Monday, January 31, 2022

How to make a scrap quilt

 It was another successful Virtual Retreat. We had a few more people pop onto the call to check out what's happening, and welcome to all of YOU! We're not a scary bunch at all, and basically, the chitchat is much more exciting than sewing by yourself. And if you happen to finish something -- you've got someone to share it with. 

The diehards show up every month and stay for most of the day, and others just pop in to say HI; both work. My circle of friends has grown enormously through the monthly Zoom calls, and I've gotten to know others much better. And the range of knowledge and expertise is VAST, and I learn so much from the others. 

But the MOST important thing that has happened from Zoom is it cut down my therapy bill! OK - so I was never in therapy, but you have no idea how happy it makes me feel to know that I'm not the only one with a particular issue or experiencing something. If you don't talk to someone, you'll never know that you are NEVER alone in a feeling or situation. That comforts me! 

I never feel the need to go deep into my issues with the online group, and no one does, but there are lots of us that have things going on in our lives, and just knowing that someone else has something similar -- well, that's worth the price of these sessions. 

So a HUGE thank you to everyone who comes and shares their joy, sadness, frustration, and successes. I'm so glad we've created a SAFE environment for people to do so, and I think it has saved my sanity during the pandemic. 

The next one is scheduled for February 26 and 27 if you want to mark it on your calendar. 

Sometimes, I find all the chitchat distracting when I sew something complicated, so I dug out a bag of scraps to see what I could come up with. It was a coordinated bag of flannel scraps. 

The big bag of flannel scraps

This is a fabric that keeps coming back to haunt me. I purchased a kit many years ago and, of course, had some leftovers. Then I think I bought another kit to make a quilt for someone. Then another, and I think along the way, I received scraps from someone else who also purchased the same kit. Anyway -- now there's this bag of coordinated fabric. 

I opened the bag and found some binding scraps, so they got set aside. 

Binding strips

I found some cutoffs from making a diagonal join for the borders, and those all got sewn up into half-square triangles. 

Triangles of fabric

Then I sorted out the larger pieces that may get cut into blocks, and the last pile was all the bits. 

Sorting through the scraps

Oops -- potty break for the little guy! It was warmer yesterday, so he ventured out a bit further than he has done in previous days but never forgets to come back in! He's just tall enough to peek in the back door. 

AH -- let me in!

I am busy "making" fabric. I have to say that this is a very freeing exercise, although it does take time. But that's OK. It's like sewing a puzzle together -- how can you put all those bits together to create something new? And what's hilarious is that the modern quilters of the world have a favorite technique -- improv quilting. Guess what?? Our pioneer sisters created that technique!!! It's how quilting started. 

Improv piecing

At one point, I had to sort out a smaller pile of scraps to get similar lengths and am starting to sew those together. Like I said, it's a great thing to do while on Zoom. 

Sorting scraps while on Zoom

I ended the day with 20 blocks, which will get trimmed to 8½". So this is pretty exciting. I plan to make 56 blocks and have a small border around the edges. I still have some larger pieces to deal with, and there are still enough scraps to make - well, I would say at least 10 more blocks. 

I still have the large pieces that I haven't touched -- it's always best to deal with the smaller stuff first. I'll continue to work on the quilt at Monday sewing, and then I might put it away. NO -- I want to get this finished to take it to Diane, and she can sew the blocks together. That would eliminate this big bag of scraps, and anything leftover will go with the rest of the flannel scraps. 

I know that many of you might be shaking your head. Why would I, who has tons of projects on the go and all those UFOs, spend my time dealing with this? It's the satisfaction of making something with nothing. I don't need to make another beautiful quilt from fresh yardage. I have so many now; the quilts are totally NOT important to me. It's the process of creating and sewing that is what makes me tick. 

And I seriously think that if I didn't look at my stash again but continued to sew from the scrap boxes and complete what I've started, I'd be a happy sewist for many years. The only new projects I'm really starting are the sew-alongs, and I do those because they make me happy sewing with a group. I LOVE to see what others do with the same pattern, especially when they use the opportunity to grow outside the box. 

So it all works out just nicely. Will I ever get rid of the scraps? Well, the situation is a whole lot better than it used to be. There are still scraps to deal with, but now that I'm getting that under control -- I feel much better about it. As for the boxes where I store my cotton scraps? I bet there are 30+ quilts in those boxes. Yep -- you'd be shocked at how small a dent that making a scrap quilt results in those boxes. I don't know why that is, but it is!

Here are some of the blocks that I made yesterday. 

Scrappy blocks

More scrappy blocks

I have to say that I'm thrilled with them, and I have some cotton "strings" to use up, and I may do this with them. Just random sewing together. They look fantastic, and I can't wait to see the quilt together! Actually, this would be the perfect thing to do at retreats (which I did at the last retreat) and Monday sewing and the Virtual Retreats. Then I can save the more complicated stuff when I'm not on Zoom. 

Well, guess what time it is? It's not even 6 AM, and I'm writing the blog. Why? Because the gym is open again, and I'll be on my way to spin class shortly. I had to find my shoes, cycling shorts, and a few other things necessary for spin class. I can barely wait to sit in the steam room afterward and spend a few quiet moments reflecting on the day!

We also had an exciting session for our creativity class yesterday morning. Oh boy -- I saw some creative projects being worked on yesterday -  they were that inspired, and some were finished by the end of the day! That makes my heart sing! I contemplated making a new project, and I think I will. It's a great way to unleash the creative juices and so easy to get inspiration from anywhere (well, for me at least). But don't worry -- I do have some mental blocks as well. Yep -- I have a couple of orphan blocks that fit the requirements, and I need to find those and use them. 

After Monday sewing, I have a list of things that need to be finished up from the weekend. And, of course, there is the paperwork that needs to be done. But I'll get through it -- it's a pretty quiet week, although DH is away on business, so I'm on my own for meals! ACK! But I have company in the form of M and Little Bear. OK -- so that was bad timing - I could have had the house to myself for a  week. 

I'll be looking for class ideas soon, and rather than start any new projects, I want to teach TECHNIQUES. So if you have something you'd like to learn, let me know. I have a free motion class this weekend (part one of two), and there are oodles of people in that class. I hope they are prepared to do homework! 

On that note, I'm out of here! 

Have a super day and if you're near me -- enjoy the much warmer weather!


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