Friday, November 22, 2019

Controlled Scrappy or Wild Scrappy?

Unlike some quilters, I hardly ever create a scrap quilt at random, grabbing pieces here and there and sewing them together without a plan. This scares me. I usually prefer to play around and carefully arrange the scrap pieces in a way that is pleasing to my eye, paying attention to color, contrast and value. I think it's a control thing. I'm always amazed when quilters tell me they don't plan their scrap quilts. I hesitate to just throw fabrics together and assume it will all work out because it usually doesn't for me. I always need to plan a bit. How do you make your scrappy quilts?

Treasure boxes from my book Small & Scrappy. This may look like a random scrap quilt made with lots and lots of small scraps but look closely and you can see I used a definite color theme of pink, blue and brown with a few small kicks of color. 

Same here. Scrappy blocks yet with a tan and blue theme.

Here's one of my least favorite scrap quilts, below. It's my Civil War Soldier's Cot quilt from my book The Civil War Sewing Circle. I challenged myself to create this one at random - no planning, pulling fabrics from who knows where, not caring if they went together while I made the blocks. It's definitely scrappy. The only thing I planned was to make it as I thought a woman from that era might have used up her scraps to quickly sew a quilt for a soldier who desperately needed bedding in the camps. To me, it's just meh - too much brown, green and gold, not my favorite colors. I like the pattern though and may even make another one someday, definitely with  more blue in it, LOL. 

I like my planned scrap quilts much better because I often try to at least use a certain color theme throughout. Still scrappy.

If you're a beginner at making scrap quilts, you may want to try a planned one at first. There's not always a need to throw caution to the wind. I know that can be scary. Make a plan and just try throwing in a few scraps of a few different colors here and there. It gets easier after you've made a few quilts. This is where small quilts come in. It's so much easier to try this in a small quilt before you spend time making make something large and end up not liking it. It just takes practice.

See what I mean about controlled scrappy?  At first, try using several different prints in the same color and mix them up in your blocks for a scrappy look. This is a good way to ease into the scrappy look if you're afraid of your colors going all over the place and the quilt becoming too wild. Then, perhaps, gradually introduce a random little piece of a different color in a block or two and step back. You'll know when it's too much for your taste.

Moderately scrappy - not crazy, wild scrappy. Just use different shades of the same colors in your backgrounds.

Here's a blog post I wrote awhile ago to help you choose and buy fabric to build a nice collection for making scrap quilts.

Have a good weekend!


Lady Locust said...

I plan my scrapies - can't help it. I have a friend who will just roll with it, and it looks great. Not me - I see all the 'errors' in my own work.

Jocelyn said...

I'm like you, I like a planned scrappy quilt. It has never worked out for me to do random fabrics together. I only tried a somewhat throw together quilt once, and was not happy with it. I even undid one that the colors just did not go together. And I don't think its a control thing. I just like order :-)

quiltgrannie said...

That's why mystery quilts scare me. I never know how all my choices will play together nicely. I always love your quits!!

Rosemary said...

Planned scrappy ... more or less. I love scrappy quilts. I kinda plan the individual blocks but doesn't always work out and that's okay with me.

marian said...

Kathy, I see what you mean about controlled scrappy... it's always pleasing to the eye, and I must admit I too have made several small quilts that way. These days I believe 'my scrappy' style leans more towards wild scrappy... I get a buzz out of pushing the envelope :))

Shasta Matova said...

On the quilt I am making now, it is completely unplanned. Whatever is in the scrap box gets used, and it gets put together based on the size of the scrap and not on what goes well together. I think it looks great, but then I like to let serendipity do its thing. I do have some quilts where I exerted more control.

Kathleen Tracy said...

Thanks for the comments! Jocelyn - I hear you! Karen aka quiltgrannie, I hear you too. I think I will give people more hints for the Mystery quilt next time. Marian - no matter how scrappy you make your quilts they always turn out beautifully, controlled or wild. Shasta - sounds like you are very innovative and brave!

QuiltGranma said...

I like a planned scrappy as well as wild scrappy that shows off a bit of every 1800's fabrics that I have! Currently in time out with ALL in the mix are tumbler, log cabin, tumbling blocks and a 3" finished size hexi quilt. My planned scrappy use a variety of light fabrics, not all the same. Got to have those blocks look like they did not have enough for the whole quilt and used what they had. Other wise it just looks too planned for me.

Cynthia@wabi-sabi-quilts said...

Love this post and I operate similarly - controlled scrappy is such a good term. I enjoy laying out blocks and finding a balance, rearranging the blocks. Absolutely love your quilts!

Connie said...

Hi Kathleen,

Thanks for the "Little Trees" free pattern. I think I might be able to get some of these done for the season! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Connie Martin

Nanny said...

Un post muy, muy interesante. Muchas gracias por describir tu forma de trabajar. Yo hago quizás un poco de todo. Y no, tampoco me gustan los Mysteris: nunca sé si al finalizar se verá bien y eso me da terror.
Un abrazo y feliz Navidad!


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