I need to make more quilts. Look at this scrap pile, and it is only one of two. My fabric scraps keep multiplying and I keep saving all of them for future uses, but clearly I am not keeping up. I hang on to ever tiny little morsel of fabric like a woman from another era. A woman who sits and pieces by candle light and sews all the clothes for her family and needs each tiny bit for quilts for the family to keep warm by all winter long. I do make quilts, and I love to do it. When I do it, they are scrap quilts for sure.
Part of the fun of using scraps for quilts is the wonderful opportunities for unique color combinations and choices that are a little different. When I look at quilts made from fabric collections, they are lovely, but a touch predictable. Having the chance to work with scraps, there is not a bit of predictability. Just creativity.
My quilts tend to be small. Either a little doll quilt or a baby quilt, so the scraps can get me pretty far. Sometimes, if I am working on a larger size quilt, the scraps are not enough to get me all the way there. But add some sashing and I can get most of a quilt top with what I have lying around.
For a little doll quilt, my process for choosing fabric goes like this:
I dream up color inspiration first. Say greens and yellows. Then, I work with something that I love that falls into that category (see those squirrels). Then, I dig through all my scraps and pull out any possibilities that may be hiding there. At this point, I usually have about three times more fabric than I need so I start eliminating.
Laying fabric in little folded pieces can really help, I really enjoy the freedom and fun of this process. I am not afraid if something seems a bit crazy or unpredictable, maybe that is just what this quilt needs. I do try to add some contrast and keep things lively.
After I have a heap of scraps that work well together, I move on to putting them in order. I keep in mind the inspiration fabric for the quilt and make sure that gets enough real-estate in the finished quilt and everything else is working around it.
At that point, I just go for it. I am not too hung up on what the perfect combination and order is, I just like the process and I am usually pleased with the results. If you are interested in working on a small quilt and need a little support in the process, come take the class Doll Quilt Small Quilt with me. Bring your scraps and we can add to them if needed with little fat quarters and pieces of fabric and your quilt will take shape in no time.