Thursday, September 12, 2013

Partial Success, plus a lot more!

My experiment with a wavy (pinking) blade in the rotary cutter was a partial success - enough so that I'll continue with the process in the future.  I was thrilled to pull a bunch of fabric from the washer to find there were no knotted-together fabrics and no fabrics tangled together with strings.  There were still strings that needed to be trimmed, but not nearly as many as before.  This took much less time than stitching all the edges would take, that's for sure.  The wavy blade has lost its "new" sharpness after cutting so many edges; I hoped it would last longer for the price.  It is still sharp enough to trim the edges of applique blocks to prevent them from fraying during stitching - I don't know why I didn't think of this before!

These next pictures are a bit scary looking - especially considering I've stated numerous times that I'm putting myself in the "no buying mode".  I've come to realize that I'll never be able to stick to that mode unless I cut up all my credit cards, delete my PayPal account and put all the family accounting into Fred's hands.  Which would quickly lead to my insanity and a financial mess (my husband is a darling in many ways, but he isn't organized enough to manage finances, in spite of being a retired math teacher).

These are this year's purchases sorted by color, waiting to be prewashed.  I was on a roll, and then hot weather hit again.  We've been in the high 80's and low 90's - setting temperature records for September - which means I'd be standing in a sauna if I tried ironing slightly damp fabrics in my sewing room.  So these piles are waiting for cooler weather before being washed.

The reality is that most of these fabrics are filling the color "gaps" in my stash.  There are many blacks, purples, yellows, madder reds and oranges, and a few grays.   There is space on my shelves for most of them - thank goodness!  A few are for a specific quilt I will make in the future - I had to get these particular picture prints while they were still available.  Yes, I bought some of them just because I wanted them.  This last category is the one where I'm working to curb my buying.  So here is the better pledge for me.

I hereby place myself on a Fabric Diet.  I will make only healthy fabric purchases.  This includes batiks as my collection is very small and I will use them in most future applique projects.  This also includes necessary fabric bought for a current project.  The only exceptions are the monthly block of the month kits for programs I've already subscribed to.  I will not allow myself to subscribe to any more BOM's until I've completed tops from all those I'm already getting.

I believe this is a pledge I'll be able to keep.  It will allow me to do some fabric shopping when I feel the urge, but will restrain me from buying fabric I really don't need and have no room to store.

Speaking of storing fabrics - I found a solution to storing my 30's and 40's collection that won't fit on the shelves.  I was in Tuesday Morning - a store I rarely enter - for something else and saw these baskets.  Right away I knew they would be perfect for storing these fabrics, making them so much more accessible.  I transferred the fabric into them as soon as I got home, and they are PERFECT!  There is just enough room left for the 30's and 40's fabrics - color gap fillers - waiting to be prewashed.  These baskets sit on the floor in front of fabric cabinets, and are easy to move when I want to get into the cabinets.  Much better than having these hidden away in the closet!

I'm spending a lot of time on quilty activities, but they are the kind that result in nothing much to show or talk about - besides trimming fabric edges and washing fabrics, I've been making templates for the Baltimore Autumn quilt.  I've completed 7 blocks, with 5 more to go, not including the large center block.  During this process I decided to order the applique techniques DVD made by Pearl Pereira (the designer of Baltimore Autumn) to see how she handles the very tiny pieces in her applique patterns.    

I found the DVD very helpful in that it presented a few new techniques I've not ever seen before.  I'm very eager to try them out.  Interestingly enough, she doesn't use an overlay to place her pieces while constructing the block.  Instead she uses washable glue to attach her pieces together, and builds the block on top of the pattern.  Finished large units of applique are then placed on the background with the pattern underneath the fabric and using a light box when needed.  So I've stopped creating overlays for these blocks, and will try both methods to see which I like the best.  As the quilt progresses, I'll tell you my of my experiences with both methods, and decide which I like the best.  She prepares her pieces using her templates the way I've been doing the last couple years, but uses starch instead of water.  It is different from the starch method I tried years ago and decided I didn't like.  This will be a great learning and discovery process.  (In case you are wondering about the large tissue box - I use these for my "garbage container".  Very handy, and a good "repurposing" of the empty box.)

Prize winners - nope, I've not gotten to the post office yet.  When hot weather hits I stay inside as much as possible trying to stay cool.  I promise you all they will be in the mail by the end of this week.

1 comment:

cityquilter grace said...

very interesting blog entry patti, i too will be watching with interest as you proceed on your, ahem diet...and also with the baltimore project. while visiting DD i went to seminole sampler shop in catonsville, mimi dietrich's home shop, she teaches baltimore there and there was a baltimore quilt she made on the wall...perhaps once i move, i may be able to take a class and make one since i've been drooling over them for some time....can't wait to watch yours!