Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Every Quilt I’ve ever Made


Firstly, that title sounds like I’ve been making quilts for 100 years – I haven’t. It’s been two years.

Secondly,within 10 minutes of starting to patchwork and quilt I started to gather and collect all my scraps of fabric from every project. You know how that goes…….

Thirdly,  if you are a quilter you might want to look away now. This is not accurate block making nor a precise method of patchworking but it certainly uses up those scraps.


So following Demented Fairy’s good advice, I sorted all the scraps into colour-ways and stuffed them into plastic freezer bags and stashed them away.


However, fast running out of freezer bags and space I decided it was time to do something with all these scraps. Now, when sewing clothes, your scraps might be in the region of 0.5-1m. With patchworking, the scraps are 2″ -4″ and below!

So I delved in and dug out a bag: this one happens to be mostly orange.


The scraps were then pressed, laid out for possible colour combination options with some being removed, then roughly sorted into shapes ready for sewing.

And start sewing random bits together……..1/4″ seam allowance and a pale grey thread.


When it becomes too difficult to sew any more pieces, like the angle is too acute and there are no more straight edges, trim to make the patchwork squarish and carry on.


I kept up this process until the block was close to 15″ or so. Pressed really well…….


…..and then just picked another bag and started the process all over again, and again, and again. Then all of a sudden, I had 20 blocks! Each block was then trimmed to 14″ in a rare attempt to square things off. Can you spot the original start point in this block?

I bought some plain yellow (now I have scraps of yellow!) and made a quilt top with all these random blocks with 2″ yellow sashing – 4 X 5 blocks and big enough to lie atop a UK king-sized bed.


In this quilt, there are fabrics left over from summer dresses, shirts, totes, skirts, scarves, wash/cosmetic bags and, of course, other quilts.


So, I’m feeling quite pious at this point. I’ve put the otherwise useless scraps to good use and made a quilt top. But of course, that’s not the end of the quilt. It now needs wadding and a backing to make it complete. I went and bought some of my favourite fabrics by Kaffe Fassett for the backing (I now have scraps of backing).


Fabulously bright and happy. The quilting of all layers includes wiggly lines on each block and straight line sewing along the sashing. It looks good from both sides.


It’s teenage son’s girlfriend’s birthday in March so guess what’s she’s getting as a 20th birthday present? Which reminds me that teenage son will not be a teenager for very much longer – like where did those years go?

Every finished quilt needs a title and a label. This one is called “The Learning Years”. I have learnt so much about patchworking and quilting in the past two years and teenage son’s girlfriend is at university – so it’s a title that refers to both our journeys.


Of course, there’ll always be more scraps………


Bin ’em!

20 thoughts on “Every Quilt I’ve ever Made

  1. Fun post! I saved scraps for years, thinking to make a ‘crazy’ quilt. But I finally tossed them – I tried to make a block and got so bored with the sewing. Impatient 🙂 Your quilt is lovely.

  2. Yesssss! I love all those carefully designed, perfect ‘art’ quilts…but this is what a patchwork quilt SHOULD be to my eye- a beautiful and thrifty [ish] way to use up scraps. Lovely. I like your giant crazy square variation, it would suit my slapdash approach very well. What puts me off is the actual quilting though *shudder* so boring, so fussy, so difficult on a bog standard machine.
    Maybe I’ll make some and send them to you for assembly…lol

  3. I wish you were giving it to me. Such a lucky girl to receive this gift.

  4. Absolutely gorgeous! Coincidentally, this week I started on some crazy-quilted shams for the duvet cover I made, but I sewed my pieces to a large piece of muslin backing as I went. Your way is much more free! Love the results. Girlfriend is a very lucky young lady.

  5. I am sure there were many original quilter’s on the homesteads using your method before they made quilting so technical. It’s a fabulous way to use up the scraps and they would t have wasted anything. They probably even used the cotton scraps in their wood stove to heat their home and cook. You have made a few lovely quilts here and I’m always pro zero waste!

  6. Reminds me a lot of the quilts my Grandmother made. Mom would have scraps from all out outfits and take them to her. Then someday that familiar fabric would return to us in a quilt. Fun.

  7. Wow – lucky girlfriend ! I love the way that you have put it all together.

  8. Awesome! What a lovely, colourful quilt. I love it, and the stewardship of scraps!

  9. Hi Ruth, what beautiful colours. I’m envious of quilters in a way, they get to use all those colours I’d never wear in real life. Can I ask out of curiosity… do other people use quilts to keep themselves warm the way we use doonas (comforters, those down filled things we put a matching cover on). I’ve never slept under a handmade quilt, but have tried to sleep under a very heavy store bought thing, my husband threw off the bed in disgust!! Currently sleeping under just a sheet and its still hot under there even though its raining constantly! Sydney is fast becoming the tropics.

  10. If I’m the girlfriend who receives such a generous prezzy, my thought is, “May I please please marry into this family?”

  11. Love the wild cheerfulness of this quilt and the way the yellow pulls it together. But yikes, the scraps begetting scraps begetting more scraps…perhaps at some point the little bits can be stuffed into pillows or pet beds.

  12. Love the quilt, such a great idea. Using up all those scraps. I need to be doing this

  13. I love it. It’s what a quilt should be, fir snuggling under not display. It sounds like loads of work. What a fabulous present. X

  14. Absolutely gorgeous quilt. Love the colours and your process. Such a fun approach to quilting with fabulous results.

  15. Lucky girlfriend – that is a beautiful quilt Ruth. I’m generating a ridiculous amount of scrap from The Managements quilt so I know now that it’s not necessarily just wastage.

  16. Wow Ruth! this is so amazing. I now ruthlessly (oops) recycle my scarps to the charity shop as they were making me feel guilty and I need the space. Yarn scraps I have kept however and am contemplating some sort of patchwork sweater at some point. Lovely work as usual, even if it is unconventional

  17. What a great way to celebrate the arrival of Spring with colors so bright and cheerful and filled with hope!!!! I’d love a big old coat made with all those scraps!!!! Lucky girl who gets such a loving masterpiece!!!!

  18. Your quilt is gorgeous, and I think this is a brilliant way to make a quilt. No worries about it all lining up, go sew and go!!

  19. I love your “wonky” patchwork! From just the little bit of sewing I’ve done, there are some interesting bits leftover…..could I possible do something like this with them? And your son’s girlfriend is one lucky young woman! Her quilt is amazing.

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