Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Kitting it up!

I decided to spend some time kitting up the Florabunda quilt fabrics before I head to Pennsylvania---Focusing on the background yellows--the florals were already cut by width across the grain of the fabric --- I decided that I would do two blocks out of each floral, because that is what I could get out of one 3.5” strip and 1 2” strip…

This is how things work their way through my head:

“How many can I get and have this piece GONE? Versus—“I want one block out of each fabric and have leftovers I’ll have to try to find a use for somewhere else”.

Do you think this way?

In the whole scheme of 72 blocks ---does it matter if there are duplicates? Is it a wiser way to use up the strip til it’s gone--- or, do I want to cut 72 different florals and have a bunch of half strips left over? Which is going to be easier to work with, easier to clean up after, and make better use of the fabric at hand?

SO, in other words, often times the number of duplicate blocks in any quilt out of any given fabric depends on how much I can get out of one cut of fabric with little to nothing left over!

When cutting the bow-ties from strips, I decided that I wanted no more than 6 alike within the quilt. 6 the same out of nearly 500? That’s a number I’m okay with. And many times that means I can get 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 bowties out of the same scrap strip and have that strip all gone.

How easy! Is that really going to change the look that much from a quilt that said “no two alike” ? How many more strips would I be cutting from to do that --- and how many strips would I be putting back IN the bin because I only used a small portion of each strip. Would I be leaving strips too short to be really usable if I were only cutting one bow-tie from them? As it is….as I cut…my 2” square bin is getting fuller just from trimming down the ends of the strips after I could no longer get any more bow-tie pieces from them!

I’m trying to find ways to USE the fabric, not just herd it around from one drawer to another!

kittingup 002

Here’s all the kitted to size strips for my Florabunda. I fit this in a one gallon sized zip lock bag! My easy Angle Ruler and regular ruler will be coming with me, along with a small mat for cutting strip sets in to 4-patches, and cutting half square triangles from the short fat strips I’ve already cut to length.

This is so much better than traveling with a bin of fat quarters and hunks and chunks of this and that in my suitcase! This is why I love to kit up before going anywhere. It stream-lines, reduces, and gets a lot of the grunt work out of the way so when I reach my destination I can just plug in and sew! The only thing better would have been if I had had enough time to pre-cut my half square triangle pairs ahead of time too…but I’m fine with this.

A few episodes of NCIS and I’ll be a happy quilter, sewing away!


  1. Anonymous4:20 PM EST

    I really enjoy your blog, Bonnie. Thank you for all the good tips and ideas.


  2. This is also a good tip for when have sewing circle!

  3. I do way too much herding......need to work on that!

  4. Anonymous4:41 PM EST

    You know what really amazes me? You can fit the fabric for an entire queen size quilt in a 1 gallon zip-lock bag!!!! I have 4 ready to go with me Monday for FL and they all fit in their own bag!! Super way to travel!!
    Safe journeys to you Bonnie, love reading your posts.
    Faye in Maine

  5. So, it looks as if you have them layered with a floral and a yellow, is that right? ARe they pressed right now so all you have to do is start stiching or cutting those half square triangles or do you have to pair them together and press once you get "there?"

  6. I did that for my last retreat Bonnie, and it worked great! I didn't have as much clutter to carry with me, and I didn't have to pick and choose through fabrics. Just picked up what I had brought, sewed them together and ended up with a finished project! Woohoo! Can't get any better than that! Thanks for teaching us how to be so smart =^..^=

  7. I sometimes resize quilt blocks to make the maximum use of the width of the fabric and reduce/eliminate the scraps left. Not always, but sometimes.

    I've spent 6 1/2 years of retirement trying to use up fabric. Problem is, more fabric always sneaks in to replace what I manage to use!

  8. Anonymous5:46 PM EST

    I have been cutting a bit of fabric every day toward my next couple of planned quilts. I have also incorporated a leader/ender project into the mix. It is amazing how much more productive you can be with only a tiny bit of work added on.

  9. Can't wait to see what you make out of those strips! They are great colors!!!

  10. I love this idea--use it up. Am planning on using up my strip leftovers from my spider blocks and making a border from them. Don't want to store those strips in bags again....I really like your florabunda quilt; that and bow ties and oh so many of them...all super....thanks Bonnie

  11. Anonymous8:07 PM EST

    Use the remainder to make a fun basket weave or courthouse steps.
    Always room for one more......

  12. Love the common sense with which you work. It always makes me realize how silly some of the rules are that we set for ourselves when quilting.

  13. I never thought to do this for my quilt retreat. I usually take a couple of big boxes filled with fabric and patterns and then have to spend time cutting instead of sewing. This looks like a much better plan to me. Thanks for sharing.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Recently I began wondering how you "kit it up" for your road trips and this post answered all my thought of, but not asked of you, questions! Thanks. One thing I think of when cutting fabric scraps is the amount of time it takes to cut 72 different fabrics vs. 36 and using doubles. When I get to 36 single sets cut I think, "If I had cut doubles I could be sewing now!"

  16. I need to do this for a retreat coming up soon, Thanks for the great ideas.

  17. This is a great idea for retreats. Next one, I will have to make some time before to kit it up!
    Thanks for sharing your process.

  18. I finished piecing a nine-patch and HST flimsy. Lots of variety and energy, fabrics all mixed up....but darned if there are TWO places where triangles of the same fabrics touch.

    I'm leaving them where they are.

  19. You've reminded me... I started this one too, just to see what the blocks looked like mind LOL.... they look great, so one day, I'll get back to them. That one day may be soon though because my DH is making a special sewing place for me. I can't wait!!!


If you are commenting as "anonymous" please leave your name at the end of your comment.

Did you know that ad space on this blog provides for all of the free patterns and free mysteries and challenges at no cost to you? Without ads, this blog would not be possible.

Thank you for understanding the many hours that go into this blog 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year. :)