Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Scraps

I get into noticeable "moods" when I sew. Sometimes, all I want to do is quilt. Sometimes, I want to create custom piles of fabric, and stare at them for a while. Rarely, I'll feel like basting and/or making binding constantly. Hah! And sometimes, I feel like piecing scraps.

Scrap piecing is NOT easy. It is not fast. It is slow and sometimes deliberate (if you plan it out). It involves a lot of pressing and Best Press/starch. It involves patience and care. It involves chopping off ends of fabric, tiny pieces, and design walls. And most of all, it's refreshing to me, especially when the last few months have been devoted to deadlines and plans long in the making.

As a result of all of this, two new works-in-progress have quickly commandeered my sewing space. First, I was inspired by a mini charm pack of Carolyn Friedlander's new Doe fabric (Jessica brought it back for me from Quilt Market, bless her soul). I decided to group them generally by color and surround them with bold solid scraps. And then they just grew and multiplied. I had no control over this project; I felt much like a sewing zombie, but I was motivated by pretty colors instead of brains. Mike really likes these blocks because "they have squares and rectangles only." He's a uniform kind of guy; I can't blame him for that!

They've grown to several more blocks since even this picture. Now I'm just not sure what to do with them. I envision them separated on Kona Snow... I just love how they look on my white totally-makeshift-but-hey-it-works-batting-pinned-to-the-wall design wall... any suggestions? And no, this quilt does not have a destination yet. Please, I need your opinions!

The other WIP is quite different. We found out recently that our family from Maine is coming down for New Year's, and one of my youngest nieces doesn't have a big girl quilt yet - this will be her late birthday present. So, I started to play with some of my winnings from Hawthorne Threads, Utopia by Francis Newcombe. 

The bright, happy colors and patterns are perfect for a little girl, no? I made triangles with my new Hex-n-more ruler by Jaybird Quilts (I'd been waiting around to buy a triangle ruler, and this one allows for that plus much more, as the name suggests!). Then, I fashioned them into diamonds and surrounded them with solid sashing. Now I'm piecing the rest of the quilt improvisationally with scraps... so you'll have to see what I have in mind in a few days.

I'm hoping to work on this project over the break but I can already feel the mood waning and the itch to quilt coming back to the surface...

I love sewing with my Christmas tree nearby! That's one reason I put it up a few days ago and a bit early at that. :)

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow U.S. quilters! This is my favorite holiday... probably because there's so much food. :) But really, in all seriousness, I love how everything just stops for the day here and we spend time with family. I'm especially thankful for this amazing quilting community! See you on the other side.


  1. <3 Love the scrappiness and Doe fabrics and pretty colors! I am actually thinking of putting our tree up early this year too--and by early I mean more than 2 weeks before xmas, haha. I feel like I need a sewing holiday after this month of craziness! A weekend to just sew whatever I want and then I can come back refresh and rejuvenated and get back to the grindstone.

  2. I like where your scrappy improv blocks are going. And I LOVE that white and orange print ~ what it is??
    My house is tiny, so I'm never quite ready to put up a Christmas tree - but it goes up the day after Thanksgiving regardless of my readiness ;-) I *do* love the twinkling lights though, even if I don't love all the space it takes up.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too :-)

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, friend. We'll put our Christmas Decorations up this weekend probably, if the weather isn't too bad. Sometimes scrappy sewing without any plans is the most fun. I really like the idea of those Doe inspired blocks floating in a sea of negative space, you could do some amazing things with the quilting :) Looking forward to seeing where those Utopia diamonds go, that really is a great line for a young girl, and i'm sure it will last her a long time!

  4. Beautiful scrap blocks!
    I'm running a fabric giveaway, would you like to enter?
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I like your scrap blocks, and I am so glad to hear someone else say they take time to plan! I thought I was alone.

  6. Your scrappy blocks look great and I love the diamonds for your niece. The orange improv block is my favorite and I second the question about the orange and white fabric -- what is that gorgeous thing?

    I'm doing 12" improv blocks as a leader and ender project, although I always get interested and keep working on it a long time after I've stopped whatever else I'm sewing on that day! My suggestion is to take the long view on the improv blocks. Work on it when you can and when you want to. Their eventual destination should be a quilt to keep. Why? A) They're a lot of work. B) You've put them together exactly how you wanted to put them together -- there must be a reason for that, and it's because they're for you. And C) They'll end up with lots of different fabrics you've been working with which makes it like a journey through all the quilts you worked on as you put it together...maybe it could be "Journey of This Quilter, The 1st in a Series." When my improv squares are finally put together into a quilt, you'll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands. It's going nowhere!!

    As to exactly how the squares will go together, don't worry about that until you have enough to make a quilt the size you want. Mine's going to be 7 blocks by 8 blocks, I think.

  7. I forgot to 12" squares are all purples, greens, blacks and whites. If a purple or green fabric also has some different colors, that's fine, too, but the fabric has to "read" purple or green. My plan is to put them together w/o sashing.

    We're doing a box exchange thing in my quilting group (which I joined because you inspired me to) where you put your instructions and some fabrics in a box and another member makes a square for you and adds fabric, then passes it on to another person for the next month. The 12" purple & green improv square is what I've asked for in my box, so in June I should get 6 or 7 blocks that other people have made. I started the box with fabrics I loved but haven't yet used in my squares, so it should be pretty wonderful to see what the others have done. And each month I create a square for someone else, which so far has been the kind of thing I wouldn't have worked on -- the possibility for growth as a quilter!

  8. Love the color combos in your improv blocks. I usually end up putting them together any way I can get them to fit and see what comes out!

  9. I, too, get into different moods. After two and a half weeks of ironing, cutting, sorting and storing scraps (and not being anywhere near finished), I just want to sew and sew and sew and sew! No HSt thanks -- there's too much cutting/trimming involved!

  10. Hey Jess! Can I use a couple of the photos from this post in my inspiration post for next month's do. Good Stitches quilt? I want to show your diamond blocks. Thanks!

  11. Thanks again! here's a link


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