Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Good-Bye 2019

The second-last day of the year was our first day of Extreme Fire Danger for the summer. Image from the CFA website:
High temperatures, strong winds and extreme dryness make for a dangerous combination. We went down to Ocean Grove for the day. It is a strange feeling leaving home in the morning, with a bag of essentials, and wondering if your house will be gone by the end of the day. As it was, only one fire occurred anywhere near our home, when a tree was hit by lightning and burst into flames about 5km to the north. The fire was stopped from spreading, fortunately. However, many other parts of the state and the country have burnt and are still burning. The images and video in the news reports are dreadful. And there are months of summer ahead of us.


In happier news, here's part five of the Frolic mystery quilt:
This was kind of funny because two weeks ago the clue involved making blue and neutral half-square triangles. But because I had swapped the colours around, I made berry and neutral ones that week. Then this week the clue was to make berry and neutral units, so here are my blue and neutral ones!

In my last post, on Boxing Day, I was wondering if I would get the wonky stars quilt finished by the end of the year. I finished quilting it on Sunday, so it just needed binding. I was considering what colour binding to use, when I remembered that a few months ago someone from the quilt guild gave me some scrappy binding she had left over. She thought I might be able to use it on one of the quilts I was quilting for the group, but I was giving those quilts to other people to bind, so I didn't use it. This quilt of scraps will be donated too, so using her scrappy binding seemed ideal. There wasn't enough for the whole quilt, but I knew that amongst my scraps there were several pieces of my own binding off-cuts. I joined them to hers, and here's the binding ready to sew on:
That seemed very appropriate for this quilt which is almost entirely out of my scrap basket. And here it is this afternoon, finished:
The sun was so bright the shadows show you the quilting more than the colours. Here it is inside without the shadows:
So with that, every quilt I started this year was also finished this year (except the on-going Frolic mystery, of course). Hooray! It doesn't mean I have no unfinished quilts. I have a list of those, which I'll do a post about in January, as I intend to make that list shorter by this time next year.

After I'd finished the binding, I even sewed labels on these last three quilts (Sew Many Strips, Butterflies and Sunflowers, and the Wonky Stars):
In the past the guild has printed their labels on purchased bubble-jet printable fabric. They are reasonably expensive, and very hard to sew on by hand. I had the idea last year of getting them printed on normal fabric by Spoonflower. I only had an A4-sized pdf file of multiple labels, not the original artwork, but I managed to create the fabric you can see at the top of the photo. I bought it when Spoonflower had a free postage deal, so 99 labels (which is what fitted on 1 yard of fabric) cost $24.36 at the time. This was less than half the cost of the printable fabric labels, and they are much easier to sew on. The print is a little less clear than I had hoped, but that is probably to do with the method I used to create the file.


Stash Report for 2019

At the beginning of this year, I started recording the use of, and additions to, my stash of fabric and thread. I said then that "I want to make sure that by the end of the year there is less than there is at the moment." How did that go?

Quilting Fabric:
Purchased: 8.15m
Given: 8.53m - this is a category I hadn't anticipated, so I had to add it to my spreadsheet.
Used: 19.28m
Result: I have 2.6m less fabric in my stash now than I had at the beginning of the year.

Garment Fabric:
Purchased: 6.75m
Used: 11m
Result: 4.25m less fabric

Purchased: 1 spool
Emptied: 19 spools
I'm happy to have used up all that thread, but it didn't make a noticeable dent in my thread stash.

What I've learnt from this exercise:
It is much easier to acquire fabric than it is to use it up! Cutting pieces for quilts really doesn't use as much fabric as I had imagined, and buying even one metre of fabric adds considerably to the amount of patchwork needing to be done to use that metre. Looking at all my tubs of fabric, I now know that I have more than I can ever use. I have STABLE - Stash Totally Above and Beyond Life Expectancy.

I will continue keeping track in 2020, and do my best to remove fabric from my stash, either by sewing it up or giving it away.


Best wishes for 2020 to all my blog readers. Happy new year!


  1. I wish good health, happiness and satisfaction to the new year 2020. In sewing many new ideas. And a lot of rain for Australia.

    1. Thank you, Marie. We would love to see a lot of rain!

  2. You have had a very busy year with your charity quilts. Wishing you all the best for a safe, healthy, garden and quilting 2020.

  3. A very satisfying end to the year. For me, enjoying what you are doing is more important than using up the stash. You have found a way to do both, congratulations. May that continue in 2020.

  4. That's a great post. Love the finishes.. Those labels are perfect. I'll suggest it to my group.
    Very sad to see the areas damaged by fires. Even worse to hear about the loss of lives. Let's hope for a safer 2020

  5. I am wishing a Happy, Healthy and SAFE New Year for you...I love your stars quilt--it is just beautiful...
    and yes, easier fabric in than out for sure!! Hugs Julierose

  6. I have started frolic but not totally caught up yet, just been putting off the quarter square triangles and now this morning I see a new clue to use them! Sewing not on the agenda today, big NYE party that requires rest, coffee and chats with girlfriend who lost their shed and cottage but not their house in SA fires. I was doing prep for party yesterday and only just hearing the extent of the fires in eastern Victoria. It is already a awful summer of fires and I pray that it does not get worse.

  7. My fabric stash/ books to read/ dvd’s to watch are all bigger than I can invisage ever getting through!
    Very clever idea with the spoon flower printed labels!

  8. Hey there Vireya,
    I am going to TRY and only work from my stash this year but I fear it is a lost cause already! I just need to work out how to use up a lot of Ugly prints and also actually USE those 'Precious' fabrics you just love!!!

  9. I saw the fire reports on our news tonight. How horrible! I hope they can get them under control soon!