This is the year I really must Do Something with the Scraps. A lot of my fabric collection exists in only very tiny pieces, which is why I end up doing so much patchwork. I keep tiny scraps in clear plastic shoe boxes, which were so full that I couldn’t get the lids on. This year I envisage a large and ambitious patchwork event: a bed-sized quilt, made entirely from hand-pieced scraps. It may well take more than a year to realise. I’ve started by herding all the small scraps, and I have enough to make a start. I also now have enough space to get the lids on the remaining boxes.
Many of these are ‘the last of the line’ – the very last remaining examples of their type, which is why I thought it might be nice to preserve the memory and keep them together. I can identify all of these and say where they came from.
I gave a lot of thought as to how best to arrange them all. I use papers that are based on multiples of 1″ – so 1″ square, 2″ square, 1″ x 2″, 2″ x 3″ etc – thus ensuring that everything will fit together in any arrangement. It occurred to me that I could probably do something quite artful with regard to tonal value and shading, but actually what I want is a very basic, traditional patchwork quilt. Something decidedly not artful. I also want this to be easy and, above all, portable. And the nature of scraps is that they keep coming – whatever you make results in yet more scraps of fabric left over. So this has to be something I can keep adding to as the year goes on, meaning that there can’t really be an overall plan or design.
I think probably the best practical way forward is to arrange the pieces into blocks (these are 8″ square), by colour and roughly by value and then see how many I have and how well they go together. I don’t really go along with the ‘clashing colours’ theory: I don’t think any colours clash that badly. Some look better together than others, certainly, but many unlikely colour combinations exist in nature, and that’s good enough for me.