Skip to main content

Scrap the Stash: "The Scrappler"

Blocks 35-61: The Scrappler

Time-out! Someone or something needs to go for a nap. "The Scrappler", as I have named this unruly, tenacious compilation of strips, stripes and wonky, has had me out of my comfort zone long enough for the time being.

By February 29th, I had 60 blocks made from this first set of scraps. Since my goal is 366 for the year, (readjusted when I realized it's a leap year), I'm on schedule. Because I wanted to eliminate as much trimming and waste as possible, I let the scraps dictate the form the blocks would take.

Below is the last set of blocks I made from this particular conglomeration of scraps. By this time, there had been a lot of trial and error with colour placement and piecing ideas and I'm happier with these results then with the earlier blocks.

Made only from strips, this is the last set of blocks I made from this particular bunch of scraps.

The trial and error method started with these first two sets of blocks (next two pics below). I don't mind the sometimes on and sometimes off wonky log cabin blocks as much as I dislike the green and gold 4 1/2 x 11 1/2" rectangular blocks, but both left me feeling seriously frazzled and out of control. There is too much irregularity in the blocks, from the contrasting sashing to the irregular angles of the piecing. The effect is jarring and chaotic.

I tried a number of different layout possibilities, but I'm really at a loss as to how to use them. They desperately need some calming solids between and behind them to quiet the noise. Perhaps the best thing would be to make two separate quilts from these first two types of blocks, using them more as an accent rather then the focus of the quilt.

Many of the scraps in the stash are excess strips from prior projects, so for the next 3 types of blocks, including the 6" x 6" blocks in the first photo on the post, I focused on the strips.  These results leave me a little less frazzled and I feel that I can make them work together.

"Hexied" triangles

There are still plenty of scraps left in these colours to make more blocks of any type to build a final layout.

Diamond stripes cut on point.

Below are some ideas of how I might build the final layout.
Starting with the hexies......

Adding the 6" x 6" square blocks ........

Making a point with the diamonds.....
Filling in with a select few of the longer rectangular blocks.

There is still a lot of thought and play needed before I'm ready to commit these scrappy little blocks into a quilt top, but for now we, (the blocks and I), need a break from each other. So nap time it is for the green and gold!

As frustrated as I was with this first scrappy mess, it has not deterred me from the challenge of improv quilting. My second Scrap Buster is already well under way. This next one is starting out with a basic plan and an idea of where it's heading. The scraps will still dictate the blocks, but with a few more controls in place. In the meantime, the process is still fun and I intend to see it through to 366 blocks by the end of 2016.


  1. I did not realize that you were doing a block a day with these! A very worthy goal. I don't see any reason to stress about them, your colours already match so well that you can't go wrong. At a minimum, you can just sew like colours together and go for a colourwash effect. IT WILL BE AWESOME! Keep going, don't worry. :D

    Oh yeah, and have fun!

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence. The colourwash effect makes the most sense to me as well and is likely the way it will end up. Being out of my comfort zone is not a bad thing and I do mean to hang in there. So yeah, I guess I am having fun with it. Thanks!

  2. The colors you are using play so well together that your finished quilt will be quite lovely. Don't be frazzled! But sometimes you do have to put it away and think about it. One block a day! Amazing!

    1. Thanks Cynthia. I'm happier with the last 3 sets of blocks I made,but this whole "improv" thing is a bit of a shock to my system. Frustrating as it's been, I find the challenge good for me, so I'll keep at it.

  3. You have so many interesting shapes, I know that you are well on your way to an amazing quilt. I am very familiar with the need to "park" a project and talk a break (or a nap). I hope you return to it with a new clarity.

    1. This is my first "scrap/improv" quilt, and I am learning on the job, so to speak. I love the concept of using what is available and your quilts have provided a lot inspiration.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Blocking and Squaring Boutis

The door of her cage has been opened. She is free to fly off and find her destiny.

After many months of hand stitching and then many more months of cording, my little "calibri" is ready to set off on her own. As this was my first attempt at designing so large a boutis piece, it has been a bit of a learning curve. All of the tight swirls, curls and circles are a great deal more difficult and time consuming to cord then are the longer more gentle channels. Maintaining an even tension is absolutely necessary throughout the process, so patience comes in very handy when doing the cording.

Once all of the stitching and cording is complete, the boutis must be washed and squared up. After it is soaked overnight in a basin of water with a mild detergent, it gets rinsed gently in several clear washes, then rolled in a towel to remove the excess water. 

The final step is the blocking process. There are a number of ways to block a boutis piece, but I have found that the easiest metho…

Amish Hand Quilting in France with Esther Miller

Esther Miller, was born into an Amish family in the U.S., and now lives in Germany where she has for many years taught the techniques and methods of Amish hand quilting to anyone interested in learning these skills. As a child, she would closely watch as the women of her community worked together on a quilt, and eventually she was rewarded with a needle of her own and encouraged to join the group. Through the years, she has mastered these skills and techniques and now generously shares them with anyone who has a genuine desire to learn.

Last week, at the "European Meeting of Patchwork" in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, in Alsace France,, I had the privilege of taking a 2 day workshop with Esther. The Amish quilting method requires a free-standing simple wooden frame upon which the 3 layers of the quilt have been stretched. To accomodate the 18 women in the class, Esther set up 3 quilt frames, with 6 students at each frame. Because the quilt is on a large, unm…

Amazing Applique by Yoko Saito

The quilt exposition in Nantes "Pour L'amour du Fil" was filled with a number of highlights. Certainly one of the more memorable experiences was seeing the works of Yoko Saito in person.
"Elegant" is the word that best describes Yoko Saito's quilts. Although her palette is neutral, the lights and darks play very well together to create a perfect balance to the quilt. To say that the applique is amazing is an understatement. The perfectly formed 1/4" circles and the tiny leaves and stems are inspirational. And of course, the hand quilting is perfect. For the final touch, she uses embroidery as adornment in much the same way that the perfect pair of earrings complete the look of the little black dress. The opportunity to see her quilts in person has been truly inspirational.

The photos in order:
- Yoko Saito in her booth on the floor of the show
- "Pointsettia" - by Yoko Saito
- "Spring of Sweden" close -up - by Yoko Saito