Since our chat last week about challenges, I've been concentrating on one of mine - teeny tiny scraps. I really enjoy saving scraps. Using them feels so resourceful and tends to inspire creative solutions. The smallest scraps I save are in the 1.5 - 2.5" range. They live in little square pop-up fabric boxes, sorted by colors like so: red/pink, yellow/orange, blue/green, neutral/purple. I keep the tinies together so they're out of my way when I'm rooting for something more substantial.
::Idea:: create little improv patchwork squares from my tiniest scraps
Improv piecing means the composition of any one square emerges from the shapes of the scraps themselves. I begin by arranging them like puzzle pieces that somewhat fit together. It really helps if scraps are pressed, but sometimes I wait to press them until after sewing the first seams.
The first seams in my improv puzzle will generally join the smallest pieces. Whenever possible I sew these without doing any trimming in advance. As you can see things look pretty crazy at this point!
Then I take a ruler and trim to create a couple of straight edges. My cuts are based on the already-sewn seam - I match a thin black line on the ruler to the seam before cutting. This keeps cuts nicely perpendicular!
I don't trim all of the edges, just those that will be adjacent to future seams. The edges that will be on the outside of the finished patchwork square will be trimmed later on when I am cutting the finished square to its final size. Anything to save time!
After each round of sewing seams, I replace pieces in the improv puzzle. Oftentimes the puzzle changes as I go. I may see that I need to add another piece to bring it up to size, or I may just forget how I originally laid things out. No matter! That's what's great about improv. Just relax and let it happen.
I like to sew a few improv squares at once so that I can be more efficient with my getting up and down to press seams/trim/etc. So we have a pretty scrappy chaos!
As I've stockpiled scrappy squares I've found I actually prefer to keep them simple. Too many tiny pieces becomes visually cluttered. Try combining a larger scrap (maybe in the 3-4" range) with 1-3 tiny scraps. Here are a few more examples:
I'm trimming my finished improv squares to 4" square. Have larger scraps overall? You could trim to 5" square or really whatever feels right to you! I made a few squares from my scraps and then decided that 4" allowed for just the right amount of tiny scrap presence.
Next we'll need a quilt setting or some other plan for these babies. Any ideas?