Scrappity Scrap

I like scrap quilts. For one thing, you feel like you are using up valuable leftover fabric. For another thing–ALL THE COLORS! Bits and pieces of favorite fabrics go through your hands as you piece them together.

Remember this? I had this top leftover from my first attempt at a kantha blanket. A friend is working hard at opening a home for recovering drug addicts. She asked if I would provide a couple of quilts. I thought this would be perfect, bright and cheery.

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As I quilted, I realized I could include some encouraging verses in the lighter squares.

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So I made another one.

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Quilted a little differently, but including a few verses in it as well.

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And then… I definitely over-estimated the number of strips I would need for my Katie PM class.  If I didn’t sew all those 1 1/4″ and 1 1/2″ strips together right away, I knew they would become very shreddy and would be headed for the dustbin. So I sewed them all together and decided a rail fence pattern would be just right.

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Remember all these cross-cut blocks? I really like making them. I used quite a few of them for small quilts at my Christmas boutique sale. But there were more left than I had remembered. You can see that I added a few other orphan blocks into it. You know, I love piecing blocks without measuring. But eventually they have to all fit together into a quilt. And that can be quite a chore. Its like doing a jigsaw puzzle with some of the pieces missing. Anyway, I did like this quilt when it was done, and wondered if it would be a good one for another kantha blanket.

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When I put the sandwich together, I used muslin for the backing and Hobbs 80/20 for the batting. (I normally use Quilter’s Dream cotton for my batting. I bought a big roll of the Hobbs with a Joann’s coupon for all the unquilted tops that I am working on finishing.)

I wrote a few posts ago about a new thread I found. Its DMC coton floche thread. Its supposed to be the same thickness as two strands of DMC embroidery thread. Anyway, I liked it very much. It has more of a mat finish than perle cotton, and is a bit thinner than a number 8. I thought it might be very nice for doing a kantha blanket. And then I found this on Etsy. This woman is very cleverly dividing the large hanks that the coton floche thread comes in, and selling them in multi-color packets. I ordered one in mostly soft neutral colors to do this quilt. Here’s the first square. I worried about there being a lot of seam lines to stitch through. But the Hobbs batting and the muslin, combined with this finer thread are making it a dream to stitch through.

Here’s the first block. I thought I might do this one block by block instead of straight line over the whole quilt.

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And that’s what’s going on in between the other projects I’ve written about!

Obsession

I don’t know where it came from, this obsession to make a “kantha blanket.” I have a little niggling thought that it might be because of answering the question so many times “what is kantha stitching?” and always being careful to explain that my stitching is “kantha inspired.”If I did a blanket, I would have something more “authentic” to show people.

So after my failure at the last scrappy quilt top, I set about making a more organized, partially planned, scrap quilt for the kantha blanket. Like I do for most projects, I chose a large variety of fabrics that I like, and then narrowed them down to fabrics that might work together. And set a few parameters for the piecing–Longish rectangles, 4 inches wide by about 7 or 10 inches long. I would insert a few squares with my “crosses” and my circles. And I went to town working on this quilt top.

In just a few days I finished it, and with the finish came a deep sense of despair. This “planned scrappy” quilt top was not much better than my really really scrappy top. What is wrong with me? I can’t even plan a simple scrappy quilt. Which then devolved into Nothing I’ve ever done is really any good at all. Oh, it was bad.

Fortunately for her, my best friend was not available for conversation that day. By the next day I had decided to follow my own advice, and “continue on.” She concurred. I’m not sure if covering this entire piece with stitching lines 1/4 inch apart will help. But it will be in the spirit of kantha–using what I have and making something useful of it.

In the meantime, I mentioned to my mom what I was doing, and she started asking a ton of questions about kantha. So I got out my big book of Kantha, and what do you know–what I am doing now is still not very kantha-like in the traditional sense. We’ll just call it a modern take on kantha 🙂

The sandwich is made, and I am happily stitching away on my kantha blanket.

I decided to not show you the entire piece. Any hint of sympathy or disapproval might send me into a downward spiral from which I might never recover :)

I decided to not show you the entire piece. Any hint of sympathy or disapproval might send me into a downward spiral from which I might never recover 🙂