Scrappy Blocks Tutorial

I've been slowly making these blocks with my scraps, and I thought I'd share my process! I cut notebook paper to 8" squares and use that as a foundation for my blocks. This is my preferred method of improv piecing, as the paper makes the process so much easier!

Supplies:
Scrappy Block Tutorial
The scraps don't need to be cut into perfect squares or rectangles, but I do trim 1 raw edge of each scrap piece with a rotary cutter and ruler so that I have a nice, straight edge. It will make more sense later in the tutorial, but the raw edge to trim is the one that you will stitch your seam along. I trim mine as I go.

Begin with 2 scraps. They don't have to be the exact same size.
Scrappy Block Tutorial
Place the scraps, right sides together, somewhere on your paper foundation. The straight raw edge of each scrap piece should be aligned as shown. Stitch 1/4" from the raw edge using a slightly shorter stitch length than usual (2.0-2.2 works well). Stitch through the scraps and the paper; the paper is acting as a foundation for the piecing.
Scrappy Block Tutorial

Scrappy Block Tutorial
Press the pieces open.
Scrappy Block Tutorial
Now add another scrap. Trim 1 edge so that you have a nice straight cut, line up this scrap with your other pieces, right sides together, and sew 1/4" from the raw edge. Don't worry about all of the edges lining up; just sew 1/4" from the cut edge on the piece that you are adding and you will have nice, straight seams.
Scrappy Block Tutorial

Scrappy Block Tutorial
Here's a close up of the stitch line. Notice that the raw edges of the first two pieces don't line up exactly with the raw edge of the piece that we just stitched down. That's fine!
Scrappy Block Tutorial
Press the pieces open.
Scrappy Block Tutorial
Continue adding scraps to fill the entire area of your foundation paper.
Scrappy Block Tutorial

Scrappy Block Tutorial
Sometimes you may be a bit short, especially on the corners. Just add another scrap to cover the corner!
Scrappy Block Tutorial
Here's how I covered that corner:
Scrappy Block Tutorial
After I stitched this corner piece down, I trimmed away some of the solid underneath. Feel free to do that any time you have excess.
Scrappy Block Tutorial
Press the piece open.
Scrappy Block Tutorial
Continue adding scraps to your work.
Scrappy Block Tutorial

Scrappy Block Tutorial
Press each piece open.
Scrappy Block Tutorial
When your entire foundation paper has been covered, it should look something like this:
Scrappy Block Tutorial
Here's the back side:
Scrappy Block Tutorial
Trim off any fabric that hangs over the edge of the paper foundation using a rotary cutter and ruler.
Scrappy Block Tutorial
And now you've made your first scrap block!
Scrappy Block Tutorial
I like to keep my paper foundations on my blocks at this point. This technique results in lots of bias edges, and the paper helps to keep the blocks nice and square. After I sew the blocks together I sit down in front of the t.v. and pick out all of the paper pieces.

You can use this same process to create string blocks. Also, if you prefer straight lines over the wonky look, cut your scraps to perfect squares or rectangles before you add each piece. I love this method because the blocks sew up quickly and there are so many possibilities!
Scrappy Block Tutorial

Scrap Pillows

I know I've mentioned this before, but I generally dislike fabric scraps. I typically give them away because I can't handle the clutter. But recently I was going through my scrap box and realized that I had a bit of an attachment to some of them, so I whipped up a few pillows! I really love how these turned out, and I think I've found a new use for my favorite scraps.
This first pillow started with the grey flea market fancy print:
Modern Floral Pillow
I love practicing my free motion quilting on pillows. This paisley pattern is one of my favorites for small projects.
Modern Floral Pillow
More quilting:
Modern Floral Pillow
The back is a herringbone print with a contrast trim (idea shamelessly borrowed from here):
Modern Floral Pillow Back
Finished size is about 11" square.
And the second pillow started with the robot fabric:
Robot Pillow
I like the way this quilting has a "circuit" feel to it. Typically when I quilt in a square meander, I don't cross my lines. I saw this quilting style over here and decided to give it a shot! It was fun to do, and I think it would be great on a guy quilt.
Robot Pillow
For the back I used a monkey print by Melly and Me and a pink print. Another contrast trim, too!
Robot Pillow Back
Finished size is about 12" square.
I'm sure there will be more pillows to come! I even started making some fun monochrome blocks from my scraps. Addy loves choosing the scraps piece by and piece and it keeps the blocks more random than if I were to choose the prints! She wants to make a quilt for us to use, so it may be awhile before those blocks pop up on here, though.
I have lots more to blog about, but things may be quiet around here for a few weeks. Addy and I will be heading back to Illinois for a few weeks, and I have a lot of prep work before the trip. I hope to be back at it soon after our trip, though! I'm working on writing the pattern for my tote bag, and I'm still planning a giveaway to help me name the tote. Stay tuned!
And lastly, I've decided to list a few things on etsy again! Items will slowly start trickling into the shop, wish me luck!

Don't Scrap Your Scraps! Project 3: Using Extra Blocks

This project is another quilt, but this time I used some left over blocks for part of my top. I had a few blocks left from my Central Park quilt, and I didn't know what to do with them. I wanted to use the animal print from the fabric line, but my lqs didn't have the right colorway.
I started off by sewing all of my blocks into 1 row and added a small strip of the yellow kona from my postage stamp blocks along either long edge. (Each block was 10" finished to start, I sewed 5 blocks together and later trimmed that to about 42".) Then I headed to the lqs to find something that would play well with the yellow in my pieced strip. I bought about 1.25 yards of a Central Park print, added a large chunk to the bottom of my pieced row and a slim strip to the top, and I had a quilt top!
For the backing, I went back to the animal print that I had wanted to use on the front. I pieced a few charm squares into 4-patches, set them off with strips of white (just like I did for the back of my Central Park postage stamp quilt), and added that to the bottom of the animal print.
I finished the quilt with meander quilting and the most perfect orange pin dot binding.
 I hand stitched one of my larger labels on this quilt. I think I like how it looks!
 Finished size just shy of square, at 41" x 42".

Don't Scrap Your Scraps! Project 2: Scrap Art

This is the easiest scrap project. Ever.

Supplies:
Itty bitty scraps that you can't bear to part with
Glass jar with lid

How to:
Open jar.
Insert scraps.
Close jar.
Stand back and admire!
I got this idea when I was working on my City Weekend Baby Boy quilt. I've never been so attached to a little pile of scraps, but for some reason I just couldn't toss these! The bigger scraps became improv blocks, and the little bits are now art!

Don't Scrap Your Scraps! Project 1: Improv blocks

Welcome to "Don't Scrap Your Scraps"! I had a few projects lined up to blog about when I realized that they all had something in common - scraps! I thought I'd blog about them in series. I'm not going to post full tutorials for most of the projects, because these are more improv in nature. But feel free to ask any questions along the way. Here we go with the first project!

If you've been following along since earlier this year, you probably saw my City Weekend baby boy quilt. When I finished this quilt top I had a small stack of scraps that I couldn't part with-which is a big deal for me! Typically I chop my scraps into 5" squares and anything smaller is set aside to donate.

I pulled out my City Weekend scraps and decided to try some improv piecing. I had enough fabric for 3 8.5" (finished) blocks. Once I finished the blocks, I headed to my stash for a background fabric. I found some quilter's linen in grey, which paired with the City Weekend really well.

Using 1 yard of quilter's linen as a starting point, I pieced the top with the 3 blocks running down one side.
For backing I kept it simple with Kona charcoal.
The quilting is simple straight lines, which I achieved by sticking a large strip of masking tape down on the quilt sandwich and stitching with the edge of my quilting foot next to the tape. (I do not recommend sewing on the tape!)
I don't know if I love the improv blocks or the binding more! I used a print from the Make Life collection by SweetWater. Such a perfect print for a baby quilt! Finished size is 36" x 39".
Stay tuned for more scrap ideas!