Friday, February 23, 2018

Tidying And Piecing Enjoyment

I have a print out of this sign posted on the door to my sewing room. I have been so, so, sorely tempted to follow its advice. My most recent post on real quilting was as long ago as mid-January. But take heart and persist as I did. Farther along in this post I report some interesting piecing efforts, all the sweeter since I have a freer space to work in. Gretchen Rubin, happiness guru, reports that one of the secrets of adulthood is that "Outer Order Contributes to Inner Calm".

Lately I have been alternating between tidying and producing. Declutter – sort –  pack to giveaway – whip out some burp cloths. Declutter – sort – pack to give away – whip out some burp cloths. Repeat as required. Then do some quilt piecing! My Piddle Twiddle and Resolve post on 2/1/18 was about my efforts to de-clutter my sewing room and donate items to my guild's upcoming fundraiser, our annual silent auction. I am happy to report progress on that front with the following before and after photos.

The butcher block wood on those double countertops is now visible and cleared of  junk. The surfaces are not pristine but they are a definite improvement.

The contents on the left side of my closet no longer tumbles out at my feet and clobbers me in the face when I slide open the door.

I asked my husband to repurpose two white button drawer pulls as hanging  hooks for my tape measures. Who wants to roll those up every time and store them in a drawer? Now they can be draped in a consistent location, not over a chair, not over a railing, not over my shoulder where I cannot find them. I had bought a modernistic white towel holder that never worked right; it held the towel next to the wall, left a damp spot, and the towel did not dry. It was re-purposed as a perfect holder in the corner for corralling my yardsticks. My husband was very happy to add this feature because now he will know for certain where to find my yardsticks to borrow one when he needs it – and he will not have to venture very far into my sewing room to fetch it. And they do not fall over with every slight breeze or inadvertent bump.

And the donations to my quilt guild's silent auction? I have five banker's boxes full thus far. There intentionally are no photos of the contents lest I see something and change my mind about giving it away.

So with tidying behind me for the moment and my warm up burp cloth projects documented in my last two posts on 2/8/18 and 2/12/18, I am moving back to my first love, piecing. My prior post on this quilt top that involves curved piecing was on 1/10/18. This week, here was my design wall as I played with the arrangement of the pieces and added the smallest elements, the quarter circles at two diagonal corners of each block. One block unit is outlined in red in the photo. 

I developed a method for keeping the pieces where I intended relative to each other as I transported them from the design wall to my sewing machine and ironing board. I numbered them and took a backup picture with my cell phone. 

I pressed into service a set of specialty pins I had recently purchased at the Road2CA quilt show, post for 1/25/18. They were perfect for this use. The only feedback I might have for the manufacturer is perhaps to have numbers on both sides of the pin head, not only on one side.

Assuring I had the optimal direction for pressing each seam was a challenge, even with the help of the pattern instructions; it required some pauses for thought along the way. But was worth it. Look at how those points meet and now smooth those curves lie. 

By the end I was feeling pretty confident about my growing curved piecing skills. I was however glad that the corner quarter circle pieces, the smallest elements with the tightest curve were the last to be seamed since they were the most difficult to ease in smoothly. They fit in at the far left of the next photo.

Here is the top assembled and pressed back up on my design wall. The bumps at the lower right are an illusion since the top is not smoothed thoroughly against the flannel for every square inch.

This was a good week. I kept telling myself, "Diane, eyes on the prize". My 2018 goal again? Maximize enjoyment, minimize guilt. I am enjoying working in my tidied my sewing space and have alleviated that guilt that needles at me from looking at a mess. I have alleviated guilt from overbuying by giving some products to a good cause. I am happy I have become comfortable with curved piecing and enjoy doing it. I am enjoying successfully using a new tool I bought and need not feel guilty about it being an impulse purchase. This top may be blue but I am not. 

I am considering naming this quilt Wheels and Webs since I see both shapes in the pattern. I am not fond of spiders though, so I may reconsider. One exception is that spider webs with dew on them are awfully pretty. They do have a graceful shape. See the resemblance within parts of the quilt top?  Maybe other readers will have an opinion; sharing this post now with Let's Bee Social #217


  1. fun! I am sad I'm not there to take advantage of your purge. I can't find a thing since the move, and have to purchase practically everything again. We are renting and are reluctant to unpack everything here to pack again. I like that pattern, is it John Flynn's kit? I'm always attracted to it but I have to wash and wash batiks before using/pressing so it won't work for me. Good job on the sorting!!

    1. Yes, it is a Flynn kit and here is the link, though I bought it at the Houston show in November and not online. It went together like a dream and I really enjoyed it. I suppose you could put the pieces in a mesh laundry bag and pre-wash them. Since they are batiks and laser cut I do not think unraveling or fraying at the edges would be an issue. Possibly worth a try with one of the less expensive kits. The assembly was so calming and restful. Great for pulling me out of a funk and renewing my battery for future purges. I could get started right away,too, and not have to cut out. Also all the registration marks for matching were right there. About finding stuff? I have been in this same house since 1988 so I cannot claim being unable to find something due to it being packed away from a move. I was still having to buy anew because although knew I had something, I hadn't a clue where to find it or, more truthfully, I did not want to go through the effort of digging it out! The purge helped! Thanks so much for commenting. It really boosts my enjoyment of blogging. Good luck settling in from your move. Hope you find a happy medium being successfully searching for stuff and buying new.

  2. You have made incredible progress on your goal to have more enjoyment Diane. Your sewing space looks great all tidied up. Love your curved piecing project!

  3. Wow! Awesome organizational progress!

  4. I am impressed with those 5 banker's boxes! Go you! Looks like you took to heart Gretchen Rubin's advice about "you don't need to be more organized," and your sewing room definitely looks better as a result! That curved piecing quilt also looks stunning, and I am looking forward to seeing how you elect to quilt it. Way to hit 2018 with some big projects done!