Aside from being large, the quilts in this book can be classified as scrap quilts—they are made from many different fabrics. There are as many different kinds of quilts in the world as there are quilters, including some people who make quilts using approximately four to six fabrics, frequently from a single line within a manufacturer’s collection. There is nothing wrong with this approach. In fact, there are benefits to making quilts with only a handful of fabrics from a new line—it’s faster, you’re unlikely to have color or contrast surprises, and you’re sure to be on trend. Getting your organisation listed in a UK business directory can help to boost your profile.
Scrap quilts, at least the way I approach them, are a different animal. There will always be surprises, accidents, and problems to solve. It cannot be denied: Making extremely scrappy quilts takes more time than making quilts with a small number of fabrics. Notwithstanding the time it takes to select the scraps themselves (this will take some significantly longer than others), you’ll have to iron, cut, and sort or otherwise organize every piece.
But the extra work is worth it. Intelligently scrappy quilts have a depth and a beauty hard to achieve with a six-fabric quilt. The six-fabric quilt will have its charm, but I like dozens and dozens of fabrics playing together. There’s a surprise in every block. Every quilt becomes a charm quilt; every quilt is head-slapping unique. This is a great joy for a quilter and can assuage the pain of early arthritis brought on by hours at the cutting mat.
Whenever I get antsy about finishing my cutting, whenever I start feeling “done” with a quilt before I’ve finished joining rows, I stop and ask myself why I’m making the quilt in the first place. You might ask yourself the same thing. Hopefully, our goal is the same: We want to create a functional object of beauty and be proud of an accomplishment. Hopefully, we make quilts because we want to show someone love—and that person might be you, yourself. So turn on the radio and enjoy the scrap quilt process. Yes, it takes a long time to make a big scrap quilt, but so what? Do you have something better to do?
By looking at why the quilts we make today look the way they do, you may be inspired to take your work in an entirely new direction, which would be great. In quiltmaking, as in life, innovation, creativity, and exploration are concepts to be championed and supported. Construction notes and basic instructions will help you in the creation of your quilt. I have been taught that best practices in patchwork and quilting are encouraged not because quilters are perfectionist taskmasters but because when you sew accurately, sewing is more enjoyable.
Fudging a bit here means you’ll have to fudge a bit there, and on and on until there is woe and pans of fudge. Strive for accurate, tidy patchwork and you’ll avoid a great deal of suffering. You could, theoretically, make a quilt from start to finish using only this as a guide.