Saturday, February 7, 2009

Scrap Quilting

Boy, could the news get worse? Everyday there's more and more people joining the ranks of the unemployed. I got layed-off this summer, but am thankfully back to work full time. I keep hearing how supporting art programs comes under the title "pork". It's also thought that these are not job creating institutions. I beg to differ, since I work at a museum. I agree we need to spend money on infrastructure, here in Michigan our roads are terrible. But a refusal to support zoos, museums, local theaters and education is short sited. And when those programs are cut, what part is cut, employees! We either spend the money on unemployment benefits or we can actually get something for our money, by keeping people working.

The bright spot in all this is that I am a long time quilter. I began quilting in 1974 and have been seriously stockpiling fabrics since 1981. I have 28 years worth of fabric to make quilts with. And since my favorite quilts are scrap quilts, I'll be spending the next couple of years using "quilt therapy" to get through the financial mess we're in.
If you're in the same boat here a couple of ideas to help you quilt with just your stash:
  • piece the backs of your quilts
  • use class samples or UFOs you no longer like on the back of your quilts (I got this idea from a lecture at my quilt guild by Sue Spargo)
  • if a pattern calls for one color, say pink, substitute with many different scraps of that color
  • borders are often an area where you need a lot of yardage of one fabric. Substitute that yardarge with squares of the same color of fabric i.e. many squares of tone on tone blacks can substitute for a single black fabric.
  • piece your battings. I save all my batting scraps and sew them together when I need to fill a quilt. I've even used different weights and fiber types and nobody has ever noticed they aren't the same batting
  • even bindings can be pieced with different scraps of fabric
  • just remember the more similar your scraps are the more it will look like one piece
The pictured quilt is done in a scrappy style. The sashing, corners and border blues are all different. I also used all different brands of batting including 80/20 and 100% cotton. In upcoming blogs I will give away the 12" block patterns, as well as the sashing, corners and card trick borders for this quilt.

I highly recommend working as much with scraps as possible. The more you do it the more you'll like it! Right now I'm piecing a scrappy border for a baby quilt. The weatherman promised our temperatures are going to hit 50 degrees today, so in between the melting snow and puddles I'm going to walk Boomer.

Till next time....Happy Quilting!


  1. Hi Beth,
    It is my first visit to your blog and I find you have concerns about the same topic as Eileen Doughty wrote for my blog Subversive Stitchers -- about government trying to cut funding to the arts and the venues that support arts.

    I have to admit that using up my stash would take quite a long time -- but I want to continue supporting the businesses that have been so good to me, especially those small businesses such as quilt shops and art shops. Without us continuing to support those businesses most valuable to us, we may lose those to this awful economy too. So perhaps support your favorites and cut somewhere else?

    I hope you'll check out my blog Subversivestitch at blogspot dot com

    Your quilt is so lovely and the colors so cheerful. I can't help but smile when I see it.


  2. I just love this quilt, people don't seem to make samplers anymore, these are my favorites. Please keep posting your latest projects to inspire everyone.


  3. I love using scraps. I save my newer fabrics for when I need a main color or backgrounds. I also watch for good sales. I buy up good background colors like black when it is on sale and use it for my main background.


  4. Hi Dr. Beth!

    I love your quilt! You've inspired me to make my first scrappy. Like you, I've been quilting for many years and have quite a bit of stash. I still consider myself a "beginner" learning new things every day!!!


  5. You're right Dawn, we need to continue supporting our quilt shops. Like Debbie, I still buy new fabric when I need yardage for borders and backs. Even though I use a lot of pieced borders, I often use yardage in my borders, too. I just don't indulge in $200 fabric shopping sprees buying whatever is pretty anymore. I still have a weakness for cherry red and I'm finding it hard to resist the beautiful peacock blues on the market now, so will probably sneak a little of it in my stash. My fabric stash is so old that I'm now making "time-span" quilts in my own lifetime!

  6. I love this idea! It's like recycling. Can you use this technique when you make my quilt? :)


  7. Sure can Katy! We just need to pick a pattern. Do you still want the giant compass?