Grandma’s Kitchen Update and Scrap Management

Once I got all those “scraps” put away, I felt free to sew again!  More about scraps in a bit.

I’ve been working on a pattern by Pat Sloan called Grandma’s Kitchen.  This project was a “weekly” block beginning last June and concluding in December.  I’ve been posting periodic updates as my blocks were made.  I am primarily using 30’s reproduction fabrics, but have used some more modern fabrics for the neutrals.

I am now starting to build those blocks up into “rows”.  The pattern has lots of “filler” pieces that were not part of the original block construction.  About October the layout was released and when I saw those “filler” pieces, I decided to wait until all 25 blocks were made and I could make better choices of fabrics.

You might remember if you have been reading my posts that I spent a little time with the printed pattern and my felt tips markers planning.  My choices were made, and even the hubby got involved in the fabric decisions. (He really is a smart guy when it comes to this planning !)

Once I got all those “scraps” put away, I felt free to sew again!

I also have finally beaten the bronchitis that has laid me low for 3 weeks, so hanging out for hours in the sewing room has been a joy!  I worked on Row A on Friday.

Row A Grandma's Kitchen

The yellow strips are those “filler strips”.  I am using the yellow where ever the pattern called for a dark strip.  The white strips around the 2nd block (the candy dish as Pat called it) are a coordinating print.  I chose it for where ever the pattern called for a light strip. I used this white in several blocks during .

The friendship stars (4th block from the left) were “filler blocks”.  I used a bit of that red in another block near the end of the process, so I thought it would be nice to bring it near the top of the quilt. Balancing all these fabrics is kind of fun.  I want the colors not to appear to heavy in one area.

The next photo will show Rows A – C made.  I worked on Rows B & C late Saturday.

Rows A - C Grandma's Kitchen

Row B has more “friendship stars” in the first block, and I was glad the red was spaced out a bit, and glad I did not use the same fabrics for the filler blocks.   Row B has filler blocks (orange and purple checkerboard made with 2″ squares) and strips of white and yellow, and a “repeat” of the last block in the row that I had to create.

Row C had a much larger “checkerboard” that was a full block.  These were made with 2.5″ squares. Following the pattern, it was interesting to work this one, because the bottom row was to be all the “dark” (red)checkers, and it continued on, under the next block as a filler.  I went with it, and find it is interesting. I was surprised, because I would have thought making them the light (yellow) checkers would be more logical. Who am I to argue with the designer!

I’m having fun putting this part of the project together.  There are a lot of decisions yet to be made on fabrics as I approach the remaining stack of blocks.  I know which “colors” I want to use for the upcoming filler blocks, but not which fabric yet. I’ll get there & give you another look as I make further progress.  While I am making these filler blocks, there are scraps being generated! I’m keeping everything together so far, as I don’t know which bits & pieces I may work into the project.

Scrap Storage System – more info!

Speaking of scraps…here are some pictures from my last round!  It never ceases to amaze me how much “good stuff” is left at the end of a quilting project!

Ready to put away

This is the “last” of the pieces out of my yellow stacker.  They are cut and ready to put away!

Someone asked me how I “store” my scraps once they are cut to size.  I like “uniform” containers and am trying to get similar containers for all my scraps.  I like to size the container based on the size of the cut piece. Too big of a container means the little pieces get bounced around and messy.  I’ve already ironed these, and don’t want to do it again. I want to reach in the container and USE the pieces without going back to the iron.  I need to “invest” again in containers and house my 2.5″ squares and my 2″ squares. I have an over abundance of both and have resorted to cardboard boxes and plastic baskets.  (I also have a container the size of the one on the bottom left FULL of 2″ squares in ziplocks…leftover from 2 of those “watercolor” classes. UFO!!!)

Scrap Management Storage containers

I am using “shoeboxes” for strings.  Generally I consider a string anything that is 2″ or smaller.  These tend to be pieces that are not “width of fabric” and are the first thing I grab when I feel like making string blocks.  Mostly they are sorted by color family. The reds and oranges and yellows are together, the blues and purples are together and the neutrals are together. The boxes aren’t labeled yet, but are easy to figure out. I like them in color families because I like my string blocks more “orderly”.  I do have a container of 1.5″ strips in the previous photo and that box gets full rather fast, and when it does, the remainder end up in the string box. String pieces may not be as carefully trimmed to size, as I don’t care if the piece is 1 3/4″ or 1 5/8″…the precision is not necessary.

Shoeboxes for strings

In my previous post, Scrap Decisions , I included a chart with the range of sizes that I cut and store.  Someone commented about the “bricks”…those are the rectangles.  I don’t cut a lot of them, but I do use them from time to time, and find them handy to have on hand.

If you are just starting out with “saving your scraps” – you might not want to keep as many sizes etc as I do.  You have to figure out what you are going to use!  Because I follow Bonnie Hunter, I mirrored my system along the lines of hers, using sizes she typically includes in her patterns.  On her blog, she has a tab called Tips & Techniques, and on it you will find a blog post about her Scrap User’s system – Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User’s System

The link to Bonnie’s system is very lengthy, so get a cup of coffee, and read (after you finished reading my post of course)!  And bookmark her blog, and LOOK AROUND at the wealth of free information she willingly shares with her readers!  She has a tab for FREE PATTERNS and at the top of that page is a handy chart which sorts her patterns by “strip size and block and brick size”.  This might help you chose what to store!  And it might help you decide “how” you want to store your scraps.

I also follow other quilters, like Pat Sloan who offers lots of sew-alongs that include free patterns. (Fore example Grandma’s Kitchen!)  On her website  you have to “work a little harder” to find her free patterns.  She has a ton of stuff, so spend some time there as well.

Lastly, I mentioned in other posts, that I used information from Joan Ford as I developed my “Scrap Storage System“.   Joan’s website will give you links to books she has written on the topic, and why she saves what she saves as well as freebies and fun stuff.

What ever system you follow or develop for yourself, make sure it is one that will work for you and that you will find yourself USING your scraps!  I also have fun posting my scrap projects periodically and sharing the post with OH SCRAP!  

I find lots of other “like minded” scrap quilters projects on the weekly link-up and enjoy perusing their blog posts!  (In fact…I am linking up today!)  (You might have noticed a button to OH SCRAP on the sidebar!)

I have had a great time making projects using patterns that Carole – has come up with, and I have USED those scraps from my Scrap Storage System in every one of her “Scrap Dance” projects.  My scrap boxes are full right now, and I am looking forward to the Scrap Dance Square Dance project she has on her blog.  This is a monthly project.  I may “increase” my size from twin to something larger if the mood (and the overflowing boxes) call to me.  (There is a button on my sidebar to Carole’s blog)

Do you save your scraps?  How do you do it? Do you follow other scrap quilters?  Who ??


Scrap Decisions

I have mastered the scraps!  I have battled and won!  They are contained!  I have trimmed and cut and put order to some of the chaos and declare victory! Phew….that’s enough for now!  Yesterday I declared victory over the basket of blues, and since then I have gone through the red & oranges and basket of browns & blacks.  The yellow stacker is EMPTY!  (Ok; I haven’t tackled the laundry hamper and those zip lock bags, but I have met my goal!!!)

I was getting a little anxious because nearly a week has gone by and I had not “pulled” my fabric for Carole’s Scrap Dance Square Dance Mystery Quilt!  Are you dancing too???  Info on the mystery is here – Square Dance Begins

As I was taming the scraps, I was setting aside pieces cut to size for the Square Dance Mystery.

Step One is to cut those fabrics.

Today, I gathered up those pieces and counted out what was required and determined I had plenty set out for a Twin Sized project.  All is ready except my fabric A which needs to be cut.

Scrap Dance Square Dance Fabric pull

(Do you see Elvis?)  (Notice the Superman fabric?)  (How about those wonderful fish?) (and Cats?) (hiding in among these lovelies are llamas too!)

Selections for Scrap Dance Square Dance


Everything came directly from the scraps in the “yellow stacker” that I have mentioned in the last few blog posts except Fabric A.  I (gasp) took it out of my neutral box that was set aside for my Bonnie Hunter project that is a UFO. It was “just the right size”.  I went with it because Carole had suggested a tone on tone would be favorable for this constant Fabric A.

Fabric A - the ONE constant

So, many thanks to the friends who have gifted me their scraps in the last year!  I look forward to including them all in this Square Dance mystery!

When you are out “shopping” for fabrics, I strongly encourage you to pick up a few yards of those great neutrals that work for background fabrics and stash them away.  A few days ago a friend of mine came in search of “low volume” neutrals for background fabrics. Sometimes they are not easy to find, and we went “digging” in the scrap bins for her bits and pieces.

I am heading “back” to the sewing room to cut “Fabric A” and put all those lovely scraps that I have cut and sorted for this project into a nice basket to await Step 2 in February!  And, perhaps, between now and then I will get back to one of those other projects that has been hanging around for a while!

Happy scrapping!

PS – One of my readers asked “what sizes” do I cut and save – Here is “MY” list – which, as I have mentioned is a combination of Bonnie Hunter and Joan Ford.  I have this list on the wall by my cutting table, and it is a good reminder. It helps me to look at the fabric and get the best use from a raggedy mess!  Remember – press and CUT THE SCRAPS!

1.5 2 x 3
2 2 x 3.5
2.5 2.5 x 3.5
3 2.5 x 6
3.5 2.5 x 6.5
4.5 3 x 5
5 3.5 x 6

Autumn Jubilee Quilt Along with Carole


Like I NEED another project…………..but I just can’t resist a “scrappy project”.   Yesterday morning, Carole – From My Carolina Home on WordPress posted her Autumn Jubilee Quilt Along .   Of course,  I was hooked as soon as I read her blog post!  If you comment on her blog post you might win a prize!  Carole has Aurifil Thread as a sponsor!

I went out to my sewing room over the garage, and I diverted my time from Mittens!  ( I swore I wasn’t going to let anything interrupt me…..)

I pulled out the bins from the cabinet that hold my “scrap storage system” .  (Thanks Bonnie Hunter  and Joan Ford ); collected some already cut 3″ and 2.5″ squares in the Autumn colors.  I even had the neutrals, already cut, in those sizes.

(note – Bonnie and Joan have similar approaches; both have books and blogs.  My system is a combination of both, which I have previously written about.  Links at the bottom of the post to both Bonnie & Joan, and my previous post about scrap storage.)

I laid out a block; dug in my scrap baskets (sorted by color) for pieces to use for the stems, and got busy.  While I was digging in the scrap basket, I pulled some other pieces that could be cut into squares and starched, ironed and cut them too.

Autumn Jubilee block

I got these blocks together before dinner.  They all need squared up to 6″.    

**Carole just sent me a note –  the blocks finish as 6 inches, at this stage you square them to 6-1/2 inches to allow seam allowance.

Leaf blocks for Autumn Jubilee

I went “back out to the garage” after dinner. (The dishwasher was running and I left dishes in the sink, but hey, I was on a mission and dinner really interrupts my flow……)

I decided I wanted more blocks.  Carole said –  “If you want to make all the projects in the quilt along, you’ll need 24. “

So, I got busy!   Since I pretty much pulled out of my scrap storage box all of the colors, I dug into the scrap bags for the oranges, golds and browns.  I did a little more starching, pressing and cutting.  While I was at it, I cut some other sizes to go into my scrap storage boxes; things that were too small for this project, like 1.5 & 2″ strips and squares. (I always cut the biggest size I want first, in this case 3″, then I cut the remaining into the next usable size).

I built a few more stems, sewed some more half square triangles (HST)  and looked at the clock. It was nearly 10:30 pm.  ( I swear I was only going out for half an hour!)  Time flies when you are having fun!  I brought my small cutting mat and trimming tools into the house with me and will do a little squaring up of the HST’s this morning.

HST for Autumn Jubilee Quiltalong

I think these will give a bit more variety to the leaves.  I might have to dig in my boxes again for greens for another round……. I really don’t know how many I will get made.  At least another 6.

I don’t know what the project will turn into.  That is part of the fun of the Quilt Along that Carole does.  Next block won’t come out until next Friday, and I am leaving for Texas at the crack of dawn the next morning, but I will at least have a start. It will be nearly Halloween when I get home, and I won’t be able to keep up, but I will follow along while I am away.   I think these alone will make cute place mats or a nice fall table runner (which I need), or 4 together for a table topper.  I will have to “wait and see” for now.

What are you working on?


Bonnie Hunter – Scrap Users System –

Joan Ford  –

My scrap storage posts –

Linking up today – Show off Saturday



Quilter’s Showcase 2015 – Ocean Waves Quilt Guild

Last Monday, my guild – Ocean Waves Quilt Guild – Lewes DE had their annual Quilter’s Showcase during our monthly meeting.  I took a lot of photo’s and other people did as well.  There were a lot of things shown that I just did not get a chance to photograph.    I thought the best way to share them was to create an album in Flickr, and invite you to take a look.  It was fun to see all the class projects, and also to see the variety of quilts and fabrics during the showcase.  I had more fun this year, because I was not up on stage organizing!    If you want to go directly to the album, try this link Quilters Showcase Photo Album

Enjoy the show.  Note – if you click on any photo, it will take you to the album with the details .

Mexican Stars

Mexican Stars



Diamond Tipped Tools



Don't Mesh With Me

Magic Carpet Table Runners



Ellie and Wendy














Ellie's Quilt










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.

A class project and other fun

I know, all quiet on the quilt front for several weeks.  First….I want to report that the Scrap Dance Mystery Quilt I posted about (here – Scrap dance finish)  has been delivered!  And JUST in the nick of time!  The package went out via DHL last Tuesday, and the baby was born on Friday!  She was early, and the package was late.  It finally delivered today following 5 days hold up with customs in Manila!  The mother, Bella,  likes the quilt; the baby is sweet  and tiny; and of course, my friend, Howard, the father, is proud and happy as can be. All is well.  Oh, I never showed you the label! So, one last photo.  Ignore the adorable little bundle of joy in the background…we are here to talk quilts….  she is so tiny! Just under 5#!

Quilt and baby delivered!

Quilt and baby delivered!

After I finished this project I thought I better get busy and organized for Quilt Guild this week.  I have taken over the “Second time around” tables at the guild.  I get all the goodies that someone clearing up in their sewing room is tired of, repurpose the items and sell them back to guild members.  One persons discards are another’s treasures.  And, for a person who has been an active “shopper” at the Second time around table, and someone who likes “scrappy”, it was a perfect job for me.  First day out we sold over $200 worth of items to the members.  Lots of sorting and folding and ironing and trimming, but it was worth it.  Hubby has arranged a great shelving unit for me, and I have all the bits and baubles in plastic totes, ready to go for next month. Of course, I think I brought home as much in donations as I sold, so I will be busy the next few days sorting out the “NEW” old stuff.  I have 8 milk crates of quilt books and magazines along with numerous totes of notions and fabrics. Fun to sort through, that is for certain. Last week was non-stop rain as we awaited a hurricane and dealt with a “Nor’easter” instead.  So, was a good time to hang out in the quilting room.

On Tuesday,  I took a class with the guild, instructed by Joan Ford and got some  Scrap Therapy!  Check out her website –  She has a great scrap storage system that I have mentioned before, and has written 2 books with patterns using her “scrap storage system.  I had already included her system into mine, refining it to my own needs.  Also, be sure to look for her blog –Scrap Therapy Quilts on Blogspot.

Our class was a lot of fun, introducing us to her Small Scrap grid, a fusible product with a 2″ grid.  The pattern selected for the class was called Magic Carpet (available on her website here: Magic Carpet Pattern  ).  This pattern is written for multiple sizes, and we selected a table runner.  Using the fusible grid product, along with her clear instructions gave us good results for working with small pieces.  This particular pattern had us working with 1.5″ x 2.5″; but the method kept us from handling those narrow pieces, and made it rather simple.  When you look at my photo, look for the beige and tan pieces.  Those are done using the grid.

Joan also introduced us to the Deb Tucker Square 2 tool, and we made Diamonds in a Square VERY easily.  Deb Tucker (Studio 180 designs) has a great video on how to use the tool on her website – Square 2 ruler video  .

Because we were doing a table runner, most of us left class at 3 pm with the body of the table runner constructed and some of our Diamonds in a Square constructed.  I had two made, and as soon as I got home, made the remaining 4 units.  I wanted to “get them done” before I forgot how to use the tool.  Well, now that I found this great video, I will remember easily!

So, here are some photo’s of my project; with it’s wild colors.  I modified the pattern to suit my own needs, and added an extra border.  This afternoon, I finished it up, got it quilted and bound.  WOW…a record for me!  And, no “project in a box” leftover from a class for October!

I auditioned several pieces for that “extra” border, and the hubby  picked the pink. I used the feature fabric for the cornerstones as well.

Magic Carpet Table Runner

Magic Carpet Table Runner

I used the feature fabric for the binding, and the same green as in the diamonds in the square for the piping on my binding. (How fitting to use Susie’s Magic Binding in a Magic Carpet Table runner!)  Just need to stitch up a label and call it done!

Meanwhile…this is the mess I left on the desk after a day of sewing,

Only 2 days of sewing to achieve this mess

Only 2 days of sewing to achieve this mess

but hey, it’s after 11 pm and I need a nice glass of wine and call the day over. Clean up tomorrow afternoon before I start all over again!

Time to think about that Batman cape that is “over-due”….happy sewing