Thursday, January 5, 2017

Scrappy Trips Around the World: Day 5

Using What You Have

I've been reading every book I can about the history of quilting. Some things are surprising. In recent centuries, even fabric scraps were too precious for some people to come by. Many countries depended on textiles solely as an import, and had few raw materials to produce their own fabric of any kind. That's hard to imagine for most of us, isn't it? But as textiles mills became more plentiful around the world, so did fabric, and those who couldn't afford new fabric did find scraps or salvaged their own used clothing. Not all parts of clothes wore out at the same pace so pieces were cut from them to recycle into something else like a quilt.

Covering your bed with a quilt made entirely from scraps certainly wasn't vogue in the early 20th century. They were a sign of poverty or few resources, but were still a frugal way to stay warm. My own grandmother took a quilt that had worn out, and used it as the filling for another quilt. Just add another layer of fabric. This was how people survived the Great Depression when fabric itself was once again scarce.

Recently scrap quilting has become big, but I will be honest in saying that many of us, myself included, are still particular about what 'kind' of scraps we put in our scrap quilts. In reality, most present day scrap quilts still have a controlled palette. I wasn't sure I was ready to entirely let go. 

But what if you just had to use what you could get your hands on or been given? I've never done that before. Today was time for an experiment while I sewed up another charity quilt.

Always Sort First

My friend, Irene, passed me a bag of 5" squares someone had given her. The Doxie girls helped me sort them a few weeks ago. There was every style, color, and fabric content in the pile, but I was purely concerned with color. 

Trip Around the World is one pattern I've never done, and because I needed a simpler way to work it with scraps, I used Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy version HERE. I started laying out the 5" pieces, and inside my head I was saying, "This is going to be the ugliest quilt ever." (You want honesty, right?)

Then I snapped a picture of the block layout with my phone before I picked up the first piece--you'll be glad you did, and started sewing. I connected the pieces to rows, and rows into a block, and pressed it well, and both my daughter and I said, "Oh! That's really pretty!" So I sewed some more.

It's a 54" square right now, and I'm looking for a 60" x 80" quilt top. Two more squares are laid out, and I'll get them done before Mr. S gets home. A border on the sides will bring it to size, and that's another top. You can see it tomorrow when it's done, and there's good light.

Right now the snow is coming down, and the dogs are hanging with me in front of the fire while I write and drink chai tea. I'm on barn duty tonight for my daughter while she's away, and I'm not looking forward to going out in this to feed llamas and cats, but I will.

While I'm working through this January project, I'm limiting my online time. One blogger I follow faithfully, though, is Seth Godin. Seth's Blog is a truly inspirational read every day, and I'm loving his book called, "Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?" This guy writes about marketing, motivation, and just about being a decent person in this world. Today I was struck by the title in my email, "Is kindness a luxury?" It's a very quick few paragraph read, and sure relates to the subject at hand. You'll enjoy it.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Linking up with~
Crazy Mom Quilts


Unknown said...

You probably just helped a few sewing friends 'cross the awareness threshold' - to quote Seth's recent blog!! Keep talking to us Julie! You are an inspiration!

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

I have never made this pattern, and it never occurred to me to make a scrappy one. But I like it. Good luck feeding the animals.

Kimberly Smith said...

Sometime in early 2016 I ran across a girl collecting Bonnie's scrappy trips blocks for charity quilts (maybe her senior girl scout project). Sometimes people sent many identical blocks, but often not. The combo quilts of variously sourced blocks were still gorgeous.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

A scrappy trip is one of my favourites! Love how this is going Julie!

helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

trip around the world was one of the first quilts I made in my first foray into quilting, it was a wedding present for my sister 19 years ago. It is probably very dated now but she still uses it from time to time. I too love reading quilting books, I got a couple of new ones recently, one about civil war quilts, very interesting book.

Warm Quilts said...

I love the historical perspective you've written about and how your grandmother re-purposed old quilts. Your 5" scrappy square arrangement is an inspiring Trip Around the World. Well done!

Kate said...

Use what you have is the mother of invention. It's amazing what many women were able to do to make what they had go farther and still be pretty. I'm enjoying watching your scrappy journey.