How often have we heard this? How often do we do it? The sad thing is its undeniably true...and we still don't take the time to practice - whether it's drawing, painting, paper craft, sewing, quilting, fabric dying, etc. Boning up on technique is essential, because the more you do it, the more you learn and the better the result of your finished piece, right?
Well I have an idea – a challenge for myself (and anyone else intrigued by this). As anyone who quilts and sews knows, you always end up with fabric scraps (lots of scraps!) and sometimes you can use them for fussy little things in quilts, but if you’re anything like me and my mother, you end up with a bucket or bag (or both) full of odds and ends and strips, and it just keeps growing with every project you do. My idea, my challenge, is to take those scraps and complete a 4” mini quilt a week for a year.
Creating these mini quilts will help me practice making traditional quilt blocks, practice free motion quilting, hand embroidery, embellishing with found objects, dying commercial fabric in small pieces to produce new designs, painting on fabric…all the things that I’ve been wanting to play with but haven’t taken the time to do. On the back of each mini quilt, I’ll create a label with the date, the technique I used and any thoughts. At the end of the year, I’ll have 52 completed mini quilts that I will stitch together to create a journal quilt (using a quilt as you go technique). Yes, I know that is going to be one big ass quilt, so it may end up as two smaller pieces to be hung in my upstairs hallway…I’m not sure, but I’ve got a year to figure it out.
I’ve been brainstorming for sometime now about what to do with my scraps, just because they’re growing exponentially. And you NEVER toss out your scraps! I still have scraps from the first quilt I made 9 years ago (it was a very plain, very simple, man’s quilt made for my ex as a Christmas gift – I loved that quilt…it was so warm and the fabric I found for the backing was a super soft sheeting material. I was always stealing it off the bed to wrap up in. I kick myself for not taking it when we broke up – god only knows where it is now). Wow, that was a tangent – anyhoo, I want my scraps to do something more than just take up space.
I’ve been looking for a challenge (other than the challenges of everyday life), something artistic and I’ve always wanted to do something like Lisa’s “Drawing a Day” project. This morning, I was flipping through my Quilting Arts magazine and read an article about eco-friendly journal quilting techniques and the author mentioned recycling her scraps into her journal quilts and the inspirational lightning bolt struck my brain – here was the solution to my overabundant scrap problem! And by creating only 4” quilts, it’s not time consuming, it’s instant gratification, it uses up the things I already have (recycling some stuff) and its practice!
My self imposed rules:
- No going into the stash because “oooh, a piece of that purple would be just right!” No no no! I can only use my scraps.
- No going out and buying any embellishments. I have beads. I have buttons. I have charms and fibers and other stuff in the crafting closet already that will be used.
- The sashing and binding (which will come at the very end) must be made of scraps…again, no buying new fabric or digging into the stash just to make the sashing or binding uniform. The idea is to transcend uniformity.
- The only things I will be allowed to buy for this project are threads and batting…because I’m severely lacking in my thread box and I have no batting in the house…wait, I have old blankets…okay, so no buying batting; I’ll recycle blankets. So just thread.
Okay, that’s all for rules – I don’t want to limit myself too much.
Wish me luck! I’ll be sure to share my weekly mini quilt (Mini-quilt Mondays? Hmmm…I like).
Happy Friday, folks!