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2019 Scraps Become 2020 Quilts

I decided January was a good time to make some scrappy quilts and use up these baskets of scraps.  I'm going to tell you how I'm planning to do that, but first I had some questions on my scrap storage method.

I have used this rack and method for years and it has served me well so thought I could share it with you.

The aqua rack is a hand-me-down Baker's Rack from my mom.  It was originally brown as many baker's racks tend to be.  (Keep your eyes open at the thrift store, you might find one!)  I spray painted it aqua, which is a quick and easy job on this type of furniture since there's so little solid surface to cover.  Any bookcase will do though!  It doesn't need to be a baker's rack.

The best secret are these metal baskets.  Now, I also bought these at least 10 years ago, so searching for something similar now, I was shocked at the price.  Since you would need 6 of them for the system I use, they can get pricey quite fast.  I won't link to any specific ones here, but rather give you an approximate size that I think works well.

Mine are 12"x13", and 8" high.  This size seems to work well for the amount of quilting I do.   They get filled to overflowing after about a years worth of sewing (although the blue fills faster than the rest) and then I have to do something with them!

Second in importance is that they are see through.  Actually this is not crucial to the function, but just nice to see at a glance which color is where and how full they are.

I divide all scraps only by color, not size.  I have 6 categories. 

White/Low Volume

As I said, Blue seems to fill extra fast for me, so I find myself making more blue scrappy quilts.  I find sorting by color to be the best method for me, but I'm trying to analyze why this is...Not sure, but curious if you relate to this, or would rather sort by size, value, or just stuff everything in one big container!

So here I am making stacks!  This is so enjoyable for me!  Too bad there are so many other more important things that come first for my time...

When deciding to completely clean out and use up these scraps, I find it works best to cut for a few quilts at once.  The two reason for this are the large variety in sizes of scraps, and also I know these scraps will make at least a few quilts, so I might as well have a nice variety in each quilt as I go.

Choosing the quilt designs to use is the most fun of all!  I try to think about the sizes of scraps I have most of, to be most efficient in my cutting and use of pieces.  I often have lots of 2 1/2 strips.  Actually lots of strips in general, with less squares that are larger than 3".  I also need to have a pattern that includes at least some small pieces to use up those itty bitty 1 1/2" squares. 

So here's what I'm cutting up this time.

* 2.5"x3.5" rectangles

I made one like this here already.  Am planning to use a different layout this time.  Inspired by @kitchentablequilting.

*A Jacob's ladder with 9 patches instead of 4 patches.  Called Tumelo Trail by Bonnie of Quiltville.  This makes use of 1.5" squares.

Here's my start to the Jacob's Ladder/Tumelo Trail quilt.  I wanted to make sure I was going to like it before I cut it all out!  This pattern is in Bonnie Hunter's book Scraps and Shirttails 11, except I'm not doing the sashing in between blocks.

*I'm also making a stack of 2.5" squares.  2.5" is a size that tends to be common in my scraps, so the pieces that aren't long enough for the 2.5"x 3.5" rectangles mentioned above, get put in this stack. 

Not sure what it will be, but there's endless uses for these squares!

*Finally I've got 'strips' which are just strips of any width or length that don't fit in any of the categories above.  For example, a looong 2" strip feels wasteful to cut into a bunch of small 1.5" squares.  Since they don't fit into any other category, I just put them on the pile of strips and I'll make some kind of strippy quilt with them.  (is this gonna be my favorite one in the end?!  It could sound like it!)

And since this cutting job is going to take me a while, and other projects are bound to come up in between... (not to mention the sheer volume of teetering stacks of cut squares and rectangles) I'm nicely stacking them into containers which can be put away in between.

I'm mentioning this because it is not in character for my haphazard usual way of working, but if feels good, so we'll see if this is a new addition to my process

Aunt Bet's Quilt

And one last finish to record for 2019!  I just sewed the last of the binding on this one yesterday. 

The pattern is Aunt Bet's Quilt, by Frankie and Ray.  Truly a lovely and enjoyable pattern to make.  So simple, but works with so many fabrics.  I definitely want to make this one again! 

This is one of those few quilts that I loved my color choices all the way through, and still love the finished quilt today! 

I hand quilted it in fans and used a double gauze on the back and Quilter's Dream Poly batting.  This makes for a dreamy and puffy texture to the finished quilt.

The finished quilt measures approximately 48"x60", which is the perfect size for a smaller lap quilt.

Edited to Add:  Adding this to the Fourth Quarter Finishalong.  Here's my post with the original list of quilts to finish.

Small Basket Quilt

First of all, we have this years old work in progress.  A huge basket quilt, which yes, I did finish the top this last year! It is also the one project from the last quarter of 2019 that I did NOT complete.  But no beating myself up here!  It's massize and will be completed some time this next year.

Since I overestimated how many basket blocks I would need for that quilt, I ended up with a few extra.  I threw them together in this baby quilt, and added some orange/yellow nine patches for variety.

I tried meander quilting to finish it, which I hadn't done in a while.  Consensus?  Meh... I like my horizontal straight lines which make for a softer quilt and just as nice of a texture.

The softness/cuddliness is saved somewhat by this cotton lawn backing, which always makes for a dream quilt texture.

And the blue striped binding is nothing to sniff at either!  Love these fabrics together!  And P.S. I realize I didn't clean up my threads before taking these photos...yup I'm in a hurry cuz I have one more quilt I want to finish binding before the FinishAlong deadline tomorrow!

Edited to Add:  Adding this to the Fourth Quarter Finishalong.  Here's my post with the original list of quilts to finish.

Green Carolina Chain Quilt

I finished up this little quilt at least a month ago, but finally sharing it so I can add it to the linkup for the Fourth Quarter Finishalong.  This top was in my pile to finish up, and I did it!  Actually out of the 8 tops I included, only one didn't get quilted.  Since it was the king sized basket quilt, I wasn't suprised!

Anyways, this quilt again uses the Carolina Chain block.   The tutorial can be found on Quiltville's site, and is great for using up small scraps as it uses 2" squares and 2"x3.5" rectangles.

I backed this one with a cream colored minky.  Perfect for a baby quilt.

Edited to Add:  Adding this to the Fourth Quarter Finishalong.  Here's my post with the original list of quilts to finish.

Basket Quilt: Tribute to Gwen Marston

I have so much to say about this quilt, hopefully I can articulate my thoughts!

Let's start at the beginning.

A few years ago, (actually after the first Quiltcon) I began percolating the idea of a giant basket quilt.

Actually, let's back up a bit.  Even more years ago, like 10?  I stumbled upon Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking book.  I loved so very much about it, and the first quilt I made after that was a basket quilt using her technique.

(well used and loved!)

So now back to my idea after Quiltcon...  After seeing the quilts shown there, I thought it would be fun to make a giant basket, using Gwen's improv technique.  It would be titled 'Basket Quilt Sneaks into Quiltcon'.  Wouldn't that have been funny?  I thought so!

Anyways, that never happened.  The main reason being that making a large improv quilt of that type takes a different type of energy.  It's more draining, and like I've talked about here before, I often prefer to make simpler things that energize and relax me.

The idea and vision for this quilt still bounced around in my head occasionally though...  and then I heard that Gwen had passed away.  I started crying and felt such a sadness knowing she was no longer out there, bringing her special presence to the quilting world.  Of course I have never met her, but it's hard to explain the effect she had on me, the positive vibes I absorbed from her books (although I did speak to her on the phone once!  total celebrity moment for me)  After hearing that she had died, I immediately knew that I would go start that basket quilt and it would be in memory of Gwen.

So now let's try to go backwards and remember the process of designing the quilt.

Originally my idea included juxtaposing a mix of modern and traditional.  These are the points it included.

-One solid color for background, one solid color for basket (Solids would be the modern element, although they could also be tradional)

-Basket Shape (Basket is about as traditional of a block as you can get.  It would be constructed using Gwen's technique which is improv/modern)

-Hand quilted on a slight angle (Handquilting is traditional, but a slight angle would be unusual and a bit jarring)

Once I decided to make this quilt as a tribute to Gwen, I changed/added a few elements.  I also decided to add a bit of a theme of contrasting my own style/tastes with what I associated with Gwen.

-Didn't have enough of any one solid for the entire background so decided to use multiple fabrics but staying in one color family.  I would say that solid fabrics were definitely a theme from Gwen, but adding prints is definitely my flavor.

-Adding elements of the color red because from looking at Gwen's quilts I would say she used a LOT of red.  I pieced a small bit of red into the basket, and also knew that the binding would be red.

-The original block technique from Gwen does not include a basket base, but I felt this basket needed that extra interest.

I felt that the shape of the handle was crucial to the quilt, so I carefully pinned this and hand appliqued it on.  Gwen's technique used topstitching, which I would definitely use if I was making a whole quilt full of baskets, but in this case decided to use hand applique as it adore the look of it.

As you can see in the above photo, I used part of a vintage tablecloth that had all this lovely floral applique.  I've been using bits of this table cloth in some of my projects and will be sad when it's all used up!

I also inlcuded this rainbow bit of color in the top left corner.  Not sure why?!  I think it was an inward protest against a two color quilt, because I love lots of color and pattern LOL.

So now the quilt top was complete and it languished for months.  Then in October I had to idea of entering it in Quiltcon.  I went back and forth on the idea, but decided since it was a tribute to Gwen, I should at least try.  So I put it on my quilting frame and we (including my mom,grandma, aunts and friends)  frantically finished it up before the Quiltcon entering deadline.

Immediately upon entering I regretted it.  I won't go into those feeling here and now, but it was with some relief that I found it was not accepted.  

So now let's analyze the completed quilt.  My feelings about it are mixed, I must say.

 I think it's one that will grow on my over time, as it's meaningful to me.

It's just that when I look at it, or more accurately, look at a photo of it, I don't find it pleasing. 

The shape of the basket feels right to me.  I like the mix of background fabrics as well.  I'm not so sure about my overall choices of color though.  

I might have liked a darker richer color for the background.  And a color other than gold for the basket.  

To show you what I mean, I inverted the colors just for fun.  Doesn't this look amazing?  I love it in these colors!  

So there's the story of this giant improv basket quilt!  Oh yes the size...  I think it's around 70"x85".

Overall I'm happy with this quilt and it's out of my head space so  I can move on to new ideas!

Edited to Add:  Adding this to the Fourth Quarter FinishalongHere's my post with the original list of quilts to finish.

FootHills Quilt

This quilt began when Mary Elizabeth Kinch featured an antique quilt on her blog called the FootHills Quilt.  She drew up a pattern and hosted a quiltalong.  I've included a photo of the original quilt below.

I'm always a sucker for antique quilt patterns, and this one was so unusual, with so many options to play!  Just looking at it now I can see more ideas to make another quilt using different values.

Visit this blog post by Mary Elizabeth to get a few more details on this quilt.  (Maker and dates are unknow, but it was made in Alberta!)  Since I'm from Alberta this was an extra connection that makes me happy.

So as you can see looking at this original quilt, mine looks quite different.  I think this quilt is a great way to think about value (lights and darks) and how they play into your final design.

I knew immediately that I wanted those geese flying up and down to be the focus of my quilt.  For that reason I chose dark fabrics for most of my geese and the remaining fabrics are lighter.  Of course I switched up a few blocks with geese lighter than their surroundings but that still highlights the geese somewhat.

I think I will write a separate post going into more detail on how I used value in this quilt and how you could change the design by switching up the use of value to highlight different aspects of the design.

I did vertical straight line quilting on this one.  This is my go-to way of quilting as it's a never fail for me.  I always like the look and feel (quilted about 1" apart).

Especially as I used a cotton lawn on the back.  This always makes the quilt feel extra soft and luxurious with a lovely drape.  The selvedge on this Rifle Paper Co butterfly fabric is so lovely that I didn't want to make it disappear.  I sewed it on top when I pieced the backing.  I love adding texture and interest this way.  Although of course this just makes it harder for me to let it go!

Edited to Add:  Adding this to the Fourth Quarter Finishalong.  Here's my post with the original list of quilts to finish.