Paper pieced scrap blocks

I love scraps!

As I am finishing up a project I will take the larger pieces left over, usually less than a quarter of a yard, and cut them into then largest size squares or strips possible. These all go into plastic scrap booking containers. I will go through these boxes (yes, I have more than one!) when I need a small amount of a certain colour, but generally, these scraps sit in their boxes for long periods of time.

paper-pieced blocks
paper-pieced scrap blocks before trimming

I started an improvised quilt top in the fall, which generated a fair bit of scraps. I loved the look of the colours and patterns together. So, I decided to use these scraps to create paper-pieced rectangles.

paper-pieced blocks
back of paper-pieced scrap blocks

I received a calendar in 2011 that was printed with a quilting pattern-a-day. I kept the calendar even though I knew I would never make any of the quilts. Each piece of paper is 6 1/2 inches by 4 3/4 inches. This was a good size to use up the scraps I was generating.

paper-pieced blocks
paper-pieced scrap blocks trimmed

I like using the paper-piecing process when working with scraps. Since many of the scraps are not on grain, using the paper stabilizes the block. The paper stays in the block until I have either stitched it to a piece that is on the straight of grain or into a complete top.

paper-pieced blocks
paper-pieced scrap blocks pressed and trimmed

The improvisationally pieced quilt top that started this process is now completed. It actually turned into 2 finished quilts. I have used all the calendar pages up to February 21st! and don’t have any scraps to deal with! I plan on using up more of the calendar for the scraps generated from my next quilting project.

I don’t know how I will join these rectangular blocks together yet. Maybe with sashing, or joined together. I will let them sit for a while.

Wishing you and your families a very Happy New Year for 2015!

Inspiration – Whimsy Quilt

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Inspiration as:

  1. A breathing in or infusion of some idea, purpose, etc. into the mind; the suggestion, awakening, or creation of some feeling or impulse, esp. of an exalted kind

“inspiration, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 13 October 2014.

This sketch drawn by my 7 year old niece was the inspiration for my Whimsy quilt.  I knew immediately that I would use it in a quilt. I loved the design, it was fun and playful. With a minimum of lines a flower was suggested by a spiral in a circle.  Triangle shapes became leaves. I loved the curlicues sprouting from the hearts, they were so whimsical.

Pollys sketch

The sketch suggested many design opportunities.  Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s book 15 Minutes of Play: Improvisational Quilts, gave me many ideas to use in making the quilt.

15 Minutes of Play: Improvisational Quilts by Victoria Findlay Wolfe
15 Minutes of Play: Improvisational Quilts by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

I had a lot of scraps and this book gave me the inspiration to use them. Sorting through the scrap bins (yes plural!), I separated my scraps into reds, greens, and black/white piles. Using Victoria’s instructions I began to create pieces of fabric in each colour way. I enjoyed the process of playing with scraps, creating new and interesting pieces to work with. Once I had the centre portion completed, I auditioned fabric for the background. I had an idea of what fabric I wanted, but my first few choices didn’t really work.

Whimsy detail background 5 Whimsy detail background 4 Whimsy detail background 3 Whimsy detail background 2 Whimsy detail background 1

Some of the background fabrics were too close in colour to some of the elements and they disappeared into the background. Some fabrics overpowered the design. In the end I found a polka dot piece that seemed just right. It was colourful but with a white background, the centre portion stood out.

Whimsy by Doris Lovadina-Lee
Whimsy by Doris Lovadina-Lee

I added more black and white pieces in each of the corners and bound it in black. The entire quilt was free motion quilted. I really like this quilt, it is a different look for me. It was challenging to work outside of my comfort zone.

The original sketch is still pinned to my design wall and inspiring me. There are more ideas to extract from this sketch: more creativity, more quilts!


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