August 15, 2018

Got the Hexie Bug Again

When I was clearing out boxes in the garage, I got all excited when I found my old English Paper Piecing (EPP) supplies.  I learned how to do it several years ago, but never put anything together to really make anything.  Wait, I did piece these poinsettia hexies to make a sort of table mat/runner, but I didn't finish it with a backing, or quilt it or anything.  I simply stitched them together and left the papers in for stiffness and called it good, LOL.  I used the 2 1/ 2" hexies for this.

Anyway, since I've been trying to learn piece/patchwork quilting, I've been accumulating scraps, and finding the old EPP stuff is giving me a new outlet to use them up.  I've cut templates and basted a bunch of 1"hexies the last two days, and anxious to see my pile grow so I can decide what I want to do with them.

Of course there's the standard layout for Grandmother's Flower Garden, and I might do some of those if I have six blocks of one color/pattern.  That will also be a good way to use up single hexies for the middle, where they might not work for anything else.

I also want to play with other  patterns, something with a group of same or similar color scheme hexies to make each grouping (each grouping different, though), with a group of solid/small pattern around each which will end up as sort of a sashing.  I didn't have enough of anything to get much of a trial layout, but this is something like what I had in mind.  I would probably use black, white, or a neutral color in place of the yellow.  

I love simple, no-brainer ways to keep my hands busy while watching TV, or sitting somewhere waiting for an appointment.  I can't stand to sit and do nothing, even riding in the car (with someone else driving).  I can keep a take-along bag of hexies that are ready to baste or hand piece together and just grab and go.  

Don't know if I'll ever be able to make a full quilt (that would take thousands of 1" hexies, and I plan to hand sew them all!), but I should be able to make some table runners, mug rugs, wall hangings, and maybe lap throws or baby quilts.  

Now I want to cut up all of my pretty fabric to make hexies, but I  need to stay focused on the mission to use up scraps, and not 'waste' my good fabric!  Stay tuned to see how successful I am with that mindset.  :)

~ Marie Anne

May 5, 2018

New Plan for Random Square Rag Quilt and Crumb or Crazy Quilt Blocks

I'm still loving playing with the small scraps of fabric to work on crumb quilt blocks, but since I don't have scraps from a lot of different fabrics right now, I'm sorta at a standstill.  I still haven't found my stupid cutting mats (but in all honesty, I haven't looked much lately) so can't do a lot of cutting for a regular rag quilt right now, but I still need a 'fix'.

It doesn't make sense to go buy fabric just to cut into small pieces for the crazy blocks, so I came up with another plan.  I do want to make a regular rag quilt out of random squares of different fabrics at some point (with each square a single fabric, but each block being different from the rest), so what I'm going to do is buy fat quarters on sale or with a coupon, and cut whatever regular size squares I can from those for the random squares quilt, and use the scrap remnants for the crumb quilt blocks.  I can use my scissors to cut the pieces large enough to make blocks with my rotary cutter and mat later, and still get the bits of scraps to use for the crumb-y squares now.  Win-win!

With that in mind and 60% and 40% coupons from Michael's in hand, another 40% in the Hobby Lobby app on my phone, off I went to see what I could drum up.

Here's what I found ...

Fat quarter bundle from Hobby Lobby
Two fat quarters from Michael's

Aren't they delicious?  I love all the bright colors, but this animal print really made me smile.

With these fabrics added to my current stash of scraps, I should have enough different prints and colors to make a few more crumb blocks now, and can use a coupon every time I hit Hobby Lobby (not sure how often Michael's coupons come out) to get more without breaking the bank.  I think I can afford to splurge for a dollar or two a couple of times a month.

Stay crafty ...

~ Marie Anne

May 1, 2018

Crazy Crumb Quilt Blocks in the Making

I posted the other day that I wanted to start making crumb quilt blocks, and so it begins!  I grabbed my stash of bits and pieces of remnants from various earlier projects and starting sewing them together in a random fashion.   It doesn't matter if the piece you start with is already fairly big, because once you sew it to another piece, you can trim that and make two (or more) pieces from it.  Then you piece those together with others, and just keeping adding and trimming until you have something large enough to square up into a block the size that you want.

I'm trying to put some pieces in a wonky direction just for a bit of interest, but I haven't done as much of that as I'd like, so will work on that more.  I need more fabric scraps with a variety of colors and patterns before I can go much further.  Here are a few examples of blocks I'm working on now.

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You're supposed to do this completely random, but I had small pieces with a whole owl showing, and I couldn't not use them intact.  I figure they will be add a bit of whimsy to my finished piece.  Don't judge.  :)

I have no idea what my blocks will eventually be fashioned into, but I don't have to worry about that just yet.  It will take me time to build up enough of a stash to make the blocks random and not matchy-matchy, so I'll probably work on my crumb quilt blocks in between other projects.   Because of all the seams, I'll have to put a sashing border around them if I want to use them in a rag quilt, so I'm not sure if that will be my goal or not.  For now, I will just continue to build on them until I have enough to decide what size blocks I want to trim them into.

If you want to learn how to make crazy blocks like this, check out Darlene's crumb quilt block tutorials on youtube.  She has a whole series of various ways to make them.  (Word of caution:  she does throw in a word or two here and there that aren't fit for little ears, but very few, maybe 4-5 words in 10 videos.  The tutorials are worth it, IMO).

Someday I'll figure out how to do my own videos, but I will try to show as much as I can in photos here on the blog.  I'll do another post soon showing how you can take larger scraps and turn them into crumby pieces by stitching to other pieces then cutting.

~ Marie Anne

P.S.  This is one of the cutting mat and ruler sets that I have, and I love it!  Unfortunately, I have no idea where my mats and dquilting rulers are since moving.  I guess I should make finding them a priority.

April 28, 2018

A Crummy Idea - Crumb Quilt Blocks With Fabric Scraps

I posted yesterday that I might try to make a rag quilt out of random squares of scrap material, with no real rhyme or reason.  I asked sewing friends in a Facebook group for ideas on how to get past my need for order, and one suggested that I look up crumb quilts.

Ohmy. I found some youtube tutorials on how to make crumb quilt blocks, and I think I'm in love.  I now have a use for all of the tiny scraps that aren't big enough to make squares of their own!  When sorting fabric yesterday, I had thrown away a bag full of small scraps, but after a few minutes watching the videos, I went right out and grabbed that bag.  Yep, I did some dumpster diving right here at home.

I'm not sure yet how it will work out for rag quilting, though; since there will be so many seams in a single block, they might not rag well, but I'm going to play with it and see what happens.  If it doesn't work out as is, I might try to sew a strip of border around each piece, which would make the four sides more like a traditional block.  Worst case - if I can't use them to make rag quilts, I can make up the blocks and list them for sale, or donate them to someone who can use them in a traditional quilt. Either way, it'll be fun to play with all the colors and patterns and make something pretty out of scraps that can then be put to good use somehow instead of ending up in the garbage.

So today's agenda includes trying to make crumb quilt blocks.  But first ... did you notice anything in the photo above?  I knew right where my sewing machine was and got all excited to start, but something is missing.  In true MA fashion - I have no idea where the cord is!

~ Marie Anne

April 27, 2018

Random Scrap Rag Quilt Plans

After a whirlwind of listing house, selling house, driving from Ohio to NC, spending a couple of weeks in a hotel with two dogs, finding house, and closing on house all in a span of less than 60 days, I'm finally starting to settle in a little.  There's still a lot to do, but the house is livable and functional, and the rest will come together in time.

I've been working on my office/craft room, and anxious to get back to sewing rag quilts. I think I have everything arranged in here where I have room for my eBay stuff as well as a table for my sewing machine.   I spent quite a bit of time yesterday sorting my small fabric stash, found a few pieces that I'll offer for sale, put yardage in gallon sized plastic bags, and made a pile of scraps and remnants worth saving for a random quilt project.

I hate waste, but I also don't want to hang on to stuff that I'll never use, so I have a plan, and that plan is to not follow a plan, so to speak.

When I work on a layout for a rag quilt, I spend a lot of time working on placement of colors, patterns, etc, and need it to be 'just right'.  In order to use up my stash of scraps, I'll have to abandon that plan.

My new plan is to cut squares whenever I have a remnant come available and sandwich right away and toss into a tote to be stitched with other squares as soon as I have a few.  I figure if I just grab and go, stitch together whatever few squares I have done, I won't be able to stress about whether colors or patterns are right for each other. 

I think I'll cut squares in two different sizes to get the most use out of scrap fabrics.  Hmm .... if I do that, I might even attempt a square-on-square quilt which would make the randomness even more interesting.

Women have been making random quilts from clothing scraps for generations, right?  Can I?  Will I be able throw caution to the wind and work through my love of order to pull off a truly random scrappy quilt?  Stay tuned for updates!

~ Marie Anne

January 19, 2018

I Once Was Lost, But Now I'm Found

Wow, that was weird!  I hadn't posted on this blog in quite some time, and when I went to look at it several weeks ago, I couldn't even get to it!  I kept getting some sort of security error and it wouldn't let me access it at all.  I tried to go to my main blogger account page where you can (normally) see the list of all of your blogs, and it wasn't even listed there.  I freaked for a bit - all that content GONE - then just shook it off decided I had better things to worry about right now (like working my eBay business, getting my house ready to sell, and dealing with a huge, life-threatening tumor in one of my dogs).

I tried again the other day for the heck of it, and got the same security error that denied me access, but decided to dig around a little more and finally did find it in the list of blogs on my blogger account and brought it up that way.  Hooray!  Content still intact.  Phew, that was close.

While I don't expect I'll be posting all that often, I am back up and running and it's nice to know that the platform is still here and available should I have something that I just MUST share with you.

My next post will feature an afghan I finished recently, so don't go too far!

~ Marie Anne

October 27, 2016

Stash Buster Round Dishcloth Crochet Pattern

Do you hoard save small amounts of yarn in your craft closet, hoping for the perfect opportunity to use them all up someday?  Guilty!  I crochet a lot of dishcloths and always have small amounts of cotton yarn left over, not enough to make another cloth with, but too much that I don't want to throw it out.  I tuck it away in a bag somewhere, knowing that someday it'll have a purpose.

I decided the other day that 'someday' had come, and I was going to figure out a way to use those bits of scrap yarn or it would meet the trash can after all.  I was going to make scrappy dishcloths, starting with one color until it ran out, then just grab another, not really caring how ridiculous it might end up looking.  I make square dishcloths in a back and forth pattern instead of in the round, so yea, they would be crazy, but still useful.

I thought about granny square-type dishcloths, but they have too many holes for me.  I then whipped up a solid granny and that worked out better, but I still wasn't satisfied.  I then searched for round dishcloth patterns, but none of the ones I found seemed to be 'the one'.  Then I remembered a star-like baby blanket pattern that I'd made before, and decided to see what would happen if I crocheted just the first few rounds of that.  BINGO!

What I started with is called the Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket  which is a 12-pointed star pattern.  It doesn't really turn into a pointed star shape until much later into the pattern, but the first few rows make it just a little less plain than a straight (circular?) round shape, with 12 gentle peaks rather than points.  Because it's worked in the round rather than back and forth like my other favorite dishcloth patterns, the first rounds require very little yarn, then gradually requires slightly more yarn for each round.  It's a simple pattern too, strictly DC throughout, so even a beginner should be able to  make it.

You can make your dishcloths all one color, have the center two rows one color and the remaining rounds another color, solid color with just the last border round in a contrasting color, every round a different color - whatever suits your fancy (or the size of your scrap stash).  You could even just keep attaching the new yarn whenever you run out and not just at the end of a pattern round ... there are no rules!

I made a few dishcloths working the pattern through round 6 and a couple of them through round 7, and I personally like the smaller one better.  It's just the right size for me and doesn't stretch out too much when wet.  Oh, and I used a size G crochet hook so that the holes would be just a little smaller too.

I'm so glad that I didn't give up on my quest, and now have a use for the scraps of cotton yarn I've saved.  Do you save your small bits of yarn, or trash it all before your stash overtakes your life?

~ Marie Anne