As you have noticed, I’m a scrap quilting nut. I love to have a “riot” of color in my designs. Some of them are true scrappy. By this, I mean that I sit next to a tub of scraps and pull out a different piece of fabric for each piece of a block. This is a lot of fun and has made creations like this pattern of mine called Crisscross Cabin Blooms:
And this pattern called Twinkling Log Cabin:
Then there is the kind of scrap quilt that is a little more “planned” like my pattern Scrappy North Stars:
This pattern takes 54 fat quarters. Before you cut out pieces for this quilt, you pair up dark color prints, medium color prints and background fabrics into what I call “color sets”. Each color set will make a certain number of blocks. The dark color will be on the outside in some blocks and on the inside in others. This is a one block quilt, but due to the variety of fabrics, it’s still really interesting and fun to look at!
So now, it’s on to some of my tips for a successful scrap quilt. When you are making a scrap quilt, you are usually using at least 5 or 6 different colors of fabric for variety. But, when you are piecing your quilt top, it never fails, you get the same colors right next to each other or clumped together on one side of a block or quilt. How to remedy this problem?
Tip #1: I number the fabrics. For example, if I have a blue, purple, green, pink and gold fabric, I will number them 1 through 5. If you have 20 different fabrics, you can group them by color family and then number them. Once they are numbered, I then take a diagram of the quilt block or quilt top (you can make a copy of the block or quilt from the pattern and enlarge it if you need to) and write numbers on the quilt top pieces. As I am numbering, I make sure the distribution of the colors is even!
This example above is for a small wall hanging. I call this “color mapping”.
Tip #2: Are you worried that you are going to sew rows or block pieces together wrong after carefully planning the color placement above?
As you can see by the photo above, I have the sections numbered starting with #1. Section 1 is to be sewn to section 2 and then section 3 is sewn to the bottom of section 2 and so on ….. I started doing this when I flubbed on color placement a few times when transferring pieces from my design wall to my sewing machine. I would end up sewing the wrong pieces together and not notice it until a whole border was done and I saw the same colors clumped together. Then …. it was time to “unsew”. An we all know how much fun that is!
I use the sheets of the little square Avery stickers (#5418 Multi-Use Labels) to number my pieces. Here is the complete row laid out and ready to be joined:
Tip #3: Another thing I use these stickers for are “directional” arrows. As you can see by the units above and looking over my pattern diagram above, the triangles face different directions based on which side of the quilt they are on. In order to keep me straight, I draw a little arrow on one of the small stickers and place it at the top of a row so I know which way is up.
As you can see, organization while piecing a scrap quilt is essential if you have blocks or pieces with similar colors. Of course, we always seem to miss something, nobody’s perfect! But this will help you to have the scrappiest quilt you can.
I hope you liked this brief “tutorial” on scrap quilting. Now hit that stash and start stitching!
Leave me a comment below on your favorite scrap quilting tip. You will be entered into a drawing to receive one of the above patterns from my collection! Good luck!