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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

scrap vortex QAL--week one

Today I'd like to kick off the scrap vortex quilt along! It's going to be very informal and hopefully a lot of fun. If you are looking to make a dent in some of your scrap bins, this quilt along is for YOU!
The quilt along will be based on my scrap vortex quilt. You can read all about and see lots (!) more photos here. If you would like to join in the quilt along, collect your scraps--the more the better--and get ready to sew!

My favorite thing about this method of scrap sewing is that you don't need to cut out a bunch of stuff before you begin....you get to start sewing right away! And that's a good thing!

A few tools that I find helpful are: a pair of sharp fabric scissors, a pair of thread snips, a hot iron, a bottle of spray starch and a spray bottle of water. (A steam iron could work in lieu of the spray starch and water bottle.) You will also need a cutting mat, ruler, rotary cutter and a sewing machine.
I find it easiest to set up my work station in an L shape, with my ironing board close to my sewing machine on one side and my cutting station close on the other side. A lot of times I stand and sew.
As you can see, I have a lot of scrap piles to choose from...some on my ironing board, some on the floor, some on the desk. LOTS of options! It's not necessarily a tidy process.

This week's assignment is SUPER easy! Take two scraps that are approximately same length*, press them and sew them together. Chain piecing is a great idea. Make a bunch of pairs and press the seams to the side, preferably toward the darker fabric. Be sure to use a short stitch length (I use a 2) on your sewing machine, so the pieces won't start to come apart when you handle them.

*When you pick two scraps that are about the same length, you are able to use the entire piece of scrap fabric, rather than cutting, trimming and making even more scraps. This method produces very few scrap by-products, except for the few threads when you trim up the piece. (I MAY be obsessive in my scrap usage. :) Aren't you surprised???)
Here is a sampling of the pairs that I sewed together. Notice how the size and shapes of the scraps vary. Some scraps are long and skinny. Some are more chunky. Some are sewn end to end. Some are sewn side to side. Make a bunch of pairs. Variety in shape, color, size and configuration is good.
I would recommend that you find a basket to hold the sewn pairs after you press them. Otherwise, the unsewn scraps can overtake the whole lot!

One other thing...as I sew, I have a "donate" bag to collect the scraps that I simply don't want to use. Don't feel like you HAVE to use every scrap that comes through your hands. You can pass the ones that you don't care for along to someone else. I don't know about you, but sometimes I think that it's nice to have permission to do that.

Most importantly, have FUN with it!

If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them in the comments. If you are planning on sewing along with me, I'd love to know!


144 comments:

  1. Seems like this is just for me. Maybe I should try?

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  2. Such a great idea...and I have a lot to play with that is for sure! Looks like you might have another quilt in the making!

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  3. Just the perfect summer project that I have been searching for. Thanks!

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  4. Oh, I really need to do this with two bags of scraps that didn't get into the Scrap Dance mystery.

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  5. I am going to sew a long with you Amanda. Thanks for the quilt a long.

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  6. How do you stand and sew? I'm curious!

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  7. This sounds like a great project! I have been making scrappy quilts for 2 years now and don't have many scraps that are anything but tiny and long and stringey--would these work, too? Hugs, Julierose

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  8. I have a few crumb blocks started. I will be quilting along! And my scrap bins have become piles on the floor too, lol.

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  9. How fun! I might start using this as a leader/ender project! Now to find or make a little basket... hmmm.

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  10. I'm in! I hope I can keep up long enough to make a dent in my scraps!

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  11. Amanda: This is great. The idea of matching scraps of the same length is brilliant beyond words. You are so smart! I am going to jump in on this QAL, even though I have way too many projects going already. I've been saving my scraps for a moment such as this!

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  12. What a great idea! I love that there is no prep for it :)

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  13. This is a perfect project for summer! House is for sale and don't want to make a mess! I'm in

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  14. I 'll jump in. Lots of scraps to be used up around here.

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  15. I hope I have enough scraps!!!
    Buwahahaha!!

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  16. I'm in! although I will have to start around the 15th, since I am leaving on vacation. Looking forward to this project!!

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  17. I might want to attend as well. We'll see how my baby will allow me to... Maybe a smaller Project like a doll quilt or a pillow? Most of my scraps however, are of odd shapes rather than square or rectangular, will I be able to use them as well, or should I prepare them first?

    I used to have my sewing station on a higher desk, and I did not find a suitable chair for it. Therefore, I used to sew standing up for years! You can't do that for long though, but it works especially well when you have to shift between sewing and ironing often, like when working on a patchwork Project.

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  18. Oh my gosh I so need to do this, the scraps are taking over.....

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  19. What a fun quilt to make using up my tubs of scraps - or at least some of them - count me in.

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  20. Yay! So happy about this--hope to squeeze it in with the already scheduled WIPs.

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  21. Definitely - this is one QAL which has my name on it. I have admired your scrap vortex quilt for a while now, but I don't think I would ever pluck up courage to start on my own, so having you alongside as guide and mentor is wonderful. Thank you!

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  22. I'm in!
    I have been feeling the need for some improv sewing lately and this will scratch my itch :)
    How many pairs should we collect? and will you have a linkup for this qal. I'm like the kid that sits at the front of the class showing the teacher everything she has made LOL

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  23. I just love your finished quilt. I need another project like a need a hole in my head, but I can't resist, I'm in.

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  24. Scrap quilts rock ... No pre cutting ... Just begin....and YES it's a messy biz...so on that note I think I'll go clean my sewing room before I start... I'm in!😊

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  25. I'm All in when it comes to scrap sewing. I will be sharing this fun QAL on my Sunday Oh Scrap! link party. The more who join the merrier!

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  26. Twist my arm... ;) I'm in!

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  27. I can't start till next week but I am planning on sewing along!

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  28. I have been looking forward to this since you mentioned it.
    Your colors are so lovely and bright. I hope mine are too!
    Thanks for the tip about giving ourselves to pitch the ones we don't love.
    I may sew from my huge basket of scraps tonight!

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  29. I don't know if I have enough to make a whole quilt, but my scraps and I are in! :)

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  30. I'm in. Oh my, I hope to at least make a dent in my scraps. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  31. Looks like fun! Seems like this could fit in between other projects I have going...

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  32. I think I am going to join you. I am cutting fabric with my Go Cutter and I am still ending up with scraps. This will be a good way to do something with them.

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  33. I'm in! How many pairs to sew???

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  34. Count me in. I love scrap quilts!!

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  35. I am totally sewing along with you! Thanks for the invite!

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  36. Yes mam, I believe I will sew along! Scrap quilts are my favorite!!!! Thanks for the idea.

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  37. Excited to start! I have the same question as a few others...how many pairs more or less?

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  38. We moved overseas last summer and I sorted all my scraps into warm/cool/neutral tones before we packed up. They've now spent a year jammed into baskets, but I ironed one whole basket last week to get them ready to use for something. My daughter wants to learn to sew and I feel like this is a forgiving project as far as seam allowances go. : )

    I feel like the timing of this REQUIRES that I quilt along - school gets out next week!

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  39. Yay! Looking forward to participating.

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  40. Oh my gosh, this looks so fun! I feel like my scrap bin is a little low, but I'm going to go start now! Thanks for doing this quilt along! :)

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  41. I am sewing along with you , my scraps basket is...+++ !

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  42. a couple of weeks ago I got all my scrps nd sewed them like you said but did not stop there I now have them on blocks of 4 do I need to split them in to two again for this project please?

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  43. Adoro costurar retalhos, vou começar hoje mesmo a costurar.

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  44. I already started on this as a project for this year but I'm happy to have guidance too!

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  45. I use this method to make mission quilts with the donate scraps none of the others want to use. Everyone it always awed by them and think they are so difficult to make! I keep trying to tell them it's really easy...hoping someone else will help me tackle the scraps!

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  46. My husband has been bugging me and bugging me to make a scrap quilt. I was thinking that I want to make one and I certainly have LOTS of scrap to work with! What do you do with larger pieces? Like left over binding strips? Or do you just not add them and use them for scrappy bindings?

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  47. I'm in...scraps have taken over my sewing room.

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  48. I might jump in on this a little late. I still have 8.5 of my other blocks to finish this weekend. I've decided that the majority of my projects this summer will be aimed at using my scraps.

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  49. I'm "IN". Hopefully you'll cover easy ways to quilt a large piece since I mainly work with smaller wall hanging sizes. Thanks for the challenge.

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  50. You've made it sound so easy I'll join in! :)

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  51. Looks like a lot of fun and a great way to use up some of those pesky scraps that I won't throw away! I'm in!

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  52. Looks like a lot of fun and a great way to use up some of those pesky scraps that I won't throw away! I'm in!

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  53. I'm in too! We're moving this summer and I need something that will force me to throw out unusable scraps and also a project to keep me sane! My scraps are bananas shapes though and it'll be interesting to see how large I can go, right now I feel not very. :) exciting!

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  54. Ok, I'm also going to sew along with you! A lot of my scraps don't actually go together should I grab a solid to mix in all over the place to bring them all together?
    Mburnette912@bellsouth.net

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  55. I understand sewing pairs of scraps together but I can't figure out what happens after that to make 'blocks' to sew together?

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  56. Time to clear out the crumb boxes .... Yes!!

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  57. I love it! I'm presently working on crocheting a rag rug from scraps since I'm on vacation and couldn't bring my machine. Thanks for the QAL!

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  58. I love it! I'm presently working on crocheting a rag rug from scraps since I'm on vacation and couldn't bring my machine. Thanks for the QAL!

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  59. I need another project like I need a hole in my head. However, I find your energy contagious and can't resist. I'm supposed to be doing other things of my day, but maybe I'll take a small break and sew some pairs.

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  60. I've got these kinds of scraps, and this would be a perfect project. Just may join in!

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  61. I am absolutely in on this fun QAL! Came at the perfect time for me - these scraps are having babies I think! Thanks for doing this!

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  62. I'm in!!! It is always such a mess when sewing with scraps, but I can't wait to make a (hopefully) huge dent in my scrap bins!! Thanks so much for the QAL.
    Amanda

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  63. Oh, I am so in!! Thanks!

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  64. What a great idea! My scraps seem to take over my sewing room at times. I will be joining you!

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  65. This sounds wonderful. I'm going to join in.

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  66. This will be fun! Thanks for the QAL! :)

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  67. I'm in! And excited! Trying to get some LSMQG members to also join. Love the idea of starting a donate scrap bag. I need to pass some on.

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  68. I LOVE the idea! I'm partially skipping this first step, as I've already got lots of little strips sewn together (similar colours) I'll be now mixing different colours.

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  69. Anonymous9:45 AM

    I'll be playing along. I love your pile of scraps. Your work room set up is great. Mine is very similar and makes the process so much easier when everything is in reach.

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  70. I just cleaned up my sewing room and corralled all the scraps into two huge baskets. This is the perfect project to make good use of them and sort out all the ones that might be happier with someone else. Thanks, Amanda!

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  71. I am in!! Excited to hopefully reduce the scrap piles!!! Thank you for the QAL!!

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  72. I certainly don't need any more projects but I think I'm going to have to do this along with you and I am pretty excited about it! I've sorted scraps by color but now I guess I will throw them all back together again!

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  73. Sounds like the perfect project to get me back into quilting! I'm excited, thanks so much!

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  74. maybe this is a dumb question, but do you ever worry about your scraps going together? i'm sure that having a wide variety of fabrics makes the quilt beautiful, but how much do you edit which fabrics go in? i'm worried that my scrap pile just isn't cohesive enough to make anything as beautiful as the scrappy beauties you create.

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  75. This is kind of what I do anyway, so I'll play along!

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  76. Count me in! Thanks.

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  77. I'm in too! I like Your quilt and expect much fun.

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  78. I've started sewing scraps together......should we trim the pairs yet...some of mine have tails hanging or chunks cut out of one side?

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  79. Why is it that I always have a deadline so I can't join you fun sew alongside? I think I recognize some scraps in your initial sewing of two pieces (fox?)!!!!! Yay - they are being used!!

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  80. So cool, I think I would like to try this!

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  81. Following this QAL, as I don't have enough scraps. I started a scrap piece and am adding scraps as I got them. At least the ones that are to small for hexagons. Have fun! :)

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  82. Bernie Kringel,

    My sewing machine is on a counter height table, so it's very easy to stand and sew. It makes it the process of improv piecing more efficient when you are constantly sewing, pressing, trimming over and over again.

    I hope that helps!

    AJ

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    Replies
    1. I like Amanda's "L" shaped sewing station...mine is like that, with ironing board on right...but....I
      Use an adjustable office chair with wheels! You can get the "right" height for you, and instead of getting up to press so often, you just twirl on your chair.
      I havent tried standing to srw but it sounds lile a great idea!!

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  83. Julierose,

    yes! any size scraps would work. go for it!

    AJ

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  84. Niina Leppala,

    I prefer to have my scraps trimmed up and rectangular before I start sewing, but you could use your scraps as is. It's really up to you! If they are uninspiring to you in the shape they are currently in, I would tidy them up before starting. It's amazing how much that can help!

    I hope that helps!

    AJ

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  85. Melissa,

    How many pairs? Hundreds!!!

    I don't think I will do a link up party for the QAL, but if you are on Instagram, please use the hash tag #scrapvortexqal That would be a fun way to share your progress.

    AJ

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  86. Lisa Nelson,

    I hate to put a number on it, but I would say hundreds! You will need a lot. A LOT!

    AJ

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  87. Margaret,

    No, please don't split your pairs apart. You are all set and ahead of the game! Your pieces should work just fine for the QAL as is!

    AJ

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  88. Mama Spark,

    I usually put my leftover binding strips in my string basket. You could chop them up and use them for this if you wanted to. Usually when I feel like I need more variety, I dig into other categories (such as the string baskets). I hope that helps!

    AJ

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  89. Mary Burnette,

    I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say that your scraps don't go together. (That could mean a lot of different things!) I would say, if you have brights (the kind of fabrics you see me using a lot) and not so brights (more traditional colors) I would separate them into two categories. The tones of the fabric matching is very important, if you ask me. But beyond that, I wouldn't worry too much. If you would like further clarification, please let me know and I can send or post photos, if that would help.

    AJ

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  90. Annette-

    How many pairs? I literally mean a lot. Hundreds. Several hundred! I will depend on how large your quilt is going to be. It will also depend on how large your pieces are.

    I hope that helps!

    AJ

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  91. Heather Hubble,

    You will just have to wait and see! That's part of the fun of a QAL. Sorry to be a stinker. :)

    AJ

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  92. Marianne in MD,

    You will need to trim up the sides, so it's your choice if you want to do it now or later.

    AJ

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  93. molly b quilts,

    that is a great question! I will try to address that in the next QAL blog post. Hopefully!!! For now, just sew the pairs of fabrics that you like together. Ones in question can just be set aside for the time being.

    I hope that helps!

    AJ

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  94. I missed this post...didn't realize you have started your QAL. I'm looking forward to this one. It's a sew along that I can really get into. Thanks so much for sharing a quilt project that will allow me to use up a bunch of my scraps ;-))

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  95. I love the vortex quilt - I'm in!!

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  96. J'aime la récupération des petites chutes de tissus, ces petits bouts que l'on assemble sans trop avoir d'idées et qui charment ceux qui se couvrent des ouvrages terminés

    It's a long long way...

    C'est super chez toi

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  97. Thanks for answering my question, Amanda. I missed that Niina had asked almost the same thing.I'm trimming, don't want that job all at once!
    I felt about the same as Mary Burnette. My stash/scraps span about 35 years so there are many styles of fabrics. I want to do something with bright colors, whites and blacks so I've eliminated anything brownish or with a cream background or dull colors. When sewing the scraps together, I'm trying to use a bright with a strong contrast or with its complement.

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  98. I'm totally going to start on the rest of my scrap sewing tonight and join in! This has GOT to help me get out of my funk and just be able to "sew" without any real direction or thought in it. I have some HST left over pieces already sewn together and that will be fun to throw in. Either way, I can't wait to get started and join in!

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  99. Just sorted my scraps... enough to join the fun - so I'm in. Thank you Amanda Jean for this QAL.

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  100. Your scrap vortex quilt is epic. SO much fun to stare at. This might actually be a good scrap-busting project for me.

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  101. Here in the New Zealand winter I am going to sew along with you

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  102. I'm not usually a scrappy quilter but I really love the look of your finished quilt. I'm in on this quilt along!

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  103. Hi Amanda Jean! I am excited to start on your QAL! I have loved your scrap quilts and maybe just need you to hold my hand to get started on one. It is a perfect project to get me back in sewing-mode as will will be returning home soon from 5 weeks in Hawaii ( though I have been hand sewing hexies while watching the ocean waves, which is much better than watching the rainy skies of Minnesota!) your project will be great fun!

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  104. Amanda, what is the maximum size scrap in your quilt?

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  105. Well, you've sure enticed me! I'm a push-over for pretty much any scrappy quilt. My problem is that I don't have scraps like you do. Whenever I have a chunk of fabric leftover, I systematically cut it into 2-1/2" squares and/or 1-1/2" squares, and then toss the little that's left. So I don't have the pairs you've shown in this post. But, I'm game to cut up some of my larger scrap pieces, and hope that in doing so I don't actually make MORE scraps! Throwing up (vomit) never looked so fun!

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  106. So I certainly don't need a single other thing to do, but I'm going to be QAL with you. It sounds too fun! That, and I have an absolutely out of control scrap collection. Seriously, it's bad.

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  107. This is a beautiful way to work with scraps! Great idea!!

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  108. This has really caught my attention. I spent all last weekend trimming up scraps with no plan for their use. This would be perfect.

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  109. Oh, this looks like so much fun! However, I barely had time to read a few blog posts and off to the garden once more. It's that time of year when I just have enough time to drool over other people's WIP.

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  110. Fabulous! Look at all that amazing colour lushness. Love it!

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  111. Count me in! My scraps are taking over!

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  112. I am very excited! This is perfect for helping me get some of my scrap bins under control, and the resulting quilt is very cute. Thank you for coming up with such a clever way to use up our scraps. Count me in!

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  113. I'd like to do this!

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  114. I'm in! I need to sort and purge my stash, so this will be a great way to start. Thanks for doing it!

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  115. I am in too! It may be a longer project than a QAL but I love scrap quilts and I have so many containers of scraps. Like Linda of Flourishing Palms I will have to do a little cutting first, I have been trying to get into a scrap system but not made any head one and a lot of my pieces are too big. I can see a little stack and wack while movie watching this week. What summer fun, thanks!

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  116. Thank You, I've started several of these and have scraps already sewn, all the way up to block sizes in several different places, this will motivate me to get them all together and maybe finally finish a top :) Thank You for hosting this event :) Bj in Glendale Arizona

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  117. Yep, have several bags of scraps and need to get back to sewing! So will try your QAL...how long will it last and how big should I hope for? Hard ?, huh? Becky

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  118. Well, yes of course!! Shannon told me about this! I have scraps. I'm doin' it! Same questions as Becky Clay.

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  119. This is awesome, Amanda Jean, and congratulations on being featured on Quiltville.com's facebook post!

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  120. Saw Bonnie Hunters post this morning and just had to hop over to your blog and check it out. 30 minutes later I was in the quilt room pulling out my overflowing scraps. Sewed for 90 minutes than pressed and cut for 90 minutes which resulted in the start of my own scrap vortex quilt. I have a long way to go but I have plenty of scraps to get there.

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  121. I will participate in the summer scrap vortex quilt. Just finished a top and ready for another sewing machine summer project.

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  122. Okay I will try to keep up....question though - any scraps? Scraps that are warm or cool colored but not mixed? I always have an issue with knowing just how scrappy to make it. I also cut down my scraps into various sizes (and there they sit). Thanks for thinking of it!

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  123. I'm ridiculously grateful that you suggest pieces of the same length. It drives me nuts to have to trim oodles because the directions call for any two scraps... I always sort them to fit best!

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  124. I have just made 3 scrappy small quilts for donation and was wondering what to start on next. This idea sounds like a great "next project that I can start now. No more cutting strips and pieces just using what I pick up.

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  125. I love the idea and will try and follow along as best I can - I certainly have a huge bucket of scraps that could be used in this project, just not sure about the "same size" thing". Your examples are all squares or rectangles and many of be scrape are long strips.

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  126. What are the largest scraps in your quilt?

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  127. So glad Bonnie Hunter let us know about you! I can't wait to start working with my scraps...

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  128. Count me as another. I need a QAL to use up my scraps accumulated from other scrap QALs. Ho Ho. This should be fun. Good and aimless. Just what I need. Thanks.

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  129. I think I'm in! How will we know when you post steop2?

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  130. How much trimming up do we need to do after sewing the two scraps together and pressing?

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  131. Oh I'm tempted/Hug Bambi

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  132. I would like to stitch along!

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  133. I came here to say "hi" and that I was thinking about you because our guild is making our next group charity quilt inspired by your apple cake quilt and when I looked it up to share the picture with a few others, I saw your vortex quilt-a-long. Made me scrappy-happy and think I'll join in in my own slow way. Just looks fun!!! Don't know how far, fast or big I'll go with it, but happy to be playing with my scraps. Sure made raiding the guild scrap table fun on Saturday. I'll keep you posted. :)

    Hugs from the Big Apple!!!

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  134. I sort through mine every few months for a donate bag too. x

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  135. I'm in even though I really DO NOT need another start. This is just too fun to pass up. I like your suggestion about sorting out fabrics that don't fit the mood of the bright happy category. That will help me feed my 'give away' pile. I will post on Instagram.

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  136. This looks like fun! :) I like the L shape configuration. In my case I sit on a swivel office chair and have the ironing board behind me, and just spin when needed. So handy!

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