Guest Blogger, Quarantine Quilts

Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part II (Guest Blog Post)

Well the tierneycreates Beastie would tease me that I am just using Guest Bloggers to keep up on new posts but I am very excited to share Wendy Hill’s second guest blog post on the awesome quilt she made during quarantine with the four rambunctious boys next door (aka “The Boys”) ages 2 – 8.

If you are just joining us, see this post for Part I of the story as well for some background on the super talented Wendy Hill: Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part I (Guest Blog Post) .


Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Part II: “The Boys” Make 61 Blocks!

My story about two neighbors who band together (during the pandemic lockdown) left off with “The Boys” arranging fabric scraps on printer paper. We agreed to two blocks per day and soon we had a routine. “The Boys” dropped off their fabric arrangements in the morning, and I dropped off their finished blocks before dinner. 

I gave simple instructions: fill a piece of 8 1/2” by 11” paper with fabric scraps. Overlaps of fabric were okay but no gaps.

One day the mother of “The Boys” tucked a note inside the bag:

This is such a fun thing for our family and it’s always a race to the door when they hear your knock.

#1A, Kid Layout#1B, finished block#2A, Kid Layout#2B, finished blockSome arrangements were easy to sew together. I could sew pieces into smaller units, then assemble the units into a block. 

#3A kid layout#3B finished block#4A kid layout#4B finished blockOther arrangements required me to be inventive. Sometimes the seam allowances created gaps, so I had to add fabrics. I added a solid pink to this block. I looked for fabrics that would “go” with fabrics in the arrangement. 

#5A kid layout#5B finished blockOther times I did my best to duplicate the block, always trying to keep the original intent of “The Boys” who arranged the fabrics. 

#6A kid layout#6B finished block#7A kid layout#7B finished block#8A kid layout#8B finished blockI kept adding more scraps of all sorts to their Big Bag of Fabrics.  “The Boys” took time to create just the right assortment of fabrics on their page. 

#9 kid contemplation#10A kid layout#10B more kid layout#10C finished block“The Boys” sampled everything! Just like with “quilters” everywhere, their fabric choices reflected their explorations and mood. I was always excited to see what The Boys would drop off next. 

#11#12#13#14#15#16#17#18Then this happened: The Hand Blocks! I surprised “The Boys” with machine appliquéd fabric hands (from outlines of their hands taken by their parents). I embroidered their name and age on each hand. 

“The Boys” filled the page around their hands with their fabric choices, which I sewed into blocks. I received another written note:

These hands were such a fun idea! The kids were amazed you could do that!

#19 Wesley#20 Levi#21 Jacob#22 CalebYou know how it is. One thing leads to another, and now I thought the adults had to have appliquéd and embroidered fabric hand blocks too. I placed the hands on 4 pieced heart blocks leftover from 2018, which somehow seemed perfect!

#23, Mom#24, Dad#25, Wendy#26, DavidThe funny thing is that we became closer while we had to live separately during the lockdown. We helped each other out and we even celebrated birthdays out in the yard. 

Caleb turned 9 years old around the time my husband David turned 64. We shared chocolate almond cake and sang a joyous round of Happy Birthday together! Yes, we kept our physical distance for safety, but we remained socially connected. 

#27, almond chocolate torte

Wendy’s Next Blog Post: Magic! Turning 65 Blocks of All Sizes Into a Quilt Top!

Guest Blogger, Quarantine Quilts

Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part I (Guest Blog Post)

I am so excited! My tremendously talented friend Wendy Hill has agreed to do a series of guest blog posts about a wonderful quilt project she’s been working on with children in her neighborhood during the quarantine/”COVID-times”. Over the past several months, she’s shared with me updates on this amazing project and I invited her to share with my tierneycreates blog readers. I hope the story of this project makes you smile as much as it made me smile.

Wendy Hill is a fiber artist and teacher who has written several art quilting books to include most recently Creative Quilt Challenges, cowritten with Pat Pease.   She has a website Wendy Hill Quilt Artist and you can follow her current work and musings on Instagram @wendyquilter.


Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Part I: Once Upon A Time

This is the story of two neighbors who banded together when the state government ordered a lock down because of the first Global Pandemic in over 100 years.

The big wide world was suddenly narrowed down to one house each for the four young boys next door and for us, a retired couple.

We live on a quiet cul-de-sac of a street, in a woodsy area, and now our respective worlds are turned upside down. 

#1 Yards#2 Yards#3 Yard SM“The Boys”, ages 2-8 years, explored the area around their house after finishing ‘school’.

With no fences and the houses close together, “The Boys” inevitably spilled over into our yard.

One day, it seemed, to them, a good idea to fill our birdbaths with dirt and make mud. “The Boys” cleaned up the mess and later dropped off an apology.

“Can you ever forgive us?” the note read. 

#4 BirdbathThere was nothing to forgive! “The Boys” were going stir crazy.

I sent an invitation to participate in “An Exchange”. I started with a drawing of a mouse, which looked a lot like a rat, and invited “The Boys” to add to the drawing. This drawing, plus two others, went back & forth until we had finished artworks. 

#5, first drawing#6, first drawing#7, collage#8, 3rd drawingLife during the pandemic meant one day blending into to the next, without much definition. But now, we waited to hear the patter of footsteps followed by the chime of the doorbell.

Likewise, I could hear “The Boys” squeal with delight when I rang their doorbell. It was exciting to open the door and see what The Boys left on the porch. 

One day, I sent over a note which read “I have a bit of a crazy idea….”. I sent over a Big Bag of Fabric Scraps with instructions to fill up blank 8 1/2” by 11” pages with fabric pieces. Overlaps of fabric were okay but no gaps. I explained I’d sew the fabrics together to make “quilt blocks”.

If “The Boys” had fun, we could keep it up until we had enough to make something.

#9, Bag of ScrapsThe mom replied “This sounds like a great idea!” and we were off.

The Boys had fun playing with color & texture, and they enjoyed seeing their fabric arrangements get transformed into blocks. As the number of blocks grew, they played with layouts on their floor. We agreed to make enough blocks for a quilt.

We were all building new pandemic memories and they would have a cuddly family quilt. Win-Win-Win! 

#10, The Boys#11, making arrangements#12, more arrangements#13, trial layouts

Wendy’s Next Guest Blog Post: The Boys Make 61 Blocks!

Quarantine Quilts, What's on the Design Wall

“All the Trimmings” is all done

Good Morning, here is a quick update on the quilt I shared in the post Update on “All the Trimmings”.

I finished machine quilting my quilt created from a zillion half square triangles (HSTs), most of which were from scrap triangles collected over 15 years, most of which were triangles from the trimming of blocks by other quilters. Hence the name: All the Trimmings.

THogan_All the TrimmingsThe quilt measures 57.5 inches by 72.5 inches (146 cm x 184 cm).

Here’s another photo with my partner John holding up All the Trimmings:

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As I created it during the Quarantine times, I went ahead and entered it into the call for entry I linked in this post – Quarantine Quilts (call for entry).

I was limited to 50 words, but here is the Artist Statement for the quilt I submitted:

Missing my Quilting Community during Quarantine and inspired by Amanda Jean Nyberg’s pattern “All Sizes”, I created a quilt from 15 years of scrap triangles collected from my quilting friends at quilt retreats and “sew dates”. Most of the scraps in this quilt are from the trimmings of blocks by many quilters as they made their quilts. Instead of going into the trash, scrap triangles compose this cozy quilt.

I am fairly sure some pretty spectacular quilts (and art quilts) have been submitted for this international call for entry and some of the quilts will go to the Houston International Quilt Show, one of the biggest quilt shows in the world.

I have doubts my little HST quilt will be selected but as they say: “You got to be in it to win it” – ha! (and it was free to enter).

The rules say the makers of the quilts selected will be notified no later than July 10th.  I will let you know the outcome.

For now, the quilt is keeping me company on my favorite chair in the living room.

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You might notice that the quilt Seattle Scrappy (see post Update on Seattle Scrappy) is sitting in the chair also – I am still working on hand quilting it (and wow hand quilting a lap size quilt takes MUCH LONGER than machine quilting it!).


Postscript

Speaking of “Quarantine Quilts”, a friend of mine has been working on an incredible quilting collaboration project with some children in her neighborhood and I hope she will share with us this project in a future guest post. Every time I look at images of this quilt in progress I get a huge smile!

Quarantine Quilts, tierneycreates, What's on the Design Wall

Update on “All the Trimmings”

Hello everyone, I wanted to share an update on the quilt I last discussed in this post What’s on the Design Wall: “All the Trimmings”.

I completed all five sections of the quilt top made from fabric scrap triangles and scrap squares to create nearly 600 half square triangles (HSTs) in the following sizes:

  • 2 inch x 2 inch
  • 2.5 inch x 2.5 inch
  • 3.5 inch x 3.5 inch
  • 4.5 inch x 4.5 inch
  • 5.5 inch x 5.5 inch

2020-05-23_20-04-48_040It was inspired by the pattern  All Sizes by Amanda Jean Nyberg from her book, No Scrap Left Behind.

Here it is on the ironing board after I pinned it for quilting:

2020-06-02_11-22-07_211And here is it currently being machine quilted on my sewing machine:

2020-06-03_17-22-24_962I decided to machine quilt it myself rather than send it out to be professional long-arm machine quilted. Slowly I am making progress, I try to work on a section each day.

(You might notice some curious brightly colored half-circle blocks on my design wall behind my sewing area. I’ll talk about those in a future post. They are blocks a quilting friend gave me when she decided not to finish a piece. More to come.)

And of course when I finish machine quilting All the Trimmings I will share another update.

I am going to do an Artist Statement for this piece since there is a story behind it. Here is a very rough draft of that statement:

It’s more than just a half square triangle quilt. I miss going to Quilting Retreats and hanging out with Quilting friends so I made this quilt, based on Amanda Jean Nyberg’s pattern “All Sizes”, from scraps collected from my quilting friends during 15 years of quilting retreats and “Sew Dates”. Most of the scraps are triangle trimmings from their block piecing. Hundreds of scrap triangles went into this quilt top!


Postscript

A friend of mine recently said that she was looking forward to hearing my thoughts on the tragic events and strife currently going on in the United States in a blog post.

For me it is just too deeply personal and sad issue to discuss in this forum, so I am going to just focus my blog posts on my creative projects and other lighter topics.

I will however share with you that I am currently taking a break from watching or reading the news as this was wearing down my soul.

Recently came across this quote by Fred (Mister) Rogers that made me feel some peace and I will close out this post with this quote:

helpers

Quarantine Quilts, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: “All the Trimmings”

It is time to follow up on my post No Scrap Left Behind (half square triangle craziness), as I’ve made significant progress on this scrap triangle quilt inspired by the pattern All Sizes in Amanda Jean Nyberg lovely book, No Scrap Left Behind.

I found this images on Pinterest, which I shared in that post, of what the quilt looks like finished:

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Image credit: Pinterest

I decided to name my version of this quilt “All the Trimmings” since most of the scrap triangles were donated by other quilters from their block trimmings. Most of the triangles I am using in my version of this quilt were once headed to the landfill (and now they get to be in a quilt!).

The quilt consist of sections of 2 inch x 2 inch half square triangles (HSTs); 2.5″ x 2.4″ HSTs, 3.5″ x 3.5″ HSTs, 4.5″ x 4’5″ HSTs, and finally 5.5″ x 5.5″ HSTs.

2020-04-23_18-59-06_7662020-04-23_18-59-18_5902020-04-30_08-49-08_927

HSTs are usually made by some quick method such as placing two squares of fabric together, making a line down the middle, sewing a 1/4 on each side of the line and then cutting apart two completed HSTs.

However I made most of the HSTs the manual hard way by sewing two scrap triangles together and then trimming the block to the required size. But I used up hundreds and hundreds (nearly all of them) of my scrap triangle collection.

I’ve completed three sections of the quilt: 2″x2″, 2.5″x2.5″ and 3.5″x3.5″ and they are up on my design wall.

2020-04-30_08-48-58_848As I mentioned in the post No Scrap Left Behind (half square triangle craziness), I had very few white or super light colored scrap triangles, so I loosely interpreted the HST standard of a light triangle with a dark triangle for contrast.

Towards the end of making enough 3.5″ x 3.5″ HSTs required for the pattern, I ran out of scrap triangles and had to dip into my scrap squares collection (someday to be made into a scrappy quilt):

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Then when I got to the point of making 4.5″ x 4.5″ HSTs, I ran out of larger scrap squares, so I had to dip into my Charm Square collection to finish the number of 4.5″ HSTs I needed for the pattern.

2020-04-20_15-19-40_771Just two more sections to go on this quilt; and I will update you again after I get the other two sections completed.


Postscript

A little follow up the the Postscript from my previous post The Positive People (Surprise Gift).

I discovered a whole display of inspirational rocks painted by kids on my dog walk yesterday that made me smile, thought I would share them with you to close out this post.

2020-04-29_14-09-12_767

Quarantine Quilts, What's on the Design Wall

No Scrap Left Behind (half square triangle craziness)

I closed out my previous post (Home Office Tips and Tour) with this image below to give you a tease about what I am working on next:

2020-04-09_19-13-55_051

Now that I’ve settled into my re-configured studio (see post Guest Blogger: tierneycreates’ “New” Studio Tour) I have no excuse but to start making things in the studio (besides masks).

I thought I would start with my fabric scrap collection for my first non-mask project in my “new” studio.

I have long history of fabric scrap addiction (yes I am that person at a quilt retreat who stops people from throwing out their larger scraps in the trash and offers to “adopt” them) and so I have quite the collection of fabric scraps.

I keep them organized in bins at the bottom of the IKEA bookcases in my studio:

2020-04-01_08-21-41_752These bins contains scraps organized by color.

I also have them organized by themed collections of scraps in bags stored under my cutting table:

2020-04-08_15-37-07_529One of these collections, is a collection of scrap triangles, most given to me by other quilters when they trimmed these triangle when piecing blocks for their quilts. The triangles are in various sizes.

By sewing two scrap triangles together, I can created a scrappy “half square triangle” (HST) which provides many design opportunities. This is what I did with a bunch of scrappy fabric squares which I turned into HSTs back in Spring 2018 (see post Pillow Popping with the Untethered Soul), and created a pillow top:

img_3758

I do have a basket of fabric scrap squares that I could have used to make HSTs for the project I am about to tell you about:

2020-04-13_19-01-44_210But I’ve decided I want to start using (and cleaning out) my ridiculous collection of themed bags of scraps (mainly given to me by other quilters) and my scrap triangle collection had gotten out of control.

So I dumped the entire collection of fabric scrap triangles onto my cutting table:

2020-04-09_19-03-43_244And pulled out this awesome book by Amanda Jean Nyberg, No Scrap Left Behind, for ideas.

2020-02-25_08-07-59_262

I found a pattern in the book called All Sizes which uses several different sizes of HSTs to create a scrap quilt with smaller HSTs progressing to larger HSTs.

I did not want to violate copyright laws by photographing the quilt pattern inside the book but I did find an image of the quilt on Pinterest:

2020-04-13_18-55-18_876
Image credit: Pinterest

The pattern instructs you to create HSTs the standard way from two contrasting squares (if you’ve never made HSTs or are not quilter, here is a link by Blossom Heart Quilts explaining how HSTs are commonly made – HST Tutorial).  However I decided to manually make HSTs by sewing two scrappy triangles together.

So to make this happen I had to sort my giant pile of scrap triangles into light and dark in order to manual create the HSTs (to get a nice contrast with a HST you use a light fabric and a darker fabric). The process was tedious but fun (I listened to great music while sorting, sewing, pressing/ironing. and trimming).

2020-04-13_07-46-58_5802020-04-13_18-49-57_5092020-04-11_19-57-59_7212020-04-13_14-27-35_0182020-04-13_18-49-14_566 Eventually my “hot mess” of scrap triangles, turned into this on my design wall:

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No it doesn’t look anything like the pattern of the Pinterest finished quilt image I shared above but it is in progress. Initially I placed the HSTs in size order on the design wall but my organization fell apart after a while of trying to just randomly get all the HSTs I’ve made onto the design wall (to get a sense of how many I’ve made so far).

Also, you might have noticed that the Pinterest finished quilt image has white as the light on the HSTs. I’ve was very loose in my interpretation of “light” to contrast with my darker triangles. I did not have many white/cream or other light colored scrap triangles. So I had to use medium fabrics often as “lights” and you will see some bold fabrics in the mix (like deep/strong yellows, etc.) as “lights”.

2020-04-13_07-47-06_160But hey – it’s going to be a very scrappy quilt!

When the quilt top is complete, I am going to toss any remaining scrappy triangles. They were originally headed to the trash bin before I rescued them. It is okay if some now make it to the trash.

I think there will be very few scrap triangles remaining when I am done; and I think this is a one time scrap quilt experiment with scrap triangles. (Next time I make HSTs it will be using contrasting squares)

And I plan to say “no thank you” when other quilters offer me their scrap triangles in the future!


Postscript

I am still hand quilting Seattle Scrappy (see post Seattle Scrappy (What’s on the Design Wall)) in case you wondered what became of that piece. I keep it on the stairs railing next to the recliner I sit in when watching television in the living room, so it is always handy to work on:

2020-04-12_09-25-53_726Someday it will be done…

What's on the Design Wall

Update on Seattle Scrappy

Hello there, thought I would give you an update on my freeform log cabin scrap quilt “Seattle Scrappy”.

First here is a quick recap.

I began piecing this quilt in early January 2020 while attending a quilt retreat, from a bag of gray fabric scraps my friend Dana shared during the retreat; and initial made around 140 blocks:

2020-01-11_15-35-55_9032020-01-10_18-11-34_1862020-01-12_08-00-38_602When I returned home, I trimmed these blocks to 5′ x 5″ (12.7 cm x 12.7 cm) blocks and began piecing them together and musing over how to finish the quilt including whether to machine or hand quilt it, etc.:

2020-02-06_08-23-26_627That’s where I left off in my previous post about this quilt – Seattle Scrappy (What’s on the Design Wall).

Last weekend I finished the quilt top and decided to hand quilt it! So I laid it out on the floor of my bedroom (also known as the “design carpet” – see post What’s on the…Design Carpet) and pinned it:

2020-02-25_11-07-27_7872020-02-25_11-07-41_296Here it is ready for hand stitching:

2020-02-25_11-12-18_4892020-02-25_11-15-09_232I bought a couple spools of gray Perle Cotton for hand stitching (I am not sure how much I need yet and did not want to over-buy):

2020-02-24_16-12-50_832And I’ve started stitching:

2020-02-26_07-22-59_569The quilt measures around 60″ x 60″ (152.4 x 152.4 cm) and it is going to take a while to hand quilt it, even with using large Kantha-like stitches.

I had so much fun piecing this quilt from scraps, I am itching to start a new scrap quilt. Although most of my fabric (yardage and pre-cuts) is packed up in anticipation of my move to a new house in the next couple of months I still have access to most of my scraps.

This book in my craft book library (which I have not completed packed) caught my eye…

2020-02-25_08-07-59_262And I am tempted to start something from this book…

Also I have a couple incomplete (less than 5″) freeform log cabin blocks and scraps left over from making “Seattle Scrappy” and I am trying to decide what to make with them – perhaps a pillow cover or a pot holder or something…

2020-02-25_10-12-55_064

What's on the Design Wall

Seattle Scrappy (What’s on the Design Wall)

This is a follow up to my recent post What’s On the Design Wall.

I’ve decided to name the freeform log cabin scrappy quilt I’ve created from my friend Dana’s scraps (see post What’s on the…Design Carpet) – “Seattle Scrappy”.

2020-02-06_08-23-26_627

The name was inspired by the scraps coming from the Seattle area and that it is gray and in Winter it is fairly gray in the Seattle area.

Above you can see my current progress on the piece. I am nearly done with the top, I just need to frame the whole thing in rows of dark framed blocks.

This was my original concept – a center dark shape, created by freeform log cabin blocks with dark gray outside borders:

2020-02-02_16-04-59_014

Then I would add lighter gray bordered freeform log cabin blocks around these blocks to float the center shape. However, as the black and white image I took of the quilt, the concept got a little muddled:

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But you can still sort of see the concept and make out a darker shape floating in the lights blocks (I hope!)

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I am hoping adding in a border all around of dark gray framed blocks will help my center pop a little more. A quilting friend said the piece looks like an aerial view of a city – I hadn’t thought of that!

More to come on “Seattle Scrappy” and I am currently trying to decide when I finish it, whether to:

  • Have it professionally quilted (a.k.a. “quilting by check”)
  • Machine quilt it myself
  • Hand quilt it (how about some kantha stitching like @ marissthequilter/fabrications)
  • Tie the quilt (yes, “old school” quilting tying)

If I cannot figure it out, I might ask you all to vote on it (smile)!


Postscript

Additional follow up from the post What’s On the Design Wall.

Do you remember the free large table I got from a community for sale board? Well I put risers (to make it “counter height”) on it and turned it into a large cutting and project table in my temporary studio (until I move to the new house in progress of being built some time in April):

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I then snugged my sewing machine against the table to create a yummy temporary “Creation-Station” (patent pending? can I market that!??!):

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Now I can comfortably watch the telly (well Netflix, ha!) while I sew.

I also added some quilts about the house. As I mentioned in a previous post, the house became sort of minimalist (and kind of sterile) when we staged it for the real estate sale photos that a professional photography came and took for the future real estate listing.

Since have delayed putting the house on the market until mid/late March, I was getting weary of living in basically a “model home”.

So I pulled out some of the quilts I had stored away and put them up on the wall with Command Strips!

And I placed an old quilt at the end of the bed where Mike my dog hangs out in my temporary studio while I sew:

2020-02-06_16-53-03_750

What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the…Design Carpet

It’s been a while since I’ve added anything to my series of posts:   “What’s on the Design Wall”, about my current project up on my design wall.

However as my tierneycreates Beastie shared in the post Guest Blogger: What the heck is going on here? , my studio is packed up and turned back into a bedroom for staging the house I currently live in for sale.

Not having a design wall up on the wall has not stopped me – I’ve discovered: The Design Carpet (patent pending, ha!).

2020-01-16_13-21-04_854But let’s back-up a moment, and tell you how this piece began and got to this point…

As I mentioned in my post From the Basket – English Paper Piecing, a couple weekends ago I attended a mini quilt retreat with a couple quilting friends in Poulsbo, Washington.

I brought a couple hand work projects from my basket of hand work (see post Inside the Basket ) and had EVERY INTENTION of only working on my hand work projects.

But…

My dear quilting friend Dana brought an extra sewing machine (one her her Berninas, and I love Berninas) and a BAG OF GRAY FABRIC SCRAPS for me to play with – oh no!

2020-01-10_18-11-38_9152020-01-11_15-35-55_903As you saw in the “From the Basket” post, I did work on my English Paper Piecing rosettes, but after a while I put them aside and STARTING PLAYING WITH THE GRAY SCRAPS! (I could not resist the temptation to play with fabric scraps)

Before you know it, as I shared on @tierneycreates on Instagram, I began creating freeform pieced/improvisationally pieced log cabin blocks (also known as “log jamming”):

2020-01-10_18-11-34_186And before I knew it, I had a pile of 138 blocks I made!

2020-01-12_08-01-18_2382020-01-12_08-00-38_602Once I got home, I could not wait to play with them and see what interesting pattern I could make with the dark gray and light gray framed blocks, So I decided to use the “Design Carpet”:

2020-01-16_13-07-40_412I began with creating a pattern with the dark gray framed blocks:

2020-01-16_13-07-51_784Then I worked on framing them with the light gray blocks:

2020-01-16_13-21-12_628I like the effect with the dark gray floating in the lighter gray blocks.

Since I took these photos, I’ve made additional progress and pulled out my sewing machine from the storage room (where you hide everything when staging a house for sale)!

Let me make a bit more progress on the piece and I will share in a future post!


Postscript

Let me know if you think I can patent the concept of the “Design Carpet” and make millions on my late-night infomercial selling “Design Carpets” and quit my day job and just sew all day!

“You can own your own Design Carpet for 5 easy payments of $99.99!

But wait, there’s more:

Buy one Design Carpet and get a second one for only $99.99 plus shipping and handling.”

– TIERNCO, DISTRIBUTOR OF THE DESIGN CARPET

A Crafter's Life, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Special Events

Two Quilters and a Bed Full of Fabric Scraps

I know you’ve been waiting…and here is the follow up to my 03/30/18 post  Scrap Party! , where I had a special birthday celebration play-date with my fabric-scrap-loving friend.

It started with this plastic bin of my fabric scraps:

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More fabric scraps crammed in here than I realized…

Dumped onto my bed (the bed has a plastic sheet from packaging material covering it):

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A king size bed filled with fabric scraps (awesome or terrifying?)

Before we dove into this delicious (or suspicious) pile of fabrics, first we took Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and our miniature schnauzers to Whole Foods for lunch (okay the dogs stayed in the car as it was a wee bit too cold to sit outside and eat with them).

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Mike and Sadie riding in style in the back of my vintage* 2001 car! (*hey someday it could be collectable…)

After lunch we headed back to my house to dive into the “bed-o-scraps”!

But first we needed to fortify ourselves:

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I might have a small studio but I can always make room for tea and cookies (made by TTQH!). Note we sipped our tea from schnauzer themed mugs!

After a few minutes of frolicking in the fabric scraps, my friend pulled her initial stack and got to work on making improvisational blocks.

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I set up my travel sewing machine for her to use at the desk in my studio
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Her miniature schnauzer Sadie kept an eye on her while she sewed

As a challenge, in addition to access to my crazy fabric scrap collection, I assigned my friend these pieced block discards/trimmings to try and incorporate into her improvisational blocks:

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Here are a couple of her blocks laid out on the design wall in my hallway:

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And here is her “to-go” bag of fabric scraps to finish up her piece at home:

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Note the expression on Sadie’s face like: “Are you really going to take ALL those home with us?!?!”

Sadie passed out on the pillow in my studio due to all the fabric scrap excitement:

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Fabric Scrap Parties are so exciting!

I did get a little blue seeing Sadie sleeping on the pillow in my studio as my beloved Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer used to sleep like that on the pillow before she passed in December 2018. But I did enjoy having a girl mini schnauzer in the house again and so did TTQH.

Here is TTQH hanging out in the living room with Sadie and Mike while watching the College Basketball semi-finals:

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We thought we’d let the ladies have their fabric scrap frolicking to themselves

So what did I work on? Well I thought I would take the opportunity to practice paper-piecing (Not the fun “English Paper Piecing” type but the “flip and stitch” type of paper-piecing that I suspect is what you have to do all day in the “Underworld” if you are bad in life and go there after you die…um, I would like to choose the “fire & brimstone” instead please…).

I signed up to participate in the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show’s 2018 Wish Upon A Card Fundraiser & Fabric Challenge sponsored by Robert Kaufman Fabrics. I needed to make a 4′” x 6″ fabric postcard to donate to the fundraiser, incorporating the two feature fabrics provided by Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

In general I love Robert Kaufman fabrics, but I was completely underwhelmed by the fabric pieces they sent me to make the postcard:

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Um…what am I gonna make with these?!??!

Thank goodness my friend helped me pick out some coordinating fabric scraps for my postcard.

Here was my first (actually second, as the first was a legendary-paper-piecing-screw-up disaster) attempt at paper piecing a little house for the postcard:

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Hated it!

Here is my second (okay actually third) attempt and the final version with my embellishments:

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“Visitor Arrives” by tierneycreates 2018 (note the back of the postcard is fused blank muslin covering the stitching so that it can be used as a postcard)

I mailed it off yesterday to Wish Upon a Card and I will not be offended if they say they “never got it in the mail” or they accidentally let it slip into the trash can – ha!

Now I bet you are curious: Did we make a dent in the pile of fabric scraps? Not really. Here is the tub of fabric scraps cleaned up from the bed and put back into the closet after my friend left:

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It appears I have enough for another Fabric Scrap Party (or 200+ Scrap Parties)!

A Crafter's Life, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

Scrap Party!

It’s no secret, especially if you’ve followed my blog for a while, that I am obsessed with fabric scraps. I won’t try to link any of my numerous previous posts on fabric scraps. If you are new to my blog, you will have to just trust me 🙂

Well one of my quilting friends, actually the one who got me into appreciating the value and opportunity for unlimited creativity provided by using fabric scraps, is coming over tomorrow for a SCRAP PARTY!

She had a birthday a couple of weeks ago and we are going to do a belated celebration by going to out to lunch and then coming back to my house and spending the afternoon playing in my fabric scrap pile:

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I did not post about it (as those of you who’ve followed me for a while may have grown weary of my constantly talking about fabric scraps) but last weekend I thinned out my scrap pile. I pulled out any remaining old lower quality fabric and donated more to a local charity thrift shop.

During a previous donation, a volunteer at one of our local charity thrift shops (for our local Humane Society shelter), told me that fabric scraps sell very well at the thrift shop. They cannot keep fabric scrap bags in stock, they sell out immediately! (See there are more weird obsessed people like myself in Central Oregon).

So what are we going to do at a so called “Scrap Party”? Well I am going to dump the whole box onto a plastic tarp on the floor of my master bedroom (as not to take up precious space in my tiny studio space that we will be sharing) and let my friend go wild playing with my fabric scrap collection. She is really into improvisational piecing (she is the one who helped me move from traditional quilting to art/improvisational quilting) so fabric scraps are one of her favorite textile mediums!

I’ve set up my travel sewing machine for her in my studio so we can sew together. I have two design walls (a small one on the closet door in my studio and then the big one in the hall way) so we won’t have to battle for design wall space!

I’m not sure what she is going to work on, but I plan to work on some paper piecing. I’m trying to spend more time with my extensive (ridiculous) craft book collection and rediscovered in my craft book collection – 50 Little Paper-Pieced Blocks by Carol Doak. Playing with fabric scraps seems like a great time to work on my paper-piecing skills.

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My friend is bringing over her miniature schnauzer so Mike will have a furry friend visiting.

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) made us chocolate chip cookies (to keep our sugar fueled energy level high for crafting!!!):

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Of course I will share the outcomes of our Scrap Party!

A Crafter's Life, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

Oh Scrap!

Recently a couple of my blogging buddies, Mary at Zippy Quilts and Claire at knitNkwilt posted about starting projects from their fabric scrap piles and “fabric scrap wrangling” (organizing a crafter’s crazy scrap pile).

As fabric scraps are my secret (well..not so secret) obsession, I want to join the conversation!

Last time I posted about my fabric scrap organization, I shared this photo of my fabric scraps organized in windowed boxes by color:

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Fabric scraps organized by color

Well this organization failed. Why? Because I was not using the scraps, I was just enjoying them as “decoration” in my studio!

I knew I needed to do something and rethought how I was create with scraps I realized it was too cumbersome to pull down individual boxes by color to access scraps (my studio is small and I could only pull down 1-2 boxes at a time without serious crowding!). So I did something crazy: I pulled all the scraps out of the boxes and put them into a bag:

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Yes it is a giant bag! It measures 22″ in height and approximately 22″ in diameter…and it is packed (but not too tightly…just fairly tightly, ha!). I’ve named it “Giant-Bag-O-Scraps” and I love it!

In addition to moving the fabric scraps out of their boxes by color, I also thinned out my collection of “Challenge Bags” (see post Basket of Challenges) and moved many of the scraps from these bags into the Giant-Bag-O-Scraps. I narrowed by huge “Challenge Bag” collection down to this:

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Note the random “tailor ham” in this area, hoping someday to be used to make a fabric cap…

I did keep one type of fabric scraps separate from the others – batik scraps. They have their own organization into three baskets under my cutting table: 1) light and medium-light colors; 2) medium-dark to dark colors; and 3) thin strips:

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Note the red arrow – this is Mike the miniature schnauzer’s ball storage in my studio

The reason for this separation is I want to make some landscape quilts using batik strips. I recently bought a book on Landscape quilts that I will discuss in a future post (once I start an actual landscape quilt project).

During this entire “scrap wrangling” project I did pull out a lot of scraps to donate to our local Humane Society Thrift Store. The thrift store has a crafting section and packages of fabric scraps sell very quickly there (other weird people like me who are also obsessed I guess..). Check out my post from October 2016 – A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps to see how I packed up a huge donation of fabric scraps during my purging in 2016. The packages of scraps shown in that post sold within a week at the thrift shop!

Although I am not seeking out any additional fabric scraps, currently I am embracing my fabric scrap obsession. I remind myself that my quilting studio area is “my playroom” and it is okay to go in there and just play with my scraps!


Postscript

Happy MLK Day! When the political landscape feels challenging to me as a person of color and as a woman, I remember his words and I am re-inspired:

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Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: Scrappy Improvisational Medallion

This post is actually a continuation of my ongoing series What’s on the Design Wall, featuring my latest project up on either the small design wall in my studio or the large design wall my hallway.

Got Medallion?

Obviously I have been influenced by my fellow blogger buddy Melanie at Catbird Studio (see post The Six-Pointed Star and per page Medallion Lessons) but I have a burning need to make a Medallion Quilt.

I am also influenced by this page I tore from a Keepsake Quilting catalog for a medallion style Block of the Month (BOM) sampler. The only problem is that monthly participation in this BOM is $42.99 plus shipping! As lovely as this quilt is that would not be in my budget, so I just added the image to my magnet inspiration board on my studio closet door:

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Rummaging Through the “Challenge Bags”

For the 4th of July, we were “bunkered” in our house with loud movies or music playing in the background, all the windows shut and the air conditioner (actually we have 2 evaporative or “swamp” coolers) to try to keep our extremely fireworks terrified dogs calm. Each year we plan to get from the vet some anti-anxiety medications for them but we forget, so instead we distract them with other sounds. This works most of 4th while neighborhood kids are playing with their fireworks. It only stops working in the evening when there is a VERY LOUD fireworks display at local attraction near our house.

Since I was “bunkering” on the 4th, I decided to spend some time in my studio looking through my collection of “Challenge Bags” (see post Basket of Challenges). Inside one of the bags I found an old felt and tweed Schoolhouse block pillow top I had purchased 14 years ago for $1 in a clearance sale at the back of a quilt shop. Tucked in with the Schoolhouse block were several strips of “Pyramid” borders that another quilter gave me.

With Medallion Quilts floating around in the back of my mind, I started playing with the pieces on the design wall:

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I had just enough of the Pyramid pieced strips to border the Schoolhouse block twice on each side and ended up with the beginning of a scrappy improvisational medallion quilt!

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My very first Medallion Quilt in progress. I plan to make it using only fabric scraps and recycled pieced items from my challenge bags. I am going to read through Melanie at Catbird Studio’s lessons on for making Medallion quilts as inspiration and then let myself get all improvisational once I understand any helpful concepts.

What Comes Next?

I pulled from my “Basket of Challenges” (my stash of challenge bags) a bag of scrap squares and a bag of scrap triangles.  I am going to just keep this piece up on my design wall and slowly add to it as I am inspired.

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I had fun “bunkering” on the 4th!

Fabric Scraps Obsession, Outside Adventures!, Studio

Basket of Challenges

One the years I’ve grown to appreciate fabric scraps, especially coordinated fabrics scraps shared from other quilters’ projects.

I have gathered a collection of coordinated fabric scraps donated by quilting friends.

Each collection of scraps is organized in a plastic bag, which I call a “challenge bag“. Each bag is a challenge to create something from a fabric scrap collection otherwise destined for the trash.

I had these challenge bags stored in two storage containers:

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I decided to move them into a large basket in my studio where I could see them all the time and be reminded of the fun challenges to work on:

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While going through the challenge bags to move them from the storage containers to the open basket, I figured it was time to work on one of them.

My friend gave me a collection of brown batik scraps and partial fat quarters that she had started making little wallets out of – she also gave me the pattern and the templates she had cut. I think she thought I would just use the fabrics/scraps as part of a scrappy quilt. Instead I used nearly all the fabric/scraps she gave me to make a collection of little wallets:

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Little Wallets, pattern by Valori Wells
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Perfect size to hold business cards

I am looking forward in the future playing with another “challenge bag”. We’ll see what I make next…


Postscript

Yesterday I hiked Pilot Butte (miniature mountain with 360 degree views of Central Oregon and surrounding region) and nearing the summit I took a photo of a controlled burn off in the distance. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service has to do controlled burns in the Deschutes National Forest to control forest fires.

Prescribed Fire in Central Oregon

I used the zoom on my iPhone and although it is not the clearest photo it gives you a sense of the scope of the controlled burn:

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If you are new to my blog and wanted to read more about my Pilot Butte adventures, check out this link: Pilot Butte Adventures.

For those of you who have followed me for a while – yes, on my hike yesterday, another Senior Citizen dusted me on Pilot Butte. At least the 80+ year old (maybe even 90) was kind enough to wish me a “good day” as he effortlessly walked around me on the hike back down the Butte!

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

When all else fails, reorganize your fabric scraps

As I shared in previous posts, a month or so ago I was in the midst of a creative block. I first picked up English Paper Piecing and then revisited traditional quilt piecing to get myself creating again.

Before I got to this point however, I was trying to figure out a way, short of forcing myself to sew something, that I could “get my creative energies flowing”. On a whim I decided to reorganize my fabric scraps.

I first shared my fabric scrap organization in the 01/01/2016 post Inside the StudioMy fabric scraps were organized by individual color – Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Cream, Black/Gray/Black & White, Brown, and Yellow. Each color had its own bucket.

Reorganizing my fabric scraps I decided to group colors together that sometimes I have trouble telling apart and to make it easier to work with by having less individual buckets.

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As you can see by the photo above, the new groupings are:

  • Orange & Brown
  • Black, Gray, and Black & White
  • Red & Purple
  • Blue & Green (interestingly this was my largest group of scraps)
  • White, Cream and Yellow

While I was regrouping the scraps, I got to revisit my fabric scraps and I could feel creative energies start to percolate!

Interestingly, one of the books from my latest library stack (The Library (Mega) Stack) – Living the Creative Life by Rice Freeman-Zachary – addresses creative block. The author interviewed a group of artists for this book and their wisdom and experiences are peppered throughout this inspiring read.

One of the artists  the author interviewed, Bean Gilsdorf, an art quilter out of Portland, Oregon (www.beangildorf.com), shares the following tip for dealing with creative block:

When it starts to stress me out that I’m not doing anything in my studio, I try to make myself do something to get my hands busy again. The ideas will come back eventually…Clean out your files, rearrange your paints,  or clean everything so that when you’re ready, everything is in order. – Bean Gilsdorf

I read this book after I reorganized my scraps, but this book reinforced that I was headed in the right direction!


Postscript

I am currently listening to a wonderful nonfiction audiobook – Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. In this book the authors discuss “Gravity Problems” and how we get mired in “Gravity Problems”.

What are “gravity problems”? They are problems that are not actionable to resolve.

The authors share a great example (paraphrased):

A friend asks you what is wrong. You reply “I am having a hard time in life, I just cannot make it up hills as easily as I want to due to this thing called gravity. If I just did not have gravity in my life pulling me down, I would be fine and I could run up any hill I want”.

The authors humorously share that unless you are able to change how the earth spins on its axis and its rotation around the sun, you are not going to be able to resolve your “gravity problem”.

Now perhaps the real problem is you are not at your ideal fitness level and/or you need to improve your cardiovascular health, so you can more easily climb up a hill. That is an actionable problem.

Here is a wonderful quote from the book that I will leave you to ponder:

If it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem. It’s a situation, a circumstance, a fact of life. It may be a drag (so to speak), but, like gravity, it’s not a problem that can be solved. – Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

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That pesky thing called gravity…

Photo credit – Michael Lorenzo, free images.com

Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: Backlog

Not all quilters are like me: saddled with a backlog of projects. I know quilters who (they are freaks!) work on ONE project at time, seeing it through completion, and not starting another project until their current project is complete.

My mind does not work that way. I am basically that golden retriever in the movie Up, who says “Squirrel!“when I see a new project to start. I am easily distracted and I tell myself I will get back to the current/previous project eventually.

I was having a bit of creative block on designing a new art quilt and I realize I need to work through my project backlog. So here it is sitting up the cutting table, festering:

 

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In this pile under the cutting table, I discovered 120+ 6.5 inch log jam blocks (scrappy pieced log cabin style blocks) that I had pieced earlier this year. With the assistance of Terry the Quilting Husband, I got them sewn together and now they are on the Design Wall awaiting assembly of the rows.

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I have a total of 10 rows with 12 blocks in each row. I am hoping that by floating the pieced blocks in a solid color border, I can make it a twin, full or queen size quilt top. I will post a photo when the top is complete (before it journeys to the long-arm quilter).

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” – Mark Twain

Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio, Thrift Shop Adventures

A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps

If you have followed my blog for awhile, then you know about my addiction to fabric scraps. This addiction seems to be incompatible with my desire to downsize and minimize my possessions.

The fabric scrap addiction began innocently enough – friends would give me their fabric scraps at quilting retreats. I would go for a “sew day” at a fellow quilter’s house and leave with some of her fabric scraps. As if that was not enough, I began to actually BUY scraps.

Yes, BUY FABRIC SCRAPS, you read correctly. There is a wonderful quilt shop in Central Oregon called The Stitchin’ Post and occasionally they would sell scraps bags of their beautiful high-end quilting fabrics.  I bought numerous bags from them.

Beautiful scraps or not, still I was buying fabric scraps.

In my post “Creative Inspiration: Organization???” I shared my new organization of my favorite fabric scraps by color. Although I had organized scraps by color I still had a GIANT box of remaining fabric scraps.

I knew I had to do something. I needed to let go of the fabric scraps I did not completely and absolutely love. However, I did not want to throw them away or try to convince another quilter to adopt them.

So I packaged them up into 30 bags and organized them into two baskets and DONATED them to our local Humane Society Thrift Store to sell! (How do I know that the Humane Society Thrift Store sells fabric scraps? Do you want to take a guess? Yes, because I have bought fabric scraps also from several thrift stores include the Humane Society Thrift Store in the past).

The Humane Society Thrift Store Volunteer accepting my donation seemed pleased that I had packaged them up for sale. I like to imagine if they sell each bag for a couple dollars or more each that could be over $90 – $150+ profit for a wonderful local animal shelter! Some of the bags are packaged by color and some are random – so many options for the Humane Society Thrift Shops’ customers!

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A “Humane” way to let go of excess fabric scraps!

When I buy fabric from quilt shops in the future, it will be actual whole fabric (fat quarters or yardage). I still have plenty of fabric scraps and my fabric scrap collection contains only scraps I truly love and plan to use…eventually.

POSTSCRIPT

I am still working through the lessons from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo that I discussed in the post “The Space in Which We Live“. 

Fabric Scraps Obsession, tierneycreates

A Scrappy Existence

Okay. I love fabric scraps. I am not sure how or when it started but it has been going on for years. And it has developed into an obsession.

I go to a quilting class or a quilt retreat and I see piles of fabric scraps, many which are going to be thrown away.  I have been guilty of staying a little late after a quilting class to “clean up” and grab the fabric scraps left behind – on the class ironing board, on the table, under the table…okay once I reached into the trash during a quilting class (when no one was looking) to rescue a large beautiful discarded scrap!

A local quilt shop sells bags of high quality scraps and I have bought several over the years. There is something exciting about a new bag of scraps – the discovery – opening up the bag and seeing what goodies are inside! When visiting friends in Seattle during an annual quilting trip, we stop by a quilt shop that allows customers to fill up a sandwich bag (yes the small one) with scraps for $3. I see it as the “challenge of the century” each time. I have mastered rolling up scraps tightly and cramming them into the tiny bag. My friends are usually amazed when I empty the bag later and see how many fabric scraps I fit in!

My quilting friends support my fabric scrap obsession. A dear friend and original quilting mentor, Judy, sent me over the holidays a lovely package of scraps from a recent quilt she finished.

Yummy fall color scraps from my friend Judy
Yummy fall color scraps from my friend Judy

I do make quilts with the scraps, though my husband says it will take roughly 25 quilts to use up my scraps.

Today I pondered: “why do I love fabric scraps so much?” The high quality quilting fabric scraps that I am attracted are from quilts others make. I guess that using other quilters’ scraps in a quilt (or just having them in my quilt room!) connects me to other quilters and the quilts they make. Quilts are pretty special thing and I love thinking that my fabric scraps are part of handmade items making someone, somewhere smile.

Textiles & Smiles!