Scrap Strategies

I would like to get better at picking fabrics for scrap projects.  Some people seem to have a natural gift for doing that, and I am not one of them.  Some of my scrap projects are successful, and others seem to fall short.  I can usually figure out what I did wrong after it’s failed, but I would like to understand it well enough to prevent the failures in the first place!

At Spring Market, I was the lucky recipient of a bundle of 6″ strips of Tonga Sunburst fabrics, designed by Daniela Stout of  She’s one of those people with that natural gift for selecting fabrics, so I saw this as an opportunity to learn more about choosing successful fabric combinations.  I’ve read several books on color and fabric, but working with a bundle of pre-cuts is a good hands-on way to get advice from the experts.  It lets some concepts really sink in while working with the fabrics in my project.  It’s like learning a scrap strategy with training wheels provided by an expert.

This is a color palette I wouldn’t normally choose, so it was an excellent project to get out of my comfort zone:

Sunburst 1I like the approach to take your assorted fabrics and contrast them against one light or dark neutral, so I chose a cream fabric.  The bundle comes with several pattern recommendations based on half-square-triangle designs, and that works well with a contrast fabric.  That also stretched this little bundle into making 2 lap quilts!  Here is the cream fabric:

Sunburst 2Making the half-square-triangle blocks is fast and easy.  I’ve divided them into 2 groups for the 2 quilts:

Sunburst 3But this is another place where my scrap skills fall short.  I fear that if I start sewing blocks together willy-nilly, the end of the quilt will have too many similar fabrics grouped together.  So the solution would be to lay all of the blocks out first to prevent that.  But that feels overwhelming to lay out the whole quilt at once, and try to keep track of sewing the blocks together without sneezing on them, blowing them away, and having to start all over again.

So I prefer to work in sections, and to do that, I divide my fabrics so that each section contains one of each print.  This probably only applies because I’m working on a limited scrappy – in this case 16 fabrics.  If the project were a lot scrappier, it wouldn’t matter.  Here I have sorted my fabrics into sections:

Sunburst 4Now I can sew a section together based on one of the layouts given in the pattern.  There were lots of nice options given but I started with this one:

Sunburst 5And add a second section:

Sunburst 6

Keep going and I’ve got a quilt!

Sunburst 7Now on to my second quilt, first section:

Sunburst 8Add more sections:

Sunburst 9And I’ve got my second quilt top:

Sunburst 11

As I worked, I had plenty of time to observe the variety of colors, shades, and textures that went into this beautiful assortment of fabrics.  This pre-cut bundle made it easy to throw together 2 beautiful quilts in fabulous fabrics that I’m glad I made!  It’s a great confidence builder for future project choices.

True confession time.  When planning these tops, I left out 4 fabrics – a very light green and 3 bright yellows.  I wasn’t sure about using them at the time, and I was sure that they would make a nice addition to my stash.  Old habits are hard to kill.  Now that I see the finished tops, I know they would have been great.  I need to get over my fear of yellow and new color schemes, and trust the expert that put together the pre-cut bundle!  Wasn’t I just saying that this was a good exercise in letting go and trusting the expert?!  I should have listened to myself!!

Sunburst 10

These quilts were fun to put together, and a very worthwhile exercise for me.  Now it’s on to the next fun challenge –  how to quilt 2 similar quilt tops?  We will cover that one another day!


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One Response to Scrap Strategies

  1. Dottie says:

    Nice job and so glad you shared. Thanks.

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