What I’m working on….

Before I tell you about what I am working on….I want to tell you to come back tomorrow and see my newest project from Moda Bake Shop…I teased you about it awhile back.  Come tomorrow and see what it is.

Now to today’s project…I am trying to clean my sewing room up and make it respectable for company….but…it’s proving to be difficult.  I keep getting side tracked.  I have been bitten by a “bug”….crumb quilting.  Never, never, ever in a million years did I think I would become a crumb quilter but I am.  Are you wondering what crumbs are?  THIS….


tiny bits of fabric.  I had seen, over on Bonnie Hunter’s Quiltville website, that she had made a quilt using “crumbs”.  I never planned to make one but as I was trimming up my string piecing blocks from last week, I noticed there were quit a few leftover pieces that might work as crumbs.  I went over and reread Bonnie’s directions and before long, I have made these….


They were good, fine and great blocks but I decided to try something a little more challenging and came up with these…


That was all I needed to be in love.  Crumb quilting is really more of an art type quilting……I have learned I love the yellow and red “pops” of color.  So now, many if not all of the blocks have a bit of yellow and/or red.  The fabrics are all from my recycled shirts….man those shirts just keep giving and giving.

I had planned to make a small eclectic baby quilt from the blocks…..

Then I had the blocks laying out on the floor and my daughter Kalissa FLIPPED over them.  She was so in love with blocks so  I decided why not make a quilt for her.   It’s her 16th birthday coming soon so why not?  So I ventured out and made this to add to the quilt.


She always whines that she can NEVER find anything with her name on it…so complain no more Kalissa.  This quilt will have your name on it!

I know I shouldn’t be quilting and I should be getting things together for our son’s graduation party…but, I have been sneaking off to the sewing room and sewing one….or two….or three-Okay I admit 10 at a time.  My stack is GROWING…all of these since Wednesday last week!!


There are over 70 in the stack.  I admit….I am addicted.  I love making them.  My favorite is on the top of the stack. If you want to learn more about “Crumb Quilting”, here’s a link to Bonnie’s tutorialTonya.  If you want to learn how to make letters to make names here is a link to Tonya Ricucci book Word Play Quilts: Easy Techniques from the UnRuly Quilter (That Patchwork Place)Quilts & Quilting Craft Books).  Oh….it is so fun to try.  It just intrigues me what can come from a pile of small scraps.

If you want to see what others are working on, head on over the Patchwork Times.

String Blocks…they are like birthing a baby.

Remember Monday when I was talking about sewing string blocks Cactus Patch, from Bonnie Hunter’s book Scraps & Shirttails: Reuse, Re-pupose, Recycle! The Art of “Quilting Green”.  The only problem…the quilt has string piecing and I am not a fan of string piecing.  I decided to do the string piecing as a leader a ender and amazingly….I have the blocks done.  I confess….they started two weeks ago as leaders and enders and then they turned into a full fledged project.  Even more amazing, I enjoyed sewing them.


My first string piecing experience was when I made my Roll, Roll Cotton Ball quilt.  The quilt was an online mystery quilt created by Bonnie Hunter.  You can check Quiltville.com to see if the pattern is still available. I was busy sewing and sewing trying to keep up with the clues as they were released.    If you haven’t done an online mystery it works a bit like this….the directions are posted and typically the people who are making it have a week to sew the step and the following week the next step is revealed.  If you want to keep everything a mystery, you need to get the task done in that time period….or be able to discipline yourself to not peak at the clues (I can’t do that!).

I was VERY daunted by the string piecing portion of the project.  I think many quilters were.  I read comments on line that people were quitting the mystery because of string piecing.  I read comments that people were bypassing that portion and planned to revamp their quilt because of their not wanting to sew string blocks.  I decided that I would just tackle them.  Oh I moaned and groaned….I moaned and groaned a lot….but I trudged along.  I didn’t get them done before the next mystery clue came out, but I did get them done a bit later.    But I thought to myself…never again.  I won’t string piece.


Then I saw the blocks in the finished quilt and LOVE the look.  I still thought no more string piecing.

That quilt is on a quilt rack in my upstairs hallway.  Every night when I go up to bed, I see the quilt….I see the string blocks.  I see those string blocks make the quilt sing.


Then after looking at a few of Bonnie’s patterns, I’ve noticed more string piecing blocks….UGH!  But then I keep thinking how I like the look of those blocks so I tried it.  This time around I was working with a smaller size and I was doing it on my own time frame.  I wasn’t hurrying.  I wasn’t trying to race a deadline.  If I finished them this year great.  If I never finished them…ok…I wouldn’t be out anything except my time.  And do you know what?

I enjoyed it.  I liked string piecing the blocks.    Here’s a few things that are different this time around….I am not sewing in my dining room.


The first time around I was sewing in the dining room.  The string pieces would end up on the floor all over.  The dog would grab them and run.  The pieces got EVERYWHERE.  This time around I am sewing in my sewing room.  Yes it’s a mess but it isn’t all over the house.  More importantly, I’m the only one that really sees the mess.

This time, I know the look is worth the time.  This time I was sewing a smaller sized block making the pieces more manageable.  I was getting SO frustrated that I would pick up a piece and it wouldn’t be long enough.  This time the blocks are smaller so almost every fabric piece fits the size I need.  I have since learned that I need to sort my strings differently.  If a fabric piece is less than 8″ it should be a string….smaller should be kept in a different bucket.

More importantly, this time I sewed them on my time.  I am not hurrying to meet a deadline.  I am not totally “goal oriented”.  I am just “peace of mind”, “relaxing”, “enjoying the process” mode.  I think we all do that from time to time…sew to complete a project….not sew to enjoy it.

If asked, I think I would describe piecing string blocks as a bit like birthing a baby.  Sometimes it’s painful.  Sometimes you get a break.  Sometimes you’re panting just get through.  It’s not the most enjoyable process but the outcome is WONDERFUL…and then 16 years later when you look back, you think oh that wasn’t bad at all.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of string piecing or if you want to know more about it, you can check out Bonnie’s tutorial.   Oh no….I just remembered I have to take all that paper off the back…another part that isn’t my favorite.  I think that will be a TV watching job…I’ll just keep remembering to enjoy the process!!

The Shirt Saga Continues

Throughout my shirt destruction, I’ve gotten many questions.  Hopefully I can answer a few of them here.  If you are new to this topic here’s a little back ground.  I am in love with Bonnie Hunter’s new book Scraps and Shirttails II.  I want to make several of the quilts in the book  just as they are and that means, I need men’s shirts to provide the fabric.

My shirts are all destructed.  Now I need to cut them into strips for my scrap user’s system.  I cut strips into 4 different sizes:  1.5″, 2″, 2.5″ and 3.5 inches.


Bonnie’s quilt are made primarily with these same sizes.  I’ve looked through Bonnie’s book and made a chart that shows what sizes I need to make each quilt.  Here is a link to the chart (I couldn’t figure out how to link it so I had to send you to my website).  If you print the chart, you will see that I made notations.  A “b” in the 1.5″ column means that I need bricks or squares that are 1.5″ x 1.5″.  If there is a “s-tri” in the 3.5″ column, that means that I’ll be cutting strips that are 3.5″ but those strips will eventually be cut with my easy angle or companion angle.  It there is a “s” in the 2.5″ column, that means I need strips that are 2.5″.

Now I just consult the chart and cut….I know I want to make Rectangle Wrangle and that uses LOTS of 2.5″ strips so I’ve been cutting quite a few of them.  It doesn’t really matter what size I cut…eventually they will all go into quilts.   If there are narrow strips left after I cut the 2.5″ strip, I cut them in to 2″ or 1.5″ strips.  If they are larger, I cut them into 3.5″ strips.  If they are odd shaped, I throw them in the strings bag.

As I am cutting, I am cutting out two quilts, Rectangle Wrangle and Criss Cross Applesauce because those are at the top of my list as favorites in the book.   Once those quilts are finished and I want to make another, I will just grab the box that has the piece sizes that I need and I can work out of that box.  Right now….my work area is a overwhelming mess…but six months from now when I am ready to make another quilt from the book, it will be a breeze and all the mess will be worth it!


If you are new to this, I want to make a recommendation.  Purchase an easy angle and a companion angle.  It will make your scrap saving MUCH easier.  These rulers work PERFECTLY with this system!  If a pattern calls for 3″ finished half square triangles, here’s what you do….get your Easy Angle ruler….
1.Grab two 3.5″ strips.
2.Layer them right sides together.
3.Align the ruler on the strip.
4.Cut the straight side, now the angled side.
5. Flip the ruler and cut again.  Continue until you are out of fabric or you have the appropriate number of pieces.

I have used this system with my regular scraps and I am TOTALLY in love with it.  It makes quilting so much quicker.  This system works really good with all of Bonnie’s patterns, the free ones at Quiltville or any in her books.  If you are fond of a different designer, take some time to read through their patterns and become familiar with their style.  You might find that you need different sized strips to accommodated their patterns.

I saved all the backs and one front panel of my shirts.  They are folded nice and neatly just like fat quarters.  If I need bigger pieces or if I need more a particular fabric, I can use it.  I am SO anxious to start sewing….hopefully over the next week I can tackle this mess and get some quality time with my sewing machine.

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