Monday, January 16, 2012

Whirlwind of a Week!

I survived my first week of school!

I managed to self-manage my time and get through the first week of classes.  Math won't be easy, but I don't think I'll struggle too much.  Wendy offered to help me if I need it, and she already help me a bit!  Thanks Wendy!

Not too much happened during the week, sewing wise - Before the week started I finished a few things -

I added a sleeve to the back of this beauty, which was a gift to my father-in-law for Christmas.  He's huge into scouts - and he loved his gift.  He asked for a sleeve on the back so he could show it off properly at the next scouting event.  It's a variation of the A Whole New World Tutorial, up-sized to a layer cake with an added skinny sashing.  I think adding the sashing turned it into a "grown-up" quilt.


I also whipped up two baby blankies - My nieces turned two and are at the stage were they love playing with babies and wrapping them up.

eclipse blankie   pieced pinwheel blankie

I added a bit of Velcro to two of the corners, so that they can wrap up their babies all by themselves.


They were a big hit.  Since they're two and really don't care if it's not perfect, I played with the Lotto pattern for the month, but pieced the arch.  I like how it turned out.  With the second one I played with building triangle units from pieced squares of fabric.  The fabric is from Connecting Threads.  I found a super sale and picked up the strips and a bit of yardage.  They washed beautifully - no bleeding at all.

I also put away all my works-in-progress.  I want to be able to focus on school.  The only "quilty things" I have going on is a round robin - The Cotton Robin, and the Block Lotto - I've actually turned down the opportunity to do swaps and challenges.  Can you believe it??

This year I'm limiting my fabric purchasing - I got a bit out of hand over the holidays - ordering fabric from just about everywhere.  I've told my Mr. Wonderful that I'm going to try not to have any fabric purchases show up on our account - which means - no credit/debit card purchases.  If I save my quarters and find a bit of fabric wonderfulness in town - I can buy it - cash only.  To help with that goal, before the start of the new year I ordered fabric to restock what I've used over the past year.

I ordered another 12 lb box of fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop and a bunch of clearance yardage from Connecting Threads. 

12lb by length (2)   2012-01-08 14.25.22

I was able to sort through, measure and pet all that fabric before the week started.  I'll do a more detailed post about the contents of the fabric boxes, later.

Saturday I got to go fabric shopping, picking out baby fabrics for my SIL - Liz - she's expecting her first in April - AND they've decided to be surpised, so my Mom-in-law and I had fun looking for unisex fabrics.  That's the only "project" I've got going right now.  I'm really trying to make this attempt at school work.

One final note - Winter finally came to the Pacific Northwest!
Over the weekend we recieved over 4 inches of snow!  It's so pretty, 29 degrees - cold!, and the kids are having a blast playing in it.

2012-01-16 07.55.15

I'm hoping they will get to go to school tomorrow - I know I need the time to work!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Pre-Washing Fabrics

Do you pre-wash?
I used to faithfully wash all my fabric before I folded them and put them away.
Then I stopped.
I washed a few finished quilts that hadn't been pre-washed and saw no differences.
So why bother with the extra laundry?

I do wash any fabric that I receive secondhand, as well as my solid reds - if I'm using a lot of it.

While I don't pre-wash as a matter of course, I completely support/understand the desire to have fabrics pre-washed, especially in a swap or at the Lotto.

Open of the reasons I love the Lotto is the scrappiness of it.  But washing scraps?
It can be done, and its easy. 

My secret?

I use delicates bags.
- those mesh bags that you can put tights and what-not in, so they don't get stretched in the wash.

It's really simple - 

I unfold all the fabric scraps to be washed and plop them in the bag. 
I do make sure they're larger than I actually need.  

Then the bag gets tossed in the next load of laundry to go in the washer - this one was washed with shirts, socks and jersey things, but I've washed fabric like this with everything from Jeans and towels to sheets.

Usually when the dryer's done, they're not completely dry, which is just dandy, cause I like ironing damp fabric.

They do come out ridiculously wrinkled.

(this is after ironing without spraying it with water)

I use a hot iron and a spray bottle of water and that works.

Surprisingly there is very little shrinkage.
Just to see, I threw a left-over pre-cut charm in the bag with the rest.

I didn't measure it before, and I can't assume it was actually 5" square -
(the last pack of pre-cuts that I used weren't actually 5" square - which I didn't realize until I tried line up 4-patches, but that is another story)   

- but it was roughly 5"

After ironing:

It lost about  1/4" and that doesn't count the fuzzy edge.

I like the fuzzy edge.  I try to leave it uncut if I'm not using the whole piece of fabric.

That's how I can tell it's been pre-washed!

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch...

I'm not going to recap 2011.
I'd love to, but it would take a while, and I'm not up for that right now.  Instead, I'd like to share what's been going on around here.

The holidays were a wonderful time filled with family.
I've been busy keeping the kids busy, hence the lack of blogging.  It's last on the list of priorities.  I'm not apologizing, just explaining.  

Sunrise from my living room.  Pretty isn't it?  One of the best changes to happen in the last year was our move.  I've never been happier.

The coming year holds a lot of changes for me.
Starting next week, I'm heading back to school.  I've enrolled in Oregon State University's Ecampus Horticulture Program.  


well, it was always the plan to find gainful employment or continue my education once all three kids were in school all day.  Muffin started the year in Kindergarten but at our request was evaluated and bumped up to First grade.  It is a much better fit for her, and she's having fun.  
So, I was suddenly home most of the day without kids.

My ideas/thoughts/loose plans had to be moved up a year.
okay, that's why I'm going to school - but horticulture?

I grow roses, I have about 50 of them that I dug up and moved here.  I used to root cuttings and sell the baby roses online.  The stopped when we moved.  

I have this dream of owning my own rose nursery.   Now I have the space to start that.  So, Horticulture.

So that's where I am.
I start with Chemistry and Math - and I'm pretty nervous.
Those aren't my strong areas and it's been awhile.  The program I'm in strongly suggests that these course be complete first, so here I go.

I've also confirmed my summer work as a Stage Manager for The Shedd, where I worked last summer.

I'll have less time for quilting.

I'd like to say I'm going to work of finishing my WIPs. But we'll see what happens.

I'm limiting myself to The Block Lotto and a single round robin swap, The Cotton Robin.

I'm horrible at keeping myself on a schedule, which I find hilarious, because I'm a good stage manager and 90% of that job required juggling a billion different schedules, and keeping track of them all.

So, if anyone has any tips for self-scheduling, I'd love to hear them.