Friday, January 28, 2011

Lessons Learned...

As you all know, I have been making a sincere effort to work with my scraps while cleaning the studio.  It worked out perfect that I am participating in a 15 Minutes Quilt Bee that requires use of scraps.

The theme? Improve blocks with made fabrics.

Each of us decided on the block we would like for our assigned month. I was very influenced by the book, "Accidentally on Purpose" for last couple of weeks.. So I decided to try to make one of the quilts from the book. I also wanted to try to stay with the style of my Confetti Quilt. Only this time, I decided to make long strips sewn into blocks.

This one has taught me some lessons I thought were interesting.

For this quilt I had set up some rules for myself.

I wanted to work strictly with scraps.

Value each piece for it's size. 

No trimming unless it was absolute must.

Since this block required small scraps, I saved the larger ones for a different project. So I thought!

I started sewing up little scraps one piece at a time. As long as the two bits of fabric looked good next to each other, they went into the block.

I made adjustments to the size of the scraps as needed. But mostly tried to match the size of the scraps rather than cutting them to the size. That way I would not loose fabric.
( I was really stressing on maximizing the use of what I had and pretending that every bit was precious.)

Once the strip of a desired size was sewn up I trimmed the sides and made another one.. Made a few and pieced them together to make a block.

Soon I ran out of all the small pieces and was left with little longer and thin strings of fabric strips. That's where plan B came in effect.
Instead of making more smaller pieces to stay with the theme of Confetti Quilt,  I used the longer strings in the bin. I started piecing them in a slightly wider patches. Suddenly the colors were also changing.. Because these scraps were from a specific project. 

The wider strips with lots of skinny strings are enough to make a block for a center medallion OR I might scatter them around the entire quilt. 

Next, I used the patches that were squares or rectangles. I was hoping to make most of their size, use them cleverly and not loose any more than I absolutely had to in seam allowances. So I paired the squares together and made HSTs out of them.

These were also hand cut and without any specific size in mind. Silly as it sounds, I also discovered that I was more likely to use the tiny bits of fabric in quilt if I cut them by hand..

My Inspiration for the quilt.

  I am not sure if I was cutting the yardage, I would have cut them as skinny and as tiny as some of them I ended up with.  The standard quilting and cutting measurements are so easy to work with that it is difficult to cut skinny strips on purpose. 

Besides, if I was in hurry to finish the quilt, the first thought would be the time and patience it would take to make this kind of quilt. Can you imagine how long it would take to actually cut scraps from yardage and refold them and put them back?

Thankfully, I have my bee friends making some blocks. They are fabulous!

Another advantage of being in the bee, each block will come with maker's personality...and from many different projects.   

I started with an inspiration and designed the block based on above quilt. I have a feeling that once all the bee blocks come together this quilt is going to take it's own shape and form.

After all that's was improvisation means.. right?

While I was cleaning the scrap bin, I also found lots and lots of strings.
This is what I have started with all those strings.
A simple idea of using up all I had in the bin is keeping me quite busy.
I am running out of scraps.. Still lots of fabric in my stash... Just no scraps. One of these days, I am going to have to make those quilts that use yardage. It has been a while since I have done that!
I urge you to check out the 15 Minutes Play to see more of these blocks and other cool projects that everyone is working on.
It is truly an inspirational place!

My sincere efforts for cleaning has made my sewing room look like this little house from inside. 

Hope you are having fun in your sewing room.


  1. I LOVE what you've done with your strings! You've got a pattern emerging that I haven't seen before. It's just like you to come up with something so pleasing and original. Sounds like it's time to send you some new scraps!

  2. Wonderful, wonderful, so inspirational ! I must really take more time and look into my boxes of scraps, so much wonder I will find. Thanks for this great post, Sujata and for the beautiful inspiration.

  3. That house is so cute. Looks like you've been having a really good time!

  4. love your progress. Reminds me a little of the mile a minute quilts. I'd love to try this sometime. You sure are having fun - love that little house :)

  5. YES! it's nice to have a plan, but it keeps you in a box! Once you let it grow look what a beauty you have! Your OWN beauty! I love that last picture above the house...It's more "YOU!" gorgeous!

  6. I appreciate your sharing of process, and I'm so in love with the idea of returning to the roots of quilting that using up all the little bits represents. (Just wish I had time to sew-I've been so busy with other parts of my life!)

  7. Love all the colors & patterns.... so beautiful....& all done with scraps.... amazing....& inspirational!

  8. Your quilt is looking amazing! I like seeing it grow with the serendipitous discoveries in your sewing room! I'm gonna go spend some time with my scraps today too :-)

  9. The thinner strips are looking great in there too...and your wonky string squares are WONDERFUL! Keep playing!

  10. Such an interesting post about the way your quilt is emerging. to finish with the little house is really sweet!

  11. I love seeing your process and what is emerging has such energy! That little house is fabulous too!

  12. This is great! It's so bright and energetic -- must be fun to work on it this time of year.

  13. Interesting read, Sujata. I think setting a few rules and testing them out is a great start for a quilt. Then change them and test out something else. A lot of ideas can spring from these kinds of experiments.
    Love the explosions of colors in your wips - it is a lot of fun to follow their progress.

  14. It is turning out to be a fabulous quilt, Sujata! All the little pieces which would be left unused and wasted otherwise have found their place in this gorgeous quilt. The little hut is as adorable as it can be :)

  15. all sorts of wondrousness!!!! love it.

  16. This looks so awesome! I can't wait to make a scrappy quilt now that I've seen some of the wonders you've come up with!

  17. ok that little house would be such an adorable little quilt
    you need to make that into a little quilt
    I am in awe of this quilt, so scrappy, so graphic , and wow a labor of love in mho...
    keep going
    its not a race thats what will make this quilt amazing!

  18. I really loved the narrative as usual, and the plan B plan C aspect of your process...xo

  19. Wonderful scrap work! (And that little house is adorable!)


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