Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Scrappy Beads

So I started a new scrappy improv quilt, inspired by a 'bead block' in Irene Roderick's new "Improv Quilting." I have no idea how my strings of beads will fit together, but for now I'm enjoying making them, and that's good enough for me.

The palette is a unique one: brick(ish), teal, gray, and purple. The reason is simple.... it's the palette of the website and communications for the church I've been working at for the last 23 years. In honor of my upcoming retirement(!), I decided I might as well make myself a quilt to commemorate the event. Why not, right?

After making several strands of 4" tall beads, it seemed some variety in sizes would be good, so my latest length - about 36" long - is 5.5" tall. I expect to be at this a while, figuring it out as I go, but it feels good to be working through some scraps!

Friday, March 25, 2022

More Than 50 Days

Back in December, I fully intended to start the year with another 50 Days of Scraps. Things in real life went a little awry since then, but between and through it all, I've managed to continue to sew with scraps when I could; and though we're actually like 84 days into the year - way more than 50 - I'm pretty happy with what I've been able to accomplish.

1. Abstract Piecing Scrap Play - a scrappy slab made during Sherri Lynn Wood's Abstract Piecing Scrap Play workshop. I'm not sure yet if or when this will become something more. But at the time, it was all it needed to be.

2. Two sets of Bee Sewcial blocks....

Circles and Chevrons

3. Inside Out Patchwork Hearts - a baby quilt made during Emily DennisPatchwork Hearts QAL.

4. Lineplay - my submission to the latest Quilt Improv Studio Primary Challenge.

5. The Heart Block potholder - a quick fun make using Louise/@imfeelincrafty's pattern.

6. Yarrow Wristlet - Made from Anna Graham/Noodlehead's pattern.

7. Hour by Hour - a scrappy hourglass quilt that definitely evolved as it went.

8. Workaday - my response to the latest Curated Quilts mini challenge.

9. AND 15 Scrappy Potholders.

Obviously, some stashed yardage went into the making of a few of these projects; but they all were, indeed, made primarily of scraps. So why is my scrap basket still overflowing? That's a very good question, and I'm off now to see what I can do about that.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Scrappy Potholders

A couple of weeks ago, I was debating what scrappy project to start next, when I happened across a handful of scrappy slabs left over from a project in 2013!! Ha! At first, I couldn't even remember what they were from! I very briefly considered putting them right back in the closet they had come from, but I'm glad I didn't.

Rather than start in on a rainbow quilt, which isn't really my thing, I thought to make some potholders, and then I remembered the unique shape I had seen Hannah Haberkern/@verdigrissewing use, and it was settled. 

I finished one and added a hand-stamped leather 'label' that I thought was really fun, though I admit it hasn't been fully field-tested yet. We've used the potholder several times and the metal rivets haven't conducted enough heat to be bothersome; but it has yet to be washed, so we'll see how the leather holds up to washing.

Meanwhile, those scrappy slabs were enough to make 15 potholders total!!! Yeah, that was a lot! But I love the shape, and enjoyed finding backings from stash, and using coordinating thread to randomly quilt each one as I felt inspired.

So what does one do with 15 potholders?! Well I kept the red one with the leather label to field-test completely; but I had my mom choose a pair, and the rest went home with my brother, who's been visiting from out of town, to share with my nieces and nephews. Serendipitously, I had the perfect number!

Monday, March 21, 2022


Over the last two weeks, I've been working on an entry for the latest Curated Quilts mini challenge, not really knowing if I could make the deadline or not, and I'm here to tell you it was close! But a little window of creative time opened up, and I was able to finish and enter it with a day to spare. 

The theme of this challenge was "Utility," and we were asked to use accessible fabrics for our utilitarian mini quilt design - scraps we had on hand, treasured fabrics, or repurposed fabrics. The color palette was dictated by one fabric - Candlelight Woven in Ocean by Ruby Star Society - though we could use what we had on hand. I chose to do that rather than purchase new fabric, but did find some aqua blue Andover Textured Solids in my stash that felt like a really good match. I don't even think Andover makes this fabric anymore, but I remember liking it - obviously enough to stash a good sized piece!

For some reason, I kept imagining industrial elements, so I started out just creating some pieced components, with just a vague notion of how they might fit together. Besides the textured solid, I incorporated some metallic and natural Essex scraps, a blueish shot cotton and print that seemed to coordinate ok, and a black striped shirt I had rescued from the donate bag a while back.

I began to place the segments up on the design wall, just to envision where I might be headed, plus keeping in mind the size, as my finished quilt needed to be between 10" and 16" square. It was then that I realized I had meant to use more of the darker blue shot cotton on the right side of that curve, so I swapped that out and liked the result much better.

Finally I had a finished top AND randomly rotated it around, deciding I liked a different orientation than I'd been working on all along. Go figure!

For quilting, I used Aurifil 50wt #2805 [Light Turquoise] to quilt a grid - one direction followed a curve in the design, and the other direction was relatively vertical.

And by the way, the 'true' color of the piece is reflected best in the detail photo above, rather than the quilt photo below. Lighting.... always a challenge.

So, the finished quilt measures just 13" x 13" square. It was a bit of refreshment in an otherwise stressful and hectic month, so whether it gets accepted or not, the fabric play was definitely worth it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Hour by Hour

It feels like it's been forever, but in actuality, I've only been working on my latest quilt for a month. It's nothing like what I was thinking about when I started piecing scrappy hourglass blocks, but I guess that's ok. I didn't anticipate the block orientationS, the 'sashing,' or the addition of the berry fabric. This one truly evolved.

The funny thing is my inspiration fabric that influenced my initial fabric pull receded into the background in no time. That olive fabric (see arrow below) was a favorite, and I had just a fat-quarter, so as the quilt grew in size and complexity, the olives got overwhelmed, but I like searching for them in the finished piece.

Any trace of those berry fabrics or that gold/green sashing fabric was nowhere to be found when I started in. But my desire to grow the piece strongly influenced the palette and the design.

For the quilt back, I used a few leftover blocks, but primarily some stash fabrics. The prints I found were amazingly good coordinates for the front of the quilt. I was actually kind of surprised that I had prints on hand that reinforced the palette that I ended up with on the front! Serendipity for sure.

As you can see, I quilted a simple diagonal grid. It just seemed like enough for this one, and resulted in a soft, cozy quilt. If I have one regret, it's that I didn't have enough berry anything to bind the quilt, but it is a scrappy quilt after all. It measures 60" square, and I'm ready to see what's next.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

February Fabric Usage

Focused on finishing up one quilt, starting another very scrappy one, plus squeezing in a few small projects (a potholder, wristlet, and bee blocks), I managed to sew right through the month and not even give ordering any fabric a thought.

Above is the hourglass quilt top I managed to get pieced. SO not the direction I was headed when I started out, but I definitely let the scraps speak, though I did also include just a couple of small pieces from stash - the floral 'sashing' and the berry-colored setting triangles. 

So now I'm in the middle of piecing a scrappy backing, and already have the binding pieced from leftovers - that feels good! So here are my numbers for February!

February Fabric Usage
Used up: 11.6 yards
Brought in: 0 yards 
Net: -11.6 yards
Year to date: -14.475 yards