To me the new year means a fresh calendar with clean pages, a clear desk, and no more UFO’s. A girl gets to dream about the no more UFO’s part. But really, I like to clear off the flat surfaces of the sewing studio and start the new year with a new project that continues to deplete my fabric stash.
I like seeing how quilters store their stash so I thought I would share with you how I store my stash. I am one of those quilters that likes to hang on to pieces that are smaller than a fat quarter, although I do have my limits. I know, even my friends make fun of me for doing this, but sometimes I need just a small piece for some of those Lori Holt Vintage blocks.
I also like to do scrap quilts when I am in the mood to just power through a bunch of sewing. Sometimes that constant motion clears my mind or at least allows me to organize my thoughts. Plus, I can usually empty out a basket of scraps and that gives me a sense of accomplishment.
I don’t usually have pieces that are a yard or two, but I do have pieces that are 4 or more yards. Those are rolled on to bolt boards. It helps me gage the amount.
So here are a few photos of my, not so new year prepared sewing studio and how a I store my fabrics.
What could have been a window seat, I created as storage for some bolts and a shelf to hold my scrap baskets. My scrap baskets have various sizes of precut squares. Each basket has a different size ie 2 ½”, 3”, etc. It gives me great satisfaction when I empty out a basket. Below that, are my fabric bolts. The bolts are stored on their side because it was the best use of the space.
My larger pieces of stash are organized by color with a few exceptions. The batiks, seasonal, and novelty fabrics get separate drawers. The top drawers have scraps organized by color that weren’t quite ready to get reduced to scrap squares. Occasionally I might thin out the drawer by pulling out a chunk and cutting them into specific size squares.
And those beautiful precuts from the manufacturer. They get their own set of shelves. I love seeing them on the shelf. They are probably my hardest groupings to break up. What I did not show you were my UFO’s. I have been trying to reduce those project bins since COVID and I must admit I have made a good dent, but they continue to be my never-ending project. Perhaps in 2023 I will be brave enough to share the condition of the closet.
Until then, may you have a very happy New Year and continue to share your quilting adventures with us.
One thing that I miss at my store is getting to visit with everyone and what they would share that they were excited about or what was happening in their world. One thing that I discovered is that quilter's are not only passionate about quilting - but quilter's also share other loves. We would get to talking about favorite recipes, favorite books or what they were currently reading (we are defintely going to come back and talk about favorite books another time). One of the recipes that has become a favorite for me is Simple Scones. My family didn't grow up making scones, although my mom is an amazing baker and cook. It's just not something we ever had. My store was two doors down from a coffee shop. I LOVE coffee. But what I also love is meeting a friend at the coffee shop to catch up over a cup (or two). It's just a great way to take a break from all the crazy daily demands on our schedule. I tried a few recipes until I found this one. It's a keeper and it couldn't be easier to make. I wanted to share this recipe with you so that you could enjoy it and share some scones with your family and friends.
Phyllis and I just want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a very Healthy and Happy New Year!
Like many quilters, I like to give a significant gift to my loved ones at milestone points in their life. For my youngest niece, I wanted to make her a quilt for her high school graduation; which I did, however, she got it at Christmas time. Imagine that. A late gift from a quilter. When Deb Tucker introduced the Wish Upon pattern, I loved the stars and how they interlocked.
I wanted to do that quilt for Becca, but I had this added challenge—what to do with her favorite pair of childhood jeans. None the less, Becca was picked out the fabrics, so she knew she was going to get something. What she did not know was that her favorite jeans would once again appear. She wore her favorite jeans when she was about 6 or 7 years old. They had some small, embroidered flowers on the legs. For whatever reason, she referred to these as her firecracker jeans. She wore them until they became capris. When she and her mom were cleaning out drawers and rotating clothes, Becca had to come to the reality that she no longer fit in her favorite jeans. She wanted to save them for a future niece of her own, but she was only getting nephews for several years. Her mom finally broke the news to her that her jeans needed to go to another little girl. Becca parted with her jeans. Her mom scooped them up and promptly passed them on to me to “do something” with them. I hid them in my sewing room for over 10 years.
Over the years I had hosted several quilt retreats and classes. It always amazed me how quilters came up with some of the best ideas for storing all the notions and other goodies that we take with us. I have tried so many different ways to keep all my sewing tools organized and finally have found what works for me. I really needed to be organized when I had my quilt shop. I would pack everything up so I could sew at home and then pack it all so that I could sew at the shop if I had time. So organization was the key! Here are just a few items that I have with me at all times no matter if I am sewing in my studio or on the road. Micron pens are my favorite marking tool. The point is fine enough that once you stitch on the line it will be hidden and you don't have to press hard at all for it to be visible. The micron pens just glide across the fabric making the drawn line easy to see. I've tried the mechanical pencils, but I found they tend to skip across the fabric and don't mark as easily as the micron pens and sometimes the line just isn't dark enough for me to see it. I am all about trying to work smarter and not harder. Micron pens come in a variety of colors and thicknesses. I use the brown more than any other color in size 01.
One "must have" I believe is using a container to keep your rotary cutter safe and secure. The Lock-n-Lock containers are perfect for keeping the rotary cutters, seam rippers and other sharp items from causing injury. I also keep my marking pens and other small items in a container so whatever I need is at my fingertips. Things can shift so easily when we are packing things up and on the move. It's just better to be safe than sorry.
This little gem was just what I needed to store all my goodies. The plactic container with my rotary cutter fits perfectly down the center pocket. I fill the other cubbies with my pin cushion, extra needles and rotary blades, band aids (just in case) and pretty much everything I need. The handles makes it easy to just grab and I am ready to go!
Last week I mentioned my Sew Steady extension table. I take it with me wherever I am sewing. Once you get used to all that extra work surface, it's hard to sew without it.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from Tucker University! We hope that you are getting to enjoy some family time, great food (and maybe a little (or alot of) sewing time) this week. How did it get to be November already? I have know idea where this year has gone. It's starting to feel like Winter here, so it's the perfect time to hunker down in the sewing studio. This week I wanted to share a little tip for piecing the Corner Beam units for this quilt project. The Corner Beam is one of my favorite Studio 180 Design tools. So of course, I added it to our newest design (we still haven't named it yet - any suggestions would be appreciated) I swear that's the hardest part of designing quilts.
One of the things that I enjoyed most when I was teaching Tucker University classes at my shop was seeing all the blocks that we could create just by mixing, matching, spinning and twisting units. It was mind blowing!
Some of my students were asking if we were going to learn the Rapid Fire Hunter Star blocks. I explained to them that everything we make in TU finishes at 4" units. The smallest blocks that the Rapid Fire Hunter Star tool will make finishes at 5". But then I got to thinking - the tool will make 8" finished blocks! That got the creative juices flowing - so all we had to do was combine four units to create an 8" finished block. That's were the fun began. Just think of all the possibilities....
Earlier this year, the Studio 180 Design team presented a challenge to the Certified Instructor’s to design a quilt (or six, it was really addicting) using the Bellingham Bay collection, the Rapid Fire Hunter Star tool along with other Studio 180 Design tools. Look at those yummy, rich colors.
Why is it so hard to talk about yourself? If Beth can do it then so will I. I am Phyllis, the educational side of Tucker University. My first career was in the field of education. I taught Business Education at a public high school followed by a couple of years of teaching 6th grade before I entered the administrative arena. I was an assistant principal for 19 years and loved just about every day.
In the summer of 2013, I was preparing to return to the classroom in an alternative education program determined to take that program to a higher standard and contemplating my future retirement when I received the announcement from Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design to apply for Certified Instructor (CI) training. I considered it fate and within hours had completed and submitted my application. I was going to continue teaching, but in a different field.
During CI training, I was assigned a roommate by the name of Beth. We spent the next 7 days together as if we knew each other our entire lives. By 2016 Beth was sharing an idea with me to create handouts for shops to teach technique classes using the Studio 180 Design tools. I told her the handouts needed some direction such as a lesson plan to teach the entire class. I offered to write a, as in one, lesson plan.
Between Beth’s ability to create interesting patterns and my ability to provide detailed lesson plans for teaching those patterns a unique product in Tucker University was born. Our mission remains the same--we want to support quilt shop owners and quilt instructors with the materials to teach the Studio 180 Design tools and techniques properly and with minimal preparation time.
My sewing journey started at a young age learning to make garments under the watchful eye of a mother with very high standards. My quilting started with scraps that needed a home. I was self-taught prior to taking a few classes where I learned that things needed to be square and flat. I have come a long way in my piecing skills mainly due to the discovery of the Studio 180 Design tools.
We love watching quilters learn and impress themselves with their new skills. Join us in spreading the good word about how well the Studio 180 Design tools work for everyone.
It's a little intimidating to start your first blog post and to know where to begin. So let.'s just jump right in. But first, we should introduce ourselves. My name is Beth Sidley, and my business partner, Phyllis Fay, are the co-authors of Tucker University.
Several years ago, my husband and I had built a new home. The dining room wall was huge and I decided that it was a perfect spot for a quilt. The problem was that I didn't sew and didn't know anyone who quilted. No worries! We live in Northeast Ohio, just a hop and a skip from Amish country. I was sure that I could find something there. We scheduled a girl's day out for my mom, my daughter and myself and we headed for Holmes County, Ohio. We found lots of beautiful quilts but still nothing that would work in my home. The solution - I would just have to make my own quilt.
Once I signed up for my first class, I was absolutely hooked! I loved all the fabrics, the colors and the endless designs that were available. Who knew that this would all lead to me opening up a quilt shop in the near future. If you had told me someday I would own a quilt shop, I would have told you that your cheese has slipped off your cracker! It's been an amazing journey ever since and I wouldn't have traded it for anything. I have met some of the most amazing people over the years.
In 2013, Phyllis and I met when we both were becoming Certified Instructors for Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Design. We became close friends instantly. The Certified Instructor training was amazing and sparked so many ideas. One that would eventually become Tucker University. I had owned my shop for several years at that point. Phyllis was still teaching school. So much has changed in the eight years since Phyllis and I have met. It's been an amazing journey that we look forward to sharing with you and getting to know you better. We hope that you will join us often and that we will inspire you to create and love quilting as much as we do.
We have lots of goodies in the works that we are exited to be sharing with you so I had better get back to work in my studio. We'd love to see what you are working on, what inspires you and get to know you better. Enjoy & Create!
Beth & Phyllis