I love my mom-in-law, she is such a cool lady. She does not quilt, but she loves my quilts. Over the years she has given me many, many yards of quilting fabrics for holidays, birthdays, and just because. Today the UPS man showed up with another box of fabric from her – just because.
The mom-in-law is a wonderful oil painter of scenery. We have entirely different tastes in color, patterns, and end products. That is one reason why I love the fabric she gets me – it is fabric I would never buy for myself. Of course the other reason is because I love her.
Is she helping me become a fabric hoarder?
This box had western style fabrics, St. Patrick’s Day fabrics, and brights. You know greens, pinks, and yellows. They ranged in size from a quarter yard to a 2 yard piece.
The box contained right at 25 yards of fabric. Naturally I had to “pet” all the fabric and make sure that it was not hurt in its’ travels from Montana to here. This leads to sorting and dreaming about more projects….
She and I have a great relationship but we have never gone on a fabric shopping trip together! Yes, in 30+ years that has never happened. Why? I honestly don’t know, but it just hasn’t happened.
I have a scrap 4 patch started for her Christmas gift this year and I will be putting in some of the fun and bright fabrics she gets me through out the year.
Look at any of the quilts on this blog, and chances are very good some fabric from my mom-in-law is in it. And she usually gets some of the fabric back in a quilted item for herself.
And you thought I bought all that fabric in my stash myself…
MORAL OF THE sTORY:
When you make up a wish list or “Christmas” type list for yourself, always say you would like 100% cotton fabric. I tell anyone who asks what I would like is more fabric for a birthday, holiday, or other occasion gift.
Be gracious and thankful for any fabric you do get. You can use it, trade it, or “re-gift” it to another quilter. Good quilting fabric is always useful in some form.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
TRIANGLE CHARM QUILT – So my quilting buddy (SB) and I had the brilliant idea to do some charm quilts using the same fabric packs, but we did different patterns or ways to put the charm pieces together. I simply took my 5″ squares and made half square triangles from them. I added enough “charm” pieces from my own stash to make the top big enough to suit me.
The green sashing and brown posts were out of my stash. I just wanted someplace for my eyes to rest and all those triangles were busy.
I pieced the Triangle Charm Quilt top during March to May 2002. It was fun, and it was fun to work with some different fabrics I would not have bought otherwise.
I kept track of the charms by keeping the fabrics in baggies by main color. Since the point of “charm quilts” is to only have one piece of each fabric in a quilt you will want to find a way to know what fabrics you have already used.
The definition I found for charm quilts “…when quilters make a charm quilt, no fabric is used more than one time in the quilt“.
This was machine quilted in May or June 2002 by RLM.
My 2020 goal was to use as many of my scraps as possible. I made the “executive” decision that any fabric a quarter yard or smaller went from the shelves into the scrap bin back in March when I did a total cleaning of the sewing room.
I took every single piece of fabric off the shelves, went through every drawer, looked in every project box….scary stuff. Some of those things I hadn’t seen in years. So after the dust cleared I decided that even though I already had a list of 12 UFOs I wanted to finish this year – I was going to use as many of the scraps on hand for those projects as possible.
I love all my fabric and that includes the scraps. When I decided that any fabric a quarter yard or smaller went into the scrap bin suddenly there were four bins instead of the previous two. Ugh.
I needed some inspiration on how to deal with the scraps. Pintrest, Facebook, and other quilt blogs were fun to look at. However, I discovered that other quilters have oodles of scraps too and are trying to find ways to use them.
I do not have a scrap organization system:
The scraps are simply thrown in the bins.
I actually like this system for now because I am just taking out handfuls, ironing them, and cutting them into 2.5″ strips, 3″ squares or tumbler shapes. I went to the local dollar store and purchased see through plastic containers with lids for these standard sizes and shapes that I use in my quilt making.
The continuing challenge:
My personal challenge is to use as many of my scraps up in 2021 as possible. I have been cutting strips, squares, and tumblers as time allowed during 2020 and have several see-through plastic bins of each now.
The thought as I cut up the scraps into standard shapes and sizes that the scraps would be less. Oh so wrong. I think they multiply while in those bins. I started the year with two bins of scraps, and am currently at four.
Are you drowning in scraps too?? For 2021 find quilt designs that will utilize your scraps. Making scrap quilts is fun, and gives a feeling of not being wasteful. If you are tired of your scraps, trade with another quilter to give you some new fabric to work with. Have fun.
COLLECTING TOILE FABRIC & HOW I USE THEM IN QUILTS? I am that odd person who collects toile fabrics. Yes, the weird prints that involve people, scenery, or animals that are two colors. They look like something your grandma may have used. I admit it – I am obsessed with collecting toile fabrics. All colors and designs.
I honestly cannot explain my fascination with these fabrics, but I rarely pass them up when I find this fabric for sale.
At this point, you are asking, “what does this weird fabric have to do with quilting?”
The piles grew bigger and crawled from the cupboard to the floor and continued to grow. One day I was complaining to my husband about needing to piece together a backing for a quilt.
He listened patiently (nope, didn’t even roll his eyes) and asked me why I didn’t use all the fabric that was in piles on the floor? What exactly was I saving it for? Eureka!!!!!!! What a great way to use the toile and not have to cut up the gorgeous fabric!!!!
My beautiful stash is finally being used without a whole lot of cutting it up into small pieces that I don’t find pretty at all. (However, I am trying to come up with a pattern to actually try to put some of this wonderful fabric into a quilt top).
The photos here are toile fabrics that are currently in my extensive collection.
Quilters, we all have that stash of our favorite fabric that we pet, look at, run our hands across, rearrange, and buy more of but do not ever use. Who says the back of the quilt must be some plain fabric? Let’s give our quilts pretty backings.
It’s so easy to do the same style of quilts in the same colors or fabric designs which is why I push myself out of my own comfort zone periodically and do something I have not done in the quilt realm. It’s so easy to get stagnant and I want to learn new things – even in quilting.
I rarely do mystery quilts because I am very visual and want to see how the top looks when it is finished. Which apparently takes all the fun out of it…..
I passed the pattern to another quilter when the top was finished. However, I do remember that it was all squares and rectangles which went together easily.
Remember the saying “Laughter is the best medicine”? This week has been rough. We need something light hearted in the midst of all the anger and fear being projected by events and media. Quilters – laughter is good for us.
Let me encourage you, this time shall pass. The year of 2020, which started with promise, has deteriorated into a full blown mess. But as my grandma would say, “make lemonade from those lemons.”
With that in mind, I thought just to share a few things that made me laugh today. I am hoping they cheer up your day, and that you get a laugh from them. All of the following are from my Pintrest board “Fun Quilting Quotes”.
Remember quilters – laughter is good for us. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” (KJV) Proverbs 17:22
The Bird in the Air quilt that I had given me the idea had lots of blocks all set together in rows with narrow sashing and posts. There is nothing wrong with that, but once I had enough blocks made to start playing with how I would set them together that “look” just did not inspire me. Um….now what?
Finally after some time of playing around with different settings, I came up with this by putting four blocks together:
So I made a total of 16 large blocks (each made with 4 of the original Birds in the Air blocks). At this point I did not want to make anymore of these blocks. I sewed the 16 large blocks into four rows of four large blocks. The top of Scrap Bonanza #1 was about 60″ square.
It is really cheerful and bright and busy at this point. I love it but wow, I need somewhere to rest my eyes. So I will add a solid border – I still have lots of 2.5″ strips. Just FYI, the brown border is linen left over from another project.
I have two plastic containers of 2.5″ strips for log cabin blocks. What if I made a piano key border to complete this quilt? Can I be honest – I am not a fan of piano key borders. They are time consuming to make and right at this point, I just wanted this quilt top done.
So I looked around at my stash of UFOs – was there other blocks that could be used as a border? Not that I wanted to use for this. How about just a plain old solid border? That would be quick and easy. None of the fabrics I auditioned for an outer border looked right.
Yep, back to my first idea – make a piano key border. So I just started pulling strips out of the container. No rhyme to the colors I just sew the strips end to end into a long, long, long strip.
Cut the strips into 15″ lengths. Sew those lengths together in pairs down the long sides. Make enough to add to sides of top so this border goes all the way around.
I added the border to one side, then opposite side. Made a lot more border which I added to the remaining two sides. It was time consuming, but really easy. This quilt top “Scrap Bonanza #1” is done and I am really happy with it.
I also did not stress that all my points were not perfect. The “quilt police” are not coming after this quilt (I would not listen to them anyway). It was fun to make and really made a dent in the scrap problem I am trying to conquer.
Your mission should you decide to accept is to make a dent in your scrap bin. Step out of your comfort zone, do something fun (and maybe a little wild) with all those scraps you have been holding onto because they are just too nice to throw away. Have fun. Be creative. Enjoy the quilt journey you are on.
Now I am confined to working from home until further notice. It is so much easier to be productive on my quilts when I am right here at home. So I am challenging myself to see how many “quarantine” quilts I can make during this time.
Feel free to join me in this if you want. We can always give the tops or quilts away to friends or family. Or we can donate them to a worthy cause.
The past few days have been interesting to say the least when it comes to the media panic over corona virus and how people around the USA are re-acting. I live in a rural area and am currently working from home instead of traveling for work. Any excuse for taking time to quilt is always good, but quilting during a crisis is productive and helps relieve the stress.
I want to encourage you to take care of yourself including eating properly, getting enough rest, some form of exercise, and of course quilting. If you are not sick, the most important thing is to stay well. If you are already sick, rest and allow yourself to get well.
This is great time to drag out those quilting UFOs you have shoved to the back of the closet. Pick one or two to work on and get busy. Busy hands tend to help us have better moods and being able to see progress on a project is always great.
Another important thing to do during this time is check on other people to see how they are doing or if you can help. Obviously the best way to check on people right now is using the phone or other technology. As quilters we tend to be generous and this is a great time to show that.
It looks like I will be working from home at least two weeks. I am understandably happy to not be traveling right now. Here is what I am doing that is quilt related during this quarantine time:
Weeding old quilt magazines
Cutting scraps into standard sizes and putting into plastic containers
Catching up on reading other quilting blogs
Some encouragement about Quilting During A Crisis:
I pieced French Country Life in early 2013. I collect toile fabrics but can’t bare to cut them up for piecing. Plus they are so busy it is hard to work larger pieces of them into a quilt. So I decided to be “brave” and just cut up a piece of toile to go in this quilt.
Many of the yellow and blue fabrics of the nine patches are reproductions of historic prints. Combined with the toile, I thought it would make a really historic looking quilt, especially if I hand quilted it.
I am going to admit that I didn’t measure correctly (a good reminder to measure twice and cut once) and the quilt ended up to big for my hand quilting frame.
The flip side of it being to big for my hand quilting frame is that I simply love the colors. It has a real “old world” feel and look to it. I can and have put it on the bed back side up for a different look.
French Country Life was machine quilted in an all-over wave design by RLM in May 2013, and it took me until Dec. 2013 to get the binding and tag done.
I made the binding from left over pieces of blue and yellow bindings from previous quilts.
The top is cottons, it has a poly batting and a blue/cream floral backing.
The finished size is 102″ square.
Even if there are mistakes in your quilts, finish them. If you are happy with the end product – enjoy the quilt, show if off, and tell it’s story. If you are not happy with it, complete and give to a family member who does like it. Or donate it within your community. Quilts are comforting and snuggly even with mistakes.
More ideas for nine patch quilts. Also toile fabric: