Monday, March 27, 2017

Recycling Scrap Fabric the Easy Way

Is your life taken over by scraps? Mine has been for the last four months, and I know that eventually I'm going to say ENOUGH!

Only two changes have occurred to the to those scrap bags - they're now sorted by color, and the purple scraps are pretty much gone. I'm really trying my best to use these up, but do find it can be a bit of a drag.

While in search of matching fabric (for a scrap project no less!), the clerk at the quilt shop flat out said, "fabric is compost-able". Say what??? When I thought about it, it makes sense for 100% cotton fabrics. But would the city/composting center really like that in the compost bin?

So I called up the local recycling center to get the scoop.
The lady was extremely nice, and said, "no, can't put fabric, no matter how small the piece, in the compost bin for pickup." The reason is because the compost is a commodity for the city, and is used by the farmers in their fields. Though it's 100% cotton, it's been treated with chemicals, which they don't want. 
Ah, makes perfect sense.

Well, what to do with all those cotton pieces? She went on to tell me to place all 100% cotton fabric items (we're talking clothing too) in a bag and mark "Fiber" on it. Then donate it to Goodwill. Really???

Turns out that Goodwill has connections to 'fiber recyclers' who take all of the unusable cotton scraps and clothing and turn them into items such as shop rags. Awesome!!!!

So, for everyone who's tired of their scraps, and doesn't want to throw more into the landfill, bag up those cotton scraps, mark as 'fiber' and head to the nearest Goodwill donation center. Win-win!!

Makes for more happy quilting!

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Quilting of Garden Stars

Quilt as desired.
Those dreaded words. Makes you groan and want to pile that quilt top onto all the other UFO's sitting in your closet, doesn't it?

But really, quilting shouldn't be that way. By working within your skill level (and yes, quilting does take practice), the quilting is easier to tackle if broken into steps. And no, the quilting doesn't have to be super dense to look fantastic.

So how do I approach the quilting part? First I decide what the purpose of the piece will be. Decorative can go with heavy quilting. Baby quilts, less to keep them soft. Throw or bed quilts can go either way. Just try to keep the density consistent throughout the whole quilt.

I draw with dry erase markers on a piece of clear vinyl placed on top of the quilt, with tape on the edges to prevent accidentally marking the quilt top (dry erase marks DO NOT wash out of fabric). Then I start drawing, starting with the simple elements first. The following is the design I drew up for Garden Stars, placed on a white background for visibility.

The squares are the easy, obvious parts, so they get seeds or petals along the chain.

Here they are on the quilt, 

along with some curves in the adjacent triangle pieces.

The design around the big, open circles uses lines to connect point to point, and the seams of the piecing.

Once those lines and any other stitch-in-the-ditch work (yes, that has to be done - makes the quilt look better!) is complete, I consider the 'bones' to be done. 

Then comes all the fills and pretty work. The flower takes advantage of the four squares, with a petal in each one, 

a simple but effective design. On the quilt, this was created by marking with two different sized circle templates. 

Now a word about washable markers. Yes, I use them in the area right before quilting it, and spritz it out with water right after that area is quilted. I do not let it sit on the quilt any longer than necessary. And only once have I had a problem removing it - check out my tutorial on Removing Blue Marker

Once the flower petals are stitched, a simple stipple fills in the background,

making it really stand out. Of course, there are many other options that could have been placed in this space - one has to just let the creativity flow!

And that's what happened when quilting these motifs. Looking closely at the design on the vinyl versus the actual stitching, I changed the fill placement around the flower, giving it a square-in-a-square look. Sometimes changes are necessary during the quilting process, and that's okay.

The last area is the quilting a square around the four patch square,

again, using washable marker to mark the square and the direction of the fill. Otherwise, it could easily get quilted incorrectly.

Now that the design has been broken down into parts, it doesn't seem that complicated, does it? Start simply, and build from there, and you'll see quilting in a whole new way!

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Garden Stars

Another RSC 17 purple scrap finish, number 4 to be exact, and this one is a beauty!
Introducing Garden Stars.

Garden Stars quilt

I really love these blocks, which came about because of the shape of the scraps, creating a great secondary design. Wouldn't this look awesome as a larger quilt with more blocks? Too bad I ran out of the perfect yellow fabric, or I would have cut more triangles to keep going. But it is such a great feeling to go from scrap pieces,

to blocks,

to a stunning quilt!

Now, I'm not one to automatically put borders on my work. But the shortage of yellow background and the small size of the blocks made for a small quilt. Therefore, a hefty border was needed to make the quilt a decent size (37" x 37"). Fortunately, I had 6" strips of the same fabrics in the stash, making it a no-brainer on border width. The strip width within the border corresponds to the square size in the blocks, giving unity to all the elements. That's something that's really important to me when I'm designing a quilt, otherwise, it could end up being a jumbled mess.

Here's more eye candy, and yes, I was brave and used a med/dark purple thread throughout.

A perfect thread choice, as it gives the quilt a more purple feel, and really shows off the quilting (and any mistakes!).

The back, a green plaid flannel, 

shows off the quilting in a soft, lighter purple, almost a lilac color. You can just see the hint of purple below.

Ok, that's enough eye candy for today, and enough purple for awhile. I'm way behind on aqua, and haven't even started red. But the good news? I'm banishing the scraps!

Tomorrow I'll go over how I came up with the quilting design for this beauty. 
See you then!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Midweek Makers #64

Wow - that came around fast! Welcome to another edition of Midweek Makers!

I'm feeling good this week after finishing two scrap projects over the weekend. The first was the Diamond Chevrons, and the second, made from this block,

I'll reveal tomorrow - it's a beauty! As for the quilt from these scraps,

it's still on hold as there is no update on the fabric search.
Having finished those quilts has now freed up my time and my mind to focus on Santorini, and sharing some landscape quilting tips.

Now on to this week's featured artist, which would be Emese at Pale Blue Corner. She makes memory quilts from baby clothes, which is an absolutely wonderful idea!

                                     Memory Quilt from Baby Clothes

They're soft and scrappy, and a perfect way to hold on to memories for the whole family. Thank you, Emese for sharing a great idea, and be sure to grab a 'Featured' button!

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What kind of memories you making today? Though the project doesn't have to be a memory quilt, today it's the process of making something that provides the memories - so go ahead and share!
  • Please link directly to your specific post, not your main blog page.
  • Link any recent post that has to do with sewing and fabric.
  • Visit the other party guests and leave a comment. It's a great way to make new friends!
  • Grab the Midweek Makers button code to put on your post or sidebar to let everyone know about the party.
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Have a great time!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Diamond Chevrons

Introducing a late finish to the February RSC2017 color, aqua, Diamond Chevrons.

Diamond Chevrons quilt

Measuring 33" x 34.5", I am absolutely thrilled to have leftover diamonds gone from the scrap bag!

Quilting uses an aqua variegated thread,

with simple stitching in the ditch, continuing into points in the blue sashing. For me, any more quilting would have detracted from the bold piecing design.

The back is a center pieced paisley print, using more yardage out of the stash - woohoo!

If you ever have the desire to stitch some diamond chevrons, tips on the process can be found on my post Diamonds - Chevron style

Now to add a hanging sleeve, and find a wall to hang it. And yes, I still have a ton of aqua scraps to use. It's anyone's guess as to when I'll get to them!

Happy Quilting!