Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cleaning Away

We work so hard in our sewing rooms. The mess is as constant as the quilts coming out of it.

This past week, I spent many hours cleaning and reorganizing my fabrics. It's overwhelming, distracting and rewarding at the same time. Found many old projects. mostly tops that need to be turned into quilts and few UFOs. I did find a long lost block from 1998 I was looking for a while back. I was a new quilter trying to teach myself how to applique. I drafted my own pattern looking at pictures of old quilts and followed the instructions in some book on applique.

 Oak Leaf and  Reel.

You can tell from the wrinkles how neglected this poor block has been.

And the back..

I didn't know I was supposed to tuck those ends of the thread in between the layers.

I am certain I used the freezer paper for this block. Why else would I have cut the back of the applique?

Nothing like the rhythm of the stitching in hand work. Now the question is, what to do with this block? I might just put it on the back of some quilt as a label.

Here is what's happening in the sewing room.. Fabric, machine, vacuum cleaner, scraps, containers... everything everywhere. And, I am not done just yet.

My friend Christine and Kelly went through major cleaning of their studios. I do this heavy cleaning only once a year and every year I have come out on the other side with a fun scrap quilt.

This is one UFO that was easy to finish.  
Half of it was pieced together so I took a break from cleaning and finished the top. It was probably an ugly fabric swap challenge. Why else would I have fabrics like these in my quilt?

I actually had bought some of these fabrics!!! 

There were some pretty scraps given to me.

Like this blue batik.

and this golden-rust print.

I like the way this quilt turned out in spite of all the uglies in there. It's twin size quilt, good for a chair by the window.

The Green Belt 60'' x 84''

There were few kaffe fabrics added to the pile as pick me up and I think they served well doing just that. 

This distraction from cleaning was pretty nice. 

I see a bit of machine quilting in near future. I named this quilt, The Greenbelt. More about it when I finish the quilt.

Back to cleaning!


  1. It is pretty bad when you have to stop and sew even though you have not finished cleaning up! I did the same thing!!! 5 day with no sewing was too long. Love your applique. Maybe we should challenge ourselves to make a quilt with our orphan blocks? I probably have 2 quilts worth.

  2. Of all the quilts I've made, the ones I like best are the scrappy/ugly fabric ones! They just speak to the history and tradition of quilting with leftovers and bits and pieces that someone else would have thrown out. Your quilt is a beauty.

  3. the bits of blue and rust really help that quilt to pop, even with some of those shudderingly ugly fabrics.

  4. Looks like you have such a big room! I just had to move out of my cubbyhole of a room today to make room for more beds and company! I'm going to miss my "space" for a few days! You always make such lovely quilts! Even ugly fabric looks good when you piece it!!!

  5. What fun I have had catching up with you & all your beautiful colorful quilts!

    1. Thanks, Sally.. It's been a while. Back to blogging after a long break. It feels good to reconnect with my friends.

  6. There's nothing like a good studio cleaning to get the juices flowing. You have a beautiful sewing space. That "ugly" fabric quilt looks great, and will be fun to quilt!

  7. Good for you . . . cleaning and a new quilt top, too!

  8. I think my room cleaning and reorganizing will be in January--I almost cannot face the thought--it's like moving and setling in all over again! I do LOVE your scrap quilt that was born out of your efforts. Hugs, Julierose

  9. Wow….you did undertake a major re-do and clean up! you will love the treasures you have found, the inspiration and possibilities that are hiding there.

  10. Its amazing what you find when cleaning the sewing room. It can be really rejuvenating!
    the ugly fabric quilt is great. I thought my old log cabin quilt was ugly, but now I love it on Hanna bed.

  11. Love that applique block... thanks for showing off the back! You did a wonderful job however you did it! Such nice small stitches :) Let's see what you make with it now! Love the scrap quilt you finished too. Your room is a lovely space... thanks for sharing! Kathi

  12. The block you found is wonderful, I hope it ends up in a quilt. I didn't know about tucking knots into layers so I'm happy you mentioned that. Your new quilt top is really fun, it's colourful and as you pointed out there's some really fun fabrics in it. Love the photo of it hung over the chair. Enjoy the rest of your cleaning, my room is due for a mega clean out too!!

  13. Hello I found you through Bluemountain Daisy. I am currently reorganizing our study where my sewing, knitting and spinning lives into a creative space where my 4 and 7 year old can make stuff too. There is nothing as necessary for creative thought as a good clear out! Yours has clearly been successful already!

  14. Wow. That's major cleaning and organizing. Good for you!

  15. Gorgeous, often ugly fabric is enhanced by other lovely fabric and they dance together!

  16. love that applique blcok-just classic!
    -I don't think there are that many uglies in that quilt-in fact I like most of them!

  17. Your appliqué block looks like it had its origins in Chester County. Hmmmmm, looks like a bit if foreshadowing. Yay!


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