I pieced together some bigger blocks/slabs last night and made some notes to myself on a few things to keep in mind. I hope you find these helpful in your scrap quilt journey.
- If you are cutting into yardage, cut to a standard width. 1.5″, 2.5″ or 3.5″ strips and squares piece well together. I cut some random size widths and although it is interesting to the overall scrappiness of the quilt, they take more time to sew and trim.
- Thread! I was trying to use up what I had on hand and became so frustrated with it breaking that I went to our local quilt shop and bought a spool of light grey Auriful. Oh my gosh what a difference. This is 100% cotton thread, very strong and minimal lint in the machine. Side note: Grey is a great color to use when piecing as it is invisible on most fabrics.
- Use a small stitch length on your machine for more accurate seams. On my machine I have the length set to a 3 which produces 12 stitches to the inch.
- Always press the seams after you sew. Press to the darker side of the piece if possible.
- Take time to trim/square up the pairs, blocks and slabs before you sew on the next piece. This has made all the difference in my piecing. I have a very old sewing machine that does not have a quarter inch seam guide on the throat plate and my sewing foot is not accurate either so I use a piece of artists tape on the throat plate to guide the fabric through for a 1/4″ seam allowance.
- Add more dark colors. Looking at my blocks overall, I am missing the pop of a dark color (black, navy, charcoal). I think that 25% of the quilt should be dark fabrics, 25% should be light (aka low volume) and the balance in the mid tone range.
- I love remnants but these can be difficult to wash prior to sewing. I put mine into a nylon mesh zippered bag and then put that in the washing machine on delicate cycle. The pieces will still fray but not as much. These pieces I don’t put into the dryer but use my iron on a hot setting to help dry them. I will lay them out or hang them to dry completely if the iron doesn’t do it.
What are some other tips/tricks that you have discovered?
Keep it simple!
I’m doing this sort of thing as a leaders-and-enders project, but of course there are times it takes over my attention and I realize I’ve been working on it, rather than the main project, for hours! 🙂 I’m making 12″ squares, and all fabrics need to “read” as purple, green, or neutral (white/cream or black/gray). I also had my quilt guild make squares for me in a box exchange. I probably have about 32 squares out of 54 needed.
I wouldn’t worry too much about not having enough darks; some quilts look great with only medium and light fabrics — yours certainly does!
One thing I’ve learned is that it’s fun to put some triangles in there, maybe some HSTs left over from another project. The eye is drawn to them, but in a good way. Maybe they provide an anchor, if that makes any sense?
This is the first time I’ve seen your blog; I found it through My Quilt Infatuation.
This quilt is going to be beautiful!! You have lovely scraps and I love scrap quilts. I have put small pieces to wash in a mesh bag also. One tip I can think of is to cut the corners of the fabric with pinking sheers before washing. It makes a big difference with fraying.
My long time quilting mentor, Mary Ellen Hopkins, always advised us to add black for sparkle in a quilt! Love the cheerful spirit of your piece.
Beautiful scrappy quilt! Reminds me of my grandmother’s quilts that she made which were mostly from fabric leftover from clothing or clothes that were too small or couldn’t be repaired anymore. Refreshing to see this type of crazy quilt coming back, after all those uniform blocks and repeated patterns. Bravo!!!
Thank you Karen. It has been a joy working on this and using up some of the fabric I have been storing as well not to mention using the scrap bag. I love the randomness of it, it keep it interesting and most importantly for me is that I don’t have to have exact seams or pieces 🙂