Posts Tagged ‘scraps’

Artists and Messes – You’re Not Alone

July 8, 2020

One of my many piles of fabric scraps

I’ve always appreciated being married to a woodworker. Aside from making beautiful furniture, he understands the difference between finishing a section of the project (for him the case, for me the top), and finishing the project (for him the painting, for me the quilting). He also understands that scraps happen.

One of two piles of his wood scraps

The difference between us is he accepts the reality of finite space (which I do not), and the reality of finite time (which I’m grudgingly beginning to acknowledge). Still, it is heartening to know that artists of all kinds create piles and heaps and stashes. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone.

Luck and wisdom!

Beginning A Memory Quilt

April 29, 2020

I decided to save the scraps of batiks I am using to make masks for a project for me. While I have been writing in my journal every day, there’s nothing like a quilt to evoke good memories. The fabrics don’t always agree with each other, so chances are I’ll make either a mosaic or an updated version of a crazy quilt. Luckily, I have stuff for that.

The batiks might not play well with much of my satin and velvet collection, but I’ll certainly have enough of something lovely for a backing.

If I decide hand embroidering batiks isn’t as much fun as it sounds, I can always use ribbon instead. There is plenty to choose from just in the bins I can reach. Heaven only knows what I could find if I really put my mind to it.

Luck and wisdom!

Scrap Happy(ish)

June 12, 2019

Perhaps because we’ve had three days in a row of triple digit heat, I feel like having a moan. When I heard my friend Jeanne Brophy needed some random 2 1/2” squares, I gladly volunteered to cut some from my overflowing scrap bin.

Save the gasps and tsk-tsking, this is what is left of the pile. Here is what I removed.

And this is the pile of cut squares:

On the one hand, I’m delighted that I could help a friend and get rid of some scraps. On the other hand, I’m dismayed at the amount of scraps that remain. On yet another hand (or perhaps a foot), I’m dumbfounded at the tiny pile of cut squares in relation to the size of the pile of scraps! And yes, I do understand this is the fate of all quilters. Here ends the moan for the day.

Luck and wisdom!

The 3 Laws of Scrap Dynamics

November 21, 2018

I have completed twenty (20!) projects since beginning the Unfinished Quilt Challenge, with no real increase in storage space apparent in my sewing room. It seems that there are laws of scrap dynamics at play here.

Law 1

Scraps are the logical and inevitable result of creativity. No matter how tidy your original stack of fabrics, it will always result in an unruly collection of leftover pieces (even if the project is completed). Since this is going to be your fate, embrace the mess.

Law 2

You can’t get rid of scraps on your own. The picture above is the fourth top to come out of a collection of pink and brown fabrics that I figured would be used up in one quilt. The key here is to find someone or something to help. The Unfinished Quilt Challenge has encouraged me to use any and all leftovers in donation quilts. That has given me the courage to continue piecing tops and backs from collections that by all rights should be used up by now, and to tell the committee that distributes donation quilts that I will have several ready for them after the first of the year.

Law 3

Scraps and creativity exist in equilibrium. The more creative you are, the more scraps you have, or find. I thought I would be clever and use some scraps from other projects in this top. I thought I would clear out one scrap bag (I used maybe a quarter of a yard), and I found a forgotten bag of scraps tucked behind the one I was raiding.

For me, the moral of the story is unclear. Perhaps one of you has a sure-fire way of getting rid of scraps?

Luck and wisdom!

Scraps Be Gone

June 20, 2018

My plan to use scraps for my tea towel quilt is working. I pulled out all the odd blue remnants, cut them into 1 1/2” or 2 1/2” strips, and started sewing.

The great thing about a scrap quilt is the more fabric you use, the less you notice the disparities. Country calicoes and ethnic prints? Cool. Formal versus funky stripes? No problem. Blues that don’t always play nice together? The flow keeps them from fighting.

I decided I would try the same technique with the backing. My flannel collection is getting thin, but I bet I can piece together something interesting from this stack.

This will be a couch quilt, something to huddle under on a cold winter day (yes, we get one or two of them in California). It might also be a conversation starter, although I’m well aware that when someone asks, “How did you come up with the idea?” they’re really asking, “Mercy, what were you thinking!” Doesn’t matter – my scrap pile is smaller, and I’m getting my projects finished.

Luck and wisdom!

The Year For Design

January 11, 2017

I prefer to make New Year’s projects rather than New Year’s resolutions, and this year’s big project just made itself known. My art quilt critique group started the exercises in Art Quilt Collage by Deborah Boschert. The latest assignment was in design basics. I had a few minutes and very little brainpower, so I knew I wouldn’t overthink things. I grabbed some scraps of fabric and batting. A long strip of batting and a piece of watery fabric became the beginning of a high horizon seascape.Lani Longshore seascape

I decided to continue with the water theme, mainly because I unearthed a strip of trout fabric and a batting strip of the appropriate size. The next step was to experiment with grids, so I quilted the trout to the batting, cut out nine squares, and zig-zagged them together again. This is the back, showing the basic grid.

Lani Longshore grid back

I didn’t mind the back seams showing, but I wanted to cover the ones in front. Narrow strips zig-zagged in place did the trick, and I added some extra strips to enhance the grid.

Lani Longshore grid design

The best part about these exercises is that I really like using commercial print fabrics in my art quilts, but a lot of fiber art today is made from hand-dyes and solids. If I cut into my stash, I feel as if I must have a brilliant idea to complete. Since I’m only using leftovers, my ego investment is limited. If the project works, great; if not, at least I’ve reduced the size of the scrap pile. As it happens, I like what I’ve done so far, and have some ideas for embellishment that will turn these exercises into art. Someday.

Luck and wisdom!

Detour, With Paper Bag

August 17, 2016

I’m still pondering options for a new handbag, so I made a gift bag instead.

Sheep may safely gift

Sheep may safely gift

Last summer I bought a couple of gift bags at a quilt show. They sported 9-Patches fused onto a brown paper bag and embellished with a single button in the center square. The woman who made them said she had seen the idea somewhere else, so I can’t give proper credit for the technique. I thought about fusing a 9-Patch and decided I would be happier starting with simple strips. Heaven knows I have enough scrap strips around the sewing room. There really is nothing else to it – press the strips, fuse the strips, fuse the unit to the bag. The ribbon star is meant for scrap-booking or card-making and has a sticky pad on the back.

Once for fingers and toes, now with ribbons and bows

Once for fingers and toes, now with ribbons and bows

I did make one other change. Instead of drawing a dotted line around the fused unit with a felt-tipped pen, I used nail polish. Since this was my first attempt, I used gold nail polish, which adds a subtle sheen more than a sharp line. The reason I am using nail polish is I have lots of it and don’t wear it any more. Of course, I never threw it out. Why would I throw it out when I could have it take up space for years and years until I discovered another use for it?

Luck and wisdom!

Start With One Cut

July 8, 2015

I’ve been avoiding the sewing room. The combination of no immediate deadlines and too many potential projects to choose from sapped all my creative energy. I felt as if I had stumbled into a candy shop just after finishing a wonderful meal – I wasn’t hungry enough to choose anything. The longer I wait to start a new project, however, the harder it is to do. “Self,” I said, “grab the fabric at hand and start with one cut.”

Scraps  and stuff

Scraps and stuff

These scraps sat on my design wall for months. I thought they might look nice together, but didn’t know what format to use. Art quilt? Craft project? Book cover? Tote bag? I decided to start sewing and hope a purpose presented itself.

I cut the class sample and bordered the cross-stitch

I cut the class sample and bordered the cross-stitch

Purpose did not appear, but the need for more fabric did. Situations like this are why I have the scrap bin under the design wall.

A good ending waiting for another beginning

A good ending waiting for another beginning

This is where I am now. It is finished enough to move off the design wall. I might embellish it. I might submit it to the Progressive Party for them to work some magic. I might put it in a very safe place and forget all it about.

Luck and wisdom!

The Universe Is Laughing

April 1, 2015

The universe played quite an April Fool’s joke. Last week I wrote about my fear of new projects. This week, I have another new project. That roar you hear isn’t thunder, it’s the universe laughing at me.

Lani Longshore wood shavings

My husband gave me these lovely wood shaving strips. They are so thin and flexible he thought I could sew through them. They came from the cabinet doors he is making.

Lani Longshore doors

I’ve been saving a bag of leather scraps that he gave me at the end of another project a long time ago.

Lani Longshore leather scraps

I know these two will look fabulous together. How they’ll look fabulous – not a clue.

Luck and wisdom!

Scraps and How to Make Them

November 20, 2014

The first step in making scraps is to have a plan. I had a plan for the last two days, then stuff happened and I ended up with scraps of days. The people who created the kit I just finished also had a plan, a reasonably good plan, but I ended up with scraps anyway.

A lovely pear waiting for a project

A lovely pear waiting for a project

The kit for this lovely pear was included in one of the many embroidery grab bags I bought at a silent auction. I’ve been working on it while watching TV at night, and finally finished it. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news for a craft supply hoarder is that the kit designers made sure there would be enough floss to finish the project no matter how incompetent the stitcher.

Too pretty to toss

Too pretty to toss

This is beautiful floss, and I’m not about to toss it. I am, however, exceptionally lazy and I’m not about to wind it on spools and file it neatly. Instead, I’ve been trying to come up with odd projects (and the key word here really is odd) that will use up the floss.

Plants for alien planets

Plants for alien planets

This will end up in my science fiction quilt series – just don’t ask me how or when. If I’m very lucky, I’ll be able to combine some of my quilting scraps with the cross-stitch, but I’m not holding my breath.

The never empty scrap box

The never empty scrap box

I guess what I really need is the inspiration for a blog post titled Scraps and How to Get Rid of Them Without Actually Making Another Quilt.

Luck and wisdom!