Friday, January 14, 2011

How to bust your stash while traveling?

Hello fellow Stash busters!  This is SewCalGal.

I've enjoyed being a follower of  Stash Manicure and hearing insights by Madame Samm, as well as a variety of guest bloggers.  Thus, when Samm mentioned she was looking for guest bloggers I decided to give it a try.  I've actually never been a guest blogger before, so I hope I won't bore you. 

I compiled a list of things I wanted to share, but decided to focus on one that deals with a way to reduce your stash while you are traveling.  This works on long trips, short trips, and many other times too.  You just need to realize that good things can come out of small pieces, if you take little steps at a time.


Many people fear hand piecing, but it is really quite easy.  And when you pre-kit your blocks, hand piecing can be an excellent way to reduce your stash, consume scraps, and make beautiful quilts while you travel. 

You can hand piece just about any quilt block design you want.  I'm currently working on simple unstructured designs using  half-square triangles (HSTs). 


I use a plastic template and a fabric marking pencil to mark my fabric scraps.  I visually cut 1/4" away from the drawn line on the fabric with scissors!  I keep the cut pieces in a large ziploc until I have a variety of cut pieces.  I will layout the different colors to select pieces for a block and then place these pieces into a small ziplock, creating a kit.  Kits are stored in a small box, along with thimble, matching thread and hand sewing needles.

When I travel, I can quickly reach in and take as many block kits as I think I may have time for.  Or, if I am going to a guild presentation, I might take a couple of kits and finish them while at the meeting.  I hand sew the pieces together using a running stitch, with about every 4th or 5th stitch I'll take a back stitch.  And I do knot the thread, to secure the first stitch and I back stitch and tie off the last stitch, before I cut the thread.    


You can certainly plan colors ahead colors for hand piecing, just like planning a machine sewn quilt.  But, as my goal is also to reduce my stash I focus on using scraps - not on the effort to plan & coordinate fabrics.  If I don't think the color of a scrap fabric will work in my project, I toss it ASAP and don't worry about it.  But I do strive for randomness on these type of projects, and want a variety of colors and prints in these scrap quilts too!    

I enjoy seeing the blocks come together and laying them out on a hotel room floor.  Sometimes I will sew a few blocks together, and then groups together.  Yet other times I will layout enough blocks for a particular top, before I start sewing the quilt together.  Again, my goal is stash busting and making a scrappy quilt.  And have fun and zero stress while creating.


This quilt top was made while we went on a boating vacation in British Columbia.  I have made several pinwheel quilts with bright colored pinwheels on white backgrounds, over the years, and never get tired of them.

Ultimately, if a scrap of fabric is too small for a piece to work in this quilt, I will toss it ASAP.   I find the kits take up less space and are handy to take with me on trips.   Having these kits ready increases my ability to finish a quilt block faster too!

This approach to using scraps  may not work for everyone, but it is one that I've really enjoyed while traveling.  If you do not already hand piece, I hope you'll consider pre-kitting and taking some kits with you on your next trip.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how fun it is to quilt while you are traveling and amazed how this also helps to reduce your stash!

Thank you Samm for having me be a guest on your delightful blog.  And thank you to all her wonderful readers too!  I've had fun sharing this insight with you. 

SewCalGal


44 comments:

  1. Hmmmm, definitely something to think about! Thought for a long time I'd like to learn to hand piece, and this might just get me in gear.

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  2. Wow Darlene, what a great post. Love your idea. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  3. Such lovely piecing. I don't travel, but a few outings I have kitted up my hexies - these little bags go with me to sit at the dentist, drs, etc... and I am amazed how many are being finished. Thank you for posting another form of de-stashing.

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  4. Thank you for your post. Hand piecing is so practical and relaxing, especially if you are trying to master complicated blocks. I love your pin wheel quilt.

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  5. I have hand pieced while traveling and on my lunch hour at work. I also taught several of my co-workers to hand piece during lunch break. Using this method I have made cathedral window, apple core, yo-yo and quilt-as-you-go quilts. It is very gratifying. Thanks for a great post!

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  6. I once made a whole Ocean Wave quilt top by hand and found it great fun. Did not take much effort since you just sew on the line from point to point.

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  7. Good Morning Darlene...poured you a cup...think I will join you ahhhhhhhh ...now let me say, for your very first guest blogger anywhere...it is thrilling to have you hear. I sew love your pinwheel quilt...is that you holding it? There is something about white backgrounds that I get all mushy about...It could be that it always makes me think anything is possible on a white background...Ahhh see that was not sew bad? Ü

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  8. I admire people that hand piece quilts together and your pinwheel quilt is beautiful. I can hand sew a binding down and do a little embroidery but I would be afraid that my hand stitching would not be good enough to hold blocks together. I like your hst's as well.

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  9. Darlene, you are amazing. I never knew you did handquilting, you may have said but it went right past this pea brain of mine. Truly enjoyed our guest post.

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  10. Wow - I love the pinwheel quilt. I for sure need to try this on our next trip - a trip kit! thanks

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  11. Great post Darlene! I love those HSTs. Is that pinwheel quilt all done by hand? Amazing.

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  12. Great post and lovely blocks! Thanks for the reminder to set up another hand piecing project (not that I NEED another project!).

    jfquilts@gmail.com

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  13. lovely project - a hand piecing project always goes with me when traveling.
    Karen
    http://karensquilting.com/blog/

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  14. Darlene, thanks for the tip (reminder!) about the beauty of hand quilting for a take-along project. I've thought about making kits but I never thought of hand piecing as a stash buster, it makes perfect sense! Love your quilt and the blocks, thanks again!

    Linda

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  15. This is a great post! I love hand piecing but hardly do any these days...I miss it :)

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  16. What a great idea! I don't hand piece but am thinking I may need to take it up this summer. I promised my husband I would go camping for a week with him and I'll need something to do! Love your pinwheel quilt!

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  17. I found your content very interesting, and I will definitely be recommending it to my readers.

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  18. Thanks for a great post...I am a firm believer in "baggie projects." People think they don't have time to hand piece or hand applique, but there are so many times I don't have time to sit in front of the machine and piece. I'm glad you are spreading the Gospel on this one!! With an active daughter, I am constantly somewhere WAITING. I hate to just sit without something to keep my hands active. A small baggie project with a few pieces, thread, a needle and snips is the perfect solution and keeps me from getting annoyed and impatient. It allows me to turn almost any time into some ME time!

    In stitches,
    Teresa :o)

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  19. Last summer I kept a kit bag of hexie-making supplies to take on the boat when my husband wanted to go out - and sitting on the boat in the sun making hexies is one of the best ways to enjoy a summer!!!

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  20. What a great idea! I love the scrappy quilt blocks.

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  21. I also keep a HST project in my purse, but I make mine from squares and sew the 2 diagonal seams before I cut them apart. Less bias stretch that way. Photo on my blog if that doesn't make sense to you http://appliqueaddict.blogspot.com/2010/08/summer-slow-down.html

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  22. I think I found what to do with the 100+ triangles I cut with my Go... and they're already in a baggie, they just need some needles and thread thrown in. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  23. Great idea....I'm always looking for ways to spend 4+ hours traveling back to Canada in the car. The customs officers always ask me what is in the box on my lap...I have a big plastic box from JoAnne's on my lap and I use it as a table with all my sewing supplies inside. Great post...one of these days I may be brave enough to do a post of MSamm too. Have a great day

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  24. I have my hexies all 'kitted' in baggies to work on when traveling or waiting. But I love the idea of other blocks also. I have a special box I use for threads, needles, scissors, thimbles, etc. Thanks for sharing.

    Hugs - Marie

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  25. Great ideas...love your pinwheel quilt! I used to travel for work and would bring all my hand-piecing with me to work on when alone in the hotel at night!

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  26. that's a great post Darlene, thanks for coming here. Your pinwheel quilt is amazing...I love the striking variance between the pinwheels and the white background - awesome!
    Valerie
    http://www.PastimesOnline.ca/Vals-Quilting/

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  27. I love this idea. We are planning a long roadtrip down south this winter and I just might make up some kits and start my first hand pieced quilt. Thanks for the inspiration! Your pinwheel quilt is wonderful. I love quilt with white backgrounds. Anything is possible.

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  28. Wow. It is amazing that you have down that pinwheel quilt by hand. I have done some hand piecing but nothing like that. Keep up the good work.

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  29. It was great reading about your tip here on stashmanicure. THis is a practical tip and would lead to a finished top if a body is faithful.
    I bought a 'worm bag' I think it is called to keep hand projects in. It has several clear bag sections, a place for scissors and other tools too and zips up. Got it at Dick's sporting goods..check it out. Just grab and go! Haven't used it in a while...need to find something to do...

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  30. I love to hand piece! It's relaxing and VERY portable. You can take to DR's office, to children and grandchildren's sporting events/practices. Sometimes, even to meetings. Thanks for sharing SewCalGal!!

    hugz,
    annie
    rubyslipperz106.blogspot.com (where you can finish a project and maybe win a prize!)

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  31. This is such a great reminder - I'm going on a trip soon so I'm going to take your advice - hand-stitching will make ANY airplane movie worth watching...maybe! xo, Nan

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  32. I love your pinwheels quilt Darlene! Gorgouse! I've tried, and tried, but it's just not me, I guess I just need to try harder! LOL Funny cos I do love hand quilting :)

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  33. Darlene this was a great post - I love hand stitching and my earlier quilts were all done that way. I haven't hand pieced in a long time but I love the idea of putting together a kit for traveling. Blessings, Marlene

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  34. Wow, love the pinwheel quilt. Hard to believe it is all done by hand. I have done hexagons, on the go, but never tried any other pattern. Thanks for the great idea!

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  35. I don't carry hand piecing with me as am prone to losing needles. Yet, I like to handpiece while watching TV. Uses up odds and ends of fabrics where doesn't matter if mess up. You handpiece like Jinny Beyer! Thanks for the info.

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  36. What a great post!! I love hand piecing. I often take hand piecing with me when I'm traveling. I often do hand piecing while waiting for my kids too. You know when they have music lessons, or sports activities. It's great to make the time past. Before you know it it's time to go and you've made two, three blocks. Thanks for this reminder. I got to get some hand piecing out. Wonderfully relaxing sewing it is. Hugs Ariane

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  37. Darlene,
    You are a natural at guest blogging! Great post. I made 1/3 to 1/2 of my Dear Jane this way. I always had a block in a little box wherever I went. It's a great way to get a bonus quilt made.

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  38. My first quilt class was all hand piecing but I don't think I've hand pieced since then. Like your style and will re-think the hand piecing the next time I travel. Love your style!

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  39. Oh how I do love hand quilting and piecing Darlene! Sometimes it's just so nice to be away from the sewing machine. Your pinwheel quilt is gorgeous!!
    xx, shell

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  40. I've seen suggestions for hand quilting for carry along projects, but not hand piecing. It makes sense to be able to do both. I agree that your pinwheel quilt is gorgeous. Thanks for the great ideas.

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  41. What a wonderful post! I am always surprised at how fast a hand pieced quilt comes together. A few minutes here and there do add up quickly.

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  42. I love it! I like the idea of putting scraps in a bag and taking them along. Thanks!!

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  43. That's really a great idea. I am pretty much a scrappy quilter so this would work for me. I love your quilts, they are beautiful.

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