Monday, February 18, 2019

Putting your "Stash" on a Diet

Happy Monday everyone!!!

This week I'd like to chat about my stash.  I know many of us stash fabric (it generally doesn't take long to have a collection of fabric), and I always think it's interesting to see how other people use theirs, so I thought I'd share my "stash" philosophy with you!

I have been lucky enough to work in not one, not two, but THREE different fabric stores as I've moved around the state.  As I'm sure no one would be surprised to hear, all three of them had beautiful fabric tempting me to take some home with me nearly every time I worked.  Also, I have an amazing grandmother who not only generously taught me to quilt, but in the past has shared some of her "stash" with me when she decided she needed to downsize how much fabric she had.

Also, as many quilters know, most projects have scraps or small yardage amounts left over once the project is finished.  I do like to cut my scraps down into usable pre-cut sizes like Bonnie Hunter (check out for details, this lady is a genius), but after a while that leaves me with a TON of pre-cut scraps.

All of these things led me to having a MASSIVE stash of fabric.  Something needed to be done.  WE SIMPLY DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH ROOM FOR THIS TO CONTINUE!!! haha.

So, in the last 5 years, I have been on a "Fabric Diet".  What does that mean, you might ask?  It means I shop my stash first for a project, and only purchase new fabric to finish a project.  For the most part, this has worked out really well.  Most of the time I stick to this, and I am able to make a small dent in the fabric I am storing each time I start a new project.  HOWEVER, just like any diet, sometimes you might have a "cheat" day. ;)  Overall, my occasional cheat days have balanced out the diet days, but at least I haven't been "gaining weight".

One way I have been especially good at dieting is shopping my stash for backing fabrics.  Generally I don't worry as much about being "matchy-matchy" with my backing as long as it's close to matching.  Also, sometimes I will piece different pieces of yardage to make a "scrappy" backing.  In the end these pieced backs end up being some of my favorites because they make use of older fabric that has been collecting dust in the cabinet.  Here is an example of one of my pieced backs.

Whenever I do a back like this I feel like I have really accomplished something, and most people don't look at the backing anyway.  However, I tend not to follow this approach if I plan to put a quilt up for sale.

In a recent finish (coming to the blog soon!), I was able to use up two pieces of yardage that were the same color, but different patterns.  Both prints were from 1999!!!  It felt so great to use these and see these fabrics finally find a purpose.  I used a strip of purple in the middle to help distract from the fact that they were different prints, and also because I needed a little bit extra width in the backing. Who cares that they are different prints?  The color matches well with the front and it turned out great. :)

Guys, I have to be honest with you though.  Accountability is part of any successful diet, you know?  

I totally BINGED on fabric this weekend.  Check out the stack below...

The worst part of this picture is.....this is only HALF of what I bought!!!  What have I done!?

It isn't all bad.  There is a great fabric store chain in West Michigan, Fields Fabrics.  They have the best clearance section in the entire world.  I'm not kidding.  There were tons of Freespirit prints from designers like Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Denyse Schmidt, Joel Dewberry, etc. for $2.97 to $4.97 a yard!  How could I say no!?

Although I went nuts buying fabric, I will say that most of what I bought followed my "fabric diet" rules.  I was able to pick up a number of quilt backings for existing projects at an unbeatable price.  Also I was able to rebuild my stash with fabrics from my favorite designers for a lot less money than buying yardage full price.

So tell me!  What are some of your favorite ways to bust your stash?  Are you on a "Stash Diet" like me?  I'd love to hear what you guys are doing to keep your hoard...I mean STASH...under control?

Have a good one!

The Quilted Mitten

Monday, February 11, 2019

All in the Family - Part 2 of 2.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thank you for the kind response I got on last weeks post!  I know the Tula Troops are out in full force, and it's always so fun to see what people do with her beautiful fabrics.  I have more Elizabeth fabric, and I am trying to decide if I can part with it or not, or if I want to keep it for myself (I know I'm being selfish haha).

This week I'd like to share another quilt that went to live with my Aunt K.  This is a quilt top I had already pieced for myself out of long hoarded Joel Dewberry fabric (I feel like fabric hoarding has become a theme of my life).  This top had been awaiting quilting for quite some time, but it had never been on the top of my priority list.

 I loved this quilt, but I knew it would find a good home with my aunt, and quite frankly I have plenty of quilts already.  I had only recently brought home my long-arm machine, so this was a great smaller project to practice on.

This pattern is one of my all time favorites for large prints.  It's a great lap size for the back of a couch, office, or wheelchair quilt.  It is also great as an over-sized baby quilt.  The pattern is "Girls Best Friend" by Mary's Cottage Quilts (found here).

I have made this quilt AT LEAST 6 times, and it always turns out great.  It especially works well if your local shop only gets a few bolts out of a collection.  You can highlight some great large prints, and this quilt goes together SO SO QUICKLY.

I've always loved the Deer Damask from Joel Dewberry.   I was sad to see this fabric go, however I recently saw on Freespirit Fabric's website that he is releasing a new collection soon with new colorways of the Deer print.  I might just have to make another one of these in a new colorway!!!

So what are all of you working on!?  Have you ever made something using this pattern before?  I would love to see what you have created!!!  This pattern is so versatile!

The Quilted Mitten

Monday, February 4, 2019

All in the Family - Part 1 of 2

Hello Everyone!

I have 2 quilts to share with you in the near future.  Both of them were finished quite some time ago, however I am just now realizing that I never got the opportunity to show them to you!

I think it was about 3 years ago now (sheesh I'm behind), my Aunt K contacted me about making her a quilt.  Originally she was interested in finding one that I had already finished, or had a finished top, but in the end I didn't really have anything ready made in the style and colors she was looking for.  Ultimately we decided that I should make her a quilt of her own.

She really loved a quilt that I was working on with Parisville fabric by Tula Pink, however I had been hoarding that fabric quite a long time, and it was long out of print.  Luckily, Elizabeth by Tula Pink had just been released which was similar in color story and style.

Because there were so many prints in this collection, we decided to use pre-cuts to get all the color variety and pattern into the quilt.  We also used one of my quilt patterns "When in Rome"  which works great with charm packs or a layer cake.

This picture shows my "design wall" (aka a quilt hanging on the wall), as I laid out the blocks for the best color placement.

It feels weird to review my own pattern, because I'm obviously biased, but I do really like the way this plays with charm packs AND yardage.  It's a good way to use a whole collection while also highlighting larger prints.  The center block and the border are bigger cuts so that you can show off the feature fabric without losing design.

Here is the center of the quilt with all of the blocks and sashing.

 After the center, there are a series of borders including a pieced border of half-square triangles.

I love the way this quilt turned out.  The hardest part was letting it go, because I love Tula Pink so much!!!  I quilted this all over with a floral pattern, and even backed it with Tula's extra wide fabric.

 My favorite part was that she loved it. :)  That's always my favorite part.

Ooh!  I almost forgot!!!  I stashed more of this fabric!!! ;)  I haven't started it yet, but there will be a version 2.0 of this quilt added to the Etsy shop at some time in the future.  If you are an Etsy user, favorite my shop to stay in the loop.  :)

Thanks everyone!!!  Hoping for an early spring!

The Quilted Mitten.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Playing Catch Up

Hi Everyone!

It has been pretty silent around here for a good long while now.  Life got terribly out of hand, and it has felt as if we are only now getting our feet back under us.  I have still been quilting since the last time you heard from me, and I have a lot to share with you over the next few weeks or months.  You may hear more from me for a while since I have a lot of backlogged projects to share.

Up first are the quilts I made for our nieces at the end of 2016 (I know that was a long time ago).

The first quilt is a low volume quilt from the book "Beyond Neutral" by John Adams (aka Quilt Dad).  The quilt pattern is actually the cover quilt from this book even though it has a very different vibe.  I LOVE the colors in John's quilt, but I wanted to tone it down to fit the girl that was to receive it.  Her room is teal and grey, so I thought this was a fun geometric pattern that would work well with a low-volume color palette.

The colors look even softer in the picture due to the lighting, however the teal fabrics actually are rather vibrant.

I love the background fabric that I used on this quilt.  It is a cloud 9 organic cotton, and it almost has a shot-cotton look to it.  The fabric also has a very nice drape and hand.  It is definitely something I would love to snuggle with, so I knew it would be perfect for a young lady.

I quilted it all over with swirls.  I am still learning to be more effective with my long-arm machine, and this was quilted early in my quilting career.  I did do some larger swirls in the open areas of the quilts and it gives a great motion to the quilt.  It almost makes the background fabric look like smoke or clouds.

We photographed this quilt when the girls came to visit us in the fall of 2016.  They have grown up so much since then!  I love looking at these pictures and remembering that weekend.  (if you're wondering why she is standing like this in the photo, it is because she is only wearing one shoe, and wanted to hide her bare foot, haha!)

Her sister received her quilt at Christmas of the same year.  She has decorated her room with a NYC feel, so I wanted to give her something that would fit her style.

This quilt is from the book "City Quilts" by Cherri House.  Again, I made the cover quilt from this book!  I love every quilt in this book.  I love her use of solids, and the way they can make an dramatic impact.  This quilt is supposed to mimic the way light reflects off the windows of a sky scraper.  I love the effect, and it worked perfectly in T's room.

This photo more accurately shows the colors of the fabric.  This was also quilted with swirls because I wanted something curved and soft to play off the straight lines.

The girls loved them which is my favorite part!  Have you made any quilts for gifts lately?  What did you make?

Hopefully I will have more to share with you soon!  I have made so many quilts!

The Quilted Mitten

Friday, January 27, 2017

Patches and Pinwheels

Most of the quilts I have made in the last 2 years have either been sold or given away.  I've reached a point where I have to be selective with what quilts I keep as they are starting to take over my house.  The quilt I have to share with you today is another gifted quilt.

I pieced this quilt back when I was still in college, like 2009 or 2010.  In fact I blogged about it way back in the day when I finished piecing it (see post here).  I have been holding onto this quilt for a while because I wanted to give it to my father and his fiance' for their wedding gift.  Well, it seems that this lovely couple is destined to be perpetually engaged.  I know they are going to be together forever, and yet wedding plans are still not seemingly in the works.  Nonetheless, I got tired of waiting to give this to them, haha.

 I finished the binding on this quilt this past summer on a work trip, hence the photos taken in a hotel room. :)  Finishing this quilt was so therapeutic for me, because it felt so great to finish an older project, and also there were some nostalgic fabrics in this quilt. 

The pattern that I used for piecing is "Patches and Pinwheels" which is a free pattern by Bonnie Hunter of (pattern here).  It is really a 2 block quilt, and even though there are some small pieces, it goes together quickly.  I love the movement of this pattern, and I am sure that I will used this pattern again.  It is a great way to use up scrap strips of fabric.

I broke from my quilting norm, and tried to do something a little different.  I quilted free hand maple leaves in a random all over design.  I love how it turned out, even if some of the "leaves" are a bit wonky looking.  I haven't tried quilting with pantographs yet, so I am always trying to find new designs to use.  I can't use swirls on EVERY quilt, ya know?!

It made my heart happy to give this quilt to people who have been so supportive of me.  My dad is the kind of person who cares about listening to what you have to say.  He is intelligent, and open minded, and he can always give good advice without making you feel stupid in the process.  My Stepmom, in perfect contrast, is warm and caring and a little bit sassy.  These people, despite being family, have often been some of the only people I can always count on.  I wish I had more than just this quilt to give them.  It certainly doesn't begin to pay back all the things they have done for me.

Thanks for letting me share this quilt with you. :)

Have a great weekend!

The Quilted Mitten

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Stargazing on the Farm

Hi Guys!

Did you miss me?!  The last year has been a whirlwind for R and I.  First of all, we got married in August (yay!).  Then we adopted a new puppy.  Then we found a new place to live. Then on the day we picked up the keys to our new place, R ended up in the hospital for a short stint (hes fine btw).  THEN we lost our beloved 14 year old American Bulldog, Dodge.  Its been a lot of drama in a short amount of time, but it seems that we have finally found some peace and quiet. (don't worry, I was knocking on wood as I typed that).

Understandably, 2016 was not as productive for quilting as 2015, however I do have quite a few projects to share with you, and there has been progress and even some recent quilt finishes. 

The quilt I want to share with you today is one I actually finished last February (eek!).  I had contemplated the "Feedsack" line from Moda for a while, and finally bit the bullet.  The pattern I used is "Lucky Stars" by Atkinson Designs.  I love this quilt pattern because it uses 12 fat quarters and background.  That's it.  In my version, I did add a border to make this more of a lap quilt size.  This pattern does make larger sizes as well however using more fat quarters.

I have made this pattern multiple times now, and it never gets old.  This size quilt makes a great gift, and it goes together quickly.  Because the stars "float" in the background, it is easy to get perfect points every time.  It is also a great way to show off larger prints because the pieces are a decent size.

The fabric in this quilt is so cute!  I especially love the tiny trucks.  This line also has a lot of smaller classic prints that were blend in well with other lines by this same designer.  I loved the pop of robins egg blue as well.  It gives this line of fabric something unexpected.

This was one of the first quilts I finished on my long arm.  I quilted it all over with my favorite swirls pattern.  Swirls look great on almost every quilt, and I admit I have probably used them too much at this point.  Sometimes I just can't think of anything else I would prefer.

This quilt hung up in the quilt store for a short time, but is now back home where it belongs.  I'm not sure what my plans are for this quilt yet.  Perhaps it will end up in the Etsy Shop?

Thanks for visiting everyone!  I hope everyone is having a great start to 2017!

The Quilted Mitten

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Happy Hour version 1.0

Hello everyone!  I have another recent finish to share.

I have been trying to finish as many of my old neglected quilt tops as possible now that I have my HandiQuilter.  It has been a huge weight off my shoulders to see old projects completed, and it makes it easier for me to buy new fabric and start projects knowing that they will eventually get finished and used.

This is a quilt top that I finished as a display when I worked at Kean's Store Company in Mason, MI. I loved how simple this pattern was, yet effective.  The pieces are large enough to show off some beautiful prints or batiks, yet the quilt is still visually interesting.  My favorite part is that the waste trimmed from the blocks can be used to make another quilt.  Unfortunately, I have not gotten that one quilted yet, but the top is finished, and it is on the long list of stuff to get finished.

 This quilt pattern is called "Triple Treat" and it is from the book "Happy Hour Quilts" by Atkinson Designs.  This book has been out for quite some time, but it never seems to go out of style.  These patterns are beginner friendly and modern.  The best part is, the book gives you instruction for each quilt in any size you'd like to make, which makes it much easier to plan if you are making a quilt for a specific purpose or gift.

I quilted this quilt with an all over swirl pattern.  I still haven't gotten any pantographs for my machine, so I have been doing all free motion by hand.  I loved the way it turned out,  the swirls give great motion to what is otherwise a very geometric quilt full of straight lines.

I love this quilt!  Right now it is hanging up in the shop as we still sell this book (because it's great!).  I was especially happy because I was able to use up a couple large pieces of batik fabric for the backing.  It always feels good to use up what I already have in my stash.

The flu has been going around at work, and I am the latest victim.  Unfortunately I haven't been feeling up to any sewing, but at least I can finally get some older projects posted here!  Thanks for stopping by everyone!  I hope you are having a great week!

The Quilted Mitten