working with batiks and sashing ideas
jelly roll race challenge made three holiday runners
finding designs that compliment a favorite print
How do YOU learn a new technique or try a new design? I have had students waste yards and yards of fabric and batting trying out new things. But we HAVE to practice!! So rather than throw those swatches away, I try to make small projects with them, and they don't have to be perfect. There are some great suggestions for what to do with these samplers, even if they're quilted over and over with stitches. My favorite is:
Dog Beds!! Take your muslin or sample fabric larger practice quilts and square them and bind them for shelters and rescues as little sleep mats for dogs and cats in temporary housing till they find their forever homes. For smaller animals, even a rectangle 24" x 20" can make a perfect quilted bed. Make larger pieces when you have them for larger dogs. When you have several made up, find your favorite rescue or shelter to drop off. They'll love them, and your stitches don't have to be perfect.
I also save the little bits of fabric and batting scraps I trim off when working on all my other projects and use them as stuffing for pillow style donation dog and cat beds. This is a great project for using up larger pieces from my stash that I no longer want. (I actually love to go through my fabric bins from time to time to thin out storage for new purchases.) I take my large scraps, and then my practice quilt samplers and sew them together right sides together leaving an opening for turning. Then I cut up my bag of scrap cuttings into smallish pieces and stuff the bed and top stitch the opening closed.
In one of my earlier blogs, you'll find a fun tutorial on making journal covers out of smaller quilted projects. In that case, I did a strata technique for the quilt sample. But of course, you can use any sample the right approximate size.
But my favorite is to make table runners and table mats and hot pads out of my test stitching. I just can't stand to waste anything, and these are also great ways to try out different fabrics without piecing to see how they look when quilted. Often I learn a lot about size of print and size of quilt design, scale and what works and what doesn't. Theory isn't as good for me as actually seeing the results of my ideas.
I'd love to hear what you do with your practice samples, and see pics if you decide to try any of these ideas. Pair the runner or mat with a candle or interesting pottery pitcher or bowl and it makes a fantastic and thoughtful gift!
Let's quilt something! ~Beth