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 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.