Scrap Quilting with a Seven-Year-Old

Scrap Quilt

I actually have three patchwork projects going now. Yes, three. Yes, I have a problem.

Hopefully more about the others soon. But this one started in the most irresistible way. I was making a bed cover for my daughter (10) when my son (7) declared he wanted a quilt, too. I told him he could look at some of my quilting books for inspiration, and he sat down and thumbed through them. He liked the Gee’s Bend book the best (is this kid good at getting brownie points or what? Gee’s Bend is my inspiration for all things quilty). Then he set about arranging my scraps into patterns.

Scrap Quilt 2

It’s been so fun to see what he comes up with. He’s very particular. Also fun to see what surprises come together as the patchwork grows. The way the deep orange pops, the way the blues and greens begin to blend together, the way the prints dance and change character according to their placement and size.

Scrap Quilt

All of these fabrics have a story. They’re bits from friends and family or pieces of other projects, some reeeeeally old.

Scrap Quilt

He seems to want it to be a lap quilt. For more of my patchwork projects, click here.

Finished Call the Midwife (the book). It was very good. I especially love the stories about the nuns. Fascinating people.


Candy Rainbow Patchwork-In-Progress

You may remember seeing the fabrics for this patchwork here. I’m calling it the Candy Rainbow for now because the colors are so bright and sweet they remind me of a collection of Jolly Ranchers. It’s fitting, because the duvet cover is for my daughter (7), who loves candy better than just about anything.

The inspiration came from a couple of places. First, from this one, which needed a sister. I wanted it to be different and feminine but using many of the same fabrics. My daughter really wanted some florals and some pink, so I incorporated those. The florals are new fabrics, and the pink is scraps from a dress I made for her. The darkest orange is left over from an infant shopping cart cover that never worked, and the rest of the fabrics are scraps from commercial and self-dyed/ batiked crib sheets.

Second inspiration: Malka’s strips and bricks baby quilt. I love the simple shapes here. There’s something really satisfying about it, and the colors match the vibe my daughter wanted. By the way, Malka has this pattern for sale here if you want it.

So our loose design is a riff on these ideas. At first my daughter was totally adamant that there be no white, but she’s relented a bit and seems willing to let me put in some white bands. I just thought we needed a bit of a breather from all that saturated color.

I’m sewing these strips together to make the full width of the bed (queen-size). Then I’ll be cutting the sewn strips different lengths, separating them by bands of white.

As usual, the project changes shape as I work on it. I was thinking of going in this direction:

But then I didn’t really like the way the “stacks” seem to float in the design.

Little Miss and I agreed on something more like this:

I like the way the strips in this version are beginning to look like books on a shelf.

I had a really good writing week last week and got all excited. This week has been a bit tougher. Currently reading Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom.

Oval Patchwork Bedcover

Here’s a sneak peak at another patchwork project I’ve been pecking away at for a long time. I’m feeling the need to finish these bedcovers lately, so hopefully I’ll have more to show you soon.

This patchwork pattern is a modified version of an Amy Butler design (Patchwork Duvet Cover) from her book, In Stitches. It started out as thrifted clothes I picked up on one trip to the Goodwill in Charlotte. Here’s an early pic:

I decided this print (below), though I liked it, had too much white to work in the design, so I used fabric paint to darken the white to a kind of purplish brown color. You can see the result in the first photo. It’s a watercolor-type paint, so it doesn’t change the “hand” (the feel) of the fabric much.

The oval appliques will go on a light green background when I finish the last few. I tried laying them out on white (top photo) but I didn’t think it worked so well. What do you think?

Update: Patchwork in Progress

Here are some strips from the duvet cover I’m making. I seem to have lost the triangle patches I had in my original design. I’ve made a few but I’m thinking I need to make more now to get the design closer to my original idea.

I learned how to do this cool but simple trick to make triangle patches. Check it out here. I love all the little piecing tricks out there.

For more info about the background of this project, including the hand-dyed fabric, see this post.

Picnic Quilt

I finally got some red thread in my sewing machine and finished this quilt. I used blanket binding to edge it, hoping that the synthetic fiber would be less likely to wick moisture to the quilt top (the bottom layer is red nylon). It was also a really easy way to finish it. If you want to know more about this quilt, click here for info about its beginnings.

My daughter insisted we had to go on an immediate picnic to celebrate, which we did. The quilt is a little small for four rear-ends, but we had fun being cozy.

 In other news, I recently visited the brand spanking new Harvey B. Gantt African-American Cultural Center here in town. Wow! I had seen the Hewitt collection (including works by favorites Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and others) about a decade ago and had been missing it ever since—until now it had no permanent home. I was so happy to see the collection again as well as the two stunning exhibitions of recent works by contemporary artists. The space itself is really lovely—-it would make a great event site.

Making Something Out of Nothing


It’s one of my very favorite things to do. Just like Simms Taback’s Joseph (from Joseph Had a Little Overcoat  —I love the illustrations and the story about craftiness and thriftiness).

In this case, I’m making a picnic quilt out of items from my fabric stash. I’m a freehand, Gee’s Bend kind of a girl when it comes to quilts, and I love to use scraps with some kind of story. I also made a New Year’s resolution to use things in my craft stash rather than buying more materials. I haven’t completely stuck to this, but I’m making a good stab at it. The bottom of the quilt is a piece of red nylon I bought for I don’t know what. The patchwork top is made up of flotsam and jetsam: chambray curtains that were once a tablecloth, curtain fabric from my daughter’s nursery, and funky faux patchwork from an old 70’s smock of my mother’s (the rest of which I made into a knitting needle holder). The middle of the quilt sandwich is also made up of fabric scraps of various kinds, just not as pretty. I machine-pieced and am hand-quilting with embroidery thread.