Friday, January 16, 2015

Mindless Sewing Break

{A Picture Heavy Post}

After I finished all my blocks for the Modernized Farmer's Wife quilt, I needed a little break from the intensity for some mindless sewing.  I decided to go through the fabric my neighbor gave me last week.  She gave me three big bags full of fabric.  I pulled out anything that was not 100% cotton, and decided not to keep it.  Then I separated all the baby flannel, and added it to my flannel stash.  (I like to make baby gifts with it.)  Then I decided what else I wanted to keep.  The rest will go to family, friends, and goodwill.

I didn't want to add the fabric to my general stash, because not all of it was quilt shop quality.  However, I knew the fabric would be perfect for some baby quilts to practice free motion quilting and then donate.  For my sewing break, I separated out the fabric that I didn't want to use in baby quilts.

I looked through all the rest and noticed that there were many fat quarters with chunks missing, and yardage pieces with chunks missing.  I believe that a lot of those chunks must have been used for applique (because I could see little bits of the Heat-n-Bond type product).  There were also some pieces ranging from an eighth of a yard to a quarter of a yard.  After thinking about what would be the best use of fabric and my time, I decided to make some simple stripe quilts and what I call short and chunky race quilts.

I went through the large stack of fabrics (probably more than 40 yards) piece by piece.  Anything that was not the full 42 inches width of fabric, I cut into four inch strips.  Anything larger than a third of a yard, I put in the yardage pile.  I cut narrow pieces into strips ranging from 4 to 6.5 inches wide.  Everything else I put in a bag to give to my friend's daughter.

I separated the four inch strips into a girl pile and a boy pile.  I separated the boy pile into brights and soft colors.  (I wish I took a picture of the piles.)  Once the strips were separated, I decided that I only wanted to use pieces that ranged in size from 16 to 21 inches long.  Anything bigger than that I cut in half.  Anything smaller went in the little scrap bag.  However, each quilt starts with one piece that was about 4 x 8 inches to get the staggered effect.  Then I sewed each quilt kit* together just like a jelly roll race.  I made five of those and they all finish about 42 x 56 inches.

The strips that were the full width of fabric, I separated into three piles for baby quilts.  These all finish about 42 x 55 inches.  Evidently I needed to make some somewhat symmetrical quilts after all the chaotic piecing of the race quilts.

This was exactly the break I needed.  Instead of spending 45-60 minutes on one block for the Modern Farmer's Wife, I could sew and press a whole top for a baby quilt in less than 60 minutes!  I was going to make just one quilt top, but once I got going I couldn't stop.  LOL.  I made eight quilt tops in a couple days.  I got extra sewing time by my hubby working from home one day and staying up late another.

Once all the tops were made, I went through the yardage pieces I separated to make backings and bindings.  There was only one piece large enough (1 2/3 yard) for a simple backing.

Some backings only required three pieces.

I had a couple big stripe pieces, but I decided to break up the stripe with inserts.

I tried to get the best use out of the fabric.  The backing for the light colored boy quilt has one blue section along the lengthwise grain, and one section along the crosswise grain.  I added some yellow fabric for length and to make the different directions less noticeable.

Others I had to get more creative on.

I was running out of girl fabric, but I was able to make it work.

I was able to make all eight quilt sets out of the fabric in the bags from my friend.  How awesome is that?  All I had to add was thread and time (and now batting).  Now all I have left after making the backings and bindings is this little pile.

I am going to hold on to it for now, but I may decide to let someone else play with it.

So now I have eight tops...

And eight backs...

Plus their bindings.  All waiting for me on this quilt rack I borrowed from the family room (so I don't have to press them again).

I estimate that there are 32 yards of fabric on the rack  (four yards per quilt set).  Feel free to give me a hard time for going against my norm.  I went from two WIPs to ten in less than a week.  ;)  I can totally justify it by saying that it feels like one project because it was one stack of fabric, but what's the point?

I am excited to play with the quilting on all of these, and plan on using some as part of my Feather Boot Camp.  And I'm now ready to get back to the Modern Farmer's Wife.

*On Monday I will be sharing how I calculated the number of pieces I needed for each quilt.  Calculations to make variations of the jelly roll race can now be found here.


P.S.  Eight flimsies counts as a finish, right?

P.P.S.  I will be linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, Finish it up Friday, Oh Scrap and Let's Bee Social.  (Buttons on sidebar)


  1. Perfect Mindless AND Stashbusting Sewing! I'm going to keep this in mind for the future once I've finished my Project Linus UFOs. Thanks.

  2. Wow I just love them all, what super quick quilts. The recipients will love being wrapped in a warm quilt hug!

  3. You go girl! I really love that cloudy one, and the black/red/yellow/blue, and...well they are all super cute! I bet that was so fun to go through the fabric from your neighbor. What a blessing you received!

  4. Nice job sorting all those fabrics into 8 lovely little quilts. Look forward to seeing some fun feather quilting on them!

  5. What an awesome use of all that fabric, Jasmine, and it sounds like it was fun for you or you wouldn't have stuck to getting 8 quilts, backings, and the binding prepped. It will be fun to see the quilting on them!

  6. Seriously awesome stash busting there Jasmine! Mindless sewing is definitely a necessary thing.

    I'm chuckling though. Hard to believe you have 10 WIPs. It's unheard of!

  7. Rosemary B here
    Oh this was inspiring. I have so much old fabric, mostly inherited, and given. I must make use of it. Excellent idea on donating. I have measured and bagged neatly many of my beloved oldest sisters fabrics that she planned on making work clothing ( she was a government secretary for GAO) and most of it was polyester blend, bleh.
    I donated all of mine to Salvation Army
    You did a great project, accomplish a lot

  8. You are on a roll, Girlfriend!!! You took a pile of fabric and created quilt hugs with comfort & warmth!!! Kudos to you.

  9. I'm impressed! Nothing wasted and 8 pretty quilts to practise freemotion. Well done!

  10. Way to go!!! Where do you get all that energy to get so much accomplished?

  11. WOW, Jasmine!!! *insert astounded google eyes here*
    Yes, yes, YES, these should count as a finish! Are you wearing a Superwoman cloak under your clothes, by any chance?
    What a great idea to use them for feather practice. Have fun with that!

  12. They're all such bright, fun quilts! So glad you had fun with some mindless sewing, and those quilts will certainly make little ones happy.

  13. Amazing how you tackled that. I need to take a lesson on fast and easy from you. What great quilts and I am sure they will look great with your FMQ as well.

  14. Wow! You can accomplish more in one day than I do in a week! LOL I was so inspired by your post I stopped reading in the middle of it and ran to the sewing room to sew. :) Well, maybe it was just a fast walk....How exciting to have so many tops ready to quilt. I look forward to seeing how you quilt them. :)

  15. Between you and Yvonne, you guys are so speedy! Great use of all the fabric Jasmine :)

  16. A break with beautiful results, Jasmine!

  17. I enjoyed reading your process on these quilts. They are a great use of fabric!


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