Thursday, May 23, 2019

Celebrating the Scrap User's System

I have been spring cleaning a bit in my sewing area. It badly needed it, and has for a long time. In the way I allow myself when I am spring cleaning, I have also been getting distracted and working on new projects. More of that later.
The intervention had to be done. Above is the new scrappy assorted stash I acquired from a 90-year-old lady down the street who was having a downsizing fabric sale. I know there are 90's fabrics in there and probably some older than that. My cupboards are already overflowing.
I finished two little baby blankies made of novelty fabrics in 4 and 5" squares. They are a layout of 12x14 for the 4" squares, and 9x10 for the 5" squares. I used no batting, quilted in the ditch and backed them with cozy flannel from Joann's, which I then folded to the front for the binding. I washed them in cold water afterwards. They can be played on, wrapped up in and snuggled with until they become rags, as is proper with baby blankies. I should allow 1 1/3 yards of flannel for the backing in the future.
Bonnie Hunter has a great Scrap User's System that I have been gradually converting most of my smaller cuts of fabric to over the last several years of making her mystery quilts. But when you work with a quilt like the Good Fortune mystery that uses every single size of strips, you end up with a bit of a mess to clean up, and added to that, I have been cutting down scraps into strips for several months. So I took a Saturday and organized them all. Above are my 2" strips in rainbow order. I have a category I am calling MODs - Multi, Outlier and Disputed fabrics that you're not sure what color they should be filed under, or they push the boundary of what is "true" color, or I dispute with myself where they should be. Those are at the top, with blacks, browns and neutrals, and then the other colors.
 Here they are, neatly rolled into oblong groups, and some are bagged. There is a separate box for 2" squares and 2x3.5" bricks. The genius of this system is that if you have done all this precutting, which is fun in itself for someone like me anyway, the moment that inspiration strikes you can simply go to your box of strips and pull out the colors you need to start sewing. And when you're done, there is a system for storing it neatly and mostly out of sight.
 Above and below, the 3.5" strips.
There aren't as many of them, but I followed the Marie Kondo method for displaying them on end, so it sparks joy.
 These are the 2.5" strips, during and after. Sorting them brought back a memory of the 3 Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks I made back in 2013. So this was just the first time I sorted them, and the second time resulted in pulling enough 16" long strips to make an entire quilt.
 I also sorted the 1.5" strips, but I'm not sure I photographed them, because I was getting tired by that time. The bottom line, though, is that a little time spent organizing your fabric into strips, and sometimes squares and bricks, pays off big time when you want to start a quilt on the spur of the moment.
So here are the six-year-old Scrappy Trip Around blocks combined with three more. I'm working on about #30 now of the 48 I want. More pictures next time.

Saturday, May 4, 2019


Well, I am averaging about two blog posts a month so far in 2019, which is better than last year.

Since last posting I finished the Epitome of Me socks, originally begun in the Lots of Socks knitalong.

I would add the photo, but I have been using my i-phone for all my photos, which means that I must download them onto my laptop from my i-cloud before I can crunch them in Photoscape and add them to my blog. But they have recently started compressing them into a zip file when I download, and then when I tried to move the zip files to my to-be-crunched folder, it tells me it will be about 3 hours before the files are transferred. Thanks, Apple, you are supposed to make my life easier, but this is not it!

Okay, it is downloading photos at the rate of about one every 10 minutes, (still about 3 hours left to go) and this is the finished pair of socks. I gave them to Quarta, and I gave the Flower Shock socks to Emma. I am currently knitting on the first of the "Sara Elin" socks in Malabrigo purple yarn. I am just about ready, finally, to begin the ribbing.

That will be it for the photos this post. We have been busy with Steve traveling, Quarta requiring doctor visits for her dislocated knee (she has had two braces so far and will begin PT next week), Quarta's school play (she was Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice, and fortunately the long dress hid her knee brace), a little bit of gardening, and the usual amount of adulting.

I finished one of my two baby quilts, and have started quilting the other. I'm using my regular machine; I've still not gotten back into using the Megaquilter.

This means I have fallen way behind on my UFO goals for the year. The May number is 4: that means (runs to check journal) the Manu cardigan, and a machine quilting finish. (That would be Celtic Solstice, still on the Megaquilter since a long time ago).

A nice lady in our neighborhood is downsizing her fabric stash and I have twice visited her sale in the last two weeks. I am still working on sorting, pre-cutting and organizing my scrap fabrics, so this just prolongs the mess and the fun.

Oh yes, a quick recipe before I go: Lovage Pesto is where I started, having made it once before with hemp seeds and a bit of bought basil pesto, and I changed it up a bit. I'm planning on cooking some pasta to put it over and bringing it to fellowship meal tomorrow.

Lovage and Rosemary Pesto

3 C Lovage leaves, chopped, parboiled for 3 minutes, cooled in cold water bath and squeezed dry
about 3/4 C Rosemary leaves, all stem bits removed and chopped roughly
a little parsley (we don't have much in our garden this year)
a little thyme, just one sprig
many garlic cloves, maybe 12
about 1 t kosher salt
several grinds of black pepper
about 1 C walnuts, toasted for 10 min at 350

Chop/pulse in food processor; add about 1/2 C olive oil or as much as it needs to become smooth.

I sampled this on wheat thins and everyone approved. The food processor is the $25 mini they sell at Costco; I never had one before so this is a marvelous new to me technology. I'm going to experiment with all kinds of pesto now.

I have Latin translation lessons to do, so I should sign off now. Maybe I can do a photo sharing post in the next few days, after downloading and processing all those zipped photos. I'll try for an average of more than 2 posts in May.