I have enough projects half-done that I really ought not take on another one. But we all know how that works, right? The Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt has been flying around, and I’m afraid I caught the bug big-time.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out photographs on the flickr group, or the tag “scrappytripalong” on Instagram. (In fact, even if you do know what it is, go check out those photos, because, WOW, are there some great blocks and quilts going together! I love how very different this quilt ends up from different people’s stashes.)
The idea for this pattern is basically to use up scraps — you cut strips 2 1/2″ x 16″ and put them together more or less at random. The pattern is really quite ingenious. I’ve really only just finished cutting, so I’ve only made a couple of strip sets so far: I’m going to do at least ten, and then pull out the iron and cut them into proper strips and make up squares.
Compared to a lot of people out there, I haven’t been quilting for all that long. And I tend to cut fabric as carefully (obsessively?) as I can, so I went through all my scraps pretty fast and didn’t have enough strips cut for the size quilt I wanted.
So I went through my “mistake” fabrics — you know the ones, the fabrics that looked great on the shelf or in the picture online, that showed up and made you wonder what you were thinking. Then I went through my fat quarter box and pulled a ton of Jo-Ann fat quarters that I bought on sale a few years ago, to so “something” with. And then, with absolutely perfect timing, two scrap packs I bought before I was even thinking about this quilt arrived in the mail, so I cut those all up and added them to the count!
Why so many? I could tell you that it’s because Brenda, of Pink Castle Fabrics did the math to tell how many strips to cut for various sizes of quilts, and you need 336 strips for a queen-sized quilt. I could tell you that! I’m certainly planning on a queen-sized quilt.
But, um. I kind of just got caught up in the joy of hacking up scraps. I also tossed in every once in a while something that I really do like, so that I’ll be able to look at the quilt and find squares that I love hiding in all the scrappiness.
Now, this quilt thrives on randomness, and I’m really bad at random. So I cheated. I divided up my fabrics into color groups.
In case you’re wondering, I cut 74 Pink/Red/Orange, 74 Yellow/Green, 75 Blue/Purple, 38 Dark Browns, 40 Blacks, 71 Light Neutrals, and 20 OMGWTF ALL THE COLORS strips.
With this pre-color-selected setup, it’s really easy: all I have to do is make sure that each block contains one black or brown, and something from each other pile. Or two from one pile, if I’m feeling in a blue and purple mood. It makes putting together the blocks really easy for me, which it would not be at all if I had to pull from a giant pile on the floor.
I’m using a shortcut for those, too: I’ve divided them into “light” and “dark” and made three piles of each. When I need to pick up another two squares, I match up whatever’s on top of those piles with whatever else is on top and looks best. So far, I’m getting quite a few of them, and it’s really satisfying. Not to mention, not having to hold down the thread ends every time I start a new strip? SO NICE.
I’ve still got a few Christmas presents that haven’t made it up here yet, and a finished quilt to show off on Friday, if I can get decent pictures between now and then.