Tuesday, 6 December 2022

A post for Mean Jean

Jean, who is a no reply commenter, left a comment on the subject of trying a free-style wedding ring quilt that I thought I would answer with a post.

In general terms, I would say go for it.  I have thought a couple of times that I would try something similar, but my quilts seem to have minds of their own and that isn't where I have ended up.  If it doesn't quite come off, then take what you have and figure out how to get something you like - this can be fun too.

My big central blocks are much bigger than I would normally work and come in at around 12" square.  The smaller quarter circles are only about 6" or 7" (and some of them are more rectangular than square).  Their size was dictated mostly by the size of the bigger scraps I created cutting the largest curves. I reckon you could get two, maybe three large curves from a shirt, but there wouldn't be much left.   

I think it would be entirely feasible to make a wedding ring/pickle dish style quilt with shirts.  Here are some of the ways that I get around having limited amounts of each fabric.

1) Use every last scrap.  I piece the smallest pieces back together as often as is feasible.  I have also been known to unpick cuffs, to include button plackets, even, on occasion to salvage tiny pieces from the collars.  Some of these are easier to do than others, but it's surprising how far you can stretch a shirt. 

2) If I have two similar shirts, I will patch them together and then cut into them again.  Sometimes I even do this with two wildly different fabrics.  If there are tiny pieces that don't match, I don't think of that as a bad thing, though I will try to repeat a combination if I can.

3) If I want to cut big pieces, I sometimes ignore things like side seams or pockets.  I get away with this because I hand quilt though; I'm not sure how it would work for a machine quilter.

4) Sometimes I can find something in what is left of my stash of quilting cottons that works as an acceptable substitute

5) Occasionally I head back out to the charity shops (goodwill) and search for an extra shirt.  I don't take swatches or try to match, just scan the racks until something jumps out at me.  It won't be perfect, but most of the time I end up with something that fits in just fine.

6) This isn't for everyone but I have been known to use a garment that one of us has been wearing (this is a secret I haven't shared with my family and they haven't noticed yet)

7) Keep going until you run out of something and then stop.

In a nutshell, then, what I'm saying is that there is always a solution to a shortage of fabric and figuring it out can be an oddly enjoyable part of the creative process.


Quiltdivajulie said...

This is an EXCELLENT process post - well done, Kaja!!

Ann said...

Yes. Lots of information and encouragement here, Kaja.

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said...

I have seen you mention several of these tips over the years that I've read your blog, but it's fantastic to have them all grouped together here. I find your resourcefulness and creativity incredibly inspiring!

Julierose said...

Great ideas for utilizing all the fabrics...when strip quilting I often sew pieces end to end if they are not long enough, too. I really love the genuineness of your quilts--how they reflect you and your methods...hugs, Julierose

JustGail said...

It's amazing how our brains can gloss over fabric that have been seamed together to make a large enough piece, unless it's a particularly obvious difference like stripes going in different directions.

There's quite a bit I need to keep in mind here. I've saved this post to my tutorials folder, as I'm fairly sure I'll never find it again on-line when I need some encouragement.

audrey said...

Hand quilting does seem to make it easier to ignore the bias, piece different scraps together and then feel confident that the end result will turn out well. Quilts are so much more interesting without the pressure to have all the fabric perfectly matched. Lots and lots more character and personality!:)

Cheryl said...

#6 made me laugh. I often get rid of things on behalf of the family, and they also never notice.
thank you for the tips! I often get impatient and just take the big bits off shirts.

Mean Jean said...

Wow! really enjoy the details of how you work. Lots to think about. I didn't realize the you were hand sewing. More to think about. Thank you for your thoughtful response to my questions.

O'Quilts said...

There you go again..a great post xo

Mystic Quilter said...

Great post Kaja, lots of information and ideas which can also be used for folk who're working with regular yardage.

Doris said...

Thank you for telling us your secrets, I think this: making match together fabrics - gives your quilts this typical outlook. I will let this simmer in the part of my brain which contains quilt recipes.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

Some interesting tips here, thank you! I've often thought using simliar fabrics is so much more interesting than agonising about trying to find the 'exact' replacement.