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Scrap Quilt Challenges

Scrap quilts remind me of the quilts pioneer women used to make, using old clothing, bed linens, feed sacks and remnants. These quilters created quilts to keep their families warm. They were the early champions of recycling, doing it out of necessity rather than fashion.

Scrap quilts are very popular and fun to make. We’ve all got a stash of leftover fabrics we do not want to throw away. We paid for each and every squre inch of our fabrics, so why would we waste them?

The great variety of leftover fabrics give the quilt a complex, rich and vintage look which is hard to reach with a limited number of fabrics.

Making scrap quilts has its own challanges. How should you blend all the different colors and prints? Here are a few of my tips, which may help you to make your first scrap quilt:

- Start with small projects like my Ohio Star Table Topper. Sew your scraps into half-square-triangles and experiment with the design and colors on your design wall.

- Use batiks. I find it easier to make a scrap quilt from batiks. Batiks somehow always match, regardless of the number of colors.

The Scrap Happy Sailboats were made from purple, orange, black and white scraps (some of the scraps were pieced strips I made for another quilt). I used turquoise batik for the background to represent the water.

- Organize the scraps and remnants into color groups, then pick a few colors which look good together and use them with one or two background fabrics. I used alternating red and white background for my Southwest Quilt

- Use neutral background colors to create contrast, so the design will pop. You need approximately 4-5 yards, depending on the size of the quilt you make. Dea's Dream was designed for my best friend as a birthday present. I used purple and orange batiks with white background.

- Follow a pattern which is designed for using small pices of fabrics and make the "scrappy" version. The Winding Ways was made of blue, beige, gray and orange batik scraps

- Follow a scrap quilt pattern to support the designer. After you decide about the design, start cutting and organizing your scraps by size and color in separate boxes (I save shoe boxes for storing and organizing my scraps)

My Spools and Bobbins quilt is mainly pieced from strips. I organized the colors for the spools to imitate variagated threads and used light beige batik background fabric to create contrast. The repeating pattern and the solid background "hold" the scraps together. If you like this quilt, start organizing your scarps into 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 inches wide strips. This quilt will be a cute decoration for your sewing or living room.

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