Friday, October 30, 2020

Muddling Through the Scraps!

Remember "the moving of the fat-quarters" from Wallburg to here?

They spent a couple of months in the garage/shop at Quiltville Inn, before we could dedicate a day to going down to retrieve my metal industrial shelving and home my FQ collection in the basement sewing studio at the cabin.

Along with that, came the emptying of the small Ikea cabinet I had been using for stash holding - THOSE FQs were refolded, and merged with the FQ stash from Wallburg and have been happily living here in all of their color-arranged glory.

The cabinet is waiting for my book stash which will come up in a future trip.

The box you see above on my messy cutting table (where things seem to be dumped lately) are pieces that are less than half a fat quarter or random scraps that I would rather use as strips than leave whole.

They are waiting in line to be pressed and trimmed into Scrap User’s System sizes.

However, there are some fabrics that stump me.  If you cut it - what color is it?  It will be blotchy, varied, and hard to use as "one color family"

Not only is this print huge - it's got those gorgeous vintage looking roses, but it is also directional due to the text.

This kind of fabric I really have a hard time with - it would be great as the lining for a bag, or the back of a quilt, but what to do with the scraps? Maybe it could be pieced into a backing as a racing stripe or something? Maybe used as alternate blocks?

Are there fabrics that you find hard to use as well?

This piece is another one!

SO CUTE as a backing -

But what about the scraps?

This kind of thing gives me the same conundrum as toile - If I cut it into strips, there go the arms, legs, heads....

The adorable scenes are more prone to fussy cutting and using as alternate blocks, rather than just stripped down and used as a neutral.

I honestly don't know what I'm going to do with these pieces.  As I said - I'm stumped!

So these things usually end up in a box - just sitting.  So hard for me to know where to use them.

Pulling the neutrals into submission.

If the print is small enough - I can easily strip things down, and that is probably the most productive thing that happened with my day yesterday.

I spent some quality time last evening chatting to my dad. His hearing aids are sensitive enough that it distracts him from the conversation if I am sewing, doing dishes, chopping veggies or cooking. ⁣
I can, however press scraps and run them through the Accuquilt Studio. These neutrals are heading to the Scrap User's System to replenish what I've sewn myself out of lately.

Some in here are quite busy -

But they will work.

I would rather cut them to where they will be quickly used in scrap quilts, than left whole in a box of "What do I do with you?" pieces!

Rolled and placed in a gallon zip lock.

This is the best way I have found to store my strips. Separated by color family, kept with strips of similar size. Rolled to fit the bag. And the bag not zipped all the way shut to allow air to circulate.

The rolling keeps things from wrinkling too badly, and the bag keeps the raw edges of the strips from fraying excessively.

The box will be left on or near the cutting table next to the ironing board for my next "Conversations with Dad" moment because heaven knows I just can't sit there and do NOTHING. I'm a fidgiter. My hands must be busy at all times, and busy doing quiet things when talking to dad due to his hearing aids.

Scraps are easier for me to process if I separate them into color families first. So that is another quiet job I can do - sort out the box, and then go from there.

As seen on my drive home!

Happy is the quilter who comes home to find her Hubster has blown the leaves (oh so many leaves!) Off a 1/4 mile very steep dirt laneway!
Our winds were fierce yesterday and we had a ton of rain overnight.

Not much is left on the trees. November is pushing closer!

But first - HALLOWEEN happens tomorrow - and we all know what that means!

Celebrating Mystery Season with a SewPad Special!

Mystery Season brings hours, days and weeks of anticipated clues and sewing! It can cause back/hip discomfort.

We all know that quilting is a sedentary sport - and we need to take care of ourselves, so we can keep on quilting longer free from pain.

Earlier in the year we shared info on these medical grade seat cushions that are life changing for me.

This thing is a miracle. It is such a wonderful addition to my sewing studio and will cut down on my Chiropractic visits saving me money in the long run.
  • Gel Comfort Seating for Quilters!
  • 1/2” Thick Medical-Grade Gel Filled
  • Cushions & Supports Your Hips & Back
  • Sit Longer in Much Greater Comfort
  • AirMesh® Cover Keeps You Cooler
  • Feel Better at the End of the Day!
  • 100% Made in the USA

Gary and Laura, the owners of SewPad have graciously offered up FREE SHIPPING on your SewPad order using coupon code TREAT at checkout.

Code MUST be used to take advantage of FREE PRIORITY SHIPPING.

Sale ends midnight on Monday, November 2, 2020 so hurry!

Orders must be shipped to a USA address.  International shipping not available, as these weigh in at at 4 1/2 lbs of ultimate seating comfort!

This is the time to be thinking of your holiday gift-giving to quilting family members and friends.

But remember - it's not just for sewing!  Try it in the car for long trips.  When we get back to life and can attend sporting events - think of bringing it for bleacher seating.

Your body will thank you!

Nancy's Appalachian Autumn runner!

"My table runner version of Bonnie's Appalachian Autumn quilt pattern. So fun to make."

So cute, Nancy! The pumpkins are also adorable - and I love the scrappy bricks border!

Cathy V's  Appalachian Autumn!

"We took my recently completed “Appalachian Autumn” quilt and hiked to a waterfall on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia for a photo shoot before hanging it at home."

"Thank you for this amazing pattern! I loved making it and it has turned out to be one of my all time favorites. It was made almost entirely from “scraps” that I sort and store by color."

It tickles me to no end to see your beautiful quilts in their natural habitat at home!  Wonderful!

The PDF pattern for Appalachian Autumn is available in the Digital Patterns section of the Quiltville Store.

This is it folks - today is MY last day to put the wrap on tomorrow's Quiltville Winter Mystery introductory post.  It's a computer day.  And I can't wait to get this ball rolling.

Be watching for tomorrow's post as we kick of this year's round of mystery fun.

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Vintage quilt found in Virginia.

Isn't this just the truth? Yesterday was fraught with delays and setbacks including bad tension, shredding thread and way too much unstitching. Such is life! ⁣
But I will be back at it again today!

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone!



  1. Thank you so much for all your time and talent on the mystery quilt. If we ever needed it for sure this year. I have leaned so much and just love the entire process. Thank you again.

  2. Lynne Tyler of patcherymenagerie.com talks about how she uses large prints in her Stash. She has some amazing quilts. Zebra Diamonds in yellow is gorgeous. If you type in "the stash" at her blog you can read about her use of color and fabrics, especially large print fabrics.

  3. This year once again went by so fast.This is my third mystery, can’t wait.

  4. Yes, I move those hard to know what to do with fabrics from pile to pile. I am making some bags, so hopefully they will find a home. I have been cutting lots of strips for rick rack nines that are somewhere between neutral and not. I wonder how many I will end up making. I haven't ever made a quilt twice, but I have lots of those strips. I think we really need the mystery this year more than ever. Thanks so much for this tradition!!

  5. Aww, Bonnie... Need a dose of your own medicine! If you don't like it, if it doesn't fit in... You haven't cut it small enough! I'm remembering that one because... Well, let's just say, I have a lot of big print, multicolored fabric!

  6. it does seem true!! and the hurrier i go, the behinder i get!!! Making mistakes by mis-reading instructions!!! i just am so encouraged with all the wonderful shares.. and now tomorrow, will come a big show stopper! but but but, i needa do AA and pumpkins... thanks for giving us these "horribly wonderful" choices... Cats in Carlsbad CA -- I'm back! Fell off the quilting wagon for a while there.. healthy hugs, prayers and blessings to everyone!!! <3

    1. Welcome Back Cats from Carlsbad, From Robin from La Mesa, Ca now in Leavenworth, WA!

  7. Maybe you could put those questionable fabrics in a box and have a drawing for them. No more worrying about how to use them and more room for other fabrics. Just thinking out loud!!

  8. When I cut down those large-scale fabrics, I tend to make squares or rectangles, and sort the results by the predominant color in each.
    Love your blog, looking forward to tomorrow's intro.

  9. First off - thank you Bonnie for everything! You are a true treasure to us all! Secondly, I purchased a SewPad for my dad as his back is always hurting him. I test drove it at a retreat recently and did not have any back pain whatsoever. I’m going to order one for me! Happy Halloween and Happy Mystery to all!!!

  10. Love your Quiltville Quote of the Day! Yesterday was one of those for me also. I was doing free motion quilting when I went through an area of multiple seam allowances and KLUNK! Something very bad evidently happened, and now she skips stitches. Am off to the repair shop with her today.

  11. Yep - I have trouble with fabrics like that, too - especially shirts. When I first started buying shirts for quilting, I bought some that are medium/large-scale plaid, with strong light/dark contrast. Any units I cut from them tend to come out half mostly white and half mostly dark. Really hard to use. I try to avoid buying any more shirts like those, but the ones I already have do pose a challenge. Your examples above might be tough to work with, but the roses are very pretty and the "Dick and Jane" style print is super adorable!! I hope some good inspiration strikes you.

  12. big prints....I hang on to them for alternate blocks and focus fabric color themes.....and excited for tomorrow! Thanks Bonnie!

  13. Bonnie as a new quilter I’ve only bought precuts and quilt kits but after tomorrow’s color reveal I’ll be shopping for the beginning of my stash, fat quarters! Just got my supply of oil and grease to get my FW221 & FW222 ready for the mystery quilt-along. My first time joining and I can’t wait!! Cheers! ~Merri

  14. Thank you for the hint about storing scraps in plastic bags. I just started organizing my stash scraps by color and shapes in plastic bags. So thank you so very much I hate the musty smell if they are put away not quite dry. As to what to do with multi colored fabrics I have started a place just for them. Frustrating as they're neither one major color or another. Beautiful mostly but frdtrating

  15. Why not cut out a motif in those big prints and then either string or crumb around them to make blocks??? Just a thought. Can't wait until tomorrow and I have a couple friends that will be right there too. Thanks very much for another mystery!!!!

  16. I made the Spoolin' Around quilt with a dark red solid as an alternate throughout the quilt and a swiss cross quilt with the same red (I had bought a bolt) as the background and each cross itself was from scraps. I was able to use quite a few of those weird fabrics. I still have tons of those weird fabrics and am thinking of doing another quilt with either a solid black, or a deep purple instead of lighter neutrals.

  17. I made a snowball design quilt for my grandson 19 years ago with this print. I tried to send a picture but couldn't. I had to do a lot of fussy quilting but fell in love with the fabric as I read the Dick and Jane books when I was a child and passed them on to my daughter and knew the fabric was perfect when I saw it . After the quilt was finished I returned to the quilt shop with it to show the owner and she told me the fabric had been recalled do to something with the copyright laws and she was to notify all her customers who purchased it to return it . Not happening...

    1. Judy, Snowball blocks with focus prints is a wonderful idea! Thanks!

  18. For those large-pattern pieces, you could design a quilt with big blocks, or you could put them into some bundles with some other fabrics and sell them. Best they go to someone who will love them and use them, right? Life's too short to stress about it! I'm glad you are staying well and sane, and hope it continues. Looking forward to the mystery!

  19. Is there anyone in your life that makes pillowcases? Those hard to decide pieces look like they might be the right size to make a fun cuff on a pillowcase (might need a lining on the inside, but when a pillowcase is the only thing 'special' in your life, I doubt you would complain. Just a thought.

  20. These bigger prints I have been cutting into 3 1/2” squares for 4 patches!

  21. Love the SewPad! Got one for me and one for my daughter, but think I need a couple more.

  22. I think for big prints you could start a charm square container. They can be added to an eyespy or something at a later date. I Keep any leftover charm squares unused and make charm Square bundles for friends who make those kinds of quilts.

  23. As well as leaving the closure on the plastic bags open a bit, I also cut a tiny triangle off on each of the bottom corners. Helps to flatten out the air and also breathe.

  24. I love stripping up the big print florals. The sample that you first showed would go into my greens as the leaves are the most prominent. When the print is used, it will give the quilt a lacy effect and lend movement. I actually love these prints for just that reason! The second 'scene' fabric would go into neutrals, it will just blend in. Looking forward to quilting the weekend away. Soup slow cooking on the stove. Bliss!

  25. One more sleep! ,😴 then off to my stash I go. What colors to pick, only Bonnie knows. Tomorrow she will let us know, just what magic she has spun, this year's mystery quilt, colors to share, then we gather all we have, pick up a few more here and there. Then waiting we shall be, the first clue to reveal, after Turkey Day ready to cut the pieces that shall be, part of a block or three, then each week to come another another clue she will share, until at last we have a quilt to share.

  26. Can you take "those leftovers" and cut 10" squares for your backings. Then anything leftover into 1.5" strips for the tiniest piecing?

  27. Love the mysteries! I've only done two but I always look forward to what's next, thinking I'll do "this one" each time. Thank you for the fun.
    I keep 1 1/2 in. squares and usually can get those out of the "what color is this" fabric. But I do agree I think they are hard to work with especially those with faces and body parts be it human or animal. Making cinnamon rolls today, oh the heavenly aroma while baking!

  28. How exciting, is it just me or has Halloween crept up on us rather quickly. Looking forward to tomorrow’s colour reveal.
    Thank you Bonnie for bringing us all this fun and such useful tips on how to manage our scraps.
    Stay safe
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xx

  29. Easy answer on those odd scraps - donate! Someone else will use for something larger that works for them.

  30. Had to laugh at today's quote. That is so true.. Thanks for all the ideas on cutting scraps. I am working on them. LOL It just takes time. Looking forward to the mystery reveal... Enjoy your day!

  31. The Duck and Jane piece would make a great center panel for a doll quilt.

  32. I tell my husband that I triple whatever time he tells me it’s going to take him to do something. He always underestimates, and I always overestimate...that way I have plenty of time. I had to laugh though that you can’t talk to your dad without doing something. I’m the same way. I drive the hubs crazy when he’s trying to talk to me and I’m chopping veggies or sewing. If I stop and look at him while he’s telling me something, my mind starts wandering and I’m thinking...”I need to give him a haircut” or “does he know he has black stuff all over the seat of his pants?” I totally miss whatever he’s wanting to share with me.😂😂😂

  33. I have a suggestion for the "difficult to categorize" fabric. I say this with respect because, Bonnie,you have way more experience than I do. Cut them into 10" or (whatever size suits you) squares and join them to make a scrappy backing. That way you will still see the pictures

  34. I recently read that those multiple colored fabrics that you just don't know what to do with are in a color/category all their own and are called "Husband" fabrics. We just don't know where to put them or where they belong but they need a special place. Of course we love these fabrics and that is why we have them. Too funny.

  35. I tried the Purple cushion, this one looks more comfortable. Waiting up until midnight like a few others I know. Too excited to sleep.
    My 9th mystery with you.

  36. If only there was a method to swap fabric, like Mairi's idea of how she cuts up charm squares & gives them away. I have fabric leftover from horses and motorcycles theme photo quilts IF anyone wants these, I'd swap!! Lol

  37. The Dick and Jane fabric was in my stash too. Some got fussy cut for an I Spy quilt and the rest went into a child`s quilt for hurricaine Sandy relief to my native NYC. When you talk about vintage stuff in your stash, I often see we've got the same stuff.

  38. I am so ready as I enter my 2nd year of mystery with you all...so wish I had heard of this sooner to be educated in the quilting world. Thanks for ALL you do!

  39. I have the print with "Dick and Jane" and I use it for my grands I Spy Quilts. The older two got theirs at 8 years old, the next two will be 8 also when they get them. I've got 4 and 6 years to go! LOL!

  40. Thanks for all your hard work, this will be my first mystery! I did the unity mystery earlier this year, so, I guess really I am excited to do number two !

  41. I used to sit and knit while talking with my dad. That seems like a long time ago now. I enjoy the ideas presented and the comments. Thanks everyone.

  42. thank you Bonnie for the fun quilt patterns you have given us this year. Its just what we needed for all the time we have to spend at home. Your quilts re always fun and a little bit challenging.

  43. That Dick and Jane fabric is sew cute! It would be great for making a project bag. I've made many project bags as gifts and also as fund raisers for my guild. I try to keep one filled with a hand project at all times.

  44. I would have LOVED to take that vintage Girl Scout print off your hands! It's in the ziplock bag. That fabric came out about 10 yrs ago as a repeat of a much older fabric. The nurse's quarters at my childhood GS camp had curtains made from that fabric.


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