Making Progress

15 04 2013

It’s only been a little over a week since I was here last, but it feels a lot longer. Probably because I actually did very little in the way of sewing in those intervening eight days. And probably because I spent a god-awful lot of that time cutting scraps down.

I cannot find the right words with which to convey just how utterly sick of scrap management I am at this point.

Cutting Fool

So. Many. Freaking. Scraps.

Unfortunately, my current and next quilt top projects require scraps. Frankenstein needs an constant influx of incy wincy scraps, or that project goes nowhere. And I’m pretty sure that I’m giving Frankenstein away as a baby quilt, which means there’s a built in deadline. And Swirling Sea of Stars demands as many strings as I can produce. Expect to see some progress on that particular project soon – Stitched in Color is hosting String Fever, another scrap attack quilt along. No, I don’t really need to sign up for another quilt along, but it’ll give me the ‘oomph’ to get moving where I might otherwise not do so. Check out my sidebar for the linky.

All Together Now

Stitch ‘N’ Bitch was this past Saturday. I made seven more blocks for Frankenstein. I, once again, had enough incy wincy scraps to move forward with this project. That made eight loose blocks, as I’d had one hanging about. This brings me to 31 of the 40 scrappy blocks I need for this top. I can already foresee needing to dive into the scrap basket and managing the last of my scraps. No, really, I can almost see the bottom of my last scrap basket.

It’s kind of liberating, yet terrifying. Liberating, because I will no longer look at my fabric storage and see bins of crumbled scraps to which I only add. Terrifying because I will have thousands of pre-cut squares just ready and waiting for projects.

Obviously, I have ideas.

Even more obviously, I won’t be touching those ideas any time soon.

Quilting Up

I began quilting A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Lime and Cherry Baskets about a month ago. Then I took it off the table because I needed to make swap blocks. The sandwich didn’t make it back to the table until yesterday. I’m now nearly done with the outline stitching in each of the individual blocks. I have some straight line quilting to do, and then I will be using this top to practice my FMQ in the huge swaths of white background. I hate to delegate this top to a practice piece, but I look at it, and see how much progress I’ve made in the last few years, in accuracy and skill, and A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Lime and Cherry Baskets just doesn’t live up to my expectations of myself at this point in time.

But that’s all right. I’ll use this top to be a learning experience for myself, and find a good home for it in the near future. FMQ still remains high on my list of skills to master, and I have to have something to practice on ūüėČ


Charmed, I’m Sure

25 03 2013

Almost a year ago, I stumbled across the pins and bobbins Made in Cherry Quilt-Along, and decided that the project was a great way to use the charms I was receiving from a swap. It was also a great way to stay motivated in managing my scraps.

Made in Cherry

Being who I am, I of course had to draw the design up in EQ7.

The original pattern by Sarah Fielke didn’t include any borders, but I liked the look with borders.

If you look closely at the illustration to the left, you can actually tell that I did my quilt-y math wrong. The black, inner border isn’t wide enough. It needs to be twice as wide.

But no matter. I realized my mistake well before I actually added the border. I actually finished the center of the top months ago, in June 0f 2012. I also recognized some issues that had taken place in the cutting, causing some major waving in the big triangles.

I then folded it away, to await my participation in a second charm swap, to get enough for the border. Unfortunately, real life conspired against me, and I wasn’t able to join in.

So, the top sat, unfinished. For quite a while.

Until I decided that I had gotten through enough of my scraps to do the border. Ha! I ended up needing to cut 51 charms my stash, which I accomplished yesterday. This was after spending a day picking apart the major seams of the top, to fix the wavering issues.

Very late last night (or very early this morning, depending on your definition), at around 1:30 AM, I finished adding the second border. It was entirely too big to photograph in my apartment, so I took it to work, thinking I could have a couple of students hold it over a railing. That didn’t happen, since I spent work working on a report and catching up on tasks. Plus, I have a sinus cold going on, and staying away from Kleenex for too long was not an option.

So, once I got home, I took advantage of my balcony once again, and caught a photo.

I present to you, Charmed, I’m Sure:

Charmed, I'm Sure

Overall, I’m pretty happy. I was very worried, as I pieced the final border, that I would have too much pink, yellow and green in it. I have very little blue in my stash, and by the time I got toward the end, my charms were definitely leaning toward the warmer side of things.

Cool beans for me – the inner border used up the remainder of a fabric in my stash. The backing and the binding will also come from my stash. Happiness.

Frankenstein’d Plan

17 03 2013

About a month ago, I wrote about trying to get my scraps under control and to start using them. Since then, I’ve made some progress – four string blocks, though I hadn’t really touched the Frankenstein’d fabric:

Scrap Attack, Step 4

After getting caught up on Granny Blocks, I decided that I wanted to keep sewing this evening, though I really didn’t want to follow any instructions. So I returned to the Frankenstein’d fabric.

Well, sort of. Really, my brain went to the remaining squares of grey that I’d cut for Technicolor Fields, for the setting. I cut too many, and had what I thought were a lot left. I figured they’d be great alternate blocks for the Frankenstein’d blocks.

I only had 14 squares of the grey remaining – barely enough to make a baby quilt. I really didn’t want to buy more yardage in the Kona Charcoal right now. I still have quite a few other solids in my stash, also remaining from the setting of Technicolor Fields. I quickly pulled 1/2 a yard of Kona Peacock, and half a yard of Kona Tangerine, and those were cut into 6″ squares as well.

Once those were cut, I realized I probably needed a plan for laying out those blocks, so I fired up EQ7. The crazy pieced blocks in this illustration are just a placeholder:

Scraptastic Top Plan

You’ll notice that there are 15 grey blocks in this plan. I found some scraps of the grey leftover, and poverty-pieced one more grey block together. I plan to bury that one in the middle of the quilt. With this plan, I should end up with a 50″ X 50″ top that will be nice for throwing on the couch.

JohnPaul put a couple of episodes of Once Upon a Time on while he did some laundry for his impending trip to Las Vegas. I sat at my table and started sewing, after I cut that first piece of Frankstein’d fabric into quarters.

Scraptastic Top Start

That’s rows one and two done. I’ll need to piece another 31 Frankenstein blocks to get this to where I want it. That’s a lot of itty-bitty scraps… I guess this means that I’d better hurry up and finish cutting my scraps down.


By the way, JohnPaul called me crazy for getting this much done in a couple of hours.

Frankenstein’d Fabric

13 02 2013

As predicted, it’s been a slow month for sewing. My mother-in-law is back home following her knee replacement, but she’s still not up to several hours of kid-sitting. Nor will she be for a while – she’s also prepping for a move to rent-controlled apartments for seniors. This is very good for her, as she’ll have discretionary income for the first time in ages.

Anyway, this week I’m on vacation, so I’ve stolen some quality time with my rotary cutter and sewing machine. The former far more than the latter right now, but that’s because I’ve been attacking my scraps again.

Scrap Attack, Step 1

On Monday and Tuesday, I sat down and started going through my scraps. This is my second concentrated effort to control my scrap bins. Anything that can be cut into squares of three different sizes is cut down. I start with 5″ squares, then move to 3″ squares and finish up with 2.5″ squares.

Scrap Attack, Step 2

Anything that can’t be cut into squares, as long as it’s at least 1″ X 5″, goes into my strip bin, so that I can piece string blocks later. I was just throwing these into a Ziploc bag, but quickly realized that I had to spend time ironing the strips flat before stitching them down onto their foundations. Thus, a mostly flat storage solution had to be found. Everything in the bin pictured, is just from my Monday and Tuesday.

Scrap Attack, Step 3

When I’ve cut my squares and strips, I’m often left with incy wincy little scraps. These usually measure less than 2″ X 3″. I could throw them away at this point, but my miserly side just yells at me, loudly. So I sat down and started piecing:

Scrap Attack, Step 4

I’ve got one 12.5″ square done, and another half done, with another couple bits started. I need to cut down more scraps before I can really move forward with this, but I’m all right with that. I don’t mind having a more relaxing bit of piecing that can be done whenever I’ve a hankering to just do, with no real plan in sight. I think these will end up being alternated with blocks of solid fabric, to make a very simple utility quilt.

It’s a little OCD, I know, but at least now I won’t feel guilty for wasting perfectly good fabric. And, with a little more perseverance, I’ll have squares of all sizes coming out my ears, so I can just make some really scrappy projects when I feel like it.

The Taming of the Scraps

30 07 2012

Working on Fun with Free Piecing (which should really be called Cheating on the Farmer’s Wife, Part Deux) illustrated to me that I really, really need to get my scraps under control. I have a lot of them. I could probably fill a kitchen garbage sack with them.

And, silly me, I started browsing the internet. Enter the pins and bobbins Made in Cherry Quilt Along. I looked at the requirements for the project, and mentally said, “That’s easy!”

But first, I drew the project up in EQ7, because I do that:

Made in Cherry
The original, Sarah Fielke pattern didn’t have any borders, but I think I much prefer adding the two borders to this. I just really like scrappy borders, and any reason to use them, I swear.

So I started cutting charms. I’ve decided to try and do a similar quilt, but one in which each charm is unique.

Made in Cherry Charms

1. Made in Cherry Charms 1, 2. Made in Cherry Charms 2, 3. Made in Cherry Charms 3

So far, I’m 77 charms into prepping for this. Okay, so not just for this. I’ve spent several hours cutting scraps into four manageable sizes:

Trimmed Scraps

So¬† now I have a lot of pre-cut squares. I suppose it’ll be nice. I’m a little terrified that I actually went and cut 1.5 X 1.5″ squares. I see a postage stamp quilt in my future if this keeps up. Or a couple of Made in Cherry pillow shams.

Darn it! I need to stop planning projects!!