Using up the blue scraps

Ha! When I declare, ‘I’m using up the blue scraps’ patchwork quilters reading this will understand my bin of blue scraps is no where near being emptied! In fact after all my rummaging the bin appeared to be overflowing even more than when I’d started! πŸ˜€

Left: Blocks of the Santa Fe Sew Along and Right: Blocks for the Dashing Stars quilt.

Anyhoo! The design wall is looking blue! And after a few hours of rummaging, playing with options and rotary cutting I have been able to clear my cutting table.

I have the pieces cut to make 10 more of the square-in-a-square blocks for the Dashing Stars beginners course quilt. I used the calculator from the Quilter’s Paradise website to give the cutting measurements for an 8″ finished block. After making a test block I’ve decided to keep the centre piece at 6-1/8th inches but to increase slightly the size of squares to cut into the outer triangles to 5″ square. This adjustment allows me to square-up the blocks to 8Β½” unfinished whilst ensuring there is a generous ΒΌ” seam allowance at each of the points. I also selected and cut out the pieces for the other blocks I need to piece to complete the Dashing Stars quilt top. So I’ve pretty much prepared the materials for the second session I’ll be teaching this coming Saturday. (Always supposing tomorrow’s PCR test comes back negative – I received a ‘close contact’ ping today – *sigh*).

As the contents of the blue scrap bin were spread across my cutting table I took the opportunity to rummage some more in order to find pieces for the ninth block of the Pieces of Santa Fe Trail Sew Along.

I checked back through Melva’s blog posts and found a photo of the completed quilt top. Altogether there are twelve 12″ blocks in a 3 x 4 layout with sashing, cornerstones and three simple borders. I’m thinking I may add a ginger coloured fabric to the sashing or borders just to add a bit of warmth amongst all the cool blues….

Once done with rummaging and cutting, I carefully folded all the scraps, laid them flat in the scrap bin and …. Wahoo! The lid clicked shut without too much persuasion. Of course that may have been partly because I sorted out and put to one side the scraps of the scraps I’ve used to make the other eight Pieces of the Trail blocks, reasoning it will be good to use each fabric more than once… This battle of the scraps is definitely becoming a devious mind-game!

Now my cutting table is clear enough for me to begin work on the I-Spy quilt I’ve been itching to make. I’ll be making a slightly smaller version of my own I-Spy Shadow Quilt pattern and using some of the novelty print 5″ squares I’ve been busy cutting to collate into the Novelty Square Packs available from my Folksy and Etsy shops. I’ve chosen blue background fabrics for my quilt so inevitably there will be a few scraps to add to the blue scrap bin, although there’s not much ‘waste’ as it’s an economic strip-piecing pattern.

I’ll be posting regular updates @allisonreid.neweverymorning on Instagram as well as here πŸ™‚

I wonder if you have been working on scrap-busting projects this year? Could you recommend a good quilt-along that is helping you keep going as you seek to make good use of your scraps?

Linking with Judy for Design Wall Monday and Beth for Monday Making. Judy has made a doll quilt with mini Pinwheel Blocks and tiny buttons. Beth is sharing the second block of her Christmas Sampler QAL.

Allison

Adjusting to a new season in and out of the sewing room

Japanese Graden, Kew by Allison Reid
Peace and tranquility at the Japanese Garden, Kew – a photo memory from Oct 2018

I knew September would throw up a lot of changes but I hadn’t factored-in quite what an impact adjusting to them all would have on my slowed-down, lock-down self. In trying to accommodate increased social activity I know I’ve dropped a few balls, including writing for this blog. Sorry for the lack of regular posts – there have been plenty written in my head!

I’m definitely not grumbling about the way life is changing, just having to acknowledge that returning to a more normal, pre-Covid, level of activity is going to take some time to get used to.

Gratitude Log. First and foremost I am grateful for the roll-out and up-take of vaccines in the UK – over 80% of the adult population is now fully vaccinated. The vaccination programme has made the following events possible and I’m acutely aware that most of the World’s population have no where near the levels of Covid-safety I’m privileged to enjoy.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve been grateful because:

  • Both my husband and younger son have found employment and we are settling into new routines.
  • I’ve been on a sewing day – first in 18 months πŸ™‚ Felt so odd being in a public hall and not wearing a mask! Funny that I sat next to a lady and as we chatted we realised she’d been one of the customers I’d served earlier that week in Purple Stitches – we’d both been wearing masks in the shop so didn’t recognise one another!
  • The ladies mid-week Bible study group at Church has begun meeting in-person rather than on Zoom.
  • We’ve been able to meet up with family and friends for a variety of socials including birthday celebrations and an in-person meeting of our Housegroup.
  • I’ve begun teaching again. The first class of the four session Beginners Course took place last Saturday.

Whew! That’s a lot of social activity and I’ve just had to accept that it’s going to take introvert me a little time to cope with this return to a more balanced social routine.

Which makes me grateful for something else, namely my sewing room πŸ™‚ Definitely a place to retreat into, find rest in creativity or just find rest in pottering about, fondling fabric and playing with new ideas. Occasionally this sewing room space does become a place of work though. For the past two weeks I have been pressing, rotary cutting and collating novelty print fabrics. I managed to source 42 different cotton prints. After laundering them all I set about cutting them into 1,156 five inch squares! (I’ve only just worked that out – definitely better not to have known at the start of the process how many were needed!).

I have collated the squares into eighteen packs of 42 and twenty packs of 20. All are now listed in my Etsy and Folksy shops for UK customers. Alongside the packs of novelty squares I’ve listed my I-Spy Shadow Quilt pattern. I’m proud of this pattern as I designed it to be a quick and easy make and it has received positive reviews ☺️

Apart from the 42 novelty print squares all that’s required to complete the patchwork are two background fabrics – one a darker shade of the main background to create the ‘shadows’. The pattern has step-by-step instructions for strip piecing. Despite appearances there’s no fiddling about with sashing as the strips between the novelty squares are part of the blocks. The pattern is available as a pdf download on Etsy or as a printed pattern for UK customers on Folksy. (Unfortunately Etsy add tax onto the price of the pattern – obviously I don’t receive that money).

Handling all the novelty fabrics has got me fired up to make another I-Spy Shadow quilt. I think I’ll try making a smaller version using 30 novelty squares in a 5 by 6 layout. I’ll be posting my progress here and on Instagram @allisonreid.neweverymorning

Background fabrics along with the excess novelty squares I’ll be using.

Other projects that need attention this weekend are my blocks for the Beginners Class – can’t have the teacher falling behind on the homework! I’ve taught the Beginners Course several times, making at least five versions of Viv’s Dashing Stars quilt.

My most recent Dashing Stars quilt – I added borders to this one.

This time around I’m mainly using fabrics from my overflowing bins of blue scraps. I’ve decided to alter the pattern a bit by making Square-in-a-Square Blocks in place of the large feature fabric squares. I used this table on the Quilter’s Paradise site to figure out the cutting of the fabrics for the Square-in-a-Square Blocks. A very handy resource for anyone who ties themselves in knots doing quilt math!

Once I’ve done my Beginners Course homework and the prep for lesson two I will turn my attention to the ninth block of the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along. I’m making these blocks using scraps of blue fabric – surely I’ll be able to close the lids on those bins soon? πŸ˜€

I hope you have some time to be creative this weekend.

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday.

Happy Stitching!

Allison

PS. Catching up with reading blog posts is definitely on my list with the intention to re-establish Saturday Quilting Bring & Share posts as soon as I have brain space to absorb more than ‘absolutely necessary’ information!

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (267)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share πŸ™‚ I hope you have time to take a break to do some stitching over the weekend. Bring along your project(s) and share in the inspiration and information posted by members of our Worldwide Quilting Community. If you are inspired by any of the links you click through to, do leave a message in the comments box to be part of the sharing πŸ™‚

I’m sorry to be a bit of cracked record but again I’ve been bag-making. A third go at the Pelican Tote by Bagstock Designs. I added a recessed zipper closure to this one.

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Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (262)

Welcome to a belated edition of Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. I hope you have had a weekend full of creative opportunities. Hopefully you will have just enough time to click on the links below to pick up some of the creative inspiration and know-how being shared by members of our Worldwide Quilting Community πŸ™‚

I’m still on my bag-making thing! This week I tried a bag pattern which includes a bit of hardware (bling :-D). The Ana Crossbody Purse by Bagstock Designs was quite a challenge for me but thankfully Julie the Juki was up to the job of powering through multiple layers of fabric, interfacing and foam interlining. Between us we managed to produce a bag with – even if I do say so myself – quite a professional finish 😊

To help with stitching through multiple layers I fitted a Janome Purple Tip needle to my machine. The blurb on the packet reads, ‘The purple tip needle effectively prevents skipped stitches when sewing stretch fabrics, quilt layers and also for sewing across the hem.‘ The needle did produce fairly even sized stitches through the thickest seams and worked well with the Aurifil 40wt thread I used throughout this project.

When it came to top-stitching the narrow ΒΎ” bag strap I came up with a wizard wheeze to keep all the layers together and the open seam edges neatly on top of each other: I threaded the adjustable slider onto the strap and just kept moving it down the long strip of fabric as I carefully stitched the 1/8th inch seam. Worked a treat!

My Ana bag is now listed in my Folksy shop.

I must put my bag-making supplies away now and concentrate on a couple of projects that have imminent deadlines: first my contribution to the Summer Scrap Elimination 2021 goes live on 8th July; second I’m planning a one-to-one beginners course due to start on 9th July. The latter has been particularly good for me; for one it’s exciting to be getting into the teaching groove after a very long break, also preparing the course has got me back designing quilts, something I just haven’t felt in the mood to do for months.

I hope you have your creative sew-jo in motion, giving you a lift and a break from the everyday πŸ™‚ If you are in need of help to get stitching (even though you know it would do you good) I recommend Jo Westfoot’s ‘find your sew-jo‘ article published a couple of months into the first lockdown.

And so to a few of the blog posts that could help inspire us and/or improve our patchwork quilting skills:

It’s Week 2 of the Summer Scrap Elimination 2021 and Swan has a great tutorial showing a way to use up left-over fabric triangles. She also shares a link to Tammy’s scrap busting blog tutorial. Tammy has been experimenting with weaving skinny strips of fabrics on a a simple frame loom – she shares loads of handy tips.

Carole has been given a Quilt of Valor to quilt on her longarm machine. The repeated block design on the quilt top is a chunky Churn Dash with a Sawtooth Star in the centre. It really is a very effective combo. Took me a while to recognise the Churn Dash design – wonder if you see it straight away or have to squint at the photo for a while?

Ever considered Creating an Ombre Quilt? Brittany has made several and has a whole host of tips re. design and fabric choices.

Linking with Michelle for the Beauties Pageant. Linking with Sandra for the DrEAMi link up as my Ana bag certainly wasn’t a planned project and did cause me to drop everything and make it! Also linking with Cheryl for the Favourite Finish Monthly Link Up – there’s a lovely gallery of quilts and more to look through and admire πŸ™‚

Happy Stitching!

Allison