Making quilts from scraps is truly my favorite way to work. It’s such joy to play in the scrap bins – I keep them organized by color, which makes it easier to find the right piece of fabric (I could do a whole blog post on organizing scraps – in fact there are entire books devoted to the subject). Although I have quite a bit of fabric stash, I’m not a fabric hoarder. I don’t save a particular piece of fabric forever, waiting for the perfect quilt to use it in – the way I look at it, whatever current project I’m working on is the perfect place to use it. And at the rate I’m making scrappy quilts, I may actually see the bottom of my scrap bins!
I know making scrappy quilts in 2020 is not the same as when my grandmothers did it in the 1930s – where they made quilts using leftover fabric from old clothes or table cloths or flour sacks because it was a necessity, I just get to do it because I enjoy it. Some similarities between the two remain though – my mother can look at quilts her mom made and still remember that this piece was part of a dress she wore, and that piece was from her pajamas. And when I dig through my scrap bins, I can tell you where I bought each piece of fabric and what I used it for – so just like my mom, I get a trip down memory lane! I fondly remember every road trip to the various quilt shops, the finished project or quilt I made, and if I gave it away, the person who received it.
Since 2020 has kept me at home so much more than usual, I have had plenty of quilting time. For me making quilts is good for the soul! And helps me keep the blues at bay (most of the time) since it gives me something constructive to do every day. I’ll end up with a collection of quilts to remind me of the COVID19 pandemic – certainly no fond memories, but in a way, the quilts will be a documentation of the time. If I were to write a book, I could title it “Quilts in the Time of Covid” or “Quarantine Quilts” or “Crappy Year, Scrappy Quilts”! Actually, I probably will make a photo book for myself with all the quilts I make this year, so that when I’m old(er) and gray(er), I could look at it and think: holy s#$% we survived the dumpster fire that was 2020! Which will put me in good company – I bet that’s exactly what our grandmother’s thought when they quilted through the Civil War or the Depression or WWII. Quilts have always been a snapshot documentary of the times.
Sometimes with scrappy quilts it’s hard to come up with enough of any one color to make a large quilt in a particular color scheme, so I like to do a rainbow quilt. I keep Roy G Big in mind, bring out my color wheel poster and start a fabric pull one bin at a time. For this quilt, I did one block in each main color, then went back and filled in with secondary colors, and kept repeating that process so I could keep the colors relatively balanced.
The simplicity of the flying geese and 2 1/2″ squares works for this quilt to keep the colors the focus rather than a complicated block pattern. I love using a diagonal set instead of a straight set – I think it adds extra interest. Plus it looks more difficult. But actually once you figure out the math of the setting triangles, it’s no harder to do (which is why they make quilt calculator apps). I went through a whole bottle of spray starch on the white fabric to help manage the bias edges, and was careful not to handle the blocks until I was ready to actually sew them.
I basted this quilt roughly every 12″ since all the edges were on the bias. That worked out fine, I was able to square it up after quilting with no trouble. For the quilting design, I decided on edge-to-edge swirls since all the other elements of this quilt are angular. Plus I find quilting swirls to be therapeutic – lots of gentle motion while maneuvering the long arm machine, and no tensing up. All in all a very satisfying quilt to make! It’s hanging in my sewing room, where just looking at it makes me smile!
Quilty stats: I can’t tell you the fabric lines, as there are so many – the white is a Bella Solid, but I don’t remember the exact name since I’ve had it a while. Glide thread on top, Superior So Fine in the bobbin. Quilter’s Dream cotton batting. Finished size after washing approximately 70″x70″.
And here’s a final shot of the quilt, with a photo bomb by Frankie, the Bagel (beagle/basset mix), the newest addition to our household. It’s good to have some fur around again!
Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate it.
Take care of yourself and the people close to you 🙂 Go forth and create!