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09/04/2011 / thriftomancer

Phase Three, blasting off!

Aye, Operation Stash-bust continues with shocking speed.

Over the last few days I’ve been planning what to do next. You’ve seen me use up the first two groups of scraps I culled when I first organized my stash, the squares and hexes-to-be; the next group for me to sink my claws into are the long stringy and stripy bits I put into their own category, that much I was certain of from the start. How to make use of them though; I knew I was going to make a quilt, but the colors and fabric to use, as well as the design and style to implement, was all still up for debate. Kind of.

The scraps are all linen, so fabric is a given. They’re also every color I’ve ever worked in (all of ROYGBIV plus brown, natural, black, gray, white, and a few prints). Primarily blue and brown, but there’s enough of them that I’ll likely be able to mix everything up and use each hue at least once. Since I have what I have material-wise, those two aren’t the most option-filled of categories. The creativity came in later, when I got to the design.

These scraps are all long and stringy. As such, I focused my brainstorming towards patterns that used long strips (Strips I would, in other situations, have had to cut first.) to take advantage of the available stringiness. There were a whole slew of options. Here are some of the ones I considered, as scanned from my design notebook.

Phase 3 pattern sketches

What I realized from all that brainstorming is that I’ve never made a log cabin quilt before. Struck me as odd, since it’s such a basic pattern, so that set the design. From there I had only style to wonder about. There are so, so very many ways to make a log cabin block and quilt in general. Tons of questions to consider, like: Should this quilt have the traditional dark/light interplay in the individual blocks that allows for large-scale overall designs? Should each block have bars of a uniform width around the center? If so, thick bars or thin? Or mayhap both, alternating widths as I go out from the block’s center? Or should the blocks even be square?

In the end I thought: Or… Do I just go crazy and random? All I have is my old scraps with no guarantee that I’ll have enough of any one color to actually complete a preconceived pattern so let’s just go mad, sew, and not care too much about laying plans. That’s quite the opposite of my normal MO, but in this case it seemed right.

At the moment my scant plan is to make a batch of 42 roughly 12.5″ x 12.5″ blocks (for a finished 6′ x 7′ quilt) using improvised patchwork in a Gee’s Bend Housetop-eqsue style. Like unto this.

(By Lola Pettway, 2002)

It’ll be nice because the strips I have to work with are all different widths and slightly irregular. If I decide that such things don’t matter, I don’t have to recut anything to make it look proper. I can also be sure I’ll finish the thing. The block aspect of the plan works into this too. While I have a lot of strips, I don’t know if I have enough for a traditional housetop where the whole quilt top is one block. What I do know is that I have enough material to make a bunch of one foot square blocks and that I generate scraps as I work. Even if I don’t have enough strips to finish at this very moment, eventually I will.

I’ve got four blocks done already (was working for a bit this afternoon) and the beginnings of three more under way. I’ll have photos once I can get them in better, non-incandescent light. ‘S going to be fun.



Leave a Comment
  1. nanrs / Sep 5 2011 11:18 am

    I like the Gee Bend quilt idea. May I ask where do you get your linen from?

    • thriftomancer / Sep 5 2011 9:44 pm

      Thanks, and most certainly. ^_^

      My linen all comes from second-hand clothing. There are Salvation Armies and other thrift stores all over my area. I take advantage of their nigh-constant sales to gather a good stock of garments for cheap, then rip the clothes apart for their fabric.

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