QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT

QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT By Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman Above: Moda's Baltimore Blues. It's not all blue.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sorting Scraps

I was flipping through my old copies of the Quilt Engagement Calendar looking for inspiration and I came across this quilt from about 1900.
I bet it's from Pennsylvania...

Where they liked to control the shading in their scrappy quilts.

A Bowmansville Star from the Flack Collection
Particularly in Bowmansville

Read more about Bowmansville PA in this post from the Rick Rack Rag:

Detail of the quilt at the top
What I liked about this controlled scrap quilt was that it grew out of the center
and you could stop when you wanted to.
(Scroll down to see how big mine got.)

It still requires a careful sorting of the scraps---
which could take days---
Days full of entertainment.


I decided to sort into five shades
Very Light, Medium Light, Pink for the Medium, Medium Dark and Very Dark

I had some of the small pre-cut squares---
The Moda Candy packs
cut to 2-1/2", a size that will make great "very darks."
And a pack left over from Civil War Reunion that would make good mediums.

And some pinks left over from Metropolitan Fair
my previous Civil War reproduction collection and a stash of double pinks.

And I had some printed and woven shirtings for very lights.


Very Light, Medium Light, Medium Dark and Very Dark

I needed four shades of scraps. 

I found out a long time ago that sorting scraps into lights and darks works better if 
you add some buffer shades.
One buffer between each shade.

So I need 7 piles
Shaded from Very Light to Very Dark

I then throw out the Light, Medium and Dark piles, the buffer piles.
I mean I don't really throw them out. I set them aside for another project.

Which leaves me more sharply defined values. 4 shades.
You could also do this with 2-1/2" strips, cutting squares.

Here's my sketch in Electric Quilt.
I set up a grid-- a "quilt" of 11 x 11 blocks (any odd number)--- and then shaded it in with the fabric chooser.
Here's an EQ sketch for the center.
The original was a little bit more random.
It's 49 squares finishing to 2" each (7 x 7 squares).
A 14" finished block.
Very dark, very light and medium dark with a pink in the center.


Then you start adding borders.
It seems she alternated very light with medium light squares

I could keep going.
Here's a grid of 14 x 14 squares.

The maker of the quilt at the top added borders of dark strips cut in random lengths. She added some medium darks in those strips too.
They should be cut 2-1/2" wide and in lengths finishing to even numbers like
cutting lengths:
4-1/2"
6-1/2"
8-1/2", etc.
It seems like the dark borders are primarily cut like this
While the lighter borders alternate light and medium light.

You  alternate borders of light and medium light squares with borders of dark and medium dark strips till you get tired
or you run out of fabric.

I found this on Pinterest.
New or Old?
Whose?
(That's the problem with Pinterest---not enough credits)
It looks new-- and nice job of shading.

Below: Another scrap quilt with a controlled color scheme from an old Quilt Engagement Calendar.
It's pieced of squares only with yellow added to the pinks for pop.


Now, with all the planning I did here's what happened.

30" x 30"
pinned to the design wall.

I ran out of Candy squares.
So I stopped and
 put a pair of 2" borders on it.

I have a LOT more rows to go to make a full-sized quilt.
It would be fun to add 2-1/2" squares from different fabric collections working outward--- make a bed quilt of about a thousand pieces.

When pigs fly.



An inspirational machine name.

12 comments:

Dya said...

Thank you for showing all these wonderfull quilts. I always enjoy reading about the backgrounds of old quilts.
I knew I had seen the little quilt, where you wrote you didn't know if it was old or new etc.
With some google help I found this
http://quiltingdaze.blogspot.nl/2013/01/join-us.html

susan said...

What a great quilt to bust the stash!

Lisa said...

Lovely scrappy quilts.

WoolenSails said...

I love how that quilt was done with scraps, nice design to use up what we have in our baskets.

Debbie

Abbigail said...

I love making scrap quilts and this looks like a great one to make.
hulseybg at gmail dot com

suzanne said...

What great fun! For a more scattered, random look, you could let children separate strips and squares into the light-to-dark piles. Then usual "rules" about when or whether you could recatagorize as you drew pieces from the pile you selected while sewing the top. It's good sometimes to be forced into being a little wilder than usual.

desertskyquilts said...

I loved those calendars and saved every single one! Thanks for a little different view on scrap quilts.

virtualquilter said...

These examples certainly show that a scrap quilt doesn't have to be just a mish-mash of fabrics.

Anonymous said...

I believe the quilt from Pinterest is Tara Lynn Darr's from her book Sew Charming. I made a small version of this quilt (like the book) and also a larger version for a charity quilt. Charlotte S.

Susan Briscoe said...

The first quilt reminds me of one belonging to Jen Jones (of the Welsh Quilt Centre), that inspired this version of mine - http://susanbriscoe.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/dryslwyn-quilt-top.html

Byrd said...

Uh oh. I think I just found my next project . . . thanks Barbara! Take care, Byrd

Mimi said...

Very interesting the way you analize the colors and "get the materials ready" Me, I would just sew .... and figure out the problems as I go. I love when pigs fly projects. :-).