Thursday, August 25, 2022

What To Do With Those Pesky Scraps! A No Picture Day!

 Two years ago,  I took all my less- than-a-yard solids and solid substitutes (predominately one color pieces but have patterning) and cut them into strips.  I kept the full width (45 inches) strips separate from the ones cut from fat quarters which were only 22 inches wide.  My goal was to cut 6 of these 2 1/2 inches wide as I could then use then for borders or binding.  Usually there was some left so next I cut 2 inch strips and then cut miscellaneous sizes if there was any left after that.  I ended up with probably 50 to 100 lbs of strips sorted by color into 2 1/2 gallon bags and set into a deep box so they could stand up and not get wrinkled.  I have actually used up most of the purple strips in the 2 1/2 in length and the greens are getting more sparse!  I gave away a baggie of brown strips as down south I don't tend to use a lot of dark colors anymore.  This has made binding quilts more of a breeze as I don't have to cut the fabric.  At the time, I didn't feel this would be a good thing to do with my lively patterned fabric.  

This week I decided to take a crack at that patterned fabric and so far I have filled two trash cans with strips and pieces that are less than an inch wide or just the selvedge!  I decided to cut the fabric into 10 in squares (like layer cakes) and 5 in squares.  If there is any left, I just cut 2 1/2 strips or smaller.  There are bunches of fabric that I had used partially, some where I cut motifs out of a piece so it had lots and lots of holes.  Many of these were really nice fabrics of which I only had a quarter, half or eighth of a yard.  I cut the really nice ones into 10 in squares but only if I could get at least two 10 in squares (I use these in Delectable Mtns or just by themselves).  If there is fabric left, I cut them into 5 inch squares.  If the piece is wide enough left, I will cut smaller squares (4 1/2 inches, 4 inches, 3 1/2 inches).  If smaller than that, I just cut a 2 1/2 in strip and any left just gets stuffed into a miscellaneous bag if 1 in wide or larger.  

My reasoning for the sizes was (1) seems to be the popular sizes that are being sold online and in quilt shops and (2) I use a lot of the 2 1/2 in size which both 5 and 10 are easily divided by.  I am very very predominately a scrap quilter when doing traditional quilting and have been my whole quilting career.  My exceptions are of course my stack and whack and art quilts.  My very first quilts (applique which was my introduction to quilting) were scrap quilts, even before I had ever heard the term -- my first quilt teacher called me that when she saw my fabric selection for the sampler she was teaching!

I have emptied two plastic boxes of miscellaneous fabric leftovers!  I will have a head start on many charity quilts!  I am very very thankful to have one of those wonderful rulers with the slits in them so I can make very accurate cuts and go through several layers at a time! 

I should also note that I have a ton of black and white fabric -- I used to buy it with the intention of overdyeing it so have substantial yardage.  I make a lot of baby quilts using this fabric now so I cut the small pieces of black and white fabric into 3 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch pieces.  I use this in the quilts I have pictured quite a few times in my blog!  I have so much, I may decide to cut some into the 10 in squares at some later point.  I have been using quite a bit of it for backing lately as they are substantial pieces. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Using up All the Leftover Stuff - Making Progress


Well, I finished the first and second of the three Baltimore Album leftovers quilt tops.  They measure about 40 x 57 and I am pleased with them!

I killed two birds with one stone here, using the leftover blocks and a lot of the leftover strip fabric I made so long ago.  I still have a bunch.  Some of my ice dyed fabric made a nice outside border!

This quilt was inspired by a quilt I saw on Facebook which used a Delectable Mountains block to make flower-like blocks.  I had this pile of 5 inch blocks cut from the leftovers of various quilts.  I have been trying to decide what to do with these blocks as they stare at me each day.  I finally decided to try the Delectable Mountain approach with these blocks, making half square triangles with the blocks and white.  Instead of cutting them in four pieces, I cut them in half. When sewn back together,  this results in blocks that are 5 inch by 4 1/2 inches.  In order to put the four together, you need to use a partial seam approach, adding a center made from a 1 inch square which finishes to 1/2 inch.  This was the tricky part but finally I figured out a way to make this happen.  Even the border is scrap as it was used in the first quilt above!  

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Still Attacking the UFOs!

The beginning of another quilt which will be pretty long using these 4 leftover stack and whack blocks from very  very early on in my stack and whack history.  Have no idea where the original quilt is!

Here it is done with the blue strips from my large collection of strips.  They are darker than they appear here.  The quilt is about 40 x 65.  

I finally decided to divide up the Baltimore album leftovers into three quilts plus 3 pillows.  Each of the 3 quilts will be in this format and should be fairly long.  The ones I saved for the pillows are the fancier ones with lots of applique.  I was finding it hard to give them away in charity quits.  You can see I used more of the strips here and it was definitely a pain to cut these!

Here I was auditioning what fabrics I would use to frame these red and green blocks.  I wanted a fabric with both red and green in it and not a Christmas fabric!  I decided to go with the lowest one which is a wild abstract -- a fabric I really like but seem to have bought more than once!  I will use the red and green with the huge flowers as backing.  The tulips go back to the stash to back a smaller quilt.  

I still have to decide the fate of 3 more of these blocks.


Friday, August 5, 2022

Attacking the UFOs

We had a request from one of the RAFA members to contribute 6 inch square pieces to her for a charity here in Rochester called Empty Bowls where potters make bowls which are auctioned.  She is making some kind of wall hanging to go with the auction.  I utilized some very small pieces of leftover painted fabrics to make my bowls.  I had held onto these pieces, wondering what I would ever do with them as they were small and there weren't many.  Seemed like a good  use.  Each one is appliqued, batted and zig-zagged around the outside.

I decided to only use the Baltimore Album blocks instead of including the birds as they just were dwarfed.  I settled on this arrangement and then decided again to take the three more complex blocks and make pillows from them and then use the remaining 9 blocks in groups of 3, 4 or 5 to make the medallion type quilts which I have made with some of the other leftover blocks.  They follow!

Here is the first one completed.  It measures 42 x 60 inches and will be donated.  It is made up of 4 leftover stack and whack blocks and the columns are made up of fabric that I pieced, cut and recut and then never  used for any project but thought it was perfect for this.

I really liked how this one turned out!  It is made up of a runner I made to show some ladies how to do disappearing 9-patches.  I utilized a bunch of my marbled fabrics for the squares and the border is made from the huge pile of the strip yardage I made from leftover blue fabrics many years ago.

It measures 38 x 65 and I might just keep this one!  I found some perfect fabric for backing both of these quilt tops.


Tuesday, August 2, 2022


I decided not to start any new projects for now as it would probably just be another stack and whack!  I have a box of excess blocks, UFOs, sewn together strips and other miscellaneous projects.  I did a cursory look through the box and pulled out a bunch of square blocks and some projects from long ago!

This was a runner that I did when showing a group of women how to do a disappearing 9 patch.  I didn't care for it as it was just too dark so never finished it.  I decided to incorporate it into a quilt with cuts from those huge sets of strips that I have.  Here is auditioning to see how it would look with the strips interspersed with white or off-white.  It's a go.

This was a combination of several leftover stack and whack blocks for a quilt I once completed (and I have no idea where it might be!).  I decided to combine it with some pieces that I cut up some time ago from another quilt that didn't make it.  I was going to use them in combination with some bird blocks I had bought for practically nothing from a guild member.  I will add some white and probably some solids strips to make it wide enough for a quilt.

This is my conundrum though!  I made this 40 x 40 inch top in a Nancy Crow class in 1992 -- yes 30 years ago when I found it even more difficult to leave the "block" concept in quilting.  It is made up of 25 of these blocks.  I would love to find a use for it and would donate it for a baby quilt but it may just be too ugly.  I am going to surround it with a dark border in hopes that will bring it a little bit together.  Currently it has a pale yellow border (not shown).  Is there any hope?

This was easily the most shocking discovery!  I had 13 blocks leftover from a Baltimore Album quilt started 40 years ago and finished about 5 years ago.  The 2 center blocks are the bird blocks and I think they have to go as they just look lost.  I have 2 more unfinished blocks and 1 that is slightly stained with red splotch.  I am thinking I am somehow going to resurrect two of these three and put them in the middle.  One thing I did decided, however, was to use the "quilt as you go" method to quilt this quilt.  This was a relief as I didn't want to hand quilt this one. (I did hand quilt the original).  One of the blocks is really from another class I took some time ago but it blends okay with the Baltimore Album blocks.