Design Wall: A Cascading Quilt…Situation


a-cascading-quilt-situation-000-head-shot-with-catName: Vanessa Lyman
Title: Content Director, Love of Quilting
I live in: An itty-bitty apartment (637 square feet) in Denver, Colorado.
I started quilting: In 1999, or maybe it was 2000.
My home life: I live with my cat of 19 years, Miette. She is a professional quilt-tester; all quilts need her test-sitting approval before I can bind them.
What I’ve Made: Lots! Though never a scrap quilt… Until now.
What I’m Making: I’m in the middle of a somewhat cascading quilt… situation. Back in early March, I was wrapping up my Prairie Spring quilt, a classic a double Irish chain. Only there was a problem–it was a bit dull. I wanted something straightforward and serviceable, but still, it needed, I don’t know, something a little “extra.”

So I pulled together a block from a pattern I’d made years before, a Farmer’s Daughter quilt block. I still had the acetate templates I’d traced, and with the block finishing at 6”, it tucked in nicely between the chains. All well and good: I liked the end result, how the block provides an extra element of interest.


And, boy, that block was FUN, especially after the long strip-piecing sessions. It needed very little fabric—just a few scraps from those strip sets—and came together quickly. So I made another, using the Prairie Spring scraps, with no particular end use in mind.


Just for kicks, I dug into my scraps looking for some leftovers from another project, one I called Song Like Prayer. To be honest, THAT quilt disappointed me; I adored the fabric, saved it for the “right” quilt, and the “right” quilt just went totally wrong. It bruised my heart a bit. (I’m not over it yet, so no picture gets posted.) But maybe I could use the beloved leftover fabric in just a couple of blocks. Just to soothe the pain, you understand. These Farmer’s Daughter blocks are such charmers, I figured I could use them in something, eventually….


These three Farmer’s Daughters got me thinking of sister blocks, how they don’t have to be exactly the same, but do have a clear tie. These three quilt blocks were definitely sisters, but also truly “daughters,” because they descended from another, larger quilt.

I enjoyed that, So I created another descendent—this daughter block:


This descended from my glorified nine-patch quilt (I’m calling it Stronghold), that I haven’t completed yet because I don’t have the space to bind (need to move furniture…and get the cat to move off the quilt).


So, since I’m not getting the cat to move off Stronghold for a while, why not make another quick Farmer’s Daughter block using this fabric? And this! Yes! Oh, how I’d love little scrap blocks from that quilt! And what would it look like if I combined these colors…?

Yeah, so this happened.


Since then, I’ve started two other quilt projects…with the sole, secret intent of generating more scraps.


I am not consuming scraps; they are consuming me.

Then there are these sister blocks, more dangerous than you could guess.


The scraps here—that green fabric with the morning glories—I’ve kept squirreled away for about 15 years. There was really only enough for one block, even when I fiddled with the design, and swapped out the center patch. But if I just had one more square…

Look closer.


Closer still.


Even closer.


Yup. That’s a patch of fabric pieced together from scraps that were ¾” wide.

Don’t underestimate the power of itty-bitty scraps.

Hmm. Wonder if I can work with these…?


Comments (2)

  • Karen O

    Love what you’ve done with your scraps, and I almost hate to ask but… ever heard of confetti quilting?? You could use all those tiny pieces in the jar.

    May 10, 2018 at 1:12 pm

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