Friday, November 15, 2019

I Love My Scraps

Most of the quilts I make are scrappy. Often, they are made with scraps from my scrap basket, mixed with newer fabrics. The scrap pile seems to get bigger and bigger as time goes by. I try to organize it now and then and sort the scraps into small and large pieces by color. The larger ones go into a drawer unit. Then the smallest scraps usually go into several small clear bins where I can see them. It calms me to spend an afternoon sorting then organizing them. If I can see them, I'm more likely to use them up.



These small bins contain my smallest scraps of fabric, sorted by color. The white basket holds small scraps from my cutting table that still need to be sorted. Looks like I may not have room to shove much more in there. I need to get going and make more scrap quilts! 


This color-coded drawer unit houses my larger scraps. Yes, as you can see, my sewing room has a playful Kindergarten touch. Why not? After all, it's my "Play Area." I can easily see what drawer to pull from if I need to make some scrappy blocks in a particular color. These are mostly leftovers from fat quarters that have been cut into and some from larger pieces of fabric. I usually keep these drawers next to my cutting table but pulled it out just so you could see. The cutting table is going to be replaced soon with more storage underneath. Larger cuts of fabric are folded in the drawers of the dresser behind it. Sorted by color, of course. Small drawers on top hold pink, then gold, green and brown. Larger drawers below hold blue, red, tan and shirtings and miscellaneous prints. Black and purple don't need a whole drawer. Blue needs two! Shirtings are going to need more space soon . . . .

If I had a larger room I might be more motivated and creative about organizing my space. But it is what it is. We have a smallish house and I'm using what used to be the original baby room for my sewing room. (That baby is now 30 going on 31, LOL.)  The blue dresser is the old baby dresser that used to be painted white, recently brought up from the basement. I painted it last year with a teal blue chalk paint and bought some new drawer pulls. It's not perfect but it works for me right now. As I mentioned, I'm hoping to add some more storage soon.


Is it silly of me to hang onto scraps and have so many bins and drawers for them? I don't know -  I love my scraps and I needed to find some way to organize them so I don't go crazy when they take over. I'm surely not going to throw them out. When I make small blocks for my quilts, I dig into the drawer or bin and find the perfect scrap that fits with the others.


How can I possibly throw these away?? 

Some of my scraps are pretty old - not vintage, just little pieces of some of my favorite fabrics I've saved over the years that are left over from other projects.  I have a habit of hanging onto my favorite pieces (some of them are now pretty small) and lovingly spreading them throughout my scrap quilts. I never get tired of using some of them. Those of you who have my books and are pretty sharp may have noticed that I like to use some of the same scraps over and over in the quilts I make. You'll see that same lovely blue, pink or brown print everywhere you look. I've had some of them for years and they're almost gone so I feel lucky when I come across one again, years after it went out of print. Recently, I mentioned in an Instagram post that I felt sad that I ran out of a particular favorite. Someone who had more than she needed sent some to me. Can you believe it? Quilters are such generous people. 


I swoon over this brown and pink Judie Rothermel print.

Now, it's not that I don't have enough other fabric (goodness) or because I can't afford to buy NEW fabric. I've just formed attachments to some of these old ones. Somehow it feels very satisfying to use those scraps and place the ones I particularly love in several different quilts. Then, every time I look at one I have to smile because I feel a little tug at my heart. 



I'm still hanging onto scraps of some of these blues too. I think they're called cadet blues. Hard to find.


This simple little prairie quilt is so old. From one of my first books. Can you believe I still have some small pieces of these old fabrics too? I'm saving them for a rainy day, LOL.

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Well, I hope I have inspired some of you to sort through and organize your scraps. Cleaning up a bit is always a feel-good thing for me. Try it. It takes time but it's worth it even if you only spend an hour or so at a time. Clears your head (and your space!) and makes you want to create something new. It's amazing what clarity of mind you get when the space is organized and everything is put back into place where you can access it. 

Last week I was inspired to start a new project just from tidying up my room and organizing my scraps. I'm going to love this quilt when it's finished. These are mostly scraps left over from a quilt I made for the new book that's coming out late next year. 




This is a fake sewing machine that's actually a sewing box. I store scissors and thread in it. (Lovely Country Lane Quilts pincushion was made by my dear friend Karen Schultz.)

Have a good weekend!






Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Fall Quilt Show

I ventured over to the Chicago Botanic Garden for their annual Fine Art of Fiber quilt show over the weekend. Always a great way to spend the afternoon. Two of my favorite things -  fall and quilts. 


The gardens are a lovely backdrop for this unique show. Because it's Illinois and November, the show is held indoors. It was quite cold but sunny at least. This was before the snow came (yesterday). 






The quilts that are featured in this show every year are usually very different from the type of quilts I make - modern, bright and non-traditional. There are always a few traditional quilts thrown into the mix, but only a few. I don't mind. The fun part is seeing just how creative some of the quilters get with color and fiber. It's always a glorious show of color indoors and out. And all the natural light makes it a great place for a show.  

Here are a few highlights - 



Made by Marsha Gordon



Made by Mary Meyers


In the midst of all the modern quilts, imagine my surprise when I spotted not one but THREE Dear Jane quilts! What a nice treat. Many of the fabrics used in these were more on the modern side but it all worked. 


Made by Cheryl Paras





Made by Chris Deering




Made by Barbara Wessel


I never get tired of seeing different DJ quilts. 


Made by Cathy Baker


Made by Suzanne Davis Killen



The Gift Boutique is always fun too.









Now that my next book is finished and the quilts and manuscript have been sent off to the publisher, I finally have some time to breathe and work on other things. I've decided I really need to make myself some larger quilts. I've got several that were started before the book project but they had to be set aside. And, of course, there's my own Dear Jane that still needs to be worked on. But, instead of finishing one of those (I will! I will!) I got the urge to start something new. So, as I was cleaning up my sewing room last week, I took frequent breaks and began to mindlessly sew a bunch of 3" half-square triangles for a simple antique-looking quilt I want to make someday. I've already made 100 HSTs from some of my favorite prints in just a few days. I think I'll probably need several hundred for a big quilt so we'll see what happens with this "someday" project. 











Friday, October 25, 2019

Pretty Scissors Winner

Thank you all for leaving such lovely comments!  I know I say this every time I hold a giveaway but, honestly, I wish I could give scissors to every one of you. I'll bet I got a few of you started on a new collection though, huh?  You're welcome.  

And the winner of the Warm Crochet scissors is  . . . .  Peggy ( peggy4616@att.net )!



Congratulations, Peggy! Please send me your mailing address so I can send them to you. 

Warm Crochet has generously offered the rest of you a discount of 10% if you order these from their website. Just enter the coupon code KTQ when you place your order. 

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Collecting different kinds of novelty scissors is fun. I have a couple of pairs of good scissors but more than a few decorative ones too. Lately, it's become one of my favorite go-to Christmas or birthday gift items. "What do you want, Mom?"  Me: "Just go to Etsy and buy me some pretty scissors, please." So, yes, Etsy has a ton of cute scissors. I'm often surprised. I've seen some cute ones on eBay and Amazon too. Mostly decorative and not very  expensive.  Cute to look at and use. 










I bring out a different pair every few weeks or so and keep them on my sewing table. Then, if I have something to show, I'll admit I like to strategically place my pretty scissors in photos too. Adds a cute little additional focal point. Looks like I need a few more pairs.

Have a good weekend! 





Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pretty Scissors Giveaway

I love pretty scissors. I have a little collection going as some of you may have noticed from photos on my Facebook page. Here's my latest pair from the Warm Crochet company. Lightweight and sharp, they have a fine point that clips thread nicely. Perfect for any sewing or craft project.



The Warm Crochet company contacted me and they are generously giving away a free pair of these beautiful bronze-toned Victoria scissors (seen in photo below) to one lucky follower of my blog. Just leave me a comment and a way for me to contact you. After I contact you I will need you to send me your mailing address. 



Giveaway will end on Thursday, October 24, 2019. I will announce the winner shortly after that. Good luck! I haven't had a giveaway here on the blog for quite awhile so this will be fun.



You have to admit they sure are lovely. The scissors are made of high quality stainless steel and alloy. In addition to being pretty, they have sharp blades and are TSA compliant. See some of the other Warm Crochet scissors here.

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Good luck!  Check back on Friday to see if you won.





Thursday, September 12, 2019

Baskets and Quilts

I really love baskets and basket quilts. My recent flea market find was this old basket -


Here's a recent eBay find. Love those scallops.


What is it about these basket quilts? Long ago, there were so many uses for baskets and they were a huge part of nineteenth-century life. It's no wonder they found their way into quilts made at the time. There were market baskets, gathering baskets, berry baskets, flower baskets and sewing baskets.  

"In the 1800s, women's scrap baskets often contained leftovers from dressmaking, as well as pieces of fabric collected from friends and relatives and fragments of dresses worn by loved ones."  
                                                                                                                        - A Prairie Journey    

Do you have a scrap basket? 







A basket for my hexagons

We should all have a couple of basket quilts in our collection, don't you think? That's the beauty of  small quilts -  you can make a variety of quilt patterns without expending the time making a large quilt.

Here are some basket quilts I've made over the years:



Civil War baskets from my book Remembering Adelia.



Prairie Baskets is from my second book Prairie Children and Their Quilts.


My Cherry Baskets quilt is available as a pattern on my website

The one below is a vintage doll quilt. How quirky are those baskets??


There's a pattern for the 4" basket block below in Files in the Facebook group or the Small Quilt Talk group. Go to the sidebar on my blog to find the links to the groups.





The tiny blue and red baskets quilt was a special gift from my friend Marian. 





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