Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a select group of eight QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue and make scrappy versions to inspire you.
Today we start revealing the final projects from the 2013 Scrap Squad. Soon we’ll recruit a new group for 2014 (watch QM’s Facebook page for the announcement) but first we have eight amazing quilts from this Scrap Squad.
Today’s featured quilt is by Colette DeGroot from Olivet, Michigan. She blogs at Lette’s Quilts and Curiosities. You’ll hear from Colette in her own words below.
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Bittersweet. I’m sure that’s what some of the Scrap Squad members are thinking as our year of making quilts for Quiltmaker—and enjoying the challenge each one of them brought—draws to a close.
I wanted to do a more “planned” quilt for this last project. Usually I just grab from my stash and start putting things together as the camera lens suggests. But this one seemed different somehow. I think it was the finality of wrapping up a wonderful year with new quilting friends.
With the holiday season headed our way and a change in the winds’ directions, I choose in my head, something red and white, maybe with a little dusty pink mixed in. After perusing my stash and visiting my local quilt shop, I decided against the dusty pink and went with a bit more boldness, and of course, green.
I made sure I knew where every fabric went since this color scheme was much different then the original colors given. I taped each of the fabrics onto the pattern to guide me through the cutting and building.
Quilty polls often ask about the hardest part in the quilting process and it was a question I have never been able to answer—until now. The hardest part for me is taking this beautiful fabric and cutting it up. While I love the cutting process (weird, I know), it’s difficult to take yards of gorgeous fabric and make it into mincemeat.
I know it’s necessary, so after spending a few minutes admiring and playing , I gassed up the rotary cutter (me) and started in on a day of slicing.
It took some time. After everybody was cut up, I was ready for a back break and some coffee. I don’t like to do intricate sewing in the later evening hours because it seems like my mind wanders too much,
and I make silly mistakes. Thankfully, strip sets are pretty easy sewing work.
I still had enough daylight hours to square all the sets and cut them up into sections.
With still enough energy (yeah, more coffee), I started making the blocks, and making more blocks, and making even more blocks.
My dog had to remind me twice (Nature calls, after all) that I needed to take a few breaks, but in one afternoon and evening, I got all the blocks sewn together.
Christa (fellow Scrap Squad-er) and I made some boo-boos along the way. At the upper right hand corner in the picture above, you see two triangles on that white strip. Reading the directions thoroughly is good, because those white strips are only supposed to have one triangle on them. I discovered that later when putting the top together.
It was time to stop for the night. I think I had smoke coming out of my sewing machine and I know my iron was protesting for all the overtime I put it through. And remember my advice about quitting when you’re tired? That mistake shown above wouldn’t have happened if I would have stopped on the last doggie break.
The next morning I was rested and ready to start again. I had appointments in the evening, but this is what I accomplished before leaving the house.
It went together quickly, and since I’ve written so much already, I’ll skip ahead to the ending. My advice on this quilt is to read the directions thoroughly. Follow the steps in their prescribed order, and take lots of breaks during long cutting and sewing sessions. I think this pattern has so many possibilities. I can’t wait to see what the other Scrap Squad ladies come up with!
Once the quilt came back from the quilter, I had a decision to make. I had attended a quilt binding seminar a while back and learned about a machine binding technique. I decided to give the new technique a try. (I always, always hand bind my quilts. Always.)
The Thanksgiving holiday was in forward motion, deadlines were looming, and I have four Christmas quilts to create in the next five weeks, and another really cool project I want to participate in (read ahead for that).
Let me say this: I’m a traditionalist. I love tradition and when I find something that works for me, it’s hard for me to let go of it. But with all the clutter in my quilting life, I made the decision to go with machine binding.
I tried the new technique on something smaller before tackling this large quilt. The machine binding was quite easy and fast and looked better (yes, it truly did) then my hand binding! The corners were even mitered better. (Editor’s note: This is Winter Skinnie from the Sept/Oct ’13 issue of Quiltmaker.)
Okay, so it worked on something small, what about something as large as this quilt? What if I mess it up? All I can do is rip it out and start over, right? I’ll take a chance and give it a whirl.
Here’s another pic of my newest binding love.
And here she is, the finished quilt. I love this quilt and how it turned out. I didn’t really intend for it to be so Christmas-y looking, but somehow it worked out that way.
I would like to try this same pattern using reverse colors and my signature blacks, but I have other quilts in my future. I’m going to do my very first mystery quilt (thank you Bonnie Hunter) and this is where I’m headed next. Our first assignment on this mystery is similar to a Scrap Squad quilt we did early on. Hmmm?
While “having” to make quilts on a deadline can be stressful, the Scrap Squad was a good kind of stress that I would repeat again and again. It was fun to stretch my tools, imagination, color usage, and to meet some wonderful people along the journey.
Thank you for reading and for keeping the quilting world flourishing! You’re a better person for doing so (or at least I think you are) and it’s a gift was can pass from generation to generation.