Getting Scrappy!

I’ve had a very satisfying week – and it’s not over yet! The final push to prepare for the reopening of the pop up craft shop in town is underway. Due to open next Wednesday there will be around 40 local crafters (including your’s truly) setting up displays in readiness over this weekend. We have moved to a smaller, brighter, unit within the shopping centre (malls) and this has provided new challenges. The majority of us will be displaying our wares on long narrow wall spaces, 64cm wide by 2.9m tall (25″ x 9’6″). That’s really not enough space to adequately display a quilt so, with permission, I’ve downsized, there will now be tote bags and pot holders alongside table runners and my first pattern for sale.

Two new tote bags and three pot holders ready for All Our Own Crafts, Basingstoke 🙂

So satisfying to finish five items in just four days! Specially lovely as our daughter was home for a few days and settled down with her crochet while I played with fabrics – good times 🙂

Where do the scraps come into this tale? Well! For a start I’ve created some more scraps with all this cutting and stitching! But more significantly I have put into action a dream project, namely creating a ‘scrap vortex’ quilt a la the Queen of Scraps, Amanda Jean of crazymomquilts. Amanda Jean issued a series of blog posts back in 2015 initiating an informal quilt along, encouraging us all to dive into our scrap bins. I have an on-off relationship with scraps, sometimes saving them, sometimes not. Having been inspired by the Scrap Vortex posts I’ve been diligently keeping my scraps (even sorting them into brights or ‘traditionals’ as I go). Knowing I’d be making a succession of small projects I decided this would be the time to start the scrap quilt. An added brain wave was to sew the scraps together ‘leader and ender’ style – I’ve never made a leader and ender quilt either so ‘two birds with one stone’ and all that… (Special thanks to Katy of katyquilts for explaining what a leader/ender quilt is!).

The usual look of my ‘leaders and enders’ (the little scraps of fabric used at the beginning and end of a line of stitching to help ensure the first stitches in a seam are nice and strong and to save thread at the end of stitching a seam).

It was only when I opened up the box of bright scraps that I realised just how tightly packed they had become! After just one rummage the whole lot had exploded out of the box all over the floor next to my sewing station!

The exploding scraps! :-O

As you can see in the photo, I keep my freezer paper and rolls of interfacing in a funky bin… Humm… Time to tip out the rolls and throw in the scraps!

Perfect! I can just lean down from my sewing chair, have a rummage, find a couple of scraps to stitch together – my leaders & enders and scrap vortex all in one quilt is under way. Of course, the temptation to put rubbish in the bin of scraps is very strong and I have caught myself adding little bits of thread to the scraps!

The scrap bin solution! The tub on the side contains the scraps I’ve pulled out and decided not to use in this particular quilt.

As I detach the scrappy leaders and enders from a length of chain piecing, I just throw them into a little basket next to my machine.

The leaders and enders destined to become my scrap vortex quilt.

As I’ve already indicated I have enjoyed making the bags and pot holders – in fact I cut out another bag and three more pot holders this morning. As I’ve been stitching, setting prices for my wares has been in my mind. Like many crafters I tend to ask too little for what I make. Honestly, how many of us get anything like a living wage from selling our crafted items once the time taken to make each item is taken into consideration? This year I am using the Design Trusts ‘Dream/Plan/Do’ planner journal to try and think about what I do with more of a ‘business head’. It’s been illuminating and sobering. On the one hand I have really gained by thinking through exercises around business issues such as identifying my core values, setting three main goals for the year, marketing and *oh! boy* finances. I really don’t have aspirations to run a true business, my ambition is to make my hobby/obsession self-financing. Here’s the rub: as I was stitching and calculating returns on prices I found myself looking at mis-matched points in a seam and thinking, “Well! For that price, people can’t expect perfection.” This thought was in direct conflict with one of my heartfelt core values: ‘skillful, quality workmanship’. Which makes me think that under-valuing an item for sale is not just financially detrimental to the maker but can have a negative impact on work ethic too. Hardly a revolutionary conclusion, but I share it because I was surprised that, even in my little world of commerce, being undervalued could so unexpectedly affect my attitude to what I’m making and the levels of satisfaction I gain from the process of creating.

A quick re-think was required and it was a relief to acknowledge that doing a ‘task’ to the best of my ability is the surest way to find satisfaction whether that be in creating for the fun of it or making products to sell.

Linking for the first time with Leanne at Scraptastic Tuesday and (very appropriately) with Amanda Jean for finish it up Friday with no less than five finishes under my belt – whoop! whoop!

Have a great weekend.



10 thoughts on “Getting Scrappy!

  1. I read on another blog this week a tip for making bags to sell, you can buy ‘painters canvas drop sheets’ from the DIY store for a good price.


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