Sunday, April 28, 2019

Scrap Storage--What To Save

Quilters generate "scraps" or "leftovers", pieces of fabric that remain after making a quilt project. Some people throw them away, especially if small, so they don't have to deal with little bits.

I save everything--well, maybe not EVERYTHING--but a lot. Making FREE quilts from Leaders/Enders is something I love to do--I have written about that several times: Lifetime Quilt, and Time Management are a couple posts with lots of info.

When it's time to start a new project, this can be daunting:

Where to start? What to make? Looking at this, I'm feeling the need to purge the closets again--this is behind two of the SIX closet doors in my studio, and yes they all look like this.

Since I often make scrap quilts, I  need a way to keep those organized so they can be found and used when needed.

A reader has asked me to discuss how I decide WHAT to save and how I STORE my scraps. So here are a few of my methods:

STRINGS: leftover lengths, no less than 3/4" wide, no more than 2" wide. This large tote bag is close to full--when I teach String Quilts, I bring it and dump it on a table for everyone to share. These are fabrics I don't really care about:

HUNKS: pieces too large to be cut into Strings, these are separated into Less than 2", 2-3", 3-4", 4-5", and more than 5".  These are fabrics I like enough to want to use again. When working on scrap quilts, I start in these boxes to find Hunks to use, all colors are in these boxes, so I sort through them quickly to find those that will work:

This is the 3-3 7/8" box:

These boxes are stored on book shelves, always ready and accessible. The best thing about having big feet is I also have BIG shoeboxes:

STRIPS for Log Cabins, a block I like to make. These are favorite fabrics cut into 1.25" or 1.5" strips, one bag of each size light, one bag of each size dark. When I am ready to make Log Cabin blocks, I decide on the size, grab those bags and start making them. The bags are stored in a small dresser drawer:

1.25" dark and light bags

1.5" dark and light bags
 FAT QUARTERS or almost FQ: these are stored by color and style. The 1800s Civil War repros are stored together--these are blue and green:

 The Contemporary Fat quarters are stored in large Rubbermaid boxes, sorted by color families--these live in the closet on the floor. There are several more of these:

When I pull fabrics for a project, I gather them together and store them in tote bags while I am working on that project. This keeps everything together until the project is complete. Here is a current one I am eager to start:

 All the big tote bags I get from International Quilt Festival shows are ideal for storing big projects in process. This is an ongoing Strings quilt, made with 8 point Lemoyne Stars:

These are the two SIZZLE quilts under construction in 2019:

Every once in a while I dig out old UFOs to get started again, here is one where  I just need to finish the center applique' block--then the piecing can begin. Having handwork at the ready is a good thing:

 LEADER/ENDERS: when I decide on my next Lifetime Quilt, I will cut pieces for it and get started. Now, my fall back Leader/Ender is super simple, 1.5" light and dark squares sewn into 4 patches. Right by my machine, at all times, is a small container of light squares and that green box which has dark squares. Twos become fours, then are trimmed to 2.5" squares, which will be 2" finished someday.  They are stored in that larger plastic tub in the back, it once held fresh spinach:

The most important thing is to decide what kinds of quilts you want to make, what is the smallest size you want to deal with, and how much time you want to spend organizing your scraps.

Bonnie Hunter has written in detail about her Scrap User's System. She cuts all her leftovers into specific sizes, ones she knows she will use, and sorts them by color. I quickly determined this was more organization than I want to do. But it clearly works for her so check it out, it might be perfect for you.

Here are a few quilts I have made just from the fabrics stored in the shoeboxes, not from yardage cut up. I always try to use the leftovers first:

Staying at Grammie's, made for a new Grandma friend

Trash to Treasure Pineapple Blocks

I Wish You a Merry Christmas, given away

A Queen Size Four Patch quilt given away, only the border was yardage

A quilt-along project from Humble Quilts, only the golds were Fat Quarters
Scrappy Trips with piano key borders, given away, 2.5" strips cut from the shoeboxes

So, I do use my "scraps"--good thing, since I have a lifetime supply and make more every day. What do you do with your scraps?

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Quirky Little Quilt Complete

So sweet, the Quirky Little Quilt Along project is done, about 17" square:

Detail of quilting--I love orange peel quilting, so used a full one in the solid blocks, and a semi-full one in the pieced blocks--this allows me to avoid the center of the pieced blocks. This was done with ruler/template free-motion quilting:

It replaced another Temecula Quilt Company quilt I really like, The 12 Days of Christmas--the first block has 1 fabric, the second has 2 fabrics, the third, 3, etc. The pattern is still available Here. I have made several of these over the years:

I am working on more 3" blocks for a special project for next year, all made from a Charm pack of 5" squares:

My husband is now mostly retired from his civil engineering career so has time to be our full-time gardener. Spring is my favorite time of year at our house and here is my favorite spot, around the goldfish pond, with Spring flowers/shrubs in bloom:

And, as if life wasn't full enough, we will get to love on these babies next week when they are here for a visit. Stella is almost 4 and Sam is 7 months:

Let's quilt!


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!

Now that my husband is mostly retired from his civil engineer life, we have a full-time gardener--and it shows!

This is my favorite time of year in my yard, everything is so bright, fresh and colorful and the temperatures are pleasant enough to be outside to enjoy it all.

Just to keep this quilty--here is my Quirky Little Quilt from the Quilt Along at Temecula Quilt Company, ready for quilting:

May your day be bright and beautiful! Like these two little bunnies:

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Quirky Little Blocks

I just love these little 3" blocks from Temecula Quilt Company. After working on BIG quilts this is just the break needed, fun and fast to finish.

Not sure if this is the layout yet, but these are the blocks:

The patterns are in the book Quirky Little Quilts  by Sheryl Johnson and the inspiration to make it now is on her blog, Quirky Little Quilts Quilt Along.

Next week should be the layout information--there are several possibilities I am eager to try.

Let's quilt!


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Teach at the Beach

Recently, I enjoyed a return engagement to teach two workshops to the St. Andrew Bay Quilt Guild of Panama City, FL. When I was last there in 2017, things were fine. Now they are six months post-Hurricane Michael and things are not fine:

I snapped this out the car window, bulldozers were working late into the day on massive piles of tree limbs--this hardly conveys what it really looks like. Many business signs are still down so finding the Hanpton Inn Panama City Beach was a matter of looking for the shape of their sign, only the frame remains.

There is still much work to do and the area of Panama City where the guild meets is under reconstruction. My hotel this trip had to be at Panama City Beach, across the Causeway. It rained a lot the first day but the large class of 20 was high and dry making Antique Rose Star blocks by Machine:

The second day many of these women returned and we added a couple more to make 5 Easy Pieces:

Lots of geese were made--those new to paper piecing learned some good tips and really enjoyed the accuracy they achieved.

At the end of the day, it is so nice to have students say "I hope you'll come back". Hopefully, their lives will be a bit more back to normal--many stores in Panama City are still closed, some never to reopen.

I did make a stop at Quilting by the Bay--they have reopened in their smaller building next door--much work is still needed on the main building. Life is very different for so many of the people there. Even the guild has lost members who have moved away and don't expect to come back.

After teaching, my husband and I headed west to Ocean Springs, MS, where he has family. When I saw the sign for the new Buc-ee's on I-10 I said "you just haven't lived until you've been to Buc-ee's" so we stopped at this very large "convenience" store:

This is the FIRST  Buc--ee's located outside of Texas, and features 124 gas pumps, 50,000 square feet of retail space and the best bathrooms you've ever seen on the road. Located close to the Baldwin Beach Expressway, this is sure to be a new traditional stop for thousands heading to the Alabama beaches each year. Many were loading up on food--hot and cold, meat by the pound, snacks like crazy and plenty of adult beverages. For a minute, I thought I was back in Texas!

It felt like a reunion with the quilters of St. Andrew Bay--several showed me their finished Two-for-One quilts from my last visit. Thank you, ladies, for making me feel so welcome.

And we certainly ate great meals--dinner each of the three nights was seafood. My husband had a meal he declared one of his all-time top 10--at the The Grand Marlin, Panama City Beach. 

Let's Quilt!