Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Dealing With The Scraps

Lynn Dykstra, of Kleine Meisje Quilts, recently posted a finished quilt called Ladder. It's bold and graphic and the colours are wonderful. Mereth pointed out that it would be a great pattern to use up small scraps, and she made some blocks to demonstrate. I resisted for all of a day, and then completely caved, digging scraps out of the far reaches of my stash cupboards.

The blocks are super simple, and take no time at all to sew up; in a flash I had dozens of blocks on the design wall, I'd exhausted most of the real scraps and was even cutting strips from larger pieces of fabric to include.

I made some half blocks, because I didn't have enough to make a whole block and I wanted to use every last bit. I don't know if I'll use them in this quilt, so they may just be the start of another project. 

They may end up in the backing of this quilt though, so I'm not making any decisions about them just yet.

Mine is going to be more subdued than Lynn's, or Mereth's, because I just don't have those bright intensely coloured fabrics. I seem to be leaning towards the mid greens and golds. I'm not using a lot of solids either, again because I don't have them in my scrap stash. I even included a few metallic prints that were lurking in a scrap bag; it was time to either use them or throw them out. 

I'm aiming for 90 blocks, and I have 70 already. Mereth has kitted hers, packing away the cut pieces in a beautiful tin. I wasn't patient enough for that, I wanted to see straight away if the colours and fabrics were going to work. Now that I've made so many I may as well just push through and finish it. Bur I think I'll keep cutting the pieces for an ongoing scrap management effort. It has certainly cleared out the scraps that were hanging on racks all over the sewing room.


Monday, September 26, 2022

5 tops, 3 days

Blue ridge Beauty. 

I have Gretchen to thank for sending me down this particular rabbit hole. Once she started cutting pieces for hers I just had to jump in too. This used up a tremendous amount of blue scraps. I kept all the blue 2" squares very light, as I had heaps of these in the stash and scrap drawers. What I found, time after time, was that these blues have faded badly over the years, with the fold lines showing up as yellowing lines. I just cut around the faded bits, and discarded all that. So it's just as well they have been all used up. Some will probably fade in the quilt, but if it takes another 20 years for that to happen then I'm OK with that. Hopefully this will have spent 20 years on a bed by then.

The Boxy Bow Ties got a cheery green border that serves as a nice frame for the blocks. This was a very successful leader-ender project, in that it took me a long time to finish the blocks. Usually I just end up sewing the leader-enders as a new project, but this stayed happily in the background. Again, it used up a huuuge amount of little tiny scraps, and completely cleared out the neutrals from my 1.5' scrap drawer.  

Nearly Vintage Stars was a spur of the moment decision to use up some very old block parts. I dug around in the scraps to find pieces from the same era, and some treasured pieces found a home here. I would say that I have very few of these left in my stash, and it was nice that most of them found a home here. I'm calling it Nearly Vintage because there are a lot of fabrics here that are between 20 and 23 years old; not quite vintage, but getting close.

The British quilt is finished, in all it's drab glory.

It doesn't photograph well, looking merely murky, but in real life it's just what I was aiming for. Muted and subdued and under-stated. The border fabrics are some of my Preciousss ones, hoarded for just such a quilt. I'm well pleased with this.

I'm including the little cot quilt in this post, even though I've already shown a picture of it. It's just for the record, of my 5 tops finished in 3 days. I hope I never let the borders mount up like that again.

Whew, what an effort. Our shop, where I was working, is across the road from our friend's coffee shop, and her excellent coffee kept me going. I needed to take a break often, wrestling the bigger tops through the machine was quite a workout. I'm so glad we have such a good sewing set up.


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Border Town

I've been easily distracted this year, doing quite a bit of sewing, but not finishing anything. Usually, once I get the blocks done, I fuss with the fabrics for the borders until I force a decision. But I haven't felt like I wanted to struggle with fabric choices and it was easier to just sew a new project, so that's what I've been doing. Until I had 5 centres just waiting on borders, and that was just too much for me to handle. Time to get my act together.

I just couldn't seem to find the right pink for the border of this Maymont cot quilt. I don't have a lot of pink yardage, and what I do have is 1800s  Reproduction. Then I happened upon some scraps from a customer backing, and it was perfect.

So that's one top finished.

I then tackled the Blue Ridge beauty from Bonnie Hunter's book Adventures with Leasders and Enders. I  chose the wide border ages ago but I was stuck on what to use for the inner border. Backing scraps to the rescue again. 

This scroll fabric is a wideback, and it was just right. I don't have a photo of the whole quilt, because it is Ginormous and I need to get it onto the design wall somehow. So that is the second top finished.

The centre part of my British quilt was reproaching me, and all the fabrics I'd pulled for the border were lying in heaps through the sewing room, so I was forced to tackle it next.

I abandoned my earlier thoughts about copying the quilt from the book, and just made it the way I wanted. Again, no photo till I get it up on the design wall, but it is Done. And the third top is finished.

Next up was the nearly vintage Sawtoooth Stars. The borders were cut and chosen straight after I finished the blocks, but I just wasn't in the mood to tackle them,

It's done now, and that is top number four finished.

And finally, I quit agonising over the choices for the Boxy Bow Ties quilt, and just chose something. It may not be what I had in mind at the start, but it looks fine.

And there we have it. Five (5) tops finished in 3 days.  Full photos to come. I deserve a Bordering On Insanity medal. And a lie down with a wet flannel over my eyes. And permission to start another project. Oh wait! I've already done that.


Saturday, September 17, 2022

 All pretence of organisation has gone out the window, and I'm flitting from one thing to another in my sewing room. I'm not too upset over that, because I'm making little bits of progress on quite a few things, and I don't particularly want a big finish. I just want to play, so that is what I'm doing. Normally I have a burst of Spring Energy, but it doesn't really feel like Spring just yet; hence the slow pottering around. It's still cool and wet, and I am really happy about that. I am not looking forward to summer at all.

I was sick of the ironed fabric draped over every surface. I feel like I can't fold yardage back into the drawers, because then I'd have to iron it again next time, so I try to cut as much as I can while it's out. Then there's all the scraps that really have no home, so they have to be on racks cluttering up my room. I needed to tackle it all.

I made a decision on the sashing for the Sawtooth Stars blocks, and got those blocks put together.

How can this happen, when I spend so long arranging blocks so the fabrics and colours are balanced?

I guess something got flipped, or I just wasn't paying attention, but I'm not unpicking anything. That paisley I used for the cornerstones was the only fabric I liked for that position. A while ago I bought a half metre at Jamestown, and was kicking myself when I got home and discovered I already had a FQ. It felt like I'd missed out on the chance to spend that money on a new fabric for the stash. However, I'm so glad I had that half metre, because the FQ wouldn't have been enough. That was serendipity. I also chose the borders, and cut them ready to attach, but I wasn't in the mood for that, so it's been set aside.

Of course I cut too many extra pieces for those blocks, so in a spur of the moment decision, I decided to make a Flying Geese quilt.  That gave me a reason to cut up so, so many scraps, and deal with them once and for all. Firstly, from the dark scraps I cut a 5.25" strip,then cut a large square to cut twice diagonally for the geese. I cut a 4.5" square to add to the box for later; they will be centres of blocks, or I'll make a quilt just out of squares, or something. All I cared was that it took a big bite out of the strip. 

After that I cut 2.5" strips and cut them into bricks, for my next Stacked Bricks quilt, and squares for the scrap 6" blocks on my small design wall.

After that, I cut whatever width strip I could and stowed them in the stash drawers. 

The light scraps were cut into 3" squares,cut diagonally for the sky part of the  Flying Geese. They should be 2 7/8", but I cut them at 3" so  I have a little bit of wiggle room when I trim them to size. There weren't many light scraps, so I think I'm going to have to pull yardage to cut the amount I'll need.

Once all that was done,  the trimmings went in the rubbish. I'm pleased with the amount of fabric I've been able to get through in this manner, and I'm probably going to drag more stuff out of the actual scrap drawers so I can add to the piles of cut pieces.

I'm also cut my less-than-loved scraps into 8.5" squares for Scrappy Mountain Majesty blocks, and whittled a huge pile of them down to almost nothing. It's been a good cutting week.

Of course I had to make a few Flying Geese just to start the project off.  I had to buy a new project box, naturally, but it's all nicely organised and ready for some MAD piecing sometimes soon. I want to make enough for a whole Flying Geese quilt, but also have spares so that I can do borders at a moments notice. And they will be brilliant leader-enders when I work on other quilts.

I now have three quilts just waiting on borders, so I will tackle them soon. Once I clean up the scraps and get myself motivated. Soon.


Sunday, September 04, 2022

 September already!. The year has just flashed by, and I don't have a great deal to show for it. Nearly every project is stalled at the border stage, and I don't have any ideas to move them forward. It all seems too hard, I'm not in the mood to make decisions, so I'll probably just go on making stacks of blocks instead. 

I was aiming to finish a quilt each month this year, and I'm not doing too badly at that. So far I have quilted 9 tops, but I haven't bound all of them. I will have to have a huge binding push soon; I know that once I decide to do it the binding goes quickly, I just have to commit to it.

The weather is lovely here at the moment, beautiful spring days, and I'm hoping it inspires me to get busy finishing things off. It was so cold for a while that I could hardly sit at the sewing machine, which hampered creativity. I spent a lot of time under a quilt, finishing off some crocheted blankets to stay warm.

Of course, with all the projects I was already working on, I felt the need to dig out some old Sawtooth Star blocks and play with them instead. 

Nice fabrics. 

These 8" blocks are seriously old, maybe 10 years old, and I was tired of them hanging around. I found a stack of pieces I'd cut for more of them, so I got busy and sewed them all up. I needed a few more, so I went through the scraps and pulled out bits from that era to make about 6 more. Now I have 30 of them, but I'm puzzling over the sashes. I know what I want, 

this Judie Rothermel print, but I only have a FQ.

I'm busy destroying my sewing room trying to find something else I like, but it's proving difficult. This one might work, but I haven't made a decision yet. I haven't excavated all my stash drawers, so I won't start cutting strips till I do.

Way back last year I made two tops using Bonnie's Boxy Star pattern. I was pretty sure I'd discarded all the bonus triangles from the corners. Imagine my surprise when I opened a container and discovered they were all in there, already sewn into HSTs and just waiting to be pressed and trimmed. Part of me just wanted to dump them, or donate them to Mereth, but I didn't. I sat down and pressed and trimmed and sewed them into little blocks that measure 3.75" finished.

I'm thinking they will be set on point, and have pink alternate blocks, but I haven't got any further with the planning than that. 

I seem to remember mis-cutting some pink setting triangles last year, so maybe they will be perfect for this. I have many more to work through, but I've had enough of them for now. They are fiddly little blocks and I'm moving onto something with bigger pieces.


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