Deanna and I shop at the same local quilt shop but met through blogging. She is a great teacher. She has many great tutorials that are perfect for scrap quilting on her blog, Wedding Dress Blue. Her daughter is also an awesome quilter. She won in the 14 and younger at the HQMS show a few years ago. Make sure you check out her quilt. Deanna is also one of my pattern testers. She does a wonderful job. I so appreciate her help! For all these reasons and more I knew Deanna would be a great fit as a guest on my Scrap Happy Summer. Here is what Deanna had to say about scrap quilting.
Me “What do you consider a scrap? What’s to big/small?”
Deanna “For the most part, a scrap is something that is less than 5″ square, if it is sort of square. Or, less than 4″ wide, if it is more of a strip. But, that is a flexible rule. The smallest pieces I use are 1-1/2″ square, or strips 1″ wide.”
Me “Do you prefer big projects or little ones when using your scraps? Or do you use a combo?”
Deanna ” I use scraps for just about anything! Sometimes it is something as small as a pincushion. But, I have made queensize quilts.”
Me “How do you keep your scraps form taking over your sewing area?”
Deanna ” Ah, yes, the problem of scraps reproducing like rabbits in the dark. I have a tote bag where I keep scraps to be cut. I also have a small bin that sits next to my sewing machine for collecting scraps. I try to cut scraps into standard size reguarly–nearly daily I cut for at least a few minutes. I have standard sizes, each in a separate container. Some are the plastic shoeboxes, others are tins or other pretty containers and are on display. My standard sizes are squares: 5″, 2-1/2″, 2″, 1-1/2″ and strips: 2-1/2″, 2″, 1-1/2″. I also have a bag just for background (light) fabrics. I don’t cut these into standard sizes, but keep them on hand to cut when I select a project. By cutting a little at a time–just 10 or so minutes a day–I keep enough cut scrap ready that I can jump right into a new idea when it comes to me. I like that! These few “standard” sizes might seem limiting, but I haven’t become bored or run out of ideas yet! There are exceptions to this rule. Occasionally I will collect a large number of coordinated scraps or scraps of a single color without cutting them until I find or come up with an idea that fits. But, I don’t do that too often, or they would take over my world.”
Me ” Any tips you would offer others when using scraps?”
Deanna “Not everyone is a scrap quilter or wants to be. If you are not, that is OK. But, that said, you need to remember that you did love the fabric once or you wouldn’t have bought it. Try playing around with it a little and you might surprise yourself by falling in love all over again. But, don’t hoard it for “someday” until you are burried (literally) in fabric.
Also, know your style. I find that while I love scraps, I don’t enjoy chaos. My quilts tend to be geometric and have background fabric to separate and give order to the situation. I love to look at crazy, random quilts, but I don’t make them. Find a quilt that you like the look of and give it a try.
Don’t worry about making “mistakes.” Scraps are “free” fabric, because you otherwise would have thrown or given them away. I find that very liberating and I am more willing to experiment and take chances when I work with scraps. You might find the same. Enjoy the process!”
‘Don’t worry about making mistakes’ and ‘Enjoy the process’ What great words of wisdom! Thanks Deanna!
I am looking at an overflowing scrap bin and thinking "You need to do something with all those scraps." If I did a little every day I would not be faced with this problem every month. Some great ideas.
Thanks, Emily, for the feature. Scraps are so much fun!
I have done a few of Deanna's patterns and love them (My Size Stars and String Twist) and have taught them to my charity quilting group. They are great scrap-busters!
nice interview, though maybe I am biased since I follow both of you. I'm with Deanna about cutting your scraps frequently. Lately I have been cutting with some templates from Marti Michell , the 2 1/2 inch strip ones. it will be a while till I'm ready to sew those projects.
Hey Em, Glad to meet you through Deanna's blog. Of course, now I'm a follower. 🙂
I love Deanna's quilt! Scraps are so much fun. I have been trying to cut my scraps into useable pieces each day too. But they are still taking over my sewing room and my life!
Thank you for the post. Only buy fabric for the project I am working on. It is very rare that I buy extra, except for my bolts of Knoa White and a few other favorites. I have been quilting for two years and am just now seeing an issue with my scraps. Thank you for sharing.
I love Deannas quilt and advice. I think you've introduced me to a new blog to follow!