Friday, November 3, 2023

Scrap Quilt Love

Do you love the look of scrappy quilts? And do you sometimes have a little trouble choosing fabrics for your scrappy quilts?  You're not alone. I get questions about choosing fabrics all the time.    



It's important to develop a good collection of fabrics in order to make nice scrap quilts. I know it's fun to just keep buying the same colors over and over again (guilty). But, if you're intent on making scrap quilts, then you need to go outside your box and pick up some prints that may not be in your customary colors. I love blue and always tend to buy a lot of blues. But if I only buy blue every time I shop, my fabric collection will suffer and so will my quilts. If it gets overwhelming, focus on building up your fabric stash by buying one color at a time.  The good news - this will involve a lot of shopping.



It's actually easy -  in order to make even the simplest scrap quilt you'll need a variety of scraps in all the colors. Decide which will serve you better and fit your budget: Yards and yards of just a few prints or lots and lots of smaller cuts that you'll use for a long time as you build up your collection and make your quilts?


To repeat - In order to make good scrap quilts the very first thing you need to do is begin collecting lots of different prints in various colors. If you're like me and have been doing this for years, then this might not be a problem for some of you. But, if you're new to scrappy quilting (or quilting in general), it's absolutely necessary to  have a "good fabric wardrobe" with a nice variety of prints in basic colors.  Every quilter should have a good assortment of prints in shades of:
  • red
  • medium blue 
  • brown
  • tan 
  • rust or orange
  • green 
  • gold 
  • indigo or dark blue 
  • pink
  • purple 
  • black
  • and, of course, a collection of light prints or "shirting" fabrics

A little organization is key. You may want to take an inventory of some of your fabrics. I store mine according to color. In order to make a good scrappy quilt, you'll need to have several different prints in each colorway. Sounds like a lot of fabric but you don't need yards and yards of prints for each color.  Fat quarters, 1/4 yards or even smaller pieces will do. 


Next time you visit a quilt shop or shop online for fabric, in addition to buying yardage of what you love, try focusing on buying some prints in different colors you may not already have in your collection. Perhaps buy additional half yards, quarter yards or fat quarters of just ONE color (but a variety of prints in that color) on this trip. I always seem to be low on gold and green. Not my favorite colors or used often as the focus in my quilts but I still love to incorporate them into my scrap quilts and need to remember to buy more. Then, the next time you shop, focus on only buying say, an assortment of reds, or just buy a few brown prints.

In addition to buying "quiet" prints like the ones above, look for interesting prints in all the different colors. These will add interest to your quilts.

Over time, if you shop often, this will give you a nice variety. And, you may find that this is a way to overcome the overwhelming feeling we all get when we enter a quilt shop and may help to keep the confusion to a minimum. There's usually inspiration at every step and if you see a quilt you must make, then go for it and buy all of the fabric it takes. Just remember to also build up your basic fabric collection while you're there. Also, if you make small quilts, then don't buy all large, busy floral prints. Mix it up and buy a few geometrics, stripes or checks, tiny florals and dots too. Save the large florals for the borders perhaps. When you build up your fabric collection this way, the next time you feel like making a scrappy quilt, you're good to go.


Bottom line - don't be afraid to buy more fabric. Sure, maybe you feel you don't need it and it's probably true, we will never use all of it up in our lifetimes. But, as quilters, it goes without saying that we are also collectors of fabric. Fabric is what drives us as well as the entire quilting industry.  You should not apologize or feel ashamed if you have too much fabric. Buying fabric is an essential part of the creative process and it often gives us the inspiration we need to begin something new. Stop and think -  do you really need 5 yards of a print you love? Or, will a half yard or even a fat quarter do? There will always be new fabric to love. You may be better off buying additional smaller pieces of some other lovely prints that will complement that one and this will build up your collection. 

                                                               Happy Fall!

Friday, October 13, 2023

Autumn Leaves Sew Along - Part 4

Here's the final step in out little sew along for fall 2023. Mix your 3" Turnstile blocks from last week with twelve 3 5/8" squares to make a pieced border. 

You'll find the directions in my Facebook group files. If you 're not on FB, go to my website and find the directions on the Autumn Leaves Sew Along page. 

Make your border strips using the same fabric for the squares or use a different fabric for each square. Make it as scrappy as you like. Using dark squares gives it a different look.


Lots of possibilities! 

                            Thanks for joining me this time. Have a happy fall!



Friday, October 6, 2023

Autumn Leaves Sew Along - Part 3

Step 3 of our little Autumn Leaves Sew Along involves making 12 small Turnstile blocks.  Or Spinning Pinwheels as I sometimes call them. Now 12 may seem like a lot but they stitch up quickly.  I still have a few more to go and I did all these in a day. I pick my fabrics and cut out all the pieces one day and sew on another which makes it easy. 

You may make all 12 blocks from one color paired with the same light background, or use a different colored medium or dark print for each block and a different light background as I did - OR make the spinning parts from four different prints within the block.  Anything goes! Use up your fall-colored scraps and delight in the scrappiness!

Some of you may remember that this block was included in last year's fall Mystery quilt. I like it so much I thought it would be perfect for yet another fall quilt. 

These 3" Turnstile blocks will be used in a pieced border for Step 4, where you’ll also have the option of adding black or darker prints to finish off the quilt. So, if you are hoping to use a dark background for the turnstile blocks in this step instead of light, the finished quilt may be entirely too dark. If you just don’t like the look of a light background for your blocks, my suggestion is to use a tan (or another medium-colored print) to allow for some contrast when the last dark pieces are sewn together.          

You'll find directions for making the block in my Facebook group files or on my website under Autumn Leaves Sew Along. See you on Friday, October 13, for the final step.


Friday, September 29, 2023

Autumn Leaves Sew Along - Part 2

This week we'll sew the four leaves together that you made in Step 1 and make the center of the quilt. Follow the directions in Step 2 of the file to cut and sew the triangles for the setting. You'll find the directions in my Facebook group files. If you 're not on FB, go to my website and find the directions on the Autumn Leaves Sew Along page.

After you've completed that part, you'll add a narrow border. 

I decided to use a nice teal green for my border. 

Here's where you can get creative. Try using different setting triangles instead of the light prints I've used. If you like a more primitive look, then use darker prints for the triangles. And a contrasting border. There will be an option to use different prints to bring this all together in the last step where we'll  make a pieced border. 

Hope you're having fun! I'm still trying to keep up with my Scrappy Ohio Stars from Repro Quilt Lover's blog.  But, as usual, distractions abound so I'm a little behind. I may decide not to make all of the blocks Taryn is showcasing and turn it into a smaller quilt using my favorite blocks. I can always pick it up again later if I change my mind.  We'll see what happens. 


Seven blocks finished. Quite a few more to go. 

I know it looks like I made a mistake with the star points but that's the way the quilter made hers. As I mentioned before, I've been inspired to recreate the blocks from the antique quilt as closely as I can with colors. Style too, to get a true antique look. You have to ask: Did she do that randomly, by mistake or deliberately? Did she want to add a sense of quirkiness to her quilt? Did she make a mistake and then shrug and say "Oh well, I'll just leave it?" Was she distracted by something more important while she was sewing? We'll never know. But it shows that modern day quilters have a lot to learn about creativity from quilters of the past. 

It's been fun picking through my reproduction fabrics and scraps to find the perfect ones that "match" the ones in the antique quilt that Taryn shows. But, for me, that seems to take FOREVER. And then I wind up going with the prints I like better anyway. But -  it's still great fun. Visit Repro Quilt Lovers blog for more info.

                          Have a good weekend! More sew along fun next Friday, Oct 6. 

Friday, September 22, 2023

Autumn Leaves Sew Along - Part 1

Here are the blocks for Step 1 of our fall quilt sew along. The quilt is called Autumn Leaves. Isn't it a sweet, quirky little block? I drafted it from a block I saw in an antique quilt. A little different from the usual Maple Leaf block.  You'll find instructions in my Facebook group files or on the Autumn Leaves Sew Along page of my website.


"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree."  - Emily Bronte

In case you're wondering, in the coming weeks, we'll be making a little quilt in four parts using some small blocks. I'll upload directions in my Facebook group files (and also on my website) every Friday through the middle of October. This will be a pattern for a quick and easy little quilt for you to display around the house, on a table or hanging on a wall. Perfect for the fall season.

                                   (Blocks from last year's sew along, not this current one.)

Making your blocks with scraps adds to the fun. Before you begin, take a little time to sort through your scrap box or basket. You never know what you'll find. And you know how playing around with fabric always makes your creativity flow. So does buying new fabric. You have my permission to do that, LOL. We all need a little pick-me-up now and then.

Over the years, I've found that there are two things that help us to successfully finish a project - taking it in small steps and sewing along with friends. Always more fun in a group. I like to do these sew alongs on Facebook because making a quilt in a group gives you so much inspiration as well as support from others and encouragement to finish. And, if you need help, there's always someone there who knows what to do.  If you're not already a member, click on the FB group link on the right sidebar of my blog.

It's almost pumpkin time! There are a couple of  patterns for pumpkin quilts in my Etsy shop

Don't forget - the sew along is all about using the fabrics and colors you love. Make it scrappy! I'll give you the next part on Friday, September 29.


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