Designing With Scraps

This project has had a long life; I think I started it two or three years ago as a Leader/Ender project. Once I got to sewing the longer rectangle-plus-cornerstones, the seams were too long for leaders and enders–too interrupting for my blood. (Don’t worry, I have plenty of other L/E potential.)

Needing over 160 more triangles slowed me down for a while, but now I have ~25 blocks of the 65 sewn.  Not finished, because they need to be trimmed yet–I shifted the size of the triangles in the middle of the process, another hazard of long drawn out process. At first I was going to float the center squares; but later when I cut triangles the second time, I followed the directions exactly.  (Here is the tutorial for the block and you can see the blocks with black sashing. I’ve seen it with white sashing, but can’t find the link at the moment.) ETA link to Deanna’s post at Wedding Dress Blue.

I’m pondering two layouts: Straight setting

Straight Setting

Straight Setting

Or staggered.

Staggered Setting

Staggered Setting

I think I like the straight setting better, but the staggered would mask imperfections in lining up the blocks. The carpet on my design floor doesn’t make the best sashing. I’m thinking a nice bright blue.

As you might remember from previous posts,  I don’t do random. It worked best when I finally had all the triangles cut and could pick all four at once. That happened about halfway through. Before that I cut a few and attached them where they looked good. Sometimes that left with placements I later disliked. Not enough to rip them out, though.

I’ve learned some things about working with scraps in the process. I knew, in theory, to mix types and scales of prints, and usually managed to do that.I also knew to pay more attention to value than color. That, I had varying degrees of success with. There were way too many small pieces to do the black-and-white-photo test, so I tried to use my judgment. I got a nice alternating 9-patch block (second and fourth from the left at the bottom in the above photo). Some missed alternating because I misread the value of the print; others just look like I had forgotten the original plan. One problem of two-year duration is forgetting a plan.I’d intended the cornerstones to be all dark.  You can see I forgot that frequently.

Plan A had been to have medium value triangles.

Light medium triangles

Light medium

Dark medium

Dark medium

But I just didn’t have that many scraps of the same medium value that were big enough, so that got abandoned. Also, it isn’t always easy to tell how a print fabric’s value will read. Matching values on opposite corners worked fairly well as Plan B.

Dark on opposites, lighter on other two

A Plan B block

There were some block fails.–again to learn from, not to redo.

Two fails

The left one works better

The values in the left one work fairly well, though the daisy print reads lighter than I had expected. There is good scale variation, though the image of dots was repeated.  The one on the right is less successful.  Darker half and lighter bottom half don’t work as well as alternating. Plus the wood grain and green/orange dot are too busy together even though the image has changed. I think the problem is the similar values.

Another block fail

This one is just a bad mix. The two top prints are too close in scale and motif. And their values are too close to the cornerstone they surround. If I were to rip anything, it would be the upper right triangle.

More blocks

Time to get back to the sewing machine.

Linking with Oh Scrap!  and WIP Wednesday (button in side bar). And Leaders and Enders Tuesday if I don’t make any more progress.

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18 Comments

Filed under design, quilting

18 responses to “Designing With Scraps

  1. I’ve always liked scrap blocks with a centre consisting of small squares; they seem to ‘twinkle’ and even if some of the combinations are not totally harmonious, you end up with a happy and generally very attractive quilt. I’m with you on not doing random very well, but I do try not to over-think too much in the context of a scrap quilt.. Very pretty so far!

  2. Wow, I am totally in awe with this. I prefer the straight lines too. There is beauty in imperfection! Good luck with the next step

  3. Once it is all done, I think it will be gloriously scrappy. I think the appeal is to have those blocks which don’t have balance when they are all put together, create movement and sparkle to the quilt.

  4. I agree with Lisa — even though a few blocks aren’t well-balanced, once they are put together, the whole thing will be great. Thanks so much for your analysis here. This was a good lesson.

  5. quilt32

    I like the block very much and think the straight setting is good.

  6. dezertsuz

    I believe you are over-thinking this process, Claire! ALL the blocks are wonderful, and they are going to be magnificent in a quilt together, in either setting. If you could stand back far enough, you’d see that you have the start of an excellent quilt. =)

  7. Those ‘imbalances’ are where the fun of scrappy comes in. When the blocks are all combined, and you stand back and see the whole, it will dance and swoop and be gorgeous. There’s no dancing if the blocks all read the same. Relax – it’s going to be glorious!
    (And after seeing yours, I want to make one, too. My queue just keeps getting longer and longer…)

  8. I vote for staggered setting. The other is too static for my taste. This looks like a LONG term project–good luck!

  9. I can see we’re kindred spirits when it comes to scraps and piecing randomly. I prefer some degree of control when working with scraps, which is why I find it trying to work without looking ahead at least a little bit!

  10. This is going to look wonderful! I think the cream/white little frames link the blocks, and I love how the fabrics all do a scrappy dance around them! Oh, and I prefer the straight setting.

  11. I too prefer the straight setting. Just appeals to my sense of order. Beautiful blocks.

  12. That is going to be a beautiful quilt! The blocks are so happy! I loved listening in on your thinking about the fabric placement in the blocks and learned from you about value and balance. It will be fun to see how it progresses to a finished quilt one day!

  13. I love all posts that are about using scraps! What a yummy quilt this will be!

  14. I love your blocks – imperfections and all. I was happy to read you aren’t changing the blocks you aren’t exactly happy with – in the big picture, they will just give the quilt character. Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!

  15. Cher

    great long term project and love how you have learned from the process. I would agree a block here or there that missed your aim will not be such a big deal in the overall quilt once it is all together. That said, you do have the option of making a change if you think living with the quilt will make you happier by doing so. A wonderful scrap busting design! I like the straight set best…but that is my logical brain talking LOL. value is a great lesson to keep learning as we make quilts.

  16. Chantal

    Oh I love this quilt. So many fun fabric to look at. Prefer the off set setting personally. Blue sashing sounds perfect to me. Will be back to see the final product. Enjoy the process. ;^)

  17. I absolutely love this as a leader/ender project. I think my favorite setting is the offset one. Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for linking up!

  18. looks like you are using up your scraps very well! I love using them too

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