Keeping it simple

This is my favourite time of year. Lots of quiet downtime, lots of reading and planning and daydreaming. I made some mistakes in my non-quilting life last year that led to some major burnout and life imbalance, mistakes I don’t intend to repeat this year.

Purl Soho Zippered PouchWhen it comes to sewing and crafting, this translates into two basic rules I’m going to live by:

1. Keep the list of projects small and flexible.

I can always add things if I find myself suddenly flush with time (or even if I simply want to indulge a whim). And maybe it’s because I am in the throes of post-Christmas gifts-are-done freedom, but the list is mostly personal projects right now:

  • Modern HST Sampler QAL, by Blossom Heart Quilts
  • Farmer’s Wife quilt, all in orange
  • Road Trip Cases by Anna Graham (one for me and one for my niece)
  • Mini Swoon, all in Meadow (note that this was once going to be a full-sized Swoon … scaling back!)
  • A Fen Shirt, by Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • A complete blouse from Boundless Style, by Kristiann Boos
  • A quilt based on a block of my own design

2. No stash remorse.

I am not going to beat myself up for having and building a stash. Period. I mean I’m not a Rockefelller, so it can never really get too out of control, but I’ve come to realize that probably the single thing I love most about sewing is the ability to “just make something,” something that didn’t exist before, at the drop of a hat. And to do this you need supplies, and a stash. So when you decide to finally try out the zipper foot on your Bernina 350 PE (my husband got me this for a milestone birthday and it was one of the highlights of 2015), on New Years Eve, you can. Carolyn Friedlander layer cake that I had no plans for? Check. Random assortment of zippers? Got it. Make something, learn something, done. That’s contentment for me, and that’s what I’m going for this year, before anything else.

Zippered pouch pattern by Purl SohoZippered pouch pattern by Purl Soho. Botanics fabric by Carolyn Friedlander.

Wee Gallery Fabric for Dear Stella

Well after a prolonged summer hiatus from sewing (taken in order to concentrate on work, but now that I’ve come out the other side I’m not at all sure that I’m that much farther ahead) I am ready to get back into it. Happily for me, I didn’t curb my fabric buying as much as I should have in the interim, so the goods are piling up and I can’t wait tackle both old and new projects. I think my plan for the next two months is going to be to try and strike a balance between making Christmas presents and finishing some already-started quilts. I seem to have accumulated quite a few kid-centric, retro- and holiday-themed prints which, while not my first choice for quilts, are going to be great for presents.

In the meantime, here are some shots of the one thing I did manage to complete (somehow self-imposed deadlines seem easier to meet when they’re for a little person). It’s a play mat made using Wee Gallery fabric from Dear Stella (with inspiration from Modern Handcraft). I made it the size of a single fat quarter (metre) and created a little bag for all the pieces from some of the other prints in this collection as well. (And I used a medium-stiffness interfacing to back the pieces, just because that’s what I had on hand.)

Quilted kids dress up doll play mat with Wee Gallery fabric.

Quilted kids dress up doll play mat with Wee Gallery fabric.

Quilted kids dress up doll play mat with Wee Gallery fabric.

Quilted kids dress up doll play mat with Wee Gallery fabric.

Quilted kids dress up doll play mat with Wee Gallery fabric.

Ikea SPRUTT for fabric storage

sprutt fabric storage ikea

I’ve kind of always dreamed of having a giant filing cabinet for craft supplies, so when pictures of the new Ikea SPRUTT line started surfacing, I knew the nine-drawer cabinet was just what I needed to organized my fabric stash. Up to this point I’d been using a series of bins. Two large bins that are more or less unorganized, plus smaller bins that contain entire projects (most often, groups of fat quarters that I’m saving for future projects). They sell a kind of flat clear box at Michael’s that is supposed to be for scrapbooking but is also the perfect size for large finished squares. But I needed something to really sort out all of the fabric that is not earmarked for specific projects.

I was tempted to get two, but realistically I only have space for one, so this is it for now. Plus, word of advice: it was a fair bit heavier than I expected it to be … it’s lift-able, but bring a cart. The good news it’s also sturdy.

The SPRUTT cabinet comes with a set each of neon pink and yellow labels. These are the accent colours you see in Ikea’s photos for the whole Sprutt line and which put me in mind of Phillipe Starck’s suites at St. Martin’s Lane (They are completely white with pops of neon colour on some smaller walls – at least ours was when we stayed there, it looks like they may have changed things up a bit since.)

I used fabric scraps to identify what’s in the drawers. You can make these by cutting interfacing pieces and fabric to size, then using an iron to bond them together.

Ikea Sprutt fabric drawer labels

The fabric is sorted into different drawers partly by colour, partly by theme.

Here’s a shot of the initial sorting process. I’ve never had such a fun time organizing my basement (which is what this project somehow turned into)! It was interesting to see what I have the most of (the drawer for multi-colour vintage-look florals filled up fastest), what I could (maybe) use some more of (greens and yellows).

fabric stash sort

And here’s what SPRUTT looks like with no labels, looks pretty sweet all on its own.

sprutt without labels ikea storage

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