Friday, February 26, 2016

 If I tried to cut all the scraps that I'm given in one session it really would take hours. Unless I'm in the mood for that I would rather do it bit by bit, so that tackling the pile doesn't become tedious.

Every time I turn the iron on I grab a little handful of scraps and press those before I do anything else. I have a tray in a bookshelf near the ironing board and I lay the bits out flat so they don't get wrinkled again.

After several bouts of pressing, when I have the time I start cutting these bits, using the ScrapSaver ruler for single triangles and the Easy Angle for any strips I've ironed. I use my 6 1/2" ruler for squares and bricks, and the 24" ruler for longer scraps.  Using the different rulers makes things a lot easier; I cut all the squares first, then bricks, then triangles so I'm not swapping from one ruler to another and back.

I also use a small mat that came with a magazine. When you are cutting small pieces like this you tend to cut in the same spot over and over  and the small mat saves your large cutting board. It's also easy to turn around if you're cutting multiple layers and don't want to disturb the pile. I also try to turn the scraps at different angles so I'm not always cutting parallel to the edge of the mat, again to avoid cutting over and over in the same spot.

Once everything has been reduced to neat piles of cut pieces I can file them into their containers and start ironing more scraps and storing them on the tray. It might take weeks for me to deal with the bits that Keryn gives me, but I don't get overwhelmed and sick of cutting if I do it like this.
 I love the sight of the neatly cut shapes, and it's satisfying to dump the trimmings into the rubbish container. Order is triumphing over the chaos of the scrap bin, slowly but surely!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Keryn and I are both trying to clean up our sewing rooms and make sense of the stash. We have differing view points on how we use our fabric, and how we organise it, but that's ok. Each to his own. I'm still in love with scraps, Keryn less so.

She wants to get stuck into the yardage and cut up swathes of material; the gorgeous stuff that we've had squirreled away, sometimes for years. I always check the scrap drawers first to see what I can use there, then I start looking at the larger pieces. Keryn gets frustrated by the itty bitty nature of the scraps, I like to tame them by cutting them down to useful shapes.

We were going through some containers in her sewing room recently and she declared that she was sick of the sight of all these bits and said"You can have 'em all" No need to tell me twice! In fact one of the reasons I'm so keen to "help" her clean up is that I always come away with some goodies that she's sick of.

So what's the first step in taming this mess of bits? I like to go through the whole container and make some piles to start with. Scraps are overwhelming if you look at them en masse, so the trick is to start breaking them all down into manageable chunks.

I separate the pieces that I can usually just get one shape from, a square, a triangle, a brick. This takes a lot of the flotsam out of the equation, and things start looking more doable straight away.

If there are any pieced bits like this I put them aside. I can make four patches out of this lot, so they're already spoken for.

I put all the lights in one pile because I can usually cut them straight into shapes to be used immediately. I'm always piecing HST, so these can be cut with the Easy Angle or the Scrap Saver and go into the Leader ender container. I never seem to have enough lights ready to go, so this little pile is a welcome sight.

Then there are the strips of fabric that I have to cut with my long ruler, I straighten them up and then they can be filed in their respective drawers.

Finally there are the bigger hunks that have a few possibilities, I usually just iron them and sort them out according to colour. I don't want to cut larger bits down into one and a half inch squares and then realise I could have used the bigger piece for something.

If I do this  sorting as soon as I bring a bag of scraps home it doesn't get too overwhelming and I know immediately what I've been given. It can all go back into the same container, with sheets of paper separating the categories for the time being, then later I can tackle it bit by bit. In the next post I'll show you how I do that.

After some more tidying, guess what  Keryn gave me?.... back to the sorting!


Sunday, February 14, 2016

My second finish for 2016 is Scrappy Mountain Majesties. Forgive the picture, I should have ironed the top before I took photos, but it was so hot in the workroom I didn't want to turn on the iron. I have the backing already chosen for this so when I've done a couple more customer quilts I want to get this quilted quickly.

I'm pleased that I didn't let these gifted fat quarters sit around in my stash. They've all been chopped up and the leftovers from this top are in the strip drawers. I probably should have used a darker blue for the borders, but I wanted this piece of fabric gone from the stash too, it's been hanging around for at least a decade.

This pattern is so simple and went together very quickly. I'll certainly keep it in mind for the next time I need a quilt in a hurry. And it seemed to make these old fabrics a lot prettier together than I expected.

This top used 6 metres of fabric, so I'm up to a total of 14m for the year. I really did think I'd have more projects finished by now, but it's been a very busy start to 2016.


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

 Here's a customer quilt I did recently, a lovely William Morris pattern by Michelle Hill. The lady who stitched it is over eighty, and she does beautiful buttonhole applique by hand.

I have fun quilting these, but I don't think I'll ever sew one myself. I'm content to finish other peoples work;

I get the pleasure of playing with these designs, but don't have to put in all those painstaking hours of effort.


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

We have a friend who is a dealer in all sorts of things, and if he ever comes across sewing related items he usually passes them on to us. Recently he gifted me a bundle of old fat quarters, many of them fabrics that I'd cleared out of my stash years ago. Obviously someone else had kept them in their collection for twenty odd years too. The material was good quality, so they were put away, perhaps for a scrappy backing.

When I looked at the pattern for Scrappy Mountain Majesties I realised that Bonnies large quilt was made in similar blues and greens, so I pulled the bundle out and decided to use them straight away and not let them sit around for another decade or so. I added a few fabrics from my stash, like the greens above and started cutting those 8 1/2" squares and slicing them in half.

I sewed all the triangles one night, then trimmed them the next day and cut them into strips. The pattern is so blindingly easy that pretty soon I had enough to make the lap size quilt, and now I'm debating on whether I want to cut more fabric and make it bigger.
Talk about easy, and you don't have to match anything up, which is a bonus.

I like the zigzag setting, but I'm going to play around with some of the other ideas in Bonnie's pattern to see what else I can come up with.

I thought the top would be pretty insipid and dull, but I'm really liking the overall effect.

I'm off to see if I can pull some more fabrics from the stash, and start cutting squares again.


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