Nothing Left Behind

Improvisational blocks

UFOs. Does the mere mention of UFOs bring up visions of spacecrafts and beings from another galaxy? A favorite sci-fi movie? The utterance of “UFO” in the quilting community may leave you with a sigh or a head nodding in agreement, “Yes. I have UFOs. You, too?” I’ve yet to meet a quilter without one (too many) UFOs. We group them by stages of progress, ideas on paper or those remnants of half-finished dreams, lurking in a sewing room, waiting for attention.

UFO, the Un-Finished-Object.

There are ways to address this phenomenon. Resume, rework, rehome. Depending on the project, it may mean resuming when time & enthusiasm allow. You can also rework that project into something new or just rehome it. Rehoming may be the best option if you can’t see finishing it, but also don’t want it to go to waste. There’s no shame in passing it along to another maker who may have the perfect vision, time and interest in bringing it to the finish line. One person’s trash is another’s treasure. You know the saying.

For those who know me well, you know I LOVE a good scrappy project. I keep the bits and pieces left behind from finished projects and try to rework them into new things. I have a hard time letting go of fabric or other notions, as I don’t want to be wasteful. I know small scraps aren’t for everyone, but an experienced quilter once told me, “you know, your scraps cost the same per yard as the full yard.” WOW. One sentence has stuck with me for almost a decade. I REWORK whenever I possibly can.

Lotus Blossom Quilt, 2020

Earlier this year, I made this crib quilt and had quite a few scrap pieces leftover. You can read the full story, Lotus Blossom Quilt, in an earlier post. This ombre confetti dot is such a vibrant and fun fabric collection, those scraps went into my “save” pile. How on earth could I let them go?

Improvisational block by Two Terriers Studio, 2020

When I rework fabric scraps into something new, I often start by sewing strips into improvisational blocks. I don’t always have a plan or reason behind the placement, sizes or angles. My approach is to just use what I have and square it up later. If the choices worked together in a quilt or other project, they will likely work together in random order. I don’t overthink it. The goal is to finish.

More improv

In this case, I compiled four, relatively similar sized improvisational blocks and decided to turn them into zipper pouches. In addition to quilting, I enjoy making bags of all shapes and sizes and the zipper pouch is a favorite. These small, quick projects allow me to organize things into cute, handmade accessories! A zipper pouch is good for storing cosmetics, electronics cords, art supplies, face masks and whatever small items you may want to group & carry along. I literally have a shelf with zip pouches lined up, one after the next. They are filled with hand-sewing notions, EPP templates, fabric and glue sticks, one with masks, another with wonder-clips. It helps me to be organized.

Zipper Pouch Progress

Once the scraps were sewn into “new fabric”, I chose coordinating YKK zippers, fusible fleece, lining fabric and went to work. Rework, actually. What’s also cool about using these leftovers is that nothing is left behind and the pieces bring the history of the original project. When I see these finished pouches, I not only like the pouch, but remember the process of creating the original quilt.

The final four…for now
Improv pieced zipper pouches by Two Terriers Studio, 2020

While this addresses “Rework”, I have projects in the resume and rehome categories too. My personal goal for 2020 is to FINISH all my UFOs before January 1, 2021. I’m becoming better about letting things go and rehoming fabric to other maker friends. It makes me happy to see what they create with fabric I purchased. Often, it’s not even close to my initial idea and that is so fun to see, when it happens.

I want to thank my fellow maker, Bobbi Gentilli, @geekybobbin (IG) and for coordinating this Blog Hop for the month of November 2020. She invited and included makers in various mediums to discuss their ideas for “Resume, Rework & Rehome”. Everyone is listed below; maybe you’ll learn a new way to address your own UFOs. May the force be with you.
UFOvember Participants

All story content & photos, property of Two Terriers Studio and not to be duplicated or shared without consent. This is not a sponsored post.

Catch and Release Blog Party

Today is the day! It’s my turn to reveal my creations for the Catch & Release Blog Party hosted by Mister Domestic (@misterdomestic) for Art Gallery Fabrics. This moment is a bit surreal for me. I’m a mostly self-taught sewing enthusiast and quilter, who has admired Matthew Boudreaux and his design work, tutorials and fabric for quite some time. I’ve learned so much from him, I’m a fan; and yet, he chose me to participate in his Catch & Release Blog Party. Me?! Yes, me. Great things happen when you show up and say yes.

In May 2019, Matthew put out a call to micro-influencers on Instagram, those with less than 5,000 followers, to participate in his fabric launch and blog party. As he told the story of his river themed collection, it reminded me of all the memories made with my family during summers at the beach. His story resonated with me and I jumped in. I submitted my proposal, crossed my fingers, and said a prayer that I’d be included. I hoped that my idea would be “enough”. Matthew sent me a reply two days later, “Love this idea and the story behind it. Yes please.” Wait, Mister Domestic messaged me? I may have re-read it several times and then there was shrieking. A happy dance ensued. Then slight panic, “oh my…this is real. I need to make it great”.

Catch & Release in the Two Terriers Studio = bags, bucket hats and babies. I wanted to highlight Matthew’s gorgeous fabric collection in as many ways possible. I needed (i.e. wanted) them all. There’s something so perfect about the feel of Art Gallery Fabrics. I wish you could reach through the screen and touch it. But you can’t, so you may need to get some for yourself.

by Two Terriers Studio, 2019

The first thing I made was the Santorini Tote. If you’re spending a day at the river, you’re likely going to need a tote bag. Maybe that’s just me. The Santorini Tote is a pattern by Natalie (@sewhungryhippie), and it’s one of my favorites. Natalie’s patterns are clear and concise and also easy to modify for size or style, if you choose. This tote is large, fully-lined, has an interior zipper pocket and a zip-top closure. I used the Fat Jelly Braid, a foundation paper piecing tool, purchased from the Fat Quarter Shop (@fatquartershop) to create the herringbone panel. I felt that it carried through with a fish theme and was one way to incorporate all the fabrics across both sides of the tote.

When I think of fishing along a riverbank, do you know what comes to mind? It’s bucket hats. It seems to be required gear for fisherman. Reversible bucket hats? Even better! Oh my word, the combinations are endless with just three pieces in this pattern.

Pattern by Betz White; made by Two Terriers Studio with Catch and Release by Mister Domestic
Reversible Bucket Hat by Two Terriers Studio; pattern by Betz White

I tried to sketch a fish for the t-shirt appliqué and it was sub-par. I tried again and still didn’t love it. Third time was not the charm. “This IS for the blog party, it has to be right”, kept playing in my head. I turned to Sizzix (@sizzix_quilting) and lo and behold, they have a fish die-cut. Done! What better combination than the die-cut fish and those beautiful blue scales?

Sizzix die-cut; fabric by Mister Domestic for Art Gallery Fabrics

My family and friends call me “the baby whisperer” and I love it. With that said, it was only natural to sew for children in this project. Wait until you see them! First up, this handsome boy with the big blue eyes. How stylish is he with his reversible bucket hat and appliquéd t-shirt? I don’t think he could be any cuter. I know, I know…I spent days sewing all these accessories, but the hat, shirt and tote are all background noise right now. It’s OK… let’s just celebrate Baby W!

Next, Miss L. She is so sweet and this denim sundress features a pieced/patchwork bodice. Matthew recommended a few AGF Pure Solids and I incorporated them into this dress along with the prints. I have to add, these photos of her are candid; no coaching or posing. Just adorable.

My sewing has mostly consisted of two-dimensional objects, but I wanted to add something more. I don’t have much experience making toys, but I thought they could easily round-out this project. Remember that comment about my fish sketch being sub-par? Yeah, still true. Thankfully, I remembered seeing a pattern for “Catnip Fish” in a book, That Handmade Touch by Svetlana Sotak (@sotakhandmade). I added a small ribbon tab so that I could string them up for the photo shoot, and later for wall decor.

Pattern by Svetlana Sotak, made by Two Terriers Studio
Patient long enough; it’s a wrap. Tote, hat, fish and appliqué by Two Terriers Studio 2019

It’s been a long while since I took care of toddlers around water and rocky terrain, but I quickly remembered that when THEY are done, it’s done. Special thanks to Liz for the extra set of hands and the zippered bag with toddler bribery treats.

And that’s it. My reveal.

If there were only some way for me to share my appreciation for the experience Matthew has given me. If you know him or have seen his tutorials, you have a glimpse of what the last four months have been for me. Matthew is joy, positivity, inspiration, laughs (my husband steps out of his office to say hi when he hears Matthew laughing on the phone!), mentor, photo coach and now, I’m going to say he’s my friend. Each week, Matthew has brought the team together in a face time chat. He asked us to rise to the occasion, not for him and this launch, but for ourselves. From 400 applicants, he chose 30, and by doing so connected makers from around the world. We are different in age, gender, geography, skills and interests. We are connected because we each took a leap of faith and submitted a proposal. And it was Matthew who said YES to US.

In my one on one mentoring call, I was embarrassingly giddy. In an instant, Matthew had a read on me and my business and sewing goals. His observation floored me. He literally looked me in the eye and verbalized what I’d been feeling for months. What I’d only quietly shared with my immediate family. He spoke about where this business of mine should and could be going. How? I still don’t know, but it was the validation I needed. If you’re not sure about showing up and saying yes, I’d encourage you to do so. I could never have imagined what I’ve gained from having a little faith in myself and taking that risk several months ago. Blog Party teammates, you INSPIRE me! Weeks of witnessing your creativity – I’m still in awe and I look forward to seeing what else you create. For Matthew, thank you so much for including me. For saying yes. It’s been fabulous. I’m grateful.

This is not a sponsored post; if I love something, I say so. All photos and content are property of Two Terriers Studio.