Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Stash Status Quo

It was time to raid my well-stocked flannel drawer. The pastor and wife of my daughter's church are expecting a baby around mid February and I have a lot of novelty prints just itching to be stitched up into burp cloths. I needed some dot or stripe or plaid blender fabric to go with them - or so I thought. At my quasi-local quilt shop I bought 2 yards of blender flannels – 1 yard of stripes (by Blank Quilting) and 1 yard of yellow dots (by Cozy Cotton). But I also also caved and bought ½ yard of the itty-bitty airplanes (by Alpine Fabrics) because they were so irresistibly cute. I looked for a red/white pinstripe to go with the planes but did not find any. Then I spotted those cute turtles (by Timeless Treasures). Just ½ yard of them with ½ yard of that blender stripe would make a complementary pair of burp cloths. Those tiny turtles and minuscule planes blew away my plan to buy only blender flannels to go with my stash novelties!


I got home and checked my flannel drawer to see what would go with the stripe and dot blenders I'd just bought. Nothing. Flannel choices were sparse - a good thing? Maybe yes, maybe no. There was no red/white pin stripe to go with those planes. Had I used it up at Christmas... ? Perhaps the yellow and red stripe at the far right might go with the planes...? Nope. The scale of the stripes was too broad for the plane size. The only options in that drawer to pair up with each other were that owl print with a kelly green polka dot at the left and they would make only one isolated burp cloth. I prefer to make burp cloths in complimentary pairs. The hodgepodge of flannels remaining did not go with each other and, contrary to my memory, was mostly blah blenders and not nifty novelties. Checking previous year end summaries for my blog posts revealed that I'd broken into triple digits on my burp cloth production – 126 combined for 2012 through 2015, 42 last year alone. Considering each burp cloth takes two fat quarters, that is 50+ yards of flannel I'd used. No wonder my flannel stash was not as resplendent as I remembered it to be.


I zotted out to my more local quilt store to get some novelty flannels to go with the dot and stripe blenders I'd just bought. Yes, I realize the irony. I bought a duck print (by Michael Miller) and a fox face print (by Robert Kaufman). Once I was home again I noticed the primary blue propellers on the little planes. I'd originally rejected pairing the stripe I'd just bought with the planes because of the aqua sky, but decided those propellers could be my link with the multicolored skinny stripe. I would topstitch with red thread and get my red fix that way. I also noticed the duck color was close to the yellow dot I'd just bought. The tiny yellow detail in the ferns with the foxes would allow me to put the yellow dots with that flannel, too. Here are my four complementary pairs of burp cloths from left to right; stripes with turtles, ducks with dots, foxes with dots, stripes with airplanes. Dot pairs would be top-stitched in yellow and stripe pairs would be topstitched in red.


I lined up the pairings on my cutting table, one fabric of each burp-cloth-to-be folded double for extra absorbency and aligned in position, ready to be sewn assembly-line fashion. Each burp cloth takes two pieces of flannel 17½" x 21" each, so they are fat quarter and half yard friendly. I posted instructions for these in my post for June 18, 2014.


 Yellow pairs with yellow thread were first. I chain stitched the long sides of four burp cloths.


These burp cloths take more thread than you think. They have two long seams, two short seams, four rows of long seam top-stitching, and two rows of short seam top-stitching. I do not remember what I did last with that yellow thread but I had four bobbins to use up. Using the least filled one first, I managed to empty three partial bobbins to make four burp cloths. The burp cloth seams are a great way to use up partial bobbins. The thread color does not show, and if you run out midway, it is no big deal. It is a straight seam and there is no truly awkward place to stop. Make sure to have enough of one color for the top-stitching, though.


I like the way the yellow dot and fox face pair turned out. The white dots seem to echo the white facial features on the foxes, something I had not anticipated with my initial fabric pairings.


Yellow dots with the ducks make me think of the goose that laid the golden egg, albeit those are pretty big eggs for the size of the bird.


Here are the turtles with the stripes. They are pretty good color matches considering the two flannels are from entirely different manufacturers and I like the playfulness of dots and stripes both.


I like the stripes with the planes after all.


The dashed stripes are like the white loop-de-loop, spiral, wavy, and straight dashed lines of the smoke trails of the planes. It is funny, but I think I like explaining why I combine the fabrics I do as much as I enjoy picking them out. Justifying the reason behind my choice makes me surer of it.


By the way, the expectant parents elected not to learn the baby's gender before birth. All these options will work for a boy or a girl. Baby gift giving used to be like this in "the old days", also known as "when my kids were born". I will pre-wash these burp-cloths and send them off tomorrow or the next day. I opted not to wait to see if I should make pink or blue. Boy or girl, spit-up starts on the day the baby is born!

So have I made any progress on reducing my stash? No, but everything new that I bought I used up right away so my stash status quo is preserved. This baby's mid-month due date turns out to be a good gift window for me. Burp cloths are my go-to project between bigger endeavors and I just finished barstool covers for my son and daughter-in-law. Now I need to stop procrastinating on those master bedroom curtains I keep promising my husband are "next". My most recent post promising to start the curtains was September 2, 2015. Yikes! Burp cloths were my warm-up.

I am linking up to Let's Bee Social #111 to explore what others are up to this week.

12 comments:

  1. What a sweet gift for a new baby. The fabrics you've chosen are adorable.

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    1. Thank you! Those fabrics were hard to pass up... so I didn't. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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  2. I understand the struggle to be good when visiting the quilt shop. Good intentions always means coming home with way more than you intended. It looks like you solved your match up dilemmas quite nicely. I just adore that sweet yellow dots and the ducks. When our first son was born, we didn't know his genger either... it was the first things that 25 doctors asked when we walked into the delivery room! I find that it is really hard to find truly gender neutral things for babies. I remember that I had a sweet little bright yellow duck sleeper that was just cute as a button... it looked so sweet! (well at least for the week that he could wear it!) Very sweet presents... and very handy!

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    1. Yes, gender neutral can be a challenge. I had difficulty finding variegated yarn without pink or blue in it to knit a replica blanket for my son a couple Christmasses ago. You can read about it at
      http://dianeloves2quilt.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-blankie-for-christmas.html
      I wonder, does Germany have the same tendencies as the USA in the gender neutral issue? Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  3. these are charming. Lucky parents to have such cute cloths. And no new fabric to store! LeeAnna

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    1. These were a win-win for me. I had the fun of making them and no accrued guilt from stash accumulation. A win for the parents too – if you can count spit-up as a win. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  4. Your brain works very much like mine does! Super cute burp cloths ~ I'l have to have a look at your tutorial, thanks for sharing it! My (quasi-local) quilt shop is having a 30% off sale tomorrow and last time I was in there, she had lots of cute flannels....

    Happy sewing ~ Tracy

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    1. Happy flannel (and other) shopping. Thanks for the visit and comment.

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  5. I think every sewer/crafter has a tendency to splurge when they get in the fabric shop and see all the possibilities. I love your intricate reasoning for your pairings. I probably wouldn't have noticed the similarities in the dotted lines, or the goose/egg connection. I have a great-nephew due in March, so maybe I should try some of these. Thinks for sharing your ideas.

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    1. Do try them. They are fun and whip up so fast. Like your knitted dishcloths, instant gratification! Thanks for the comment and visit.

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  6. Love those burp cloths! I have it on good authority that these are getting lots of use now, and I've seen them in action myself!

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    1. Ummm... Is seeing them in action a good thing?

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