As I mentioned in my post on using up knit scraps, I don’t like to throw fabric away, even fabric scraps that are far too small to become a garment. Although today fabric for quilting is a big market, historically, quilters often used whatever bits of leftover fabric they had lying around. I approach quilting more like this, so I save all of my woven fabric from other projects. I have everything from wool flannel to silk sari scraps going into this quilt.
I am using the “Sugar and Spice” pattern from Cut the Scraps! by Joan Ford. Her system for organizing scraps is pretty neat. She has you cut all of your scraps into 3 sizes of squares, and then all of her patterns use those sizes.
I started by just cutting the squares. You tend to end up with less of the largest size, so I considered those the limiting factor. I cut squares until I had enough of the 5″ size to make the king size quilt. I did not do this all at once. I have a bag that I put all my scraps into, and then whenever I need a really simple project, or I am in a lull between projects, I will pull out the bag and cut all the scraps into squares. There is something deeply satisfying about turning a bag of messy scraps into neat little stacks of squares; it feels kind of like you are single-handedly fighting the entropy of the universe.
Once I had enough squares, I started assembling the “Sugar” blocks. Since most of my garments are darker colors, there was no way I was ever going to have enough light-colored scraps to make my quilt, so I bought white fabric as the contrast. I quickly learned that piecing is a lot harder than I thought! Even though they are all straight lines, making those tiny 1/4″ seams all intersect is tricky. My blocks are definitely not perfect, but there is no other way to get better except to practice.
I have currently finished all 85 “Sugar” blocks, and I am working on the “Spice” blocks. These blocks are even trickier, especially the 2″ squares that make up the middle. Since I am using mostly garment fabrics, some of my fabrics are much flimsier than quilting cotton. I think that this makes it even more difficult. To try and make my life easier, I ordered the patchwork foot for my machine. The edge of the foot is exactly at 1/4″ inch so that you can use the edge of the foot as a guide. I’m hoping that this will help me improve my piecing.
I have already decided that I am not going to do the quilting myself. Although I am sure that I could manage to get a king size quilt quilted somehow, I am not sure that I would do a good job. But more importantly, I don’t really want to quilt it. And more than anything, I sew because I enjoy it. If I’m not going to enjoy it, I’d much rather pay a long arm quilter to do it for me.