Week 6 of Good Fortune

Or in other words, when life hands you scraps…

I was a bit apprehensive about this week’s clue. With this being my first Mystery Quilt, I really didn’t know what to expect. Fortunately Bonnie had mercy on us as we’re still in the throes of holiday shenanigans. As I write this it’s New Year’s Eve.

More strip/string piecing was our next clue. Yay!

Sort of.

If you read my blog at all, you know that my husband was diagnosed with cancer back in  July. I am a stay-at-home-mom and now cancer-patient-caregiver.  We haven’t had any income in five months. Yes, you read that correctly.

Which means there isn’t anything extra for fabric & notions. I am learning to make really scrappy quilts. Sewing has been my means of escape coping. Hence the venture into trying one of Bonnie’s mystery quilts.

After I read through Clue 6, I looked at my meager supply of neutrals and cringed. There wasn’t enough contrast in them to make them pop. What was I to do? I had already dug deep into my scrap bins and pulled out the prints that I thought would work, but it really wasn’t much.

Quantity was an issue, too. I just wasn’t sure there would be enough to finish out the quilt.

So instead of sewing, I cleaned. I had just finished up a project and needed to tidy up anyway.  It helps that my go-to method for problem solving is cleaning.  This time I found gold. Figuratively anyway.

For months I have been moving a ten inch stack of 5″ charms around my sewing room while contemplating a creative outlet for them.  Given our current financial situation, I was seriously considering selling them. These charms were not remnants of charm packs, but more of my notorious stash of swap fabrics. Some of the prints are cheap fabrics, some are the craziest prints I have ever seen, and some were holiday prints that couldn’t really be used elsewhere. I was about to place the stack on the ironing board in order to clear off a shelf when inspiration struck.

What would happen if I pulled the light squares out of the stack and cut them up? Would I have enough for the required amount of strips? Would the crazy prints totally mess up the neutral vibe?  There was only one way to find out!

In total, there were about 30 squares. After stacking them in piles of about 5-6 charms, I whacked them into various widths. Since they were for string piecing, I wanted variety, not uniformity. If they accidentally ended up in wedge shapes, even better yet.

As much as I love the mindlessness of string piecing, I was not in the mood to tear papers. Instead, I took the strips I had already cut of the neutrals I had been using and cut them in half so they were about 22″ long. Placing one long strip face up on my sewing machine, I proceeded to take one of the smaller pieces and placed it face down on top of the long strip. Using my scant 1/4″ I proceeded to fill up the length of the long strip with shorter pieces.

Continuing to chain stitch until all of my long strips were full, I then proceeded to snip them apart. Using scissors, I cut the strips into shorter sections between each of the shorter lengths. I know that sounds as clear as mud, so please refer to the picture. Instead of 22″ strips, I sub-cut them so they were 5-ish inches.

After pressing them open, I proceeded to either add another 5″ strip or stitch them onto another long strip. Continue to add strips until they are the length called for in the directions.  Doing it this way, they are incredibly scrappy.

Once I had what I thought was enough strip sets to sub-cut them into the pieces I needed for the mystery quilt, I moved over to the cutting table. Using my 12 1/2″ square ruler I was able to square them up before slicing them in to the size required.

Looking at my strip sets, I am so happy I chose to deviate from my box of neutrals. The scrappiness of these strips are bright, cheerful, and random. Perfect.

I’m linking up with Bonnie again, over at Quiltville. Be sure to check out the other bloggers over there and if you haven’t attempted a mystery quilt, give this one a try.

In other news…

Clues 2 & 3 still aren’t finished, but I am making progress. Having gotten #6 finished so early, I should have time this week to finish up at least one of the others.  One should be humble, but I’m pretty proud of the progress I have made with this quilt. It’s incredibly gratifying to see your container fill with completed pieces.

Also this week, I discovered the Sew for 15 challenge hosted by Southbay Bella Designs. Each month she is challenging her readers to find 15 minutes to sew. You can sew anything but she does have a list of challenges. January is curves and I am all about that. I have been wanting to master curves for years and since 2019 is my year for challenges, I plan to participate in the #sbbsewfor15. Look for me on Instagram using the #sbbsewfor15 hashtag.

Next week I hope to post a list of my 2018 finishes. This weekend I whipped up one last finish for the year and I will have that post ready on Thursday. It’s a cute little table mat made from some Riley Blake fat quarters that were gifted to me.

From our friends over at Maywood Studios, I found this on Instagram:

That’s all the news for this Week 6 Update. Until next week’s update, I challenge you to find 15 minutes to sew.

Have a Happy & Blessed New Year! May it be filled with peace, piecing, love & harmony.

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