Today, I’m pleased to be a part of Kim Lapacek’s Scrap Quilt Challenge over on her blog at Persimon Dreams. On the 15th of each month through October, Kim will be featuring a different designer talking about how they approach quilting with scraps. The funny thing is that I never considered myself a “scrap quilter” until I started realizing that I do love scraps, if they can be organized in a controlled way (yep, that’s a little bit of my type A control freak personality showing!!)
Controlling the Chaos
This actually goes well with my approach to improv as well. It’s hard for me to go completely willy-nilly as I still like to have some structure in my quilts. Today I’ll share are a few examples of quilts and blocks where I’ve mashed up “controlled scrappy” together with “structured improv” to create some really dynamic quilts!
I don’t keep a separate scrap bin – I just sort my fabric chunks by color and then try to use as many different prints as possibly in my “controlled scrappy” quilts. I don’t let my stash get too big so it’s easier to work with. If I don’t love something on the front, I’ll throw it on the back.
The following three examples are all from my first book, Machine Quilting with Style. I didn’t even realize what I had done with the controlled scrappy/structured improv thing until the quilts were finished. No wonder they are 3 of my favorites from the book!!
This is “Lightning”. I pulled out all of the black, white and gray fabrics from my stash to put this one together, creating improv rail fence blocks. To add a pop of color, I added some solid yellow/green. I didn’t have enough of either color – so I just used both!!
My approach to fabric selection is why choose 1 or 2 fabrics when 20 will do?
I used a similar approach when combing through my stash, pulling fabrics for “Ripples” above. Again, I started with a controlled palette of aqua and gray, pulling every fabric I had in those two colors ranging from light to dark. I love the movement that is created when many different fabrics are used.
I think more is more when it comes to fabric selection, don’t you?
“Facets” above is my absolute favorite quilt I’ve made to date. Although I “cheated” a little and started with a 28 piece fat quarter bundle for this quilt, (using my Kona Designer palette), I really wanted to show that you can still get a scrappy look and feel using only solids. The solid white background sets it off and provides contrast, but I’m really tempted to remake this using scrappy backgrounds, too!
By combining scraps with improv – you can use even the tiniest leftover bits to make your own fabric, then cut it up into recognizeable shapes!
Scrap Happy Blocks
I used the same approach to combining scraps with improv when making these two blocks that are part of a larger designer block program.
My Scrappy Happy Heart is part of The Splendid Sampler block series. It’s a paper pieced block that uses up to 16 different fabrics. Can we say scrappiness galore?? Wouldn’t a whole quilt of them be just fabulous??
Click here for the free block pattern to make Scrappy Happy Heart.
Improv Star was made for the Aurifil Designer of the Month Series. I had just made a quilt using the colors above and had enough leftovers to create this fun block from the scraps! I’m starting to explore the idea of taking traditional blocks and making the individual block units from scrappy improv. I think it makes for a much more interesting block, don’t you?
Join the Challenge!
If you are inspired to start using up your scraps, be sure to join in on the Scrap Quilt Challenge and link up your project. Complete rules are listed on Kim’s blog and you have until Nov. 3rd to link up! When you do, be sure to also share your scrappy quilt over in my Facebook Group so we can all ooh and ahh over it!!
And finally, as my welcome gift to those of you who are new to my blog, be sure to click here to to get my free Puzzle Box PDF pattern. It’s perfect for using up leftover scrappy strips!!