Friday, August 4, 2017

QBL leftovers

The last time I taught a multi-day workshop I had the idea to ask my students to each give me a couple of leftover bits from their projects, and I sewed them together into a little souvenir quilt.  I enjoyed that exercise so much that I wanted to do it again at Quilting By the Lake.  But this time instead of asking for contributions, I decided to simply go around and raid the scrap bags at each table.

The last three days of the workshop were fine line piecing, but the scrap bags didn't acquire many bits with fine lines; I think many people packed up everything on their worktables to take home and finish their projects.  So most of the scraps I rescued were simply strips and pieces of solids.

I got a lot of piecing done during the workshop, and by the time I came home I had perhaps two-thirds of this quilt sewed, or in large modules ready to put together.  But scraps breed in the dark, you know, and whenever I thought I was about finished I would realize that there was still quite a bit of fabric there.

You can see how I added several long strips on various edges, expanding from the original center of about eight rectangular modules.

And you can also see how the quilt gained a final border when I found Jayne's scrap bag, which I had stowed in a separate place in my car and didn't come inside until yesterday.  Jayne had pitched a substantial chunk of maroon fabric with fine orange lines, which I cut up to make the dark borders.  There wasn't quite enough to go all the way around, so the top border is quite a bit more random than the other three, not to mention a half-inch narrower.

When I got the quilt this far I had to admit this was the end.  All I had left was a pile of truly miscellaneous scraps, mostly too narrow to accomplish much with.

I sorted through and found a small pile of pieces large enough to do something with, bagged them up neatly and put away.

And then -- yes, I did -- I threw the rest away!!  The old Kathy would have dumped them into a grocery bag and stashed it underneath the worktable, just as I kept three bags of scraps salvaged from other people's throwaways for two and a half years after my last trip to the Crow Barn.  The new Kathy pitched this whole pile (not without a few second thoughts....)


  1. Kathy, I remember you once said of scraps, "If they're big enough to see, they're big enough to save." That had a strong influence on me. I have always been drawn to the "already been sewn" bits that I trim off - usually long thin strips with a variety of tiny colors and shapes. I saved a few for inspiration and stuck them up on the design wall. But with my last 2 quilts, I decided to save all the bits, sew them onto the completed quilt blocks with heavy thread and then quilt over them. I really love the results. I'm thinking of doing a few blocks entirely of ABS bits. There's just something so compelling about the randomness and the concept of using it all.
    I love your idea of making a souvenir quilt. It is beautiful, and The fine line border is perfect!

  2. Dear Kathy, I had to smile about These scraps, mostly because I could have written it ;-)
    Greetings from Switzerland

  3. There is no need to toss ~~~ compost !!

  4. This reminds me of my beloved wastebasket under the sewing table. I can't even count the number of times I salvaged something out of that basket which was the "perfect" solution to the problem at hand. In a move, I had to empty it and the larger chunks are in the stash--the rest as another commenter said--is in the compost pile.

  5. Kathy, I admire your strength of character. You're in a place I someday hope to be!

    1. Thanks, Linda!! do you aspire to the place where you use up all your tiny leftovers, or where you throw them out????????

  6. I love this idea - hope to try this in the future.

  7. I love this idea and I love this quilt!!!! You inspire me! I would love to be in a class of yours!!!

  8. What is this magic elixir that has "new" Kathy tossing out scraps so blithely? I need some of that magic - willpower alone isn't enough!

  9. I was in the class Kathy! Your quilt is wonderful! I can't wait to have more time. I am a saver as well.
    Joan Walder