myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Using up my class samples (again)

This week I have been tidying my sewing room. A few weeks ago I hosted a giveaway and asked all you lovely, wise peeps to give me your fabric storage tips as an entry comment. I got some great ideas and the one I liked best was to store my fabric in a trolley that would live under my sewing tables.
So I got my husband to buy me some plastic boxes on a recent trip to Ikea and make me a trolley to stack them on (I know, I am very lucky!).
Here is a ‘Before’ photo to show you the fabric storage chaos I was dealing with… (some folks admitted to gasping when I shared this on Instagram!)

and here is the ‘After’ photo!
Of course I didn’t have enough Ikea boxes for all the fabric, I’m going to get double the quantity to give me a little growing room ;), but it’s looking a lot better. Those big boxes contain larger pieces and neutrals. And the First Aid box is full of threads (I’m not some health and safety freak in case you wondered!).

So while I was in the tidying zone I thought I’d have a rifle through my bag of class samples and see if I could ‘use them up’ as Odyssey would say (another one for the older reader there!).
But then I remembered that I had done quite a bit of this class sample recycling recently but hadn’t shared any of it here! 
So first up is this workshop bag that I made from bits and pieces from my ‘Scrappy Improv’ workshop.

The whole thing was made from scraps, even the straps, and when I finished the pieces for the front and back I basted them with wadding and used them as practice pieces for the FMQ patterns I used on my Modern Medallion Quilt. AND the best bit is that this is now it’s own class sample as I gave a workshop on how to make this handy bag (for carrying mat, ruler etc to workshops, see this post for more info) a few months ago and will again in the Autumn!
So I made the class samples into practice pieces and then made the whole thing into another class sample!
That kind of thing makes me very happy!!

The other class samples I have been using up recently are Flying Geese. Every time I teach students to make these I get 4 units. 8 untrimmed units are the perfect size to make these storage caddies!

This is one of the classes I will be teaching in Stockholm this October (at the Swedish Patchwork Association’s AGM) and so I never miss an opportunity for a quick practice. They are also very useful containers around the sewing room, and make lovely gifts…

This Priory Square version was a wee thank you gift for our EMQG long-arm maestro Tatyana, after she helped me out with a commission quilt in June.

And that brings us on to this week and the bag of class samples. These are mostly from my Modern Sampler Quilt evening course which I have taught maybe 5 or 6 times now.  I try not to make new samples every time but some of the techniques need to be demonstrated, hence I had 6 fan blocks.

I thought these 4 looked good together and really couldn’t resist sewing this up . And so my ‘scrappy wheel’ block was born! I added the Pam Kitty Morning border to make it big enough for an 18 inch pad. Somehow it has become a little distorted, with the centre circle more egg shaped. But I have decided it looks nice and quirky and just adjusted the border widths to sort it (I was too exhausted by all the tidying to care!).

And then I just had to hand quilt it! It was just crying out for a little perle cotton 8 love! This is still a WIP as I type.

So back to that bag. As well as MSQ class samples I found practice pieces for commission quilts like my Feathers Quilt and the reversible ‘Village’ table runner I made for 50 Fat quarter Makes and some orphan ‘Bearpaw Squared’ blocks that I had made for a ‘design your own quilt block’ class years ago (a class I am about to revive!). I spent a lovely morning planning out a quilt top (like doing a giant fabric puzzle!) and then just decided to go for it.

And here it is all put together (and being held up by one of my tall and helpful sons!). As well as a few ‘filler’ strips there are (still more!) Flying Geese, some HSTs and a piece of AMH’s Lolouthi I have been hoarding for the right moment.

I absolutely love the way this had turned out. In fact I love it so much that I’ve decided not to finish it yet but to add more to it to make it a really big quilt, then to spend many hours hand quilting it with care. And when it’s finished I am going to give it to a really special person – ME!

Yes I am going to make a quilt for myself! And this one will be very special, a sort of ‘greatest hits of Jo’ as it will have so many different blocks I have designed and will hold so many memories. Plus it’s totally scrappy which is very ‘me’!

So with this in mind I had another dig around at home and found a load more HST’s and matching squares and put together this little block (still having a wonderful time as I love all this ‘use it up’ activity!).
Then today I worked in the shop and had a rummage around the studio and came up with all these goodies…

The original Feather prototype, some scrappy solids that I was going to turn into a needlebook and some EPP either already appliqued or ready to be appliqued!.

I am off to London tomorrow to stay with a friend and to give a talk at the Richmond and Kew Quilters (where I will meet Benta!), but as soon as I get back I know I will be right back on to this project, long term or not!


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