Monday, January 20, 2020

The Sunday Evening Aftermath.

This is what happens with a burst of quilt creativity!

We used to joke about our son Jeff – that when walking into the kitchen you could see just where he’d been and what he’d had – as every cabinet door he’d opened remained open. Just connect the dots – it was all there.  And usually the lights were still on long after he’d gone.

I guess he comes by it honestly! LOL!  Because I do the same thing with my quilting.

An idea starts – and out come the Scrap User’s System strips in the sizes that I need – the color families that I need – bundles unfurling into endless variety, making it so easy to pull together just what I want and need.  

You can tell what I've been up to by looking at my cutting table!

It’s the putting it back that takes a bit of time – not as much as you would think – but it does take a bit of discipline not to just throw these in a box and close the lid.

Neutrals by strip width!

For those who have asked how I manage my strips without them being all wrinkly, and minimize the shredding and threadiness that happens at the cut edges in the process – this is how it goes in my practice.

Stack the neutrals on top of each other.  There is no maximum length, but I tend to fold full width of fabric strips in half so my stacks aren’t longer than 22’’ or so.

The shortest ones go on the top, so I can easily use those FIRST the next time I unroll the bundle.  Minimum strip length?  About 5’’ to 6’’.  Anything shorter than that gets cut into squares or rectangles by strip width.

Roll the bundle into approximately thirds -

Slip into a well used zip-lock bag!

I can generally get about 3 rolls of strips in a gallon bag – use the bags again and again and again and again.  I do not close the zip top all the way so air can circulate, but rolling them this way keeps them from needing excessive ironing (Sometimes I have to press just a bit – but you’d be pressing fat-quarters too before using, wouldn’t you?) and helps minimize the threadiness at the edge of the strips.

Reds, stacked and ready to roll!

Those short ones can either go in the middle of the roll -

Or placed at the top of the bundle where they are visible.

Short strips are generally the first to be used up as I want them gone so I can bring in new strips!  I’ve been working with my scraps this way for more than 20 years now.  It works for me.  I cut strips from anything less than half a fat-quarter to get them to this usable stage.

My strip stash tends to deplete way faster than my fat-quarter or yardage stash.  Move the older out – move the newer in!

Those small blue chunks above?

They became squares!

This is also part of the scrap management process.  Anything too short to remain a strip gets instantly cut to size instead of staying as some random odd piece.

3 shoe boxes on my windowsill.

These are right above my cutting table and I am often tossing scrap squares into the appropriate box during the whole quilt cutting-out process.  And I find myself digging in to these boxes ALL.THE.TIME.

This is what caused the upheaval at my cutting table yesterday!

All of those sashings, four-patches, border units, and neutral squares came from my strip and squares stash.  It works.  The blocks came from fat-quarters because of how they are constructed, but everything else – Scrap User’s System all the way.

And yes – I awoke to a bit of snow on the ground from last night.  It’s still lightly falling now – the temp is only 19 degrees out. 

Phoenix is sounding awfully good right now!

The digital pattern for Irish Courthouse is still priced at 50% off in the digital pattern section of the Quiltville Store.  It’s only $4.00 and no coupon is required – there are only a couple of weeks left of this sale, so don’t miss out!  

What two colors would you like to be working with? Or would you go completely scrappy?

(The pattern includes directions for the full quilt above, not the variation I am currently making. There has been enough demand for this second version, that I will likely make it available as a separate pattern with border directions in the future.)

I am still waiting for  yesterday’s drawn group to get back with me on their chosen retreat dates for Quiltville Inn, and once they do I’ll be drawing to fill that one remaining weekend in 2020. 

It could be happening soon, and ALL groups that have entered are in the running. 

It’s not too late to enter your group.  Click the Quiltville Inn Rally tab at the top of the blog and enter your group info into the form.

As soon as this posts I’m warming up the van, heading to the QPO to check on the kitties, do some last minute desk work, some order filling and I’ll be on my way back to Wallburg. No mail service today, so anything I fill that came in over the weekend will post on Tuesday.

It’s time to get the Trunk Show and workshop quilts back on the road – So glad to be headed somewhere WARM!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Vintage string quilt found in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

I needed this yesterday, and I am posting it today as a reminder to myself.

There are crazies out there who know nothing about what goes on in your life or mine.

Let them think what they think. Send them merrily on their way and don't let them destroy your inner peace.

Your dreams don't need anyone else's approval!


  1. I love everything about this post-- but that Courthouse Steps border: WOW! Well done!! You had my full attention at red, white and blue and it just kept getting better from there.

  2. oooh love love love that border!! really ramps up the blocks...

  3. Your little Irish is so cute! I'm with you, Phoenix sounds great but I'll be heading to the Panama Canal so that'll work. Maybe Phoenix for the winter next year!!

  4. Two simple statements with so much meaning: "This is how I do it." and "It works for me." Please keep sharing your quilting joy and let the less-than-joyful comments fade in the flood of the happy ones.

  5. I love how your quilt turned out! The border makes it extra special. Also i am in love with my Frolic, thank you so much!

  6. Yes your dreams are your dreams don't let anyone spoil them for you!!

  7. So well spoken. My mother always used to say - "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Have a lovely day. Sharyn

  8. I love your border on the red, white and blue quilt. Will you be sharing how you made it? I'm also loving how my Frolic quilt is turning out. It will be a happy quilt with such bright, vibrant colors. Thanks for sharing your talents with all of us, and continue to live out your fondest dreams. I don't understand people who get joy from being "Debbie Downers." They must have terrible inferiority complexes.

  9. I love your quotes, thank you so much for all you share.

  10. I'm trying to redo my limited quilting space in hopes of being able to work more efficiently. Thank you for sharing how you do things. I have learned so much from your posts about how you set up Quiltville Inn as well as your personal sewing space and the methods you use when working.

  11. Weekend away, major sewing project done, sewing room in shambles--organizing strips sounds like the perfect project for today! Thanks for sharing your methods--they really energize the Virgo in me.

  12. I love the the latest project,I wish you could know how much you inspire me,and teach me.I have always been a scrap quilter,but this is the first time OI ever made a mystery quilt.It was so much fun! My husband is deployed to middle east and this made the holidays go by so much faster,I cant wait to get it together and quilted and on our new bed.Thank you for everything!! xoxox

    1. Thank you to you and your husband for your Service to our country. I am sure Bonnie's mystery helped this holiday season. Polly Blank

  13. Love the border and it turned out so well.

  14. I love the Frolic quilt in the header, however, I hope you will put a picture with Sadie Jane back up there soon. I have two fur babies but really miss seeing her every morning.

  15. Bonnie, I adore the mystery quilt reveal! I've been playing catch up and working thru Clue 7. Your talent shines in the layout! Sometime will you go into more detail on those shoe box container contents shown in today's post? I can't tell the contents, if each box contains only one size or multiple bits. I so do appreciate the details on your scrap saver's system. Even the details like you give in this post about rolling the strips is a big help when I go to implement your system in my own sewing room. Thank you for the awesome knowledge and wisdom you pass on to the quilting world.

    1. Top to bottom: 1 1/2'' squares, 2'' squares, 2 1/2'' squares.

  16. I was so glad to have found your Scrap User's System after having made only my first few quilts. Thanks to you, I started processing my scraps BEFORE they'd had a decade or more to accumulate and become overwhelming. Every time you talk about how you manage and use your scraps, I pick up a new little nuance or two that makes mine even more efficient. Thank you!

  17. Thank you Bonnie for the photo update on how you store your strip user system in bags. When I cut out pieces for projects I put them in baggies. Why my brain didn't register to do the same with my strips I'll never know. But I will be changing my 3 drawers up into baggies to keep order. It definitely will be easier to find the color strips I want. I throw my odd sized ones into my empty cat litter tubs for string piecing. Then I write on the lid what color is in the tub. I am so glad to have found your scrap users system, I have been using it about 5 years. I would fold them in half in the drawer and stack and it always made a mess trying to dig out the colors I wanted. So now they will be in baggies by colors, thank you again.

  18. I *really* love that border on the small Irish Courthouse quilt.

  19. Your post has been so helpful to me today. I have bins by size in my Scrap User System but over time they have become so jumbled looking for a color. I didn't think I had room to store by color. And those little pieces get lost. You continue to teach me so many things. "Blender" fabrics really have me stumped and I seem to have a lot of them. Thank you for the visual today. It really helps me learn.

  20. I love, love, love that border on your new quilt. It sets it off perfectly! Wish I were going to Phoenix--great place to go in January.

  21. That border is special. I love the whole quilt. Time to go back thru my fabric and cut more strips! Your advice and ideas are so helpful and always energize me. Have a great trip to Phoenix. That is where my son and family live (I am in Oregon).

  22. That quilt looks amazing I love the border just frames it beautifully. Once I get this room decorated and the furniture in I’m going to get myself organised with your scrap user system I love how you’ve made it work , thank you for sharing have a safe journey to Phoenix and enjoy your classes.
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

  23. For years I kept a variety of small plastic drawer cabinets and now they are of very good use.Since I embraced your system of keeping spraps in stripes and squares i feel very organized.
    Thank you so much for sharing so freely your amazing ideas.

  24. So many great things in this post - love that border and thanks for the tip about folding the strips. I have sort of implemented your "Scrap users system" but the strips always seem to get mixed up. I also thought I had done something wrong with the cutting when my strips started to look a little frayed.

  25. Exactly what I needed on this cold day. Time to organize. You are a dear! Thank you.

  26. Love, love, love the border you chose: absolutely perfect.

    Plus, I love the details on how you're storing stuff, and particularly love seeing individual fabrics. After adopting your system two years ago, I'm feeling more confident about what will be a good fabric for a neutral ("Just because it has a white background, doesn't mean it's a neutral"...right, LOL?), but seeing yours in strips, rather than just in the small pieces of finished blocks really helps in the details. Thanks so much, Bonnie!


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