Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My kind of scrappy

Lately, I have been asked how I go about making my scrappy quilts and what about my stash.

Today, both will be addressed to help you get that total scrappy look too.

How did I make my Oh Wonderful, Summer's Here?  Where to begin on any scrappy quilt?  Figuring out the quilt size is the perfect place to start.

Next step .... draw out a plan of action.  My center was divided into four sections labelled A, B, C, D.
To get that overall scrappy look, my fabrics were chosen with the four sections in mind.  Most of my fabrics were placed into containers labelled A,B,C,D.  Some were only in AC or BD.  Not in AB or CD.  That would foul up the even look.

In the containers below are all my main fabrics (not my background fabrics--whites or creams).  Notice how the containers are labelled?  These containers kept me organized and I knew at a glance where the pieces belonged according to my drawn plan.
Below is the start of Section A.  The start of a grand journey!  In the evenings, I would sit and watch TV and baste pieces together using the EPP (English Paper Piecing) method.  Once there were enough pieces, I would start pinning the pieces onto my design wall and then stand back and look to see if there was a nice even flow of colour.  If not, then the colours would get moved around until I was happy.   A design wall is my most important tool.  Ever!

For me, being near sighted, I was able to take off my glasses and if anything looked out of place, those pieces were either moved around or removed permanently.   You can purchase a notion that will help you spot a fabric that is out of the range you want to use.  A camera helps a lot, too.  Often, I will take a photo of a section and then look at it on my computer to see if the flow of colour is there.  In case any of you are wondering, pieces have been removed even after they have been sewn together.  My quilts are not only for beds, but also for walls and anything out-of-place will bug the heck out of me.  So, rip it out before it is too late.  That is what I do.

Recycled cookie trays were used to hold my fabrics and basted EPP pieces.  I sure had quite the system going and used many different trays.
Over the years, I plugged away at this project until finally in August 2013, section C was well on its' way.   Basting ...... over and over and over.  Oh yes, I got so bored with the process and this project got folded up and put away.  This was my summer project and that is when it came out of hibernation.  Started in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 .... every summer.
By the time section D arrived, it was full steam ahead.  The end was so near that I just couldn't put this project off any longer.  So more basting ... more pinning .... more switching around .... more of everything.

My stash.  Well, that is a huge question to try and answer.  I've been collecting stash for over 14 years now and it still continues to grow.

Once it was confirmed on the look that I was going for, I started collecting FQ bundles of a line ... again small prints.  That is what got me really started with this look.  When I first started buying fabrics, it was mostly jewel tones and a yard of this and that and so on.  Nowadays, it is FQ's or Fat Eights or Charms that are bought.  My buying has slowed down and now I concentrate mostly on borders, backgrounds and backings.

What did I use in this top?  Everything.  Mostly small prints ... but everything.  Look closely at all the following photos and you will see Moderns, Repros, Civil War, Asian, Feed Sacks .... everything.  I didn't care what era was used as long as it fit in.  Value?  Medium with some brights and some darks.  The brights and darks were placed in all the sections to even out the look.  That is the key.  Even out the look to make the colour and your eye flow over the quilt.

Have you noticed my background fabrics?  All different.  Often, I will go into a quilt store and pick about 10 fabrics and ask for 1/4 of a metre/yard.  Since all of this neutral fabric was used in other ongoing projects, well, I was starting to run out.  Once sections C and D came along, new background fabrics were introduced.  It just makes my top that more interesting to look at.

Storing my stash.

My stash is stored in bins and are labelled accordingly.  When I need a particular fabric, it is easy to find it.  The photos below are only a sampling of my bins of fabric.

My studio is very bright and my fabric bins, UFO bins, backings and battings are all stored behind the curtains that you see in the photo below.  My precious stash has to be protected.  :o)

So, have your questions about my stash and my scrappy method been answered?

Now, go forth and create your own masterpiece and have a blast doing it!

Have a great day!


Jennifer said...

A very methodical way to make a large scrappy quilt!

Barb said...

thanks for sharing your process. Your scrap quilts are beautiful! and they always have a great balance.

paulette said...

WOW!! I love this quilt!! It's my kind of scrappy too...This one is a real labour of love!

Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

That was a great question and you explained it well. I love small prints too as they read as one color but add so much interest. I pretty much have given up on yardage too, like you say you worry about running out. Scraps are so much more fun and interesting. I also think if buy fabrics you really love you will love the quilt!

Julie Fukuda said...

I sure do wish I had space for a design wall.I try to keep blocks as balanced as possible and then arrange them on a borrowed floor. it helps to have another set of eyes at that time and my youngest son is great. We do the Gala quilt the same way. We have more eyes and usually enough extra blocks that we can play with the final look. Without the design wall it takes a bit to trust your originaal decisions because an on-the-spot change may not be as good as thought at the time.

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

What an amazing and beautiful quilt : )

eloidastitches said...

Thanks for the explanation of your colour placement method. This was very helpful. I Love this quilt. One of my VERY favorite ones is your version of Kim Diehl's Promise of Spring. I absolutely love all the plaids, and your arrangement of them. I love all the reworking you did with the appliques, patch sizes, etc. I never tire of seeing that top. It is SO beautiful!! But then again, I love seeing all of your work. Thanks so much for sharing.

eloidastitches said...

I am not sure if I included my email address when I sent my last comment, so I am sending this second message. Sorry about that.

MARCIE said...

This is such a wonderful quilt! I love your method and all those sweet little calicoes are so charming! It construction looks like a daunting process.