Distracted by Scraps

Sewing room

This week I’ve been doing some January cleaning-out of my sewing space in preparation for a new arrival at my house. There are some fun things going on behind the scenes that I’ll be sharing soon. It felt good to get the vacuum in there and really clean the floors, dust, etc as well as to have a decluttered space.  But look quickly and enjoy, because the mess is already back on the table. 🙂

Box of fabric scraps

My friend Emily started a fun new project busting through her fabric scraps and making some improv, wonky log cabin blocks. It has been a long time since I’ve made any of those and seeing her finished quilts got me in the mood to play with scraps for an afternoon.  So I pulled out my Red scrap drawer and set it on the cutting table and went to town. (You can see more about how I organize and store my scraps here.)

Chain-piecing log cabins

These blocks come together so quickly with minimal planning or prep work. Especially if you are chain piecing multiple ‘cabins’ at once.

scrappy log cabin blocks

I like where this is going, but not 100% sure how I feel about all the light scraps. I’m telling myself that this quilt is all about “liberated piecing” – it’s okay if it’s not perfect or amazing. The whole point of this is to not worry about perfect seams or cutting – so I need to extend that to the fabric too. It’s fun how all of these pieces of fabric from my past projects bring back memories.

Not sure what size it will end up – I’m just going to keep going until I run out of scraps. It would be kind of fun to clean out that whole box! red and white scrappy log cabin blocks

This is totally a “squirrel” project – a quick distraction from the 100 other things I should be doing. But it was a snowy afternoon, so I caved. I need to set them aside for a bit, but I’ll keep the red scrap bin by the machine and maybe bust out a few more here and there as the mood strikes.

You can find Emily’s Wonky Log Cabin tutorial here if you’re looking to do some playtime with your own box of Scraps. Or if you’re looking for other lots of other scrap project ideas check out this Pinboard:

Follow Amy Smart’s board scraps on Pinterest.

 Santa wool and cross stitch

Also, in cleaning out my sewing area, I found these Santas I’ve been working on (for years). Doh. I’ve been working on the wool santa for about 10 years. I started the cross-stitch santa about 25 years ago. (for real.) Since they finally came to light, I’m putting them with my Christmas decorations (instead of buried back in the sewing room) so that next year I can get them framed and hung. Finally. And I’m making this statement publicly so that someone can hold me to it.

A fun announcement:

AQ quilting retreat

zermattI am teaching at the upcoming Sew On and Sew Forth retreat in Midway, Utah the first two weeks of March. Amy McClellan has been hosting this retreat for many years and it’s so well done! It’s been one of my favorites. Lodging is included at this beautiful resort in the Utah mountains as well as LOTS of space to set-up, spread-out and sew when you’re not taking classes or eating gelato from the nearby bakery. (You can read and see more about past retreat here and here.) The second week is sold out, but there are still spots available during the first week – you can find more information and reserve a spot here.UTGM_SewOn_ROUND_bw

CLASS SCHEDULE FOUND HERE. I am teaching my Double Crossed quilt and the intermediate machine-piecing hexagons and diamonds class like the one I taught at QuiltCon last year. There are some other GREAT teachers and classes on the docket. Classes are in addition to the retreat itself. You don’t even have to take any – you could just come and sew in your sweatpants for 4 straight days in the mountains if you want. And who doesn’t think that sounds like a fun idea.

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  • Reply
    January 14, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Those Santas definitely need to be shown and shared! I’ll hold you to it…I have a memory like an elephant! :-))

  • Reply
    Libby in TN
    January 14, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Someone once told me going through ones scrap bin is like an archeological dig. I like what you’re doing with the reds.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Amy, you are so enthusiastic
    I know the pile of scraps and the mountain of projects can make me want to scream into a pillow.
    I like these log cabins. These could make fun throw pillows for toddlers, or a nice fancy pillow or just about anything. I love the colors. I have not make log cabins yet. I need to try

  • Reply
    January 14, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    I did a scrap red log cabin a few years ago & love it. Funny, I also discovered undone santas that I put in the to do pile along with a dozen other projects! This is the year to get them done! Good luck with yours!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Love the reds! And the Santas? You better work on them, as I love them too. What a treasure trove. I really like your wonky ones, but I just CANNOT do it. I am a bookkeeper by trade and my brain just won’t work with things that are not straight, lined up properly, etc. I really am a dinosaur, but I think my seams are probably wonky enough…..LOL

    Still trying to find time to view your Craftsy class I purchased. Don’t know where 2017 is going already. Keep up the good work.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Laughing my head off at your “squirrel” projects…Tee hee , I know what it means to feel obligated to something then you SQUIRREL at something and have fun again…Im doing that right now, I have too many must dos and Im taking time to do whatever….

  • Reply
    Karen Seitz
    January 14, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Red and white anything is perfect! I love the Zermatt Resort. I attended the Small Town Quilt Show there a few years ago — it’s a great venue. Have fun!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Love the wonky log cabin blocks and your santas are delightful, looking forward to seeing where you go with this great stash buster idea xxx

  • Reply
    January 15, 2017 at 6:22 am

    I love your red and white log cabin blocks! ( but then I am a HUGE fan of those colors?) You are inspiring me to start yet another new project…..

  • Reply
    January 15, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Are you getting a long arm?????

  • Reply
    January 15, 2017 at 6:38 am

    January must be the time for this lol I too am trying to clean and organize my little sewing space. Sorting and trying to organize my scraps. I’m finding it hard to toss any scrap lol and I’ve just completed my 12th quilt. Still a student of quilting but finding it hard to part with the smallest piece of fabric as I think I may ‘need it’
    Thanks for getting me to my 12th quilt. Your blog was my stepping stone and I check your site daily.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2017 at 7:09 am

    My comment for the Fort Worth Fabric giveaway…..I love the Batiks!

  • Reply
    liz n.
    January 15, 2017 at 8:49 am

    How I love a red and white quilt!

    My on-going stash-buster is a scrappy Fence Rail that might actually get finished this year! (Fingers crossed) It’s nowhere near as quick to make as the wonky log cabs — thousands of strips finishing at 1/2″ X 2″–but I’ve nearly cleaned out all of the scraps.

    Looking forward to seeing how your WLC quilt turns out!

  • Reply
    nadine donovan
    January 15, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Ha- we must be thinking alike. I just cleaned up my sewing studio–saw a pile or two of scraps and became distracted. I sewed scrappy strip blocks for hours. It was fun. Love your scrappy log cabin blocks.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2017 at 9:12 am

    A new arrival?! Should we expect to see baby quilts for the next few months? 🙂

  • Reply
    Jannette B.
    January 15, 2017 at 10:17 am

    I know what you mean about using the lighter fabric strips in theses ‘cabin’ blocks, but I like the depth they give.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Sorry, I got distracted right away … a new arrival?

  • Reply
    Gemini Jen NZ
    January 15, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Loving the red scrappy project! I know what you mean about the discoveries made when doing a clear-out/tidy-up – gets very distracting!! I can’t sew at the moment as have two rooms of ‘stuff’ all over the place while we repaint – so have wasted an hour on Pinterest looking at ways to make birdbaths…am now planning a trip to the junkshop to get cups and saucers and plates and bowls…

  • Reply
    January 16, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Your two santas are adorable. I know they are years old, but do you know where the patterns originated? I would love, love, love to make both of them. All of your work is so inspiring.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2017 at 7:59 am

    I love the red blocks you are making! I can also relate to the Santa’s! I started working on a Christmas afghan for my mother before my oldest was born and he will be 20 this year! And the sad thing is I only need to do a little more outlining and it will be done. I think I will get it out and finish it up this week. Thanks for the inspiration! Can’t wait to see your Santa’s framed this Christmas!

  • Reply
    Patricia Chojnowski
    January 16, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    I enjoyed your post. Lovely red fabrics! — And I have a few Cross stitch projects that old and older still unfinished! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kathy Falconer
    January 16, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    Oh! I have that same xstitch santa! Finished but not “finished” just like you. Also 25 years old. I’ll have to look for it.

  • Reply
    tisha @ quiltytherapy
    January 17, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Can’t wait to see your finished blocks. Sometimes the squirrel project can really help the ones you should be focusing on.

  • Reply
    January 19, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Those blocks are so pretty!! The lighter colors look wonderful with the red.

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