Monday, July 13, 2020

Making Blocks from Crumbs

Hi all! It's a tutorial day and all about making blocks from crumbs!

making blocks from crumbs youtube QuiltFabrication

Every time I post my RSC2020 pinwheel blocks made from crumbs, they always receive a lot of love, as they should. Not only are they fascinating to look at because of all the different fabrics in them, but they are such a great way to use up all those small bits and pieces leftover from other quilt projects. My favorite is the pink one from June.

pink pinwheel block made from crumbs

Ever since I launched the Celilo quilt pattern, I've been wanting to make the rainbow lap version. And what better way to do that than with block units created from the scrap bag, especially those crumbs. So I've pulled out the bags that are ROY G BIV, and like RSC2020, hope to sew a color a month. I've got some squares, rectangles, strips, etc, but there's also those oddities that lurk there too.

ROY G BIV color scrap collection

I love this method of creating blocks from my scrap bag, as all those small, odd pieces give such dimension to the block. And I'd thought I'd share my process with a video tutorial of Making Blocks from Crumbs. You can watch as I group and stitch pieces together, offering suggestions and tips along the way. At the end, I show a few quilts made from crumbs, along with some construction hints too.

Enjoy the video, and embrace those crumbs - they have every right to go into a quilt and get the love they deserve!

Happy Quilting!

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Friday, July 10, 2020

Quilting and Covid-19

Today's post is a bit unusual for me, as it's not full of pretty quilts or a helpful tutorial. Instead, I'm pulling out my crystal ball to view the state of quilting, or any business for that matter, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

crystal ball surrounded by hands

So here we are, 4 months after my county became the first to issue stay-at-home orders, shuttering businesses and laying off workers. The immediate impact was astonishing, with long, masked and social distanced lines of people attempting to acquire basics necessities to live. And yes, there were shortages, some of which have recovered, and some that have still not. 

So what's this have to do with quilting? Many quilters turned into mini factories, making masks for those who had none. Some, with new found time on their hands, dusted off the sewing machine and are learning to quilt. From my fellow bloggers, many find this a chance to finish those UFO's, start projects that have been held in waiting, and use up what's in our extensive fabric stashes.

But eventually, we're going to run out of fabric, thread, batting, etc. Really? Is that possible? We've already seen it with elastic for masks becoming a scarce commodity. So, yes, there will come a time when there's not enough of some supply to finish a quilt, and we'll need to go shopping.

Which brings me to: Have you been to you're local quilt shop or fabric store lately? I visited JoAnn's two weeks ago in search of a few greens. And this is what I saw: 

half empty fabric aisle in JoAnn fabrics in June 2020

another half empty fabric aisle in JoAnn fabrics

a lot of empty shelves, and bolts still in plastic wrap. I'm not sure if the plastic was due to lessening contamination, or if there just wasn't enough staff to unwrap them. Visits to other quilt shops, or any store for that matter, reveal their shelves are also becoming bare, with expected orders delayed. It is a disheartening site.

Now, if we think about this, country-wide shutdowns happened in March. Which means manufacturing of new goods was halted, as were deliveries. Stores that were allowed to stay open used or sold what they had in stock. If they received ANY new stock, it was most likely from what was held in a warehouse.

With no or curtailed manufacturing, the warehouses are now becoming depleted. This affects not just the quilting industry, but many others as medical supplies are once again becoming scarce. Manufacturing has not fully ramped up in order to restock the warehouses. 

Which brings me to: Have you tried to order fabric (or anything) online? I have, and have been met with 'out of stock - provide your email and we'll let you know when it's back in', to 'out of stock - expected delivery mid-August'. With shut downs happening again, who knows if and when deliveries will happen. A massive snowball is just starting to form: if there's no manufacturing, there's no deliveries, translating to no sales, and worst case, more out-of-business signs.

The supply chain is not looking good, and I'm concerned about what we're going to see 6 months to year from now, not only in the quilting industry, but other goods too. I truly hope it does not get worse, and that our country can get back to work, and our economy humming again. 

As quilters, we'll make do with what we have, as is the history of quilting. And if we have to return that UFO to the pile, then so be it. It will get finished eventually. As for new projects, who knows?

I'm sorry for the distressing view from my crystal ball. A year from now, I want to look back at this post and say that my prediction was wrong, along with a more positive, uplifting view of the future. But the way things are headed, my prediction just may become reality - consider this a heads up. And if it does, we will find a way to cope, as humans have done for thousands of years, in even more dire circumstances than now. 

We will get through this.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Midweek Makers #235

Welcome back to another week of Midweek Makers! Did anyone do a ton of sewing because of cancelled gatherings, or did you gather anyway, 6 feet apart of course? For me, no gatherings, just more computer work, though I did manage to squeeze in making scrappy dark blue pinwheel blocks for RSC2020.

dark blue pinwheels for rsc2020

Carrying on with the blue theme, I saw these pretties at last week's party. 
From Purring Cottage, this house quilt,

from Kathleen McMusing, the Portland Headlight,

and from That Fabric Feeling, this paper pieced star.

Now it's your turn - what do you have to share from last week?
  • please link directly to your post, not your main page
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Have fun!

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