Monday, December 30, 2013

Kitting Up

I love it when someone asks me a question.  Why?  Because I never really know when I'm writing a blog post whether I'm giving you too much information, not enough information, or talking about stuff nobody but me is interested in.  So when someone asks a question, I know I'm touching on something that's of interest, and I can explain without feeling like I'm wasting everyone's time.

The other day I mentioned I had kitted up the Vintage Christmas block of the month pattern by Bunny Hill.  Here's what the finished quilt will look like:

Bella Pink asked me about the "kitting up" process, so I thought I'd write a post about it.  Bella Pink said she has a lot of fabric set aside for specific projects, and she feels that if she could kit up those projects, it should free up some of that fabric for other uses.

I think block of the month ("BOM") projects, and specifically applique projects, truly lend themselves to kitting.  In the past, I've participated in a couple of BOM quilts through the Fat Quarter Shop and other shops, and for those, I would receive an envelope each month that contained the fabrics I needed for that month's section.  What I often do is much like that.

A friend of mine wanted to make the Vintage Christmas quilt and it was one I liked too, so for her birthday about a year ago, I surprised her with a kit containing the fabrics she'd need--and she almost always likes her quilts to be made from the "original fabrics," so I searched the internet for the right ones.  Once I gathered what I needed, I started putting the kits together.

Because the pattern is broken down into blocks, I took the instructions for the first block--the house block in the upper left hand corner of the finished quilt--and figured out how much fabric I would need to piece the background.  I then roughly cut what was needed, cutting the fabric a little bit larger so we would have plenty.  Then I pulled out my rulers and calculated from the drawings what sizes of fabric squares were needed for each of the applique pieces.  Once I had all of the fabric cut for the first block, I put it into plastic pattern bags and marked them "Vintage Christmas #1."

I then went on with kitting up the rest of the blocks in the same fashion. Each little packet is complete in itself--for example, I think you can see in the photo above that a piece of pinkish fabric appears in the first packet, as well as the second packet, and the third packet; I decided it was easier to do it this way, for this project, than to figure the total amount of a specific fabric that was needed to complete the entire quilt.  But keep in mind that when you're kitting up a pieced quilt, it might be best to calculate the amount of fabric you need for the whole thing--it just depends on the project. 

When I finished kitting up the individual blocks, I then made a final packet containing all of the border fabrics, including the applique.

For my own kitted quilts, I often put everything I need in a giant binder.  I prefer these with the clear front sheet so I can slip a picture of the quilt into it and know right away what's in the binder.

I then use sheet protectors and zippered pockets for the instructions, pattern, and fabrics for each block.  And when I finish a quilt, I "recycle" the sheet protectors, zippered pockets, and binder for the next project.

By the way, how often do you start a BOM project and then fall behind somewhere along the way? When that happens to me, I also use the binders in a similar way--I start putting each block's fabrics and directions into a binder so it all stays together.  And I usually keep the finished blocks on a cardboard tube covered with batting.  (See HERE.)  If I didn't keep things organized this way, I'm sure I'd misplace some of the monthly envelopes and never finish the projects!

If your New Year's resolution is to get more organized, perhaps this, or something similar, could help you accomplish your goal!  Happy stitching!


Frankie said...

This is brilliant! One of those "now why didn't I think of that?" moments. I have a few different BOM projects that I've never finished and this makes me want to put the kits together and organized and actually work on them again. THANK YOU!! :D

Carol said...

You're awesome Kim. I have several BOM kits that I haven't had time to start yet. Never occurred to me to organize them in this way, it's genius. Thank you so much for this tip. Happy New Year.

Kate said...

Interesting methods! My previous BOMs have been monthly packs from the quilt shop, so I'm looking for ways to organize the non-quilt shop one. I'm cutting and bagging each fabric (since there's 15!) with the piece number, and I was considering a binder with sheet protectors for each step - you sold me on the idea!

And that was a great present for your friend. :)

Bella Pink said...

Thank you Kim for your quick response. It sounds like a lot of work up front, but the payoff is that the leftover fabric can go in your stash and be used some other way. And since I always buy too much fabric, kitting up 2, one to keep and one to sell is a great idea!
I have done the notebook, sheet protector thing with several BOM projects and it works very well to keep stuff together, especially if you fall behind! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ANSWERING MY QUESTION!....arden

Bella Pink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bella Pink said...

I forgot to say that when I'm kitting up a pieced quilt, I just cut out the whole quilt and bag it up with the magazine, pattern, whatever. Then I can grab one of the many UFO's I have and take it to a retreat. I can concentrate on just with no chance of screwing up the cutting while chatting! I do, however, always haul along some of the extra scraps, borders, whatever, because I will have invariably cut SOMETHING wrong! just an FYI....arden

Jana said...

Kim, thank you for your ideas. This is so clear, that even I can understand!
I would like to thank you for a year full of fun, joy and learning. I wish you and your family Happy New Year.
Greetings from Jana in Prague

Darlene said...

Absolutely brilliant! I am organizing/cleaning my sewing room and have a couple of BOMs that this will work perfectly. Having it separated like this will seem less overwhelming and have it readily accessible. Thank you for taking the time to explain this!

Happy New Year,

Janet said...

Love the binder idea! And I agree - what a lovely present for your friend!

I think I'll use this idea when I determine which UFO's to prioritize for 2014.

Happy New Year!

Tina said...

Excellent idea! Both for kitting up something I may want to make as a BOM (I always get very confused about putting it together!) and the binder idea (brilliant)!!! Thanks so much for sharing this great information!
Happy, Happy New Year to you and yours!!!

Darlene said...

Hi Kim, Great ideas and tips. I'm in the process of organizing projects for 2014.

I've gotten very frustrated in the past when I couldn't locate pieces/parts for a specific project; especially a hand project.

Thank you for sharing.

Tami C said...

That's really a great idea for keeping all the parts and pieces together! Thanks for sharing.

Carolyn Sullivan said...

LOVE the tube,quilt batting to save projects! It is an awesome idea, I've just been using shoe boxes. and clear plastic strawberry boxes to hold pieces.

dianne said...

you are so doggone clever!!! and ambitious!!! and suh-weet!!!

p.s. - i am feeling gluttonous - three posts in three days!!! i really, really miss you when you are gone...

Anonymous said...


Thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful idea! I just started a new BOM this month, so will definitely be giving this a try.

Jo :)