Monday, April 27, 2015

3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Stashing....

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, then you know that I jumped into quilting without a whole lot of forethought or knowledge. I'm that kind of person most of the time in life, so it's not terribly surprising, but there's a few stash-building things that I wish I could go back in time and tell New-Quilter-Me that I thought I'd share with you guys, in case some of you are new to quilting, or for those of you who are seasoned pros, it might give you a good laugh :)

1. Don't buy that fabric just because it's on sale.

Just because it's a good deal, doesn't mean it's a great fabric. Doesn't mean you need 8 yards of it, doesn't mean you should even buy a half-yard of it! Only buy what you love, even if it's not on sale. Fabric you love will get used. Fabric you bought on sale because it was a good deal will wind up still in your stash years later when you move and you'll be embarrassed/horrified/baffled you even own it.

2. Don't buy fabric just because it's the "cool" fabric at the moment.

The only tastemaker in your sewing room is you. Much like other areas of sewing, beauty is in the eye of the beholder with your stash. If it's a fabric you're passionate about and love, you will find the right project for it. If it's the "hot" fabric of the moment and you feel like you're supposed to buy it, chances are it's going to land in the destash or donate pile at some point in your sewing life.

3. Variety is the spice of life - and stashing!

Variety is important in a lot of different ways when it comes to stashing, but most especially it's important when it comes to value, themes, and in some ways scale. Value is the relative lightness or darkness of a fabric, and is often easiest to see in a photograph when the color is removed, and the photograph becomes simply black and white. It's important to have fabrics of different values, as it's one of the easiest ways to create contrast in your quilt blocks. Themes are important too. Unless you have an unhealthy addiction to polka dots and want to make all polka dot fabric quilts, you want to have a variety of themes or styles in your fabric stash. That might mean some stripes, some florals, some text fabrics, whatever - just a variety. As for scale, that's somewhat subjective. Take my stash, for example. I'd wager to guess at least 75% of my fabrics are small scale, meaning the print is quite small. Small scale prints are great for quilt blocks, because even in small quilt blocks, you don't "lose" the print. Often with larger scale fabrics, if you chop them up into pieces to make a block, you "lose" the print. So with scale, some variety is good, but it's nowhere near as necessary as with theme/style and value.

Bonus: Enjoy the rainbow...not just one color!

Make sure to share the love as you're stashing - don't just buy eleventy million blue fabrics. Because you will never sew through all of them. Never.

What do you wish you could go back in time to tell New-Quilter-You? Or what do you like to tell your friends who are new to quilting? Happy Monday everyone :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

A tour of the new sewing studio!

Now that most of the boxes are unpacked and most everything around the house has found a home, I've spent some time really getting my sewing studio set up. It was up and running to finish up deadlines as soon as we moved in, but it was chaos. Piles of boxes, stuff all over the place, and nothing in its rightful place. I know lots of quilters thrive on creative messes but I'm the polar opposite. Maybe I'm in the minority among creative types, but when everything around me is chaotic, it's really hard for me to be creative. Getting everything all sorted and organized feels like a weight off me. I actually even went into the studio this weekend and did a little sewing, just for fun, using a couple of layer cakes of Cotton + Steel and some super simple patchwork. It felt fantastic!! Without any further ado, here's a quick tour of my new sewing studio!

In this move, I decided to retire my dad's old desk, which was my first sewing table when I started sewing, and in more recent years has been my cutting table. It's in sad condition after all these years, but I did keep it and move it into the office for my son to use as a desk space. I picked up a new wooden table top from Ikea and had a handyman build some legs to match my sewing table, so now I have a nice, giant workspace. It's great for cutting, and even better when I'm quilting. One thing I love about my new space is the ceiling height. I've got so much more room for hanging minis now! I seem to have a fairly large collection of them and am working on hanging many of them throughout the house, but I selected some favorites to hang in my sewing room.

I also got a new LED light kit from Amazon to add some additional light to my Juki, which is fantastic and was super easy. I definitely recommend it - and it will fit any sewing machine, too!

I also converted to a stand up design wall rather than the hanging kind that I previously had. This one is a good bit taller than my old one, and it was such a breeze to make - all you need is leftover packing tape, some batting and insulation boards. Easy peasy!

Another new addition is my pegboard, which is something I've always wanted in my sewing room! I painted it myself, albeit somewhat unevenly, but I love the color. It's also so nice to have a good place to store my rulers and cutters and things.

Going through my fabrics as I shelved them, I found a good number of things that I'll be destashing soon, so stay tuned for info on that. I'll likely do it through Instagram, but perhaps I'll post some items to my Pattern Shop as well for destashing.

The closet is quite possibly one of the best parts about the room. It goes under the stairs, so it's quite large, and actually fits all the things I want to fit in my closet, from my scraps to my patterns to my rolls of batting, and has room for more, so yay for that! It's also a great place to hide for hide and seek :)

And that's the studio in a nutshell - hope you enjoyed the quick tour! Happy sewing to you and happy Monday :)

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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