Thursday, June 4, 2015

June Cleaver's dresses, taming the scrap pile, and some thoughts about creativity...

    In my last post, I showed an assortment of vintage fabrics, each piece approximately 11" x 18". I had them for several years, and they taunted me every time I'd look at them. Thanks to the fact I go NOWHERE without a notebook, graph paper, and isometric graph paper, I finally worked out a design on my lunch break. There is nothing like a peanut butter sandwich to get those brain cells hopping!
     Here's "Wiggle Room". The pattern will be available soon.

Wiggle Room

     The past few months have been incredibly busy for me; I've been putting in a lot of extra hours at work, as well as teaching, traveling to out-of-state guilds, and working on new patterns for the upcoming autumn quilt show season. There were days when I'd leave the house before dawn, and wouldn't return until after 10 pm.  And I loved every minute of the insanity. It was truly one of the most creative periods I have ever been through (and it goes on...).
    Why? I discovered decades ago that the busier I am, the more ideas pop into my head. And creative energy fuels physical energy. I am undergoing...


    Why now? Even before I started the pile of quilts that are now awaiting quilting, I realized my quilts are taking over my house. Yes, I can keep them reasonably neatly boxed up, but quilts for trunk shows are one thing, quilts for my booth at quilt shows are another, and there is some overlap. This isn't a major problem if, like this year, I have trunk shows but no quilt shows in the early part of the year, and all my quilt shows (but no trunk shows) are jammed together in the fall. I repack once and that does it. That's not usually how it goes though. So, I need to get my quilts in a more easily accessible location so I can repack as needed. I also want to be able to visit my antique sewing machines more often, but they've been hiding in abject terror.

Lady Macbeth, my sweet lass from Scotland

     What is going/has gone in the purge? Carloads of books and magazines, hobby and craft materials that no longer interest me, some never-used household items, non-quilt fabric. Gone, gone, gone, without shedding a tear. And there is still quite a bit more to go.

     I don't have one (gasp!). I have scraps. My scraps and (more likely) other people's scraps. I discovered years ago that purchasing fabric without a definite project in mind is a kiss of death for that fabric, a guarantee it will never be used. And, dare I say it, I don't even LIKE fabric shopping! So, no stash for me.
     Yes, I have scraps. I have scraps of scraps. I have bins of scraps, boxes of scraps and bags of scraps. Scraps on the floor. Scraps in underbed boxes.
     Scraps engender scrap quilts. So, it's probably time to think about doing another scrap quilt book. With that in mind, I've been slowly organizing my scraps.

I started with the bin of scraps from my Quilts of Valor workshop days. I had actually twice donated unfinished tops and bags of fabric to QOV groups that had booths at shows where I was vending. How much could I have left? Here's what I posted on Facebook:

      "I thought I possibly had enough left for one very scrappy top, and I would cut the pieces, bag them, and save them for when I wanted an easy project.
In addition to discovering I had two quilt backings, two tops only lacking borders, the finished blocks for another top, and blocks for half of yet ANOTHER top, I also had more fabric than I thought. I sliced and diced for the past three or four nights, and organized and bagged up the pieces. The photo shows the results:
Fabric to finish the rest of the blocks for that fourth quilt top, plus... three Disappearing 9-patch tops, two Strip Twist tops, and one Rail Fence, one bag of hundreds of 2 1/2" squares, five outer borders, four inner borders, six bindings,and three pillowcases. And I still have some fabric left." 

Since I posted that, I have filled up another grocery bag with appropriate fabrics from among my other scraps.

QOV kits

     Fueled by the success of organizing the QOV fabric, I decided to tackle some of my smaller scraps. Trimmed, folded and ironed it doesn't look like a lot of fabric, but there is enough for several quilts here.

She slices, she dices..

           As I go, if I see fabrics that "play nicely together" colorwise, I am putting them in plastic bags for future projects. The fabrics in the bags here are some of the fabrics I am using to reproduce a late 19th century scrappy quilt in my collection. I have a bag with cute modern baby fabric scraps, a pile of purples,  a bag of scraps, spanning at least 50 years, that coordinate with two focus fabrics in bright tropical prints. I'm trimming off uneven edges, and cutting those cut-off pieces into 2 1/2" squares and strips of whatever length.
     Happy Quilting,




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