Modern Scrappy Quilts


Buying 45 fat quarters in a set just doesn't seem reasonable. How will you ever use them up? I found a pack at a surplus store, and just couldn't resist.

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Modern Scrappy Quilts

Buying 45 fat quarters in a set just doesn't seem reasonable. How will you ever use them up? In our case, my husband and I found a pack at a surplus store, and we just couldn't resist the price.

Modern Scrappy Quilts


Modern quilts present a variety of opportunities for designing your own pattern to use up scraps. Because they are not based on traditional blocks, you can use the fabric you have in many ad hoc ways.


This is the first quilt that my husband made from the pack. He loves modern quilts and had been eyeing this type of plus sign pattern for some time. We had seen some variations of it in modern quilting. We have a die cutter, so the charm squares didn't slow him down much, but laying it out took some time.



Now, what to do with the leftovers? I measured the largest pieces of what was left and determined that we could cut rectangles of roughly 16.5 inches by 6 inches. Because modern quilts tend to have large amounts of negative space, the white wasn't a problem, but how do we introduce bright colors? Looking through our pattern books of modern quilts, we came across a theme of using a bright band. Because I also had a partial jelly roll of batik, it seemed like a perfect match. My husband created the pattern by synthesizing some of the patterns and using the measurements that he needed for the size of the rectangles.



There was still a huge pile of scraps left! What to do next? This time I started sorting the scraps by color and then by size. With a little help from a white background, I found that I could lay out the squares and rectangles in a sort of log cabin pattern. Looking at each square carefully, you can see it's not really a log cabin, but you might be able to tell that I began with two parallel rectangles and then added one along the end. If the one along the end didn't fit, I added a little white as needed. Then I laid out a second row of each and so forth until I had squares of a standard size.


I realized that this was still going to be a boring quilt. It would be a donation quilt, so perfection wasn't an issue, but I did need to add another technique to make it pop a little. A quilter had recently taught "magic inch" at our Bee meeting. Using the leftovers from the batik jelly roll, I added this technique to some of the squares.

magic inch


For those not familiar with "magic inch", this technique uses a piece of fabric exactly an inch wide. Cut the rectangle anywhere you wish and sew in the inch of fabric. Because of the quarter inch seams, the 1 inch comes out exactly right! You have ½ inch for the seams and ½ inch left to take the place of what you took out. This technique doesn't change the size of the original piece and can be used just about anywhere.


Oh yes, I still have some smaller scraps left. I'm sure they will show up somewhere!


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A cloth which traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. Due to modern advances in the textile industry, the term has been extended to include fabrics which incorporate traditional batik patterns even if they are not produced using the wax-resist dyeing techniques. Silk batik is especially popular.
A quilt that is so badly damaged or worn that it's only purpose now is to be cut up for other craft projects.
Log Cabin
A quilt pattern in which narrow fabric strips, or logs, surround a center square to form a block. These may be pieced from strips or sewn onto a foundation of paper or fabric.
Debi Warner
Author and humorist, Debi Warner, retired after many years as a clinical librarian and information specialist. She has her Master’s in Library and Information Science and achieved a Distinguished level in the Medical Library Association’s Association of Health Information Professionals. She has worked on teaching physicians to use computers and electronic resources. She also worked on several grants teaching the public how to use the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus public database and is co-author of several articles on health literacy. She took up quilting after retirement in 2012 and chaired the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show in 2019. She currently teaches several quilting classes over Zoom and writes for QuiltingHub.
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