I'm so pleased that I'm not alone in this problem - lots of you help up your hands to admit kinship with me! Although it doesn't sound like too many of you have quite as many scraps as I do - good for you! You'll have a much easier job in dealing with yours!
Last week I set a goal for myself for March - to sort, press, and fold the contents of this tub. Last Sunday afternoon, I had about an hour with nothing planned or pending, so I grabbed the tub and started working on it. By the end of the hour, I had made some progress, sorting out strings (long strips 2" wide or narrower) and pressed and folded some larger pieces (you can see them in the back tub).
But I'll be honest - it was boring work that didn't seem to have much point. And the thought of all those other tubs was depressing. But then someone mentioned in a blogpost comment that she makes bow tie blocks from her scraps - and suddenly a plan emerged!
The next day, I got hard to work and did some more pressing, folding and sorting....
...and then the tub was empty!!! Woohoo!!! I pulled out some of the larger pieces and cut sets of two 3.5" squares and two 2" squares, pinning them together in sets. About an hour later, I had 100 sets, enough for a 60" square quilt when paired with two 3.5" background squares for each set!
Here's the block I've been making this week - so simple, they work up in about three minutes. I'm nearly halfway to another quilt top already!
I'm also planning on using the strings to make some string blocks to stash away (mainly because I don't think there's enough green to make a whole quilt of strings). There's still a good bit of freshly pressed and folded scrap in the box, too, so I'm going to look for another pattern to cut for.
So what did I learn this week? That it's much more satisfying to sort those scraps if you have a simple plan for something to make from them, especially something you can make fairly quickly. A little instant gratification is a wonderful thing! And speaking of instant gratification, Instagram is a great motivator - when you can post pics of your scrappy progress and get some virtual high fives right away, it can give you the little kick you need to keep going!
If you'd like to try the bow tie block, it's really simple - lay a 2" print square on the corner of a background square, and stitch from corner to corner. Trim 1/4" away from your stitching line (towards the outside of the block). However, instead of trimming your block now, you can create bonus half square triangles at this point.
Stitch about 3/8" out toward the corner, then cut in between the lines of stitching. Put away your HSTs for another project, then press the print corner out to recreate the square. Make two of these. Put them in opposite corners of a four-patch block, with the print triangles pointing toward and meeting in the center. Put two solid print blocks in the empty corners and assemble.
This is such an easy block, I think we'll be making it at church for some of our charity quilts, too. It's simple to sew the little corners on for the knot - you can eyeball the diagonal line on a 2" square pretty simply. And the only seams that need to be matched are at the center of the four-patch - and if you're a little off, it's not going to show that much, because all the fabrics are the same in the center! It's a great beginner block!
And it's a versatile little block - here are some ways it can be laid out...
Here's one pretty traditional layout for a bow tie quilt...
And this would be another traditional layout.
Here's a slightly more modern layout, and it can be done either vertically or horizontally.
And here's a much more modern layout I've been playing with...
...and another variation on that layout.
I'm making my quilt out of all green scraps, but you could also accumulate a lot of different color bow ties for a very scrappy look! (I'm already eying a stack of scraps left over from the Polaroid quilt - all polka dots on bright colors - and thinking they would make AMAZING looking bow ties!)
Feel inspired yet? I hope you're having great success working on your own goals for the month - and if you're just now getting to the party, the original link-up for your monthly goal will be open until 3/15/16 at midnight CST - there's still time to post a goal and link it up to the party! I'm hoping accountability will help me organize and use the mountain of scraps I have in my studio - maybe it will help you too!
Do you have a favorite scrappy block? Share in the comments - we can all use the ideas and inspiration!!