My name is Bonnie K. Hunter, and I am thrilled to be here today talking about my favorite topic ever, scraps!
My love of scrap quilts goes back as far as I can remember, and this is evident in my new pattern release, the Wonky Wishes Star-Quilt Pattern.
I’ve rarely met a scrap quilt I didn’t like. Did you ever stop to think that the vintage scrap quilt you hold in your hands is literally a timeline of the maker’s life in fabric? There is so much to be discovered in the fabric choices, the variety, the colors, and the eras that the fabrics come from.
The same goes with scrap quilts that we make today. There are stories behind each and every scrap that is left over from a previous project.
A true scrap quilt is as individual as a fingerprint or a signature. No one can exactly duplicate a scrap quilt. Each one is unique, even when using the same pattern or design. It’s the fabric choices that tell a story about the things that the maker loved when she put these scraps together into her quilt.
What do your scrap quilts say about you?
I’ve been making quilts for 35 years. My scrap quilts tell the story of my life in fabric– each piece is left over from this quilt or that quilt over a long span of quiltmaking history. There are fabrics in my Wonky Wishes quilt from even my earliest quilting years. Fabrics from the 1980s through the early 2000s and up toward the time when the quilt was finished. 30+ years of loving fabric and sewing quilts.
Older VIP calicoes, batiks, Civil War and 1930s reproductions, hand dyes, novelties, moderns, abstracts, geometrics, even recycled plaids and stripes from 100% cotton clothing. It’s all in here. The proverbial kitchen sink!
Oh yes, my preferences and styles and the things I like and am drawn to have changed over the years, but those scraps are there to remind me of my projects made during the time that my sons were growing up, the dolls I used to make “back in the 90s,” and so many other projects I’ve made over the years. These pieces take me back and make me smile!
Scrap USING is at the forefront of my quilting philosophy, and I am in the habit of tackling the ever-present scraps by cutting them into the most usable sizes when done with any project, so that they are ready to be sewn into future scrap quilts down the road. Variety is KEY in my studio and in my quilts, and having scraps the size I need them to be beforehand means that I get the most out of my fabric and have the most fun while doing it!
When I sat down to make the blocks for Wonky Wishes, I turned to my Scrap User’s System, pulled out my bin of saved precut squares and crumbs and small pieces, and started stitching away.
I can safely say that the only real “yardage” that was used in this quilt was in the binding and parts of the backing! Everything else was small scraps, plain and simple and oh so varied.
One quote that I use often while teaching the delights of scrap quilting to others is. “If it’s still ugly, you just didn’t cut it small enough!” And don’t forget that you can use the back side of any fabric–you paid for that too!
Those scraps are $12 and up per yard! Don’t throw them away!
The blocks in Wonky Wishes use an easy stitch-and-flip method without templates or paper piecing, making each and every block unique and a bit different from its neighbor, but still similar and so very fun.
These blocks are like potato chips–you can’t make just one!
You might find it interesting to know that while I am quite modern in my machine quilting, using the latest up-to-date computerized technology, my piecing goes back in time. I have a passion for vintage sewing machines and did all of the piecing for Wonky Wishes on a variety of machines from my “fleet.” From treadle machines to mid-century modern electric models, these machines hold my heart and inspire my piecing.
If some folks can collect handbags or shoes, I can collect vintage machines that work and have a great time using them. There is nothing like piecing a quilt on a treadle machine that I have brought out to the front porch of my cabin and enjoying the beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains in front of me as I stitch.
One of my favorite things about Wonky Wishes, besides making the blocks themselves and the fact that no two are ever alike?
The string sashings!
I am over-the-moon in love with string quilts. I even wrote a book called String Fling under the Kansas City Star Quilts imprint by C&T. There are definitely more string quilts in my future.
With Wonky Wishes, you get to explore just really what a neutral IS when it comes to your fabric stash and how to put them to good use in your quilts. Why use one fabric as sashing when 100 fabrics can do the job, be way more fun, and add much more interest to the whole?
For more information on just what I consider a neutral to be, you can read the article on my blog called ” Focus on Neutrals.”
Another thing I’d like to share is the BACK of Wonky Wishes, a view behind the scenes that did not get shared in the pattern itself.
I just love to compose quilt backings from leftover random pieces of fabric and orphan blocks that need a place to land. Sometimes these orphan blocks are leftovers from other projects. Sometimes they are test runs that just didn’t work out right, either because they were the wrong size, the fabric choices didn’t work, or what have you. Sometimes these blocks are gifted by quilt friends because they know if they “send it to Bonnie, she’ll use ANYTHING!”
Yes, it’s true. Sometimes boxes will arrive on my doorstep. Shipped UPS. With no return address on them. I’m sure the senders are laughing behind the scenes, but their gift is my gain!
Are you ready to start your own Wonky Wishes?
I hope that this pattern causes you to look at your scraps a bit differently. I hope you will remember and revisit quilts from your past and all of the other associated happy memories from the timeline of your own life when you look at those small bits of fabric, creating your own unique blocks that are like no one else’s. Your fabric choices. Your memories.
What will the fabrics in YOUR Wonky Wishes quilt say about you and the story of your life as a quilter?
Bonnie K. Hunter is the author of several C&T Titles including Scraps & Shirttails, Scraps & Shirttails II, String Fling, Adventures with Leaders & Enders, and More Adventures with Leaders & Enders.
Be watching for a new book release from Bonnie and C&T in the fall of 2016.
Bonnie is also the Addicted to Scraps columnist for Quiltmaker magazine, giving hints, help, and tips in every issue to help put your own Scrap User’s System to good use, making more quilts in less time.
Follow Bonnie’s Daily blog at http://quiltville.blogspot.com
Facebook Group: Quiltville’s Open Studio