A Box or Seven of Scraps

Posted by on 24 October 2018 | 0 Comments

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I asked Linda recently what she'd been up to of late and she sent me this wonderful story explaining how she created a beautiful modern log cabin quilt from her boxes of scraps. This is so inspiring that I might just need to try it myself and definitely had to share it with you.

Modern Log Cabin top

Linda's story....

The first quilted piece I ever made was a log cabin pillow. I think I was 7 or so. My Mom had me use a ruler and draw a square in the middle of a piece of fabric, then make evenly spaced lines all around the square, carefully sew the selected fabrics (also carefully chosen and measured) all around to make the square, with nice straight lines.

Well, I took a couple of Modern quilt classes and learned that modern quilters seem to eschew rulers, for the most part.... and nice, straight, lines.... and carefully matched cotton colorways of fabric. We were urged to use our rotary cutters with wild abandon, throw the rulers away (for the most part), and make whatever you were making in unexpected ways, preferably asymmetrical.

So.... there were 7 boxes of fabric sorted by value (Light-Light, Light, Light Medium, Medium, Medium Dark, Dark and Dark-Dark) in my closet, taking up a lot of room. There were satins and cottons, batiks and painted fabrics, solids, silks, and hand dyes - all kinds of scraps from landscapes and garment making. Given a queen-sized waterbed to cover, I figured I could use up all my scraps, right? I decided I would make 10-inch finished blocks, moving from light somewhere in the middle to darks around the edges, shading as I went and that each block would be centered with one to several satiny fabrics. I didn’t use a ruler in any of the blocks, just kept adding rounds of color, not in any particular order, around each center. Some blocks are like courthouse steps, some like rows and furrows, some just a spiral around the center.

Being mindful of the fact that some of the fabrics were fragile, I ironed interfacing to the wrong sides of anything satiny as I went along. I would start with a couple of squares or rectangles of a soft cream or white for the light portions, gradually moving out of the creams and whites into pastel shades. I sort of settled down into composing a kind of color wash as I created each block, going from very light to medium light beginning in the central upper right side of the quilt.

Modern Log Cabin closeup

The next range out moved very quickly into pastels and medium lights to medium colors. The outside blocks got dark centers, then medium colors into dark shades, with one final dark band out what would become the outside border of the quilt.

Modern Log Cabin closeup2

I did use a ruler to square up all of the blocks so they could be sewn together coherently, but I rather like the winky wonky sort of feeling it has, and love the effect the light has on those softly shimmering satiny silky fabrics.

By the way, I STILL have 7 boxes of scraps! Scrap quilts are like that. 


What a fun way to create a quilt and it is beautiful. Linda's choice of fabric placement and colors make it the perfect scrap quilt. It almost looks like the light is spotlighting the central area where Linda started with the very lightest fabrics.... She certainly is a master in quilt making. If you'd like to find out more about Linda and her work, visit her faculty page at academyofquilting.com and click each workshop link of interest, each has a teacher's gallery showing off her masterful skills. Linda's Faculty Page and Workshops

Modern Log Cabin Overall

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