Scrappy or planned? Prints or solids? Jelly Rolls or quilting scraps? Every quilt is made up of choices, and those choices tell a story. About quiltmaking trends and fabric fashions. About the contents of your stash and the growth of your skills. And particularly when it comes to fabric, about what you like and how you like to use it.
Today we’re celebrating the release of best-selling author Kim Brackett’s new book, Scrap-Basket Beauties: Quilting with Scraps, Strips, and Jelly Rolls. We’ll hear about the changing nature of her fabric preferences and how those preferences affected the look of her quilts. A master at making quilts from scraps, Kim will also share tips on how to expand your collection of 2½" strips by cutting them accurately from both small leftover pieces and yardage. Then we’ll wrap it all up with a slideshow of brand-new quilts from Scrap-Basket Beauties.
First, let’s hear from Kim about her fabric stash and how she achieved a vibrant look for the quilts in her new book.
Over the years, my taste in fabric has evolved. I still love warm, muted “country” colors, but lately I’ve enjoyed working with brighter colors and jazzier prints. I haven’t been using bright fabrics long enough to have amassed a stash of bright scraps that comes close to the large amount of dark, muted scraps I’ve collected in my years of quilting. As a result, I used a lot of solid fabrics for backgrounds in the quilts made for this book. Along the way, I discovered that I really enjoy using solids.
Their quiet nature contrasts well with busy prints. The quilts throughout this book are made from scraps, stash fabrics, and a few precut strips from designer collections. It’s very likely that our fabrics will be different, even if you have a huge stash or an insane number of scraps. You probably won’t be able to re-create the quilts exactly as they appear here, but that should be considered a benefit. By choosing the main fabrics and contrasting backgrounds, you’ll make a quilt that shows off your own unique style.
So, what are you waiting for? Gather up your scraps, stash fabrics, and precut strips, and get busy making your own scrap-basket beauties!
Ready to put your 2½" strips to good use? If your supply of Jelly Rolls is running low, consider cutting yourself a batch of 2½" strips from quilting scraps and yardage already in your stash. Here’s Kim again to tell us how.
How to Cut Accurate 2½" Strips
From Scrap-Basket Beauties: Quilting with Scraps, Strips, and Jelly Rolls by Kim Brackett
Accurate cutting is essential for creating a successful quilt. Whether cutting from scraps or from yardage, follow the guidelines below to ensure that your strips and other elements of the quilt are cut accurately.
Cutting Strips from Scraps
Iron your scraps to remove any wrinkles before cutting. Use spray starch for the more stubborn wrinkles and to add body and stability to the fabrics. You will usually want to cut the longest strip possible. To even up the fabric for cutting, place the fabric scrap on your cutting mat so that the longest edge is vertical. Place your ruler on the fabric scrap near the right edge, following the grain line of the fabric and making sure that any uneven edges extend beyond the ruler. If it’s difficult to determine where the grain line is, you may find it helpful to turn the scrap wrong side up, as the threads in the fabric seem more apparent from the wrong side. Cut along the right side of the ruler to trim off the uneven edges. Rotate your cutting mat 180° so that the straightened edge is now on your left. (If you’re cutting from fabric that is longer than your mat, gently fold the excess fabric onto the mat before rotating so that the fabric you just straightened doesn’t move or shift from its place on the mat.) Place the 2½" mark of the ruler on the straightened edge of the fabric, and then cut along the right side of the ruler.
Continue to cut in 2½" increments until you have enough strips. Note: If you’re left-handed, place the ruler on the left of the fabric for the straightening cut; then rotate the mat so that you cut strips from the right edge of the fabric. Continue to make cuts in 2½" increments across the fabric. To save time, cut up to four or five scraps at once. Stack them with the largest scraps on the bottom and keep cutting until you run out of fabric. Save the leftover “strings” (pieces narrower than 2½") for making string-pieced quilts at another time.
Cutting Strips from Yardage
Because the selvage edges shrink differently than the rest of the fabric, I remove the selvage edges before cutting strips. Open the fabric and iron it to remove any wrinkles and to eliminate the original fold line. Fold the fabric in half, with what were previously the selvage edges together, placing the folded edge nearest you. Place your ruler on the fabric so that a horizontal line toward the bottom edge of the ruler is aligned with the fold. Cut along the right side of the ruler to straighten the edge of the fabric.
Rotate your cutting mat 180° so that the straightened edge of the fabric is on your left. Place the 2½" mark of the ruler on the trimmed edge and cut along the right side of the ruler to cut your strip. Continue to cut in 2½" increments until you have enough strips. Note: If you’re left-handed, place the ruler on the left of the fabric for the straightening cut; then rotate the mat so that you cut strips from the right edge of the fabric.
Crosscutting Strips into Squares
To cut a strip into smaller segments, trim the selvage edge so that it is straight and squared at a 90° angle. Using a small ruler, place the mark of the desired measurement on the left edge of the strip. Cut along the right side of the ruler. Continue to cut until you have the required number of pieces.
Thanks for the tips, Kim! To see all of her beautiful new quilts, just head to the slideshow at the bottom of this post. If that’s not enough eye-candy, be sure to check out Kim’s previous books on making quilts with 2½" strips, the best-selling Scrap-Basket Surprises and Scrap-Basket Sensations.
Where are you on the solids vs. prints spectrum? Do you have a healthy collection of both, or do you prefer one to the other?
Share your preferences in the comments and you could win a copy of the Scrap-Basket Beauties eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you’ve won. Good luck!
You can also purchase Kim’s book today and instantly download the eBook for free.
Comments are closed for this post.
Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The randomly chosen winner is Michelle, who writes:
“I have loads of prints. Mostly I have 30s repros but recently started buying Civil War repros also. I am thinking of getting some solids to enhance my prints.”
Michelle, we’ll email you about your free book. Congratulations!