Friday, March 18, 2016

Big Scraps, Little Scraps

I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted.  I don't have any real excuse,  just the busyness of everyday life.  Plus I've been working on family genealogy, which is exciting but very time consuming.
I thought I'd share with you today some of what I've been working on.
Here are some things I finished:
We've got a new grandbaby coming in May, so I've been using up some of my vast flannel stash making receiving blankets.  These are about a yard square, and double sided.  I can't wait to wrap the little guy in one of them.
I've also been knitting up a storm.  These are two baby sweaters, laid out on one of the receiving blankets.  I'm working on sweater #4 now.  Stop me before I knit again!

In spite of appearances, I have also been getting some quilting done, although nothing is finished yet.

I'm calling this quilt Big Scraps, Little Scraps.  I was inspired to make it by two things:  my friend Joey, and my basket of little scraps less than 2 in. square.
When Joey was here last fall, she showed me how she sews scraps together to make bigger pieces, kind of like Bonnie Hunter's crumb quilts.  (Check them out:  Crumbs, Crumbs, Crumbs.)
I have just not been able to do this.  I didn't like the process, and I especially didn't like my results (Joey's were great!).  I'm a librarian.  I like order.  I can't do random.  And I can't waste anything either.
But--I CAN make log cabin blocks.  (In fact, I love it!)  Most of my scraps were rectangles, so I sewed them together and added more rectangles, working roughly around the block, to end up with not-really-log-cabin centers for my stars.  When I needed longer pieces, I either sewed two little ones together end to end, or raided the string basket.
The squares are on point in this block.  I added triangles for the star points and background squares, and made 9 in. finished blocks.
All of this came from my stash.  Next I raided my drawer of 2.5 in. strips, and surrounded each block with them, which made the blocks 13 in. finished.
On to the quilting!  I quilted each block separately, by machine, adding the next block, batting, and backing as I went.  This method allows me to easily do outline quilting, which sets off the blocks.  Once they were joined, I quilted the strips, just sewing next to the seam, using the presser foot as a guide.When each row was quilted, I added the rows together, sewing by machine on the top and by hand on the back.
Here's where I am today, sewing down the last seam on the back.  I used my big scraps for the backing of each square.  This used up lots of fabric, and I didn't have to buy a backing.  (The seam ripper is there for a reason.  I messed up one of the seams on the top, and had to fix it.)
Here's what it looks like on top.
I still have to add the borders and quilt them, and then bind it.  I've got the borders picked out from my stash, and they will be different on the front and the back.  I'm also leaning toward binding the quilt with more of the 2.5 in strips.
So how's that for scrappy?
In other news, this is my current piecing machine.  Check out the amazing decals!  It's a Singer 66, with Egyptian decals, made no later than 1909.  I have had lots of trouble this year with my old machines, although I still love them.  This is the third head I've had in the treadle since January, but I think third time is the charm.  She runs smoothly, spins great bobbins, and is a work horse for my piecing.  So far, so good.

Spring is coming, which will bring sunshine and gardening and hanging out the wash, and a new baby!  What could be better?

Keep smiling, keep quilting.


  1. I have a good friend that swears by her treadles and old Singers. Nice star quilt. I like the old fashioned look.

    1. Thanks, Curly. Most of my scraps are reproduction fabrics.

  2. Nice Lotus decals. One of my Lotus 66-1s is an original hand crank and the other, a treadle machine.
    I treadle when in a relaxed product mode and switch to an electric when in production mode.

    1. Hi, Phyllis! It's nice to know there are other people who use both people powered and electric machines.


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