Nellie"s Needles

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Scrap Quilts +

I looooove scraps! My eyes see a world of potential in each piece ... whether it's the tiniest bit trimmed from a seam, a cut off selvage, or the excess from an over-sized quilt or block. Mine and those "gifted" from friends are readily waiting for use in both of my studios. There's enough that I don't need to haul any back and forth between Michigan and Tennessee. Here are five quilts representative of the way I use these scraps in quilts and fiber art.

N-Block - 40"x 30" - 1994
This is the second piece made back at the beginning of my adventure into the world of quilting ... back when I had declared my intention to use only scraps and re-purposed fabric for my quilts. It makes me smile when I remember the surprised look on faces at that statement. How naive, though well intentioned, I was then. There's NO way to resist buying fabrics when I go into a shop ... and it certainly didn't take long for my tune to change. Both studios have more yardage than I'll ever use in my lifetime. Now I resist going into the fabric shops to keep from adding to those stashes. Go here to read more about this quilt.

Criss Cross - 60"x60" - 1995
This is the third quilt I made in the fifteen years that I've been quilting. There are silk and wool fabric samples along with cotton ones in this. The centers of the squares were made from an old batik blouse given to me by a friend. The sashing and borders are made with purchased yardage. Go here to read more about it.

Every once in while between projects I make up blocks such as this from my scrap bags. It's the method of sewing small pieces to a long strip (usually cuttoffs from an oversized quilt), cutting those apart then sewing those to another long strip. This is repeated until I can cut an 8" block.
Of course, the trimmings go back into the bag or onto the edge of another block to make big enough. By the time there are a dozen or so blocks finished I can't resist playing with them and they end up being "something".
Most usually a cuddle quilt for a sick child. Go here to read the special story behing this one.

Four of those blocks ended up becoming one of my "Crinkle" quilts.
Circle 'Round - 24"x24" - 2006
Go here to read about the finishing and mounting of this art piece which is the first of four in a series. Each piece is made from the trimmings from the previous one. The photo below is the first step for the second piece, "Squared Off".
Four more of those scrap blocks were pieced together. The black fabric that had been trimmed from from behind the scrap blocks in "Circle 'round" were appliqued on top. The fabric from this set of scrap blocks was trimmed away behind the black pieces ... they were the beginning of the third piece in this series which I'm still quilting.
Squared Off - 17"x17" -2006
Number four made with the trimmed away pieces from #3 is also being worked on. They're my hand work pieces for when I go to Bee, travel, or am watching TV.

Be sure to visit Michele of With Heart and Hands. It is she who has sparked my posting about the scrap quilts I've made. You'll find links to other blogs that are also featuring scrap(y) quilts for an online show this Memorial weekend.


Heather said...

What a stunning variety of quilts Nellie - I love Criss Cross, you really know how to make those colours sing.

Judith said...

What a feast my eyes have just had. I loooove your quilts. Hooray for scraps.

Anonymous said...

scrap quilts are my favourite. you inspired me to keep the smallest 'useless' scraps - i am collecting them now for later use.

Joyce said...

Besides being gorgeous, scrap quilting is true to the original purpose of quilting. Yours are all beautiful.

Corryna Janssen said...

I also like what you do with scraps. It is so wonderful to see.

Amy said...

It is my first day back at "work" (I am working from home) and here I am breast feeding and browsing for a break.
I love what you create with scraps. Collecting and saving scraps can become such an obsession. I am sure you have been asked before, but How do you organize your scraps? My main scrap storage right now is two drawers, designated by size. I have thought organizing by color would be fantastic, but who wants to spend studio time sorting.

Nellie's Needles said...

Amy, if I sorted all my scraps there would be not time for quilting. The bags that I work from are see through. The excess are in garbage bags that I try to keep out my husband's way so they don't get trashed. One advantage to having them all mixed together is the opportunity to discover a piece I would never have thought of using otherwise ... one I would never have gone looking for. It's a treasure hunt through those bags of goodies.