I had a comment from rebecca grace
Those little blocks are darling! How do you prep those garden blocks to make them portable? Do you have all the fabrics selected and cut out for each block in a baggie, or an assortment of cut strips that you work from, selecting what works together as you go? I would like to do better with portable sewing but I struggle with having something ready to go as I walk out the door.
I really liked this question. It might be a very long answer. It all begins with a mess of scraps or a quilt I want to make someday. I keep a list of quilts I really like and maybe make someday. These are mostly quilts I am not stressed about making. I have over 200 on the list. If I ever get to them great, if not.. oh well. Quilts on this list can change their status randomly. If I decide it is the perfect project for me at the moment, I move it to the planning list. For example, all of Bonnie Hunter's patterns are on the maybe someday list, except the ones I have already started. This year I picked 2 of them to work on for the year, garden party and sand castles. Both of them went from maybe someday to plan, to cut, and then sew.
In the planning stage, I checked to see how work can be batched. Sand castles needed string pieces which I can do during tv time, so I cut the foundation papers and put them on the treadle in the living room where I do the string piecing. I didn't worry about cutting the rest until strings were done.
Garden party needed cutting, and all of it was from 1 1/2 inch strips, and no specialty cuts. I chose it for that reason. So for several nights I had a bucket of 1 1/2 inch strips by my chair in the living room, a tray, cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler, and I started cutting. Each block needed a 16 1/2 in long piece to cut 4 matching pieces 2 1/2 inches and a 6 1/2 inch piece. I also needed a coordinating fabric that was at least 10 inches long to cut into 2 1/2 inches rectangles. I needed 100 sets. I would pull one strip and see if it was at least 16 1/2 inches, if not, 10 inches. Here is where I can get into trouble, but, at this point, I throw anything not big enough into the string bucket, as I sort through the bucket and try to empty it. I didn't think to cut the single 1 1/2 inch square at this time, but, that would have helped.
I start matching fabrics and folding them together, as I go along. It is random and once the decision is made, I don't change the combo. I put 10 sets into each bag.
I cut a gaggle of the black on white 1 1/2 inch strips and throw them in the box. And at this point, the project goes into time out and waits for me to need an away from home project. In this case, it was almost a year.
If it wasn't a scrap quilt, I would still cut all the pieces ahead of time and put them in the project box with the instructions, but, I would cut all at once instead of over time. And if I am using "real" fabric, I am more likely to start working on it right away. I can't cut very well away from home. I am too distracted to cut accurately. I have plenty of quilts I am working on at any given time, so I have the luxury of being patient.
I have been very fortunate to have 2 consistent times each week that I sew from home, so it is easier to plan ahead. I hope this helps.
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