Tag Archives: Leftovers

Productive Procrastination

Did you know that “productive procrastination” is a thing? I’m talking about choosing to do something valuable while actively choosing not to do something else valuable. For example, you could choose to dust your living room rather than call your mom. Or vice versa. What I’m not talking about is getting lost for hours in Pinterest or Instagram photos, searching for inspiration you’ll never actually act on. Or clicking through Facebook or online news ceaselessly, looking for something new to read or respond to.

Right now, I’m putting off writing about my trip to Peru, and all the tasks that are included in that: identifying photos to share; framing my memories so they are meaningful for you, too; considering how those memories have shaped my creativity, even just a little. And I’m also putting off re-starting one of my quilting projects with the benefit of my new perspectives.

Instead, I am working on another VA Hospital quilt. Certainly that is worthy of the time involved. I can’t pretend that it is a high priority — there is no deadline. On the other hand, there’s no deadline for my purely creative adventures, either.

It started when I opened a drawer of orphan blocks, parts, and binding leftovers. I found a bunch of these, dull and dismal puss-in-the-corner blocks. (They didn’t qualify as a UFO by my definition, as they were not “a project” themselves. They were just orphan blocks, parts waiting in inventory until useful or otherwise disposed of.)

They finished at 6″, more or less. The fabric is not particularly nice. And they certainly aren’t pretty. But could they be useful?

(This reminds me of the very silly public television show, The Red Green Show. He is famous for saying, “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.“)

So what can you do with 10 not-pretty blocks? I decided to use them within a disappearing 9-patch quilt. Mix them in with enough other, prettier fabrics, and they’ll be okay.

When I make disappearing 9-patches, I like to use an accent color for the centers of the 9-patches. It also is helpful to have value contrast between the large corner patches and the side-centers, which become the “legs.” As I picked through fabrics, I decided to stick with dark greens and dusky blues for the corner patches, rusty oranges for the accent center patches, and lighter pieces for the legs.

I made nine large, ugly 9-patches using 6″ finish blocks. All the blocks were unpieced except my green and tan puss-in-the-corner blocks.

After completing the 9-patches, I sliced each into four pieces, arranged them, and stitched them into a quilt top. The top is now finished.

Disappearing 9-patch top. About 44″ x 62″.

(Honestly, it’s better looking in person than it is in the photos.)

I’ll need to build a quilt back, quilt it, and bind it. But it will wait as I have another task to tackle in the next few days, one with an actual deadline.

What are you working on? Are you procrastinating, forging ahead, or doing both in turn? 

Stacked Coins

When I was done creating the Diamonds quilt, I had a lot of oddly shaped scraps and remnants. Rather than trying to file them back into my stash that way, I decided to use some of it immediately.

There is a traditional quilt design called “Roman Coins” or “Chinese Coins.” As simple as they are, I’ve always wanted to make one. It is a strip quilt (I love them!) that uses stacked “coins” in alternating strips. The coins are simply narrow bands of color.

Coins

Stacked Coins. 65.5″ x 72.5″. August 2016. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

To make my pieced strips, I cut patches from the oddly sized scraps from the Diamonds quilt. When I depleted those, I also cut a bit from stash. Each patch was cut 2″ x 6.5″, but the size doesn’t matter a lot. They don’t even need to be the same, as long as each long, pieced strip is the same length. You can make a quilt like this as a mini or wall-hanging, or you can make it to go on a bed, or somewhere in between.

One thing that does matter is the distribution of colors. The majority of coins are purples and turquoises. I made sure to include at least one orange or green in each stack of four coins, in order to brighten it. Other than that I didn’t work very hard at arrangement.

Originally I planned to use the turquoise as sashings and outer borders, but once I opened the piece (from stash) I realized it wouldn’t be enough. Plan B was to use it for sashings and a narrow inner border. The same raspberry color used in the Diamonds quilt was used for the wider border. I don’t know how wide any of those are, off the top of my head. I could measure it, but … it doesn’t matter. Seriously, this is a quilt you can decide all these things based on what you have available, and it will look great.

You might notice how the narrow border and outside border are arranged. For the top and bottom, I stitched them together for the full width, before attaching to the body of the quilt. It’s not suitable for every quilt but I like the effect on this one.

This is one of the four quilts I finished in August. September has other things going on, so it was nice to finish a few things. (And if I am slow in responding to your comments, have patience! I’ll check in as soon as I can!)

 

Leftovers ==> Donation Quilt

I have the quilt top done, having found just the right border fabric in my stash. The background of it is blue with a touch of green, making it work well with the blues in the centers of the blocks. The olive green leaves add to that match. Also there are orangey-gold star-shaped flowers, which repeat the cheddar orange in the blocks.

I cut the available yard of border fabric into six strips, each 6″ wide. I pieced them into the four border strips needed. The top finishes at about 53″ square. It’s a nice size for a lap quilt. I’ll donate it through my guild and it might become a donation for our local VA hospital.

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This might give you a better idea of the colors:

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I also pulled a bunch of fabrics from my brown stash to piece for the back. I have blues to mix in to brighten it.

Son is gone already. We had him here for a whole 49 hours. It was too little but we take what we can get. Next week he deploys overseas for the summer. I am feeling pretty sad, to tell the truth. But that is the way of things, yes?

 

I Love Leftovers!

I’ve finished the top of my new medallion, and I have a name for it: Moonlight Waltz.  No pictures are ready yet and won’t be for a few days. In the meantime I want to share a new project made of leftovers.

It often happens that I build blocks for a border that won’t work. It’s been a long time since that upset me, as I know those leftover blocks will come in handy somewhere else. (Okay, every now and then a few find their way to the trash, just like tidbits from my refrigerator. But I am GOOD at making soup, and I’m pretty good at using orphan blocks, too.)

For Moonlight Waltz, I made 25 6″ puss-in-the-corner blocks. They are simple in design and can look clean and elegant. However, my fussy fabrics and odd color combination hit every note wrong. Instead of them (and all the alternate blocks I hadn’t yet made,) I used the flying geese border.

I had several choices for layout of these 6″ blocks. Here are some of them:
* straight setting, no alternate blocks, no sashing
* straight setting, no alternate blocks with sashing
* straight setting with alternate blocks, no sashing
* on-point setting with alternate blocks, no sashing
* on-point setting with alternate blocks and with sashing

The blocks are not suited to being set side-by-side, which means alternate blocks and/or sashing is needed. Adding only sashing would create a quilt center a little too small, so alternate blocks are needed. And honestly I didn’t even consider using a straight setting with alternate blocks. On-point setting was my initial reaction and decision.

Using a 6″ block on point, in a 5 x 5 layout, makes a center that is 42.5″ finished. (That is 6″ x 1.414 x 5 = 42.4″. With trimming the edges barely wide it will finish at 42.5″.) With borders it will be about 50″ square.

This morning I arranged the blocks on the floor in an on-point layout. Once they were spread out, I noticed the eight square-in-a-square blocks leftover from the last pieced border. They finish at 4″. I spread them out within the design. !!! That’s not bad! I had already cut two long strips of toile to use for alternate blocks, so cut the remaining of those needed from one strip. The other strip I cut into framing strips for the square-in-a-square blocks, to bring them up to size.

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Finally I cut four large squares of toile to create side setting triangles. I still need to cut the corner setting triangles.

The whole thing is ready to sew into a quilt center. I have other leftovers (fabric, not blocks) to use for borders.

With a little luck on sewing time, the quilt top will be done by the end of the weekend. However first priority today and tomorrow is spending time with my son, home for a couple days of leave.

🙂