Scrap Storage Containment System

We all have scraps….some save them, some throw them, some gift them.  Thanks to 2 of my quilting friends, I am often the recipient of a nice bag  of scraps.wpid-20151017_125044-1_0.jpg

So – what do you do with it.??   I dump it all out on the cutting table and look at it all!!!   I’ve seen some of these pieces before in other bundles this particular person has gifted to me.  I sort it a bit in sizes, and “scrappiness” . Big pieces, little pieces, strips and others.

Then it is “off to the iron”!!  I press a pile, starch it like crazy and take it back to my cutting table.  I cut the scraps into the largest piece I can.  Square it up, and “file it away”.  I pulled a piece 11″ x 44″  out of this bag. That got folded, marked with the size and put in my bin of “STASH” for the primary color. I try to keep pieces that large intact. They could be used for many things, and cut up later if need.

I cut to the following sizes –wpid-20151017_131032_0.jpg

And then I store them away for future use!

So, when you are ready to make a project, you pull out the bin and start there before cutting yardage.  Bonnie Hunter (QUILTVILLE) has a great chart Patterns by strip size on her website. So, if you have an abundance of a particular size (for me it is 2″ squares and 1.5″ strips), you find a pattern on that chart and work with it to reduce your overflowing box.

I’ve done lots of scrap projects this year, using what I had on hand to make two  Grand Illusion  Mystery quilts, the Scrap Happy Little Wishes  quilt and the latest baby quilt pattern Scrap Dance.  And if you have read the blog in the last week you will have seen some other items on my design wall too.

It seems every project creates scraps and I am working hard to contain and control them.  I can be satisfied with one little basket that needs “management”.  I enjoy the cutting so, it keeps me busy. Right now, it is a bit distracting, as I have other projects in the line-up; but I must control the chaos before I begin again.  And NO, I don’t sew 24 hours a day….I’ve hardly sewn at all this week.

And, no, I won’t get this all cut today or tomorrow.  I don’t worry about putting back into the basket what I haven’t gotten cut.  It does help to sub-sort in the beginning, and decide to work on a particular “group”.  If I iron it, I will get it cut on the same day.  (Don’t tell anyone I vacuumed the quilt room before I began cutting the scraps today.  )

One last thing – Scrap Quilter Joan Ford ( Joan’s website ) said to us at our guild in October that “It’s ok to throw it away” when the piece is just too small.  Bonnie Hunter (Bonnie’s blog) says “If it’s still ugly, you haven’t cut it small enough”.   Check out both of their scrap storage systems and books they have written, patterns for using the scraps.  And don’t forget to check out Pat Sloan (Pat’s website ).  Pat also has a collection of “scrappy patterns” and will encourage you to work on your projects even if you only have “just 10 minutes” every day!

What are you working on that is filled with scraps?

note: Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt was a pattern by Bonnie Hunter; Scrap Happy Little Wishes is a pattern by Pat Sloan, and Scrap Dance is a pattern FROM MY CAROLINA HOME blog on WordPress.

In between things 5.5″ squares

The first week of the month is “QUILT GUILD” week.  We have our meeting on Monday, a class on Tuesday and the board meeting on Thursday.  I try not to schedule much else, but I did sneak in a visit to a guild member and spend some time in her “over the garage” quilt room.  She has a beautiful space with a long arm and two lovely tables big enough for laying out a quilt to mark patterns on, etc.  Our time was spent chatting about all the “stuff” you need to have to use your embroidery machine and how to  get those embroidery files from the computer to a flash drive to the machine.  If you haven’t read my post from earlier in the summer,   Embroidery Machine Resources , you will find some useful information.  It was fun to share with my guild friend as she got ready to go off to an embroidery machine class!

Following meetings this week, cleaning up after my Table Runner class project, I did a bit more cutting of the scraps and storage.

I un-earthed a basket of “bonus triangles” left over from the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt(s).  I sat down and started trimming those Thursday evening, and before you could count, I had 100+ half-square triangles trimmed to 1.5″.  I stitched a couple up into pinwheels, but wasn’t sure that is what I wanted to do.

Then I looked at my scrap storage box of 1.5″ squares and a light bulb went off.  I decided to make some more blocks from the Scrap Dance Finish.  That pattern was all 2.5″, but if I  used my 1.5″ squares …what would I get and how hard would it be to handle those little bits.  Remember now, I just took a class where they used a grid for small pieces.  Well, I didn’t buy any of the smaller grid, and I figured I could press on without it.

the "A" block from Scrap Dance done in 1.5" squares

the “A” block from Scrap Dance done in 1.5″ squares

"B" block Scrap Dance

“B” block Scrap Dance  This finished as a  5.5″ block.

I made 2 blocks Friday evening, and 3 more Saturday evening.

Scrap Dance 5.5" blocks

Scrap Dance 5.5″ blocks

It was fun to sit and sort the different bits in the boxes, going “controlled scrappy” for these. (Now there are little stacks all over the top of my desk in various color waves).

My hubby asked how many  of these little blocks I was going to make and I haven’t decided.  I do have about 200 more half-square triangles trimmed up, so a few more for certain!  I might make a few more later this afternoon.  They are a nice “bridge” between projects.  I like taking a break from cutting scraps to do a little sewing.  I am pleased with how these turned out so far.

Using the scrap storage system and actually turning those bits and pieces into something fun makes it worth all the effort. Watch for a future post where I talk about my storage methods.  I did write several blog posts in January 2014, about my  Scrap Storage System , and what I considered as I “cut the scraps”.  Since then I have modified what I store and how I store. Natural progression I think, but I will update in the future on my method.

I still have scraps to clean up and cut and put away.  I have 2 baskets of “bits” left over from the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt from last winter and MUST put them away in the next few days! I need my “project box” empty so I can be ready for the NEXT Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt ! Sometime in October the colors get announced.  If I have a mess on the cutting table I won’t do the project! It’s a bit like raking leaves, you have to hurry and finish before more fall or you might give up!

What are you sewing today?

Notes: Scrap Dance Quilt Along was a mystery quilt running between March and September 2015 by Caroline at “From My Carolina Home”.  There is a button on the right side of my blog to take you to her page.

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt was a Bonnie Hunter pattern running from Thanksgiving to New Years in 2014. The pattern is no longer available on her blog, but will be in a future book or on  Bonnie Hunter’s website.


Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show photos

Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, Lewes Delaware held a show with the theme of Paying it Forward, highlighting all of the Community Service groups that our guild supports. We had a great show in Lewes DE on July 17 & 18. Our members quilts speak for themselves.    These are just a few of the photos.  Over 250 quilts were on display.  I took photos of a ‘few’ of my favorites.

Note; as you look at the photo’s, the Information Card precedes the quilt.
Show Sign close up


Besides all those quilts, there were 20 vendors with an assortment of goodies to sell. Our guild did Raffle baskets and a Featherweight Machine Raffle

It was a great show. For information on the show, including who the vendors were and the ribbon winners; follow this link: OWQG Show 2015

As you browsed through, how many famous quilt designers patterns did you see?  There are at least 3 Bonnie Hunter patterns, a Heather Kojan pattern, and many many more!  If you read the display cards, you will find out the specifics of the pattern name and designer, along with the quilter.

Hope you enjoy, and the next time we have a show, I hope you can come!

My Quilt Show entries

Tomorrow I deliver my entries for the quilt show our guild is having in Lewes Delaware on Friday and Saturday; July 17 & 18 2015.  Click this link for more information: Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show information .  There are over 250 quilts entered, and about 20 vendors to satisfy the shopping urge.  If you are inspired to visit, you won’t be disappointed.

I have 6 projects that I entered for the show.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, then you have seen these all before, though not all were in finished state when I showed them last.  All of these projects were pieced and quilted on my Janome 8900.  I have spent most of June and early July finishing up with quilting and binding 2 quilts; and getting show hanging pockets and show labels made and hand-stitched on.  I had to make myself a spreadsheet so I was able to keep track of where I was at with each of these quilts.  The last one pictured I asked my friend for permission to enter it in the show, and she mailed it back to me.

The show theme is  Paying it Forward, the challenge was to create a red/white/blue quilt to show, and if willing, to donate it to Quilts of Valor.

So, here is the one I decided to make using Moda Primitive Gatherings fabrics and a Bonnie Hunter pattern called Ohio Stars and Rails. This pattern is from – Bonnie Hunter blog  free pattern tab.  I changed the center of the stars and borders to gold, and added the piano key border.  The back is made with the leftover fabrics.

Ohio Stars & Rails QOV

Ohio Stars & Rails QOV

My next entry is the second Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt that I made.  Again a pattern by Bonnie Hunter – I modified the setting again with this GIMQ#2. I added solid borders around the blocks and solid sashing; and moved the green checkerboard sashing out to make a border.  I eliminated one row of the final border. Note; the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt ran from November to January, and is no longer available on Bonnie’s blog.  It will be published at a later date in a book.

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt # 2

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt # 2

My third entry is a log cabin, in a barn raising layout. There were lots of stories about this quilt on my blog during the winter and spring if you take a look.  My favorite part about this quilt is the scrappy border.

Finished twin size purple log cabin 12" blocks Barn Raising pattern

Finished twin size purple log cabin 12″ blocks Barn Raising pattern

Quilt # 4 & 5 are projects from classes I took with the Guild last spring —

Flowers in the Snow; pattern by Weeks Ringle / Bill Kerr titled SNOWDRIFT

Flowers in the Snow; pattern by Weeks Ringle / Bill Kerr titled SNOWDRIFT

Barn Raising in Silk  27 x 39"

Barn Raising in Silk
27 x 39″

and my last entry is the oldest of the projects – a piece done as a memory quilt –

T-shirt quilt Full quilt out on the porch

T-shirt quilt made in honor of Edward J. Mahoney

So, my quilts are each bundled in a labeled pillowcase, ready to drop off at the guild meeting tomorrow.

I invite you to click the link to the quilt show information,   and find out a little bit more about the show, and the projects we support as a guild.

Happy stitching.


Machine Embroidery fun and challenges

I played around with my Brother PE500 Embroidery machine on Mother’s Day.  I purchased a few plain scoop neck t-shirts at Wal-Mart recently with the intention of embellishing them with embroidery.

My machine allows for a 4″x4″ design.  The actual hoop is almost 5×7.   I have learned a few things from a Brother Machine Embroidery Group on Facebook in the last year.   The most important thing I learned was to “float” a piece of medium weight tear-away stabilizer UNDER the hoop.  That’s right; UNDER the hoop…just slide it in after the hoop is in position on the top of the machine bed.  I don’t really understand why, but this seems to work well.  It is always a challenge to get things hooped properly.  I had the most interesting challenges using various products.

I have done a few t-shirts in the past and thought that I had mastered the hooping and stabilization process. There is however a big learning curve in this hobby.  I saw Nancy Zieman (Sewing with Nancy) use a product on one of her videos, so I thought “why not”.   I purchased the SULKY “sticky back” stabilizer that you “hoop”, then score, to remove the protective paper.  The intent of this stabilizer is so that you don’t have to hoop the shirt.   I like this idea; because it is hard on my hands to hoop.  Because I was working with a knit, I added stabilizer to the back of all the shirts I stitched.  I ironed on Floriani No Show Mesh stabilizer.  LOVE the Floriani.  Now, about that SULKY….Well, I can say; it works; sorta.  It was very sticky. It held the shirt in position.  But oh my goodness – it GUMMED up my needle causing my thread to break countless times.  So; alcohol wipes were my friend when I did the T-shirt in the first photo (purple).

Sulky sticky back with shirt floating

Sulky sticky back with shirt floating

You will notice that I use a combination of Red Clover Clips and safety pins to keep the shirt fabric “out of the way” while stitching.  I also floated a piece of water soluable stabilizer (WSS) on the top so the stitches would not “sink”.  WSS is usually used on items with nap; like towels; fleece. I have decent luck when adding to the t-shirts on a dense design.  Below is a close up of the finished shirt; still a little pulling of stitches and not a very dense design.  Centers of the flowers are not as nice as I had hoped.

Free design from Brother

Free design from Brother

In the next photo; I hooped the shirt in the usual manner. I added Floriani iron on tear away stabilizer behind the Floriani No Show Mesh. I also floated a tear away medium UNDER the hoop.

2nd shirt - Brother design

2nd shirt – Brother design

Other than a little pulling of the stitches; this did ok. Well enough in fact, that I would try shirt # 3…. Same method as # 2, except I added a clear IRON OFF stabilizer on top by Floriani. It was designed for things like velvet that can’t get wet. At some point…I had to remove it.

About the time the bluebird and the machine started to fight with each other….the sound of the machine changed, and instantly a mess under the machine with top thread wrapped around the bobbin….jam…emergency stop!! Out comes my exacto knife, the only thing small enough to squeeze between the hoop and the bed of the machine where the whole project is now held HOSTAGE by that birds nest.

In the process of freeing the hoop, I made a tiny little hole in the shirt. After 20 minutes of disassembly of the bobbin case; clean out, insertion of a new bobbin and another jam, I determined it was time to put in a NEW needle. Glad my hubby was upstairs working on his train repair table, reminding me of the “NEW NEEDLE” concept. Genius man. In the process of the jam up; that needle got bent. Did the jam bend the needle or did the needle hit a thick section, bend and cause the jam?

Oh; that hole, well, I fixed it. I left the project hooped; took it to the ironing table; added some more stabilizer to the back with my applique iron from Clover (that little triangle kind); and restarted the machine. The rest of the project stitched out perfectly. After all was said and done, I went back to that blue bird and stitched him again. The hole that is now covered in a thousand little stitches. And there is enough stabilizer on the back of the shirt, it’s not going anywhere. Glad that when I washed it the Floriani mesh gets very soft.

Shirt # 3

Shirt # 3

Of course; when I un-hooped after stitching, I realized the darn thing was slightly “tilted” in the shirt. Again; after washing, it is not terribly noticable. I can say this…..I’m glad I am not trying to earn a living at that machine. Maybe I would be better, but I do find a level of frustration that takes it from FUN to downright ANNOYING. Note to self….limit — one embroidery project in a day!
I did need to make a quilt label for my Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt (#1) that I will be taking with me this week on my trip. I waited until Monday to do it, and because I was using Quilters Cotton, it went smoothly. I cut a piece of fabric 8″ x 40″ and stabilized about 1/2 the width. I had 3 hoopings on this label. My biggest challenge is line up text, as I can only get a limited number at the smallest font on the line; and can not enter multiple lines on the machine at one time. I am pleased overall how it turned out.

quilt label

quilt label

Now I just need to get busy and stitch it on the back of the quilt. I did put fusible behind it, so I will press it down to keep it from shifting while I hand stitch. Oh; must remember to bury those thread tails from the top of the quilt!!

I am really glad that I signed up for a Floriani class next month!! Embroidery machines are fun, but there is so much more to learn. Sometimes I wonder if it is me or the machine? In any event, I have one more little embroidery project to do today. Wish me luck!!
Busy busy week before my trip! Happy stitching!

More sewing for granddaughter

This week is for the “Stitching Grandma” to do things for the grand daughter.  I am looking forward to being with my grandchildren for 2 weeks and celebrating a birthday party. Oh, to be 5 again!!!  My middle grandchild has outgrown her favorite nightgown, so I have made two new ones to take along in my suitcase.    I found an EASY pattern and would recommend it to anyone who is “not” a garment sewer!  (Quilts I get, garments and patterns I struggle with!)

EASY pattern

EASY pattern

I made 2 with short sleeves; and think I will do one more with long sleeves. Once I determine this is something they like, I have some beautiful flannel that will make a nice winter nightgown.  The first fabric I chose was Strawberry Shortcake.  I remember my daughters playing with those little figures for hours and hours as children.  In fact, there were Strawberry Shortcake curtains in their bedroom, along with a matching bedspread.  I think I gave those curtains away to a neighbor with a little girl when my girls were teenagers!  (I wonder if they even remember!!  🙂  )   So, I indulged my fond memories when I picked this fabric for my granddaughter.

Strawberry Shortcake!

Strawberry Shortcake!

The next  fabric reminds me of Jelly Beans.  I bought it around Easter, so maybe that is why!  Pattern and both fabrics came from Wal-Mart.  I pre-washed to check for color bleeds and shrinkage…..and boy do I have a story about that!!!  I had bought some turquoise HELLO KITTY print when I bought the jelly bean and strawberry shortcake.  Silly me, I threw all 3 pieces of fabric in together to wash, with a color catcher.  The turquoise bled, and bled and bled.  I had to rewash the Strawberry Shortcake and Jelly bean with a color catcher and got the turquoise out of them.  Then I washed the turquoise at least 6 times, color catchers; vinegar, etc.  It just continued to bleed.  I have NEVER returned fabric before, but that 2 yard cut I took back to Wal-Mart with the 12 color catchers in varying shades of turquoise….and they gave me my money back.  So, no Hello Kitty for my Granddaughter, sorry to say!  Lesson: ALWAYS pre wash!  (I used to only do that for cottons & flannel for garments…now I prewash everything for quilting!)

Jelly beans

Jelly beans

I made a couple of other things…..a pink satin mattress for the doll cradle; and a doll quilt. Now I just need to get busy and sand and stain the doll cradle.  I think I will work on that today!   A dear friend of ours made the cradle for the grandchildren.  He is 85 and still has such great craftsmenship.   I must pack it up and ship it before the trip. A bit big for the luggage!!

Satin mattress and quilt

Satin mattress and quilt

The quilt was made using those “mis-fit” pieces from the Grand Illusion Mystery quilt!! I had fun playing with it. I found enough fabric left to match the quilt back my granddaughter will be getting!   I did “matchstick” quilting in varying widths on it.  I also bound it using my leftover binding from other projects; using my favorite technique “Susie’s Magic Binding”  (tutorial link:    ) from 52 Quilts in 52Weeks blog.  If you zoom in on the mini-quilt, you will see it is also scrappy…had to join to similar leftover bits of binding to go around this mini.

I had a little more sewing time yesterday, so I made a pillow case to go with the  big quilt.  You might remember that quilt I wrote about here –       No, it isn’t finished…It needs binding and a label and that is on my list…….before my trip!   (Wonder if I should make a doll matching pillow case???)

Anyway; so much fun, and some other projects still on my list before my trip 1 week from today!

Pillow case to match my granddaughters Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt

Pillow case to match my granddaughters Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt

Sewing time….what are you working on today???

Scrap Dance Mystery Quilt Along Updated

Ok…like I don’t already have enough to do…..but really…this kind of thing is just my speed…once a month.

Carole from the blog “From My Carolina Home” is sharing a project that is a “scrap buster”.   She posted about it in March, and I looked at it and thought…no time ….no time… Today, she released the directions for Step 2, and I was hooked.  I know, there are all these blocks of the month, and patterns I have saved etc…but I like this one…so here I go to play along with Scrap Dance Mystery Quilt Along.  This is what happens to me and why I have SO many projects going…oh look…fabric…shiny …ooooh  !!!!  I like to get distracted by a new project.

I won’t tell you what size, but I will tell you that today, I will go out, clean up the scraps from my last project (QOV) and all those other scraps that are piled on the back of the cutting table and on the little skinny table in the center of the room.  My friends KNOW that I love scraps and have gifted me several bundles that are now needing to be put to use and under control.  I think I will tackle one piece at a time. Press it, cut it; store it / add it to the “SCRAP DANCE MYSTERY QUILT ALONG.   It is NOT too late to start, step one & step two are posted, and I think I can “catch up” today and tomorrow, then I won’t worry about it again until MAY.  (While I press and sort & cut I am keeping my eyes open for possible “hexi” pieces…I am short a couple of hexi’s on one of my “rounds” of double diamonds and am on the lookout for a particular scrap!)

If you want to play to – go check out

I put a button on the side of my wall to her Scrap Dance Quilt Along too.   The button and the link above will take you to the “intro – part one”.  Today’s post was step two –

Now, don’t tell anybody…I have dishes to wash, taxes to do, etc.  But…the clean up of the sewing room needs to be done before I can carry on QUILTING those 2 Bonnie Hunter Grand Illusion Mystery Quilts AND my Quilts of Valor top that are waiting.  I might even break the vacuum out and clean up the threads and bits on the floor….you know it is SPRING and time to clean up a bit.   Hope you are inspired to play with your scraps a little too.

Oh the scraps to be tamed!!

Oh the scraps to be tamed!!

Shhh…..don’t tell; I spent 3 hours working on the scraps. but now it is time to get on with the family life…the dreaded trip to the warehouse store for groceries.

But I DID get something done……

the 2.5" light squares to go in the house for hexi's

the 2.5″ light squares to go in the house for hexi’s

the basket that awaits taming

the basket that awaits taming



the tamed blocks - 2.5" and 3 "

the tamed blocks – 2.5″ and 3 “