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Thread: What to do with lots of different fabric?

  1. #1
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    Question What to do with lots of different fabric?

    I haven't been making quilt tops, because I don't like the "fussiness" and perfection required for it. However, I have accumulated LOTS of cotton stash anyway. Some scraps are quite large, and others are not. I found a quilt top that I did years ago and had forgotten about, and it inspired me to maybe try again. The thing is, the scraps that I have don't go together. I mean, there is homespuns, zebra strips, flowers, fish, solids, stripes, skulls... just about anything you can imagine!! I don't want my next attempt to be a total mess. So should I just wait until I have even more scraps to play with?
    You can have any design you want. As long as it's loops!

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    KR
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    Senior Member KR's Avatar
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    You could visit www.quiltville.com and read about Bonnie Hunter's system of taming her scraps and stash. She specializes in scrap quilt designs and has a very systematic approach to separating colors and cutting scraps for future use. After attending one of her lectures recently I've gotten hooked on reading her blog every day.
    Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift....that's why it's called the present.
    Karen

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    I know that the quilt police will say only use cotton but, I have used what I have all my life and it works for me. I just had to piece a back together and used a piece of polycotton in it, When my grandma taught me to quilt we used whatever we had and mixed it all the time. Some of those quilts are still around.
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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    I would do a string quilt because the variety of strips makes the pattern look great. Here is a link to some beautiful examples in our Quilt Gallery http://www.quiltingboard.com/blogs/s...lts-b2192.html
    Nancy in western NY
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    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I made a log cabin with the strangest fabric prints and it is absolutely stunning. When you cut them up in strips of 1.5 inches wide, you won't see all that weird stuff. I divided the fabric into two piles: dark and light. And the light only has to be lighter than the dark in the square. Some of the light was even into medium colors but still lighter than the dark.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lillybeck View Post
    I know that the quilt police will say only use cotton but, I have used what I have all my life and it works for me. I just had to piece a back together and used a piece of polycotton in it, When my grandma taught me to quilt we used whatever we had and mixed it all the time. Some of those quilts are still around.
    I love this, lillybeck!! I, too, use whatever I want and have on hand in my quilts. The recipients don't care if it's 100% quilt-grade cotton or not so why should I? I have quilts my grandmother has made over her lifetime, and most of the material in those are poly/cotton and still look beautiful even with minor wear and tears.

    To AshleyR:
    Scrap quilts are really becomming the latest trend, in my opinion, based off what I see on the boards daily. If ya have a decent selection of lights/darks, why not a log cabin or basic 4/9 patches? I love looking at close-ups of scrap quilts, it is so amazing what all fabrics ya can find in one! But once all together, ya don't notice the Christmas trees next to skulls/crossbones or whatever else may be in one. Give it a go and good luck!

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    Senior Member GemState's Avatar
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    When you get all your 'unmatching' fabrics sewn together you will find that what you notice most is value, not a lot of individual pieces that don't look like they go together. To me that is the beauty of a scrap quilt.

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    Super Member Nolee's Avatar
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    To give you a little confidence, I never liked strippy quilts before I got desperate to use up scraps. "Gemstate" is absolutely right that the value comes out, not the individual strips. Try a square and just see. Throw in a rather plain strip every few rows and it also can make a tremendous difference. I made one for my granddaughter and she absolutely loved it and it was as scrappy as could be.
    "Worry is about doing something you can do nothing about."

  9. #9
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    I lovet the log caebin idea, but even with scrappy blocks or half square triangles, just having a consistent background color/shade can really tie a lot of different fabrics into a lovely quilt. I have seen black, white and cream really make the quilt pop.
    QuiltnLady1

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    Try Bonnie's methods. Her scrappy quilts are beautiful.

    Quote Originally Posted by KR View Post
    You could visit www.quiltville.com and read about Bonnie Hunter's system of taming her scraps and stash. She specializes in scrap quilt designs and has a very systematic approach to separating colors and cutting scraps for future use. After attending one of her lectures recently I've gotten hooked on reading her blog every day.
    Linda

  11. #11
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Like several others have said, log cabins (especially with 1" or smaller finished logs) are great users of all kinds of scraps. My first scrappy log cabin is here - http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...in-t23612.html

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    Senior Member Sally J's Avatar
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    I just made a quilt with scrap fabrics that included cow, building, cat and lots of other weird fabric. It came out beautiful and my friends thought it was wonderful. I hate log cabin so I made blocks of wonky stars and wonky squares. I did do the borders and back in one fabric to calm all the different fabrics. It is my favorite quilt.

  13. #13
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    I love buying scrap bags and there are always fabrics included that are really awful. I decided that I'd separate out all of the fabrics I'd never use for anything and make a string quilt (Eleanor Burns - Quilt In A Day). I cut everything into strips of varying widths and just started. No rhyme or reason, no coordination of colors, no decisions about light vs. dark. The resulting quilt is beautiful! I've had so many positive comments, and when people look at the individual fabrics they're surprised that they all combined to make something pretty. After that success, I decided to make another one just in greens and lilacs and blues. It's awful. Randomness apparently works much better.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

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    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    if you can sort your scraps into lights/mediums/darks you can create fabulous quilts with a huge hodge-podge of variety that will work well. i've mixed homspuns, novelties, flannels, batiks--- an assortment of themes in the same quilt and been quite happy with the outcome...often it does not matter what the print is on a fabric-what matters is the value (light/medium/dark) placement.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

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    Senior Member IAmCatOwned's Avatar
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    A 9 patch using narrow black sashing strips is a marvelous way to use completely random squares and make them play together. The sashing doesn't have to be more than about an inch wide finished. Found some examples by googling images.

    I also think a scrappy irish chain also works with primarily dark and mediums (save the lights for another project). Here's Bonnie Hunter's instructions.

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    Boy, those samples are beautiful. Some of Bonnie Hunter's squares don't look like much one square at a time, but the quilts are stunning. Some scrappy quilts look just bad to me and others are drop dead gorgeous. I don't know enough about color theory to be able to put my finger on why some just look better than others - is the secret in the darks vs med vs lights or what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    Like several others have said, log cabins (especially with 1" or smaller finished logs) are great users of all kinds of scraps. My first scrappy log cabin is here - http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...in-t23612.html

    That is absolutely beautiful! So you sorted and cut based on color, right? Because when I look at your pictures, it really doesn't look so random--you have brown, green, and yellow (same family) together. Share your secret to sorting, please!

  18. #18
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Another way to unify everything is use a single color sashing. I always use black, but any neutral will do. Frames the blocks, gives your eye a place to rest and ties everything together.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

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    Super Member ladyredhawk's Avatar
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    buy fabric that match alittle at a time like I do. fabric on the board has some good buy's on here and all kinds of material.
    Ladyredhawk

  20. #20
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    x marks the spot/ aka scrappity do dah (I made this with a ton of completely different fabric and gave it as a gift. (the recipients loved it)
    cathedral window
    shadow box (this is awesome with different and patterned fabrics... the more different, the better)
    I feel like if you get a good quality white fabric, you could make a ton of different quilts with radically different fabrics and the white breaks it up. You could even do a more traditional quilt like an Irish chain with radically different fabric.
    tumbling blocks looks great. Just have to worry about color values, not about coordinating fabrics.
    You can even do a sampler quilt and just use the sashing to break things up a bit.
    Rail fence is easy and fun

    Enjoy making the quilt. Don't be too critical. Once it is quilted, alot of the "mistakes" fade away. I don't make "perfect" quilts. I make them fun. I enjoy learning new techniques. I also decided that some things are too difficult or not fun for me to do. I shy away from: machine applique (tried, disliked), hand piecing and handquilting (did well but too time consuming for me), anything three dimensional like purses (frighteningly bad results), and Y seams (tried but difficult and not fun for me). You may love the things I dislike or visa versa. Try some stuff on smaller quilts. See what you like/dislike and stick with the fun stuff. Enjoy it. Once you have done a few quilts, it becomes alot easier and alot more fun.

  21. #21
    Super Member PurplePassion's Avatar
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    You could try making an I Spy quilt for a kid. that way you can use a variety of different prints or solids.

  22. #22
    Super Member mountain deb's Avatar
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    Enjoy the hunt and tame the stash. Enjoy the whole process and do not overly think about it. Quilts usually turn out better that way.
    ABCDEFG

  23. #23
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    try missouri star quilt company they show blocks made with scraps

  24. #24
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    I agree with QuiltnNan...string quilt.

  25. #25
    Super Member WMUTeach's Avatar
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    Ditto on looking at Quiltville.com. I went there a year ago and I am still stash busting and have many, many more to go. Bonnie Hunter has so many good ideas to use that stash that one could be busy for years and seldom have to shop for fabric, only backing and batting. Have fun. Watch the board too because so many of the wonderful participants are using stash to make beauties!

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