Scrap Quilt Secrets: #1
I’m making adorable scrappy quilt blocks along with AP&Q’s quilt-along.
The design is a great little block by Christa Watson and making the blocks is really entertaining.
I decided to omit a few of the seams in the background. I think it looks fine either way and I wanted to speed things up a little and eliminate some bulk.
But what I really want to share today is something that caught my ear in the Facebook group for the quilt-along.
One person was saying that she’s spending time making each block look nice. She’s arranging and rearranging her patches deliberately to create combinations that please her. (Smart quilter!)
And that’s where it went south. Because another quilter’s response floored me:
Now please understand: I hold no personal malice toward this quilter. But that approach for scrap quilts is absolutely wrong.
Let me repeat: Absolutely wrong.
You know how some quilts look like scrap vomit? That’s what happens when you don’t plan your scrap quilt.
Scrap quilts don’t take less planning. They require more!
You must be deliberate about making all those diverse fabrics work together.
You have to consider what elements could bring cohesion to all those varied prints.
It behooves you to audition and to change things up and to rethink one more time, over and over and over.
There were also comments that revealed a quilter’s experience and wisdom, like this one:
Amen. She is absolutely right.
I have had to make peace with the extra time and effort it takes to make a good scrappy quilt. It does require a lot more time and effort. But you know what?
I think it’s worth it.
Find the details for the American Patchwork & Quilting 2022 Quilt-Along here.
Does your quilt guild need a great program for ’23 or ’24? I’d love to share my quilts with you. Give me a call and Let’s Talk Quilts!
Tags: american patchwork and quilting, fabric savvy, how-tos, make extraordinary scrap quilts, quilt along, quilt design, scrap quilts, sew along
Diane I agree with you. It’s important to audition your fabric pieces before you put it altogether. I used to think just put the blocks together & get it finished. I don’t do that any more. Thank you for your wisdom!
Absolutely! In fact, there was a Bonnie Hunter quilt Carolina something that Blue Elephant Stitches did. I’m in love with Blue Elephant but when I looked at the original pattern, it left me flat. I would not have picked it. It’s all about the value as you pointed out in class Diane. BES did the blocks all medium value and the small 4 patch contracts light and dark. The Bonnie Hunter rendition was much more random and that’s how it looks. Random. Not as pleasing as the focused scrap selection. Intriguing.
I think it’s worth it too! I spend more time on layout for scrappy designs. I want to make sure it looks balanced and doesn’t have any empty spots. I take black and white photos to double check value. It’s a process I enjoy immensely! It would probably seem more like work to someone who doesn’t enjoy this step of quilting though.
That’s a really good point!
I agree that some planning as far as value variration and layout is necessary to make successful scrap quilts but I wonder what the original poster meant by “planning a scrap quilt”. Did she mean that she does not plan specific fabric combinations or a particular colour palette? I think that is quite common as most scrap quilts are dependent on value rather than colour. For example, in your blocks above, did you plan to use orange fabric in every four patch in the first block or were you only trying to have a distinct value variation? Are you using a specific color palette or are the four patches made based on temperature and value contrast only? I like to make more “coordinated” scrap quilts so I focus on both colour and value in my scrap quilts. For example, I often make scrap quilts that have fabric patches of one colour “clustered” together as I think it makes the quilt look more organized and allows me to use fabrics of different intensities and a wide range of colours together without them clashing. Or, in the block above, I would make the four patches have consisent diagonal chains of a dark fabric to make a secondary design. No doubt auditioning the blocks and making sure that the blocks have appropriate value variation are important but if a quilter is focussing on the “big picture” of the quilt and the overall look of the quilt and the patches are small, then does it make sense to spend time on colour combinations in each block (other than making sure they are evenly placed)?
You make some good points! 😊
I find a scrappy quilt has cohesion when one are two identical fabrics are used within the quilt. And in the same position of the design It’s draws your eye to them and creates a pattern
I agree. I used to jump in on the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt year after year. I finally realized that all I did was use up scraps. The quilt? Meh…