16 July 2010

there is something to be said

for getting just sick enough that you have to lay on the couch for a couple of days.  Feeling unwell, but not entirely miserable either.  You know what I'm talking about?  Those illnesses where you can feel okay for hours at a stretch as long as you don't move too much and someone occasionally brings you a bowl of rice and a cup of tea.  The kind of illnesses where as soon as you try to do anything other than read a book or pet the dog, you get wicked sick.  But lying on the couch, everything is okay and so your job is just to wait for the ailment to pass.  So you do luxurious things like listen (just listen) to a whole album or read a novel from cover to cover. 

That was me earlier this week.  I had a migraine that refused to fully bow down to my meds, so the worst of the headache and nausea would disappear with the medicine, but only if I stayed still.  So I stretched out on the futon and read Slammerkin. It's very good.  I love well-written, well-researched, historical fiction.  And I listened to The Crane Wife which I have out from the library.  I do love The Decemberists.

Wednesday, I was well enough to sit up and scoot around a bit so I made my block for the Common Threads Quilt Bee
Jess based her block request off of this quilt by Ingrid Press:
I think Jess's quilt is going to look amazing!

Does anyone know more about Ingrid Press?  I googled and found some blog posts related to her part in a 2009 Birmingham show (here and here) but no website of her own or books or anything.  There has to be more to see than what was in that show...and my eyes are hungry for it!

Having done Jess's block, but still finding myself in the mood for sewing, I stitched up a little log cabin block out of some fabric I had nearby.
I've noticed that a lot of people refer to all fabric combinations that aren't prescribed by designers and manufacturers as "scrappy."  This has never sat will with me because I make my own fabric combinations 90% of the time and so using fabrics across designers/manufacturers/etc is not using it for some secondary purpose.  It would be wrong to call the above combination "scrappy" because the fabric isn't "left over" from other project, it is being used according my own original intention.  I also hesitate to call such combinations "original" because um, blue and green is not some extraordinary idea!  Also, sometimes I begin with a fabric combination I saw in someone else's work, as below where the colors in this quilt began with the Dewberry pink and Butler mustard, which I saw together in a purse listed on etsy.com.

I was looking through my thesaurus in search of a word I would prefer to "scrappy" and have yet to settle on one.  Something that expresses the autonomy of the person choosing the fabrics, without suggesting that they are a lone ranger or some sort of hard luck case. Any ideas? 

Alright, I'm off to catch back up on my work (there is a downside to getting sick!)


  1. I have never much paid attention to the use of the word "scrappy," but you caused me to get out my dictionary. Didn't like any of the definitions either. Rubbish or waste material: No way. Odds and ends: maybe sometimes--it depends on the quilt. You've definitely got me thinking. Some of my scrap quilts have some definite guidelines, often requiring purchasing more fabric. Which definitely is NOT the definition of a scrap!

    Hope you or someone can come up with a better descriptor.

  2. "synergic" I have to credit my husband on that one because he took one look at my most recent quilt which could be termed a scrap quilt and said that the fabrics had a nice synergy. I loved that!

    Sorry to hear about your migraine! I get them too; the ones that no med will touch so I feel your pain. I hope you are on the mend!

    Jennifer :)

  3. Glad to hear you are starting to feel better! Being sick in the summer can sure dampen things =(

    Love the quilts! I love "wonky squares" over perfect squares - they are so original!

  4. I don't use scrappy in that way either. Scrappy I think was originally used to describe anything that didn't have blocks made in an ordered fabric combo... like say you were making star blocks and all the centers were blue and the points were red and all the same blue and red. Then no matter what fabric line they were from it wasn't scrappy. If each star was a different blue and red... or there were a few the same but mostly different it would be scrappy. I used to only like ordered fabric quilts and hated scrappy ones. I can't imagine making an ordered fabric quilt now though.

  5. Glad you're feeling better! "Scrappy" never sat well with me either, it's nice to hear it bothers someone else too! I am no suggestions on a new term but I do think we need one! I much prefer making fabric combinations myself them just sticking with one designer. I think it makes it more interesting! Anyone can think to use just fabrics from a collection together, but mixing fabrics yourself puts your individual spin on it :)

  6. I think of scrappy as using MANY different fabrics, including some that you might not normally put together. I also assume that someone pulled the fabric from their "scrap bin."

  7. For the most part quilts made in early America came from scraps of fabric left over from another uses, clothes,feed sacks ect. hence the name scrappy quilts. I have always use fabric from different lines or at least I've never confined myself to staying exclusively to one line. Recently,and I'm not totally sure where I read it, but these quilts have been referred to as stash quilts rather than scrap quilts. Maybe this is more what you're looking for... but do we really need to put a name to it?

  8. Oh, I hope that you feel better, and I've been sick all week myself--a drug allergy. Those medicines have so many side effects. and the name I give for quilts sewn like this is Liberated, as in the book "Liberated Quiltmaking" by Gwen Marston.

  9. I've never thought of "scrappy" as second rate, but rather the more the merrier... or an unexpected party of fabrics. I wouldn't call your block scrappy either... not enough fabrics involved for scrappy. Lately I've been finding people calling leftover quilts, crumb quilts. Quite literally the crumbs that are leftover from another project. Personally, leftover to me is not a bad thing. It just means that I bought enough to have more fun with it! And sometimes I like to say, "no new fabric was harmed in the making of this quilt." Sometimes fabric needs to age before it can be used.

    (guess I'm kinda emotional about the term scrappy. :D )

  10. I think the word you are looking for is "eclectic". BTW I always thought scrappy referred to quilts made from the scraps you had accumulated not from fabrics by different designers. All of my quilts are eclectic :)

  11. I like the term stash quilts as suggested by Patty. I have also heard an increase in the use of this term lately. I think it fits as you bought the fabrics in your stash with the intention to use them in a future project.

  12. Stash quilts are good. Or simply quilts. Why do we have to define our fabric choices this way? I've never made a quilt out of one solid line of fabric. That is limiting and too easy IMHO. Even if I like the entire line.

    Scrappy, in my world, is left to the actual bits leftover from other projects. As long as I've used it somewhere before it qualifies as a scrap. That could mean I have a 1 inch square or nearly a meter of fabric because I cut a one inch square out of it. So, in reality, a scrap quilt is really a stash quilt for me.

    How about free-range? I graze my entire stash of fabric to create a project - whether that is one block or an entire quilt.

    And while we on the topic of terms we don't like, can I add "designer" fabric? There were fabric designers long before Amy Butler and the modern gang. And unless it is a open market reproduction design, someone had to design it.

  13. Let me add my Amen! to Cheryl's comments. I can't imagine making a quilt out of a single line of fabric by a single designer. Unheard of! That's a development of recent years. Back in the 1980's we didn't buy fabric by designer name. Knowing the name of the *manufacturer* was just coming into vogue.

    To me a scrap quilt is just that, a quilt made out of the scraps, the leftovers from previous projects, whether they were quilts or clothing or curtains or whatever. I have heard the term "multi-fabric quilt" used to describe quilts made from lots of prints that were not necessarily scraps. It's a bit cumbersome but accurate I suppose.

    I buy what I like when I'm shopping, no matter who the designer may be. Then I graze my stash as Cheryl does. I figure I'm exercising my artistic abilities when I choose the fabrics, colors, prints, and the construction methods I use to assemble them into a quilt. That's what makes me an artist and not just a quilt maker even though what I make most often are utility quilts as opposed to "art quilts."

    Wow. Thanks for helping me to get that clear in my own head!

  14. Hope you're feeling better! I have to say, you and I may have been twins separated at birth. Slammerkin is one of my favorite novels, and The Crane Wife is a favorite album! (If you haven't listened to The Hazards of Love, it is sublime!)

  15. Take care, lady. :) I don't know what I call them but I don't use scrappy either. I really, really don't like using the term 'wonky,' I don't know why.

  16. I've been thinking about this post of yours the last couple of days....

    what about a "conglomerate" quilt?

    Conglomerate being "a cluster of heterogeneous things." Used as a verb, it means, "to bring together into a cohering mass."

    What do you think?

    In a somewhat related note, I started putting together my leaders & enders blocks using mostly smaller scraps that I cut up into 2" squares. Is that a scrappy quilt? A leftovers quilt? I really like how it's coming together, no matter what it is called.

  17. Whenever I think of scrappy quilts I think of my grandmothers quilts that were truly made out of scraps (often leftover from dresses she made me)! I much prefer quilts using fabric from different sources--I'm not usually inspired by a quilt made from one fabric line. Love your website!


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