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 http://www.patsloan.com/  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 https://hummingbird-highway.com/ 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 – https://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com/ 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 ??

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Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along

Ok…I caved….I have to “play along” with Carole !! Check out her latest  Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along !

I like this one because it will last over a period of 6 or 7 MONTHS; not weeks; and I can fit it “in between” other projects!  Carole writes really great instructions; and she gives you ALL your cutting info up front.

I am going scrappy (of course)!  I read thru the blog post, and printed out the PDF file. THANKS CAROLE for giving us a “down & dirty – 1 page” PDF!

I got out my “Scrap Storage System 2.5” strip bin and selected my medium and darks for the first  step.  I did pull yardage for the background as suggested by Carole. (Note…stole it out of my Bonnie Hunter project bin…..shhh….). (Bonnie would be happy I’m sure to know that I am using my scraps that were “ready to go” from her storage system).  I made a “few extra” of the first step; just so I can have some choices later at assembly point.    I tried to get a bit of a variety in these pieces.

Step 1 Scrap Dance Two Step Mystery

Once step 1 was cut, stitched and pressed “to the dark” , I pulled out my bin of 5″ squares, and made those selections. When it came to the 5 3/4″ pieces; I took a pause.  I have a bin with some 6″ strips (left over border pieces etc); and went ahead and cut the required number of blocks, but left them at 6″.  I will “trim to 5 3/4” later….depending on how they are used.    Now, the 4.5″ squares are not something I have readily available, so I cut down some 5″ squares to the required size.  (You won’t get to see any of these until they get used in a future step! And I may swap a few pieces out.)

I am holding off on cutting the background fabrics until the next round of instructions.  I have tucked away nearly a yard of background fabric in my container with the other blocks/squares.  This day felt like a giant zip-lock kind of day, so instructions, step 1 sewn blocks and cut blocks are all in a bag, ready to roll on Step 2 in February!  (Did I mention I am doing the throw size this time?  Enough with the craziness of king size mystery quilts still hanging around to be quilted!)

If you are interested in “playing along” then hop over to Carole’s blog -From My Carolina Home.  If you are reading on my page, there is a button to the mystery on the sidebar of the page.

Speaking of Carole’s blog…..you might remember last fall she did the Autumn Jubilee pattern and I got busy making lots of maple leaves and pumpkins.  I have been hooked on them, and decided I wanted a “reversible” table runner to keep.  This week, I had a “sit & sew’ with one of my quilt bees.  It was easy to “grab the Autumn Jubilee bin” and take it along!  I had the “Christmas side” of the table runner finished, and was surprised when I opened my Autumn bin to find more blocks completed than I remembered.  I finished this up yesterday afternoon.

Autumn Jubilee / Christmas Runner

I’m sure it looks very familiar.  The Christmas side is the same fabric and pattern I made in November.  I have a lot of that fabric, and I had a lot of the parts for the blocks already cut, ready to assemble.  The Autumn side I changed the orientation of the leaves and skipped the pumpkins-

20170121_151026

No pumpkins on this side!  I previously used this leaf layout to make a placemat, and I like it quite a bit.  There will be more placemats in the coming months.  The placemats may become my “sit & sew” take along project.  I will probably need to dig out the original placemat for sizing!  I quilted this table runner across the width of the placemat using built in quilting stitches on my  Janome.  I think I killed my walking foot tho, as it wasn’t intended to be used for this particular stitch.  The walking foot started malfunctioning when I was sewing on the binding. Very annoyed with myself.  Hubby thinks that there is so much plastic in the walking foot, I may have caused a piece to break inside the case. I took it in to my Janome dealer to have a look today.  Fingers crossed.  I looked to see the prices on a replacement and had sticker shock!

Christmas side

Although I have a lot of this Moda Christmas fabric, I am nearly out of the neutral, so there probably won’t be any more of this pattern in the future.

On another note, I am still thinking about the quilting of my Mittens Pet Mosaic project.  Stay tuned!

Quick edit – Linking this post to Oh Scrap!!  on Quilting is more Fun than Housework blog!  Fun projects with scraps on that blog!  Check out the button for Oh Scrap on the side bar of this page.

 

Happy stitching!

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.