Confession time – I am a recovered scrap-quilt-phobic. (Hanging my head in shame.) And this is my journey from scrap-hater to scrap-lover.
I DID NOT understand the passion some folks had for these things! I think it started with a question to my quilting friend.
“Patty, how do people make scrap quilts?”
“It’s easy. Cut a bunch of scraps to the size of patch you need. Then toss them in a paper bag. Without looking in the bag, pull out the first piece you grab and use it. Keep going until the bag is empty or your quit is done.”
WHAT?!? I was horrified. No carefully selected colors or planning lights and darks? What if it doesn’t match? This is MADNESS and I refuse to participate in scrap quilts, period!
I wanted to make sublime quilts. Quilts where the color almost beckons you to come closer. Quilts like Jinny Beyer’s makes, one of my personal color heroes.
Her quilt, Moon Glow has been in reprinted and re-kitted continuously for almost 20 years! A very rare accomplishment.
So what changed my mind? My other color hero, Gai Perry, who is known for her watercolor quilts in the 1990s. Now, I LOVE color, obviously, and all that color can do in a quilt. So I picked up Perry’s book, “Color from the Heart”.
The first project? Brace yourself! A scrap quilt, with scraps…in…a…bag. Quelle horror! I could hardly read over the ringing in my ears.
Before she gave instructions for the first project, Perry’s explained her rule for scrap quilts.
“Most fabrics will blend in a pleasing manner if the size of the individual pattern pieces are small (two inches of less).” (I have added to this rule, but more on that later.)
She is right. Here is the quilt I made after the first exercise.
This simple project was a revelation to me. It offered new freedom and creativity previously unknown. I realized I could make a scrappy quilt AND be happy with the outcome.
Side-note – This is also a project I have students work on in my color classes. Look how happy they are! Thanks, ladies!
I tried many other scrap quilts, some great, some meh. But EVERY quilt is a learning quilt. EVERY project has something to teach me!
Here is what I learned about being scrappy AND happy.
- Trial and error – you just have to try. That is how I solidified my techniques, how I clarified what I like and don’t like. Make it work for YOU!
I call this quilt “Don’t Weep for me, Bonnie Hunter”. I ripped outScrappy AND Happy more stitches in this quilt, than any other project. See, I didn’t know how this mystery quilt would look, so I foolishly selected a fuchsia for the “pink-red” color. Disaster! Hubby said it looked like the Muppet’s Christmas Massacre. I traded all the fuchsia for a strong Christmas red. Much better. I also learned mystery quilts don’t work for me. And I am fine with that.
2. Divide and conquer with lights/darks. In True Blue (a Miss Rosie pattern) I used a light and dark in every block and then arranged the darks to create a nice layout.
3. Chose a color theme. For example, in my pattern Gecko Chase, my color theme was purple and green. I used green for the lines and purples for the triangles. By limited the uses of the colors, I kept the design clear. I am very pleased with the outcome.
Ok, quick recap.
My rules for Scrappy and Happy
- Fabrics will blend in a pleasing manner if they are similar in size and amounts.
- Trial and Error – just sew it! It is the only way to learn, seriously.
- Divide and conquer with lights/darks.
- Choose a color theme.
There is SO much more I want to say about color and scrappyness, like how to organize for random and techniques to use when selecting fabrics and…and…and. We have barely gotten started but it is enough to get you started. 🙂
So, go get started. And share how you are Scrappy AND Happy.
Thanks for reading, I hope it is a blessing.
See you next time
P.S. Thanks to Timeless Treasures for the lovely fabrics used in Gecko Chase. Y’all are awesome! 🙂