Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stashbuster WIPs and WHIMMs

I've been in the Yahoo Group Stashbuster for about a week. There are several subgroups within the Stashbuster community, each focused on different aspects of reducing your stash, avoiding new fabric purchases and/or completing older projects that have been in the closet for a while. I decided to join the WIPs (Works in Progress) and WHIMMs (Works Hidden In My Mind) challenge. People in this group tend to finish what they start, even if it takes years to complete a project. This is different than having lots of UFOs (UnFinished Objects), where you tend to stop working on a project, for whatever reason, and move on to other things. I admit have a few special quilt tops that are UFOs, but I want them to be professionally quilted and finished. This can be pricey, so I choose to let those tops remain unfinished for now. My main style is to finish what I start.

As with most Stashbuster groups, there is a little competition in the WIPs and WHIMMs challenge. We all contribute strips of fabric to a kitty. As we finish a project, we earn one chance for a quarterly, as well as year-end, drawing for a share of the kitty. The more quilts you finish, the more chances you have at winning a drawing. However, winning the strips isn't my motivation for being in the group. I see it as a place to list my future projects, and to watch as my WHIMMs and WIPs become Done.

My Little Monkey quilt (see the previous post) is pretty much in the WHIMM status. All I have is the monkey fabric and a couple of ideas. I need to settle on a design and choose/buy more fabric. By the time I start cutting fabric, it will become a WIP.

My Little Monkey

My next project will be a quilt for my granddaughter Reghan. Her birthday is in April. One of my nicknames for her is My Little Monkey, since she likes to climb and swing on things like a little...well, you know.

After months of looking online for a cute monkey fabric, I stumbled upon a great pink print at Joann Fabrics. I scooped up several yards of it on the spot. As for quilt design, I'm playing with a couple of monkey-related block/pattern ideas in my head. Just today I got the inspiration to combine them somehow--rather than forcing myself to choose between the two. I need to play with them on EQ6 to see how they can mesh.

Egrets Quilt Done

I finished the Egrets quilt late last night. I love this quilt. It's a snuggle-up-on-the-sofa throw for myself. I'll be taking a lot of naps with this new creation.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Laws of Simplicity

I mentioned the phrase "simple" a couple of times in the previous post (Egrets). Simplicity is a concept I've been thinking about recently, specifically the Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda. I saw a show on the Documentary Channel a few months ago, where he talked about simplicity as it pertains to design.

In a nutshell, "Simplicity is knowing when less is too little and more is too much.
Simplicity = Sanity."

Very recently I acquired an Ipod Nano from a generous friend. The Ipod's design is a great example of simplicity. Basically, it has one circular button which does many functions, giving the Ipod a clean, uncluttered look.

I can't say that I apply simplicity to my life in general, or that I want to do so. The more irons I have in the fire, the happier I am. Rather than having a sign in my living room that says Simplify, a more appropriate one for me would say Complicate. But as simplicity relates to quilting design, I am intrigued. In future quilts I would like to step back and decide if my quilt needs more, needs something taken away, or if it is just right as it is.

I hope to notice other Ipod-types of simplicity in everyday items. I'm sure I just need to pay attention.

For more about The Laws of Simplicity, please see John Maeda's website:

Egrets Quilt in Progress

My current quilt is based on a beautiful Asian-style print, which features what I'm calling egrets. The birds may be cranes, but that makes me think of heavy equipment. I bought the luscious navy fabric at Quilter's Paradise near Fresno a couple of years ago, as the basis of a fall-season quilt for snuggling under while watching TV on the sofa. A couple of autumns later, I finally started working on it. It's been about a week.

The design is simple. There are four 12" wide strips cut the width of fabric, from the egret print. Between the strips are narrow sashings in a small orange print. More of the orange print serves to frame the quilt center. There will be one wide border in a mottled navy.

The quilting is simple, as well, contained in each seam. It's not stitch-in-the-ditch, but quilt-as-you-go, with the quilting in the enclosed seams. It's a technique I borrowed from Kaye Wood's 6 Hour Quilt.

I'm a couple of days away from finishing. I can't wait to see it done. A picture will be up, of course.

Joining Stashbuster Yahoo Group

It's been a long time since I posted. I am way, way, way behind. I've got plenty of quilts for you to see and a few trips to talk about, and maybe eventually I'll get caught up.

I'm joining Stashbuster Yahoo group, where people like me who have big fabric stashes try to use up what we have rather than accumulate more. During the past couple of years I have slowed down in buying fabric outside specific projects. Budget has been a big factor. By joining Stashbuster, I look forward to sharing how I'm using up my stash.

One focus of the group is to try not to buy new fabric for a year. Some of the items that don't count are background, borders, backing, sashing, batting. Basically, I could make a scrappy quilt using my stash, with one consistent (possibly new) fabric for background. Just my style!