Saturday, November 7, 2020

Scraps: To the Moon and Back!

How does a sixty-something woman have fun during a pandemic? If she’s a quilter, she would play with fabric. And that’s just what I’ve been doing - playing with fabric of the scrappy variety.  It started last Saturday with me asking our Quilts for Kids leader, Sandy, if she had any orphan blocks or some scraps that I could take off her hands. When she stopped laughing, she said they were drowning in scraps because no one wanted to work with them. So, I volunteered. On Sunday she texted me asking what time after 3:00 on Monday could I swing by to pick some up. My reply: 3:01. 

Long story short, Sandy kept bringing out scraps, and we took two boxes of scraps and a large bag of blocks out to my car. She said there was twice that much left (something to look forward to)! I didn’t get a picture before I began digging in because I totally forgot. 

The first thing I did was to pull gray strings out and add them to my own pile of gray strings. I’ll personally be working on my dark neutrals (gray, black and brown) for the remainder of the year for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Last Sunday I started a gray-with-red-accents string quilt to use up my gray strings. 

With the addition of the new strings, I was able to piece 56 blocks at 6.5”. When sewn together, the inner portion of the quilt will measure 42x48”. From there I’ll add a 1-inch red stop border and then find some gray either in my wider gray scrap strips or yardage to make an outer border. It should finish in the neighborhood of 50x56”. My goal is to finish that in the coming week, as well as to get the top sewn on the third Christmas quilt (the blue and brown rail fence blocks). It’s a tall order, but there are no doctor appointments scheduled for next week and the weather is supposed to turn cold and rainy. Sounds good to me!

These five experimental triangle blocks were actually the first ones I sewed, but they didn’t do it for me. And the angles didn’t work with the string blocks, so they’ll end up on the back side of the quilt instead. Once I decided to “kick them off the island”,  I instead added a few random additional red strings and corners in the string blocks to give a little unexpected color here and there (see above photo).  

At our next QFK workshop sometime in the first quarter of 2021, we’ll be doing zipper blocks. Again, I volunteered to teach the block and kit up the parts. Here is a pile of those pinned kits so far.

The pile of strips on the chair are zipper blocks still to be cut and kitted. The box of scraps (only one now instead of two) is what’s left after I’ve pulled all the fabric chunks, solids to be cut into squares or 2.5” strips, and scraps I added to my stash (for my RSC block-making, which get made into quilts for Quilts for Kids). 

Above and below: color chunks that may have been intended for a project. Whether intended or not, they should make up into nice little quilts with a little help from my stash.

Large HST’s in navy and red for a potential quilt

Civil War blocks and scraps. There are more than enough blocks here to assemble a quilt. I did finish off the four in the upper right. Will need to get some appropriate sashing for these as the bulk of them were made in groups of four, and that’s how I’ll set them.

Solid strips (less than 2.5”) and chunks to cut into 2” squares for zipper blocks. My Go Baby cutter will help with this.

Nineteen finished 12” blocks from an apparent Fig Tree (Joanna Figueroa) quilt-along. The 20th block, below, needed some serious disassembly, but I’ve got the scraps to re-piece and fix it. It will complete enough for a good-sized quilt. I gave the remaining scraps and block bits to Cousin Kim, including at least three fat quarters.

There’s plenty more, but I don’t need to show more to give you an idea of the scope and depth of these scraps and their potential projects. And then there are my three drawers of dark neutrals that I’ll continue to tackle.

The gray drawer of scraps, below, is what’s left after the gray strings were used for the string quilt, above.

I have plenty of black scraps to wade through as well...

And let’s not forget the browns....

So, yeah, I’ll be busy planning and cutting and sewing. And my trusty companion, Darla, will be there to oversee all the goings-on.

She loves to lay in my lap while we watch Kitten Academy on weekday mornings. The squeaky kittens intrigue her, but we’re both glad they’re just on the screen and not underfoot paw.

(Updated) And we are dancing with joy that Joe Biden has been elected the 46th President of the United States. And Kamala Harris as VP - OMG, it’s so exciting!! Unfortunately, Donald Trump, true to his (lack of) character, will make the transfer of power as ugly and divisive as the last four years have been. Hopefully, we’ll hear less and less of him as the months go on. One can always hope. 


  1. oh dear, I have never been called spawn before. And suddenly. I am very afraid.

  2. Gray and red String Quilt and SEW many scraps... LOVE!!!

  3. Today I am happy, Tomorrow can take care of itself. I was trying to follow your and good example by sewing a few blocks every day but during the last few months (read7) I have been preoccupied and blue. Surprising how my mood is lightened when nothing has really changed much yet. We are still in a pandemic and cloistered in our homes. The news is still crazy as is the White House but I see an end and that has given me hope for the future.

  4. I love your posts and inventive sewing ideas. How marvellous to collect all those scraps/orphan blocks, SO exciting. And you have already put together blocks for another quilt! Go, Cathy! On the Trump front.... as a British citizen ... I am thrilled with the result and my husband is over the moon. He has followed the Trump story for more than the 4 years of his Presidency, wincing and railing virtually every day. God bless America.

  5. Your gray strings with the red centers are so striking, Cathy! I love that look! Also looks like you had fun with those scraps this week. I know amazing quilts will come from them!

  6. Wow, I can’t believe how fast you processed all those scraps. I would still be rolling around in them marking them with my scent.

  7. As always, your productivity makes me look like such a slacker! I love the gray string quilt with pops of red. Always a god combination! Zipper blocks are ones I am considering for next years RSC. Among others, of course! Have a great week, and I’m a happy camper too, re the election!

  8. What fun playing in someone else's scraps! I've been thinking about a red and grey quilt for awhile now - just haven't decided on a design. Sharon at

  9. That gray and red string quilt is pretty snazzy. And you tamed those boxes of scraps pretty quickly. I sure wish I was a productive as you are. Right now our unseasonably warm weather is keeping me busy outside, so the scraps and quilts will have to wait a few more days. While I'm thrilled with the results of the election, I'm pessimistic about how much change can occur with the country clearly still divided and Trump will probably not go away quietly (or go away at all).

  10. Wow! You've been a quilting whirlwind lately! What a fun post with so many possibilities!

  11. Do ya want to come to my house? I have so much fabric that you can play with...for keeps! I am getting behind with all of my "chores" so my sewing room is sorely neglected and desperately in need of a loving, kind soul such as yourself to make it happy again. I can see the fabrics dancing all around too!
    I am really loving your gray and red string blocks.
    You are just the quickest organizer of fabric cuts and such. WOW!!!

  12. I'm a bit jealous of all those brand new-to-you orphan blocks! Looks like a fabulous batch, and I know you'll work magic with them. I, myself, am giddy with happiness over the election results. I slept soundly for the first time in many weeks and am looking forward to diving back into my own stash with renewed vigor :)

  13. We share your joy, Cathy and Bruce! We are also aware that our advocacy can't stop! DJT got more votes in total than in 2016, that the House lost Democrats and gained Republicans, and that the Senate is, for now, still Republican....and the advisors and powers-that-be are already preparing for 2022 and 2024..........But back to quilting: you got right to work on those scrap boxes! And before you use up all the gray, remember that the new Quiltville mystery calls for five yards of scrappy grays!

  14. I am agog at all your activity! I couldn't concentrate on anything last week. Love the red and gray string quilt. I jump in and join you, but my stash of gray and black is pretty limited. I'll just drool over yours! Oh yeah - YAY Biden/Harris!!!

  15. Looks like you will never run out of fabric scraps for your many and varied projects!

  16. Love seeing what you are doing with all your fabrics and new scraps.

  17. You really do know how to have fun!
    I love those gray and red string blocks, and I'm not even a gray fan!
    And I'm doing a happy dance, too! First time in four years that I've been able to draw an unclenched breath!


I appreciate your visit to my blog and love your comments!