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Posts Tagged ‘quilting’

According to the documentary, “Stitched,” quilters spend more annually on our hobby than hunters and fishermen combined. It’s a big industry but that doesn’t mean you have to be rich to quilt. Here are some tips to getcha started if you’d like to sew and spend a bit less on it. 

1) Don’t Waste Anything! Batting scraps can be pieced together using a zig-zag stitch. Pieced backings are beautiful. Learn to use small pieces and find scrappy designs that you like. Pattern calls for 3 yards of one red? Substitute 12 red fat quarters. 

2) Shop Smart! Be on the lookout for sales and use coupons. Ask about guild discounts at local quilt shops. Great deals can be found at shows and during quilt runs. There are often discounts offered during classes and at retreats. Buy a machine with only the features you’ll actually use. Why pay extra for embroidery and free-motion quilting accessories if you won’t use them? A barebones machine may be the best deal if you mostly piece. Harbor Freight (a hardware store) sells “carpet cutter blades” that fit into a 45mm rotary cutter. They’re only 2 for $1.79….. waaaay cheaper than the ones for quilters. 

Don’t skimp on an iron or pins. Get a decent iron that actually gets and stays hot. Yes, this one I’ve learned from personal experience. Cheap pins snag the fabric and make holes. Skip the dollar store ones and have ’em slide through like they are supposed to. 

3) Ask for help. Yes, this is frugal, not mooching… if done with the right intentions. See, there comes a point when you won’t use certain types of materials anymore and will spring for the better stuff. If you’re not there yet, let your friends know. Many would much rather give it to you than drop it off at Goodwill. I have some things that I love to get as cast-offs like serger thread and small scraps… but I no longer will use polyester batting. Many of my quilting buddies have started “Megan Bags” to put their scraps in. They’re happy to see me use what would have been wasted. 

4) Pay it forward. It’s important to give. This is mostly an attitude thing. Thank-yous go a long way. I don’t have materials to pass on right now but I have other ways to give. Help someone choose fabrics for their quilt, compliment someone’s show-and-share project, befriend a new quilter, volunteer to help your guild, or  share some wisdom you’ve picked up along the way. 

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I’m working out a small business idea that I’ll share with you guys soon. Just figuring out some of the logistics with the help of some of my smartie-pants friends. Thing is, I’m realizing that it does require a tiny amount of start-up cash. 

“The idiots” would say this is a reason not to go into business at all. I’ve decided not to listen to them this time. So… I just spent the last few hours setting up my etsy shop! I’m selling off a few small items that I’ve made at discounted prices in the hopes that they’ll go quickly so I can get this new business going. Check it out! I will be adding a few more quilted items tomorrow after I figure out where I stashed ’em. 

http://www.etsy.com/shop/QUILTArtbymegan

Please take a look. If these items are not to your taste, but you know someone who might enjoy them, please pass the link along. Thank you!

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I’m tempted to call this a glad list. Even with its religious connotations, I think the word gratitude still fits better. (I’m not sure where I stand on the whole God thing, although I still respectfully capitalize that term as a proper noun. I’m okay in not knowing for now… as long as I’m honest about it I’m not pretending to believe something I don’t.) This post isn’t about that anyway. I happen to be having an exceptionally good day emotionally, so here it is: my grateful list. Even if I may not be grateful to someone/thing, I still am decidedly saying “thanks” for these happening.

  • Ceiling fans and nights that cool off.
  • Fathers, even when they (or you) move far away.
  • Photos of baby faces. Especially the adorable ones submitted to me recently in response to my samples request.
  • Encouragement to write (stories, poetry, this blog…)
  • My sister clicking “like” on every post I make on facebook. Aunt Claudia doing so as well.
  • Cats that do funny things like try to catch bugs that are on the other side of the glass door.
  • Pickles. Especially the tiny, crunchy, tangy ones. Mmmmm…
  • Eyeglasses. I was reminded by a commercial today just how different life would be if I didn’t have access to clear sight. I’d be limited tremendously in what I could do. I’m nearsighted, so I couldn’t drive… or recognize friends from across the room.
  • The game, Quiltopoly. Yup, it’s Monopoly for quilters. Even though I mostly play by myself it just makes me smile every time. What quilter wouldn’t understand that seam-ripping is the same as jail?!
  • Batik fabrics. Oh my are they just so beautiful! Bonus: no right or wrong side of fabric.
  • A minigroup I’m in that, among other things, asks “how are you?” and expects an honest answer. From everybody. And it’s okay if you’re not okay.
  • My clothes dryer. And washer. And me not having to spend all day not even at the laundromat, but scrubbing everything by hand. Technological advances.
  • Summer camps, and that my siblings and I got to experience them. Amazing things happen on camp time. It’s like nowhere else in the world.
  • Having the desire to make lists of things I’m grateful for. What a blessing! (Another religious word I’m going to use anyway.) Especially considering my darkness.

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Here’s a photo of my cousin Jasmine and her hubby Tim with the quilt I organized for them. They were married in October 2010 and were awarded this completed project for their first anniversary. This photo was taken around Christmastime last year. 

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The specifics:

1) Jas asked me to be a bridesmaid, and said if there was anything specific I wanted to help out with, to speak up. I volunteered to spearhead a signature quilt for the couple. 

2) It took me about 18 months to make from start to finish, but that includes more than a few months where it was folded up in a drawer waiting for the next step.

3) The quilt is in their wedding colors: gold, mossy green, and persimmon. It is a log cabin pattern, which is especially fitting since they live and work at a sleep-away camp where they have – guess what? – a log cabin. It fits on a queen-sized bed. 

4) I made the blocks before the wedding. They were signed during the reception by the guests (and even the chef!) Then I brought them home to assemble the quilt top, sandwich it, and quilt it. 

5) It has very basic stitch-in-the-ditch quilting. I wanted the signatures to be the main feature, so the minimal quilting doesn’t call attention away from them. 

6) Jasmine was one of my first best friends as a child and we remain very close. I’ve known Tim a long time, too. He’s from Jas’ hometown and went to summer camp with my cousins, sister, and me. I haven’t seen them since the wedding but it’s a comforting thought they have a tangible reminder of our love for them… to snuggle up with on cold nights. 

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It’s interesting how writing something down is such a release. Gets the thoughts out of my head and onto paper, even if it’s only virtual paper like in this blog. Out so I can take a look at it. Plus I have to slow my thoughts down enough to write about them, choose which ones are really “speaking” to me currently. I’ve noticed that after my last post I was actively choosing not to feel sorry for myself. I hadn’t even realized that I’d had such a pity-party but it’s true. Since releasing those words and choosing a different choice things have been moving in the right direction.

There are things I’ve been doing, as well as thinking about. I’ve been taking a probiotic twice a day which has made bathroom trips less painful. I’ve cut down on the sweets consumed. I’m no longer allowing myself to sleep for more than 10 hours straight, at least not in the last few days. I’ve chosen to use my social time to help with others’ projects. I continue to write. I hesitate long enough to remember that my husband doesn’t need scolding for being silly. He’s not trying to be annoying, just playful.

What amazes me is what’s fallen into my lap. My dog-collar sewing gig had slowed way down. Now it’s not only picking up, the other sewist is going on vacation so I’ll have double the work, and we’re introducing a new product that I’ll be the lead maker on. And the most wonderful thing….

I get to see my family this week. There’s a mini-reunion centered around the play, “Next to Normal,” this Thursday. I’ve know about it for months but it seemed impossible. Then my aunt who lives locally emailed me with the news that she’s renting a car and asked if I’d like to come with. A few more conversations revealed that all I’d need was a cooler with food and drink to share. Cost of trip? Less than $20. Really? Really. I even have a place to sleep for free.

I’m amazed, overwhelmed, and feeling very blessed. So here’s my big thank-you to whatever’s out there or in here. Letting go of some of that negative stuff really left some room for the positive to flow in.

Oh, and a quilting buddy of mine found an older machine that works great and will free-motion quilt. Mine for $25. I am so blessed.

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