Sunday, December 28, 2014

I Spent Christmas Stripping and Cheating

I spent Christmas Day (and the following two days) plunging into my scrap stash, stripping and cheating.

Strip piecing, that is. And also, cheating by turning old leftover strip sets into something new.

The first step was to unlatch the Suitcase of Terror, which holds my scraps. The pile immediately sproinged upwards, like a voracious vampire emerging from its coffin after a long day in June:

I pulled out a bunch of long strips, and sewed them together.

This creation did not inspire me. In fact, it bummed me out. So I continued digging through the ever-growing pile. (Scrap stashes are like egg whites - the more you stir them, the bigger and fluffier they get).

I found a leftover set from the back of a bat mitzvah pillow I'd made recently (blogged here:
I eliminated some strips, and cut the piece to 8" x 8" . Then I added three real rocks (actually, two rocks and a piece of beach glass, set among the rocks at bottom), a plastic fish from an old necklace, a brass eagle charm (upper right), and an old key. It seems to be a seascape! 'Fish Seeks Key to Life, Bird Seeks Fish.'
Heavily influenced by the rock and ocean theme, I pulled out some more strips, and this went together quickly.
I'm thinking it's called, 'Some of my Best Friends are Angels,' or maybe, 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot, On a Japanese Beach.' That light blue fabric with the floating people is supposed to be sweet and celebratory, but it also does look a bit to me like they've all been shot in the heart. (Are those red dots supposed to be cherries? Why?) The dark-blue-and-white fabrics are traditional Japanese designs. 

(UPDATE: Thanks to an alert reader who recognized these figures as copies from Matisse's 'Fall of Icarus.' [Scroll down on this page.] The fabric selvage doesn't mention the Matisse connection at all! Is that legal?)

Plowing through the pile more, I found some 1"strip sets in black and white, left over from a gift I'd made a dear friend. (I called that piece 'Chiarascuro,' blogged here
I turned the already-sewn-together strips into this:
Which I set on a white quilted background: 
 Final (maybe):
It's a meditation on life. At the moment, I'm calling it  'Lines, Circles, and Pouches are Suddenly Appearing Around my Eyes.' 

Finally, I found another set of white/cream/light blue strips made from a tallit case I'd made for my son 7 years ago. The narrow strips surrounded the flap in that project:
I took the already-joined strips strips, added some triangular leafy fabric I found in my stash, a strip of birch tree fabric, new and different rock fabric for the bottom. (I had no idea there was so much rock fabric in my stash. I think people gave it to me. I can't remember ever actually using it.)

It's not clear to me whether the white strips are birch trees or a fence, but either way, I think it's kind of naturey- - and I like it! I set the bottom horizontal strip on backwards, so you can feel the ridges.

So that's what my Christmas Day (plus the following two days) have been like. Are you getting in any creative time this holiday season? Stripping and cheating might work for you!


  1. They are all very nice, who knew sewing strips could be so much fun.

    1. Thanks, Rhoda. It started out horrendous (with that first strip set), but got a lot more fun as I went along!

  2. haha, suitcase of terror. I love that!
    good use for it:)

    1. Thanks, Pam! It's very scary because the more I take out of it, the more it grows!

  3. What a fun way to spend the day and with great results. I loved your word "sproinged"

    1. Hmm, is it a real word? I'd better look it up! Thanks for the comment, Norma!

  4. oh Cathy I want to come play with you and your scraps
    I find strip piecing has to have some kind of meaning or order or they are just busy. I like yours. LeeAnna at not afraid of color

  5. Hilarious post! "Naturey" is surely a word, too. You might have a "subtraction soup" thing going on in that suitcase of terror. Funny thing, I also have been strip-cheating, but making potholders as gifts! Nowhere near as philosophical as your art, but useful nonetheless.