The Joy of Scraps from Pre-Cut Collections


Pre-cut packages are funny. You get the whole collection of fabric to play with! But you can never quite use all of it, do you?

I have yet to meet a quilter who dislikes scrap quilts. There’s a reason Bonnie Hunter’s Wanderlust course is so popular!

Wanderlust with Bonnie Hunter

Fabric waste is a concern with every quilt project. (“Waste”? “Concern”? Who is writing this article? Re-phrase: Delicious fabric leftovers are a delightful part of every quilt project…) With pre-cut designs, those scraps have an added twist. Presumably, you love that collection of fabrics, so it’s a pang to have extra 2-1/2” strips or 5” squares, all pre-cut and perfectly matched and ready to go.

The strip set collection that I used for National Sew-a-Jelly-Roll Day last September seems to keep going. How can I have made a quilt top, five scrap blocks (using my ever-favorite Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt book) and still have so many lovely fabric strips left? How many rolls did I have? I thought it was just one, but how can that be? Is this like a sourdough starter, where it just keeps merrily seething away, a living microcosm that serves as the base for more and more delightful projects?

A fabric version of a sourdough starter…? I am NOT complaining.

But how to use those scraps? With pre-cuts, it’s rare there are enough left for a whole quilt.

One of our favorite techniques is to use leftover strips to piece together a scrappy binding. Then there are mug rugs, wall hangings, appliqué patches for other projects….

Quilting Quickly May/June 2018In the May/June issue of Quilting Quickly (Fons & Porter’s pre-cut magazine), you’ll get something special. You’ll find the quilt Scoop, which is darling (I always love a quilt that gets curves from pre-cuts), but you also get a design called Finding Joy, a table runner made entirely from the scraps from Scoop!

Colleen Tauke, the thrifty and creative designer behind Scoop and Finding Joy, designed to quilt Scoop when she was playing with her Curved Seam template set. “I figured those templates would work well with a charm pack, so I wanted to give it a try,” she told me.

And it did!

The scraps that resulted from the cutting were just too good to waste, so she whipped up the table runner to give to me as a going-away gift.

Colleen said she hoped that I’d find joy in my new home in Denver when she gifted me the table runner. The scraps, the joy, the fact that’s a table runner—it all comes together to remind me of one of my favorite poems, called “Luck” by Langston Hughes.

Crumbs and scraps that fall from the tables of joy… Yes, I like to think of fabric scraps like that, as opposed to “waste.”

Other ‘Scrap Solutions’ featured in issues of Quilting Quickly:
Target Practice and Free Flight
First Words and Second Words

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