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Scrap Elimination Diet Underwater Blues


I am buried under scraps. I paid for all that fabric and it is hard to throw those bits and bobs away. I make bonus half square triangles when do stitch and flip. I have several gallon bags full of 1 1/2 inch squares. I have bins of sorted scraps by size and by color. I have laundry basket after laundry basket of of unsorted scraps. I am trying to get better at cutting up my scraps at the end of a project. I cut my scraps up in to the largest usable sizes: Squares in 10 in, 5 inch, 4 1/2, 3 1/2 in, 2 1/2 in, 2 in and 1 1/2 in and Strings in 3 1/2 in, 2 1/2 in, 2 1/4 in, 2 in, 1 1/2 in, 1 1/4 in and 1 in. Some times if I have a particular project in mind I will do 6 1/5 and 8 1/2 in squares and 4.5 in strings. My string sizes are a bit crazier than my squares because I like a 2 1/4 in binding and all my extra binding scraps end up in there and I will pull from there for a scrappy binding. and if you cut a jelly roll in half you get a 1 1/4 in strip. These 1 1/4 in strips and 1 in strips make some great pops of color when you a piecing. Your mileage may vary when it comes to sizes to cut the scraps down to. I do find that if I iron my scraps and cut them down to size they are easier to store and more usable. I do keep a couple bins of chaotic random sized scraps for making applique pieces or collage quilts with. This dichotomy in my brain is where I often fall down on scraps. Part of my brain says cut them all down make them usable, while the rest of my brain is screaming but if you cut it down then you are losing possibilities for some great applique. The latter often wins which is why we need the scrap elimination diet. You came here today to get some great patterns on what to do to use up some of these scraps.


Underwater Blues started out with trying to capture the way light moves through water. Version 1 started out as a way to save a hideous jelly roll race quilt. In an attempt to salvage a quilt top that I didn't like and wasn't working, I started to cut up the jelly roll race and turn it into half square triangles with a blue. background, I started to see the light moving through the water. And because it is me and I have all the blue scraps, it felt very watery. I laid it out in an off set diamond pattern that had the light all filtering from the left. I fused some wonderunder to to stash yardage and made a 30 in long applique fish for the quilt. The blocks in this quilt are 6 in finished blocks. V1 is a 56x56 in quilt.







Version 2 was made more intentionally. I wanted to make something similar to version 1 but I wanted to play with construction. I started with a large pile of blue and green and purple strings with occasional pops of other colors and a stack of 10 in x 10 in foundation papers that I had purchased previously and they had been in my sewing room for a while. I wanted to maintain a similar pattern as before but I wanted to make bigger blocks to make the quilt use up more scraps. I made 25- 10.5 in string blocks. My back ground is much scrappier. In V1 I used I think 5 fabrics that I cut out of yardage. They ha their differences but they were all blue. In V2 I pulled partial fat quarter out of the bin and let them range anywhere from green to purple. It was a design choice to use up alot of partial pieces instead of cutting pieces out of yardage. The fish that is appliqued to the quilt top is one that has been floating around my sewing for like 8ish years. Originally he was going to go on quilt top that ended up not working out. I salvaged most of the fabric from it and turn it into other pieces. But he hadn't found a home yet and well why not. He is constructed using a machine finished turned edge applique technique I learned from Beth Ferrier. The blocks in this quilt finish at 9.5 inches and the Finished quilt measures 67x67 inches.




Version 3 is another variation on the theme. I was trying to break away from the foundation papers. I started out pulling 67- 2.5 in strips. cause well that was the number I could easily find. If I had more I would have pulled more if I had less I would have gone with less. I turned these strips into a large jelly roll race quilt. I needed 56 half square triangles and and 12 square blocks. the jelly roll race was big enough to cut all of these pieces from. But at the same time I was also playing with the layout. I was looking through Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieces Quilt Blocks and I was looking at carpenters star blocks and variants of them. I found this variant and went with it. The scrap blocks are all primarily blue. This quilt is enormous. The individual blocks finish at 9.5 inches and the overall lay out is 95x95. I added a three inch border all the way around to stabilize all of my edges while I am quilting. This means the the quilt is 101x101. I would consider that generous Queen size or a small King size top.






Version 4 and Version 5, which we will be demonstrating on Saturday June 24, 2023 at 10:00 Mountain as part of the class are back to the foundation pieced strings. I went back to this method because I liked the ease it was to use different widths of strips. V4 and V5 are variations on a double carpenter star quilt. Sally J's quilt is going to be a Christmas poinsettia quilt. Mine (Sally'W) will be a a purple and pink Rose. We went to 8 1/2 inch blocks because it is easy to take scratch paper and cut it into 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch squares. The blocks in the quilt will finish at 7 1/2, because of some fun half square triangle math. The quilt will finish at 90x90. You can make it larger if you want by adding borders. There are still enough open edges on this that I will probably add a 3 inch stabilization border to my quilt because I will be long arming it and it just makes life easier.



So lets get down to business, You came here for a tutorial to use up your scraps:


I am going to use the foundation paper piecing method for this tutorial, you are welcome to cut up a jelly roll race if you so desire.


Step 1: Gather some strips. more than you thing you need. if they are sorted this is easy, if they aren't well that is ok too, it allows you to take stock of what you have. You can pick your scraps one of several ways. You grab scraps that are everything and the kitchen sink. You can pick all scraps that fit with in one color, such as I am only going to pick out the yellow orange. or I am only going to pick out the red strips. The third option is to pick a range of colors. I picked blue, but added in greens and purples. I used a pop color of white and pinks when I wanted a flash. I find this last option a nice middle ground between the scrap vomit that can happen when you use everything, but at the same time allows the blocks to sparkle that you miss out on if all of your colors are too similar.



Step 2: Decide on a lay out. and see how many blocks of what size you need





Version 1

81 Blocks

7 in template

Trim to 7 before diagonal cut