Thursday, December 4, 2014

Making a Quilt From Scratch/Scraps

I have been doing some thinking. Scary, right? I have been thinking about my design process and how I create quilts. Before I started making quilts for publication I did things a bit different. I would buy fabric in random amounts and stick it on the shelf. When I started a quilt, I would pull fabric from the shelf and begin. If I didn't have enough of a fabric I never let that stop me. I would make do with the closest fabric I had on hand.
 I still buy random amounts of fabric and pull from the shelves to start but when there isn't enough I go buy specific fabric to fill those needs rather than really making do. So I decided to make a quilt "from scratch" with only what I have on hand. Going back to my roots. 
Every quilt I make starts like this photo above. I have a million sketch books and they are full drawings. Some of the drawing actually look like something and some are like this. The quilt is in my head, I just need enough on paper to keep from losing my place and to do some math.
 I decided I wanted a quilt that looked old/antique but something easy to piece and fun. I chose a medallion design. After working out some basics and figuring size on paper I drew up a rough design on the computer.
This is still not exact. I don't want to waste time drawing out blocks that I know are going to change so I just added in those bars to save the space.
I started pulling fabric. Most of it is a fat quarter or less so I am going to be scraping by on some of it. 
I had a bit of this fabric saved back and I knew I had to use it. It is an older line called Old Glory from Nancy Gere and is one of my favorite pieces of fabric ever. I decided to use it on a border so it could be a focus. Working with such limited amounts of fabric would make using a design wall a practical idea but since I have never been one to be practical I am just laying my blocks on the floor. (Warning to anyone using a floor as a design wall- when you lay the project out on the floor and have just the way you like it will send out a silent alarm to any cat or dog in a five mile radius.)
So I get to here and realize that it is getting too busy to add another busy pieced border so I stopped and started auditioning fabrics for the next border. I think this navy blue will do the trick. It will give your eye a resting place and close in the piecing. I am going to have to use several navy prints because I don't have enough of one or two for that matter. I still have to finish my star blocks for the empty blocks and now instead of the next border being a six inch border of randomly pieced blocks, it will be a 3" navy border and 3" row of piecing. The lighter blue border towards the center was bugging me. It was too plain and drew too much attention. Being an appliquer I figure there isn't much that can't be fixed with a little applique so I laid some vines on it and that fixed it.
Obviously these are just laid on there but you can see that adding a bit of applique there will break up that border so it plays more nicely with the rest of the quilt. 
I will check back in with my progress as I get this put together. Will it be a pattern? I don't know. I don't know if anyone would want to buy a pattern made from such random fabrics but I am having fun digging through scraps to piece it. 
Happy Quilting,


  1. This is all very interesting! Thanks so much for sharing your process with us! Looking forward to seeing the finished quilt.

  2. Fun! And great idea to add the applique. I want to see more!

  3. So interesting to read about your process. I approach new projects with a rough sketch too. I loved your "silent alarm" to cats and dogs. so true!!!
    I love that eagle fabric. I don't think i ever saw that colorway.

    1. I think the fabric came in a bolder version- navy and red but the pink just really spoke to me.
      There is a newer line called Old Glory II that has this colorway and I think it's more of a pillar print.

  4. Great post! Very interesting to read about your design process. I agree with the lady who asked to see more :)

  5. Always love to read one of your postings. You must have a constant wheel and cog going in your brain! Thanks for sharing your design process. Your new patterns are wonderful and I cannot wait to start the "Love Notes"!

    Will you share any photos of Christmas decor of your home?

    1. Ha! I don't know if I am going to have any Christmas decor. Time is getting away from me and it is still fall decor here.

  6. What fun! I love this way of making quilts it's such fun to see how the quilt evolves.