Fabric scraps are so useful! That’s an understatement, and news that is older than any of us, but sometimes it surprises me how much I rely on them. I can’t save them all, but I do save anything 1″ and over, especially strips. You just never know when you might need them.
Recently, I was lucky enough to acquire a pack of charm squares (5″ squares) and two sets of roll-ups (2 1/2″ x 42″ strips), both by Robert Kaufman, and they all coordinated beautifully. “Finally,” I thought, “I’ll make a quilt with just these fabrics, and it will look so sharp with such nicely merchandised fabrics, much different from my normal scrappy style.”
Well, I sketched a few ideas and the one I liked best involved 2 strips sewn perpendicularly to a charm square. But if you sew two 2 1/2″ strips together, it ends up being 4 1/2″ unfinished. And a charm square is 5″! Aarrrgh. I need to add 1/2″ in there to make it work.
So, scraps. Of course. I’ll have to carry out my non-scrappy plan some other time.
Oddly enough, I had been holding onto some scraps from a rail fence project that I could never bring myself to get rid of. They measured 1″ x 5″. Cosmic coincidence or dumb luck? We may never know. Anyhow, those scraps suited my needs perfectly, and I will tell you that they really look amazing with the fabric collection, and bring just the right amount of pizzazz to the overall look of the quilt top. It’s not nice of me to tell without show, but it’s almost done and I just want to finish before I let it out into the world so you will have to wait a bit longer.
(I am planning to finish the borders on that quilt top this weekend, but that’s what I said last weekend. We shall see…)
But, as things do, it got me thinking. You can use 1″ strips to add to the fabric area, but also to keep the fabric area the same size. Whaaaat?! I’m not a mathemagician, but I’ll try to explain what I mean.
Any quilt block or patch, in any shape, can be spliced and re-sewn with a 1″ strip without changing the size of the block. It’s true! This means unlimited design possibilities without marking, math, mystery or mayhem. This may be old news to some, but if you didn’t know this, you should. Check out my example below.
This technique is great because you can make all kinds of unique designs, even change up an existing pattern, without changing any of the math. We’ve featured it several times in the magazine, most recently in the Oct/Nov issue with Mickey Depre’s spiked hexagons, and a great table runner, Bali Bamboo, in the Best Fat Quarters issue, available now at the Quilt & Sew Shop or your local quilt store. (Visit your local quilt store soon! It can even help you win prizes!)
1″ strips, you are the best. Now we just have to come up with a cute nickname for you. Inchies? Magic spacers? Pixie strips? 1″ wonders? What suits you?
As you can imagine, there are so, so many design possibilities out there. I already have a ton of inchy quilt ideas. Which to make first? Who knows, but I’d better get started right away!