I haven’t really talked a whole lot online about this but I bought another quilt shop in November (2018). It has been a whirlwind of paperwork and cleaning and getting used to a whole new routine. My two shops are about 30 minutes apart (Pink Castle Fabrics and The Stitchery) and they have different inventories. I could go on and on about all the little details that you don’t think about before you decide to buy an established business but I won’t bore you with all those details right now. One of the side effects of this new business for me is a lot less free time in my schedule. And unfortunately, sewing gets pushed to the back burner when there’s more work to be done. I know that sewing for even just a little while each day will help reduce my stress levels so I attempted to schedule in some time last week to sew.
Well, I tried it and I did it. It wasn’t a whole week off to reorganize my stash (which would be amazing) or anything but I made sure that I sewed a little bit a few times during the week. As I was sewing I kept thinking about prep work and other small things I can do ahead of time to optimize the little time that I do have to enjoy my hobby. I mean it is my hobby. Sure, I’ve built my career around sewing. But that’s because it’s something that I enjoy. It’s hard to think about being creative and getting excited to use the fabrics that you have in your stash when you see fabric all day. Especially when your stress levels are high and you are running your life on little sleep. Getting back to the sewing room and just doing a small amount of creative thinking and sewing really did help me to de-stress. I’m hoping that I can continue this trend until it becomes more of a habit again.
I really wanted to find a pattern that would give me a quick and easy win. It’s always encouraging when you complete a project. It’s so satisfying to have a finish and I knew it would help me to get excited about starting the next one. A finish that I could do in small chunks of time and that was simple enough for late night sewing (after a full day of work when my brain is mush). Luckily, I keep an extensive quilting Pinterest board with thousands of quilts that I think are beautiful. It has taken me years of browsing and repinning quilts when I’m supposed to be sleeping to grow such an amazing collection😅. I had Pinned a photo of a beautiful quilt by Allison from Cluck Cluck Sew a while back, and it just so happened to be a photo from her Easy Stack, Cut and Sew Tutorial. This is a simple stack and whack technique and it doesn’t require a lot of math or precision (all the blocks are squared up before they are sewn together). If you are looking to try something a little more improvisational, this is a good tutorial to start with. Have you ever tried improv quilting? I personally find it enjoyable to take my time and choose just the right fabric to use in my project and I like to do things a little different or outside of the box sometimes. I see customers that really get uncomfortable doing improv or anything that really deviates from a pattern. It’s like they are afraid to take the risk. Maybe the fabric is expensive and they worry about wasting money? Or maybe it’s choosing the colors and the quilter is afraid that her choices are going to look terrible? I think that it’s a struggle to get past the idea that you might fail. This is something I believe in a much broader sense but also with quilting. We’ve been taught that it’s wrong to fail or that you are somehow a bad person because you might have shortcomings. And that’s not true. Failing is part of the whole process. We have all abandoned a project that wasn’t as magical as the initial concept. And that is something to learn to be okay with. It’s also okay to not want to work on a project that pushes you creatively every time you sit down at your sewing machine. There’s something so satisfying about just sewing random squares together. It’s totally acceptable to buy a quilt kit and just follow the instructions. You will still get the therapeutic benefits of sewing without all the picking of the fabrics or pesky quilt math.
The Easy Stack, Cut and Sew method is perfect for a layer cake! I know a lot of you have purchased a layer cake you couldn’t live without and then it sits in your stash while you try to find the perfect pattern. This is a great pattern to bring out those layer cakes and put them to good use!
I decided to go through my stash and cut fabrics that I love from scraps and fat quarters. I even allowed myself to use some precious fabrics for this little baby quilt. These Pezzy prints and the woodgrain fabric from Joel Dewberry have been in my stash for years. They are hard to find now (obviously out of print by this time!) and I have a tendency to try to save these and other fabrics that are hard to find even if they are a good fit for the project I’m working on.
I really need to get some more lighting for my sewing space. It’s in my finished basement (and I’m sure a lot of you have the same sewing set up) and I’m generally sewing at night when it’s really dark down there. You can see (hopefully the photo isn’t too dark) how the block pairs match up. It’s kind of fun to find all the mates in the quilt.Now that the top is complete I’m going to take it to Pink Castle and quilt it on my Janome Quilt Maker Pro 18 longarm. We started taking in quilts for longarming at the shop! It was a learning curve figuring out all the details of a longarm but it was all worth it. I can’t wait to show you the finished project!
On a completely different note but still, on the topic of improv quilting, I was sad to see that Gwen Marston passed away recently. Her Liberated Medallion and Liberated Quilts books are two of my favorites in my personal library. If you have never read any of her books I highly recommend them.
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