Zero Waste Audit

November 1, 2012

So I signed up to be part of the study in zero waste for Powell River. I already compost , and we recycle all paper, plastic,styrofoam,glass,metal. The cardboard goes down in the garden as mulch. Now this is quilty related, because anything that I can’t repurpose,reuse or recycle is going to the dump AFTER I weigh it and report what I was not able to recycle. I have always felt sad about all the little bits of fuzz and fiber that I toss out each month from blocking and trimming quilt blocks. Well for the next 2 months , i am gathering this and then weighing it to see what i am throwing away. I’ll let you know what happens.



Quilt tops by the dozen.

October 29, 2012

These first 2 photos show my progress through the strings over 5 months this summer.It felt good to actually put them all out and have a overview.

Then I changed my mind and  I decided to take the rectangle units, chop off the corners and add the setting triangles now instead of just stock piling them in a bin.

For the bright multicoloured rectangles with the peach setting triangles, I decided to divide them in half and make 2 smaller quilts. Made them exactly alike except for borders so that they could go to siblings, but each child would still be able to tell which was which. This is the String-X pattern from Bonnie Hunter. It makes good use of short strings ( 5 inches)

I liked the fall toned rectangles all together- so this will be a large twin size. I do love the golds and bronze setting triangles. I’ve found batting and backing to match the fall tones and I hope to get that sandwiched next tues at the guild.

This owl quilt is for the soon to be grandchild. His/Her mom wanted to do as much of the sewing as she could. This is Meg’s first attempt at piecing patchwork and she did a fine job of  matching seams. I did the cutting and pressing , while Megs did all the sewing on tues evenings. We’re now ready for machine quilting. And the closeup is for a certain someone who wanted to match a gift to the owl print.

As you can imagine, I sometimes have gotten bored with strings all summer. I tried to use up some of the 2 inch “worms” with another Bonnie Hunter pattern called Pineapple Blossoms. First it used up very few of the strips,so there’s lots left!! and second it is much easier to build that a real pineapple block. This is really a log cabin of 2 rounds with diagonal corners cut off with a flying geese wedge. I’m definately going to be making more of these blocks.

Finally ! a border to finish.

October 8, 2012

Last year when Shirley and I did the presentation on scrap organization, most of the audience got quite excited about taming their scrap bins.

Some were still overwhelmed by the enormous job ahead of them. Kathy O. brought a different drawer each week to Tues Bee and I offered to help sort. Lots of her friends dived in too and found bits and pieces that went with their projects. I found lots of creams that I was short on for a log cabin project. I cut 2.5 inch strips and had enough to completed these blocks in the photo below.

All of the blocks and the first border of blue came out of Kathy and my scrap bins. The only purchased fabric was the colonial red stripped outer border, and I finally found what I was looking for at Fabricland(Courtney) last week. It’s been many years since I mitered a traditional border, but I took it slow and all 4 corners came out great. The piecing to match up the strip in the middle of each border was another matter- but the joints don’t stand out a mile.

Now to find a perfect quilt design and a person to gift .


September progress

September 28, 2012

Well, the weather has been unbelievable, and the yard is looking great. The sewing projects have been a little neglected.

I had sent these blocks to the states last month for a friend’s comfort quilt that is being assembled. We all met online and continue to be friends over 10 years.

This group of 3 items was completed for our living room. The longer table runner will protect the coffee table from rough pottery scratches and the 2 squares will protect the end tables from the metal lamp bases. All of these came out of bits and pieces that had been left from the last 2 raffle quilts I had a hand in completeing.

This brown and green string quilt is 1/4 made up of the class sample I showed you last month and 3/4’s made up of the new blocks I completed. I used some very fine lawn weight cotton , given to me by Shirley for the foundations. I made the blocks behave with brute force and lots of steam,but they still had a bit of wonkiness to their squareness. I am not planning to add a border- busy enough without adding too much more.

I have started on a new October project of ninepatch blocks with a new setting that I found online. Unfortunately, I do not like how the strip sets are going together with lots of re-pressing of seams to get them to lay in a different direction. So I think that I will be constructing this differently from my usual methods. But this will take care of plenty of the 2.5″ strips .

Labour Day Week-end*** all work and no play

September 6, 2012

The weather is just too nice to spend it indoors at a sewing machine. But I did get lots of yard work completed. Now it’s time to sit and cool off with a tall glass of lemonade. I need to find all my photos of summer projects to share with you.

First off, I started this challenge of strings and scrap reduction on April 15th. My goal was to just make string blocks and stockpile them for several different community projects. But I also made 2 wonky log cabin projects and cut lots of precuts for future projects. I have a number of patterns in mind for the winter including a scrappy pineapple quilt (Bonnie Hunter), more bricks and stepping stones designs(also Bonnie’s influence), and several more zig zag quilts inspired by Wanda Hanson.

I have gone from 22 assorted scrap bins to just 8 bins and most of the remainder in those bins  are crumbs, only suitable for mile a minute style mini blocks.

Last night I did find enough in the remainder of the red strings to do another 12 blocks without cutting any new red strips. I have quite a large bin to take to the guild meeting show and tell on Thurs night.

I started with my Christmas bin and made this wonky log cabin that awaits the best decision on a border.

Then I made these red and green string blocks that await inspiration for use as table runners or as a border on a larger medallion quilt.

Then I grabbed a bin of class samples . I had taught the string piecing workshop over a year ago and this blue one came to the surface. Too small for a lap quilt – so what do ya know…. there’s 3-4 bins of blues- not surprising, so picutre #1 is the resulting new blocks and Pic #2 is the original class sample.

Then I grabbed the reds and the greens for 2 separate weeks.

and there is another 12 blocks added to the original 25 as of last night.

 Then I remembered Bonnie Hunter’s design here:

I’ve made 2 of the String-X patterns and loved how they used up lots of little short strings. So now I have 2 sets of rectangular blocks ready for trimming and setting with triangles

Sometime on the middle of the heat and to escape the heat of the garden in the mid afternoon, I started on the pink and green bins . Sorry that this is the best photo because there is much more colour that this seems to indicate.

 I decided to tackle the purples and teals next, but see that there was pinks and greens sneaking into this one too. It just seems more zingy  and I was happier with this second batch.

Along about that time I was getting somewhat bored with strings so decided that a wonky log cabin may go faster with bigger pieces of fabric, but I did not include the time it takes to compose and move the blocks around to please the eye and then make filler blocks for the odd shaped gaps.


I next pulled this class sample , knowing that it was much too small for a lap quilt, but wondering if I would still have the same colour tones to make blocks that remotely matched the colour scheme. Below are the 2 piles of strings and scraps that I was able to work with. and the photo of the blocks on the design wall combined with  the class sample and the new blocks. Bet you won’t be able to tell which is which when they’re jumbled and arranged.



My last project for the month of August was to pull one of my fav string samples.


And since there were still large bins of beige, green and browns, even after having done Bonnie’s 96 rectangles in autumn tones, I decided to expand this from 16 blocks to  64 blocks. Here below is the group of  24 blocks that have been made oversized, and will now be sliced diagonally across the strings to make half of the block.  The next batch will have to wait until I find my black and gold batiks to make the wide dark string thru the middle.

Or I could go and do some more shopping?

Self Made Pre-Cuts stacking up

August 29, 2012

I don’t know if I’m bragging  here, but I’ve never bought a pack of jelly rolls or charm squares in my life. I’ve admired the pretty colors, the over coordination of a particular line of fabric and hated the pinked edges.

I make my own pre-cuts and have amassed boxes and boxes of them. I’m a Bonnie Hunter fan and like her scrappy style. I’ve come to like a large number of Kim Brackett’s designs too – but you don’t need to go and buy overpriced pre-cuts.

I’m also justifying these home made pre-cuts as a first step in conquering the scraps- so they are stacked in a different studio  place and no longer qualify for the dreaded scrap category.

I’m reorganizing  and studying the scrap pile and seeing what I can get done with the one week remaining in this self-challenge. That and the fact that best friend Becky will be in Powell River this week-end and I want her to be able to at least find a chair so we can chat.

So let me just stand up and declare that the boxes of charm squares, bricks, braids, 2.5 inch strips with the pattern book are NO LONGER SCRAPS!!! They are fall projects ready to rumble!

Is it that time already?

August 23, 2012

Checking calendar………., nope , there’s really only 2 weeks left in August and then we begin Fall activities. I have also checked my goal for the string block marathon, and find I’ve fallen behind. I did not take into account that there would be all this lovely gardening weather in the evenings that would keep me from the sewing room.

I have received my new shiny copy of String Fling by Bonnie Hunter. She does not show new shapes of foundations on which to sew strings, BUT she does show the use of straight or diagonal pieced blocks  incorporated  into piecing of larger blocks and gives a whole new view of how to used scrappy bits.

She’s used some extremely tiny scraps, to make small blocks of 5-7 inches. I like the look of almost all her patterns and so will simply enlarge to suit my own size blocks.

Bonnie has also renewed my commitment to try a full size pineapple quilt. I’ve done pineapple blocks for many years, but never more that 9-16 blocks in wall hangings. Now’s the time to do a whole bed quilt.

I do not like to use a foundation of fabric or paper for pineapple blocks, but instead use starch and lots of squareing up after each full round is sewn to each block. We’ll see how I feel after a full quilt size, won’t we?

So now I have:

– a full box of 2 inch strips for pineapples

-a full box of 2.5 inch strips for several jelly roll patterns, as well as cutting for braids, and cutting for 4patches to go in a friendship quilt.

-many more strings to add to my latest pile of earth tones for a renewed attack on string blocks. I hope to have a good pile completed for show and tell at our first fall guild meeting.

We’re supposedly getting some rain in the next week, so I will find the time to  include some photos in the next post and bring you all up to date.

Perfect quilting weather.

June 29, 2012

It’s a bit dreary, and I’ve used up my quota of gardening hours today. The muscles complain if I load too many wheelbarrows.

This photo below is the results of the Cookie Tin exchange at the guild this past year. There were 6 in my group, and the container was passed around to each person at the monthly business meeting. I had included 5 fat quarters for inspiration and the star block on the upper right. I added 3 more blocks from the left over fabrics. I’m quite happy with the cheeriness. Thanks to all my fellow guild members who contributed.

These  96 string pieced units are complete- all in autumn colours. I have to decide what colour to add for the setting triangles. I think butterscotch may be too brassy and glaring, but black may be too drab. I’ll test a few on the design wall and get some friend’s opinions.

Closeup of the autumn string rectangles (below). This is before they are trimmed to remove the corners and add the setting triangles.

Now that I’ve completed that piecing, I’ve cleaned up and organized in anticipation of a new idea.


 Can this be?

 Are there even more containers of scraps than when I started?

I’m 6 weeks into this challenge that I’ve posed for myself. 2 months left to go and we will see how much is left of the scraps by the first guild fall meeting on Sept 6th.

I think I will cut some braid pieces for Friendship Braid. I’m useing Debbie Caffrey’s method and I think the instructions are in her book ” A Can of Worms”.

Cool and gray-easy gardening weather.

June 5, 2012

This(below) was my main May project and now I have a nice stack of blocks ready to sew together with a pile of peach triangles that will be cut from these odds and ends in the second picture.

This(below) is what the results will be- a great Bonnie Hunter project that can be found on her website under the “string primer” or the String-X in the free patterns. I’ve done one quilt with mint green setting triangles and one with pale blues that were just lap size. This one with peaches should be a good twin size.

I’ve now started on string blocks that are fall/autumn tones of greens/browns and barn reds. Should have enough for at least a twin size as I keep finding little caches of strings and logs that fit the theme. But they are turning out a little drab- so their setting triangles may have to be something bright like scrappy reds. We’ll see when I have more up on the design wall. I’ll post some pictures soon.


More Christmas Blocks

May 6, 2012

I also took some 8 inch foundations and spent a few more evenings making these 36 blocks. Maybe big enough for a table topper, or separate into 2-3 table runners – but certainly not big enough for a nap quilt over the back of the couch. The christmas scraps are now put away for a while .

I have started sorting the 2.5 inch strips for some fun with my friend Shirley later in the year, and the 2 inch strips are going to be a long going project with some Sharyn Craig inspiration. Sharyn Craig has been a valuble resource ever since I first met her in between the covers of Quiltworks and Quilting Today magazines. Unfortunately those magazines are no longer published but I had every copy because they had great ideas.

So I have never attempted  Sharyn’s Half Log Cabin blocks and nows the time to use some of my scraps and experiment. There is a nice youtube video here to inspire you.

Mary’s Quilt’ also has good instructions. Mary makes lots of string quilts and scrappy quilts for the Quilts of Valour project. She kindly offers free tutorials and patterns for community/comfort quilt guild projects.