Saturday, July 7, 2018

Chain-piecing with scraps to cope...


Those of you who think my quilt cave is never messy, here you go!  I have been doing some scrappy chain-piecing to distract me from the fact that Rome is burning.

There is just something so relaxing and mind numbing about running a constant stream of strips though the machine.  No measuring...just comforting, repetitive motion.

Since I save everything, the variety of bright fabrics has been entertaining and cheerful.

I started this little project of making 6-inch (finished) blocks a few years ago.  I decided it was one of those ongoing quilts that would develop over time, as the scraps (or the desire to cut strips from yardage) miraculously appeared.

I am using my tiniest pieces to make little strips of scraps to mix in with all the longer strips.  The chunky strips are all different widths.  

I just sorted by approximate sameness of size, sewed them in chunky strips, pressed, and rotary cut them as wide as I could, trimming to the narrowest piece.

I try to put thicker scraps on the ends so I don't end up with a seam train wreck when I sew the blocks and sashing together.

Ahhh...sweet escape.  I don't think there was a single thought in my head while the squirrels that live in my machine worked away for a few afternoons.

Sometimes a girl just needs to empty her head and chain-piece.

There will be sashing between the blocks, I think.  It is way too crazy and busy, to me, not to sash.  The eye needs to rest somewhere in all the madness.

I love the "Brooklyn Revolver" rotating cutting surface for trimming the blocks.  

I think I have about 200 blocks made.  I have not thought of how big a project it will be or anything about the setting.  "Just keep piecing, just keep piecing..."

I know I have not been around much since the first week of May.  It is mowing season.

And my friends, it is BLUEBERRY SEASON ON STEROIDS around here!

I wish you all lived close to me so you could come and pick yourself some blue Heaven.

One day they looked like this...

...then all of a sudden...

...the ripening berries are like blue popcorn; they just burst forth, seemingly overnight!  (That is not a child hand, but my big paw!)

It is so hot here recently that I have been getting up early to get outside by first light...that is about 5:15 CST.  Then I pick for 4-5 hours until the sun is dangerous.  I have quite a strange farmer's tan going, so I try to work on outside projects in the shade in the sunnier, hotter part of the day.  

Some days I pick 2-3 hours in the evening before dark as well...the fireflies are beautiful as I get my haul back to the house.  This is about what I get each time I pick...

It is completely crazy, huh?  Great time to listen to Podcasts or Morning Edition/BBC.  Lately I have just been listening to the birds wake up.

My three sisters came last weekend with their families and this is what we picked (the buckets and dumping containers barely fit on the pantry counter!)...

Here is one sister's haul...ready to put lids on for the 4.5 hour ride back home to Atlanta.

Sunny and hot...

(It is hard to get the longest row in one picture.)

Pre-dawn and cooler (from the other end)...

One of my sisters was picking with her son so they could fly some berries back to Pennsylvania.  My nephew ate just about everything he picked...

So did the other two.  They all had to show me the berries in their mouths in the first pic...

I thought one of my Atlanta sisters was going to have to leave a kid with me to be able to get all the berries in cars!

I have been picking since Memorial Day, and there are still berries.  Thank God they don't all get ripe at once or I'd be dead!

The freezer is full of flash-frozen berries, and now I am picking for jam.  The birds and wildlife will be gorging on the ones I don't get to (there are still some that aren't ripe yet...).

Seriously...come pick!

I have been working on some applique projects.  One project is a challenge that I can not reveal until after the guild meeting in a couple of weeks.  The challenge is called "Stitchin' the Blues" and we can only use fabrics that are blue and white.  I love blue!

I hope you are all having a great summer!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)


  1. Oh my gosh--that is an incredible haul of blue berries! My hubby is picking a half gallon of raspberries everyday which is more than we have ever gotten. We had to turn on an extra freezer! I love your cheerful blocks.

  2. You must have a freezer full of blueberries. Nothing like homemade muffins made with fresh blueberries. I'd come and pick but I live in CA. I can't wait to see the quilt you'll make with those bright scraps.

  3. It's a good thing you like blue!

  4. Oh, I wish I could come and help pick berries - what a haul!

  5. Those blueberries look fabulous. So good to have a post from you. I have been doing the same sewing with my scraps to handle our health issues. And life goes on.

  6. I have been blueberry picking this summer. Even took the two year old grand and she did great eating and picking... FUN and such great memories from 60 years ago picking in northern Wisconsin at MY grandparents place. No freezer up there but there was a cook who did wonderful things...….

  7. OMG - that is a lot of berries - you should open for "you pick" and sell some - I do believer you can easily charge $10-12 a gallon for you pick.
    I would get tired of blueberries after awhile

  8. Oh boy, you have had a bumper crop of blueberries this year. And, as Karen says, here locally you-pick blueberries are $10 a gallon. I should have sent DH over to your house to get his supply of blueberries.

  9. You surely are in blueberry heaven. Wish I were closer. I love your colorful scrappy blocks. They remind me of the X marks the spot quilt. I keep forgetting to email you a picture of version I made two years ago.

  10. The blueberry haul is INCREDIBLE!!! Sure wishing I lived closer. Glad you are having some fun with those small strips! Sashing or not, those blocks promise one (or more) super fun quilts!!

  11. Your blueberry bushes certainly are pulling their weight! Amazing harvest.

    Love the blocks. I know what you mean by how busy they are, but I seriously don't think I'd sash them. In for a penny, in for a pound - take THAT, Rome.

  12. Envy, envy. We tried to grow blueberries once and the deer ate the whole bush.

  13. Those blocks could make several kids quilts. We had a small blueberry bush, several year ago, but, it didn't make one winter. I think the most we ever got off that bush was about 50 berries. I love blueberries.

  14. Those are some big blueberries. One thing I like and have not found in several years is blueberry ice-cream.

    Those are some bright blocks. I will be watching to see what you do with them. You do a lot of applique but I don't know that applique would show if you used these for backgrounds.

  15. First of all, "while Rome is burning" is a sadly apt description. Secondly, those are lovely blocks made from scraps. Thirdly, OH HOLY HELL WHAT A LOT OF BLUEBERRIES!

  16. I am in love with everything about this post!! Love to do chain piecing scraps too in the same way you do AND THOSE BLUEBERRIES are awesome!!! I cannot believe how many you all harvested and still have any left on the vines. I sure do wish I lived close enough to come pick. You can bet I would be there. I have them every morning on my cereal and love making jam and blueberry muffins. I know it's a lot of work, but not nearly as bad as blackberries I'm sure!!! Thanks for the great pictures.

  17. Wow, great blueberries! I am picking blackberries, one small bucket every two days. Glad you will be at the July guild meeting. There are more than 70 entries!

  18. Oh wow!!!! I wish I were closer! I thought I was having fun with our figs, and I'm the only one here who eats them. But I do can preserves to send to the sibs. I don't know if I could handle your haul!!

  19. What a crop of blueberries. Would have loved to help pick them and eat them of course. Fresh blueberry cobbler, muffins, yum. Fantastic.

  20. Wonderful to read your post today -- my mother, sister, and I picked blueberries one summer in Michigan and the car was SO full on the way home my sister had to sit in my lap (days before seat belt laws). So many fun memories. (LOVE those scrappy blocks)

  21. WOW - those things look like cherries! Or maybe small plums! Delicious. We have one tiny berry bush in a pot that my son rescued a long time ago and have been getting a whopping 3 or 4 berries per day. LOL

  22. Wow! Amazing haul of blueberries. I will echo everyone else... sure wish I were closer! Love the scrappy strips - I would let them shine in all of their color and chaos, they are so bright and cheerful!

  23. Your post made me smile. What's not to love about bright fabrics and blueberries!

  24. I guess you better love blue - with all those berries to pick! Wow! that's a lot of berries. Mindless stitching is just what is needed at times. I save everything and will need to do an awful lot of mindless stitching to use them all up. Every now and then I open a shoe box and see what's in it and lots of time I find small blocks or HST's needing to be squared up and made into pinwheels - I did that this week.

  25. Oh my goodness I am so jealous! That is an unbelievable amount of berries... probably more berries there than Ontario produces in a year! I'll go picking on the weekend, but it won't be anything close to what you do!

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  27. Love your bright fabric squares. That is a lot of blueberries.
    Take care.

  28. Hello, I went by to say hello, since I've been disconnected from everything for a long time. As always I love your work. That I still think that they are not chapucillas, but great works. A kiss.

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  30. Hope everything is okay with you. I look forward to all your posts. I also envy the blueberries, but envy the scarps even more. I wish I had you eye for color.

  31. Blueberries are my favorite! Love your blog and all your great projects!


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