Are you ready for another installment in the Scrumptious Scraps Quilt-Along? This week I'll be talking about using what you have, with some tips about how to figure out what you need to make a quilt, etc. So let's get started!
Here's a picture of the quilt I made for this week. Well, ok, it's just a flimsy, but I PROMISE I finished this quilt! I didn't realize I had not taken pictures of the finished quilt until today, and it is a soggy mess in my yard right now, so no way to take nice pictures. I do have proof that I quilted it, but I'll show you that later.
And here is the box that started it all. For some unknown reason, I have a shoebox FULL of pieces cut 2.5" x 5.5". This picture was taken after I made the quilt above, so you can get an idea of just how full it was. I think there's enough left in the box to make at least two more quilts the same size! So I decided to make a quilt using these pieces.
This quilt was my inspiration shot - my starting point. I didn't know the sizes of these pieces, but using a little (gasp) QUILT MATH, I could use my pieces to create something similar.
And here's the quilt math: My pieces measured 2.5" x 5.5", and paired up with a background fabric, one of each sewn together into a 2-patch block would measure 4.5" x 5.5", finishing out at 4" wide x 5" tall. I wanted my quilt to finish out at approximately 60" square, so how many of these 2-patch blocks did I need? Divide 60" by 4", and you get 15, so I needed 15 blocks across. Divide 60" by 5", and you get 12, so I needed 12 blocks down. Multiply 15 x 12, and you get 180 of the 2-patch blocks to make this quilt.
First step is to pull 180 print pieces from my tub. That was an interesting process, because there were many of these that had multiples, and I didn't want to load the quilt up with a lot of repeat pieces. So I went through the stacks, pulling one of each print and adding them to my "quilt" stack. When I got through the piles, I went back through doing the same thing until I had enough to make the quilt. One tip here - most of my pieces were green-oriented, but I threw in a few other colors for "POP!" - some purple, pink, and graphic prints. Those bits will provide a place for the eye to stop and perceive all of the quilt, instead of wandering over it aimlessly.
Then I laid these pieces out on my cutting board and auditioned background colors. I tried a lot of different things - several different grays, cream, khaki - all the traditional neutral background colors. Now, I love neutrals, but I think we tend to limit ourselves to the traditional. Nothing really wowed me - until I stepped out of the box and pulled a vivid blue burlap-look print left over from a long-ago quilt project. But did I have enough?
Say hello to my little friend! This is one reason my phone is never very far away when I'm working on a quilt. This little app by Robert Kaufman is absolutely the most useful thing on my phone. (Search the app store for "quilting calculator" and you'll see it - and best of all, it's free!) It contains a great selection of calculators you need for quilting. This is the calculator I used to figure out how much fabric I needed...
As you can see, I entered the number and size of pieces I needed, and hit Calculate...
...and here are the results! You get two different fabric requirements, based on the direction you cut your pieces. Sometimes they are the same, most of the time they are slightly different. Fortunately, I had enough of my deep blue fabric to make this quilt, so I got to work cutting, and then chain piecing my blocks.
Isn't chain piecing fun? Those 180 sets went together pretty quickly, and soon I was pressing all the seams towards the background pieces.
And how about another bonus? I used a bunch of partially full bobbins to piece this quilt, and look - SEVEN empty bobbins all ready to be loaded up again! It pays to remember there's all kinds of scraps to use up in your sewing area!
I arranged the blocks on my design wall, moving them around until I was satisfied with the layout. Assembly began - I like to sew columns together rather than rows but that's just personal preference. However you like to do it is the best way for you!
And here's the proof that I actually did quilt it! I really wish I had taken some pictures when the weather was so beautiful yesterday - it turned out wonderful - bright and warm and cuddly!
So now, how do you make your own? Well, if you are fortunate enough to have some rectangular cut pieces already, you're set! I've given you the math to figure out how many pieces you need and how to figure out how much background you need. Don't have any rectangles in your stash? Don't fret! There's still hope!
Do you have charm (5") squares? Remember those random charm packs you bought without a plan? Can they play well together? Then cut them in half and get started! Or how about leftover jelly roll strips, or leftover binding strips? I even have a precut bundle hanging around in my stash - I think they used to call it a dessert roll - that is an odd size but might be perfect for this project. Think creatively about what you've got and use. it. up!
Do you feel inspired? I hope so! There's so much potential laying around our studios, just waiting to become quilts. And don't laugh when you read studio and think about your own sewing space - any place you sew is a studio, where you create using your God-given artistic talents! So be proud of your space AND your creativity!
And I promised a box of scraps to one of you last week - let's see who the lucky recipient is...
Congratulations! I'll be contacting Liz to get her snail mail address so I can send her out a package of scraps to play with!
And since mailing out two packages of scraps hasn't made a dent in my scrap stash, I'm going to offer up another one this week! I'll choose from the people who leave a comment below - if you DON'T want scraps, be sure to say so, and if you DO, be sure to leave your email address!
Happy Scrappy Sewing!!