Love Your Scraps with a New Quilting Project

Feb 14, 2023 10:30:00 AM / by Denise Looney

Hello, everyone and Happy Valentine's Day! Denise Looney here from For the Love of Geese and I am thrilled to share this journey with you!


Do you have a pile of scraps? How about a box of fabric previously cut with a rotary cutter that, for whatever reason, couldn't be used? Yes? Then, this post is for you!



The Story of Forgotten Fabric

Early in 2020, we moved my sewing room across the hall, making the former the catch-all room - you know, the junk drawer, except the entire room. There were things not taken to my new space and boxes from deliveries placed in there with good intentions to take them out for the garbage man next week. Boy, did they grow. It had reached the point where I'd open the door, toss the box in and close it quickly before the avalanche came crashing down. 

Later that year, I decided to take the weekend (and then some) to clean the room and large closet once and for all. The empty boxes were broken down, storage boxes were opened and the number of filled trash bags for the garbage man piled up. 

In one of the last boxes opened, I found red fabric patches cut a few years prior. I had totally forgotten about them. There were squares that weren't square and various sizes of wonky triangles. My initial reaction was to dump it into the trash with all of the other formerly well-intentioned keeps. However, I stopped myself because I knew that I had a GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block and most, if not all, of the fabric patches could be re-cut and saved using the dies.


After I decided to create this scrappy quilt, I also chose to donate it to one of my go-to charities (more on those later). I love quilting, so even if I don't have a family member or friend to give a quilt to, there's always the option of gifting it to someone in need or for a great cause.



Materials Needed

Red Scraps with Part of the GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block and GO! Fabric Cutter





Cutting Day

The day was spent pressing all the shapes and sorting them into piles according to their size. Some of them were just too small for the 8" Qube while others literally fit the die shapes by a thread. The ones that were too small were thrown away.



Cut Red Scraps



Using the square dies (Shapes 1 and 2) and half square triangle dies (Shapes 3 and 5) from the 8" Qube, I re-cut every piece that was large enough to cover the shapes. Wouldn't you know it - AccuQuilt has since released 4", 5" and 6" Mix and Match Qube sets, so more fabric could have been saved using the smaller shapes.


The greatest thing about using the AccuQuilt system is that the dog-eared corners are cut for you and there is no fighting between the points and your needle. You can also alternate your contrasting and focus fabric before running through your GO! Fabric Cutter. I love how you can cut up to six layers of fabric in one pass. As long as you are careful when peeling the cut shapes apart, you wont have to line them up for stitching. I like to place each pile next to my machine as they are removed from the die board. That way, they will be close for rapid chain-piecing. 


Prior to using the AccuQuilt system, I shared a love/hate relationship with half square triangles and avoided piecing them at all cost. Now, I will cut and chain-piece them all day without the usual frustrations of bias cut patches. Plus, all of my triangles are perfectly cut and I only need to rely on sewing a 1/4" seam.



Chain-Piecing Red Half Square Triangles Together



My favorite muslin is 200 thread count, which I love to use for quilt backing as well as in the quilt top itself. I never throw out my muslin trimmings after quilting, so I have totes full of it, making it perfect for this scrappy project. 



Piecing the Blocks

It seems my pile has really multiplied (it had with the addition of muslin), so now what? The shapes are all cut with the 8" Qube, so I know they will all fit together and build perfect blocks. Deciding on which blocks to make was more challenging than I thought because you are building blocks from what you have instead of cutting what you know you need.  



Sewn Half Square Triangle Units with Cut Squares and Rectangles



The Tree of Life block is a much-loved classic and one I never would have attempted prior to AccuQuilt's release of the die. This block was also on the top of my "gotta make it" list. Like all Block on Board (BOB) Dies, the GO! Tree of Life-14" Finished Die includes every shape for this particular block all on one board for perfect patches every time. There is a bonus, too: the cardboard slip cover includes cutting and piecing directions, so it's important to keep that handy. 



Tree of Life Block Layout



Play with the Shapes You Have

There is no right or wrong method when playing with scraps or salvaged fabric. To avoid having more small scraps than you'd like, cut the background fabric as you build your blocks.


For inspiration, turn to your favorite quilt book. Alternatively, you can utilize GO! Quilt for inspiration. You can plan your scrap quilt with different colors or uploaded pictures of your fabric in GO! Quilt using one of their pre-designed quilt patterns and then print the pattern. It's an amazing tool that I wish I'd remember to use when making this quilt! Best of all, it's free, but you do have to sign in to your AQ Circle account to use it. 



Quilt Top Block Layout Possibility



For this scrappy quilt, each block was made with little attention to its finished size. It was so gratifying watching my "make it up as you GO! quilt" come together. The finished blocks were 20", 16", 10", 8",  2" x 4" Flying Geese, and 2" squares, all cut using the 8" Qube. I was having so much fun piecing the blocks that it never occurred to me that, in order for the different sized blocks to come together, I did need to add sashing. Lucky for us, there is a die for that, too. The GO! Strip Cutter-1 1/2" (1" Finished) 5 Strips and GO! Strip Cutter-2 1/2" (2" Finished) Dies are great for cutting sashing and binding to finish off your quilts. 



The Top Part of the Quilt Sewn Together with the Other Quilt Blocks Around It



It was terribly hot and humid while making the blocks and I found it difficult to keep the blocks pressed smooth, so I'm sorry for the not-so-perfect photos!




Keep going until you run out of fabric! Mistakes are allowed and sometimes, they don't present themselves until the quilting is complete. Throughout the process, deciding on the block placement was the most difficult for me, along with where and what size sashing was needed. If needed, go back to the basics and pull out the draft paper. Soon (with a little erasing), it will all come together.


Close Up of Some of the Quilting



The quilting was just as scrappy as the rest of what went into this project. My only regret is throwing out some of the fabric patches because they were too small to re-cut. My greatest relief for this quilt was using all the red fabric patches I had. I found the entire process both challenging and relaxing at the same time. 



Another Close Up of the Quilting



I live in the dark ages - well, except for AccuQuilt - because my longarm is hand-guided with no electronics, besides the addition of LED lights. Like most of you, feathers are my favorite to look at and stitch, so it's no surprise that I took advantage of that negative space. 



More Quilting Details



There is a little meandering, spirals, straight lines, curved lines and circles - just whatever suited the space (and me) at the time. 



Close Up of the Quilting Near and for the Tree of Life Block



The chain block was questioned throughout the quilt, and, while it could have been placed better within, it's happy sitting in the corner. No scraps left behind! 



Another Image of This Quilts Quilting
Close Up of the Quilting Near and On the Flying Geese Units




Finished and Gifted

The charities I choose for my quilts are the Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF) and QEM Fire Protection District.


When I make a quilt for QOVF, I usually have a recipient in mind since the quilts are completely made and awarded by me. There is no greater joy or touching moment than to award a QOVF quilt. Their response is always a priceless moment. Our Veterans, who rarely speak of their tours of duty, almost always open up and share a memory or two. It is my goal to award every Vietnam Veteran in my area with a QOVF quilt.



Finished Scrappy Red Quilt



QEM Fire Protection District is our local all-volunteer fire department, and my son is one of the volunteers. To raise money for equipment, they host fish fries and other family-friendly activities throughout the year. I have donated handmade soaps and/or quilts for their raffles for as long as I can remember. In December, they host a banquet for the volunteers and their families as an appreciation dinner.


So, last year, this beauty was gifted to a randomly chosen volunteer (instead of raffling), who I think is the only woman in the department. Hopefully, the salvaged scrap quilt will become one of those most cherished and loved quilts that we hope for each time we sew our last stitch.



Thoughts on Charities

Deserving charities are all around us. We should continue honoring our Veterans, but let's not forget about the other volunteers in our communities. Those who risk their lives for us every day. Whether it be going into a burning home without question to save us and our pets, jumping into frozen ponds to pull us out or traipsing through the woods to find lost children, they are all deserving. Do you make plush toys? Emergency rooms and ambulance companies also appreciate cute little items that comfort the children of tragedies. Since we all love quilting, let's share our love of this artform and make 2023 another giving year!



As a Bonus for You

I have one more photo and final task to share before I forget. How do I know when the quilt is suitable for gifting? It was approved by my dog, Enzo! Now, I want to know in the comments below: do you sew with pets?



Denise's Dog Sitting on the Finished Quilt



If the journey of my scrappy red quilt inspired you, please follow and share your progress and finished projects with us on social media @fortheloveofgeese and @AccuQuilt. Don't forget to use the hashtag #AccuQuiltBuilt as well!

Topics: Tutorials, Tips & Tricks

Denise Looney

Written by Denise Looney

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