Saturday, 5 November 2016

Quilting from scraps

I've recently started making another quilt, this time a log cabin pattern. I've given myself the challenge of piecing both the top and the underside from scrap fabrics, using as much cotton and linen as I could find. I've surprised myself by the huge pile of scraps and unwanted textiles that I managed to gather just by rootling around in a few cupboards at my grandmother's place. Admittedly, her hoarding tendencies are infamous, and I unearthed all manner of things. As well as using leftovers from my own quilting and sewing projects, I'm mixing in many vintage textiles, cutting up handkerchiefs, napkins, old bedsheets and some clothing that I pulled out from a charity shop bag. I'm pleased with the surface texture gained by mixing cotton and linen fabrics.

I've given myself permission to purchase no more than 1m of fabric specifically for the quilt, which could be in fat quarters. I'm not sure if I will be able to stretch this out to make the binding and backing, nor am I sure if I will be able to piece my leftover remnants of quilt wadding. But I really want to push myself to make something that looks aesthetically interesting, with a considered design, from what essentially are waste materials and unwanted textiles.

Learning my lessons from my first quilt, I'm using a minimum of 50% plain, unpatterned fabrics in order to make a cleaner-looking design. I've used more solids (or semi-solids) within the coloured central diamond shapes in order to make it stronger. But the white backgrounds are actually a shifting mix of creams, ivories, and only a few bright whites. I think that this softens it slightly.

I haven't yet decided on how I'm going to piece the back. It might just end up being a haphazard collection of quadrilaterals. Whilst I'm enjoying sewing the log cabin blocks, I have a feeling that by the end of them I'll have run out of steam somewhat. I also haven't quite decided how large it will be! I was initially planning on a lap quilt, but then I found loads more fabric lurking at the bottom of cupboards, and realised I could go bigger.

This is definitely a long-term project: every few weeks, I spend a whole evening cutting out strips and sewing them up into blocks. Then I put it aside and forget about it while I do more important things. At this rate, it'll be another 2 years until it's made, just like my first quilt! I'm never going to be a quilt artisan or prize-winner, but it's an enjoyable process, and I'm really happy to be turning waste materials into something useful.

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