Monday, December 29, 2014

In Praise of the Making Scrap Quilts and the Rainbow Scraps Challenge

As often happens at this time of year, I have been looking back and looking forward and thinking about some of the scrappy projects I've made and those still in progress, as part of the Rainbow Scraps Challenge.

When I joined the challenge in January, 2011, one of the first things that happened was some reorganization of my scraps and how I stored them.  Before, I stored them, by color, in large zip-lock bags. As part of the sorting, pressing and using them up or folding them nicely and putting them away, I also moved them into plastic bins, recycled produce containers.

My old scrap storage system my new scrap storage idea ironing, folding and cutting 144 squares

That first month, I made the first of the broken dishes blocks, cutting squares with rotary cutter and ruler and trimming afterward ... and created a pile of trimmings.

A few of my favorite tools Blue Shred

This project would become my excuse reason to purchase a die cutting machine ... which was used to cut the rest of the 3,872 triangles I used to make the quilt I shared on Saturday. Next year, I'll be using it again, with a different die to begin a new project.

I didn't always participate in the Rainbow Scraps Challenge–in fact, I took a whole year off in 2012, but it was a great motivation to work on large projects in a small, one-month/color-at-a-time way and some small single-color projects.  Here are a few of my favorite small projects:

Blue Scraps mug rug  Finished Pillow

12 Puffy Hearts Placemat for Kitchen Angels
Sewing Machine Cover

I still have a few on-going projects for large quilts that I either began this year or picked up and moved further along ... and I do have a few ideas for new projects I'd like to begin in 2015. Here's one.

Butterflies - Inspiration for a new Rainbow Scraps Challenge project

These butterfly blocks are PIECED (from some very odd-shaped pieces, cut from templates) and I think they would be a great scrap project that would also provide some nice, on-going, hand-work for Slow Stitch Sundays.  This quilt was made c. 1935 by Nina Shrock, Harvard County Indiana.

This is the cover quilt for the book, The New England Quilt Museum QUILTS, still available from Amazon.

It is one of five of the heirloom quilts from the museum's collection for which there is a pattern.

I don't plan to use ONLY 30's fabrics in my butterfly blocks, but I think the feeling will be the same. I think making scrap quilts connects us to those depression era quilters. I found this description in the book of that time and this quilt:

The Great Depression of 1929 brought a national concern for thrift and frugality.  The Work Relief Program of the Works Progress Administration was created to revitalize home crafts and community projects.  The craft program, spear-headed by Eleanor Roosevelt, encouraged women in traditional American Handicrafts. Scrapbag quilts, which are made from tiny "scraps" of fabric, were well suited to the American New Deal.  In making such a quilt, a woman reinforced both her clever economy and her unique role as an American craftsperson.  This Butterfly pattern was published by one of the most popular designers of the era, Laura Wheeler. The design reflects art deco styles in it's curved arabesques and bold outline, and is one of the favorite quilts in the NEQM's collection.
RSC 15
Whether you join Angela's Rainbow Scraps Challenge to organize and/or use up your scraps or to play with ideas about color and value, I whole-heartedly recommend the exercise.  The eye candy you'll see along the way, in the many wonderful projects made by others, is so inspiring.


Paulette said...

Enjoyed this post, Sophie, the info about the butterfly quilt you are planning to make, as well as the RSC.

Kathy S. said...

Shoot... I was hoping to say that Accuquilt had a die for all those butterfly pieces. (I know they would make a custom one, but I'm more thrifty than that.) I love all your creations. RSC and the Block Lotto fits my budget and what I have on hand -- tons of scraps. Can't wait to see what's ahead for us in 2015. Happy New Year, Sophie!

Jo said...

It is such great encouragement to get out those scraps and do something with them

ES said...

The butterfly quilt looks amazing, I have recently been admiring a different butterfly quilt on

Anonymous said...

I've always liked that butterfly pattern, too. I chose a different butterfly for my 30s fabrics, but from that same era, and somewhere I have a dozen blocks or so - probably Phoenix. Maybe California, in which case I'll never see them again. It's okay, I have more scraps! I liked this post. Maybe because I like scrap quilts. =)

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