Scrap Quilts When You Don’t Have Scraps

I started quilting about a year ago. One of the great pleasures of sewing now, as opposed to when I did so as a 4-H kid, is the great community of people writing about quilting on the internet. So many pictures! Ideas! Tutorials!
As I dove into reading, a common theme emerged: “scrappy quilts.” It seems everyone has this mountain of scraps from which vivacious quilts can be made.  I loved many of the ideas…but my Pinterest boards are more full of ideas than my scrap bin is full of scraps.
Enter Diary of a Quilter (an incredible blog with a wonderful set of tutorials about making a quilt from start to finish). Pink Castle Fabrics, one of her sponsors, offers a Stash Building Club.  What a great idea!
Every month, I get a packet of fat eighths in one color theme.  I really enjoyed just staring at the first couple sets, but I realized that if I’m going to make some scrappy quilts, I needed to cut.  After a lot of pondering on my commute home (where I do a lot of quilt thinking), I decided to start with Wonky Log Cabins.
A fat eighth is about 9 x 21 inches.  I decided to slice off a long 2.5 inch strip from each fat eight to set aside.  I love jelly rolls, so I will effectively build a really large rainbow jelly roll by the time the year is up.  Then I sliced 3-4 long strips at angles from the remaining fabric.  For now, I’m splitting those pieces into two groups–darker shades for the wonky log cabins, the brightest shades for another scrappy project, to be determined.
Here are my first two wonky log cabins.  Making them felt exhilarating, and I look forward to making more!

Quilts for Kids!

As soon as I realized that my experiment in making quilts was rapidly blooming into a Hobby-with-a-capital-H, I knew I needed a plan.  I like plans, lists, and goals.  Type A, what can I say?  I quilt in part to fight my perfectionist tendencies, but I still need organization.
How could I try all the new cool things I was reading about in a structured way?  My life as a mother gave me the answer: kids’ birthdays and new babies.
Quilts for babies and kids are small, simple designs can have a big impact, and any little goofs I have to fix won’t be so noticeable to a child. Quilts mean love, and kids get love.  I’ve played around with jelly roll race 2, a strip and flip, an improved flannel rag quilt, fussy cut rainbow unicorns, and my own design using a charm pack of batiks from eBay.
Here are a few of my “kid quilts”:
jelly roll race 2Rhoda Ruth Strip and FlipFullSizeRender (2)Ebay Batiks

A Tale of Two Disappearing Nine Patch Quilts

The disappearing nine patch offers a lot of payoff for the effort: Sew a three by three grid of fabric squares, cut that block into quarters, and then play!

The disappearing nine patch appealed to me because it creates a complex quilt with simple steps and because it’s precut friendly. Two charm packs, and you’re well on your way to a lap quilt.  And, wow, can it serve different purposes.

Take #1: Kaffe Fassett Spots Kaleidoscope 

Kaffe Fassett fabrics are so bright and complex that I decided not to impose any particular order on this project. I wanted to see where my whims and intuition took me at each step of the process. I ordered the binding fabric after I’d made the squares and really enjoyed the contrast between it and the border.

Kaffe Fassett Disappearing Nine Patch Spots

Take #2: Moda Plume 

With the Plume quilt, I wanted a bit more order and pattern, as I was making it for a home with lots of antiques. It needed to look more traditional.

First, I sorted the fabrics by patterns Since the corner pieces of the nine-patch don’t get cut, I chose the fabrics with the largest patterns and highest contrast for the corners. The more monochromatic patterns became the side and center pieces.

Every block was laid out in the same direction to give the appearance of sashing. Because I had two charm packs, I had at least two of each fabric, so I laid out the blocks so that the bigger pieces created their own pattern (with one switch, suggested by my son, a.k.a. Design Assistant). The quilt feels complex, but organized.

Plume Front

The Real Test Quilt

After the flannel rag quilts, I decided to tackle what I would call a regular quilt, starting with precuts. I figured it would be a test quilt: Can I do it?  Would I like doing it? (Spoiler Alert: Yes and Yes!)
I learned a *lot* making this quilt.
First, I’d like to recognize the best resources who helped me along in this endeavor.  Truly, I couldn’t have done it without:
  • Diary of a Quilter’s Beginning Quilting Series
  • Cluck Cluck Sew’s Binding Tutorial
  • Any blogger than mentioned that stitching in the ditch and straight lines are  perfectly great ways to start quilting!
What I Learned:
  • Incorporate a solid or near solid // I like sashing.  I thought the patchwork would be fine on its own, but it needed some space to breathe. I added the purple sashing at the last minute, and I wish I’d added more.
  • Don’t forget the B’s! Backing, binding, batting… I was so proud of myself for finding the precuts cheaply on eBay, only to be stunned at what it cost to order backing.
  • It didn’t have to be that big! Why did I start with a twin sized quilt? It seemed a good idea at the time, but I could have edited the precuts and/or just used less of them and made a smaller quilt first!
  • It’s ok to pull a couple of the precut squares I don’t like. There were a few squares that just didn’t work for me, but I felt bad pulling them out. Then I remembered that the choice is mine, there are no quilting police, and to do what I wanted!
Front and back, all fabrics are from Moda Brighten Up! by Me and My Sister:


Quilts Mean Love

Can you think of a quilt without thinking of love? Take a second to think of a quilt that means something to you. I can tell you mine, right off the bat: It’s an antique wedding ring quilt that I had on my bed as a child.  I still have it, though it’s a bit worse for the wear of time.

When I first started sewing again, I started to think about making a quilt.  I saw a post about a flannel rag quilt, and I thought to myself, “This! This seems possible.” So I started looking for purple flannel for my daughter.

Not to leave out my son, I asked if he would like a quilt too, and he requested Star Wars.  He chose all the fabrics, and his selections proved more challenging, as I didn’t want a quilt full of headless Reys.

Kids understand love. Both of these quilts have some mistakes and places to repair already, but they know it means Mommy loves them.

Purple Star Rag Quilt

Star Wars Close UpStar Wars Rag Quilt

So It Begins

Greetings, Dear Reader!

Welcome to my blog. It’s a place to record and share my explorations in the world of quilting.  It seems if one quilts long enough, one needs such a place, so here I am.  I owe my progress thus far to other quilting bloggers.

I quilt for joy and fun and to make something useful and beautiful that lasts. I use a sewing machine, except for the occasional hand-fixed mistake. I love what the world of modern quilting has to offer, and I am pleased claim a place in it.


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