Saturday, October 7, 2023


I've been working on a sort-of-secret quilt in recent weeks--nothing I can share here--but I needed to pause it. (I'll explain later when it's done and gifted.) In the meantime, we took a wonderful vacation in northern Michigan on Lake Huron. Now that we are back, I'm still on pause with the quilt, so I sorted around to see what small project I could make, and realized that I had neither whittled down my multi-colored scraps nor made any placemats this year, a bit of a goal I had set at the beginning of the year.

So, the first thing was to sort the scraps. I wish I had taken a photo when I dumped them on the floor. I was too busy pawing through them. But here's where I ended up.

To give some perspective, this is one of those bins that fits in a cube storage organizer. I sorted the scraps by style of pattern and compatibility of colors and put them all into plastic bags. It was surprising to find that I had enough of some fabrics that they (like the fabric in the front) could have their own bag. Getting the scraps all sorted made me finally feel like I could do something with them instead of just sigh.

To get some inspiration for a placemat, I pulled out my collection of Bear Paw blocks that I made during the pandemic, and found a blue one that coordinated quite nicely with a bag of my blue/green and floral scraps. Then I pieced improv style around the block and added strips to make it wide enough.

As I worked, I enjoyed remembering the quilts those scraps came from and who they were for. For example, the striped blue and green print is from one of my grandson's baby quilt, and the large floral print was from a quilt for a friend of my daughter who was under treatment for cancer. The navy bits that look solid are actually three different almost-solid prints from various projects (not from the multi-colored scrap bin, but that's okay). 

I pieced the back with more scraps, seaming wherever necessary to make strips long enough. 

I also pieced scraps and navy prints for batting and binding. The quilting is a simple meander since there was already so much print going on. 

I was so pleased to use up almost every last bit of some of these fabrics that I dug right back into my bins to make another placemat.

I first chose a Bear Paw, but then realized that I wasn't finding as many compatible scraps for it, and since that was my main focus, I instead pulled a bag of scraps to see what I could do with it. 

By piecing together odd pieces (parallelograms) of the large floral print (plus a coordinating vine print), I was able to make four columns. I made three more columns from green prints. You might wonder why those greens were in the multi-colored print bin. They were actually parts of strip-pieced triangles or other multi-fabric scraps that had been cut off from blocks in old projects. I thought this was the front of the placemat. 

I continued piecing the floral to make more strips for the back. I did dip into some larger pieces that were not in the bin to make the peach and green stripes, but that was okay because I had used up almost all of the floral and green scraps. I pieced batting scraps and used another very old green print for the binding. When it was time to quilt, I decided that I liked that back better than the front of the placemat, and quilted wavy lines with my walking foot from that side. 

So, in just a few days, I had two placemats and a visible reduction in scraps. Now I just have to remember to keep pulling from that bin to make more placemats so that next spring I'll have a collection for the placemat drive for Meals on Wheels. 

The pink and green placement is 14 by 18 inches (about 15 by 19 before quilting and trimming). The blue and green placemat is about 13-1/2 by 17-1/2. (I forgot to oversize it to allow for quilting.) 

I can't end without a few photos of our trip. We had such a good time. I have always loved Lake Michigan, but I have become fond of Lake Huron along the northeast shore of Michigan because it is less developed and more accessible than Lake Michigan. We could walk or bike for miles.

A sign identifying it--you know, in case you missed it

40 Mile Point Lighthouse

This shipwreck was under some water when we were here a few years ago. The water level is much lower this year.

Ocqueoc Falls

It's so peaceful here--we visited three times this year.

Barn Quilt sighting at Knaebe's Orchard. (We spotted another one--a cardinal--in town. I forgot to get a photo.)
No sign needed.
There was a drawer full of art supplies in our cottage. I haven't painted for many years, but what a fun way to spend an evening.
Sunset on the Sunrise side of Michigan
I'm linking up with Cynthia at Quilting is more Fun than Housework for Oh Scrap on Sunday. 

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of autumn (or spring) as much as I am and that you have time for little quilt projects and for nature this month.