Saturday, February 21, 2009

Getting Started on a Scrap Quilt

This is the world's easiest quilting project, I'm sure. There is no right or wrong; there's just how off you're willing to be.

1. Pull out all your scraps and dig through until you've chosen a nice pile of fabric. Press each piece before you cut it.Three inch squares is what I used. Not too big and clumsy, not too small and fiddly.

2. The biggest favor you can do yourself is to cut exactly. Also, your squares should be lined up with the grain of the fabric. And enjoy throwing away the extra bits!

3. The second biggest favor you can do yourself is to always sew with the exact same seam allowance.

4. The third biggest favor you can do yourself is to ignore little things that don't line up exactly. Who cares?

5. I like to match up a big group of pairs and sew each pair together one after another without cutting the sewing machine thread. Then I sew all those pairs to each other until I have a long strip. Then I press all the seams open in my strip before moving on to another strip. Don't sew over a seam that hasn't been pressed.

6. This is not strip quilting. If you want to strip quilt, I'm sure there are many excellent tutorials for it. This uses up smaller scraps.

7. You can do this by hand, but to me the whole point is speeding through the scraps. Therefore, a machine. And all you have to be able to do is make the machine go. Just stitch forwards. That's it! Anyone can do it.

22 comments:

Jake and Talia said...

Thanks...for me...a real beginner...does it need to all be the same type of fabric?

Cheri said...

It's that easy?! Oh boy! Now I know what I'm going to do in the sewing room next week! =)

Thankyou so much!

Jenna said...

I have been meaning to do something with our scraps...we've got a ton! And, I think that this will be the perfect project:) Thanks for the idea!!

Regan Family Farm said...

Sounds beautiful and simple...love the memories that will be visible. What's the best backing?

Sarah Jane said...

These steps are great! I am ever-so-slowly working my way through a "birds of a feather" quilt, pieced by hand. But I still have an enormous amount of scraps left that aren't useful for anything besides quilt pieces. I think I will try making a quilt top this week too, as a throw for the living room couch. Thank you so much for writing out these instructions! I tend to focus too much on the details which gets me overwhelmed when it comes to piecing a quilt.

Linda said...

It does seem easy Anna. Just one question - are you going to handquilt it? I recently put together a quilt very similar to yours. I bought what I thought was a really nice muslin for the back. All was well until I started to handquilt it. The muslin is so thick I can barely get the needle through. I actually used my teeth to pull it through in some places!
Can you tell I'm a real novice at this? Lesson learned: always bring my sweet Mom (who is a master quilter) shopping with me.

Mary said...

I cut fabric scraps up into 4 inch squares and keep them in a bin. When I'm in the mood, I sew them together just like you do. I back the quilt top with fleece--no batting--and do a three-step curved zigzag over the seams. Then bind and it's done. These make great baby quilts--bright and cheerful on the front, soft and cuddly on the back.

Anonymous said...

wow, how nice it sounds , could you give us a peek at your patchwork ???Quilts that are not fussy or perfect is what I like.Frequent
blog viewer without my own blog...

Hill upon Hill said...

Thankyou.....

Rebecca said...

Or, instead of throwing away the extra-extra bits, they could be used as a stuffing for anything that needs stuffed.

However, that does sound rather easier than other quilting projects, and as I received a sewing machine for christmas, I shall have to try this at some point!

Anonymous said...

Sounds easy enough, but what do you do after the squares are all sewed together? Please help us novices! :-)

Rose said...

Anna thanks for explaining that so clearly. As i tippy toe into the shallows of sewing I find one of most difficult things is the language. But that's the case with any learning isn't it?

AnnaVallance said...

Makes me want to start one. Thank goodness the scrap bag is always full.

Ways of Zion said...

oh, oh, oh, you've got me wanting to try this! I've never quilted before? is it too hard for a very very beginner?!?

Persuaded said...

throw away the little bits?? i think i am congenitally incapable of throwing away fabric, no matter how small the shred;)

Margo said...

Jake and Talia, if you're a beginner like me, yes, it should all be woven cotton (not fleece, not stretchy knit, not something silky with polyester). I love the idea of the old crazy quilts with velvet and satin mixed in!

Mary, do you use a walking foot when you stitch the little baby quilts? I'm about the start quilting my first quilt and I'd like to use my machine for speed but I'm nervous. Maybe, Anna, will you address that in the next post? I've read books, but I'd just like to hear another person's perspective.

Kimmie said...

Dearest Anna;

I do have lots of fabric, but not much time right now for quilting. I have one in my attic that has been waiting 20 years for me to finish it. ;-( Not good, I know.

I am wondering if you know or would suggest anything to make my 'orphan doll' out of...what type of fabric would be good and durable, but also would let me embroider on it?

I really just wanted to pop in and say 'thank you'...for yesterday...you really brightened my day and please tell your sweet son, that he is welcome to come over and kiss the baby anytime!(*also tell him that at 13 I vowed with the Lord to adopt...look at me now! I am sure that he would make a wonderful father to a sweet Ethiopian or 2! ;-))

Kimmie
mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted

Jennifer said...

I found a stack of island print scraps at my thrift store this weekend, and I wouldn't have given it a second glance if I hadn't been inspired by your amazing scrap quilt earlier in the week.

When I got it home I was trying to decide what size to cut the squares and found that you had written this tutorial...perfect!

I'm so excited about my scrappy "island quilt". We are a military family stationed in Hawaii - moving back to the mainland this spring. This quilt will be a wonderful keepsake.

Thanks for the inspiration and the beautiful blog!

M said...

To Margo: I don't use a walking foot--I just pin each square across the seam and remove the pins as I come to them. So far I haven't had any problems. By the way, you do have to clean your machine during the process because the fleece is so linty.

Anonymous said...

you are giving me the hope that I thought was lost.. okay.. I want to make a quilt... I can,.. it's easy.. will I ever do it? .. as long as you keep putting up posts like this.. I might.. one day make a quilt..
thanks Anna for being so cool, you can sew anything..
~Melissa

Audrey said...

As a pretty decent quilt maker, my biggest suggestion is find a nice quilt shop and take classes. Most of them LOVE beginning quilters and will be tickled to help. 100% good quality cotton is the fabric of choice of most quilters. And although you should strive for seams and corners matching, don't beat yourself up if they don't at first. Also, one other good suggestion is to have your sewing machine serviced so that it performs well. You can't make a nice project with a machine that breaks thread, jams up, etc. AND put a new needle in it!! I guess I could go on and on, but you get the drift - use good quality materials and good equipment and you will be successful. Audrey

Kristen said...

This is a perfect use for all my scraps. Thanks for simplifying something as intimidating as starting a quilt!

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