Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Getting Rid of Some of those Scraps

Whenever I'm cutting fabric for an I Spy quilt, I try to make the best use of the fabric while still getting the picture more or less centered in the block.  The result is quite a few scraps.  I don't keep very small pieces but if they are at least 1" wide and 4" long, I toss them in a small scrap basket.  When it's over flowing (about twice a year) I go through and sort the scraps.  4.5" x 3" or 2.5" I set aside.  The smaller pieces I make into piano key strips.  I've used A LOT of piano keys over the years.

Getting Close
Most often the piano key strips end up as borders, frequently mixed with some coordinating TOT's.  Typically the smallest pieces are 1.5" x 3.5" though sometimes I'll put 2 pieces together if I just can't stand to throw them away.  This example shows some of the wedges left from using the tri-rec rulers.  The narrow little pieces can be interesting.  I don't trim before hand but just start sewing.  I try to keep the pieces roughly straight with the top edge even.  Once I have a strip sewn about 3' long, I'll press and trim even on both sides.  Typically they are 3.5" wide.  I'll roll then up and store until needed for a border or a pattern.

One of my favorite patterns to use up these strips is the Frugal Patch from quilterschache.com.  I modified it so that the piano keys are the sashing rather than the center of the block.  This allows me to put a novelty in the very middle.  I've made this quilt several times now.  I also used it to illustrate a square in a square in a previous post.  In this example I also used novelties in the setting triangles and mixed in the narrow border colors in the piano keys (orange and yellow).

Frugal Patch
This version of Frugal Patch uses pink TOT piano keys left over from another quilt.  The color choices and the black setting triangles make it look completely different.

This quilt is made almost entirely of piano keys.  It was inspired by the pattern Sugar Pop N Change by Melisa Corry of Happy Quilting.  I was using a bigger scrap basket back then.  I think this was at least a year's worth of scraps.

This quilt is also made of piano keys but I cut them into blocks on a diagonal and added blue triangles on the corners.  My friend Misha from About.com's quilt forum suggested this when I was asked for alternate idea to just using them in borders.  The pattern came from Quiltville.com.  Funny thing is I just realized I had printed that pattern out years and years ago, but didn't realize it was the same one until just now.  Anyway the blue triangles got kind of lost in among the piano keys on this so I added the narrow white sashing and tiny corner stones and some more blue triangles in the borders.  I liked the result so much I kept this one for myself, it's hanging in my office at work.  This quilt was a series of happy experiments.  Some times they work, sometimes they don't.  This one did.

Another quilt made Almost Entirely from piano keys is this Ladder Quilt (pattern by A Quilter's  Lumberyard). The original pattern called for a 2 x 4 pieces in the center but I already had a bunch of smaller pieces so I sorted them into color groups and used them instead.  With the piano key border this one used a lot of scraps too.  Looking at this one now I think it needed something to unify it better but I just couldn't come up with a border that worked.  So it got the piano keys treatment.  The little boy who received this quilt had just gotten twin siblings.  His dad tells me he still plays with the quilt and it is one of his special bed time blankets.

For the scraps 2.5 or 3" x 4.5" I've made a column pattern (see my first post).  Here is another more recent example.  This one is much busier and I'm not sure but I think I like my earlier effort better.  The striped fabric in the sashing is too much, but I had been trying to use that in a quilt somehow and I was determined.  I need to give up and just making binding out of it.

For 3" x 4.5" scraps I've used this woven pattern several times using different colored sashing strips.  It goes together quickly but I discovered getting that 1/4" seam scant is very important or you don't end up with square blocks.  And there are more piano keys - eeck!

This recent quilt was made from 2.5" x 4.5" scraps and 2.5" white TOT squares.  The pattern was a free gift in a mailer from American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine, designed by Kathie Holland.  I threw the advertisement away but kept the pattern.  It was very fun to do and I'm itching to do another one in the near future.  I did cut a few additional 2 x 4's because I wanted some brighter colors but it sure went together fast.

Now and Later scraps

 Overall, using up scraps is a big part of quilting.  We all hate to throw those little bits away.  I've tried to use some discipline and only keep the ones I know I'll use.  Mostly.  I still have those 3 bags of bonus triangles remaining after my Triangle Madness.  Someday inspiration will strike and we'll all be amazed.  Ha.   

Triangle Madness

No comments:

Post a Comment