Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Scrappy!

or is it - Scrappy Happy?

All I know is that I have been working on this project for awhile, but the scraps seem to be growing....hmm

What to do with all of these scraps!  I hate throwing out scraps, but they are taking up too much space!  The  bags are multiplying!  It's time to use them up and get some storage space back.  So my mission this winter is to use up all of these scraps.

For some reason, most of my scraps are long strips so using this foundation pattern works well for using up all those scrappy strips.  It is a 6 1/2 inch block so the scraps can be pretty small.  Yes, I'm bad about saving the very small pieces.  I think after this quilt is finished, I will use a larger block size and get rid of the larger scraps.

I love using paper piecing.  No measuring or miscalculations!  Well, okay...sometimes I underestimate the size of fabric and end up short when I fold it over.  But that rarely happens now.  After a few of those mistakes, I double check and when in doubt - I look for a larger piece!  I've got plenty of them!
older pattern from Quiltmaker (sorry, I don't which issue)
I separated the scraps by colors.  Two colors per bag.  Yellows/oranges in one bag. Reds/purples in another.  Blues/greens in a third.  Whites/blacks in a fourth and centers for fussy cutting.  Oh yea, plenty of scraps to work with on this project!

I picked out a center and decided to start with the reds and purples.
All the fabric will be placed on the backside of the paper.  I placed the foundation paper face down on the light box* so I can see the pattern through the paper.  I place the center scrap face up and the second scrap face down on top of the center.  Just like sewing two pieces together except there is paper attached to them and the seams don't have to line up.

I make sure there is a little over 1/4 inch of fabric over the guide line I will be sewing on.  I pin parallel and away from the line using a pin with a flat flower head* for less bulk.

*I added links to a couple of my tools so you can see what I am talking about.
 I always shorten the length so the needle will punch more holes per inch in the paper.
Flip the paper over so the foundation pattern is facing up.  This is where the flower flat head pin comes in handy.  The paper lies almost flat.  Sew on the guide line between 1 and 2 spaces.

I like to sew over the lines to help anchor the thread in place.  Sometimes removing the paper pulls the threads loose.

For trimming the extra material, I use a ruler called "Add-A-Quarter"*.  It has a ridge measuring 1/4 inch.  I have two rulers for different lengths - 6 inch and 12 inch long.  I started with the smaller one and found out it doesn't work too well on larger foundation projects.  

There's a 1/8 inch add-on ruler for miniature foundation quilts, but I refuse to go that small just because I would have doubled my scrap bags!
 With the paper pattern face up.
 Fold the paper back along the sewing line.
 Give the paper a good crease.
 Slide the ruler's ridge up against the paper and over the material.  Keep it snug against the paper
 Trim away the extra fabric.
 Turn it over.  Take out the pin.
 Iron the second scrap flat.
All right!  2 down and only 15 more to go!  But it goes fast.  Often I will do 4 to 6 blocks at a time depending on the large selection of scraps.
This shows the fabric's seams.
 Now, you start to repeat from here.  Foundation faces down on the light box.  Place third scrap on top of center covering the guide line between 1 and 3.
 Pin in place.
 Double check to make sure there is enough overhanging for a 1/4 inch seam.  Make sure the scrap is long enough to cover both ends with 1/4 inch seam allowance.
 Foundation facing up for sewing.
 Trim the excess.
 Iron and there is the third scrap.
 It doesn't look so good now, but gets better as I keep adding the scraps.

 Okay, this one is done and now it needs to be trimmed down to the 6 1/2 inch square.

Back to the cutting board.  Using a regular ruler, I line it up to add in the seam allowance.  I trim paper and material together.
Showing the seam allowance
All excess paper and material trimmed away.  I have a block!
To remove the rest of the paper, I start with the outside and work my way in.  I weaken the paper by folding back on the seam and rubbing the crease with my thumb or the with the side of scissors.

I usually save all the blocks for TV time.  I can watch a favorite show and tear paper (and make a mess) at the same time - aren't I multi-talented?  LOL!
When I tear the paper, I stay close to the seam so I do not loosen the threads or pull them out.
Finished block!
Won't these blocks will make a bright and cheerful quilt for Project Linus?
Here are some more free foundation patterns at Quiltmaker.

Just a quick note:  We had a wonderful visit with our son Shaun.  I wish he could have stayed longer since he can't make it back for Christmas.

Well!  Back to sewing!  Happy Quilting All!


  1. Very very cool! I love how they are turning out. I don't work with fabric but I certainly understand the desire to do something with scraps. Your solution is great.

  2. Your blocks came out fantastic! I've seen the Quiltmaker pattern and wanted to try it. It was fun to watch you do it!!

  3. stopping by from Karma BLoggers blog lovin ;)

    I wish I was as talented as you are!!!
    Following via GFC :) Hope you can stop by my blog too!!

    Africa's Blog

  4. Hi Michelle, It is quite easy to do. I hope you will give it a try someday.

  5. Thanks ArtisianAllUnwound! I love this part of quilting - taking small pieces of material and making them useful.

  6. Thanks SibStudio! I'm amazed at how well different designs of fabric can look so good together in this block. I love the finished project.

  7. Thanks for stopping by Africa! Maybe someday you will give it a try.

  8. I am also dealing with scraps and it occured to me too that a machine might solve the problem a whole lot faster than what I am doing now ... tracing templates and hand cutting bits.

  9. Great paper piecing directions Sandy. I've used the method before but it's been a long time - now I'm inspired to try it again! Patagonia looks like a beautiful area. We'll have to put it on our list!


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