couple of fat eighth bundles and one fat quarter stack.  I used up most of the bundles in two quilts with minimal leftovers, so I felt good about that. As for the rest- they kind of sit there, getting 'less current' by the day. 

Today may have been turning point!

I was hoping to finish another donation quilt to take to guild this week.  I looked through the stack of juvenile panels and fabrics that I pulled a few weeks ago, but nothing really spoke to me.  I didn't want to take the time to dig through fabric to find coordinating solids etc., and make a plan. 

Then I remembered that I had an alphabet panel of Punctuation by American Jane for Moda and a coordinating Jelly roll that I bought in a deeply discounted kit.  I cut the letter blocks apart and sashed them with some of the strips. The blocks are rectangles, so 'squaring' them up was a bit of a challenge especially since panel blocks do not usually print exactly on the grain. I hope to get them sewn together tomorrow, but the quilting will probably have to wait a few weeks.

(Please excuse crappy phone photo...)

I only used about two thirds of the strips, but I think there are enough left that I can whip them into a great scrappy trip quilt.  

It was nice to be able to jump into a project with minimal cutting and make some blocks quickly.   

I might be a convert!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Stash Update - Week 10

This week, I have two finishes.  The nursery pastel scrappy trip used 2.82 yards and Kitty Cucumber used 3.33 yards for a total of 6.25 yards used for the week.

And...I fell off the wagon.  I am blaming it on "coupon commotion" at Joann's.  

And my poor self-control.

I intended to use my six 50% off coupons to buy red embroidery floss. (I use so much red that it  never  hurts to stock up a bit.
But, right  inside the door was a special display of Denyse Schmidt fabric. I got half yard cuts of eight different small prints. A great bargain at $6.50 a yard,  but it offset a significant percentage of what I used this week!  

I am not sure I will get much sewing done in the next three weeks. The Mister and I will be taking a little road trip to visit family in the East.  I am planning to take a sewing Machine and a project or two (specifics to be determined). I may just do handwork, though.  Sewing in the RV is not something I can do in snatches of time.  It all has to be set up and taken down every time, since my sewing station is the dining table and the kitchen bar.

And I may buy some souvenir fabric. 

I will be going to the  Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild Spring Retreat almost as soon as we get home, so I expect to make considerable progress over two days of sewing with friends!  But, there could be fabric shopping with friends, as well...

Fabric added this week - 4 yards
Fabric added YTD - 29.83 yards
Fabric used this week - 6.25       yards
Fabric used YTD - 37.18 yards
Net Stash change - 7.35 yards

I am still on the side of using more than I have added, but I honestly thought I would have made a bigger dent by now.  To stay on track for my goal of 50 yards reduction in  2013, I should be at over 12 yards by the end of March.  I am thinking I had better get something done in the next few days or I will be behind!

Linked here for accountability!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Catching Up The Week

I having been stitching away, this week, on the samples for Penguin and Fish.  I am half way through number 7 (a super cute giraffe) and then I will just have the monkey left. I hope to get them in the mail by Monday.  The designs are simple, but with the sweetest details that really make them sing!  I am having a lot of fun working on them, albeit with a bit of pressure to do my very best work.  (I will admit to taking stitches out to re-do them when I might have said "good enough" if I were stitching for my own project!)
This is the cutest little hedgie!

Before I received the sample materials, I did finish up two more quilts for donation to the birthday program. 

The nursery pastel scrappy trip-a-long:
The snow is all gone, after today's rain!

I am using up some puffy poly batting that I got at an estate sale some months back. It is quite different from low loft cotton batting.  A little challenging, but it does show off the quilting really well!   I did an orange peel design since I had a built-in grid in the squares. (You have to look closely to see that I changed direction a time or two.  The high loft camouflages errors nicely!)   I used the same stripe as the binding for the backing and it ended up about 36" x 48".

This is number two, this week.
When Ms A was little she had some tiny Kitty Cucumber paper dolls. They were so small they fit into a little matchbox!   

I came across these coordinating KC fabrics at a Goodwill last summer. I outlined the blocks with quilting and stitched around the motifs in the focus blocks and around the smaller kitties in the alternating block, along with some "bubbles" around the tossed flowers.    I did not use a different bobbin thread to coordinate with the dark blue backing. I don't mind that the quilting shows, but I wish the binding stitches were tidier.  Having a binding that is an equal width on both the front and the back is still an area of opportunity for improvement for me.  

This one ended up about 40" square.

I hope wherever these little quilts end up, they will keep a little one cozy!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stash update - week 8 & 9

This is a two week report, since I was at QuiltCon last Sunday.
A lot of fabric came home with me, but I showed great restraint in purchasing!  I bought a mini charm pack of Oakshott and a bag of scraps from Lotta Jansdottir's studio.   

Lotta had a booth on the last day of the convention and had mentioned to some folks that took her class that she would be selling some scraps from her studio, so I made a point to find her as soon as the doors opened. It was kind of a pricey little bag but it does have quite a variety of fabric.  Probably a yard at most, by weight.  

This is the rest of what I brought home. I have to confess that I may have gone back to a couple of vendors more than once, but the bulk of the 14 yards (!) was some yardage from a vendor booth  used as table cloth and skirting that was left behind after they tore down. Alissa Carlton said, "hey, why don't one of you volunteers take this fabric" and I was all over it!  I only 'undressed' one table, though. Another lady claimed the other one. Good thing, since I was not checking a bag for the flight home and my carry on capacity was filling up!

I can only report a tiny bit of fabric used in the last two weeks,  .07 yards. Just a ten inch square that I used for an embroidered label for Bebe Quilt Collaboration #4.  You can see the finished quilt (and the label) here.  I took the embroidery blocks for #5 with me to Texas, but really didn't have a spare minute to stitch.   The Mister and I are taking a road trip in a couple of weeks, so they will be my travel project.  I need to hand them off to Dsis at the end of April.

I had hoped to have the pastel scrappy trip that I started before I went to Texas finished. I would probably have finished it yesterday but I basted it poorly and had to pick out a bunch of quilting and do it over. I am using some puffy polyester batting for the first time and it was a little more challenging than I expected. It will be a very warm quilt and I think the loft will be appealing to a child. And, I am using what I have. 

Fabric added this week - 14yards
Fabric added YTD - 25.83 yards
Fabric used this week - .07yards
Fabric used YTD - 30.93 yards
Net Stash change - 5.1 yards

I am going to sew all day today, so I hope to be able to report significant usage next week.  And I hope to have a two more donation quilts to take to guild next week!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Stitching for Stuff!

It's been a challenge to get back in the groove this week!  There has been a lot of TV watching and embroidery to pass the time between snow shoveling intervals (it is snowing again, as I am writing) 

And there is going to be more embroidery, because my application to be a sample stitcher for Penguin and Fish was accepted!  I got the newsletter with the call for applicants Monday afternoon, and fired off an email that said "pick me! pick me!" and they did!

I think their designs are very cute and I can't wait to see what they will send me to stitch up. In exchange for stitching samples, they have offered fat quarters of their organic fabric and/or a signed copy of "Sew and Stitch Embroidery" by Alyssa Thomas, the creative force behind Penguin and Fish. The  book  will be coming out in May and will include transfers!  

I love transfers!  When I want to embroider, I don't want to have to draw it out first. I just want to pick some colors and dig in, so transfers are always my first choice. I think an alphabet quilt stitched with P & F designs would be super cute!

If you would like to be considered for stitching samples down the road, let me know and I will forward the newsletter to you, or you can sign up at Alyssa's blog to receive it directly, and get a free pattern!