Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stash Mastery #2: 2.5" Strips and Squares

I spent many, many, many hours getting my fabric stash organized.  Although it took hundreds of hours over a 16 month period, it was soothing and enjoyable to sort, iron, trim and fold each piece.  Other, more normal people would probably find it mind-bogglingly tedious.  And now I can see everything, lay my hand on anything at a moment's notice, and know the approximate amount/size of each piece.  Well worth the investment of time, IMO.  Time has a different meaning once you are retired, BTW.

During the stash organization project I also trimmed up the ends of each piece and cut all the leftover bits and pieces up into useful sizes:  2.5" strips of anything 16" long or longer, and 2.5" squares of anything smaller. Long ago I experimented with a more complicated scrap system.  But I never did anything with them so I decided to simplify to just these two sizes.  The 16" length works for the bargello quilt pattern.

I bought 8 large glass candy jars at Walmart to store the squares and strips:  red/pinks/purples, yellows/oranges/browns, blues/greens, and black and white.  These are lined up on top of a shelf unit in "Studio North" (aka the living room) and look terrific.

I've already used the strips to piece two twin sized bargello quilts, one of which is quilted and finished.  The other one is waiting to go on the frame. 

BTW, replacing a worn out king sized quilt with two twins for the DH and me turned out to be a brilliant move.  We've got a super king sized down comforter (regular king with half a twin sewed to one side, needs custom covers of course, but keeps the aforementioned tushes covered from the cold air).  Sometimes one of us wants an extra quilt, and the other one doesn't.  The DH also likes to use the quilt as a sheet.

Quilts for our bed have to survive frequent washing AND the action of tiny dogs trying to tunnel to China.

I also pieced 130 4-patches from the squares.  On this quilt I was playing with values and only used the lightest and darkest of the squares.  Every block has a solid navy center.  I kept the reds out but other than that didn't both much about color or what goes with what.  It's all about the values.

Set them on point, alternating with solid magenta blocks.

I used the design wall for the first time to plan this quilt, which is now ready to have the blocks sewn into rows.   The design wall began life as office cubicle panels, a thrift store find. The panels are just leaned up against some steel shelving.

The second photo only shows the top half of the quilt in progress.  The entire thing went all the way down the wall and flowed onto the floor.  I was surprised at how well the blocks stuck to the wall.  Any movement (or air flow from the vacuum cleaner) dislodged them, but if left alone they stayed up for days.

Those yellows are jumping out too much.  I had my doubts about them when they were on the wall, but one of my design principles is to put in something that jars just a bit for liveliness.  But now that I see the photo I think I will replace them.  More piecing ahead.


  1. Love the candy jars idea, the little dog is so cute and the quilt - very striking. It's going to be fantastic when done.

  2. I need you at my house. My stash is a mess. I'm trying to figure out how to organize everything.


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