Last week I talked about quilting with strips and scraps and shared some links to some history, including a look at the quilts of Gee’s Bend and crazy quilting. Here’s the post if you missed it. This week, I thought I’d continue with the scrap quilting fun by showing you two ways I scrap quilt. Making what I call “planned” scrap quilts and true scrap quilts. I’ll show you examples with my quilts and explain how I either plan a scrap quilt or just “fly by the seat of my pants”!
How to Plan a Scrap Quilt
Sounds kind of funny planning a scrap quilt, right? Well, I know some quilters do not like the complete chaos of a scrap quilt and want to still have some harmony among their fabrics. Here’s an example of how I teach people how they can turn any quilt into a scrap quilt.
I 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 12 blocks from each color. Here’s the 3 colors:
Here’s what a quilt would look like with those 3 colors in separate blocks.
Pretty quilt, huh?
One way to make a scrap quilt from just these three fabrics is to mix and match the colors within the blocks. For example, make some blocks gold/blue and some blocks red/gold and some blue/red:
This makes it a little scrappier! However, you can turn this even scrappier by substituting three 1/3 yard cuts for each yard of fabric from above. I’ve done that here:
To the dark blue fabric, I added a light blue and a purple. To the red fabric, I added pink and brown (both fabrics have red accents) and to the yellow fabric I added green and orange. So, now I have 9 colors which I can distribute through 36 blocks giving me 4 blocks from each color. Or I can mix and match those colors within each block.
The quilt on the left is scrappier than the 3 color quilts from above. And the quilt on the right is even scrappier when you mix the colors within each block. So that’s the basics to a planned scrappy quilt.
So how do you plan a scrap quilt using any one block pattern? First choose a block design, then how many blocks you want and then how many colors you want to use. Then I make a diagram using a drawing of the block. I call this method “color mapping”. I number the colors I am using and then on a printout of the blocks in the quilt, I place the color number(s) in units of the blocks. Then I note how many blocks from each combination.
Here’s an example of one of my color maps showing that I am using nine different color prints that are numbered 1-9:
Once I have this done, then I can figure out how many pieces I need to cut from each color based on the diagram above. It does take a little time and math, but by doing this planning first, you end up with a beautiful scrap quilt. My Scrappy North Stars is an example of one planned this way (although I had more than 9 different fabrics in this one):
Unplanned Scrappy and Color Fun
Now for the unplanned scrap quilt or what I call “chaos”. That’s when I sit beside my tub of assorted strips and make one block after another. As I am making each block, I put them up on a design wall and try to avoid putting the same color strip into a block, at least not in the same place. The two quilts below are examples of some unplanned scrappies.
Yes, I do have colors repeated, but when that happens, it’s generally a different print from one in another block.
As you can see from some of the quilts I have shown in this post, I’m not afraid of putting interesting color prints together. That’s the fun of scrap quilts. You may think certain colors do not belong together, but in a scrap quilt you can get away with it!
Don’t be afraid to play with all different color fabrics and prints in a scrap quilt, whether it’s a planned scrap quilt or an unplanned scrap quilt. You’ll often be surprised with the results!
I hope you enjoyed this scrap quilting discussion and a look into my process. Comment or ask any questions you may have below and you will be entered into a drawing for my Scrappy North Stars quilt pattern (shown above)! **We have a winner… congrats, Ariel!**