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A month of successful ‘using it up’

Back at the Ranch

The beginning of the year is always a time of resolutions and good intentions.

One of my granddaughters is involved with an online sales company that had a unique program this January for de-cluttering one’s home, one area at a time. While that company’s products involve many storage items that could help their customers with that, the idea was a wise one for everyone, to clean out and organize everything from toys to jewelry to kitchen cupboards and – gasp! – craft rooms, which could be the worst organized of all, or maybe the best.

Even before I knew about her clean-up program, I had started on my sewing room, for a totally unconnected reason. I needed to clear off the desk to put my outdoor planters there, so they could start growing for the year. That could not be done before I weeded through boxes and bins stashed there over time, and it was during that process that I found a zippered bag of bits and pieces I had been given at a Further Education challenge, but brought home and promptly forgot about, because I was knee-deep in some other process.

Being I found it just at New Year’s, I decided to start the new decade off with that forgotten project. I pulled out the pieces, some of them pieced and cut into elongated diamond shapes, some in short chunks of pieced strips, some in odd pieced configurations, along with stacks of two sizes of triangles and a matching strip of a neutral off-white, and started to arrange them. Amazingly, I found I had just enough of the elongated diamonds, gold on one end, brown floral on the other, to arrange into two large sunbursts.

With the two laid out side by side on the cutting table, I suddenly saw it as the beginnings of a table runner. Further arranging determined that some of the triangles just fit nicely in the spaces between the brown outside ends. There were a couple of print-and-plain brown blocks that quickly became a four-patch square that I could border with some of the neutral strip and put in the middle between the sunbursts.

Boy, was I on a roll!

Strips of matching print-and-plain became four-patch corner blocks, print triangles were sewn to neutral strips to fill in the centre spaces on the sides, and while digging through the leftovers again, I found a long strip of the floral print that could be used as binding, but was only long enough for the sides. What to put on the ends? There was one leftover diamond shape and still some of the pieced strips left with one end cut at a 45-degree angle – I could cut a couple or three more diamonds! This time I pieced them end-to-end, making a long strip, and cut it in half to make end borders. With those sewn on, I dug through my stash and found a big chunk of quilt backing in a similar neutral, and a chunk of thin bonded batt just the right size. In no time flat, I had a table runner!

But there were still a pile of scraps left, along with some smaller triangles. Aha! I could make coasters! Two triangles sewn together made a square for the back, three different configurations of strips made the tops, and the scrap pile shrunk to a minimum. Hey, I could make a bag to hold the coasters. Four triangles and a leftover strip made two squares for the lining, the other bits and pieces made a crazy-quilt front, but the two remaining triangles weren’t big enough to make a square for the back… or were they? Some bits and pieces sewed into a strip long enough to join the triangles, and the bag became a reality. All that was still left were four very small scraps, and they would accompany the finished project back to Further Ed!

That was one bag taken care of. But what was in all those other bags and bins?  Sorting though the mending and ironing baskets filled a bag for the donation box. And then I found the box of Canada Day and Canada 150 fabrics, and the idea wheels started turning…




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