Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Whipping My Fabric Stash Back Into Shape | Review of Polar Notions + Giveaway

I've spent the past couple weeks organizing my house to get ready for a cross country move from the South to the Midwest at the end of this month. One of the things that needed the most attention was my craft room.

  Back in 2012, I came across an idea to use cardstock comic boards as mini fabric bolts and got my fabric stash all organized. In the beginning the comic boards were great, but over the years, they started to become a problem for me. 
Like I said, the day I wrapped all of my fabric around the nice new boards, things were awesome. They seemed sturdy enough as long as I wasn't wrapping more than two yards on them. Since I sew just about every day and am always "shopping" my stash before I head out fabric shopping, those boards were getting wrapped and unwrapped left and right. I started to notice that after I would unwrap/rewrap the fabric around the board a couple of times the boards started to tear, bend, and not look so neat. So I started throwing out the boards periodically as they got ugly and never bothered to replace them. Before I knew it, I was back to my original problem of having piles of fabric and not being able to find what I was looking for. 
I've been keeping my smaller cuts of fabrics in my Raskog Cart from Ikea. I try to keep things organized by colors and it's been mostly functional, but after a while it too started to fall into disarray.
 It's so full that each time I pull a cut of fabric out, the surrounding fabrics come out as well, and trying to put the fabric back without having to reorganize a whole row of fabric is tricky. 
I know some people swear by the comic boards, but after using them for 3 years I knew that I wanted something more permanent that I wouldn't have to always be replacing. Plus, my raskog cart system for smaller cuts just wasn't cutting it! ;) I am pulling fabrics on a weekly if not daily basis, so I needed to switch it up in the organization department. It was time to bring in the big guns.

I had the opportunity to test out some Polar Notion  fabric organizers last November and the difference was considerable! I started with just a handful of boards, but I got hooked and knew that I wanted to fully convert my stash and get rid of the comic boards all together. 


There are 3 reasons that I love Polar Notions so much:

1. They come in two sizes: the original size (11 3/4" x 7 1/2") and the fat quarter size (6 3/8" x 4")  
This will make more sense if you have used the comic boards, but the comic boards are smaller than the original polar notion boards and are an awkward size to wrap the fabric because I had to fold it in thirds to wrap it. They are just the right sizes that you just fold the fabric in half and it fits perfectly. 
(Here is a video that better explains how they work.)

2. They are made out of sturdy plastic and do not bend like the comic boards. They say you can wrap an entire bolt of fabric on one of the original sized polar notion boards. I don't quite have an entire bolt of fabric to test out that theory, but I did wrap 7 yards onto one and had no problem doing it. The fat quarter sized Polar Notion boards can fit up to a yard of fabric on them so they are perfect for quilters that buy small cuts of fabric. 

3. The Bolt Buddy Clips. They are an awesome way to secure your fabric to the boards. When I was using the comic boards, I used straight pins to secure my fabric to the boards. After a couple years of being in the fabric, a couple of my pins started to wear out and luckily I caught them in time and no fabric was ruined. I had no idea a straight pin would start rusting like that! (Both the clips and the boards are archival safe so no worries when using them to store your fabrics)



AFTER:

I have wrapped all of my fabric on both sizes of the Polar Notion boards and used the bolt buddy clips to secure them. I am so happy with the result! My stash is nice and neat again and a lot more manageable.

 The shelf that holds my yardage looks similar to when they were wrapped on the comic boards, but it is so much neater now. I love that they stand up straight and hold their shape no matter how many times you wrap or unwrap the fabric. 
The biggest change in my stash storage is my fat quarters (and smaller cuts of fabric- I have eighth yards, quarter yards, half yards on these too). I can't get over how much I love being able to see what I have now that it is neatly organized on a shelf. They are so cute and tiny! I just love them!


I searched high and low for the perfect shelf to organize my fat quarter Polar Notion boards and I found it! There were a couple more expensive options, but in the end budget won out, and Ikea saved the day. (And in all honestly, I like this Ikea option better the other two shelves I found that would have worked so the fact it was cheaper was just a plus. It's almost like this shelf was made for these!)

 I used this Besta Frame ($35) and bought 2 shelves ($3 per shelf), which made it just the right height to store 3 rows of mini fabric bolts. 
I bought two frames (with 2 shelves each) and I plan to hang them side by side on the wall in my new craft room. They will look like cabinets minus the doors. :)

So far I was only able to get just a couple shelves organized so I could take some pictures for my post, but like I mentioned above, we are in the process of moving so I had to start boxing up my freshly wrapped fabric and wasn't able to take pictures of it all completely set up. 
As soon as I get to my new place, and have all of my shelves up with fabric put on them, I will do a post with my entire craft room and pictures of the full makeover.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

BONUS:
Polar Notions is doing a giveaway and 4 lucky readers will receive 10 Polar Notion Organizer Boards (2 readers will receive the original size boards and 2 readers will receive the fat quarter size boards)
To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment with your email so I can contact you and let me know which boards you would like to receive- the original or fat quarter sized boards. 
4 winners will be chosen at random and notified by email on Monday July 20, 2015.

Four winners were chosen at random, congrats to-
This sounds like something I really need; my fabric is out of control and impossible to look through. I'd be happy with either size but more so with the original size. 

These boards are great. I would use the larger size more than the smaller.
Good luck on your move. :)
What a great organizational shelf. I would love to win the fat quarter boards. Thanks for the tip and giveaway. 
So pretty!! I have such a soft spot for organized fabric in rainbow order! :) I would love to win the fat quarter size for sure! :)


Thanks for stopping by! Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley


{full disclosure: This post was sponsored by Polar Notions.  I was not compensated any money to write this post, but did receive the boards and bolt buddies to transform my stash. All views are my own.}

Friday, July 3, 2015

Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap

 Quilt swaps are all the rage on Instagram right now! It seems like every week, there is a signup for a new swap. One of the things that is so fun about the swaps is that most of them are open to anyone who wants to join. It is a great way to make new sewing friends and participate- whether you are a blogger, or just love to sew. 
If you have never done a swap before, you should try it. It is a lot of fun! Once you sign up, you are given a partner to create a mini quilt for (someone different will be making one for you). In each swap I have been in, the partners have been kept secret so that you don't know who will be creating your mini and your partner won't know that you are creating the mini for them. In larger quilt swaps, you are put into a smaller group and each group has a "swap mama" who is in charge of making sure that things run smoothly. The group usually has a separate hashtag, so when you search that hashtag you know that one of the quilts in that hashtag will be sent your way. 

This was my third swap and I definitely plan to do more in the future! :) The best way to stay in the loop and hear about upcoming swaps is to follow all of your favorite quilters/sewing friends on IG. Word usually gets around pretty quick once a new swap is announced. (You could also search hashtags for mini swaps too.) Each swap is different and has different rules, so just make sure you read the rules before you sign up to make sure it is going to be a good fit for you. :) 

A few months back, there was a signup for the Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap (#cottonandsteelminiquiltswap), hosted by Modern Stitchin Mama. I love Cotton + Steel, so I knew it would be a fun swap. I have been wanting to create a mini sampler quilt, so it was the perfect time. It was definitely a labor of love and took a while to make, but I loved making each block. 

A lot of people have asked on IG if there is a pattern to make this quilt and the answer is yes... and no.  I used a pattern for several of the blocks, but I also improved and made some without patterns too.

So I thought I would link y'all to the blocks that DO have patterns for them. 
(Most of them are foundation paper piecing patterns.) 


 January Quilt block by Lady Harvatine (I printed mine at 50% so it's 6" square)


For my rainbow, I used 2 striped pattern pieces from the Pickle Dish pattern from Kaffe Fassett's Quilt Romance book and then pieced them together like a rainbow and then appliqu├ęd the rainbow to the quilt block.

For the crazy patch quilt label, I used this pattern

When the quilt was all finished, I wasn't sure that I would be able to part with it! ha ha But alas, the mailing date came and it was time for my mini to go to a new home. 

Even though it was so hard to part with my mini quilt, I was sent the most gorgeous mini in return from Crystal @keystonecharmquilts. I am so head over heels for this mini! It's absolutely perfect in every way! I love the way that she switched the fabric placement and did a different take on a traditional kaleidoscope quilt block! I can't wait to hang it on my wall!

Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Sewing! 
xoxo, Ashley

P.S. Happy 4th of July to my friends that live in the USA! I hope that y'all have a wonderful weekend celebrating our great country!

And because I love helping a fellow fabric addict like myself- 
Lady Belle Fabrics is having a great sale! Head over to shop their deep discounts and sale section! Use code july4 to receive free shipping on orders over $50. Sale and code ends Monday July 6, 2015 end of day.

Friday, June 26, 2015

La Passacaglia: Part 2


If you have been following me on Instagram, you've probably seen the long term project that I've been working on lately. It's a crazy EPP quilt called the La Passacaglia

The pattern can be found in the Millefiori Quilts book (#1) by Willyne Hammerstein. I picked up a copy of the book as well as the paper pieces and acrylic templates at PaperPieces.com. 
It's definitely a bit of an investment to do this project, but it's also SUPER fun and addictive. I love coming up with new color combos, fabric combos, and fussy cutting just about every single piece. 
I am just making each cog as I go along and not really giving much thought to the placement or end result, but I am having fun and love each cog that I create so I am crossing my fingers that in the end it will all work out and be a one of a kind quilt that I can treasure forever. 

 It has been so much fun to start seeing the progress once I have sewn the cogs together! It is starting to actually feel like a quilt instead of just shapes. 


I found a little organizer that is perfect for keeping all of my paper pieces in order. It's called the Divided Case by Sterilite. I found mine at Target, but have heard that they are hard to come by, so if you see one- snatch it up! Here is a link to the only case I can find online. (it's slightly different colors but looks like its the same thing as what I have.)

I plan to do a post soon with progress pictures of the full quilt (what I have done so far) and would be happy to answer any questions that anyone has- so just leave a comment below and I will answer it in my post. If you need an answer sooner, leave your email and I will answer you directly. 

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!
Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Monday, June 22, 2015

Folk Song Fabric Giveaway from FabricCadabra

{THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED}

Can you believe that June is almost over?! I swear that time moves 3 times as fast in the summer months- don't you think? Probably because we're all busy having too much fun during the summer! ;)

I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway to celebrate summer and I couldn't think of a fabric line that screams summer more than Anna Maria Horner's Folk Song line. Those colors... seriously! 

My new sponsor FabricCadabra has so generously offered to send a fat quarter bundle of the color way of your choice to one lucky reader! 

The winner will have the choice of either the Dawn Palette, which is full of warm yellows, and pinks/reds...
or the Dusk Palette, which is full of cooler blues, and greens. 
I have each of these fabrics in my stash and the photos just don't even do them justice! {But I feel that is just a given with anything by Anna Maria Horner! She's my fav!}

I will randomly select one winner on Monday June 29th and notify them by email.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment letting me know which bundle you would choose. (your answer in no way effects the outcome of the giveaway)
 Optional bonus entries:
Just make sure to leave a separate comment for each entry. (if you do all three, leave three comments.)

{THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED}

Congrats to
wow, that is hard to choose! i really like the dawn palette, though! 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Happy Mail Mini Quilt Swap

One of my very favorite things to make and receive are mini quilts. I love them because they are the perfect way to try out a block or two of a quilt you've been wanting to make, or the perfect size to design something intricate that you may not want or have the time to do in a full size quilt.
I joined a couple mini quilt swaps this year and have had such a fun time with them that I decided to host my own. I wanted it to be small, just a handful of friends. I named it the Happy Mail Mini Quilt Swap, because who doesn’t love a bit of happy mail?!

It has been so much fun! Big swaps are fun too of course, but this one was extra fun because I knew everyone involved. 
Once the partners were divvied up, I found out that the friend I would be creating a mini for was Ayumi of Pink Penguin. Talk about intimidating! She is incredible! She just came out with her very own fabric line! (Lighthearted Fabric) Ayumi is one of the very first "sewing bloggers" that I started following when I started blogging/sewing. She is sooo talented, so to say I was nervous to create something for her, is an understatement! 

As I was planning the mini I wanted to create, I remembered a picture that I came across 2 years ago on Pinterest. At the time, the picture that I had pinned didn't have a link. So with the help of friends on IG, I discovered that it was a picture from the Japanese magazine Couturier. I don't speak Japanese, so I am not sure what is said about the quilt, but I decided to make something that was inspired by this image. 
I started by making 5 inch quilt blocks. (I made roughly 16 but only 12 made the cut.)  After each block was made, I took the block, batting, and 5 inch square of backing fabric and put them right sides together and then stitched around the entire block leaving a 3 inch opening to turn the block right side out. Then I whip stitched the opening closed (I know I should have done a ladder stitch, but for some reason I just can't get the hang of it.) Then I hand quilted each block with 12 wt white aurifil thread. 
Essentially I had 12 coasters when I was all done. 
I arranged them in the order I wanted and then it was time to stitch them together. I took my blocks, starting with 2, and put them right sides together and whip stitched the edge. If you have done EPP, you will probably know what I am talking about. (the trick was just catching the front quilt block fabric- I'll explain later.) Once the two were connected, I opened up the blocks and added the next one on. I created 3 rows of 4. Once the rows were assembled, I put the rows right sides together and did the same thing all along the edges to connect them- again, just catching the front fabric with my needle and taking small, tight whip stitches. Once the rows were all sewn together, I laid the quilt face down on a table and carefully whip stitched the back of the blocks together.  
This probably doesn't make a lot of sense as you are reading it, but the reason I did it this way was because just like in EPP, you don't want your stitches to be visible from the front when you are looking at it. So with piecing the blocks together just like EPP, the stitches aren't visible- the only difference is the back wouldn't be "hidden" with a quilt back, so that is why the whip stitches were necessary on the back, they kinda "closed up" the seams and hid my first whip stitches in between the blocks. 
In the end, this quilt is pretty much all hand pieced, with the exception of using my machine to sew around the edges of the blocks as mentioned before. 
I had so much fun creating the blocks. Most of them were hand appliqued, but all of them were of my own design. If I wanted to create something- like this pink penguin (a nod to Ayumi's blog), I just found a picture online to eyeball and drew out my pieces by hand to create my tiny patchwork. The blocks aren't perfect by any means, but overall I love the effect of the quilt. 

I hope my directions make sense! Be sure to let me know if you have any questions and I will be sure to answer them! 

Hope y'all have a wonderful week! 
Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Friday, May 1, 2015

Seeing Rainbow

{photo by me}

I can not believe it is May already! April and March have been such a whirlwind for me! I had family come into town to visit for a couple weeks- which meant road trips all over the South, sightseeing and showing everyone a good time. Then we found out that we will be moving back to the midwest at the end of the summer, which somehow crazily resulted in a spur of the moment "book a flight the day before the trip" house hunting excursion last weekend- which was a lot of fun but also somewhat stressful and tiring! ;) Plus, regular everyday living has been busy busy busy- but I'm not complaining! Life is good and I am so blessed.

  I've been sewing off and on through it all, but everything is still in a WIP {work in progress} state so I haven't had much to show here on the good ole blog....... Soooooo.... I decided that I better do a "What I've been working on lately" post for those of you that aren't cruising around on Instagram seeing the progress.  

Over the last few weeks I've done a bit of work on my La Passacagliasewed a Quilted Suitcase for quilt market, but the biggest things that I have been working on as of late are a couple mini quilt swaps- one that I am doing with a few close IG friends, and the other is the #cottonandsteelminiquiltswap. Both are pushing me to create something that will be loved and appreciated by the recipients.
{Rainbow is a improvised version of the Pickle Dish mini I made, the January block is scaled down to 50% which makes it roughly 6" square. }

Here is the progress on my Cotton + Steel mini. It is looking like it will be a sampler mini quilt of sorts, but I still have a few more elements to add and then will start to figure out placements of each block and whatnot. The colors are so vibrant and I love each of the blocks! I'm gonna have a hard time sending this mini to it's new home! 

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!
Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley