Saturday 15 August 2020

Working with scraps....lots of them!

During this Pandemic, I have been spending a lot of time on my own, at home.  Not unlike many of you I am sure.  At first I made masks....lots of them....all from my stash.  I didn't feel comfortable buying or shopping.  When mask making began to feel old, I decided to 'tidy up'.  Its always a very good way to deal with my anxiety.  When things are in order, it makes me feel calmer.

Once I decided to tidy up, it made sense to tidy my scraps by making them into the same size.  I made them into 3 inch squares.  Not sure how I decided on this size. Generally I work very intuitively and this just seemed like a good size for the state that my scraps were in.  At the suggestion of a quilty friend, I started making 2 types of blocks.

Before I knew it I had 56 blocks.  more than enough for a queen size bed quilt.  I had never taken on a project of this size.  I had kept each block focused on a particular colour, and hoped to create a colour wheel in the lay out.  In this image, you can see that I also considered a black/grey/white checkerboard as a border but in the end I didn't think it worked.

Once all the blocks were sewn together I laid them out on my bed.  HUGE!  Given that I only used my stash, I was quite satisfied that it does give the sense of the colour wheel but I was overwhelmed at the thought of quilting such a large area.  typically I pride myself in doing every step myself in all my work, but this seemed to be too much for my little domestic Bernina, not to mention my shoulder.

Lucky for me, I live in a big city with lots of resources and a friend told me that Jeannie Jenkins had a long arm machine and was quilting for other people.  Jeannie was one of my very first teachers.  She taught a class called "Back off and Paint your own Quilt" which was fantastic.  So much fun!  She encouraged her students to create their own impressions on commercial fabric, to make their work unique.  I had never thought about changing the actual fabric before that class.  This led me on a long road of surface design and I have never looked back.  Thanks Jeannie!  She is also a master quilter and did a beautiful job putting this scrappy ensemble together.

The finished product!

View from above.  If you too are having some trouble getting very creative during these challenging times, why don't you try starting with a baby step or two. It has really helped me to get back into my studio.  At first though, I did not set out to make something specific.  In the end, I created a queen size quilt! I have never made anything this big.  It was just little iterative steps that led me to this result.  Perhaps not one of my most creative or unique projects, but I believe every step leads to another, and I am trying not to be so hard on myself.  Since this quilt, I have been able to be in my studio more, and be more experimental, so....stay tuned.


  1. I love your quilt! And in my heart bed quilts have a place of honor, nothing to feel ashamed of. I always say that when I'm dead my kids won't know what to do with my art quilts, but will fight over every single bed quilt I made.

    1. Well I hope you are right (and wrong)...I also hope that they are happy to make use and display of my art quilts too....

  2. Beautiful quilt Daniela. Very you!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story. We are learning about this right now through your article. God bless you for your great obedience.
    ភ្នាល់បាល់​ អនឡាញ