Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Taming the Scrap Monster



Can you remember the first time you set aside scraps thinking you would never save enough to make an actual quilt? I used to look at those scrappy creations, and nearly swoon. Many quilters admittedly prefer the look of using one single fabric line, but others like me throw abandon to the wind, and think the more the better. 



It all started early this month when I decided I had to do a hard reset on the studio. Shockingly, I still had piles of scraps laying around from June that hadn't been sorted and stored. I know. It's shameful. There were just a handful of these Allison Glass scraps, and I quickly sewed them into some little slabs for mug rugs.  


One thing led to the next, and I started pulling all my little scraps out of hiding, and threw them together. I started by matching 2 pieces that had similar length or size, and sewed them together. Press, trim if necessary, and piece by piece I built slabs. 

My only criteria for color was to keep it happy, and not a lot of dark colors. Navy was good, brown was plenty, and any color of polka dots. Spotted fabrics are one of my favorites, and I have a lot in every color including black. The dark colors are necessary to give the brights balance, but I didn't want too many.

I'm up to 4 slabs measuring about 3'x5', and I can make about one a day. I should have a fairly good sized quilt within the next week so long as I don't run out of scraps. This is good old comfort sewing, and my scrap bins are much lighter already. 

24 comments:

  1. You are speaking my language. I just love sewn together scraps. Has such a comforting quality. I was doing that today. I am going to make flowering snowballs with the made fabric. I have 95 blades cut and need another 95.

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  2. Jumped here from Fiber Tuesday. I'm a color lover so I was drawn to your photo. Wow, what a simple idea for using up scraps. I have so many that I'll have to apply this beautiful solution to the problem of clearing them out. The result is wonderful!

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  3. I do love this! There's lots of happy scrappy goodness here! Easy improv sewing AND making a dent in the scrap baskets - sounds like a lot of fun!

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  4. I have a scrappy rainbow project planned for the first anniversary of my son & DIL. It will be my largest scale scrappy project to date and I am sure my scrap bin will not be quite up to the task. I know I will have to raid my stash for snippets, which is so time consuming. I love your slab progress and can't wait to see it on your long arm! Scrappy, happy quilts are the best.

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  5. I have so many scraps!!! But no time to start something with them - and they take me so long to just make one block.

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  6. Improv quilting is fun, and your slabs are so bright and happy!

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  7. Oh, that is great. Until recently I didn't save scraps, because I wasn't really quilting, lots of clothing and home sewing. But I have one bag started. Maybe next year!

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  8. This will be gorgeous! Who would have thought scraps could make such a happy, beautiful quilt! Keep going...what better way to use your scraps!

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  9. You can never have enough spots I think . What size constitutes a scrap or what I mean is, what is too small to be a scrap ?

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  10. I love scrap quilting and improv piecing so I think this is wonderful! Crazy happy color!

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  11. What a cute upbeat post! We are kindred spirits in the fabric department! Love those slabs!!!

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  12. I too drool over scrappy quilts. I'm still building my scrap stash. Right now mine would fit into one small, er medium box. Gosh, sometimes I wish those scraps would multiply on their own so I could get going on a great project like this one. Love your scrap quilt.

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  13. awesome scrap quilt !! thanks for sharing :)

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  14. Uh oh, I'm feeling the urge to scrap with you!

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    1. Myra, this is my chocolate break during the day. 'Know what I mean? I have so many diverse projects going on from longarming to dyeing to design ideas that my mind needs to do something soothing. Searching for little matching pieces is very similar to putting a puzzle together. While my son went through engineering school, he put together dozens of jigsaw puzzles. One day I figured out the reason why. It's called piecing for a reason!

      Julie

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  15. Lovely! Similar to the Scrap Vortex process.

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    1. Oh, absolutely! CrazyMom is the Queen of Scraps, isn't she? I admire Amanda Jean's style.

      There are different theories on how to do scrap quilts. Some people will make a block as soon as they finish a quilt project, and then it's made. Others will wait and mix up all their scraps until the end so they have a more unified color palette. It all depends on what fabric you've worked with.

      Older scap quilts tended to be made into a pattern unless they were irregular. So a nine block with 2.5" squares or a Victorian style Crazy Quilt if you were piecing your irregulars.

      Regardless of whether you are making a pattern with chosen fabrics or a scrap quilt, it still helps if you limit your palette and the sizes of your pieces. It makes it easier to put things together, first of all, and one leftover charm square in a sea of strips stands out like a sore thumb. Even scrap quilts deserve unity.

      Before I started, I looked at my scraps to set some rules like I listed. Also, I've limited this quilt to my smallest scraps this time. Anything under 2.5" was fair game, but larger than that generally gets saved for improv sewing for me. Some of these scraps were 1" widths, and most sewist toss them at that point. I like the variety of texture it gives to have some islands of intensive piecing. The only time I've given up a longer strip to the project is if I needed to connect one area to the next.

      I also keep adding in some premade blocks from earlier experimentation. Some are obvious. Some are not. You'll see some log cabin blocks showinp up soon.

      Thanks for popping in,
      Julie

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  16. I admire your ability to tame your scrap basket. I am an abysmal failure at it - just started working on blocks to tame mine, then got distracted by Pat Sloan's new 2016 BOM and started it thinking "Aha! I can use my scraps!", then fell in love with a colourway I wanted to use and ended up ordering fabric while my scrap basket continued to overflow onto the floor. Another epic fail - but a pretty first block for the BOM!!! Your scrap management has just made you one of my quilting heroes!!!

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  17. Love this method of getting rid of scraps! I took the time a while ago to take my scraps and cut them into various sized squares, but then put them in a box and there they still sit. This inspires me to start just sewing them together and see what happens! Beautiful inspiration, and your scrappy quilt is going to be so bright and fun! I love it!

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  18. Love your mini quilt, especially the binding! I've been looking for a set of color pencils so I thought I'd try the Blick art materials button, but it didn't work. Did you know that?

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  19. That's a lot of little scraps! You have a great way to tame them.

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  20. I need to try this :) Not sure I have enough scraps yet.

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  21. What a fabulous quilt! I'd say you spanked that scrap monster!

    Thanks for linking up to Building Blocks Tuesday!

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