Someone once asked me why I loved scrap quilts. My answer was kind of silly… but it was also true. Not one of us is one “thing”. We’re daughters and sons, parents and spouses, friends and co-workers. We’re painters and stitchers, bakers and builders, and so on. Each of us is a scrap quilt, a patchwork of diverse experiences and memories, quirks and talents, flaws and blessings.
Full disclosure – this is my favorite picture from Oh, Scrap! It might be my favorite “quilt picture from a book” ever. The quilts are Navajo Blanket, Splendid Scraps, Firecrackers and Awesome Land.
Though this one is pretty special too.
The quilt is Sherbet Stars and the model is sweet Eloise, the lovely granddaughter of one of Lissa’s dear friends.
These are five of the quilts in Oh, Scrap!, the long-awaited book by Lissa Alexander.
For more than twenty years, Lissa has worked behind-the-scenes at Moda Fabrics. She’s created iconic quilts – Modern Building Blocks – and worked with the Design Department to develop Moda’s industry-changing pre-cuts. She’s supported, promoted and encouraged people trying to figure out how to get into the “quilting business” – including me. From making quilt samples for Market to helping design and build booths at Quilt Market, Lissa has worn many hats. But this is her first quilt book as author. As Lissa. Scrap quilter. Extraordinaire.
Let’s start with the obvious – Lissa has an eye for color, value and scale that most of us don’t. (I know accomplished quilters and authors who will happily go on record that “Lissa taught them everything they know about color.”) She happily – fearlessly? – mixes collections and styles of fabric with an expertise that most of us will never understand. We can look at the quilt and know it’s something special but… how did she get there? What does she know that we don’t?
Plenty. But don’t worry! With Oh, Scrap!, Lissa shares what she knows. And she does it in a way that makes putting all those scraps together easy to understand. What to look for in color, pattern, scale and value is shown with examples and swatch cards. The twelve quilts are classic designs that are perfect for any style of fabric and color palette, and Lissa’s tips will give the rest of us the confidence to do what she does naturally.
Start with a basic color plan. That sounds like a no-brainer, right? But Lissa pushes the boundaries – showing that a really good scrappy assortment shouldn’t include just a single shade or blue or red. Other tips shared are – pressing instead of “ripping out”, seeing value in addition to color, having a plan to create a secondary design, and chain pressing. Chain pressing? It makes perfect sense!
Favorite cut of fabric? Layer Cake squares – 10″ x 10″. They’re large enough to do something with but not so big that there is a lot left over. (Because more is better – more variety and more color.)
Swatch cards. Many of the quilts in the book include a “swatch card” of the actual fabrics used. It’s the best way to see the range of colors, and the mix of scale and value that make up the quilt. And some of the quirkiness. Elephants. (Sherbet Stars.)
As for the quilts, there’s something for every skill level and style. If strips and straight pieces are your “thing” there are at least three quilts made with only straight strips. Lissa’s Tone It Down is included – while it’s been copied and reproduced a thousand different ways, her Low Volume version is still instantly recognizable. (You’ll have to get the book to see that one.)
This one is new.
Splendid Scraps. Made with nine 18″ blocks, this quilt measures 54 1/2″ x 72 1/2″. (It’s easily made larger if you want something bigger.) With the exception of the long strips on the outside edges of the blocks, the pieces from this quilt can be made with Layer Cakes. Some of the smaller pieces and squares can be cut from charm packs. Do you have Moda Candy – mini charm packs? Mix them in!
Are half-triangle squares your “thing”? (I think you know my answer to that question.)
Indian Blanket. How many of us would have been wary of including those “poppers” of red and peach? But they’re perfect. Blue and Yellow never looked so good. Made with 786 – 2″ finished half-triangle squares, this quilt is easily made with 10″ Layer Cake squares. (You’ll need about 90 of them.)
The same goes for Firecrackers.
Firecrackers measures 80″ x 80″ and is made with nine 24″ blocks. My favorite thing about this quilt is that it’s made with a single pieced unit that can be arranged to make four different star blocks. There are 804 half-triangle squares but… Lissa did include that Cake Mix Recipe 3 works beautifully for this quilt. (And for Navajo Blanket.)
When the Firecracker quilt made its way through the office last year on the way to Martingale, I knew that this was the quilt I wanted to make first. The arrival of the 2018 Christmas collections in November and December coincided with my realization that I really, really needed a new Christmas quilt so that’s what I’m making.
I’m using Deb Strain’s Hearthside Holiday, Sweetwater’s Overnight Delivery, some Zen Chic White Christmas Metallic and some leftover Layer Cake squares from Zen Chic, Bonnie & Camille, Minick & Simpson and BasicGrey. I need 45 stitched Recipe 3 grids/sheets for the quilt. I’ve stitched… a few more than that. (I may or may not have a plan.) (Sadly… there are no elephants.)
I will let you know how this goes… though I expect it might be July before I get to finish this.
So here’s what you need to know… if scrap quilts are your “thing”, I think you’ll love this book. Over the weekend, a fellow scrap-quilt-lover told me that she’s happy when she finds a book with two quilts that she wants to make. If there are three – the book is a must-have. I have eight post-its marking pages for my “make this” list in Oh, Scrap! From the tips (refrigerator bins!) to the swatch cards, there are enough terrific “take-aways” to make the book worth every quilter’s time.
Because this is a blog hop, we’re going to share an e-book and a couple of Layer Cakes with one scrap-quilt-lover. Just leave a comment by Midnight on Friday, March 23rd telling us why you love scrap quilts.
(The winner will be contacted via e-mail on Monday, March 26th.)
The Oh, Scrap! hop continues with the following “hoppers”:
- Thursday – March 22 – Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life
- Friday – March 23 – Kimberly Jolly of the Fat Quarter Shop
- Saturday – March 24 – Teresa Silva of Quilting is My Bliss
- Sunday – March 25 – Jane Davidson of QuiltJane
- Monday – March 26 – Jenny Wilding Cardon of Martingale/That Patchwork Place
Happy Scrappy Wednesday!