Wednesday, June 15, 2011


We all have scraps and can't bear to throw them out.  We acquire fabric, we have no idea how we will use it.  An Internet group had a challenge.  One which was to be fun and not demanding and would help get rid of some scraps.

It was called "Iron Quilter Challenge". 
The items I chose to use for my Iron Quilter Project.
The rules were:
Pick a focus fabric and 4-6 supporting fabrics.
Any embellishments you wanted.
A fabric that was not quilting cotton
Backing fabric

Set aside 2 hours of time.  Pick out your fabrics (don't use part of your 2 hours to pick fabrics and embellishments) and make a mini quilt 9x12 inches.  Use the six supporting fabrics, inserting them into the focus fabric creating another piece of fabric.   Finish in the two hours time. This was the general idea. 

When I heard the challenge size I immediately thought of a sheet of paper and decided I would make a note book cover.  This changed to a note book pouch.  I don't have any finished pictures of the project because I gave it to my niece to carry her crayons and paper to the hospital with her for her Chemo/Radiation treatments before I realized I didn't have finished pictures.

This is what I created from scraps.  I had the Laurel Burch fabric which I knew I would never use.  It would just be sitting in the stash.  With the cat theme I used the fake fur for the zipper opening of the pencil hold pocket.  The pocket was lined with bright orange dotted fabric.  I made a ball of yarn for a zipper pull.  I inserted the fabrics so the cats looked like they were peeking out from where they were hiding in a lumber pile.  The front was batted and backed with orange dot.  I quilted it in the ditch.

For the back I made a zipper in the middle so she could slip a note book inside.  
I joined the zipper back to the front and used a binding I had left over from another quilt.
It was a very fun exercise and it was freeing not to have a preconceived pattern.  Now months later I used the idea to contrive a folder cover for myself.  This is a little larger.  I received a fat quarter from a friend in my favorite colors.  But as with all fat quarters there wasn't enough fabric to make a quilt or to use for an accent fabric in a quilt.  What was I to do with it?  Looking at it I thought back to the Iron Quilter challenge.  I thought I can make something for my self.  I recently bought myself a large plastic file folder to use for filing instructions for current projects.  I am always needing things like glasses, rulers, pencils ETC.  I thought I will make a "cover bag" for it.  I set about measuring it, I knew I wanted to make a bag with a box bottom to accommodate the file case when it was loaded with goodies. 

I proceeded to grow my fabric so I would have enough fabric for both sides.  If I didn't, I knew I would have something in the stash to go with it.  The finished file folder cover is 15"x12"x1 1/2".

The folder cover front.
The folder slides into the top of the cover.
Tthe colors are very purple, orange and a limey army green.
I put a zipper in the bottom row.  I put glasses and things like that in there.

Cover Back
The zipper opening on the left is a pocket the length of the cover.  I use it for rulers.

This will not be my last experience in "fabric insertion". This  has encouraged me to tame other fabrics to do my bidding.  I am curious as to what other objects d'art I can produce.  Hmm, maybe kitchen accessories for small appliances, or use the technique to make a fanciful set of place mats.  Each one different but all matching.  I am only limited by my imagination.
Take time and have fun, create something wonderful and utilitarian from your scraps

You can also visit me at:
Where I have stories of my cats and other pets 
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use,
some cooking and some poetry

All pictures and writings are my own.  Please ask permission before copying from my blogs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I finally put a hand project I have been working on for the better part of 6 years, up on the wall.  I only work on this when I am waiting.  Waiting endlessly for planes or doctors or any place else you have to hurry to just to find out you have to wait.  I have recently started taking my project bag with me when I ride along in the car.  Every where we go takes at least 30 minutes to get there and when I am not driving I am "Waiting".  I've been wanting to speed this project up and the ride along fit the bill.  I really get a lot done in that time.
The pattern for this quilt, I think I got from one of the Nickle Quilts books. 
It requires 4.5" colored squares, 2.5" X 4.5" colored rectangles,
1.5 inch white squares, and 2.5 inch white squares.

One of those sleepless nights I needed something quiet to do and reading didn't fit the bill.  I decided to cut out a quilt.  This pattern had been in the back of my mind for several years.  I wanted a star quilt and didn't want to piece one that had all the points meeting in the center.  This is why I picked this pattern.  This was supposed to be a relaxing endeavor.  Searching through the stash I found a white on white with a minuscule flower pattern on it.  It looked like I had an adequate amount of fabric to complete the cutting (I squeaked through and over the years I have lost pieces and mis-cut when piecing,  Now I will be hunting in the stash for a white which is close in pattern and value to replace the shortage.).

When I finished cutting all the white pieces and sat down to read the instructions (remember read the instructions all the way through first!) I realized all the 1 1/2 inch squares were to be attached and then trimmed to make the star points.  I also realized how small these 1000 plus squares were, and thought,  "There is no way I want to sew all these by machine, who am I kidding!"  I put the project in a bag with a copy of the pattern (the pattern has since been lost).  That was approximately 10 years ago.  Six years ago an Internet friend from Australia came to visit.

This was to begin my interest in hand piecing.  She taught me the fundamentals of hand piecing and explained how she could hand piece faster than people machine piece.  She could!  She was amazing.  After she left I looked for appropriate patterns to start a hand piece carry-a-long project.  I remembered the fabric pieces I had put away so many years ago. I had been in a 5 inch charm square swap for three years.  Another influence was I was privileged to hear Pat Spath speak and take an afternoon work shop with her. 

I decided the charm squares would be great to use for this.  But I wanted some continuity to this quilt.  I am a bit of a control freak.  When I do a "pull the strip out of the bag and use it in a scrap quilt challenge", If I come across one that to me doesn't go with the one I pull out of the light bag, I throw one or the other back and draw till I get something that I like.  You can see by the above photo I even had to have the 4 squares in each of the blocks be coordinated. 

To "coordinate" things I decided all the sashing rectangles should be blue or read as blue.  What made me finally hang the quilt blocks and pieces on the wall I needed to find out how many more blues I needed to finish the project (I was running out of rectangles).  I am trying not to repeat any of the blue rectangles either.  I don't think I have more than 10 blues left in the stash.  With the blocks hung up it looks like I will need somewhere over 70 blues.  At least now I will be able to re-look at the blues in the quilt to see which ones in the stash I haven't used yet.

I am thinking I am going to add another four block row to each row.  I am not happy with the long skinny look of the quilt.  If that is the case I will be needing possibly another 80 blues..unless I have mis-counted, which is entirely possible.  Any one who knows me personally knows I am mathematically challenged, especially if it requires figuring with a gizmo.

One of the major things I have learned while working on this is; I should have never used a printed white on white.  The dyes make the printed areas stiff and are very difficult, when hand piecing, to run a needle through and you can't do a running stitch of several stitches on the needle.  It is too, too stiff.  Next time I will pick a background fabric with a looser weave. 

Each block of four blocks,  represents more than an hour of time.  Hanging on the wall I can see time which would have been lost.  Writing this last sentence has had a side benefit; I have found the name of my quilt.


Not only is it moments which would have been lost forever,
but while piecing I was thinking of a treasured friend and the time we shared.

The minutes spent with fabric in my hands,
Thinking of friends I have in many lands, 
Not counting stitches, not counting the time,
The memories I see, they are all mine.

Each of them, joined as if they were a seam,
Blending the real world and the one in my dreams,
A crazy quilt made of many thoughts,
Of happiness and sadness, life has brought.

These quilts warm me in my mind,
They are there when I need them, any time,
I make another, there's no need to measure, 
They are great for storing a memory I treasure,

 Article on this blog: 
A mystery quilt designed with the novice in mind
Other blog sites by me:

Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.

blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle
New Blog:

A blog about our two dogs

All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission