I spent most of the weekend working on quilt-related things. I am ALMOST done with the blocks for the "Backyard Baby" fabrics quilt. (And I really need to make time to "lay out" that one and the quilt-that-will-be-a-future-baby-gift).
I started a new top, though - I sat down and cut all the fabrics for it last night. I had bought one of those little fat-quarter bundles at JoAnns on Friday - it was Japanese-inspired fabrics, one had Kokeshi dolls, one had katakana writing on it, one was a design like is used in sashiko. They were sort of odd colors (the Kokeshi doll one has a seafoam green background) but I was able, by digging in my fabric stash, to find enough fabrics that coordinated that I was able to put together a quilt top. (I'm using a version of the Bento Box pattern. The one I'm doing is smaller - fewer blocks, only 12 fat quarters used - than the pictured version).
One thing I think I need to do is just USE fabric from my stash as I find a use for it. I find too often I buy a fabric and then "save" it for the "just perfect" quilt. I wound up breaking into a small pile of Asian-inspired fabrics I had been "saving" because one of them coordinated well with this bunch. Oh well, in the future I'll probably find other fabrics to work with the remaining ones.
I think part of the issue was that when I first moved down here, there were NO quilt stores nearby...there wasn't one here in town, even in McKinney, the quilt shop that had been there had closed up (this was before Quilt Asylum). In fact, I remember my first fall down here, planning ahead for fall break, thinking I was going to go to McKinney to a quilt shop. I tried calling the one I had a number for, found the number disconnected, asked around a little bit and was told, "Oh, they closed up." After finding that out (I was in my office), I quietly closed the door, put my head down on the desk, and cried. (I was still pretty homesick, it was a drought, I was working very long hours to prep three classes from scratch and that couple of days in October was the first chance I would have had to have fun). I can't remember if that was when someone else told me about the one in Van Alstyne, and I went there (the Van Alstyne shop has since closed) or not. Anyway. When I got somewhere where there was fabric (even if it was the JoAnn's in Sherman), I'd buy a lot - stockpile - because "who knows when I'll have a chance again?"
Now that I have a quilt shop in town (which I do plan to continue supporting, and I hope enough other people do, too - at least at this point they seem to be doing quite well), I find I have lots of fabric ahead. So I do want to start going through and using up (or maybe, if I find stuff I don't think I will use, seeing if I can find someone who does either Project Linus quilts or laprobes for nursing homes, and donate fabric to them). (And at any rate - if nothing else, I will need solid fabric for sashing in several of the quilts I am planning using dug-out-of-the-stash fabric).
I also did some hand quilting. I know I said last time that hand quilting makes poor blogfodder (as it is such a slow process). But I need to get back to doing it more. I'm still pushing away on the bed quilt that's been in the frame for nearly 10 years now. I'm down to the last border, and this border isn't the most fun to quilt (it's sort of an orange-peel design). I'll be glad when it's done.
I also uncovered the quilt that's in the PVC frame. This one is a "vintage" top - I don't know much about it (I bought it for $35 at an antique shop in McKinney). Some of the fabrics are almost certainly feedsacks - they have that slightly coarser texture and the bright colors that feedsacks had. I hadn't worked on this one in FOREVER, and I had kind of draped an unquilted top or two over it. When I cleaned my room most recently, I uncovered it. So I started working on it again, as well. It's just straight lines - I'm just quilting 1/4" from the seamlines on the patches. And somehow, that seems easier and more fun than doing the borders on the long-ongoing quilt. (Or it could be because it's so long since I worked on this one).
One thing I like about handquilting, even though it's generally not that portable, is that you don't need much "stuff" to do it - just your needle and thread, and a thimble, and scissors for the thread, and perhaps some kind of marking tool (I'm using the 1/4" tape to mark off the lines on this quilt. It works well, but it loses its "sticky" fast - you're supposed to be able to reposition it and use it several times, but I find I'm really only getting two or three good uses out of it).
The one big problem with handquilting is that it's slow.