Friday, April 17, 2015

I am not a scrappy quilter, and that is totally OK.

So, now the truth is out there.  I'm not a scrappy quilter.  (I truly love how amazing scrappy quilts can look, but I just can't seem to get my brain to wrap around the idea of actually making them).  I keep only a very limited amount of scraps that I use for testing (tensions, techniques, etc) with very few exceptions (for example, any Tula Pink fabric over 2.5" square stays in a special Tula scrap bin that I will use to make a sampler quilt from her 100 Modern Quilt Blocks book).  With that out of the way, I have a recently made a couple of different projects that are more scrappy (scroll to the end of this post to see the my version of Jaybird Quilts' Stereo quilt and Tula Pink's Spiked Punch quilt), and I really did struggle with it. To be honest, the most scrappy I can usually subject my brain to is to stay within a specific fabric collection.  Even if it isn't technically scrappy, these quilts are often more haphazard with the prints than my preference for a minimal quantity of different fabrics can handle (most of my quilts are limited to 4-5 different fabrics or fabric from a single collection supplemented with coordinating solids).

Is there anything wrong with my dislike of scraps?   Nope, but I seem to get a large amount of "those" looks. You probably have seen "the look" at some point in time. It's a mix of horror, disapproval, disappointment, and astonishment all rolled into one.  For the record, I don't throw out all of my scraps, I just don't keep them.  Most of the tiny pieces and trimmings get recycled, but I do my fair share of making sure my scraps find their way to somebody that will use them.

Why am I anti-scrap?  Here are a couple of reasons (and they actually are pretty darn logical if you ask me):

1.  Lack of space.  I don't have a large area to store much of anything in my condo (hence the name 50 sq ft studios).  Many quilters known for relying heavily on scraps seem to recommend using a system to sort their scraps .  I've seen them sorted by color, size, scale of prints, type of prints (ie vintage, modern, black & white, etc), or by designer.  I really do love the idea of organizing my scraps.  Right now I have a bin for Tula and a bin for everything that isn't Tula.

2.  I tend to gravitate toward fabrics with large prints.  My brain seems to latch on to prints that are begging NOT to be chopped up into tiny pieces.  Some of these prints are destined to only be on the side of a bag or on the back of a quilt.  It seems like the "magic" of the fabric disappears in pieces that are less than 12" x 12"!

3.  I don't always like to repeat the same fabrics over and over (yes, there are obvious exceptions to this).  With many fabrics I use, once I've used it, I'm done with it.  If I have over bought fabric for a project (or bought fabric without a specific project in mind), I will often use the fabric again.  This gets tricky because I can't always find projects that I want to make that use cuts under a half of a yard long.

4.  I get frustrated and overwhelmed when I have to sort through bins of tiny pieces only to figure out that I don't have the right fabric in the right size. We have all heard that patience is a virtue, so add this to my list of shortcomings. :)

5.  I'm one of those people that has fabric talk to me (no, I don't ACTUALLY hear voices), and the same thing with patterns.  If one or the other is talking to me, it usually means that I will have to buy it.  From there, once I have the right pattern for the right fabric, you can't stop me.  Something has clicked, and it's full steam ahead.  If it isn't telling me something but I can't get it out of my head, it may sit and wait a while while I peruse pictures of what some people are making on Pinterest or Instagram in hopes of being inspired.  As pieces of fabric get smaller, the chatter dies down and it just feels more forced and less natural.

6.  To me, scraps are not much more than pretty colored bits of chaos and disorder.  They are chaos born from good ideas that have seen their prime pass them by.  Chaos and disorder in my mind is part of the struggle with living with ADHD.  So many things flash through my head at super sonic speeds that I cannot control, but I can control some of the chaos in my environment.  I have worked EXTREMELY hard for years to find ways to combat these issues.  For me, I like structure and repetitiveness.  Scraps are not structured and not repetitive (other than their persistence in the environment).  Not having structure is quite stressful for me and causes me to experience a lot of anger and frustration, so keeping bins of scraps is not a very good option.

I know there are other folks out there that aren't scrap-inclined, so let's join together and embrace it.  Whether you are pro-scrap or anti-scrap, just remember, we are all sewing, and sewing is good.  :)

This is the Stereo quilt that I made using fabric from Amy Butler's Glow collection
after it was bound (quilted by Teresa Silva of Quilting is my Bliss)
This is the Spiked Punch quilt that I made using fabric from Tula Pink's Moon Shine collection
prior to sending it off to my amazing friend, Teresa, for quilting

1 comment

  1. Loved your post...I too can relate to not wanting to use scraps. I just don't like to take time to dig through a pile of scraps. I would much rather have a nice stack of fabrics that coordinate when I sit down to sew. And it's always nice to share scraps with someone you know will use them!