Saturday, August 11, 2007

What makes me tick?

I like to take workshops to see what makes the presenter tick. I like to know how they analyze what they are doing, what their method of working is. In case you wanted to know but were afraid to ask (or maybe you didn't want to know) this is how I work.

Cutting and sorting: when I choose the fabrics I need to cut for a project I cut a generous clean up cut. This becomes the scraps for crazy piecing and some of my crooked strip quilts.

I usually cut 4 fabrics at a time.
Then I cut a 1-1/2" strip, a 2" strip and a 2-1/2" strip. The first 2 sizes of strips are stored in boxes marked with size and whether they are batiks or regular fabrics. The 2-1/2" strip gets cut into squares and rectangles for my colorwash type quilts. This way I am always prepared for a strip piecing project, which you may have guessed is one of my favorites. I believe in saving time, since we can't buy any more of it.

The boxes of 1-1/2" strips were brought out to choose the fabrics for my Prismatic Garden series. There is no way I would pull out hundreds of fabrics to cut just one strip off of them.

This is the stack of bins where I throw all of the scraps as I am working on projects. This is before sorting.
The longer strips have a home in a large mesh cube where they eventually get sorted by warm or cool colors. The little scraps get sorted into tiny, little, med. size, larger (but still small scraps) and scraps that need to be cut to be used. I do all of this sorting in my down time, when I am tired or have a migraine, or just after finishing one project and I'm not sure what I will start next. Just playing with the pieces of fabric, seeing color combinations together that I would never have thought of, is inspiring and rejuvenating.


Cindy said...

You know that totally makes sense. Cut the strips all at once & store them for later. Now I would not have thought of that & would have pulled out all the fabric to try & figure out what I wanted to do. I'm going to try doing this when I pull out fabrics to work on other projects - cut a couple of strips & put them aside until I have a stack. Thanks for sharing.

Joyce said...

I love the idea of having strips ready cut. I never thought of starting with saving strips. I am re-organizing my studio right now and it's the perfect time to add that type of storage. THanks!

Diane said...

You are so efficient. What a treat to always have pieces ready to work with, no matter what the project. Sure makes it less like "work" and more like "play" to do it that way.

meggie said...

A great idea. I once read that another quilt designer I admire, June Gilchrist, did that too, & I always think of her when I am storing my 21/2" squares.
Thanks for sharing this idea of strips, I must try it.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Have you read Bonnie Hunter's Scrap Saver's System on her website (another way to organize leftover fabrics in immediately useable forms)? I have my own variation that falls somewhere between your method and hers.

I TOTALLY understand doing things like this when you are "betwixt & between" - for me it is often enough to simply be in my studio surrounded by the colors!

Narelle said...

Your Prismatic Garden series and stip piecing is absolutely stunning. You've surely tweeked my interest. And I only wish I had an ounce of your organization skills. I keep telling myself I'll spend a day sorting out scraps but it's yet to happen. Thanks for the inspiration.

TB said...

I like your approach, Wanda, with preparing the strips for use later. I'm wondering if it makes starting a new quilt more appealing (as if I need more appeal for another quilt!) knowing that some of the cutting work has already been done; therefore getting a head start on the project. Having smaller pieces to play with in the design process seems appealing as well. Thanks for revealing how you work!

Darlene said...

Like Julia, I was inspired to use Bonnie Hunter's scrap saver system. I spent probably a week cutting up all my old and odd fabrics that I wasn't using. Having strips cut and ready to go is the only way to go, as far as I'm concerned. I was paralyzed before. I would pull out material and get overwhelmed with trying to choose something, and then having to cut it up! The upshot was that no quilts got made.

I'm not as organized as you are. The strips are sorted by size, but that's it!

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Wow, what a great post, and timeless-my favorite kind of advice. I began my quilt-making adventure using strips that I had cut at an inch and a half. My husband built me a rack with seven dowels, six feet long on a raising system so I can fill it and then lay it against the wall behind my sewing machine. It is the most amazing piece of utilitarian equipment he's ever made me. I'll try to find the link from my blog but with this adorable fifteen month old scrambling round my ankles.... I cut strips from each piece of fabric I received without fail and have had such a wonderful time seeing them all on the wall asking to be used.