Saturday, October 31, 2020

A String Quilt Finish and Some Fabric Love

I can't believe it's already Halloween! What a year this has been. Tonight we've only had one family trick-or-treating. Between the Covid thing and the city trunk-or-treats, there's just not very many kids out doing the rounds.

String quilt

I wanted to show the latest quilt finish around here before getting buried in next weeks busyness. This was a string quilt started from Lori's December 2018 Stringalong. 
The full view

All the strings were pulled directly from the scrapbin and of course, I couldn't resist the charm of ensuring most were sewn in a slightly wonky fashion. It's such an old fashioned utility look, why not take advantage of the wonderful energy it creates?  I know you're going to be shocked when I admit to already wanting to make yet another one. If only foundation piecing wasn't so annoying at the tear-the-paper-off stage!
Love the off-grain, wonky strings

The quilt is hand quilted with Perle cotton thread across every string and then in a basic grid otherwise. I worried that there wasn't enough hand quilting to give good texture, but after it was washed up, decided there was plenty. I have a suspicion that this quilt would only look better with more hand stitching, but who has that kind of time?
So much fun to hand quilt these bits of fabric!

In fact, the latest {current} quilt in the hoop just cost me two or three extra days as I discovered a big 'oops' in thread color last night. At first I thought to ignore it, but then remembered that the wrong thread used was the very last ball in that particular color. Uggh. So yeah. Last night was spent unpicking the previous nights hand quilting. Normally I would just wing it and figure out something else when I got to the end of whatever ball of thread ran short. On this one, I really, really needed a specific color for emphasizing the applique. Or at least I thought it was needed. Whatever. The end result is wasted time and effort and now, starting over. Yippee skippee.
An unexpected addition to the stash

This week was a good one in that I finally, finally got all of the paperwork caught up in the home office! This is a huge deal for me. I hate being so far behind! It was kind of crazy, 'cuz I was feeling almost hysterical with giddiness and pure relief and then, the very next day, just sort of deflated down to feeling sort of numb. After poking around in the quilt room for a bit, I went ahead and started in on the baby quilt that I was contemplating last week. Didn't get very far at all when I received a phone call about picking up some fabric that someone close to me had recently asked about. They were getting rid of all of their quilting fabric, was I interested? Umm... How about a resounding YES!

There were four kitchen bags full {or mostly full} and surprisingly, I ended up keeping about three fourths of it! Honestly, though I love going through it, I don't think I've ever kept close to half of anything people have ever sent my way! The newest fabric was maybe 5 years old and most are about 8-12 years old with a few pieces slightly older. Since this was someone's entire stash, it was fascinating to see that there were only 4 pieces of purple, a very tiny stack of red and mostly light blues versus the deeper shades. Lots and lots of pink, greens, soft yellows and browns plus a bit of mellow oranges, muted blacks and creams, not white. One of the best parts is that I found enough yardage for backing for 6 of my quilt tops and most of what I need for a 7th top too! Maybe not perfect, but very, very nice for the price! Overall, there was a good lot of fabric that I knew would slip quite seamlessly into my stash. Most of you know that this is the sort of thing that I thrive on, getting the opportunity to use all these challenging, interesting bits that perhaps I never would have even thought to buy for myself!

As some of you know, after doing the Marie Kondo quilt room thing a year or two ago, I determined to keep my stash to the current amount of totes {maximum}. Basically it was a personal goal of trying to dig deep into the stash and get more creative. Plus, I was running out of room. Currently I have 9 large totes {18-20 gal ea.} and 6 med {10 gal.} totes. Not that all the totes are completely full, but that should be enough fabric, right? Riiiighhhttt.....  

So yeah. I've been doing really well--until a couple days ago! I've not been buying a lot of extra fabric with the result that, more and more, the lids are fitting on all the totes much, much better these days.*sigh After a couple days of sorting and washing all the new-to-me fabrics, I had zero choice but to sort through my own totes. Zero! There is simply no more room in the quilting areas for more totes! And no matter how much my husband tempted me with getting a couple new ones, I decided to just try and hold the line. Time to sort through my own fabric stash and see what and where the new stuff could be easily added in.

In the end, what made the most sense was to simply reorganize how I stash each and every color. And in order to do that, I basically had to dump the totes one by one and start over. For instance, there used to be a large tote for dark blue fabrics and a medium tote for med-light blue fabrics. Now I have the med-dark blue fabrics in the large tote and only the very light blue fabrics in the smaller tote, all because I seem to have a preponderance of light blue fabrics. Now, instead of one large tote of all my browns,  I now have a large tote for med-dark brown fabrics and then another large tote for light brown fabrics PLUS what used to be considered the darker cream fabrics and also, what I suppose would be called tan? Those used to be included in the yellow tote. It's all very confusing, except really, it's not. The whole purpose was to make room for all the newish fabric that I super, duper wanted to keep.

I did toss a few pieces here and there of my current stash, just to make proper room and ensure that the lids will still properly stay on and keep all the bright sunlight out. No cheating there, even though I almost let one medium tote of light pink fabrics spill completely over. It was so hard to figure out what to get rid of! And obviously, I made sure to remove all the larger backing fabrics first! No reason why they can't be stored with the specific quilt tops they are destined to be matched up with in the future.  

Now I just need to get rid of one fullish kitchen garbage bag of random discarded fabrics. Really great way to wrap up the roller-coaster week though. Couldn't have planned anything better! I will admit to sending a text and offering to hand quilt one of this gals quilt tops too. Just as a way of saying 'Thanks, this was so much fun'! Crossing my fingers next week will include plenty of time to get caught up on my blog reading. I've been having to stay off the computer a little bit more in order to not lose precious time everywhere else...


  1. Lovely finish, congratulations, also to your additional fabric.

  2. I love that gray background with the strings. You do have a bit of fabric considering it is all in totes! I'm glad so far I am managing to keep mine all in the canvas bins in their cubes under the tables and quilting frame - and two plastic boxes that I haven't gone through in ages. One day I really need to just start to sew strings and pieces together and get some more of this used up or pass it on.

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  4. Don't string piece often but your bright diamonds on a dark background are inspiring me. FYI: Last time, I cut my foundations from a leftover roll of Golden Threads quilting paper and removing it was super super easy.

  5. Hi! I love your string quilt! I pieced my strings for that project onto ''ugly fabric' tho pellon works well too and one need not remove paper. I am just today rethinkng another project that has paper pieced stems...nope, raw edge applique instead I think.

    I couldn't read abut your M Kondo destashing, so upsetting to me, sorry.

    And isn't it sad that Halloween was a fizzle! Next to go will be Thanksgiving and Xmas is already looking grim.

    Sorry for a sad comment, it has been a bad day already here...



  6. I hope this comment comes through - your blog appears to be one I have difficulty commenting on (grrrr).

  7. Hooray - it worked! Congrats on the scrappy stash enhancement and your disciplined way of incorporating much of it into your plans. I love it when that happens. Congrats too on the paper tiger management - it is an ongoing battle for all of us. Take care!!!

  8. How fun to get all those surprise fabrics! I love picking through others' stashes too. The string quilt is a fun-looking one but I love strings. So glad you caught the quilting boo-boo early and only lost two days' worth -- one day of quilting and another for unquilting! Keep up the beautiful work ... so inspiring!

  9. Your string quilt looks great. I love that dark blue/gray with the bright colors. What an early Christmas present getting all that fabric. I smiled to myself as you described all your totes. It's interesting the way we store our fabric and how much of each color we have. I think my whole stash of browns could fit into a shoebox. I'm glad you were able to fit everything in. I am trying to limit my stash to just one room let alone limiting it to a certain number of totes. Nice job!

  10. Great finish, looks wonderfully snuggly. Have you tried foundation-piecing your strips to a used dryer sheet? No need to rip off papers! Though I haven't tried hand quilting a block made this way, I'm assuming they will work just fine with big-stitch quilting.

  11. Oh how fun is that! Being given a stash! I bet you were in fabric heaven. :) And it sounds weird, but I even think reorganizing your fabric storage sounded fun. LOVE your string quilt but did you really paper piece it? I usually just have a template sitting around of the size block I want to make and sew strings together until they cover it all up and then trim it down. There is a small amount of waste but sure does save a lot time not having to tear papers!

  12. Great string quilt, it really has that vintage vibe! And such fun, sifting through someone else's fabrics, finding all sorts to enhance your present fabric stash totes.

  13. Do you have any lightweight fabric that really isn't suitable to be used in a quilt? It's perfect to be used for strip piecing. Yes, you'll need to square it up after piecing but that's easy enough to do and a lot easier than removing paper from the backs for the squares. Happy stitching!

  14. That is a happy string quilt! Great finish and thanks for sharing your fabric stash update.
    Keeping up with staying organized is a noble pursuit.
    We had a fun Halloween with our grand daughter, I like smaller celebrations myself.
    And really, letting my kids gorge on tons of candy never sat well with me. Smaller harvest parties were the thing I was and still am, most comfortable with.

  15. Love the homey charm of your string quilt. It's a practical way to use up bit and pieces. What lovely additions to your stash. Sorting through someone else's stash is enlightening. Knowing how much you use your stash this "new" fabric will be fun to use. Looks like you've already put a lot of it to good use.

  16. What a beautiful string quilt! Congratulations on it and on receiving such a wonderful gift of fabric. The perfect reason to resort your stash.
    I wonder if she used the reds and purples up before she quilt quilting. I've been trying to reduce my stash and have found I'm now running out of my favorite colors. But hey, one stash box permanently emptied and another on its way out.

  17. I completely adore your string quilt! Do you mind if I use a photo of your quilt during my string class? So simple but effective!
    How fun to go through all the new-to-you fabric!!

  18. I took a string quilt class from Gwen Marston years ago. She didn’t bother with a foundation at all. Just sewed strips together into a big enough piece, and trimmed with a ruler. Square, or triangular or whatever shape you have. You can turn the ruler this way or that to make them a little wonky. Dot

  19. Beautiful string quilt and love how you've quilted this Audrey.

  20. I really like your string quilt and the way your blocks were set on point with dark backgrounds. And what luck inheriting all of that fabric! Why is it always such fun to go through someone else's scraps/stash? Hope it brings new inspirations for you.


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