Monday, June 13, 2011

Work in Progress

As promised, I wanted to talk about making scrap quilts.  For those of us loving and obsessed with fabric, there's nothing better than making a scrap quilt, or two, or three......  While I love scrap quilts for the variety of fabric, what I don't always like is how labor intensive they can be.  Multi-tasking helps a whole lot!

Presently, I am working on five scrap quilts....some long term, some short term.  Planning ahead means that I can sort thru fabric for all five projects at once.  Here's what I do.....

If I buy new fabric, before I store it, I take a piece from it to cut into small scraps for the five projects I'm working on.  Subsequently, if I'm pulling fabrics for a new scrap project, I'm always thinking about whether those fabrics will work in the five other ongoing scrappy projects, and if yes, then I'm setting aside a piece to cut for them as well. 

I'm working on the basket quilt from Blackbird Designs' When the Cold Winds Blow book.  This is my very first attempt (emphasis on attempt!) at needle-turn applique.  Hopefully, by the time I make all 297 basket blocks (I've made 76 to date), I'll know what I'm doing.  This is definitely a long-term project.  I have no idea when I will complete it, but I do work on it a little each month and am thoroughly enjoying the journey!

Oh how I love little blocks, and I've always loved the Thimble quilt.  When my friend, Tara Lynn Darr's (Sew Unique Creations) new book came out, Simply Charming, I knew I had to make her little Thimble quilt.  I've been cutting thimbles for awhile now.  I haven't progressed any further sewing them together, but I do have a very healthy stack of them ready to go when I have time to sew.

I've been making Yo-yos for awhile now and can't seem to stop.  I've used my stash of Yo-yos in several Prairie Women's Sewing Circle projects and have worked to re-build my supply....never tiring of them.  They're easy, mindless sewing that are fun to take-along.  I also love how different the fabric can look once they're made into cute little Yo-yos.

Another long term project is paper piecing 4 inch Courthouse Steps blocks.  I have 2 major projects that will use these blocks and they require tons of assorted 1 1/4 inch strips.  Cleaning and organizing the 'ol scrap bins gave a huge boost to my tiny strip needs. 

Lastly, my newest obsession is English Paper Piecing hexagons.  This is my short-term project.  Once I've made all of the Hex's I need for my project, I have a feeling that, like the Yo-yos, I'll probably never stop making them.  They are quite addicting and English Paper Piecing is enjoying a huge surge is popularity of late.

Although all of these projects are -works in progress- there are already countless hours of work in these scraps.  They are just too cute to hide in a bin, so I display and enjoy them while I keep working.

I think the hexagons and the Yo-yos look great in bowls.  Great eye-candy!

I have a second small design wall behind the door of my sewing room.  There, along the edge from the top to the floor, I have pinned all of my basket blocks according to color.  Everyday I can enjoy them.  I don't have to wait to enjoy them until the quilt is finished...whatever year that may be! 

To answer my own question.....what is the smallest size scrap worth saving?  Normally, I save anything 2 inches and larger, but because of the Courthouse Steps blocks, I'm now saving smaller pieces.  I'd love for you to comment and share your tips about organizing your scraps and how you prepare to make those lovely, labor intensive scrap quilts! 

Thanks for visiting with me today!  Feed your soul with the stitches you sew!


  1. I am impressed how organized you are. I have a lot of scraps, big boxes, but I never find a way to use the scraps. I have tryed cutting them in severeal sizes and that work for a time, but as I dont have a prosject to use them in, they just have a life in a new box. I shall try it your way.Thank you for sharing.

  2. Pam, I love what you are doing. I too am working 5 or 6 projects at one time, however, I am not so organized as you. Thanks for the tips on scraps and organizing. Hugs

  3. Hi Pam, I am new to the blogging world...just started last fall. I save almost any of my vintage scraps, I just love them so much, I can't seem to throw them away! I have taken to keeping an antique jar beside my cutting station to put them in and may try to sell some of the jars full at the AQS show this fall in Des Moines. (Will you be there?) I also cut the small ends when I'm cutting strips. Any bits smaller than 1.5 inches I cut into 1/4 inch strips to tie kits together or tie the price tag onto things for sale.
    I've got you on my fav's list! Hope you can take a look at my blog or website. I will be working on updating both of them soon, so check back often!
    Brenda...the Farmer's Dotter

  4. Wow, and I thought I had a lot of irons in the fire! Love all these projects.

  5. NEAT ... I normally have several projects going at once...LOVE it WHEN THEY COME TOGETHER, but the FUN is playing with the FABRICS! Isn't it??
    I had once upon a time started doing the hexagons, then gave to my sister as she wanted to try them..I had let them sit by wayside....had used as handwork when we traveled. HUMMM...Might have to get to them again, LOVE THEM..just not thrilled with Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilts-the one's from past era...but you gave me some NEAT IDEAS...thanks!!

  6. Pam, I love all your on going projects. I too am hooked on English paper piecing. I also have several on going projects and I have all my scraps in tubs or bins. I like the way you save a small piece for all your projects. Thanks for that tip. I love making scrappy little quilts and I will now display my yo yos and hexies and enjoy them too. Thanks!! Karen Schultz

  7. Pam - beautiful eye candy! I will get all of my little hexagons out and place them around where I can see them and be continually inspired. Thanks!

  8. I love all your ideas for displaying you work's in progress in cute bowls, etc! I'm going to use your ideas for sure! The basket blocks peeking out from behind the door are wonderful, too. Like you's a great way to enjoy them while working on the quilt. I happen to LOVE basket blocks, and these are especially cute! Would love to see more of your sewing room (hint...hint!). It looks like a great space!

  9. You are so organized! My scraps are all over the place. A friend of mine has been cutting some of her scraps into 1 inch strips to use for log cabin blocks so that is what I am thinking about doing. I love your Courthouse Steps block .... maybe that is what I will do instead of making the log cabin blocks. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Yes, I never cut for only project at a time either, usually 3
    I LOVE that courthouse step block, oh my I need that pattern!!!
    I haven't jumped on the hexagon wagon yet but I am tempted to now seeing your pile there :)
    did you make the patterns yourself, love the circle in the center to help pop it out! what size are those?
    I will have to send you pictures of how I store my scraps :)

  11. Thanks for your tips re: storing scraps and cutting more than one project at a time. I make a lot of scrap quilts and last week (before your post) I cut for 2 quilts at the same time. It was like a light bulb went on!!

    My scrap organization leaves something to be desired. I place my scraps in zip lock bags according to color or theme e.g. Chritmas, 30s, reproductions. Most are not cut into sizes because I never know what I will need. I know I should but I never want to spend the time to become more organized.

    I just started making hexagons when Temecula Quilt Company had a Gathering commemorating the beginning of the Ciil War and taught us how to make hexies. I am hooked. What fun. Have all sorts of plans.

    Keep blogging, Charlotte

  12. Oh goodness! I am glad to see that I am not alone in my mult tasking! And now that I see your baskets... I might just have to add that to the group of projects. I have always loved that quilt and that book. Your projects all look fantastic!