my scrap bin threw up

All over the floor. Unlike when that happens with the kids, or the cats, I have yet to clean it up.

my scrap bin threw up

my scrap bin threw up

It’s so bad you can’t even see where the bin IS! That purple one on the right is backings for charity quilts. The scrap bin is BEHIND all that stuff!

The majority of my fabric is behind my long arm machine, neatly arranged by color in these bins:

neat bins of fabric

neat bins of fabric

Looks like my batting scraps are procreating when I’m not looking too. I keep them for rag quilts, charity quilts and small projects, as well as cleaning my long arm bobbin area and wheels. It’s like having tribbles around (for my fellow Star Trek geeks)!

Anyway, when I ran out of room for fabric (ahem…) I got these additional bins, and use them for special fabrics, batiks, my Christmas bin and new stuff that I haven’t figured out exactly what to do with yet.

new bins

new bins

I guess I need to clean that up soon.

But the only way to REALLY clean it up is to USE it! And I do love to make scrap quilts! But I usually organize my scrap bin by sorting it by color, separating out the stuff that looks like it really needs to go together and the batiks and any large amounts of one fabric. Then I separate anything I see with potential into quart baggies for my next retreat. Before I go retreating I find a pattern to match it with and them I’m ready to go! This quilt was made at a retreat last year from scraps and I LOVE it!

rhubarb pie quilt

rhubarb pie quilt

Actually some of the scraps in my bin (or around it?) are leftover from ^this^ quilt. I didn’t want it to get too big so I ended up with more strips/squares cut than I needed for it (those leftovers are actually front and center in that first photo). You can also see bits from the last monthly block atop the heap…

But I really need my area to be a little better organized, so I guess I’ll have to dedicate a day sometime soon to get this mess cleaned up.

Just tell me I’m not the only one with this issue. I can’t possibly be.

Chain piecing

This is basic for anyone sewing blocks or strips together, and I mean a LOT of them. I just finished a quilt with about 1275 squares, each 2 inches finished, and chain piecing was essential to getting it finished timely.

Think about this: whenever you want to sew something together, you have to place your piece with your 1/4 inch seam allowance, lower your foot, pull back on your bobbin and top thread (to ensure the material isn’t pulled into the bobbin casing or that the thread gets all tangled), and then go. If you stop, take the piece out when finished, and do that all over again, you are wasting a lot of time and effort you really could use to keep sewing!


cutting the "chain link" = thread between setslining up the next set to sew

This pic shows me cutting the thread between the chained pieces. Some people prefer to iron them first, I prefer to cut them first, then iron them flat.
This depicts lining up the second set of fabric to piece together… fitting it under the foot just as the last one goes through. Prime situation is to have a little space between them, but you don’t need to clear the foot prior to putting your next set under the foot.

lining up the next set to sew

 You do want to keep the pedal going, you can pause as needed, but you want to keep your thread going, and that alleviates the need to keep cutting, pulling excess thread to the back, lining up, starting slow, etc. 

the chain

This photo shows the chain after I have removed it from the machine, prior to cutting the chain. Give it a try, and you may be surprised at how much time you save!!

Happy quilting my friends!