Monday, May 6, 2013

Sewing for Scraps

Why Scrappy?

There seems to be a never ending supply of scraps in this studio. Whether from the trimmings of my quilts as I prepare a finished top for binding or just from trimming fabrics as I cut out projects and even from mystery bags that are left behind by my lovely customers, scraps never seem to go away.

What to do; what to do! I had such a hard time at the beginning matching my fabrics for a regular quilt project. That hard time multiplied when it was scraps I could not throw away because they were still pretty big and there were so many colors I could not decide how to make it work.

I decided one day that there was no reason why the colors could not work together; I just had to find something to make them all play nice. What followed was an 18 month foray into “sewing for scraps”. I experimented with all the colors I had in my cupboard.  

Starting with a rather light medium color of green, I made a sampler style of block using half square triangles made by sewing a square of scraps sewn on telephone book pages and cut into 6 ½” square and sewing that on the diagonal with a whole piece of green.  I cut these apart to make half square triangles that were strips on one side and green fabric on the other.  I experimented with different style settings to create six blocks.  The resulting quilt pleased me enough to have me move on to another color.

The next set of half squares that were strips on one side and whole fabric on the other became a very striking purple quilt that actually read as black.  I gifted that quilt to a friend who helped serve the food at a party I hosted for my longarm quilt group.

I learned from the first two quilts that I liked pairing the scrappy halves with dark rich jewel tone colors.  It seems to make the scraps pop better than middle range tones.  I’m not sure I created a monster, but I did start ripping through the scrap buckets.  Actually, my sister was ripping through the scrap buckets because she was the one sewing the scrap colors to the telephone book pages after her famous “any idiot can sew fabric to paper” statement.

One thing we found out, even after sorting scraps into color categories to make her brain happier working with them, one quilt or a dozen, the scraps never seemed to go away, the tubs (yes it went from one tub to tubs) just got fuller.  In self- defense Joanne started sewing strings of scraps (all the blacks, all the reds, etc) and she took them all to our friend Linda to weave bags with.  Linda reported back after the first group of scrap strings got woven into product that she had created over $600 in inventory.  The scraps still did not go away.  They are handled now in one tub again, still sorted into color category.

I make scrappy strip quilts still but have moved on from the half square triangle brain teasers.  Someone said once in a class I took that you paid the same price per yard for that scrap fabric so don’t waste it.  It appeals to my “use it up” upbringing as well.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sample customer quilt gallery

Recent customer quilts

I have a heavy  work schedule.  I like to be busy and I like working from home.  Being booked 12 weeks out is a great feeling of job security. I have been booked out further, but believe me, as long as I am not looking at blank weeks at the end of this month, I am grateful.

I have some very loyal customers and I love each of them dearly.  I get to meet some of the most talented creative people in my neck of the woods and I am truly amazed at the range of their abilities.

There are so many quilts to be made and so little time. Even if I never bought another piece of fabric I would have enough on hand to last me well into my 70’s.  Because I spend so many of my days quilting, that pile of fabric will probably last well into my 80’s.  There is no danger of me not doing my share to keep the fabric sellers in business; simply because the fabric designers will not stop creating more lovely fabric I must have..

Now I will get back to my point. I do make a lot of quilts and have been accused more than once of being an over achiever. There are many quilts I will never attempt to do, not for lack of time but for lack of patience, talent and the knowledge that someone else will do them and bring them to me to quilt.

One of the perks to being a professional machine quilter is the fact I get to touch, see, ogle, drool over and handle so many lovely works of art and I do not have to take the time to create them.  I have said this before and I will say it again; this is the best job EVER.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Letting go

Memory quilts

Going away to college is probably the first really big life change any child can make and to give them a special gift for comfort and a touchstone to their past is truly a sweet gift.

Some people are so talented they can take old t-shirts and turn them into works of art. I am not one of those people, but all of the memory quilts I have quilted for my customers impress me for their uniqueness.
This one has some very thoughtful messages for the young bird that is leaving the nest.

I wonder if it is possible to slip some subliminal messages into the stack of shirts to keep your college student in line. And how do you even explain where all the cool shirts disappeared to? I chose close ups of some of the wonderful shirts that were sacrificed for this great send-off gift.