Okay, here goes . . . Allison Bayer here, guest poster at Deb's urging. Those paper plates you see pop up in her posts? That's me happily slogging through a mega-tiny-many-pieces-block that I need a bunch of to make a fantastically scrappy quilt. This is the Tri-Rec unit from En Provence. I did two units per plate (because that is what fit -- no spill over or you can have a disaster).
How did this madness start? Glad you asked! I jumped on the Bonnie K. Hunter bandwagon in July 2010. While at a retreat in East Texas, the gals would NOT let me sew another seam until I had cut up some of my scraps into 1.5" squares. A stack of light and a stack of dark. "Now put them next to your sewing machine." They watched me like a flock of hawks to make sure something was always under my sewing machine's presser foot. No more long threads to snip, get tangled, or let fall to the floor. So, in between piecing my project I would have a Leader & Ender of two of the tiny squares, right sides together and run them through. Hey!!! I'm think I'm gonna like this. Saving thread AND building another project in between. Bonnie, you are a friggin' genius!!!!!!!!!
Fast forward to 2017. . . I'm now completing my 15th scrappy quilt!! Doing the math that is about two scrap quilts per year. My happy place these days is www.Quiltville.blogspot.com and anything Bonnie dreams up. The happy place gets happier when sewing with my "Bonnie" friends.
Do you listen to Podcasts? Pat Sloan is a favorite. She is so conversational and really gets the person she is interviewing to open up. My favorite was when she interviewed Darlene Zimmerman. "Before you go Darlene, you've got to give us your best quilting tip!" Darlene responded "Paper plates." Huh?? Yep, I'm living proof that it keeps you organized, keeps your pieces in place, and is ready to go when you are.
Here I am working on Scrap Crystals from Bonnie's book, More Adventures with Leaders & Enders. I needed 20 blocks. Breaking that down into four stars per block, that is one star per plate. That's A LOT of paper plates!! Dollar stores are my go to spot for picking up a stack. Usually 100 per package and I needed 80 plates for these blocks to come together.
This pic is the end result of a day of sewing with friends at Fabric Fanatics. F.I.V.E. blocks done!! Well, if you look real close and are familiar with the block, you will see I needed to find my seam ripper and do some flipping of some of the start units within the block. BUT, this is one row of stars completed in between catching up, belly laughs, shopping, having lunch, and doing more shopping.
How did I achieve such productivity? Think of it as an entire quilt top buffet in a box. The box is my idea as the stacks would be in danger of tipping over if not contained. Here is my "cake" sized box as I'm loading in blocks for transport to the shop for Sew Day. See how each star is "built" on to the plate? Us quilters need our daily dose of fabric fiber to get us through. I stack empty plates on top to squish things down and hold the contents tight. Rubber bands go around the box for transport, packing, and hauling. Even when I drop the closed box or it gets wedged in on its side nothing moves. How wonderful is that? It rates high in my book.
I took the stack of completed blocks, sashing, and border to retreat to set the quilt top. Deb took a picture of my Ta-Da!
This quilt was started January 2014 when I took the class from Bonnie and finally finished February 2017. It is fun to bounce around among various scrappy projects since I can work on one for awhile and when I feel the need to switch to another to make more progress on it. Paper plates keep me organized and on track AND GET ME CLOSER TO COMPLETION. For me, that is what it is all about.
One final tip . . . only purchase two packages of paper plates. MAKE a goal to empty a set number of paper plates per day toward completing your project. A "bite" at time remember? Now go get your daily dose of fiber while you admire Scrap Crystals now complete.
Deb here --- My note is that I have watched Allison with these paper plates for years now. I want to share something else that she does with them. When she is at retreat or sewing with gal pals, she takes notes of memories she wishes to keep. She takes these notes on the plates themselves and so every once in awhile, she comes to one as she is sewing and has the chance to take a trip down memory lane. I LOVE that aspect. It is her own personal journal (albeit a bit out of order, lol) but a record nevertheless. Food for thought. Thank you, Allison, for doing this and sharing a trick that you learned years ago. Love ya tons.