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Scrap Therapy Cut the Scraps!: 7 Steps to Quilting Your Way Through Your Stash

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  • Posted May 18, 2012

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    I've been quilting since before my kids were born, so I've got s

    I've been quilting since before my kids were born, so I've got scraps. By the tons. And sadly, that's not really much hyperbole. But I digress....

    What I liked about this book is that it gave some real, concrete ideas for dealing with your scrap pile(s!), but also tried to keep it realistic. Joan Ford says to get rid of your teeny, tiny pieces (the smallest piece she has you cutting and keeping is a 2" square--and honestly, at this point in my life I'm not sure I really want to sew together pieces smaller than that anyway), or, if you're not ready for that yet, put them in a container, date it, and if you haven't used any of them a year later, toss it. This was...liberating. I have tendency to keep every single viable scrap--and even some not so viable--when I really don't have the room for them. But precut squares? I can handle them! The idea of having your leftover scraps already cut into usable squares, ready to go at a minute's notice was a good one too--I've already spent a few TV nights cutting up my former scrap piles, and the plastic shoebox idea keeps them much better organized than the baskets and boxes they were in before did. Joan explains her reasoning for the three sizes of squares that she recommends, and they do make sense to quilters--especially the 5" ones, since charm packs are so plentiful and inexpensive these days. I loved the idea of being able to see a pattern, grab a box of squares, and go!

    As for her patterns, they did tend toward the traditional--and lots of half square triangles!--which was fine, but I'd say at this time that I'd probably make only about half of them. That's okay, though. It's nearly impossible to discover a quilt book in which every single quilt screams, "Create me!". Often it's enough just to see what other quilters have done with their fabrics and colors to give you the spark of an idea. This book definitely offered plenty to look at, think about, and do. Definitely a keeper!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Stash buster for quilters

    I consider myself a wannabe quilter. Although I have been sewing since I was 10 years old and used to make almost all my own clothes (even my wedding dress), I never advance past novice in the world of quilting. I crank out table runners or toppers, doll quilts, and baby or lap quilts, but haven't pushed myself to do a full sized quilt. That remains on my to-do list. Despite my skill limitations, I continue my endeavors and continue to search for the perfect patterns.

    Talk to any quilter and they will talk about their stash of materials and patterns. Since we can't bypass a quilt store without shopping and NEVER, NEVER throw away scraps, carefully planned sewing rooms quickly morph into chaotic piles of unorganized scraps. Enter Joan Ford, a masters of scrap control. I had the opportunity to preview a e-version of her book Scrap Therapy: Cut the Scraps which features twenty quilting projects made primarily from scraps 5 inch squares or smaller. The opionions cited are totally mine, based on my skills level.

    I loved her philosophy that we should spend time mastering our scraps so they can be easily used when we want to. She took a pile of scraps to a quilting retreat and spend time cutting them into 5 inch, 3.5 inch, and 2 inch squares. Then they were sorted by color and neatly stored ready for projects. The patterns in the book for full-sized quilts, table runners, and even a couple tote bags all use these sized pieces. Directions and colored diagrams are clear. I like to pick up fabric remnants at rummage sales and such to use for donation table runners, wall hangings, and baby quilts, so I definitely need to follow her advice about trimming the scraps into useable sizes. That makes storage so much easier. (Lesson learned, but not yet accomplished.)

    I found her quilt designs to be beautiful, but they focused on traditional squares built on many, many triangles from the two inch squares. Much as I like sewing and quilting, I am just not going to make something that requires hundreds of two inch blocks resewn into triangle blocks or four square blocks. So I recommend this book for advanced quilters looking to diminish your scrap pile. For me, I will take away the knowledge that I need to
    control the chaos in my sewing room, but I will be looking for simpler projects. And every quilter knows that looking at someone else's finished quilts is an addictive form of "eye candy" and for that alone, this book was no disappointment!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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