Saturday, November 13, 2010

I am pondering....

In cleaning up my scraps and fabric pile, I am pondering some things quilt related. I thought that I would try and put my thoughts down and see what others do.
  1. Mystery quilts - I have never done one. I have watched the mysteries that Judy L does and that Bonnie Hunter does, but they always seem to start them when I have so much other things going on. Like right now, Bonnie is getting ready to start another this month, but I have so many other things on my list that there is no way that I should add anything to that list. I mean I COULD, but I really SHOULDN'T! But other quilters are showing their fabric selections on their blogs and I am getting intrigued. One of these days, I would like to do a mystery. Eventually. Maybe.
  2. Spare blocks - I have ended up with plenty of spare blocks from various quilts and I have no idea where to put them, how to store them, if I should use them or if I should even keep them! I mean, I know that I should keep them because there IS fabric in the blocks, but should I rip them apart and throw the scraps into my scrap pile? Or should I leave them as blocks and keep them forever?
  3. Scraps! I have been cutting my usable scraps into 2.5" or 5" squares or strips for a long time now. I like jelly roll patterns and nickel patterns and just figured that would give me enough options to make most quilts in the books that I have acquired. My problem is that I keep starting new quilts and buying new fabric for those quilts and I have yet to really make a dent in the scraps bin. Although, I have been pulling some fabric for the Midget Blocks out today and was very happy to have such a range of fabrics available! I doubt that I would need to buy anything for the Midget blocks for a very long time!
Well, I thought that there was something else that I was thinking about, but it has escaped me.

So tell me you thoughts!
  1. Have you done a Mystery? How did it go? Would you do another one? And this is the big question - have you ever done a mystery and hated the quilt?
  2. What do you do with your spare blocks?
  3. And what do you do with your scraps? Do you save every little morsel of fabric? Do you use the scraps or do they just collect dust in your stash?

And if you are too embarrassed to answer in the comments, send me a private email by clicking the link in my profile if you don't already have my email. I'd love to hear what other quilters have to say on these subjects!!!

And now, I am getting back to my scraps. I need to dig myself out!! lol


Jennifer said...

1. Yes, I did a wall quilt with the guild. I liked the end result. Made my second one and hated it, but was able to take 1/2 the blocks and make a few changes and turn it into a baby quilt. They are fun but you have to be prepared that you might like it or might hate it and be okay with it either way! It is always fun to see how everyone else's look.
2. They are in a pile with my UFOs...and I have several of Lois' too. Don't know what I'll ever do with them, but I do like looking through them every now and then.
3. Very small go into pet beds. Medium size go into bins and get used occasionally for a block of the month or small applique project. I think I am going to have a goal next year to use more of them!

elizabeth said...


elizabeth said...


knitnoid said...

1 - I've done numerous mystery quilts. Generally most of them have turned out well. I have one that I stopped working on and have alternative plans for the parts and pieces; and one which I like the pattern, but my fabric selection didn't do well, but it's not a bad quilt. Overall my philosophy is mystery quilts have to come from my stash in case I don't like the end result.

2 - My spare blocks are all in a container and one of these days I need to go through them and figure out what to do with them. I may use them on the back a quilt, or may use them together Who knows -- it's not high on my priority list -- too many UFOs on that list which I want to get done first.

3 - scraps? I basically follow Bonnie Hunter's plan. I've got 1 1/2", 2", 2 1/2" strips, bricks and blocks, plus a strings box. Anything smaller than I'm willing to work with goes into popcorn tin and I eventually empty it into a bag and take it to a guild meeting where it's snatched up. I've made several quilts from these boxes of precuts, so I do use them -- but I'm a scrappy type quilter.

Coloradolady said...

Jill, I don't know if I qualify to answer your questions, I am hardly an accomplished quilter, but here goes.

1. I just did my first mystery with Judy. Connect the Dots. Did I have but I had always wanted to do one, so I made the time. What this did for my was boost my confidence a lot! I found I did have the time, and was so amazed I actually did it. I told Judy if I had seen the finished quilt first, I would have thought I could not do it. I loved the mystery experience and have even pulled fabrics for Bonnie's Mystery...and no, I still don't have the time, but I want to try. I admit to be a little nervous, but I am going to try.

2. I just saw a quilt on someone's blog, and I am sorry I can not remember who's it was, but they used all their left over blocks and pieces of blocks and constructed a quilt top. It was beautiful...truly. The blocks and pieces were arranged and it gave it a crazy quilt sorta feel. I thought that was a great idea....if I can find it, I'll let you know.

2. I don't have a lot of scraps of my own, I just begged for scraps on my blog for a quilt I want to make, and I received almost all I needed for that quilt. I cut what I got into 2 inch squares. All of my scraps are in one big box, I plan to cut and store like Bonnie talks about...when I find the time!!!

Well...that is my take....come on, do the can do it!!

Zany Quilter said...

1. I've never done a mystery quilt. Don't like the "mystery" of it? What if it turns out fugly?? LOL... I might be willing if I got to "read the last page" and see the finished product first!!

2. Extra blocks? How does that happen? I always plan out my quilts and have only enough for the quilt....???

3. I save all scraps. Not in any organized way, but I'm afraid to throw away anything. My family is afraid to throw away anything so they will put any tidbit on my sewing table in case I needed it! ;-D

Good thoughts...I hope you remember your other one!!

Ellyn said...

I've never done a mystery quilt. I'm afraid I would end up hating it, LOL all that work for nothing.

Spare blocks get made into pillows to match the quilt, or bags or doll quilts....

Scraps, I just started cutting them into squares or strips & storing in ziploc bags by size. Big scraps are in clear bins by color....

Brenda said...

I have done a couple of Bonnie Hunter's mysteries.I actually cheat and wait to see what the first couple of steps look like to see if i am going to like it. I have most of my fabric collected for this new mystery starting next Friday.I was able to raid a friend's stash to get some colors as well as getting some scraps from my local quilt shop by paying a $1 a bag. I will start it then but will end up doing it at my own pace. I'm sure with the holidays approaching, I won't finish it until January or February.

Spare blocks can be used as pot holders, table runners, pillows, etc. Bonnie Hunter has used them on the backs of her quilts before. Kind of makes a double sided quilt. I would probably use them in a sampler type quilt.

I love scraps-don't have many but what I do get used. They are great for scrap quilts-tumbler, squares, etc. I save anything that is 1 1/2 wide and bigger. I have a very limited budget so I save whatever I can. I try to always use what i have on hand before trying to buy new fabric. Often my quilt projects have to wait quite awhile before i can start them. I am trying to collect 30's fabric now and did ask on my blog tonight if anyone had any to share.

Deanna said...

I am currently doing a mystery quilt, with the mystery almost solved (Hazel Ilene Quiltalong). About half-way through I decided that one of my fabrics wouldn't do and tore apart about half of the blocks I had finished up to that point. Now I am pretty happy with it. Should finish soon. And, I think I would try it again. Learning to follow directions is good for me.

Spare blocks = kitchen sink quilt. I don't have very many yet, but I am hoping to make this style quilt someday. I have also seen single blocks converted into pot holders, totes, pillows...

Scraps. I use them. A lot. My sewing budget is pretty limited and scraps are my friend. I do cut 5" squares and 2 1/2" strips and have a string collection. They serve me pretty well and I have used them often. But, that said, I do not keep everything. There is a point where I have to say enough is enough. If it is not good quality fabric, or if it is something that I just don't see myself using, I have had very good luck finding homes for it. It is OK to be generous in giving things away. We are not supposed to feel guilty over sewing. It is supposed to make us happy.

Kristie said...

I have only done Bonnie's mystery quilts, and I love them. I think if you do jump in and do it, you will not be disappointed. At first I was worried about it and wondered if I could stay interested in it and not know what the end result would be, but I do like doing hers.

Odd blocks...I have a million of them and I figure one day I will make a few quilts from the orphan blocks and maybe donate the quilts.

I use Bonnie's scrap system and it works great for me. Most of my quilts are scrap quilts anyway because I usually don't have enough cash at one time to buy certain fabric for a whole quilt so the scraps work great for me. So many things you can do with them.

Beth said...

I am not a true mystery quilter. I like to have more control over where the colors go. I am planning a 'everything AND the kitchen sink' quilt to use up all my orphan blocks. Just looking for a sink to put in the middle! Scraps...I'm still working on those!

QuiltSue said...

I'm going to answer the easy one first. I don't "do" scrappy, so I give my scraps to friends who do. I do have one or two orphan blocks, and one day they will become placemats or something like that.
Now to the mystery quilts. I love them so much that I have actually designed a couple myself. One of them has been published as a 4 part series in a UK P&Q mag. The other was for my quilt group a couple of years ago, which I am considering running on my blog now.

Anonymous said...

I used to save my scraps and give them to my stepdaughter. but now I see so many cute scrappy quilts, I want scraps...LOL

Never done a mystery quilt...

Libby said...

What a great post and comments!

1. I have some of Bonnie's mystery done from last year. I enjoyed it. I learned new techniques, and alot about scrap quilting. I will finish it! I will admit that I strted a little late, didnt rush and watched how it was turning out before I jumped in. That's how I will do this one.

2. I don't have any spare blocks. I am a big time "throw it away" girl. Don't hate!

3. I am in awe of people who make scrap quilts!! I can not get the hang of it. I have always bought from 1 collection or kits. I love the look of scrap quilts and my goal is to learn how to shop better so that I can use my stash more! Help!

Kate said...

Really good questions and comments.

1. I've done 2 mystery quilts. One I ordered one line, they had 3 colorways and you picked which one you wanted. Then you got a clue in the mail every week. At first I didn't like the fabics, but they grew on me. The second one as a one-day on line mystery. I had the courage to start that one because the initial instructions about the fabric selection were pretty specific about what would work best (like color 1 and color 2 should be same color, but different shades and color 3 needs to contrast with them). I was happy with both that I did. I've looked at Bonnie's, but I think I'm going to take her advice and see what happens with the first couple of clues before I decided to make it or not.

2. I've got a collection of spare blocks too. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with those either, so thanks for asking that question.

3. This year I started a BOM that I primarly have been using scraps to make. I kept the color theme to blue and yellow. I've used up some scaps and left over background yardage from another project. That's been working out well. I don't have a plan for my other scraps.

Peg said...

1. I've never done a mystery before I had all the information - but I'm about to launch into one in the New Year that I might try to do one month at a time
2. I've never had a 'spare' block, that actually looked usable LOL
3. I keep scraps of a reasonable size - if they can be cut into 2.5" strips, all the better. Anything that's at least a fat eighth, gets put into the cupboard - everything else is sorted into bins for future use - just yesterday I pulled out a bunch of selvedges for a quick pick-me-up project.
Blessings, Peg

butrfly2200 said...

I have tried a few mystery quilts and have not yet finished any of them. They are in my ufo pile. It's not that I don't like them either. I just started them at a time when I really didn't have the time for them.
Orphan blocks. Do you have cloth shopping bags from grocery stores in the states. Here I can buy a cloth bag with the store logo on it. I use an orphan block and sew it to the front. I have made several for myself and I have donated some to the local crisis centre for women. I am a bag lady and usually have many bags of stuff that I carry with me to work or in the car.
I love scraps too much. I even have a couple of quilting friends that regularly give me there scraps. I have found orphan blocks in these bags too. It's like Christmas. Find a new quilter who doesn't have much stash, she will love you. I used clothes dryer sheets as a foundation and sew my scraps to them. I then make wheelchair lap quilts. So far I have only finished one but I have about 5 partly done. The look like strip blocks. I usually sash each block.
It was interesting reading all the comments. Thanks for asking the question

Julie Fukuda said...

I enjoyed reading all these comments. I made a mystery quilt once. It was in a quilt magazine. Since I do not have a workroom, I needed to get my machine out and set it up on the dining table being certain I could have enough time to finish ant put the machine away before a meal. After the first three issues I collected the following ones in a box and finished years later when the table was available for a week. Now my house is even smaller and no machine so all machine pieced instructions are not much use.
As for scraps, anything small gets cut and put in a tin. I have tins for 1, 2, 3, and 4inch (plus sewing allowance of 1/4 inch)squares. Anything smaller than an inch gets thrown out.

Cheryl Willis said...

I have made many mystery quilts. some I like some I don't, everyone of them I learned something new.

I collect orphan blocks and every few years throw together tops for fun.

I have a preference for scrappy but can work with just about anything. I also love two color quilts.
I have my own sorting system and chance it evertime I think I know where I am putting stuff (just kidding)


Lori said...

mystery quilts--I am too OCD for a mystery quilt. I never seem to like them after I am part way through.

Spare blocks--I have them saved. Not used yet, but I'm still saving them.

Scraps--I USED ALL MINE! Really! I'm quite anxious about it.

Jackie said...

I've never done a mystery. LIke you said, they seem to come at a bad time. I also don't like the idea of not knowing what the project will look like.

My spare blocks are hanging in my craft room closet. I don't have a lot of them so I just might make some more blocks to go with them. One day. Add that to The List.

My scraps are pretty much cut and sorted according to Bonnie Hunters scrap management plan. I haven't used them yet but honestly I have not been quilting long.

Brenda said...

1) I love a mystery quilt. You will to - it's a fun thing to do.
Especially with friends. Once we got together to do a Plantet Patchwork mystery and it was fun to see how differnt all the quilts ended up being. Mysterys are just a fun, let loose type of project. And you will enjoy it I think. Take a break and do a mystery!!
2) extra blks?? I have not decided what to do with them yet.....
3) I love scraps! I try to do Bonnie Hunters orgaization, but am not doing very well at it. yes, I do use them - I enjoy working with the scraps and making crazy fabrics look good together!!

Babs said...

No mysteries here - no thanks - no interest. IMOHO, there are enough quilts out there that I know what the finished product is that I know I want to do. You know where I'm going with this. Besides, aren't you self-proclaimed OCD?!? LOL

Spare blocks - here's what I've done: grab a coordinating solid and make some pillow wraps(easy gifts!), make a tote, finally use your snuggie pattern, baste edges or some blocks and stitch along the bottom as a decorative element ;)

Or, you can: do your rice bags (again gifts!!!), like the idea of covering the cloth grocery bags or maybe a blog giveaway? Also like the idea of just picking some that look decent together and throw them in a wonky quilt - for charity even. It IS fabric after all and someone will be grateful :)

Ahhhhh, scraps. Think you know how I am with this. I'm not a scrappy person but I do enjoy a good applique project. I have started my 2.5" strip box and have been diligent. Maybe you can take a book or two to work and use your lunch to pick out a future projects or two that you'd really like to do. Sure, you'd be adding to your list, but at least you'd also be able to dig in and make a dent in those scraps and actually allocate them.



Babs said...

P.S. I forgot - talk to me about scraps when you have a chance. I got lucy a mini singer for xmas!!!! :)
I've been saving for her, but auntie Jill may have some fun pieces too!

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

I did the jelly roll sampler quilt along that just concluded in September. It wasn't called a "mystery" but we didn't know the block design or designer ahead of time. I will say that while I liked the quilt along, some of the block designs, I hated. Which doesn't say much since I signed up for the layer cake quilt along. LOL! I'm also doing the 12 Days of Christmas Mystery BOM and I'm enjoying that.

Spare blocks.... I don't have many and whatever I do have, I usually have a mistake in it and I just give them to my daughter to play with, sew on or cut up. Could you donate them? I'm sure someone could use them to make a sampler quilt. Or mount and hang them on your wall for decoration (if you really like them).

Scraps - I have a bunch and they are all over. I haven't taken the time to organize them in any way. And I should. My cup runneth over, so to speak. Maybe in January I will focus on getting my scraps under better control.

orchidlover said...

I have done a couple of mystery quilts. One I loved, the other well the less said the better.

All my spare blocks are in the process of being sewn togehter into a huge quilt top. No sashing and no pattern. I also sew in some of the swap blocks that never made it into their own quilt. Eventually I'll get around to quilting it. I'll have to take it apart and QAYG as at the moment it not only covers a king sized bed but it goes all the way to the floor.
Scraps all get thrown into a large bin and every so often I have a sort out but I'm not organised at all with them. That said though it's the first place I go when I want some fabric.

Love and hugs Gina xxx

Tracy said...

I've never done a mystery quilt yet...I signed up for one at my guild...haven't done a thing yet and we've gotten step 3 already! As for Bonnie's latest...she is providing a pdf file for each step so I'm saving those as she puts them my quilting directions file that has so many projects in it already!
The spare blocks could go in to one quilt if they're would be a kind of record of the many quilts you've done already.
I have a box of scraps that I never look at. I barely have time to work with my 'regular' fabric...I have good intentions of using them for doll quilts that our guild gives to the local Toys for Tots program to be given with each doll they give out.

vtquilter said...

1.) Yes, have done a mystery quilt and usually like them. If not, it gets 'donated' to a charity! I'm saving off the Bonnie Hunter one (third one I've saved and still haven't done one yet!) and if you want could start with you in January?
2.) Spare blocks... either make into a 'sampler' quilt and donated to charity or given to guild for Orphan blocks to be made into quilts.
3.)Depends... small scraps sometimes saved and sewn together (half square triangles)and will put into a quilt sometime next year. Sometimes directly to trash... depends on my mood!
My challenge is to create 'something' with them next spring.. lots of half square triangles and 4 patches and 4 split triangles to use up!

quiltin cntrygrl said...

1. I have bought fabric for many mysteries and think I have only completed one. 2. Spare blocks are great for pot holders or if you have fabric bags that you can use them for the focal pocket. 3. I have started using scraps for applique embroidery.