As I was sifting through a box this week, I happened upon an old Unfinished Object list. While I was happy to note that I had completed at least one project on the list in the past year, I still had several more to finish and had even added new projects over the past year. So I sat down to make a revised list.
Here’s what I ended up with:
Pink and green paper-piecing quilt
Tiny pineapples quilt
4-patch squares scrap quilt
Striped squares scrap quilt
Lemon Pepper quilt (Just needs to be quilted.)
Other Craft Projects
I suppose my list is not as lengthy as other’s lists, but it is still a bit daunting.
Here’s a peek at each of them:
Despite the urge to start another new something, I chose to work on three of these projects this week. I worked on the pink and green paper piecing quilt, which will probably end up hanging on a wall in our home. Or it may be a lap quilt. I haven’t decided yet what we’ll do with it. I also worked on the 4-patch scrap quilt. I intended to continue working on the pink and green paper piecing when I wandered into the office/sewing room later in the week. However, I arrived just as my husband, who often works from home, started listening to an audiobook. Normally, I’m not a fan of action books (in this case, Lee Child’s The Sentinel), but I somehow got hooked in the first few minutes. Since I was unable to hear it playing over the sound of the sewing machine, I chose to work on my cross-stitch project. Abandoning all of my other work, I arrived in the sewing room/office the next day to continue listening and cross-stitching. This could quickly become a dangerous habit!
For the past year or so I’ve been attempting to make a dent in my fabric scraps. I would assume, after finishing three lap quilts, that I’ve succeeded. So why does it seem as if there’s still just as many bits and pieces left to use up?
Here is my most recently completed scrappy lap quilt. I finished this one up earlier this week.
I used up lots of odd blocks and extra pieces cut for other quilts. (See those triangle squares with the autumn colors matched with the light tan? Those were extras left over from the first quilt I ever finished.) I used up many small scraps by sewing them together, cutting a straight edge, then adding a new piece or section to that straight edge. For this quilt I was even able to use up some binding I had leftover from another project. The backing, which I showed in a previous post, consisted of brightly-colored rectangles. (These were fabrics I wasn’t overly fond of, so weeding them out in a useful way was great!) It may be a bit eye-crossing to look at, but it is still nice and toasty and was so enjoyable, though time consuming, to make. (The blocks for this quilt were 19″ by 15.” I did all-over meandering quilting since the top wasn’t busy enough!)
Here are all three I’ve completed within the last year or so. Two are very similar. the third one (the one on the left) was made by sewing strips of fabric to paper triangles. I absolutely adore that one, but that was a whole lot of triangles!!
After I complete a few of the projects on my lengthy list of Uncompleted Objects, my next scrap project will involve figuring out what to do with all of the bits left over from my I Spy quilt fabrics. (I have made numerous I Spy quilts. Nearly every single baby I’m even somewhat related to has received one. Which reminds me, I have a new niece coming soon, so I better add another I Spy quilt to my list of projects to complete.) I have an entire box of, what we’ll call, “image/picture/kids” fabrics that look like my grandmother’s newspapers after she got done cutting articles out to put in her genealogy scrapbooks. I’m thinking that I might try to play with the colors a bit for that project…maybe do something with an ombre effect.
I do this thing every month where I write out my goals for the month in my bullet journal. Sometimes I accomplish everything on the list. Sometimes I accomplish nothing on the list. Sometimes I accomplish one or two things. It all depends on how the month goes.
Last week, while reviewing my goals for September, I was reminded of how I wanted to get a quilt ready to quilt. I had two quilt tops lurking in the sewing room and decided I needed to do something with one of them.
I don’t know about any one else, but I do not like putting backing together for a quilt. I also don’t like pinning the backing, batting, and top together. But I suffered through the process, kneeling on the living room floor, with HGTV playing on the television as a distraction from the tediousness of pinning.
For this scrap quilt I chose large blocks of bright fabrics for the backing. As I looked at it laying over the ironing board, I was reminded of clown pants. I took a photo and sent it to my mom telling her what I thought. She said she liked the big blocks of bright color, so I decided they would stay.
Every couple days I’ll spend an hour or so doing random all-over quilting. I know some people aren’t fond of random all-over quilting. I love it. I don’t need a fancy machine to do it, and there are minimal threads to tie when completed. I’m probably around 3/4 finished and am pleased that I’ve done more than just get that quilt ready to quilt.
Which maybe makes up for the fact that I’m not going to complete those other goals of finishing a new quilt top or finishing one knitted sock.
Unfinished Objects. Works in Progress. I think I may have even heard them referred to as PIGs once at a quilt ruler class, though I can’t remember now what those letters stood for. Perhaps “Project In…” and something starting with ‘G.’ There was some story that went along with it about pigs in a barn or something like that. I’m in my early 40s and I think my memory is already going.
I know some people keep track of how many projects they’ve got in the works at any given time. They may even have them divided into their own little container with all the pieces carefully labeled. I am not one of those people. I’d take a picture of my sewing room right now, but that would be embarrassing. I have projects piled on my sewing table, stuff stacked in the closet, fabric on the floor that I was sorting through to start yet another project this week, laundry that needs ironing hanging off the back of my chair. It’s a disaster. I should also add that there are carefully cut fabric bits on the ironing board, which means my husband’s church attire won’t be meeting up with the iron any time soon.
I was thrilled to have several hours to spend in the sewing room on Tuesday while I enjoyed one of those incredibly rare moments when everyone was out of the house. (I homeschooled my kids and my husband works mostly from home, so days alone happen once in a blue moon. Our youngest will start college this fall, middle will move back to college for her junior year, and our eldest is living on her own in another part of the state, so those blue moon type days might roll around a little more frequently in the upcoming weeks.)
I sewed up some bits for scrap quilt #4 (or 5–I’ve lost count), then decided it was time to tackle a project I intended to do eons ago. My mom and I were supposed to take a class nearly 20 years ago to make a bed quilt. We bought the pattern, chose our fabric, but never took the class. (Which was fine with me. I’m not a class kind of person. I like to sew in solitude and figure things out on my own.)
The pattern is Pieceful Retreat by Laura Boehnke for Thread Head Designs. It makes a 99″x99″ bed quilt. I once said I would never make another quilt that large as it is difficult to quilt them on my machine (and I don’t send my quilts out for quilting), but here I am making another one.
Thus far I have nearly completed the cabin section. Only 95% of the quilt to go!
I’ve also made some progress on another scrap quilt. As I’ve mostly run out of cut strips to use for this one, I’m taking some time off from working on it until I get some more strips cut. I really like how it’s turning out, but I think I need to add to the width a bit. I thought 8 blocks wide would be sufficient, but it’s a bit smaller than I intended. I just love all the bright colors!
We’ve been replacing our deck this summer. Actually, we’ve just been replacing all horizontal surfaces, which has left us with, what I think is, a cool new look. (I’m not sure what’s going on with the little guy. I think I caught him just before he sneezed. He loves the deck. It is his absolute favorite place to be. He would probably prefer a few less trees so he could spy on the neighbor a little more easily. He really likes the neighbor or his dog. I’m not sure which. But he can stare over there for ages. It’s quite embarrassing.)
Several years ago we stained/painted the deck. It has not held up well. Within a couple years it was peeling up, falling off, and getting stuck to our feet. But this was only happening to the horizontal surfaces. Plus the wood was just getting old. Like me. We decided this year was the year it had to go. In the interest of frugality and objecting to the American way of just tossing things that are still perfectly serviceable, we kept all railings. (The old boards will be repurposed into a “boardwalk” to the pond. Presently we have an ankle-breaking path made up of downed trees.) I actually really like the painted railings with the new wood look. And, that view isn’t too shabby either!
On Saturday I assisted with the deck project, attempting to unscrew the stairs and being mildly successful at it. This was NOT an easy task, and it aggravated the tennis elbow I’ve been dealing with for nearly a year now. (Which I did not get from playing tennis. I got it from weeding the garden. Because I’m getting old. And everything seems to cause some sort of ache, pain, or injury now.) So, thanks to elbow pain, I spent Sunday inside sewing.
I pulled out some fruit and veggie scraps and played around with those. I’m thinking of creating some sort of small, place mat-sized project to use on a plant table we have by our front door. I also dove back into my scrap boxes and started another scrappy lap quilt. You can see from the photos that Rosie did not approve of my arrangement of the blocks. I also spent some time corralling the scraps and at least it now looks like I have some sort of handle on the scrap situation.
My frustration level is high. Let me tell you why.
I have scraps. So, so many scraps. I’ve been diligently (maybe not as diligently as I’d like) working my way through the mounds and mounds of scraps.
And guess what?
The piles aren’t getting any smaller. The pieces are, but the piles? Not so much.
How is this possible? And will I ever be rid of them, or will they just continue to multiply like rabbits no matter how many projects I use them in?
Allow me to present Scrap Quilt #2:
I finished this quilt top over the weekend when I, amazingly, had several hours to spend in the sewing room. Summers are more for hiking and outside projects than for sewing for me, so I haven’t had much chance to work on any quilts over the last few weeks. This one had been sitting there just needing to have the last block finished, so I put aside the other quilt I’ve been working on to get this one finished.
I’m using everything in these scrap quilts. Unused blocks, little scraps, long scraps, thin scraps, thick scraps, a leftover pieced strip from the second quilt I made way back in 1999. Each block is 16×20, making a finished quilt size of 46.5″x58.5.” It finishes at a nice lap quilt size. For those of us who are vertically challenged, we can easily cover from our toes to our nose with this size.
I will probably hold off on quilting this one until fall or winter. I’m not a fan of having a pile of fabric and batting in my lap on warm summer days, though the last few days have had me pulling out the long underwear and long-sleeve jammie shirts in the evenings. (I’m not complaining. It is a welcome change from the almost 90 degree days we were seeing just last week.)
The temptation to cut into new fabric has been strong. The fabric has been pulled from the stash. The pattern has been chosen.
There are heaping piles and containers full of scraps. The scrap situation has gotten out of control. Some are divided by color. Most are just in a jumbled mess on my sewing table and strewn all over the floor. It’s really quite horrifying.
In an effort to make some sort of progress using up my scraps, I’ve been working on scrap quilts. Last year I completed a lap quilt made up of scrappy triangles. This year I’ve taken more of a crazy patch approach.
I start by sewing the tiniest scraps together, then cutting so there is a nice straight edge. These small chunks then get sewn to other small chunks or slightly larger pieces of fabric. As I sew more and more chunks and strips together, I gradually work toward forming a 16″x20″ rectangle. (Once in a while and also to border each rectangle, I use sew on a long strip. This helps to minimize having a lot of seams coming together.) I used nine of these rectangles for my lap quilt.
My favorite thing about these scrap quilts is that I’ve been able to use up extra blocks from previous projects, such as a nine patch from my very first project 22 years ago, or little things I’ve sewn up that never really found a home, such as a pair of tiny paper-pieced houses. I’d made two houses, one in purple and one in blue. The process was tedious, and I knew after making two that I did not want to take the time to make enough for an entire project. I’m so glad they found a home in this quilt.
For the quilting I used a variegated thread and meandered all over the quilt top. Though my original intention was to sew all my leftover binding bits together to make binding for this quilt, I opted to use a solid instead.
Presently I am at work on my second quilt just like this one. I showed my middle daughter one of the blocks, and her comment was, “Everything is starting to look the same to me.” While it might be true that the fabrics are mostly the same, each quilt is definitely unique. I’d like to think that the scrap situation will be under control once the second quilt is finished, but I’m about six or seven blocks in and the pile doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller.
I saw the idea several years ago on the Crazy Mom Quilts blog. Little did I know it would take 558 triangles and a REALLY long time to make a lap-size quilt. (The “really long time” was totally my fault. I get bored working on the same project and doing the same thing over and over again, so I had to put the project aside many, many times.)
To do this project, I drew up an equilateral triangle pattern and made a whole lot of copies. Then, I sewed scraps down onto the the paper foundation. For quilting, I meandered all over using a variegated thread.
One would think that I would have made an incredible dent in the number of scraps in my “collection” while making this quilt. One would be WRONG!
Where in the world are all of the scraps coming from? I have so many even though I’ve been mainly making scrap projects since the beginning of the year.
I think I’ve determined the problem. As I sew a large scrap down and then trim to size, I am creating even more scraps…just smaller ones.
I truly love how this quilt turned out. There were some frustrating moments…such as peeling all of the paper foundation away and when I accidentally quilted a crease into the backing which resulted in much quilting being picked out and more pinning being done. (Lesson learned: Pin way more than you want to!) Despite the frustrations, it is a beautiful reminder of all of the pretty fabrics I’ve used in so many other projects.
Do you know how many times I’ve left the house since mid-March? Not all that many. I think there have been three trips to the grocery store and a handful of excursions to hiking trails. Because we’ve been forced to stay home, I’ve found a lot of time for craft projects. Worry abounds at the present moment over whether I have enough thread and yarn to last for at least the next month now that our State of Emergency has been extended through all of May.
Do you know how much I miss being able to make an unnecessary trip to the fabric store?!? I’m sure you do.
I’m continuing to use up scraps. The last few weeks I’ve completed two lap-size denim quilts using fabric from our old jeans. I now have six of these stored away. I plan to give our three children each one when they move out. I like to tie these with crochet thread rather than quilt them. I use no batting. I prefer flannel backing but had to make do with cotton on a few as I did not have enough large pieces of flannel. I did quilt the first denim quilt I made but found it just too difficult to struggle over heavy seams. Tying can be a challenge also and sometimes involves using pliers to tug the needle through when I can’t get a firm enough grip on the needle.
I also finished two more denim potholders. I really loved the floral binding used in the top potholder in the picture. I wish I had a larger piece of that fabric, but all I had was a 2 1/2″ strip that I received in a jellyroll at a quilt shop as a free gift during a Shop Hop. I have a few more denim squares cut for potholders but have run out of Insul-Bright.
I have also finished two baby blankets using flannel scraps. Now I just need to find a baby to give them to! Several years ago I made a stack of these blankets and donated them to our local Foster Closet, an organization that gives Foster parents clothing and supplies for their foster children. My original intent was to do this again. Then I realized that I didn’t have quite as much flannel as I originally thought and the blankets were a lot smaller than the ones I donated in the past. I may still donate them or I may hang on to some so that I have a small stash of baby gifts on hand.
My scrap situation has gotten out of control! (And the quantity of Works in Progress to use up those scraps has also gotten out of control.) To mitigate both these situations, I’ve put off starting any new quilting projects until I solve this “problem.” Here are the scrap projects I’ve been working on:
Scrap project #1 uses up triangles and strips. I got this idea from Crazy Mom Quilts, though I believe her quilt tilted every other triangle so the strips were vertical rather than horizontal on the finished product. I sew the strips to paper triangles, then peel off the paper once they are sewn together. I still have maybe 50 more triangles to make before I have enough for a lap-size quilt.
Scrap project #2 is miniature pineapple squares. These are great for using up itty bitty triangles and the tiniest of scraps. (One thing I’ve noticed is as I trim up my triangles for project 1, I have lots of leftover little bits that are perfect for project 2. I’m starting to think I am simply creating even more scraps as I attempt to use them up.) I haven’t decided how many of these pineapple squares I want to make, but I’m generating quite a stack. I am not looking forward to peeling off the foundation paper.
Scrap project #3 uses larger scrap bits and involves sewing “chunks” of fabric together, and then matching those “chunks” with like size “chunks” until I’ve sewn a 14″ block. So far I have 2 1/2 pink blocks and 1 purple block finished. I’m planning on 16 blocks eventually, which should yield a lap quilt. I was shocked to find that I didn’t have very many purple scraps. Thus, there may only be one purple block in the quilt. My pink scraps are legion, so there will be plenty of pink blocks!