Last time I wrote a 'why don't you try this' post I think I scared a few people by suggesting they cut into treasured yardage, so this month, to redress the balance, I've been thinking about scraps. We've all got them and the popularity of RSC and Oh Scrap suggests that we all want to reduce them, yet we go on hoarding the tiniest of pieces then worrying about how we should use them. So why not use them for your improv?
Now, I know the idea of scrappy improv is not a new one: flick around the web and you can find plenty of examples of crumb blocks and 'made' fabric, sometimes used to give a modern twist in traditional designs, sometimes put together in a less structured way.
You can sew together your scraps into strip sets and use those as the basis for something, grab a handful of scraps every time you start a quilt and work them in as you go along, use them for specific scrappy elements in a design, work small or sort through what you have and employ your bits in a clearly defined colour scheme. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
|The blue and yellow strips in the borders here were leftovers from Eden's Birds|
However you go about it, a mix of fabrics can make a quilt interesting to look at, drawing the eye from one detail to the next, creating moments of surprise for us to discover and enjoy. What's more, the challenge of making something coherent from a mishmash of bits, instead of using a well planned selection of yardage, teaches us a lot about the use of colour, placement, value, all that technical quilty stuff that makes such a difference to a successful piece.
Alternatively you could just make a dog.