Friday, January 13, 2012

Scrap Talk

Does it ever happen to you that you are pondering a concept, an issue, a possibility, just thinking about it and considering that when refined it might be fodder for a blog post, and all of a sudden you find that someone else (or several someone elses) has been doing the same pondering? That has happened to me, and it has happened again this morning.

What I'd been thinking about is scrappy quilts. There are some scrappy quilts that I love and some that I find horrendous not to my taste. I've noticed a movement to use up scraps and while this is surely something laudable, I think it can be carried too far. Thirties and Kaffes and daiwabo all together in one project. Makes my eyes blur and my head ache.

Last spring Bonnie Hunter was in town and did a workshop for a group of people I'd pulled together; her topic was letters, wonky stars, and crumb blocks, all made out of scraps.  People loved it, and I learned a lot of new and different techniques. Bonnie's such a fabulous teacher, all hands-on, and I was tickled to finally learn the letters and the wonky stars. But the crumb blocks made me a bit twitchy!  Putting all that stuff together, stuff that didn't go with each other, not just into one project but into one block.  Oh dear. People were giggling at my nervousness. But I jumped in and found the process to be fun. I discovered that the completed blocks that I liked all had bits of one distinctive fabric that sort of unified them. Echoing in my ears were the words of the great Liza Lucy who once hollered out during a workshop, "Oh, Nancy, don't be so anal!"

I'm all for making use of scraps. No issue there. But the end product, for me, has to be pretty, has to have some sort of cohesion, kind of like the way my friend Helen takes scraps, sorts them by color, and then makes wee little montages of one color at a time. My current leader-ender is scrappy crumb blocks (see, I did buy into them!), but there is a theme, MAWL*.

So, anyway, getting back to the beginning, this morning as I was trawling the blogs, I came upon this post and knew, once again, that there is some sort of a collective consciousness out there.  Julie's April barn is spectacular, but after you get done admiring it, scroll down to below "Elsewhere in the studio . . . " and come to her phrase for the year. Amen, Julie. Amen.

*More About Which Later
Oh, and BTW, that scrap picture at the top isn't mine.  It's from Google images.


Suzan said...

Talking with my S4 quilting friends on Sunday afternoon about just the same thing...scrappy or controlled scrappy? Crazy scrappy is really difficult for me to do. Controlled scrappy choosing just Moda fabrics in particular tones is the way I usually go. This year will be the year of the insane, totally uncontrolled scrappy quilt mostly because I am sick to death of saving scraps!

Janet O. said...

I am a "controlled scrappy" scrap quilter, I admit. And your friend could just as easily have hollered that phrase I have come to loathe at me (plenty of people have). I took a class on crumb and string blocks once (it never took with me), but thankfully my instructor encouraged us to choose scraps that worked well together. I have used a "kitchen sink" approach once, but still maintained warm undertones throughout the scraps. I want to try a breakout "anything goes" quilt one day just to see if I can live with it, but I probably never will. I hear you, Nancy!

Gari said...

I am right there with you. I really like most scrappy quilts but it is hard for me to make them. I have some blocks started and will someday have a scrap quilt. I am trying to learn and become comfortable with small art quilts. I think in symetry and abstract is so very hard. But I want to be able to use color that way so that is my challenge for this year. Makes me tired just thinking of it. Did you go far enough to see the creative graph about 4 blogs away from yours?

cityquilter said...

spooky...just this morning i've been ironing my 1.5" strips and sorting them into lights/darks in pizza boxes....for future log cabins and other projects...must be esp i swear!

Quiltdivajulie said...

That phrase has been running through my head for weeks -- and making it my mantra for the year will (hopefully) keep me more true to myself and what makes me happiest (instead of being pulled willy nilly here and there).

Controlled scrappy is my favorite of all!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of Idiot's Delight? This is something we are doing at my guild here in AZ and really uses the "little" pieces. If you want me to, I will send the instructions to you via snail mail and you can share (or not). The pattern you make from a newspaper and ultimately you end up with 16" blocks. Your CA cuz now in AZ

Bobbi said...

Well, we'll see my leader ender 9-patches someday, they are "threw them all in the air, and this pair is what came down so I sewed them together".

Bobbi, scrap-quilts-r-me

Liz said...

I can CO relate to your twitchy-ness with scrap quilts. I am not able to do this, without getting hives, LOL. And my best quilting buddies do tease from time to time, while being supportive and removing the scraps occasionally so they don't take over my sewing room. Controlled scrappy, meh, sometimes it's OK and sometimes not. I've managed a few of those. And that's totally fine, there are no quilt police who will punish me for not being able to go scrappy !!

Lynn Dykstra said...

I've been sorting through my stash and am finding it so freeing to get rid of fabric that I do not want to work with. Not only with the larger pieces, but the scraps too. Why turn this wonderful work of quilting into a chore of making myself use fabrics I don't want to use?

Your words in this post are great.