Somewhere the other day – and I’m sure it was Margaret Ramsay’s blog but of course can’t find it now 🙂 I found a comment about how liberating the artist found it to just use scraps and offcuts in her surface designs instead of cutting into pristine new yardage. I totally agree. I keep all reasonable sized off cuts from earlier projects, and blogged about this some time back. We all know the thrifty ethic thing that is supposedly part of the back story of quilt making, so there’s a bit of the feel good thing there, though that’s not why I do it. Scrap bags accumulate scraps of fabrics that you’ve already liked – you’ve bought them and used them in something. According to my theory stuff you like goes together as a rule. So scraps are ‘auditioned’ for their next project appearance, and piecing begins.
For every work of mine that has segments of colour forming a shape, as in all the Ebb & Flow series (see gallery elsewhere on this website) the process of putting bits of fabric together into strings before cutting them to the next edge shape, is fairly fiddly but very calming. Once you have your heap of scraps extracted from the scrap bag – which is about the only colour designing you do – then it’s time to put the bits together and just sew, iron, cut and sew. Repeat. You sort of know how they’re going to look, but don’t always, and some are better than expected. This little sample on grey has silver metallic edging on the curved strips which are about 3″ long – gorgeous but a bit daunting to make into a larger work. Having said that – heck, why not? It’s on my mind.
I’m currently working with scraps of summery colours on a cream background, and really, to do the lines of patches and then cut and sew them into the rough square takes a total of about an hour for each one from start to stop, with plenty of ironing. This wall quilt will comprise sixteen 8″ squares, which means the piecing alone will take me another 10-12 hours before moving on to the sandwiching, quilting and edge finishing.
Fishing around for another pic to go in this post, I found one of a miniature I’d quite forgotten –
It’s exciting because it reminded me that in a drawer somewhere I have several colours of this fairly thick very bright neon thread I can consider using to quilt the current project, and I might not have remembered it without seeing this. All this just goes to show how a bit of looking back can sometimes be inspiring.