Strip storage

If any of you know me, you know that I love Bonnie Hunter. She amazes me with the quality, consistency, and quickness of the work that she does. One of the reasons she accomplishes so much is because she is super organized, and that certainly appeals to me as well.

If you’ve never heard of Bonnie, you need to click here and spend a few hours perusing her site. I mean it……Leave my site right now and go visit hers!!!

For many years I have cut my scrap fabrics using her “scrap saver” system. She suggests cutting your leftover fabrics into usable sizes having them stored and ready to be grabbed at a moment’s notice.

Her suggested sizes are… 1.5 inch, 2.0 inch, 2.5 inch, and 3.0 inch. She cuts as many strips as possible and then uses the smaller pieces to cut squares in these sizes.

I currently have a large basket of scraps that need to be cut so that I can have them when I need them…..

I always say that I am going to cut after every project but we all know that is just something I say to myself to make me feel better.!!

One of the things I have struggled with is how to store my strips. I started out by trying to keep them in stacks by color, but that was quickly messed up. I tried putting dividers in my drawers, but that didn’t last long either. Finally, I just threw them all in drawers and would pull them out when I need them.

The problem was that the strings became tangled, causing the edges to shred, and making them harder to use.

In one of Bonnie’s recent posts, she talked about her strip storage method of putting like colors together, folding them over, and putting them in Ziploc bags. This appealed to me greatly and I decided that I needed to do it immediately!!

I started by pulling out the drawers that held one particular size of strip…. 2 inch in this case.

Next, I sorted them into basic color groups. It looks better already!!!….

I took each group to the ironing board laying out the strips flat on top of one another and giving a quick press every few strips….

If the strip stack started getting too big, I simply started another one….

After I finished with one color of strips, I rolled them loosely together……

……and placed them in a gallon-size Ziploc bag…..

I did not seal the bags up in order to allow air to be able to circulate around them.

Here is the final solution for the 2 inch strips…..

I kept going until I had finished all four sizes of strips and then moved on to my crumbs. When I was making the crumb blocks, I sorted one drawer of crumbs and put those in zip-lock bags as well. Today I sorted the 2nd drawer and added them all together. This is SO much better…..

So I will say “THANK YOU BONNIE” and go to bed knowing that ALL of my strips and crumbs are ready for use!!

Brown Strip Quilt gets a back….

As I started cleaning up my leftovers from the Brown Strip quilt, I realized that I had TONS and TONS and TONS of strips that I had cut and never used…..

I knew that they would just languish in the scrap drawer so I took things into my own hands and started piecing them together to make FOUR strips that would fit end-to-end on the back. I added some other solid strips and ended up with this as a back…..

I was running out of the main fabric and was getting desperate as I finished the last outside strip. I ended up piecing FOUR 2.5 inch strips together to make it long enough…..

Count them….FOUR seams!!!

Now….what can I start next to avoid having to think about quilting this!!!!

It’s Brown Border time…..

In my last post, I took you thru the creating of the inside of my Brown Scrap Strip quilt. As I mentioned there, I made WAY too many brown strip sets and was determined to not let any of them go to waste…..

So, it was imperative that the border contain as many of those strips as I could cram in. I started with laying them out end to end but that was just BORING!!!

Next I thought about the block design….

….noticing that the brown came to a point in each of the blocks.

HMMMM…wonder if I could emulate that in the border??? I made a few test blocks and decided that I had hit on the answer…..

I also made the decision to put a 2 inch background strip as the first border so that the striped border would float.

The only problem with this design was figuring out how long each of the strip sets needed to be to reach the edge of the quilt. TOO MUCH MATH…. So, I did the next best thing and decided to make them different sizes so I could “fudge” it to fit.

I would love to say that the process of making these border blocks was well thought out, the fabric sizes were properly calculated and cut. But, the truth of the matter is that I cut big, sewed and trimmed to size!!

I used the Essential Triangle Tool to cut the initial points and used my trusty painters tape to mark the edges of the strip so that the points were always in the middle of the strip…..

I love this measurement on one of my smaller rulers. It made trimming the point super easy.

To finish the top, I added another strip of background fabric to finish the “float”.

And at last the final seam was sewn…..

…and I was able to hang the finished top on the wall and step back to admire it…..

Of course the next question is how to quilt it….. but that decision can wait for a while….

Dueling Sewing Machines

Yesterday Kaitlynn came over again to sew. While she happily worked on two new blocks…..

……I kept working on the border for my stripe quilt……

It was so much fun to have good music, good conversation and dueling sewing machines…..

And, in case I haven’t said this enough previously…..I LOVE MY NEW STUDIO!!!!

Kaitlynn did work on a third block but I couldn’t remember how to size the strips for quarter square triangles using the Essential Triangle Tool. So, after I had her cut them too large and then too small, I suggested that we stop for the afternoon and start again next week. I promised that I would do my homework and get her off on the right foot next time!!!

Look what I can do….

OK…. yesterday….day one of my recovery… it’s 745 in the morning….. and I am bored… Already.

So, what’s a girl to do? Go upstairs to the studio of course!

I had organized a scrap, strip quilt in the days before my surgery and found that I can actually sew with my left hand!!IMG_6445

Lining up the fabrics was a little hard but once the nerve block wore off and I had full feeling in my right hand it was much easier.  Overall the experience worked well.

I did make one concession to having to use my left hand and switched to my travel iron which is much smaller and easier to handle with my non-dominate hand…..


Now I’m wondering what I’m gonna do when I finish sewing the strips together since I know that I won’t be cutting for a while. I’m already thinking about my boxes of 2 1/2 inch squares and other precut pieces that I could just start playing with.

This recovery time may actually be a creative time

Pineapples….pineapples and MORE pineapples…..

While at the retreat, I started working on a pineapple quilt, not knowing how big I was going to make it.   The longer I worked, the bigger that I wanted it to be so now I am planning for a Queen Size.

Gyleen Fitzgerald’s technic is VERY easy to do, especially using her ruler!!   

It starts out with a 2-1/2 inch square for the center and then works with 1-1/2 inch strips.   After each round of strip adding, you go to the cutting board and, using her ruler, cut off the extra bits…..


You simply line the 1-inch line up with the top seam, make sure that the vertical lines are straight thru the corners and cut off the dog-ears at the top.

The blocks grow quickly…..




The last cut is made by placing the center square on the ruler over the center square of the block and trimming all four sides….


VOILA… completed block…..


The biggest thing to remember with this technic is that all of the cutting is done from the REVERSE side of the block.   If you start lining things up with the finished edge, you get into trouble very quickly.

This past week I have kept on making Pineapples…..44 more of them to be exact!!!

I started laying them out on my design wall but had trouble visualizing the finished quilt because I was having to lay it out sideways.


I finally pieced some of the rows that I was fairly sure about and then carefully rearranged the pieces so that I could see it vertically….


As I looked at it, I wasn’t happy with the red areas so decided to sleep on it and try again the next morning.   After playing around with block placement, I decided that the dark reds were too strong and that perhaps there were too many of them, so I started piecing more blocks in purple and green.

I liked this arrangement much better……


Next up will be setting triangles and borders!!!

This one is finished……

When I last left you with the strip quilt, it looked like this……


As I looked at the photos, I realized that the two corner blocks did not look good because the angles were wrong.  Several people said not to worry about it, but it kept bothering me so I eventually changed it……


AHHH….much better!!

I couldn’t figure out where to head next with the quilt so took the top to the Charity Bee that I go to on Wednesday morning and we all had a good look at it and everyone started making suggestions.    Most agreed that there should be an accent inner border and then a larger outer border.  Most people were going for a dark brown accept border, but Pat took one look and said “it has to be turquoise”.   So, I took her suggestion  and started playing with turquoise.  

I liked how it looked, but couldn’t figure out what to put on the outside.   I kept coming back to a reddish fabric but couldn’t make myself put it up against the turquoise.   I yelled for Michael to come and he immediately thought that it looked great…..


Here is the finished top…..


I wanted to use the rest of the brown fabric on the back but there wasn’t quite enough so I pieced some strips to make an inset…..


I spent a long time thinking about how to quilt this piece.   I wanted it to be a quick quilting job, but still wanted it to work with the pattern.   For some reason, I just didn’t want to follow the piecing lines, so I finally decided to just use straight parallel lines…..


I am very happy with this quilt and love the way it softened up after washing.

Strip quilt update….

I spent all day Tuesday working on the strip quilt that I showed a few days ago.   I was hoping to get the top finished, but that didn’t happen!!  At the end of the day, it was at this point……


When I took this photo, I realized that the angle of the two bottom corner blocks is not right so I will probably re-do those.

I had this idea that I was going to try to finish this by Saturday, but finally decided that it would be better for me to do the work that I needed to do first and then be able to enjoy making the quilt.  SO… it sits at the moment but I am looking forward to getting back to it.

Finally, here is a better photo of the raffle quilt for the Guild…….


One of our members has agreed to quilt it and another one approached me at the meeting on Tuesday night and said that she would bind it….YEAH!!!

Catching up…..

Wow…cant believe that it has been 10 days since I have posted.  Time to catch you all up with what has been going on here.

First of all, I finished the quilt top for the guild raffle quilt.   The photo isn’t the best, but you can get the idea…..



At the last Charity Bee meeting, we auditioned a bunch of different inner borders and decided that the lighter Turquoise was the best.   We have a darker one for the binding.

The next project was to get the rest of the blocks ready for the quilt that Mom and I are working on together.  She is enjoying doing the hand applique, so I have been madly trying to get more ready to send to her.  

On the Fourth of July, son Brian and D-I-L Amber spent the day with us so I enlisted Amber to help with picking fabrics…..


On Saturday, I finished fusing all of the other blocks and have now sent another set off to Mom.

The pattern that I was using had some funky birds included in the blocks and I wasn’t that excited about them so I decided instead to leave off the birds and just make the blocks different sizes……


Should be fun when it comes time to put the quilt together!!


Finally, I have a good friend who is having a BIG birthday and I decided that I want to make her a lap quilt… next Saturday!!   So far, so good……

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