Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Half-Square Triangle Quilt From Bear Patch Bits

Some of you may know that I am a long-time subscriber to Bear Patch Bits.  Clicking on the link will tell you how to receive 20 five-inch squares in the mail each month.  Since I've been receiving them for so long, I have Quite A Few Squares.  My plastic shoe box gets more and more crowded each month.  Finally I said, "Enough!"  (Not "enough" bear patch bits--I can never get too many of them!)  But I knew that I had to finally do something to use all of these fabric squares (or at least a good chunk of them).

I am quite a fan of the half square triangle (HST) and have made a few baby quilts with them.  Like here, here, and here.  I like the process of sewing them, and how I get "two for the price of one."  Because when I'm done sewing I have two identical squares.

So I started off by going through my squares and pairing up a light and dark value of the same color. I used my nifty Fons & Porter quarter inch seam marker, which made marking the squares pretty quick and easy.  It has a center line to line up with the diagonal corners, and both edges of the ruler are 1/4 inch away from the center.

I used either a Frixion pen or a chalk pencil to mark the seam lines, depending on how light or dark the fabric was.  

Here you can see a stack of squares which are all marked, just waiting to be chain pieced together.  (I also love chain piecing!)

And here is one stack, all sewn, cut apart, and pressed.

This photo shows that the stack is as tall as this pill bottle.

And now I have finally stopped sewing squares together.  {pant, pant}  Then I counted them all.  That was a big job, too!  Do you want to guess the number of triangle squares I have?


Yes, five hundred ninety half square triangles.  I couldn't believe it either.  I think that should be enough to make a quilt.  Maybe a big one!!

And at this point, my plastic shoe box looks like it went on a huge diet!  Instead of being bursting to overflow status, it looks rather sad and empty.  I didn't intend to use every single square, but I only left a few unsewn.  Fortunately, my Bear Patch Bits continue to arrive, so my box is slowly building up another supply.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tidying Up My Scraps

I think most of us have scrap bins that look something like this, right?  A big jumble of scraps all jammed together.  At least I have managed to separate mine into different bins for different colors.  (These plastic shoeboxes fit on my shelves real well!)

In this bin I keep my blue and black scraps.  Not very tidy, and it always requires searching through everything in the bin to find just the right fabric.

At one of our guild meetings a woman demonstrated how she used her four-inch ruler to tidy her scraps.  You've probably heard of this before--the fabric is laid out flat, then "rolled" onto the ruler.  The ruler is then pulled out and the resulting fabric folded in two (or three) for a nice neat bundle of scraps.  (Thanks, Judy!)

Fabric is rolled onto a ruler, then the ruler is carefully pulled out.

The fabric then is simply folded in half.

Or it can be folded into thirds if the fabric is too long,
depending upon the size of your storage container or drawer.

This way I can see all of the fabrics at once, so no more pawing through the bin of scraps.  The smaller scraps that I still wanted to keep but were too small to roll, I've just folded and put on the side  next to the neatly folded fabrics.  

And did I mention that this was a very easy, while-watching-television project!?!  Now it is a joy to take down one of these scrap bins to look for a fabric!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Beds for the Cats

Percy and Cassie now have brand new beds during which they can spend about 75% of their day!  I had made some dog and cat beds earlier for the local Humane Society, so I guess I could do the same for my cats.

The cats really needed new beds.  I couldn't find ones that I liked in the stores, so I decided to make some.  I found some tutorials on Pinterest, and read a few different methods before deciding what I wanted to do.  I wanted to use wool fabric, because I know the cats really like that.  

So I used some wool that I found in my stash.  This plaid cashmere is leftover from a cape that I made myself quite a few years ago.  There was a nice bit of it left.  So I used it to make one cushion.  That was easy.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take progress photos, so I'll describe the next part.  I made a long tube out of some more leftover wool (most of which is wool I "found" and felted as an experiment).  All of the stuffing was fabric scraps.  I had saved up a good amount of those!  I stuffed the long tubes and sewed the ends together.  Then I hand-sewed the big loop-tubes onto the cushions.  That was a little bit of some hard work, as I had to pull the two pieces together and hand-sew at some awkward angles!  Not my best work, but I'm sure the cats don't mind!

Above is Percy in one of the beds.

And this is Cassie, in a red plaid felted bed with a green plaid on the bottom that doesn't even come close to coordinating!

And I'm still left with some scraps!  Why is it that scraps can never be completely gotten rid of!?!