Saved By Scraps


Have you ever wondered why quilters save scraps?  Do you personally have boxes and bags filled with scraps that you are thinking of donating or throwing away?  Well hold on just a moment and consider the possibilities.

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Saved By Scraps

Have you ever wondered why quilters save scraps? Do you personally have boxes and bags filled with scraps that you are thinking of donating or throwing away? Well hold on just a moment and consider the possibilities.

Saved By Scraps


Are your scraps treasured memories of quilts that were well used and no longer exist? Do they match a quilt that your family and friends still use? Are those scraps sentimental reminders of a shopping trip, retreat, a special friend or family member’s possessions? Don’t let those scraps go, they may have a future that you can’t even imagine right now.



In 1990 I made my first “human-sized” quilt for my husband. (Previously, I had made a doll quilt for a school project, but that was my only foray into quilting.). As a young wife I kept our home very cool in the winter, not only because I was always warm, but because our budget was tighter than a pair of compression stockings! I made my first quilt for my husband because he was always a bit cold in the house, but he didn’t mind wrapping up in his quilt because it was warm and soft and had been made with much love. Unfortunately, it was also made with polyester batting and after multiple washes that first year it bearded through horribly. Not having the resources to completely start over making my hubby a new quilt, I removed all of the hand quilting, took the quilt apart, and replaced the polyester batting with cotton batting. Then I heard about silk thread for applique. It felt so good that I decided to hand quilt the quilt again using the silk thread. Well that was not a good idea, as after a few washings the silk thread disappeared during washing and the quilt once again needed re-quilting! Fast forward 30 years and my sweet hubby is still using this well-loved quilt nightly when he shows me that the edges of his quilt are starting to fray away - not really a surprise after more than 32 years of nightly use, getting caught in the recliner and pulled out, hundreds of washings, etc. but he still loves his quilt and won’t abandon it for the new ones that have been made for him.



So I say, well, let me see if there is any chance that I have some scraps left from the original making of the quilt. I am not feeling very hopeful after having moved once, switching my sewing room around multiple times, donating fabrics and scraps over the years to my guild, etc., but nevertheless I look. Miracle upon miracle, those few scraps that I retained include the scraps from that 32-year-old quilt, well not only that, but I have some scraps from almost every fabric in the quilt! But the key word is scraps, there is no yardage, no large pieces, just a few strips of several of the fabrics and little bits that were left over from some of the original piecing. Hubby says, if it won’t still look and feel like my quilt does now, don’t do anything, I can use it as is, but I know it will just continue to fray away so I take every tiny scrap and strip that I have available and try to make a binding that will cover and protect the edges of the well-worn quilt. Unfortunately, there is just not enough to go all the way around; but, there are two narrow strips left, so I join the long edges and make a strip that is now wide enough to fold into binding (it started out as 3 pieces, but who cares, this is for a lovey, not a museum piece). After all of this effort, I bound the special loved quilt and return it to my husband who smiles lovingly knowing this will give yet another new life to his beloved quilt. Will this quilt last another 32 years, probably not, but it is one of the softest pieces of cotton fabric that you will ever find, and it will continue to be included in our family memories through comforting, warmth, and pictures for as long as the cotton will stay together.

Fraying Away


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Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.

Same As: Appliqué

See Also: Freezer Paper Applique, Needleturn Applique, Machine Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.

Same As: Stuffing, Filling, Wadding, Filler
Binding is used as both a noun and a verb. As a noun it is the fabric that's used to cover the raw edges of the quilt sandwich after it's quilted. This edging fabric is referred to as the Binding (noun). As a verb it is the process of putting on this fabric, and it referred to as Binding a Quilt.
Hand Quilting
A running stitch that is made through all three layers of a quilt to hold them together.
The process of assembling quilt blocks from pieces of fabric sewn along their edges to form a whole.

See Also: English Paper Piecing, Assembly Piecing, Machine Piecing, Chain Piecing, Paper Piecing, Hand Piecing
A construction technique in which long, narrow pieces of cloth are joined lengthwise, sometimes with long rows of quilt blocks, to form a quilt top. The term "strip" can be used to describe the long pieces of fabric between blocks (see Sashing) or to describe the small, narrow remnants used in string patchwork.

See Also: Sashing
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