I've written before about the book Cut the Scraps!, by Joan Ford:
The book's premise is simple and smart: take your small scraps of quilting cotton, anything under a fat quarter, and cut them into a set of prescribed sizes: 2" squares, 3.5" squares, and 5" squares. Sort these squares by value rather than by color, so you end up with a pile of lights, a pile of darks, and a pile of everything in the middle. If you make a four-patch with four 2" squares, it makes a 3.5" square; if you make a nine-patch with nine 2" squares, it makes a 5" square. Then the book has instructions for twenty different quilts which can be made from squares of those sizes. I love the idea!
What I didn't mention was that I also "cut the scraps" in the same sizes. Do I have enough scraps to make something? I certainly have enough scraps to speculate!
(In no particular order)
1. A Jacob's Ladder variation based on (but constructed differently from) "Jungle Jive" by Annelize Littlefair (2013). If I am reading her pattern correctly, her blocks are 9-patches, labeled with numbers in their upper left corners: "1", "2a", "2b", and "2c". The triangles that border the thing are labeled "3a" and "3b". But when I look at her finished quilt and try to trace the seamlines, I don't see the blocks from the pattern! No matter--I come up with my own blocks: Blocks A1, A2, and A3, and Block B. Block A only needs variations for the edges of the piece, so the pattern doesn't look cut-off at the edges. If I do this with my scraps, I can make the HSTs either with any size squares.
2. The Disappearing Hourglass pattern, by Brita Nelson (the Questioning Quilter). Here's the YouTube video which inspired me. She's an engaging presenter, isn't she! If I do the math with the precuts I have, I could either make my HSTs with 3.5" pieces, trimmed to 3.5". That would entail some waste, since the smaller triangles would be cut off... but I could sew them too, make smaller HSTs, and see what else I could use them for. Anyway, if I sewed the hourglass block from four 3.5" HSTs, I'd be able to trim the finished block to 6" square, and then cut a 9-patch from it, which would yield nine 2" square pieces. When I re-sewed them, I'd have a 5" square block.
Now, that's a lot of seams in a really small space. And, given the scrappy nature of the pieces I'm starting with, it could make a cluttered look. I think I'd need to have a plain background fabric, or a really cohesive plan.
3. Joan Ford's Something Fishy pattern, from Cut the Scraps! (2011). The appeal of this one is that I could use my smallest and my medium sized scraps, and get to set the blocks on point. I could even alternate fish blocks with plain 5" blocks, an use a great variety of scraps in one quilt! But I would need to buy some yardage for the background "water". Trying to use scraps for that would be too cluttered.
4. A scrappy Hunter's Star quilt, which I've been wanting to do for a while. There's a method of making which calls for HSTs instead of more complex shapes, which might be ideal for my scraps.
MY SCRAPS SO FAR
The lights are mostly pale yellows and the darks mostly browns. I'm surprised, really, at how boring both categories are! I suppose I just don't have enough quilting under my belt to have really cool scraps! But the medium range--the "everything else" pile--makes a cheerier picture. It, too, has yellows, but with more saturation than the lights. There are also a bunch of lavenders and a few greens. I know I'll be supplementing this pile soon with leftovers from the dandelion quilt, so I expect a lot more greens and yellows.
So far, no color scheme is jumping out at me saying "I'm lovely! Sew me together!" Perhaps I need to wait some more, and let the stash accrue more colors. At least I know the browns and the pale yellows are good neutrals.
I also think I should cut out more of the larger pieces, since that gives me more options.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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