Thursday, January 3, 2019

The OHIO Principle

Many, many years ago, while watching a TV news magazine program about organization tips from organizing pros, one of them talked about The OHIO Principal and I've never forgotten it.  It has been very good advice that I've used in every area of my life but never more so as when making scrap quilts.  

What is The OHIO Principle?

It simply means.....Only Handle It Once

It is a way of thinking that makes the best use of your time where applicable.  Here's an example.  You go grocery shopping and buy four boxes of tissue.  We might normally bring them into the house, unpack them from the bag, and set it on the counter.  Then, later we pick them up from the counter and bring them to the linen closet for storage.  The OHIO Principle says to take them from the bag and put them directly in the linen closet.  Not the most astute example, but you get the idea.  

Basically, what it really means is that we waste a lot of time moving things around.   Instead, only handle it once and put it where it belongs right away.  

How does this apply to quilting or making scrap quilts?  Oh....it does in a big way!

We all love scraps quilts and we love using up our scraps.....BUT....scrap quilts are very labor intensive.  Choosing all the different fabrics and cutting from each one for just one quilt is extremely time consuming.  

But.....what if you apply The OHIO Principle and only handle it once??  What happens is nothing short of amazing!

As many of you are about to embark on The Circa 1880 Nine Patch club journey, you will probably be handling a whole lot of new fabric and lots from your stash.  Now is the time to become organized and make the most of handling each piece of your beautiful stash!

From the first cut of my fabrics for The Circa 1880 Nine Patch and every fabric I laid hands on after that, I cut pieces for several scrappy quilt projects.  Each and every time I handled a piece of fabric, I made the cuts necessary for the other quilts.  Hence, I only handled each fabric print once but made the most of it.
I always started with my WOF strip.  
Then I cut the strip in half on the fold.
I then made cuts for seven different scrap quilts.  Before I started cutting anything for the Circa Nine Patch, I made a list of what other quilts I wanted to make and the cuts I needed for them.  I cut squares for Half Square Triangles,  a piece for a Tumbler quilt I'm working on,  a scrap for blocks for a quilt I am hand piecing, two squares for a Four Patch blocks, a strip for Log Cabin blocks, 1.5 and 1 inch squares for Postage Stamp quilts and the strips for the Circa Nine Patch blocks.  

I know many of you have been cutting squares and a variety of different width strips for years before I wrote this post, and I have never done that because I didn't want to spend my time making cuts for quilts I wasn't presently planning to make.  Knowing exactly what quilts I wanted to make made all the difference.  That's just me.  

During the year I worked on the Circa Nine Patch blocks, I made nearly 400 Four Patch blocks sewing them together as leader/enders!  It felt effortless.  I am still making Circa Nine Patch blocks and am using leftover strips as my new leader/enders for a postage stamp quilt I've designed that will be released later this year.  I don't have to cut anything new!  It was all done months ago, and now I just sit and sew!  What a great feeling it is to have all those glorious scraps waiting for me!!  


And while you're at it, it pays to have my 
Fussy Cut Templates handy for the fabrics with great motifs!  

I hope I've given you something to think about as you begin a new year and continue making quilts.  The OHIO Principle has made a huge impact on how productive I am and I'm loving it!!

I invite you to leave a comment about your best tips for making the most of your fabrics for scrap quilts.  I'll chose a few winners who will receive the pattern of their choice!


Very soon, I will begin traveling for lectures and workshops.  

My first visit will be to the North Suburban Quilters Guild in Arlington Heights, IL.  I'll be there February 22nd and 23rd.  You don't have to be a member to attend workshops at the member discounted rate!!  Click here to find all the details of my visit.  I would love to see you there!

23 comments:

  1. I mainly cut strips & then I can cut what I want from them. How I wish I could know in advance like you do which 4-5 quilts I want to make this year. I have 2 toddle quilts & 2 HS graduation quilts as well as what else I can tuck in there - like the Circa 1880. None of these is using the same tenor of fabrics. I enjoy your blog posts. Thanks for all you do for us quilters.

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  2. Keep your scraps neat~ in other words don't dump them in a bin so you will have to press everything before you can use. Keep your squares, strips etc neatly in scrapbooking or shoebox size containers and they will be ready to go when you are. ;)

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  3. I sort all my fabrics by colors and put them in totes I can see through and place them on shelves. I mostly make scrap quilts. Whenever I cut into new fabrics I like to cut some into strips in widths I use often and I have smaller totes that I organize these in by color and size. I keep a tote for narrow scraps for string piecing. I have totes for scrap pieces and also keep totes for bonus triangles and squares. I like to keep all my fabrics wrinkle free, so I am careful to place all my fabrics flat in my containers neatly. You had some great tips in your post Pam thanks!
    Lisa

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  4. I figure that if all of my scraps are from my fabrics and I like all of my fabrics, then all of my scraps should play well together so any quilt made from them should be absolutely gorgeous!! I live on the dark side, so there would never be a hot pink scrap sneak in there.

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  5. I try to keep my scraps neat. I am cutting now for a quilt that I need one inch strips for so every fabric gets cut into that and hung on a vintage wooden hanger over the door. When scraps get really small I cut 1.5 inch squares and put in a basket for a planed postage stamp basket quilt smaller than that it goes into a big bag for Kennel beds for the pets.

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  6. The Ohio Principal sounds like a great idea. For my scraps a quilting buddy of mine bought me to
    5 gallon buckets. I throw my scraps in them, easy to move around, they have a lid to keep them
    clean.

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  7. Hi Pam, Love this system!! I feel I'm pretty organized, I have to be because my sewing and storage space is quite small, so I really wouldn't be able to function if I weren't putting things back in their own spot right away. I do have to say I love scrappy quilts, but I really love block and fabric exchanges. I have found myself using the same fabrics in lots of quilts and that concerns me. That's also why I usually only buy fat quarters or snippets of fabrics. And there are always new fabric lines coming out that I really love, especially yours!!

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  8. Lately, I've been cutting extra strips to save for another unknown project down the road and trying to organize them in boxes according to sizes. Also I've been trying to cut down my scraps into usable units as I go.

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  9. I like the "OHIO" principal! It is wonderful to have ready made pieces to grab and sew whenever the feeling strikes. I had a blast cutting my 10" squares into pieces for the 12 projects in "Vintage Patchwork" all in one day. (I plan to post it today if I get time). Since 1998, I have cut a 5" strip (after washing) off every fabric that comes into the house. I have 5 boxes of over 5,000 different 5" strips. Yah, I'm crazy, but someday a textile historian will be happy to find my stash!

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  10. Oh my goodness, I didn't know that this was a "thing" but I've been trying to teach my kids this for years! haha. I loved reading your take on it for quilting and piecing tho. I'm excited to see if I can incorporate this method into the scrap quilts that I have on my list! Have a great weekend, Pam.

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  11. I love the OHIO principle, but don't practice it as much as I should.
    My stash is sorted by color and type (repro, solid, novelty--etc.) Repros are definitely the lion's share. I have baskets where I put odd pieces, by color, and then I have a generic scrap basket for really small pieces. But I do not take cuts from my fabrics to have certain sizes and shapes on hand. Years ago I started to do it, only to regret cutting something into strips when it would have been perfect for a wide border on a small quilt. Now I cut on an "as needed" basis.

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  12. This is a great idea. I too cut leftover fabric for my next scrap quilt, but not all fabrics in my current projects fit my idea of the next scrap quilt, or the scraps are too small for that next quilt. I like the idea of having more than one scrap quilt ready to fit all those leftover bits. My tip is to use as much of the fabric as you can in your current quilt - the back or the label, or a smaller quilt, so you won't have as many scraps to deal with.

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  13. I have to confess that I'm not very good at being organized so I'm not the best person to ask regarding organizing tips. I like the idea of cutting for multiple quilt patterns that I would like to make. The Ohio principal sounds great!! Thanks Dolores

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  14. I didn't know it had a name, "OHIO" but I love it! I try, I mean I really, really try to be organized. But, I find I still make little piles after a project. I do get to them and cut them into strips to put in drawers of that strip size. I have found that works best for me...well so far. Never thought of the cutting ahead for the specific project idea, but I really like that concept. My 3 year old Granddaughter thinks the drawers of strips are for her to put up on the design wall. Hahahaaa...I don't mind handling those scraps a million times because watching her play is priceless joy to me!

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  15. I use that OHIO principal at work with all the paperwork. Never knew the name,but that is easy to remember, thanks for sharing it with us quilters. I like the idea of cutting for more than one quilt!
    My tip is keep on quilting it keeps you young at heart and is a lot of fun!

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  16. I use that OHIO principal at work with all the paperwork. Never knew the name,but that is easy to remember, thanks for sharing it with us quilters. I like the idea of cutting for more than one quilt!
    My tip is keep on quilting it keeps you young at heart and is a lot of fun!

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  17. Keeping scraps organized and sorted is key so they get used. I like to sort my stripes and blocks by size and shapes in bins or plastic bags. I also try to sort into light and darks within the bin.

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  18. I did something similar when I was making a kit quilt- there were 20 fabrics and about 12 blocks. I made a chart with the fabric # on top and the block # on the left and then went thru the cutting directions and filled in each row under the fabric column for what size and shape was needed. When I cut each fabric I put the pieces in the right baggies and later could pull out one baggies and directions and go to work!

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  19. I keep my scraps sorted by style and color. It helps to be able to reach for the exact box I need. After each project, I immediately sort the scraps. I am dedicated to keeping a tidy and organized work area to make the most of my studio time.

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  20. About the best I've managed to do in terms of scrap management is cut my leftovers into 2 1/2" strips or 5" squares. My stash (and most of my projects) are repros so I only save repro scraps. It makes it all seem more manageable. i just signed up for Circa 1880 at The Quilt Merchant today. I fell in love with the picture of this quilt. Love your OHIO suggestion too.

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  21. Perhaps 12 years ago I decided to make a log cabin quilt, using 1 1/2 inch strips, of all of my then 1800's reprints. I began piecing, but life got in the way. As new fabric in that genre came in, a strip was cut from each for that quilt and added to the container. Then Barbara B had a sew along of Stars In A Time Warp. I added that to my cutting of new fabrics. Then Bonnie Hunter had tumblers, I cut 2 from each of 3 size strips, from the larger strip the center for the stars, 2 squares each of that also went into my EPP Hexi bin, smaller strips used in the stars worked for my EPP Tumbling Blocks, etc. Sometimes I'd forget which I'd already cut if things got hectic here. Each project had a bin/box/container to keep me organized. I just need to get back to finishing all these in progress kits I've made and get some quilt flimsies out of them...

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  22. My quilts all started to look alike so I now only buy enough fanric for the quilt I am working on and donate any leftover fabric to the Salvation Army. They in turn sell the fabric scraps to a recycling company. It’s a win-win - the Salvation Army makes much needed money and I have lovely quilts that don’t all look alike and I no longer have to contend with bins of leftover fabrics or clutter.

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