By the time you read this Thanksgiving Day will be past, and typically it is time to start getting creative with the leftovers so they can be enjoyed in a new venue. Leftover turkey can now become turkey soup, turkey casserole or turkey tetrazzini. One of my favorites is to pile turkey and mashed potatoes on white bread pour some gravy over it and microwave it. Hot Hoosier comfort food at its finest!
Now winter is closing in and it’s a good time for me to turn my attention to leftovers of another sort: Leftover scraps of fabric. I try to repurpose fabric as best I can and that often means giving it to someone who has more time than I do to create something from it. Some of the quilts I’ve featured in my articles are great for using up scraps: My brother Richard’s Joseph Coat of Many Colors comes to mind along with the traditional Dresden Plate, and Postage Stamp quilts.
The first quilt block I ever pieced was a traditional nine patch because squares are the easiest shape to piece. Squares are easy to cut too especially when you use a rotary cutter.
Some quilters sewed fabric squares together without any regard to their light, medium and dark values. A quilt top made of 60 degree diamonds made of the same value looks like a mass of diamonds rather than six-pointed stars or tumbling blocks that come to life with the proper color value placement. It is certainly understandable that a Depression Era Mother of six didn’t have the time to make her quilts beautiful based on a meager selection of scraps, limited time and urgency to get it on the children’s bed. Like any quilt knowing the time period it was made often reflects the maker.
Scrappy square or rectangle quilts can be set off by using solid fabrics to break them up. In essence “framing” them within the quilt so each set shines individually. My friend Weezer has cut and sewn fabric scrap rectangles into quilt tops that she then has machine quilted.
Recently two sisters dropped off boxes of fabric squares their mother had cut but could no longer piece together. I dropped them off at Weezer’s and she was amazed at the beauty and variety of fabrics. Weezer has now headed to Florida where she plans to piece a scrappy Grandmother’s Fan top, but when she returns in the spring, she’ll be busy diving into making another quilt top out of the heaps of scrappy squares to honor the woman who so meticulously cut them.