Thursday, April 7, 2016

String Play a Reminder to Keep Playing With the Scraps!

Picture heavy post! String Play is a completed quilt now. This is a quilt made almost entirely from my scrap bin. Before quilting her {I want to call the quilt a 'her' for some reason}, I would have said she wasn't one of my favorites. Now I'm completely besotted.
Looking across the quilt
There's just something about a scrap quilt made up of hundreds of little pieces from other quilt projects that really gets to me. Upon starting this quilt, I dug through my scrap bin and pulled out specific colorways. As you can see, this quilt does not have any green--it's not the entire rainbow. For me, a crazy, million-pieced scrap quilt has to have a certain level of control or it just feels like chaos. Which just makes me nervous.
String Play on the railing!
I've come to realize the value of a pre-sort. I pull fabrics in specific colorways, pushing the boundaries as far as I dare. In this case, the yellow and golds included some rust and orangey tones, and of course, plenty of brown. The purples went all the way into black, excluding most lavenders. Pink colors included the entire spectrum from the lightest of pinks clear to the rosiest of red--no bubblegum pinks or tomato reds allowed, but yes on the peachy, apricot pinks! The blues included a wide range as well, starting from lightest of light all the way to almost black and I skipped most of the aqua tones I stumbled across. This kind of 'control' really helps to establish cohesion in the new color family as the quilt strips started being joined together. I tend to leave the different colorways in separate totes while I sew, randomly grabbing the strips as I choose to.
Love seeing the bits and pieces...
When I was working through making the scrap blocks, the only extra fabrics I added were yellow, gold and a reddish purple. They were pieces that I thought might help carry important colors throughout the entire quilt as this is a largish quilt and I was running out pieces from the scrap bin. It helped that a couple of the fabric pieces were very sentimental for me, being pieces from my late grandmothers stash and a shirt from my deceased brother.
All that lovely texture...
Before, I would have said this one was a somber, moody sort. But after quilting her, I've discovered she's a soft, rich, comfort giving quilt and I sincerely doubt she will ever be given away. Honestly, I am feeling as good about making this quilt as any I have ever made. And what does that say about me and my quilting?
Want to curl up with me?
It's a timely reminder to make time for sewing from my scrap bin. There's a lot of joy to be had from taking the bits and pieces and trying to make something beautiful. After the initial fabric sorting, there's also a lot of freedom in grabbing and sewing strips together without worrying about what they'll look like snuggled up next to each other. In this method of quilt making, we'll often find ourselves wincing at the pairing of fabrics we're sewing together. And over and over we'll find ourselves delighting in yet another pairing! It's a different sort of process, but it can be very revealing to those of us who get caught up in controlling the color in our quilts. We have to learn how to let go and just allow the fabric to tell the story it really wants to tell.
It looks like it belongs in my home...
I wish this sort of quilt could have happened around here even ten years ago, but I was too unsure--too insecure about the outcome. I didn't know how to tame the scraps without losing their innate goodness. And I tend to forget now how working with scraps helps me out in the rest of my quilting.
Looking at the pieced backing....
Did you notice the entire quilt was stitched on my machine? I did it. I actually stitched the entire quilt on my recently serviced Bernina! About halfway through the tension started giving me problems again. It was stop and go, fixing and adjusting clear to the end and yes, the machine is going back in the shop once again--for the third time this year.*sigh  I won't bore you with the details. Just hoping this time will be a true-blue fix....

52 comments:

  1. It is so annoying when our machines misbehave! I love how you took us through the creative process - I shall be looking at my scrap bin with new eyes!!

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  2. Oh my, I love this so much...even if it doesn't have any green, my favorite color!

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  3. Such a simple design but oh so cuddle up looking when completed. I seldom have strips in my scraps any more now that I do so much applique. I just have odd shape left overs.

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  4. I love it! I think one think I love about using so many fabrics in one quilt is you can get by using "ugly" next to "sweet" as no one notices because there is so much in the quilt! I did notice you did it all by machine and what else I noticed - which surprised me -- is that there is not even one flower or star appliquéd in a corner or anywhere!! I love it

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  5. I really like this quilt and think I'd like it if you put in every color of the rainbow!

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  6. Yep...that would be a favorite of mine also. Lovely work!!! I don't sort anything, so I just grab whatever is next, but I like your slightly more controlled approach. Bravo!

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  7. Love your controlled scrappy approach. This one is definitely a keeper and a snuggler. Whenever I start poking around in my scrap bin, it's like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Always an adventure!

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  8. Love this quilt! It really invites you to cuddle up in it. Reminds me of antique utility quilts. Thanks for sharing your method of "controlled" colour. That is something I hadn't thought about before. Did you use the method of strip piecing and then cutting them into units, or did you cut your rectangles individually?

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  9. Sigh....its just so beautiful....! I would not worry about the past years and errors it's what got you to this place here. Wisdom is a hard earned thing and one we must experience all by ourselves. *wink* did we ever take the advise of our elders or forge on and learn by our own mistakes?

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  10. Exactly what I love ! Congrats.

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  11. This quilt is deliciously scrappy - it looks perfect for snuggling :0)

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  12. scrappy quilts are my favourites yours is a real beauty, I have just given one to my granddaughter as part of her 18th birthday present, was hoping she would not like it so I could have it back Hope the machine finally gets sorted out, I too have a bernina bought in 1993 and still working well

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  13. A wonderful finish! And I did enjoy reading about your process here on how you sifted & sorted through your precious scrappy bits Audrey! It's one of those real cuddly snugly sorts of quilts, I love it!

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  14. I just love this quilt!! It looks great and seeing it, it pusses me to start digging in my scrap box and start strip sewing. Greetings Aurora

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  15. How refreshing ahd honest a post! Kudos for you for your bravery, and reusing fabrics with a past life. Good ideas for sorting ahead of time, too. Just so you know, you had me with "scraps and photo heavy". It's my kind of quilt, and I doubt I could be paid to give it up.

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  16. You may not want to give away this beauty but I can see one of your kids trying to spirit it out the door when they leave for college or their first apartment. It just sings home comforts! I've come to believe scrappy quilts are the very best kind of quilts.

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  17. That is one huggy quilt!
    The color scheme is totally you, but no applique? That must have been *hard*...

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  18. This is definitely going on my to-do list. It's a perfect project to try machine quilting and the idea of color constraints in a scrap quilt is very appealing to me. I can tell you got so much satisfaction working on this one - destined to be a favorite!

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  19. It's wonderful! I am working on something similar and need to get back to it!

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  20. Love all the pictures! This quilt is wonderful! I can see how it would grow on you.

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  21. This is a beautiful quilt!! It looks amazing.

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  22. Absolutely STUNNING!! I want to make one of these for sure! LOVE IT!! Well done! I am pinning this baby for sure...hope you don't mind?!

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  23. You definitely tamed those scraps and sewed them into a wonderful scrappy quilt. I'm with you. Not every scrappy bit has a place in every scrappy quilt. A delightful finish.

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  24. This is such an inviting quilt. I love it! My Bernina tension gets weird too. The screw in the bobbin case keeps slowly loosening. I have to remember to tighten it every time I put in a new bobbin.

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  25. Love your string quilt......one of my own particular favorites, tho I do have Lots of Favorites! Love the concept of making Something from Nothing (small scraps!).

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  26. I really love this quilt so much! It looks so snuggly and warm. I like controlled scrappy the best. I'm curious, did you strip piece into larger units and then subcut into smaller units? Also, did you piece onto a stabilizer such as paper? I would love to make a similar quilt. Thanks. chocolatewiskers@aol.com BTW I pinned your quilt on Pinterest. I hope you don't mind. Let me know if you do and I will remove it. Thanks.

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  27. Oh My!! I am in love! This quilt is just wonderful! You have definitely created a "soft, rich, comfort giving" quilt. So amazing from from little scraps of fabric. I was very interested in your scrap choosing process.

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  28. I love this quilt too. I need to learn how to control my scrap projects too, you have done it wonderfully. This quilt looks like it has history, it looks like it wasn't to be snuggled with. Good job!

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  29. gorgeous scrap quilt...bravo on machine quilting the entire quilt...I often have color rules for my quilts...and my mom usually had a "no pink" rule in effect when she stitched...is fun to challenge yourself this way

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  30. It's another beautiful finish ! Looks so warm and cozy !

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  31. Love it! I'm getting a vintage vibe. Congrats on that great use of scraps. Looks like you are armed and ready to protect it! (I feel your tension pain...)

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  32. They are your memories most of all in this quilt, so of course you should keep it! It's like an index of all the other quilts you made. And the simple design is very effective. "R" for repetition. :D

    Nice finish!

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  33. Congrats on a wonderful quilt! I love a quilt like that - filled with memories. Simple, but yet complex. And your quilting looks great too. Just right for this cozy quilt.

    Sorry to hear your machine is acting up again. That is never happy.

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  34. Great blog on scrappy! The more I look at it the more I think, "I just need to do it". After working on complex quilts, a quilt like this would be fun! It is amusing how we like to "control" the colors! Pretty quilt.

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  35. I love your quilt, she is beautiful! Thank you for the inspiration! Blessings, Gretchen

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  36. Being a lady quilter who is married to a master gunsmith, I truly enjoyed seeing this post and reading about your scrappy adventures!

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  37. It looks fabulous, Audrey! What a great story and such special fabric pieces to include in this warm, rich quilt. (Hope that machine gets fixed properly this time.)

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  38. Love,love, love it! All those fabrics and the texture! Absolutely wonderful!

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  39. It is a charming and comfortable quilt.
    I am with you about the warmth of scrap quilts & the need to exercise a bit of control over the fabrics going into it.
    Very beautiful!

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  40. I just pulled fabrics for the same kind of quilt yesterday, mainly from fabrics that no longer fit my taste or that are in colorways I am unlike to use in my current quilts. Yours turned out beautifully, very warm and comforting. I hope I end up liking mine as much as you like yours!

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  41. Just the kind of quilt I love - scrappy but with a few rules. What a fabulous comforting and cheerful quilt. Congrats on another great finish! I was half expecting you to reveal some big funky embroidery on the back!

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  42. Just the kind of quilt I love - scrappy but with a few rules. What a fabulous comforting and cheerful quilt. Congrats on another great finish! I was half expecting you to reveal some big funky embroidery on the back!

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  43. Good point about selecting colors even from the scrap bag. I usually like mine better when I've done some grouping. Congratulations on machine quilting.

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  44. Absolutely love this post and the way you shared your thought process. Indeed, this is also my favorite kind of quilt.

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  45. I love your quilt too. I have a bin of darker scraps that were eliminated from some other scrappy quilts I made recently. Your process has helped me gather thoughts on how to make the best use for them. Thanks so much for sharing your process.

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  46. What a beautiful quilt, full of warmth - this is as lovely as a quilt can be, I think, and shows your mastery of your scraps. I love the idea of your approach to defining a colour palette - definitely something I will remember and try.

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  47. Love this scrap quilt of yours! Isn't it amazing how many quilts are created from our scrap bins. I rarely get time to get to the yardage.

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