Color Selections for Scrap Quilts | New Quilters

Kitchen Sinker vs. Color Coordinator

A lot of quilters like Bonnie Hunter’s scrap user’s system, which is one of the many fabulous resources for scrap quilters on her website, Quiltville. My sewing room is not big enough for the kind of elaborate fabric storage system Bonnie uses, so I have to deal with my scraps in a simpler way. But any scrap user’s system starts with sorting the scraps into usable groups.

That’s where your color philosophy comes in.

Some scrap quilters use the “kitchen sink” approach and just pull out scraps of  whatever color or pattern happen to be in the bin. This scrappy quilt in progress is a good example of this style:This assortment of tumbler blocks also represents the kitchen sink philosophy:Becky Etal’s scrap quilt in progress shows a higher level of color sorting. Notice how she has organized the dark and light fabrics to create the quilt’s diamond pattern. It’s still a very scrappy quilt composed of many different fabric colors and prints. I’ve found that I like my scrappy quilt blocks best if the scraps that go into them come from just a couple of coordinated color families.  These from a string quilt I made for a friend all draw from the same palette of white prints with a few splashes of color thrown in here and there.This string quilt I made for my daughter concentrated on her favorite colors — red, orange, brown, and yellow.

Using Solids to Harmonize Scrap Quilt Colors

I often use white solids or prints to bring some calm to an otherwise wild assortment of different fabrics. This baby quilt is a good example of how white can tame a scrappy quilt. This scrappy nine-patch quilt from Becky Etal accomplishes the same harmonizing effect with a mauve background fabric. You can even use a bright color like the orange sashing in this quilt by MissMessie to unify a motley assortment of other fabrics. 

Sorting Your Scraps for Quilting

If you are a kitchen sinker, you don’t really need to sort your scraps by color. Being a color coordinator, I do sort my scraps into color families.

Here’s what the color sort looked like in progress. Somewhere in the back of the mess you can see my dog, sleeping peacefully.
It took me a couple of hours to sort through just one big bin of scraps. But eventually I got through the whole bin. Here are the piles I ended up with:
  • White/off white
  • Green
  • Yellow
  • Pink
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Black/grey
  • Brown/orange
The scraps went into garbage bags to wait for my next scrap quilt project.

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