In early September, I did a post on quilt fabrics and considering color contrast when picking out that fabric. Here is a link to the post if you would like a review: Fabrics and Color Contrast in Quilting. Now I am going to talk about building a scrap quilt after you have chosen your fabrics. The fun thing about making a scrap quilt, is you can do it with just about any quilt pattern you like. It works really well with one block quilts. So let’s get started on some of my tips on building a scrap quilt.
Simple One Block Quilt Scrappy
You can actually turn any quilt pattern into a scrap quilt with a little thought. I’ll use a simple 3 color quilt as an example. To make it easy, let’s say this quilt takes a yard of each color fabric (not including the background) and has 36 blocks. Here’s the 3 colors:
If you make 12 blocks from each color above, it will make a really pretty quilt. It will be a little bit scrappy as you will have blocks made from 3 different colors. Here’s what it would look like:
Nice looking quilt, right? But what if you wanted to make it scrappier? Easy to do! Take those 3 fabrics above and, instead of buying a yard of each, split those yards into 1/3 yards. For example, instead of 1 yard of red, buy 1/3 yard red, 1/3 yard of a coordinating pink and 1/3 yard of a coordinating brown. Do the same for the blue and the yellow fabrics. You’ll end up with something like this:
Now instead of 12 blocks each color, make 4 blocks from each color. This is what your quilt could look like:
Same quilt, but now it’s scrappier even though each block is only made from one color.
Scrappiness Within Blocks
Another way to make an interesting scrap quilt is to take a block and put several different colors into it. The block below is one that I am going to use as an example to demonstrate scrappiness within a block:
As. you can see, there are a lot of opportunities to make this block more than two colors. One way is to choose another color besides the green and also shift where the black accent fabric is used. For the green and black block, I shifted the black to the center and outer pieces and then I added in a block with red and black with the black accent fabric opposite from where it is in the other block:
This makes it a bit scrappier, but it’s still more uniform than a true scrap quilt. Now look what happens when we add more colors in and alternate the black accent in every other block:
Definitely scrappier! If you really want to have even more fun, how about putting 2 colors in a block with the black accent:
Now we’re getting scrappier!
Finally, look what happens when you take each element of the block and use a different color? This is what I call “unplanned” scrappy. This is when you sit next to your scrap bin and just pull out different colors for each part of the block. In the example below, I still kept the black accent in some capacity because I always like to have a bit of continuity in my scrap blocks.
The block on the left has only the center with the accent color. The block on the right uses the accent color in the center and on the outside. Either way, they’re definitely scrappier than those I have already shown.
Some Scrapping Tips
Tip #1: When you decide to make a scrap quilt that is not completely random, planning helps. Make a copy of the finished quilt from the pattern and color it using colored pencils to represent the fabrics you want to use. You can also do this with individual blocks.
Tip #2: To help keep fabrics organized while you are deciding the color makeup of blocks, label the fabrics with a number. For example, if you have 9 different fabrics you are going to use, label the fabrics 1 through 9. Then you can label your pattern diagram with the color numbers for ease in cutting out your pieces.
Tip #3: Have your scraps and your smaller cuts of fabric organized by color family. This will make it so much easier for you to find the perfect fabric to complete each block. Here’s a few of my tubs with separate colors:
So, that’s all for this week. I hope this was an informative post for you. Scrap quilting can be fun. I love to see what I can do with a block using different colors. The important thing is to have fun!
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Arlys May says
Thanks for the great tips!!
Sue singer says
Some great ideas. Love the flying geese block
Thanks for the scrappy ideas! I like your color ideas a lot!
Scrappy quilting is difficult for me – I haven’t liked my ‘pull out of scrap bin’ results, but your tips will help. Thank you!
Some great tips….with a few “A-ha!” moments for me…very helpful! Thank you!!
Judith Baker says
Scrappy quilts were hard at first but I learned fast. Someone told me once that if you have five fabrics, two of them won’t work but if you have 25 they will all work. So true! Now all I make is scrappy quilts.
Donna S says
Love scrappy quilts! But have a hard time not trying to match instead of random choosing. Will try your tips.
Great tips and examples! Like many of the other commenters, I love the scrappy look but get so nervous executing… I like your tip of keeping the black (or another color) for continuity between blocks. That should help me!
Lorraine Leblanc says
I like scrappy quilts that have a little feel of it being planned and not totally random but it would take a lot of planning to be sure there is enough of the right fabric for the finished quilt.
Helen Maffeo says
Thank you for the great ideas for scrappy quilts!