Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Scrap-A-Palooza! Quilt #1 Part One

It's a new year with fresh beginnings and a chance to make improved habits!  Out in the blogosphere I have seen lots of bloggers resolving to make 2014 a year of working out of their stash and sewing up their scraps.  I spent 2013 doing just that and received so many wonderful comments on my scrap quilts, I decided to start a scrap series that my readers could use as a resource to sew up their own scraps.

I apologize in advance - this post will be wordy with just a few pictures.  As we get going, I won't have to go into quite the detail.

Scrap-A-Palooza is going to be a bit different than many of the sew-alongs.  As I cannot see into your scrap bin and design something up for the scraps that are found in your sewing room, I will be walking through the process I am taking to sew up a quilt based on what scrappy goodness has inspired me.  I will be writing  each post in such a way that should you desire, you can sew right along with me.  Or, you can just read along and once you see the quilt evolve, you will be able to go back later and use the posts as reference to make your own quilt.

Over the next few months, I will also be posting some general information on the following:

  • Working with Scraps
  • Finding inspiration in your Scraps
  • Scrap Storage Ideas
  • Defining Types of Scraps and Keeping them Sorted
  • Stocking good Backgrounds and Backing (Without breaking the bank)
  • "Naming your Quilt" to ensure a successful look (we get a little into this below)

Each quilt we do will have about 4 parts that will work its way through completing an entire quilt.  I hope to be sewing about a quilt a month.  You can take as long as you need and can start anytime on any of the projects.  With each quilt, I will be sharing tips, lessons learned, tutorials for more complex sewing and the reasoning behind why I do what I do.  I also want to share some possible quilting ideas for those that want to try some new patterns.  As we get further into the series, I will be creating a separate tab that will have pictures of my finished quilts along with links to each post for the quilt.

What do you say let's just get started!

One of the ways I store my scraps is to put alike pieces in a big ziploc bag.  I do this mainly with a certain fabric line or designer where I have collected a number of pieces.  But I also do this with themed fabrics like my 30's scraps, chevrons, novelty, etc. Occasionally I finish up a quilt project that I have a lot of scraps and pieces from so I will just put it all into a bag so I have everything already together to make a scrap quilt from in the future.

My inspiration for this quilt is a bag of Parson's Gray fabric scraps I have been collecting and feel it is time for me to sew them up.  These scraps have been collected from previous projects, friends, and dustbins at sewing retreats.  These scraps are mostly what I refer to as "chunks".  Most of the pieces are fairly good size so I want to decide on a pattern that will allow me to keep them fairly big so I get the most yield from the fabric.

My vision for this quilt is a scrappy horizontal bar quilt with a horizontal sashing between the pieced bars.

Now we need to do what I call "Name the Quilt".  This is not the title of your quilt, think of this as a way to help set boundaries on the scraps that will end up in the quilt.  I am naming this my "Parson's Gray (ish)" quilt.  The (ish) allows me to add fabrics that go with the line but are not part of it.  So I will not be putting pinks or yellows or Tula or 30's reproductions into this quilt.  I also have a piece of black solid that is a slightly different dye lot from the solid in my stash so this will be a great opportunity to use it up as the sashing.

And how about you?  As this quilt is done in bars, look at your scraps.  Do you have a lot of something you want to sew up?  This can be a designer, fabric line, color or genre of fabric.  Also keep in mind that there will need to be a sashing (from your stash) to go with this fabric.

Here are some ideas that might work for you....  
(Remember, this quilt will be made with pieced horizontal bars)
  • Pick out two colors (red/blue, pink/purple) and make bars of each color and alternate.  Sash with white or a low volume fabric.
  • Make each bar a diffent color and give the quilt a rainbow appearance (Maybe no sashing)
  • Go with a color theme (citrus, jewel toned, pastels)
  • Make the bars from low volumes and the sashing a solid color
***The possibilities are endless!***

So now back to my quilt.  As I didn't think I had quite enough of the Parson's Gray fabrics to complete a scrap quilt the size I wanted, I went to my scrap bin and pulled some solids and other prints that looked good with the line.  I also pulled some pieces from my stash that I refer to as my G2G (Got to Go) fabrics.  I always try to use these when I can.

***I do this next step while I am watching TV in the evening.  It could also be done while helping kids with homework or be that crazy quilt lady and do this while taking a break at work.****

Once I have all my scraps pulled, I pick out the smaller pieces and sort them by height.  I am doing this to determine at what cut size can I get the best yield.  I found I had three options.  I had just one piece that was small, the second stack and third stack were close in size so I had a decision to make.  If I went with the third stack, the fabric in the first two could not be used.  I chose to cut everything to the second stack to I could use as much of this fabric as possible.  The loss off the third stack was pretty minimal.

Note:  If the third stack had been substantially bigger than the second stack, I might have chosen to not have to cut all of them down and loose all the trimmings.

So after this exercise, I have decided that the pieces in my bars will be cut at 5".  You may decide to cut yours at a different size.  As there are no rules in this and it is your quilt, you can also decide to make each of your bars a different size.  Remember....these are your scraps...your leftovers....PLAY!

In the above picture, note the partial stripped piece block there at the top.  This was left over from a project and I want to try and work this into the quilt.  I also have some other partially pieced strips that I want to use too.  I am always looking for these type of opportunities that I can use as additional design elements in my quilts.  (I will show you how I will use them in Part Two when we start laying this out.)

As far as the width of each piece?  I am going to cut them at whatever width I can get out of the piece (within reason).  Some of the pieces will be narrow, some very wide.  Based on my scraps, I would say my smallest piece will be cut at 5" x 1.5" and my largest will be about.5" x 6.5".  Some of my scraps I will get one piece out of and others, I will get many.

So, the next question I know I am going to be asked is how much do I need to cut?  Well, it depends on how big you want your quilt and how many scraps you have that fit into the "Naming of your Quilt". If you have a size you want to strive for, some quick calculations can give you an approximate number of pieces to cut. 

Ugh...I know - Quilt math!   Not to worry, I'll walk you through in the next section below.......
(Skip down if you're not ready to flex your brain)


First, pick a desired quilt length (A).  Your bar height is B.  Your sashing is C (I usually figure my sashing at about half the width of the pieced bar.  So for my 5" bar, I will probably cut a 2.5" sashing.  No need to cut it now.)

Add B + C and call that (D).  
Now divide A by D.  This will give you the approximate number of pieced bars in your quilt (E).

Now, pick a desired quilt width (X).  Look at your cut scraps and appoximate the average width (Y).  Mine look to average about 3-4".  Now divide X by Y (This will give you Z).  This is about how many pieces are in a bar.  Now just multiply E times Z.

Here is the math I worked up for a quilt I hope to be about 50" by 60".
5" + 2.5" = 7.5"    60" divided by 7.5" = about 8.  

50" divided by 3.5" = about 15  (I usually round up).

8 x 15 = 120

So I should cut about 120 pieces for my quilt.

To approximate the sashing fabric, Multiply E times X and divide by 40.  Round up then multiply by C.

8 x 50 / 40 (WOF) = 12 strips at 2.5" = 30" or about 1 yard for the sashing
***Remember, these are approximations***


Whew....okay the hard part is done.  Now off we go to finish cutting up our scraps. I will meet you back here in about a week and we will start laying out our quilts.

Here's an overview of the important stuff to do before the next step!
  • "Name your Quilt"
  • Pull your scraps/stash.  Think about what to use for the sashing fabrics.
  • Determine your bar height
  • Cut your scraps into desired chunk sizes (use the formula for an approximate quantity)
  • Pull some sashing possibilities (no need to cut, we will do that next time)
  • And most importantly, get creative and have fun!

So let me know if you are joining in and busting a move on the scraps in your own sewing rooms..  If there are indeed some partiers out there that are interested, I can set up a long-term linky party so we can share our finishes. Feel free to grab the button in the sidebar to share with your readers what you are up to.  And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.

Now let's Party!


I will be sharing this with the following linky parties. Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River (Connie does great stuff with scraps!), Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, WIP Wednesday with Freshly Pieced and Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.  Be sure and check out these blogs for even more quilty inspiration.


Connie Kresin Campbell said...

You have some great tips here and it will be fun to watch your quilt come about. Thanks for sharing.
Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

teachpany said...

Great ideas! I have only begun sorting and storing my scraps. I'll be watching to see your other hints, but I'm not ready to start a scrap quilt yet. Thanks!

Joanie's Trendy Quilts said...

This is an amazing amount of good information on making an scrap quilt. Love the math part! Just recently I organized my scraps by color and storing them in zip lock bags. I am hoping that I can get involved with your challenge. January a wild and crazy time for me with accounting, looking at February. Thanks for the time and effort in writing this up!

Susan at TheBoredZombie.com said...

ack! math! hahahaha!

This is a really nice post! Very through with tons of good information. I still dont have enough stashed away to do much with - but I'm paying attention none the less!

Barb Neiwert said...

I'm in! I'll make some time this week to Name My Quilt and start pulling fabric - oh what a nice mess it will make!!!

tisha @ quiltytherapy said...

Great idea. Having a process with scraps can definitely help.

Lisa M said...

I always save bigger pieces of my scraps, but for smaller pieces, what would be the best size to cut them to for future projects? I would love to have a bucket of them for use someday.

Kim said...

I love making scrap quilts, but when I do it doesn't seem like I had made a dent in it. Thankfully I don't have a ton of scraps but just enough to make some more quilts.

Lorna McMahon said...

Your scrap quilts always turn out to be a work of art. Can't wait to see where this Parson's Grayish quilt is going!

Vera said...

I usually work with what I got on hand but I'm really bad with scraps since I need to match everything and scraps usually don't :-)

Wendy said...

wow, this looks like a great sew along! I daren't commit at the moment, but I might just pin this for later!

Kathy Kinsella said...

Fantastic information ... thanks so much!

sophie said...

Great insight into quilting design. I loved it so much, I referenced it in an article on my blog today - Is Scrap Quilting Trending?.

thebutterflyquilter said...

Can't wait to see it finished!

Elita@Busy Needle Quilting said...

This is going to be great!! I've got lots of scraps but hardly enough time. I'll have to find a way to fit this in!! :-)


Terry Aske Art Quilts said...

I also store my scraps in ziploc bags, mostly sorted by color - but I also have a couple of bags of miscellaneous scraps waiting to be sorted. I'm looking forward to seeing your quilt.

Pamela said...

I have such a collection of scraps that I really should play along! Love reading about your process - very helpful!

Rachaeldaisy said...

What a great post! I like the way you talk about naming the project, it's almost like the aim summed up in a phrase. I can't take on any more projects at the moment but it will be fun to see your scrappy adventures of 2014.

Twisted Sticks said...

Lots of good info here. I love scrap quilts. It is amazing how many quilts a person get out of their scrap bins!!

01 09 10