Mesozoic Scraps

Mesozoic Scraps
October 2020

I have made several quilts and quankets this year using mainly scraps, making me think scraps must be genetically related to rabbits, because they multiply so quickly! My gray, white and black scrap bin was still too full for the lid to sit on it properly, so I made this string quanket. I had the green fleece for the backing in my stash, so I pulled in some green scraps leftover from my recent Tiger Tracks project to add a bit of fun color for the top. I also incorporated a few fussy cut squares of dinosaur fabric leftover from my Prehistoric Pennies quanket to add a bit of whimsy.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in October 2020.



November 2019

Random is defined as “made or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern”. As much as I attempt randomization in some of my quilts, I struggle with letting them be completely random.

I had three objectives in making Ziggy: I had been wanting to do a string quilt to clear-up space in my reds and browns scraps bins; I wanted to experiment with foundation piecing; and I wanted to try (once again) to make a randomly pieced quilt. While the colorway was not completely random (strike 1), the pieces were different widths, ranging anywhere from 1″ to 3″. I began by tossing all the scraps next to the sewing machine, figuring I would just pick-up a scrap from the pile without any forethought, sew it to the block, and continue in this manner. I had gotten about eight blocks completed and on the design wall when I decided that ‘random’ wasn’t working for me. There was way too much color chaos!

I liked how the diagonal seams were working for a chevron pattern, but the randomness in the fabric placement was not supporting the chevron look. I then separated the fabrics I had tossed next to the sewing machine into their color values (strike 2), and was more attentive to the placement on each block (strike 3 and out). This was no longer going to be a random design. While I only accomplished two of my three objectives, in the end, I am happy with the final design. And ultimately, shouldn’t that be the biggest objective of anything we create?

What I learned along the way

  1. Foundation piecing – this was my first attempt at foundation piecing. I used dryer sheets, which worked really well (make sure to use either previously used dryer sheets, or wash new ones before using to remove the chemicals).
  2. Taking a black and white photo helps to visualize color saturation distribution. I got this tip from someone in Jacquelynne Steves Facebook group and it worked great! Once I had moved past this being a ‘random’ design, I really wanted to ensure the zig zags of the chevrons translated into the final design, and using the black and white photo technique helped in showing me where I needed to make adjustments to fabric placement.
  3. I learned a new word – stochastic. In my trying to understand why I have such a difficult time doing ‘random’ quilts, I came across Kristin Brenneman’s work on Chance in Art, where she defines stochastic as “a sequence which combines random components with a selective process so that only certain outcomes of the random are allowed to endure”. So while it is not a completely random quilt, I believe I can say with a fair amount of certainty that this is a stochastic quilt 🙂

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in December, 2019.