Thursday, August 4, 2011

Scrap Quilt Instructions & Other Prison Secrets

Like any good sewer, I save A LOT of scraps. I keep two wooden boxes handy by my cutting table and sort them by patterns VS solids.  Then every few weeks I put them into two giant bags in my attic. 
I often wondered why I save so many?  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely dig in my scrap piles and they’ve saved me on more than one occasion, but would I ever use all those scraps?

Thanks to The Quilting Coop shop in my town of Asheboro, I KNOW I will!!!  A few weeks ago, I noticed in their newsletter a “Scrap Quilt” class.  By the picture, I thought it looked really nice and I had to sign up.
Last night was my first class.  The first thing that struck me is just how lovely the actual quilt was.  I never would have thought that those tiny scraggly pieces of willy-nilly fabrics would make an amazing piece of art worthy of any grand quilter’s home.
So off I went, slicing and dicing all those little pieces.  I asked Cindy, my instructor:
“Christmas scraps?”  Absolutely!!  Halloween?  Definitely.
In fact, she said that the ONLY rules to this quilt, is that there are positively NO rules.  As wide as I like, or as thin, the more varied, the better.
Should we stay in color families?  NO WAY!
Hmm. That seemed like fun!  No rules, no matching colors, no rhyme or reason.  Why can’t life be that easy?
It took me a little bit to embrace the concept.  The organized person in me was screaming to get out.  I had to shut her up.
I kept trying to cut every strip exactly 1.5 inches.  I noticed someone else cutting hers precisely 2 inches.  Some of us took to the idea right away.  Others, like me, struggled a little bit and had to consciously think: Wait!  Stop matching! 
A few just really couldn’t grasp it.  It felt WRONG in some way.  Like they were breaking all the great “quilting commandments”. 
Place Christmas beside polka dots?  It’s just not done.  No way, no how.
It gave me an “AHA” moment.  Why do we do that?  Struggle so hard against what feels wrong?  Many of us go through life coloring between the lines and always trying to do what’s right and living a peaceful life, not breaking rules or any laws.  A nice, calm, color-complimented and orderly existence. Yet here was something lovely that could come out of a total mess?
It got me thinking.  Criminals don’t worry about order.  They break all the rules.  They are completely oblivious to what “should” be or how it’s supposed to work.   They could care less if they fit in with society’s standards. 
That’s when it hit me:  maybe I’ve been missing out.  Just maybe, in the life of a quilter anyways,  sometimes it's good to be bad.  
Yes ma'am, when it comes to scrap quilting, I need to think like a hardened criminal on a road to the penitentiary.  Break more rules.  Worry less about right or wrong.  Don’t think too much.   Yeah, I like that idea.  
So I flung in a strip of Halloween right next to some red polka dots.
Threw in a scrap of snoopy and slapped some camo on there for good measure.
Oh Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Put the Easter floral next to the batik.
Then I chuckled to myself.  I’ll be ready for the prison yard in no time.

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