The myth of scrap quilting …

I have a theory about scrap quilting. 

All the books I’ve read promised me that it would reduce my stash by using up all those little itty-bitty pieces of material that aren’t just quite itty-bitty enough to throw away, because how wasteful would that be, throwing away something that could still be used and turned into something creative and beautiful and rewarding and you just shouldn’t do that, because then you are not A Good Person Who Cares About The World …  And I read and absorbed this message and believed in it with a religious fervour, because after all, who doesn’t want to be one of Those Good People.  

So having read and believed, two months ago I set to with vigour and determination and zealousness to use up all those – and you wouldn’t believe just how many all there are in my all those – little itty-bitty scraps that lurk in my sewing area by sewing them together into bigger scraps, and then sewing those bigger scraps together into even bigger scraps, until I had a BIG scrap, big enough for a 6 inch block, which would form part of a scrap quilt, which I would give away to someone else because giving something away is Another Good Thing that People Who Care About The World do.   Salvation was in sight! 🙂

And initially it went very well:  it was fun sewing all the little scraps into bigger scraps, and then the bigger scraps into even bigger scraps, and then carefully cutting out the 6-inch blocks, and I felt creative and resourceful and sustainable and that I was – ever so briefly – one of those Good People Who Care About The World.  My halo shone. 

But then something happened.  Suddenly the itty-bitty scraps I had, for one reason or another, were Not Good Enough.  Not Long Enough.  Not Right Colour.  Not Right Shape.  And so I had to find more material I could use for scraps.  And did I first delve into the crates and crates of material I already had on hand?  Did I first sort through the piles and piles of fabric in my mountain-like stash?  Did I first fossick amongst my suitcases and boxes and drawers of textiles in all colours, shapes and sizes for suitable scraps? 


So my theory about scrap quilting is this.  Scrap quilting simply – quite simply – Begets More Scraps.  It does not reduce my stash.  It does not encourage me to be resourceful and use up what I already have first of all.  It does not make me a Good Person Who Cares About The World.  It makes me a Person Who Cannot Stop Buying Fabric, a Willing Purchaser Of Yet More Material, a Person Who Does Not Recognise When She Has Enough Stuff on Hand to Make Scrap Quilts.  Sad, really, quite sad.  Except for the fabric shops, who love me 🙂

 From this …


… to this …

DSCF5487 cropped

… to these!

DSCF5488 cropped

PS  Sorry about the long-time-no-blog.  Things went slightly mad and bad in my bridge world at the end of March, which threw me off course for a while – getting back into playing is still a work in progress, but in the meantime I have rediscovered my quilting mojo, which is a real pleasure, and have also enjoyed several good books, of which I shall write more in another post.  In the meantime, though, it’s good to be back 🙂


6 thoughts on “The myth of scrap quilting …

  1. I saw your photo of the completed quilt top of scrap blocks, and I have to tell you how in awe I am of that project! You did a fantastic job. Also I love this entry. I can totally relate to everything you wrote (including the part about all the fabric). And you are so right– scrap quilting begets more scraps! Yet I love the process of scrap piecing, and I love crazy scrappy quilts and patchwork blocks.

    • Thank you! 🙂 I’m still not sure whether scrap quilting doesn’t encourage my tendency to be a bit of a hoarder, though – you know, having a good reason NOT to throw away all those itty-bitty pieces … 😉 I came across a challenge on Pat Sloan’s blog yesterday ( which could definitely use up some of those scraps, so it’s been added to my list for consideration! In the past I’ve also found scrap quilting useful for providing a breathing space between projects, and to spark my enthusiasm again if I get into a quilting trough when creativity is at a low ebb – it sort of keeps the motor ticking over, if you know what I mean 🙂 So here’s to more scraps!

  2. I’m glad you’re back because a). Being a “good person,” I like to see people start feeling good again, and b). Being a normal person, I was glad to be selfishly entertained by a fantastic writer! It sounds like Bridge might have gone all drama llama on you which is a shame. But it also sounds like you have been able to start playing again, so that’s good. My mother plays Bridge and I know how important it is to her. I also know it is integral to her being as sharp as ever at age 84! Quilting is good for us too. It helps foster creativity…in finding places to stash more fabríc, haha! Hope you enjoy your scrappy quilt, I think they are lovely 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind words, Beth! Yes, sadly, bridge did go all drama llama on me (love that phrase!), and although I have tried really hard to get back into it, the pleasure and enjoyment I used to get out of it has all but disappeared, so I’ve decided to stop playing for a while. I’m going to do an evening photography course next year instead, which I hope will ensure that my brain is still challenged and encouraged to think creatively. And yes, quilting (and fabric stashing) will also help that creativity! One of the things I really like about scrap quilting is not having match points and seams, it’s very … liberating, I think is the word I’m looking for: and also lots of fun!

  3. In the last month I’ve returned to a quilt I started about nine years ago. I lost my mojo for a while, but it feels good to finish up a project. One thing, after leaving the fabrics alone for such a long time, everything feels fresh and exciting, and there’s no urge to go shopping. I hope you’ll post on this quilt again. 🙂

    • I know what you mean about coming back to a quilt which was started a long time ago, it is a good feeling. Luckily I have a number of those projects on hand … 😉
      And I’m still enjoying regaining my quilting enthusiasm – my sister and I have just spent two wonderful days at the Brisbane Quilt and Craft Show, and are now chock full of ideas to try out (not to mention more than a few additions to our fabric stashes …) 🙂


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