Monday, February 25, 2019

Why Every Quilter Should Have a Library Card

Do you have a library card?

I think every quilter (and every person for that matter) should have a library card.  

In addition to my quilting career, I work part-time as a librarian at my small hometown library.   So many people have come into our beautiful library and have said something like "Libraries are a thing of the past -- everything's digital these days."   


Who said so?  Was this something you read on the Internet?  And of course, everything you read on the Internet must be true, right?

My friend, Missi, got me thinking about this concept when she was describing a recent book, THE LIBRARY BOOK by Susan Orlean. 

Libraries are more than books, more than information -- libraries are a place.  

Okay, so how can having a library card enhance being a quilter? 

1. BOOKS! (This one is a no-brainer)   Libraries have books.  Whether you like fiction, ebooks, reference books, children's books, etc.  Libraries have 'em.  Looking for quilt books?  Visit your local library!

2.  Along with #1, check your local library to find out if they have interlibrary loan services.  In a nutshell,  if your library doesn't have a book that you want, they may be able to borrow it from another library just for you.  Talk about personal service.

3.  Periodicals.  Local newspapers (check out the local quilt shows!) and maybe magazines. (What!  Your library doesn't have any quilting magazines?  Then why don't you ask about donating a subscription???)

4.  Classes, Programs, and Workshops.   For you, for kids and teens -- for everyone!  Check out the offerings at your local library, you might find a class on knitting or quilting or painting, computer classes,  Friday bag lunch and a movie, story times for kids, American Sign Language, etc.  By the way, most library programs are FREE (please ask though). 

5.  Access to computers, fax machine/printer, etc.  There might be use restrictions, so you will need to check at your individual library.  This is a real lifesaver when your computer crashes or your printer is not cooperating.

6.  Digital Resources.  This one will depend on individual libraries.  It might be ebooks that you can borrow or access to Ancestry Library Edition.  My favorite digital resource right now is Universal Class.  There aren't any quilt classes on Universal Class (yet), but there are classes for tons of other topics.  Maybe you want to learn quantum physics?

7. Social Hang Out. Yes, libraries really are social hubs.  Gather your quilting friends and your go-to hand quilting project and head to your nearest library.  I bet they have a place that you can sit, sew, and socialize.  This is great when it's hot and you can enjoy the air conditioning.

8.  Meeting Place.  Need to find a space for a quilt guild meeting?  Check with your library -- they might just have a community room or meeting space that you can borrow for a low fee or perhaps even no fee.

9. More Digital Resources -- Okay, I am adding this one on at the end because I just discovered it.  My sister bought my family an Amazon Firestick for Christmas.  Who knew that I could access aps like Hoopla and Kanopy which are digital resources through my library card.  Hello movies!  Good bye stack of quilts that need the binding hand-sewn!

Sew -- what are you waiting for? Go get your  library card if you don't already have one.  Then visit your local library and see what it can do for you.


Monday, February 18, 2019

A Much-Needed Break, or Heading to the Flea Market!

As I mentioned previously, I'm at a bit of a standstill with my cleaning, organizing, and purging project in my sewing studio.  I have grouped and organized things in baskets, but now I don't have anywhere to put the baskets so they are currently living all over my horizontal surfaces.

My father is getting started with my electrical project and I just broke down and ordered my storage cube units -- I need somewhere for my baskets to live.  Keep your fingers crossed that the electricity goe sin soon so I can get back to my project.

 So recently, I took a break from all of my cleaning and organizing and took a little trip to Lisa's General Store (which used to be called Lisa's Indoor Flea Market) located in Greenville, PA.

Over the years, I've found some awesome deals -- my most recent one being my sewing stand.

It had a broken and repaired foot, but I didn't mind because I have always wanted one of these stands (usually called a Martha Washington sewing stand).  Go HERE to read my post about this stand.

One of my best finds was a 1900's vintage indigo and white Double Irish Chain quilt with some very nice hand-quilting designs.  It was just sitting there, waiting for me.

Anyway, though, if you are following my Reclaiming My Studio series, you will be pleased to know that I didn't buy a thing at Lisa's.  REALLY!  Not one single thing.

Instead, I just window-shopped.  I did see lots of sewing and quilting related items, though, and thought I'd capture them on my phone so I could share them with you.

I saw a few sewing tables.  The first one was similar to mine, but it had 4 turned legs and three drawers.  And it had a light wood finish.

This sewing table is a real beauty!  I just love the dark wood.  It's earlier than mine and the one above (which are more Depression-era pieces).  This Empire style piece probably dates to the early 1900's or so.


Of course there were some vintage quilts and quilt tops, but nothing that really tempted me.  Now had they been a stack of quilt blocks, that would have been an entirely different story.

I thought the booth owner was very clever to drape this simple little quilt on the vintage buggy.  Wouldn't that look great in your home or sewing room?  I would of course fill the buggy with more quilts or maybe vintage pin cushions.....  Anyone have an 18" doll to display in the buggy?

One of my favorite things to look for are sewing boxes and baskets.  There are so many different ones, I'm always interested to see them.  This basket had a very nice embroidered inset in the top of the lid.  Pretty, sin't it?  I wonder if it came that way or if a previous owner decided to beautify her humble sewing basket.

These little rectangular boxes are very common -- you've probably seen them before if you don't have one of your own.

Isn't this a lovely old sewing basket?  The booth owner made it look very inviting with the addition of the spools of old thread.

And here is a fin patchwork teddy bear.  He's not old, but he is really cute.  I don't think the patchwork came from a quilt, but rather I think the pieces were sewn together for the bear.

 Well, I hope you enjoyed window shopping with me.  Maybe you'll head out on your own flea market or antique shop adventure....

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Reclaiming my Studio Part 6 -- The Gnomes Have It

Well, I’ve hit a real slow down this week.  I’ve been wanting to sew instead of clean.  Oh no!  Now what?

This past week, I’ve been playing with the cutest row quilt that I recently designed.  Of course, once I had the design, I wanted to select fabrics.  Then once I had selected the fabrics, of course, I wanted to sew, right?  Wouldn’t you?

I fell in love with all of the gnome stuff at Christmas time and found the cutest gnome block on Pinterest.  That inspired me to design an entire row quilt of jolly little tubby gnomes.

Here is my gnome row :

Aren’t they the cutest????  My row has five gnomes, each with his own combination of a red hat and a green body.  They will be the centerpiece of my row quilt.

I know, I know.  Sewing isn’t really cleaning, is it?  

But wait, it is!  HONEST!

I am making this gnome quilt using only my stash, so I am downsizing my collection of fabric!

Yes, I will get back to cleaning for real, I promise, but in the meantime, I am going to enjoy the process of sewing and making something fun.  

Stay tuned to see how my row quilt turns out.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Reclaiming My Studio Part 5 -- Electricity

The obvious reason for cleaning, purging, and organizing my studio was obviously the great mess that I've created in the last year and a half.  But there is a secondary reason, too.

For Christmas, my Dad gave me electricity.  Sounds strange, huh?  He literally wrapped up a box of electrical guts and junk.  Bear with me, please. 

This was probably one of the most unusual gifts that I had ever received, but it was one that I was very excited about.  You see, I have to be creative when connecting my sewing machine and iron to electricity.  It usually includes several extension cords and strips.  My Dad is going to install electrical outlets in the middle of my sewing space where there is a post (which helps hold up the house), then I won't have to worry anymore (sometimes I blow a breaker when there's too much plugged in at the same time).

The new electrical outlets will really make a big difference in my studio -- having easy access to electricity will make it easier for me to create my new sewing and cutting table with a bajillion cubes underneath for organizing my baskets and bins.  And with better electricity, I can add more lighting which will make sewing easier and more comfortable.

I can't wait....

Monday, January 28, 2019

Reclaiming My Studio Part 4 -- Stop Giving Me Stuff!


Now people are giving me MORE STUFF.  Good Grief!

Last week a couple friends and I got together at our favorite Mexican restaurant and finally exchanged our Christmas gifts.

ARGH!  Leslie gave me a stack of Vintage Orphan Quilt Blocks that she had found at the Salvation Army.

Isn't that awesome??????

NO IT"S TERRIBLE!  How am I going to purge my studio when people keep giving me more stuff to stash in my ever-shrinking sewing space?

Of course, I would never say "no."  Would you?

The blocks are wonderful.  Well-constructed with lots of really great vintage fabrics.  A few of them are earlier, perhaps 1890-1910, but the rest are Depression-era goodies.

Sigh...........I guess I'll have to buy some more bins and totes.

Monday, January 21, 2019

2019 New Year's Goal -- Reclaiming My Studio Part 3............Scraps

Yay!  Tricia 1...................Scraps 0.

I had posted about my scraps on Instagram earlier this month  and a kind follower suggested that I join the 2019 Scrap Buster Challenge by Border Creek Station.

It sounded intriguing so I checked it out and I joined the fun!  This was just the thing for my basket of 1930's squares (see below) -- I just needed to add a white solid.  Easy Peasy!

The goal for the Scrap Buster Challenge is to make at least 52 blocks in 2019, which averages out to 1 block a week.  This sounded very manageable to me -- I know I can do this.  Besides, I can always work ahead so when a week is too crazy for me to sew, I can skip a week when needed.  AND it will use up some of my scrap fabric.  Win-win!

Here is my first Scrap Challenge Block.  It's not perfect, but I'm okay with that.  I gave up the idea of quilting perfection long ago.

I was so inspired by my first block that I made 3 more blocks the second week. I  posted my 4 humble blocks on the Scrap Challenge FB page and one of the other participants pointed out that I had sewn one of the HST blocks in each of the three blocks wrong.  She kindly said something about being curious to see how my variation turns out.  GULP!  I totally missed that.  Hmmm.  Time to "unsew" some seams and fix the 3 blocks.

Here are my repaired blocks.  As you can see, I decided not to do a ton of "unsewing" and used the wrongly-pieced HSTs to make 3 more blocks!  Now I have 7.  45 blocks to go.

It's not too late you you to join in the fun.  Just hop over to the Border Creek Station website for more information.  Bring a friend.

With my quilt studio bursting at the seams will fabric, I have decided that 2019 is going to be my YEAR OF SCRAP QUILTS.

So, not only am I going to blog about my Studio Cleaning Adventure, but now I'm going to add scrap quilts to the mix.  The good thing is that I should always have something to blog about.  The bad thing is that you are going to get tired of reading about my studio and my scrap quilts. 

Did you miss the first part of my Reclaiming my Studio series?  Click HERE.

Monday, January 14, 2019

2019 New Year's Goal -- Reclaiming My Sewing Studio Part 2

Well, I'm not dead yet.

I am now approaching my second week of RECLAIMING MY STUDIO and I'm still alive.   

This past week, I focused on 2 things in my studio because my time to work in there is quite limited AND I want to use a bit of that time for sewing, too:

1.  Cutting up scraps into usable squares and rectangles

2.  Putting my homeless quilt stuff into baskets and bins for right now

Cutting Up My Scrap Fabrics 

I had this really big zip top plastic bag of 1930's odd-sized pieces and scraps smaller than a fat quarter.  I had cleaned these out of my 1930's drawers last year but never got back to them.  So now is the time.

So I jumped right in!

Word of advice -- when cutting a lot of scraps into squares and strips, start with a fresh rotary cutter blade.  A new rotary cutter blade will make cutting easier and more comfortable and ultimately faster.

I just started pulling wads of fabric out of the bag.  I pressed and layered larger pieces to be made into 5" squares and then the smaller stuff I pressed and layered to cut 2 1/2" squares.  I kept at it diligently and finally, when I thought I couldn't take all those cute happy 1930's reproduction fabrics anymore, I miraculously emptied that bag of 1930's repros.  WHEW!

As quilters, for some strange and unknown reason, we are afraid to throw away even the teeniest scraps of fabric -- OMG,  what if there's a fabric shortage in the world???

I've actually moved a bit beyond this after 20+ years of quilting.  (Did I actually admit to that in writing?)  In my perfect studio (cue the dreamy music), ALL my scraps have been rendered into 5" squares, 2 1/2" squares, and 2 1/2" WOF strips and are organized in pretty labeled bins.  You've seen these studios on Pinterest, right?

I don't think I need to go to the extent of organizing my cut up scraps by color or theme, though, because when I want to use them, I'll just delve right in and ransack those pretty bins to find the pieces that I want.

Believe it or not, but piles, bags, and bins of tangled scrap fabrics actually take up more space than neatly cut squares and strips (another reason to get my scraps under control).

There are many books out there to help you get the most out of your scraps, a few of my favorite are:

Of course, there are also lots of great blog posts with great tips and suggestions.  It doesn't hurt to do a little research/reading because if you're like me you need to know 2 things -- I'm not alone and somebody out there might know the secret to permanently getting my scraps under control and might even be willing to share.

Basket and Bins and Crates, Oh My!

I spent some time sorting through my piles of stuff and plopping things that had no specific home into baskets and bins to be dealt with later -- when I build my dream sewing/cutting table with 1001+ cubbies (yes, I found myself sliding into an alternate reality here), I'll hopefully have places to put all this orphaned stuff.

WOW!  Abracadabra!  Can you believe it?? Already, my space looks cleaner without jumbled piles of who-knows-what all over my horizontal surfaces.  I was even able to put some things away!

I found lots of precuts hiding in dark corners of baskets and bins, so I am in the process of rescuing them and putting them either in my precut drawer (charm packs and mini charms) OR my crate with fat quarter bundles, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and some other precut odds and ends -- hexagons, triangles, etc.  I really had no idea that I had so many precut bundles....

Yes, I admit it -- I am a precut hoarder [head hanging in shame....].

While putting things in temporary housing, I poked around my existing baskets and bins.  So, of course I found lots more fun things and again, even rehoused some of them already.  GO ME!  (You have to be your own cheerleader, you know.)

I also found more scraps that need to be cut into strips and squares.  Go figure, back to my cutting mat -- which is much easier to find now, by the way.

Stay tuned for my next Cleaning Adventure.

If you missed my first post about cleaning my studio, click HERE