Posted tagged ‘scrap quilts’

Organizing Quilting Fabric

June 11, 2017

When I moved to a new house I just took all my fabric out of boxes and piled it up neatly, with no regard to colour. I knew I’d have to sort it out once I got my new sewing machine, so that I could more easily find fabrics. After reading some of my new books on scrap quilts, and the recommendations for sorting by colour, I finally tackled this big job and am satisfied that I took the time to do it.

So I bought some wire baskets from the dollar store and laid out 12 of them on tables and commenced sorting my fabric. I folded the smaller pieces into the baskets, and then folded larger pieces and yardage in piles by each basket. The colour designations I used were:

Neutral Grey, Taupe, Beige
Multi Brights

This is a view of the Purple and Green piles.


Then I put them back in the flat pack cupboard I use for fabric. I sorted my batting scraps and placed them in a storage bin on top of the cupboard, and inside two bankers boxes I put big yardage for backings, and yardage of corduroy and velveteen that I use for sewing bags.


I also have my current projects laid out so that they aren’t buried and I can access them, which is much more practical.

The cupboard is not quite wide enough to have the baskets spaced evenly so it looks a bit jumbled, but it is so easy to find colours, especially the smaller pieces that are now collected in the baskets, and I discovered many fabrics that I’d forgotten I had so I am very pleased I took the time to sort in this way. It will be much easier to pick and choose fabrics for scrap quilts in the future.



A Fresh Round of Embroidery and Quilting Books

May 5, 2017

I saw a couple of embroidery and sewing books that seemed to have a fresh approach so bought three of them for my collection.


1) Modern Folk Embroidery: 30 Contemporary Projects for Folk Art Inspired Designs by Nancy Nicholson

I have often admired Nancy’s patterns on Etsy, but thought I’d get more patterns in her book so was pleased to finally buy it when it was published. It’s so nice to see books on hand embroidery coming out for new generations who want to pick up the craft.

2) Tilda Homemade & Happy by Tone Finnanger

She is quite prolific and I’ve seen lots of her designs around, but I liked some of her reindeer and pigs and sheep in this.

3) Zakka Embroidery: Simple One- and Two-Color Embroidery Motifs and Small Crafts by Yumiko Higuchi

These are tiny motifs and I was interested in her ideas for small purses using purse frames and embroidery. I have several purse frames on hand so want to use them up. There are lots of small cross-stitch motifs around but not many for hand embroidery, so this looked good for my library.

I was able to buy a new sewing machine, the Janome 9400, and I’m hoping it will enable me to quilt about 12 to 14 quilt tops that are languishing here. I took all the quilts and quilt tops out of the Rubbermaid trunk they’d been stored in for two years while we were selling our old house and moving and they reeked of plastic.

I spent some weeks washing and airing them and bought a nice wooden blanket box to store them. As I was confronted with the old tops, some dating back to the 1980s and 1990s, I felt the imperative to finish them. I cleaned up and reorganized my sewing area and now I have the fabric cupboard to deal with.


There is another Rubbermaid container in there, so I’ll have another round of airing fabric, but I particularly wanted to get my fabrics and scraps organized by colour and sew up some simpler quilt patterns. I have been quilting since 1984 so I have many magazines and books on the subject, and I’ve given away many more but I liked the fresh look of these publications and many of the designs.


1) Sunday Morning Quilts: 16 Modern Scrap Projects – Sort, Store, and Use Every Last Bit of Your Treasured Fabrics by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison

2) No Scrap Left Behind: 16 Quilt Projects That Celebrate Scraps of All Sizes by Amanda Jean Nyberg

3) Scraps, Inc. Vol. 1: 15 Block-Based Designs for the Modern Quilter Compiled by Susanne Woods

4) Scraps, Inc. Vol. 2: 15 Block-Based Designs for the Modern Quilter Compiled by Susanne Woods

I am not in good health but things are improving, so I want ideas and projects and happier creative endeavours to look forward to. That should sort me out (pun)!

Kim Mclean’s Lollypop Trees Quilt Pattern

October 30, 2015

Many of the current books on appliqué use fancy batiks and prints to emulate a watercolour painting for appliqué flowers. I prefer blobby flowers done from scraps. The last time I tackled a floral appliqué quilt was a Baltimore Album style, but in my own freeform design, 23 years ago for a 50th anniversary gift.

I have liked this Kim Mclean pattern called Lollypop Trees for years. Kim sells her patterns through Kaffe Fassett’s Glorious Color web site. I looked in Canada for the pattern and there is one seller offering it for $40 CAD plus shipping and tax. This pattern would cost me $51 CAD. Whoa, that’s quite a price for a pattern. However, it would take me hours of work to draw this up myself, so after thinking about it I used some upcoming Christmas money to buy it.


I’ve done conventional flower appliqués several times but I like to do flower blocks and this seemed charmingly different, plus the size is huge. There is nothing better than huge blobby flowers.

I have so many neat little scraps of fabric that would look great in this. The original quilt and most of the quilts worked up from the pattern use Kaffe Fassett fabric, which is great if you have the money, but I don’t. Upon telling my sister about this, she sent me a bundle of ten Liberty of London fabrics she bought on a recent trip. They are perfect for mixing into this, and I bought four different white on white fabrics for the backgrounds.


A good project for winter, and not too hard on the hands and chronic pain in my arms and back.



Sunbonnet Layout

December 22, 2014

Ho hum, but at least it’s done. Years ago I had planned some sort of fancy border with skipping ropes and little girls but I am quite pleased so far with this neat and tidy layout. Three days ago the loose blocks were stuck in a cupboard and now it’s going to be done. I put the best blocks toward the top and the plainer ones with more foxing on the bottom.  The little girl on the bottom left has the most foxing spots on her background. That’s what you get for wearing a pink pindot fabric with green pindot sleeves to the party.


All I have to do is sew the sashing strip rows onto the main rows and then sew the whole thing together. If my arthritic index finger holds up I might be finished tomorrow, but it’s more likely to be a two-day job. Pinning that much always causes my finger to swell and hurt.

Then I’m putting a 2.5-inch border on in a more monotone lilac print. I will bind it in dark green which should make it pop.

I think I have some quilt batting that is big enough. If not I’ll have to buy some and I’m trying to avoid that. I have lots of fabric of various prints for backing. I just want to keep some momentum going. I baste quilts in a floor frame and then machine quilt, so if I keep going without getting distracted, I have a good chance to finish this.

Oh, I just noticed that I spoke about these sunbonnet blocks in February 2009. At that time four of them still needed to be appliquéd and embroidered, so now they’re done and almost into a full quilt. It only took me almost six years after I first spoke of them. You see why I need to get them done?

I am planning to use the quilt in the chair in my bedroom, which is my sanctuary corner during bouts of insomnia.




Resurrecting Quilt Blocks Again

December 21, 2014

I took this project out again that I started about 20 to 22 years ago. I originally started it after my Mother died because the little sunbonnets reminded me of the cloche style hats popular in the 1920s when my Mom was born. I finally finished all twelve of them, but it has been disappointing because the background fabric has developed some foxing on it.

I don’t really like sunbonnet blocks but I want to finish these and despite a bit of foxing here and there on the background fabric they are useable. Here are six of them.


Here are the three fabrics I bought sometime in the 1990s to use as sashing, border and backing. While looking at them today I see at least one of them could be used for a cloth doll I am planning of Frida Kahlo. The focus fabric and flowers I bought for the Frida doll are shown over the top of the sunbonnet trio.


My plan is to just do a simple sashing and get the sunbonnets together into a lap quilt and stabilized to use and enjoy. An important lesson for me is not to used cheaper general purpose dress fabric, but buy good quilting fabric for the background of appliqué blocks or anything else in a quilt.

Not a terribly inspiring setting but it will be done and ready to quilt instead of languishing.


I spent a couple of hours today doing the simple feather stitch embroidery on the last four hats and just would like to see this finished after twenty years. I will probably work on both projects concurrently. I just got my sewing machine back from cleaning and repair so I hopefully can start sewing again.

Anyway, bright fiesta fabrics are good for the soul in the winter. One of my cats died this week after 18 months of illness, so it was not a great week.


Good pets and good mothers are hard to lose.



Baby Quilt in Disappearing 9-Patch Pattern

December 17, 2013

There’s nothing like starting early on projects. No one in my family is having a baby, but by the time I get this done they might be and I will be ready for gift-giving action!

I enjoyed making a doll quilt last December for my Maplelea doll Saila using the Disappearing 9-Patch pattern and a 2.5-inch square. For this bigger quilt I used a 4.5-inch square and cut 90 squares, then sewed ten regular 9-Patch blocks together with those squares.

They look okay but nothing special.


The magic happens when you cut them apart down the centre both horizontally and vertically, thus making the 9-patch you started with “disappear,” and I also find it adds some interest and movement generally.


I have to juggle the smaller blocks a bit to get the fabrics balanced, but basically this is the way I am going to rotate them. It’s a good gender-neutral colour scheme, but bright and attractive for a child to enjoy. The leftover bits will go toward piecing the backing, which I always find fun.

I have a 21 year-old 6150 Pfaff machine, which is one of the last models they made in Germany. I understand from reading reviews that the newer Pfaff machines have problems with quality control, so while tempted to buy a new machine I think I’ll keep on using this workhorse.


I notice though that Pfaff has a new Free-motion Echo Quilting Foot that might fit my older machine. After talking to a quilt shop that is a Pfaff dealer, they said I should bring my machine in to see if the foot works with my machine. According to one web site it should fit as it’s a low shank, yet it is not an electronic machine, so it’s best to check first as they are about $30 to buy.


To screw it in you remove the ankle that attaches the sewing feet, which takes away a lot of the visual blockage I get even with my current see-through Pfaff free motion foot. It’s worth exploring anyway as I haven’t been able to do much free motion quilting because of my knee, and if I can get a newer attachment I’ve got several small projects and about 14 quilt tops to quilt, so if I can manage a better setup that would be good.

The year 2014 will be my 30th anniversary of quilting and it still lights me up. I realized when I was cutting squares out how happy it makes me. With my leg problems quilting has gone down somewhat on my priority list and I think I’d be happier if I was able to chip away more at it.



Wonky, Liberated Quilting

July 24, 2011

While contemplating patterns to make a doll quilt for the Tonner Strider doll I bought with birthday money, I felt really uninspired, so I began searching photographs on the Internet to see if anything struck me.

I saw a photo where the quilter had cut the ends off randomly pieced borders and I could feel my interest picking up. I often do random writing exercises and pull disparate things together quickly to give my creativity a chance to blossom without adhering to rules and preconceived patterns, so this sort of thing appealed to me.

I’ve been reading articles by quilter Gwen Marston since I started quilting in 1984 and she has a recent book called Liberated Quiltmaking II that I have ordered.

Then I needed something to add for free shipping so I also ordered Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration by Malka Dubrawsky:

Yeah, we don’t want no stinking fear in this house.

And that’s the end of my birthday money but the books will keep on giving to my mind and creativity.

Update: I loved the sewing machine cover so much that I am currently piecing it. It goes together really fast, so a nice project for summer holidays.