Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Scraps...

In June, when I visited The Noble Quilter,
...during my conversation with the owner, Angie Roberts, she asked me a very poignant question, "What style of quilt do you like to make best?"  I couldn't answer ... and mumbled some sort of meaningless reply.  But I thought about it ... the entire 4 hour drive up north ... and I've pondered it often since then.  

Early in my quilting life, every quilt I made was very traditional and country in style.  In 1986 we moved into our current home and it tends to dictate the lodge look (appropriate for Alaska, don't ya think?), so that was reflected in my quilts.  In my forties my quilts became one of two things, either historical (love the 30's-40's and 1800's look) or current trends of that time.  Now ... hmmm ... I guess eclectic would be the best description of my quilting style.  Three years ago, when I experienced my epiphany, my approach to quilting definitely changed!  I take huge risks now ... in fabric ... in color ... in pattern ... in nearly every area of quilting.  Sometimes I like the results ... and sometimes I don't.  The results really aren't important to me anymore, it's the process that I enjoy.  I've learned to enjoy taking risks and worry very little about the outcome.  
But through out this transition and 20+ years of quilting there has been a common thread that ran through the quilts I like best ... scraps.  They are my favorites.  It doesn't matter if they're made with historic or contemporary fabrics ... if the pattern is new or antique ... if the colors are traditional or trendy ... I am always drawn to scrap quilts.  

I usually have a scrap quilt in progress at all times.  They take longer for me to make because they tend to be more complicated (lots of pieces in each block) and because I'm using scraps they take longer to cut out.  If you've read my recent posts, you know that I am just finishing up a scrap quilt.
At first glance this block doesn't look very complicated ... and it isn't difficult to piece ... what makes it complicated is the number of pieces ... each block uses 45 pieces.  When you factor the time it takes to cut out 45 pieces ... sew together those 45 pieces ... and multiply that by 42 blocks ... I get a total of 1,890 pieces and about two years of time.  I find making scrap quilts very rewarding ... for multiple reasons ...
... using what I already have ... revisiting the memories that some fabrics evoke (many of these florals were Easter and sun dresses I had made for Sister DillyDally) ... and the lengthy process of piecing each block.  Our time is valuable ... so when I make a project that takes a lot of time, I tend to value it more.

I pieced the backing this morning and plan to get it to a long arm quilter soon.  I also prepared the binding so that it will be ready when I get it back!  It feels so good! 

Whenever I finish one scrap quilt, I prepare to begin the next one.  I have been wanting to do this one ever since the pattern was published ...
... it is called Snake River and was designed by Judy Martin.  I love it!  Absolutely love it!  I will be making it queen size (above photo is twin sized) ... out of batik fabrics ... substituting black for the red ... to be given to Brother DillyDally for his college graduation.  It is almost entirely pieced with 1.5 inch strips ... I never count how many pieces I need in advance ... am always afraid I'll talk myself out of it ... I usually cut out piles of pieces ... use them and if I need more, cut more.  I spent all day Friday preparing about 120-130 pieces of batik fabrics for cutting ... then the magic happened ...
... our guild recently purchased an Accuquilter!  Yep ... I was able to cut out 1,200+ strips in just under an hour!  This tool is amazing ... I have visions of multiple quilts dancing in my head!
Look at that!  I can only imagine how much time it would have taken me to cut all those out ... yikes!  I keep the current scrap quilt organized in a box ... and as I have time ... I piece a block here and there ... usually within 1-2 years the blocks are done ... then I piece the top. 

I'm so grateful Angie asked that question ... we're rarely asked to define ourselves ... it's good to seek answers to questions that force us to dig.  Scraps ... that word describes me very well ... I am bits and pieces of many things! 

Look!  I see scraps of blue sky for the first time in a long time ...
 ... I'm going to dillydally outside ... quick ... before the blue sky hides behind the clouds again ... I don't want to miss it! ;-)


1 comment:

  1. Mary Ellen BoyntonAugust 12, 2010 at 7:54 AM

    Just came from Randi's (my favorite long armer) and saw your California Cruisin' Stars quilt. It's wonderful!! I love how you used all the flower fabrics. Remember, any time you're in St. Paul, Minnesota, you can stay with me and Randi and I will take you out for a great time!

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