The Week of Mindless Sewing

Some of Christmas week has been dedicated to cookie making and sewing strips of scrap fabric together. My self imposed deadline for using up scraps is fast approaching (December 31!) so I’m going for quantity and power sewing. Thanks to Mary and Patch I decided to make a string quilt to use up much some of my hoard. Maryline’s quilt is a lovely color graded piece, while mine will smack more of I had it so I used it.

Luckily, many of my scraps were already sorted by color, though they had to be cut into strips. The rest of the scraps I’m using were already cut into strips but not sorted by color.  I listened to a radio show on Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday as I sorted my colors.


I tore out pages from an old phone book as my block foundations. Two cuts with a rotary cutter (using an old blade) gave me 8 inch squares. Phone book paper tears out easily, plus I can feel virtuous for reusing the books.

A run through my scraps revealed that I have the least amount of green scraps. This doesn’t surprise me as until recently I haven’t used much green. I do have lots of blue. I am short on lights and pastels as well. My guess is I’ll have 14 to 16 light/pastel blocks and 36-40 medium to dark blocks. There will also be some wild card blocks.

Originally I had hoped to get 80 7.5 inch blocks out of my scraps for a 60 by 75 inch quilt before any borders. My goal was to use up scraps that were already close to the strip sizes I need. I may have to rethink that plan unless I want to cut up my larger scraps. That would make even more scraps. By my latest calculation I’ll be lucky to eke out 60 blocks from what I’ve cut up.

BlockTwinsHere are the twins created by my sewing so far. I need to add pastels to the mix.


Filed under In Process

16 responses to “The Week of Mindless Sewing

  1. Pingback: I Lied… | The Snarky Quilter

  2. Pingback: Return to Routine | Deep in the Heart of Textiles

  3. That’s looking great! I am impressed you are trying to use up all your scraps. It will be interesting to see if you succeed in banishing them…mine always seem to multiply despite my best efforts.

    • Not quite all my scraps, but I hope to use up a chunk of them. I still have the larger scraps, the oddly shaped scraps, the scraps cut into squares…You get the picture. I suspect I’ll make a smaller piece out of the strips I haven’t used so far.

  4. Doreen Kuster

    I did a scrap one on phone book paper too. My colors were all mixed up on each block. I never thought about putting just one color in the block. I’ll need to try that! I sewed these as leaders and enders when making another quilt. I just needed to remember to shorten my stitch length each time. Pretty much 2 quilts done at the same time. I can’t wait to see what you do with these.

    • I’m trying to shade the colors across the surface, so this is really a ROYGBIV quilt. You could also do a checkerboard effect if you have loads of a few colors. So far my plan is to have the lightest colors in the middle, surround them with somewhat darker colors, and finish with the most saturated colors. I found that I have almost no pink scraps.

  5. Some people think we are nuts for cutting and sewing fabric pieces (strips) back together again but your stripped squares are a beautiful example of why! Adding pastels sounds like a good idea, they would kick up the contrast even more.

    • Quilting is recombinant sewing. I’m really scraping to come up with pastels, and have resorted to using the wrong sides of some fabrics. I realized last night that I may have been influenced by the work of Ann Brauer.

  6. I don’t know yet how, but I’m pretty sure scraps will figure into my PLAY for 2016. I used to be better at using them up. Not so much these days, and my drawer is filling quickly. Your blocks are pretty. I’ll look forward to seeing your project as it comes along.

    • I figure I’m getting a whole quilt out of my scraps with this project, so I can rationalize holding onto them. And I’m having fun playing with color. There’s utterly no complicated sewing and hardly any matching.

  7. This is looking good! A great way to use up odds and ends and I love the idea about using the phone book for foundations–I’ll steal that idea (and the idea of ripping paper along with the news–sounds cathartic!)

  8. Looking good so far! Sometimes if I’m having difficulty in settling on what to do for my next project, I find sewing strips together, or ‘making’ fabric by sewing scraps together, helps to quieten my mind and get me back in the groove – with the added bonus over time of having enough strips or scraps sewn together to be able to turn them into a quilt 🙂

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