Choosing fabric for a scrap quilt is like a big scavenger hunt. You never know what you will find or where you will find it, but you are sure to uncover some real gems!
What is a Controlled Scrappy Quilt?
Not every fabric in your stash is a contender for this type of quilt. Our goal is to create a quilt with a controlled color palette that uses a wide range of quilt fabrics from your stash or shopping excursions.
Step 1 - Choose a Focus Object
It's not necessarily a 'focus fabric'. Anything will do here; but it must be pleasing to your eye. A picture from a magazine, a string of beads, a scarf...or yes, even a scrumptious piece of quilt fabric. Having a basic knowledge of color theory is great (and something I recommend), but trusting in your own eyes is just as valuable!
For my quilt, I chose a focus fabric with fish on it. Not exactly pretty, but it was interesting.
Step 2 - The Hunt
There's only one guideline for finding fabric with this method...
Your fabric choices must be friends with the focus object.
Now what does that mean?
They need not be exact matches in color, or in brightness, and certainly not in scale or pattern. The fabrics can be ugly. In fact, scrap quilts are a wonderful place to put some of those ugly fabrics that you can't for the life of you remember why you bought.
Stripes, plaids, batiks, reproductions, floral fabrics...all these fabrics belong together in a scrap quilt.
As you find them, whether from your coveted stash or shopping forays, lay them out against your focus object. If they 'play nicely' (again, no reason for matchy-matchy here) it is a keeper for now.
Be adventurous, but trust your instincts. Find yourself hemming and hawing over a fabric? Then it just does not belong. Do not over-think.
Once you have a big pile of fabrics in your project stash, it is...
Step 3 - Time to Decide
Do you want your final quilt to 'read' a certain color, say, as a 'red quilt'? Then be sure to add more red fabrics to your pile. If you want it to read as a total scrap quilt, then choose pretty even piles of all the basic colors found in your focus object. (For my fish quilt, the basic colors were purple, fuchsia, gold, green, orange and brown.) Not every fabric will make it into your quilt...but that's just a good reason to make another.
Step 4 - Put it Together
Sometimes a simple rule can take the fear out of piecing a scrap quilt. With so many fabrics to choose from in your project stash, it can be a bit overwhelming.
When I piece scrap quilt blocks, the only rule I use is that a color is only used once in the block, unless the quilt block pattern calls more. For my fish quilt each color was used just once in a block. Once a fabric was used, it was put into the used pile. That way there was an even distribution of fabrics and colors across the whole top of the quilt.
Sewing It Up!
In summary, to make a pleasing scrap quilt, just follow these simple guidelines:
Choose a focus object that pleases YOUR eyes Fabrics in this project "stash" should be friends with the focus object, no fighting allowed! Make your final selections for your project stash Employ simple rules to create each block to control the quilt's overall appearance Enjoy the process! Sewing scrap quilts patterns is a wonderful way to use up your stash!