My design wall is shrinking

or maybe i should try finishing one project before starting a new one and then they wouldn't have to fight for space and attention up there..
This weekend I went a little berzerk with a new variety of wonky log cabins.. Inspired by the upcoming bee at 15minutesplay, I wanted to work sew through some ideas and see what would happen if I tried "making" strips of color by crumb piecing my logs.  Here's my first:

nice, but I needed another go at it, I wasn't getting what I wanted in terms of the proportions:
I really liked how the fabrics played together in this one, though that bit with the house was a pain in the neck.  I also liked the light-square-in-a-dark-square thing going on once I put it on the design wall.  At this point I was feeling a sort of addiction take then I made a third:

As much as I wanted to do these, by the third round I was feeling a bit frustrated in the amount of time each "log" was taking to construct.  See, since last year (the start of my Spiderweb piecing, incidentally), I have been sorting my scraps by size and then shape:
  • smaller than a Fat Quarter
  • strips (separate piles for width of fabric, wider than 3", long and narrow, short and narrow, over 6"..)
  • bits (in the same drawer go odd shaped pieces less than 10" square, stacks of same sized squares, baggies of leftover pieces from my own or inherited projects)
  • small strips (5" or less)
  • crumbs
  • small triangles & corners
then there's a tub for unsorted scraps (freshly washed but not ironed, etc), and a big bag at the back of the door for any scraps i found on the floor when I rearranged the furniture-- mostly washed but unsorted. 

These are the bins, shoeboxes & drawers I usually pull from before I go to yardage.  I like having them all sorted by size because I can always find the size I need without having to wade thorough a huge scrap bin of irrelevant fabric when I'm looking for 2.5" squares..  But here I was challenging myself to stick with a specific color... and I found that starting with the crumb box just made me really frustrated.  who wants to sew together 2"x1.5" tiny bricks to make up big logs?  Yeah, they'll look great, but i couldn't find enough of the right shade of blue to make 2 logs the thickness I wanted.  so I pulled out the small strips bin, and then started rooting through the unsorted scrap bin, and for the life of me i can't find the small triangle & corners shoebox and it was driving me nuts!  Now don't get me wrong, I love crumb piecing and I'm a huge fan of the concepts behind the 15minutesplay group.. but this was taking waaaaay longer than 15 minutes, and I was getting more and more frustrated and discouraged that what i wanted/needed wasn't within arms' reach and it was getting tiring having to get up in the middle of every log to search for the right shade/right sized fabric scrap.  All the sudden my exercize in free piecing wasn't very freeing..
So after the third block I gave myself a rest and just zipped through some mindless wonky log cabins with no real thought to color, only choosing logs that were the right size and shape. 
ahhh.  now that was fun and relaxing.
Visually I love what the crumb logs can do for a block, but I think I'll need to do more prepwork and get really organized before I try them again.  maybe I'll spend an afternoon teaching George about colors as we sort crumbs into 10 different tupperware bins..


  1. Sorry they're a ton of work, but those crumb logs turned out fantastic. Good luck!

  2. I read your post, an I want to suggest this to you, the main goal of a 15 minute exercise is to let go of the thinking.

    Instead of focusing on the FINAL object, focus on the colors.

    MAKE fabric into STRIPS or a BIGGER piece of fabric by Color, which you then GO BACK to, to cut down to make into your blocks.

    it's about using up what you have with out thinking so much., so if you do it by color,
    make the FABRIC, then CUT from your fabric you will find that these will go together much faster.

    Don't think about placement... this is to be an exercise in LETTING GO of thinking and worrying about your outcome later... You may also find it will lead you to a block different and fabulous than you started out TRYING so hard to make. let go of you initial expectations.

    let me know if that helps. hugs! see ya soon!

  3. Great blocks! Love the red star block. I really love the pieced logs, I'll have to try that.

    Now I think I must organize my scraps too. They are in a big basket that I dump on the floor and pillage through like a treasure hunt. It does take alot of time to find what you need. I guess some plastic bins are in my future.

  4. They look great anyway, however much time they took! I do love that bit with the little house.

  5. They look fantastic...Victoria great advice..Jessica I recognize some nice purple green black chevron striped fabric...looks just like whats in my placemats...break out the purple fabric...smiles

    Yes, I feel your pain as i think tooooooo much as well and often am worried about the outcome...versus enjoying the process...Making fabric...with my scraps....i like that...just mindless stitching...i will try that...

  6. Toss all those scraps in a brown paper bag and reach in and just go for it. :) Whatever way you do it they look great!

  7. Thanks for sharing the frustrations of working to try to make something from a pile of scraps. It's a lesson in how not to work with scraps for me. I like that you just let go in the end and have happy results.


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