Monday, October 17, 2011

The Big Scrap Bin on Wheels

I started assembling my Shady Lane blocks today.  I just have the final strips to add to each block, then I can press and trim them up tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to being able to put the blocks up on the design wall and see them all together.  That never ceases to feel magical to me.

I've been thinking a lot about my big scrap bin lately.  It's a foot high, a foot wide, and almost two feet long and it currently holds about 25 pounds of scraps.

Not just my scraps but generous donations from quilty friends and some of their friends.  Some of the scraps are in bags.  But most of the fabrics are just laid in the bin in beautiful colourful sedimentary layers of lush fabrics.  Fabrics that aren't in my stash.  When I poke around in here, I see beautiful greens the colour of celery or newly sprouted spring ferns, and bright blues, and cheery fruit colours....

When I finished reorganizing my stash and projects in early September, this is the one thing I just couldn't face.  25 pounds of fabric is roughly 100 yards of fabric.  The idea of ironing and trimming 100 yards of fabrics felt like too much work - something that would leave me with a sore shoulder and aching feet.

Recently I finished trimming a box of 1200 half-square triangles and blogged about that here.  It seemed like a huge nasty task, but I did it by trimming up 30 every morning while waiting for the coffee machine to finish dripping my morning brew.  The funny thing is, I got into the habit of reaching for the rotary cutter after hitting the brew button.  Every morning now, I shuffle half asleep through my morning routine - feed the cat, make the coffe, automatically reach for the rotary cutter, then stare at it blankly for a few seconds while my sleep-fogged brain clears and I finally remember that the HSTs are all trimmed.

So, I thought I'd attack the scrap bin the same way.  I'll start tomorrow, iron a little stack and put it next to my cutting mat.  We'll see how that goes.  One day at a time.  Here's a little children's video with a catchy tune that explains it better than I just did.

Anyone else avoiding some work that can be painlessly done in bits of time here and there?


  1. I'm avoiding basting my two quilts...does that count? I must admit that that much scraps to "process" sounds like a very daunting task, but as you said - small efforts makes the biggest task easier.

  2. I'm avoiding so many things I don't even want to talk about it. : )
    I love how you describe things, Michele. The magic of putting things on the design wall, and the colorful sedimentary layers of lush fabrics. You really paint images with words.

  3. A couple years ago, during a major snow storm, I spent the time sorting through my fabrics. I was amazed at how many "scraps" I had saved. I started cutting somewhat as Bonnie Hunter recommends, but I still have a shopping bag full of odd cuts of fabric. I need to do just what you are doing. A little at a time - yes, that's how things get done! Thanks for the reminder. Cute little video. I've never seen Shady Lane blocks - look forward to seeing them in your finished quilt.

  4. I came back because I realized I hadn't said how anxious I am to see the blocks put together. When I read Maureen's comment I caught that you referred to it as Shady Lanes, not Sunny Lanes. Somehow I hadn't noticed that before. I think it fits, and apparently you do, too. : )

  5. One Word Wednesday -- Amen!!

    O.k., a couple of other words -- Sunny Lanes looking very good, love it!

  6. Inch by inch it's a cinch. Yard by yard it's too hard!

  7. Ooooh, I would LOVE to come and play in that huge scrap bin!!! :D I think it's an excellent idea to tackle trimming in this manner. I will have to see if I can get in that routine, too, especially since my coffeemaker is so danged slow. Thanks for the idea. :)