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In the Quilting World

Quilter's World Update

Coffee & Bow Ties
Color Me Scrappy may be purchased at AnniesCraftStore.com.

Let me introduce myself: I'm Carolyn Vagts, editor of Quilter's World magazine and writer of this update. That's my day job, and at night, I'm an addicted quilter. I tend to eat, breathe and sometimes sleep with my quilting. I have a beautiful studio with my work space right in it. How convenient, since I work at and with quilting. As editor, I am very hands-on with every issue of the magazine. I'm also very hands-on with this update. I love to share my experiences with other quilters in hopes it will inspire them to explore the endless possibilities available to them.

With each update I select a book or pattern to accompany it. It's usually something that I feel goes along with the content of my update. For this update my suggestion is Color Me Scrappy. This is a great pattern to work on in your spare time and also help clean out your scrap basket. Through the years I've managed to accumulate a substantial number of scraps, but being the type of quilter that can't seem to throw out all those lovely pieces, I'm always looking for good patterns in which I can use them. I have several ideas for this block pattern. It's one of those projects that I can use scraps for and work on when a free evening or afternoon comes my way. I love to be prepared for free time. It's nice to have something ready to work on without all the prep time. So I'm going to assemble a box with this pattern in it along with fabrics to go with the pattern, and hopefully, some of the pattern pieces cut out and ready to go.

Color Me Scrappy can be purchased at AnniesCraftStore.com. It's a good pattern to have on-hand when you find yourself in need of a quick project or when you just want a project you can make from your scrap fabrics.

I have assembled the project box for Color Me Scrappy. I've decided on a white background fabric for this project. With a white background I can work on two or three quilts at the same time, depending on the colors of my scrap fabric. I should confess, I only do controlled scrappy. I just can't bring myself to do truly scrappy quilts. So, normally, I sort of cheat. To make the most of this ongoing project, I've decided to work on maybe two or three quilts at the same time. That way I'll just worry about one block at a time. Sometime, at a later date, I'll decide which quilt the blocks will end up in. I'm hoping that by doing it this way I won't waste most of my free time trying to "control the scrappy."

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My project box and the white background fabric I've chosen to use for this project.

I brought out one of my many boxes of scrap batik fabrics and started sorting pieces I plan to use. Because my scraps are stored in a rather haphazard way I sorted them and then I pressed the ones I'd chosen to use.

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One of my many boxes of scrap batik fabrics I'll be using for this project.

Then I began to cut out the pieces I needed, starting with the white background. I cut out a lot of pieces knowing I will be working on several quilts at a time, and I wanted to make sure I have plenty to work on if I find a bit of free time.

The first thing I found was that the pieces cut with the dies would save me time when putting them together. I didn't have to draw a line on each of the squares used for the corner pieces before stitching them to each corner and I didn't have to trim off the excess before pressing the pieces open. So, with all the pieces cut out, I began to lay them out for each block.

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Cutting out the white background fabric pieces needed for this project.

I then began to cut my pressed scraps into the sizes needed for the Color Me Scrappy pattern. Since this is an ongoing project I cut the piece and strip sizes my scraps would allow, not worrying about if I had the right amount of each pattern piece. When I felt I had cut enough pieces and strips for a good color mix, I headed to my sewing machine to start assembling a few blocks.

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Cutting my scrap fabric into usable pieces and strips for the pattern and beginning the assembly of a few blocks.

I stitched a few block centers together to see how the chosen colors would look with the white background fabric.

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Making a few block centers.

After I had assembled several corner pieces, I then began piecing the 2-inch strips together to make strip sets for the rest of the block construction. I'll cut the strip sets to the correct length for the units. I've also cut up smaller pieces to size if they weren't large enough to cut into strips. As you can see, I do tend to match up my scraps. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing, but it's what I do.

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Stitching the corner pieces together and the strips into strip sets.

Once I had enough strip sets stitched together, I started cutting them into the units needed for the pattern.

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Stitching the corner pieces together and then cutting the strip sets into the unit sizes needed for the block.

I then started to assemble the units.

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Selecting the units to use in each block.

After I had assembled a few blocks I knew I was right to assume I was making more than one quilt. As I always tend to do, I managed to make a blue block and a pink/purple one rather than truly mixed colors. Part of the blame for the like colors is the way I sort and store my scraps. I tend to sort like colors into groups. With about 12 containers of scrap batiks that's easy to do. Next time I'll have to make sure to grab a totally different container!

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My first two blocks.

With two blocks assembled and extra pieces cut I know I'll have enough to work on if I find myself with a few hours of free time. I can either cut more pieces of scrap fabrics to the appropriate sizes and add them to the box for a later date, or I can piece a few blocks together. This is a block I love the look of when it's assembled. And it makes a beautiful finished quilt. I can see these blocks will make several great raffle quilts for my favorite charity, and it will be wonderful to have them ready, or at least started, when I'm asked for another quilt.

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My box packed with the pieces I've prepared for my free time.

I hope you find inspiration in your scraps as I have. Even if you don't consider yourself a scrappy kind of quilter you can still make use of them. You just have to find your comfort zone. I've found that I love the challenge of making all those gorgeous fabric morsels of goodness work together. I may have to make several quilts at once to make it work for me, but since I look for reasons to make quilts that's not a hardship for me! I love what a treasure my scrap fabric containers have become. I probably have enough fabric in them to last a lifetime, and I couldn't be happier about it. I just hope I live long enough to use them!

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