Tuesday, 7 May 2019

A New Scrap Busting Project.

Deborah O'Hare

Back in 2012 I set myself a task to use up all the scraps that I had collected into one smallish brown paper bag. Little did I know then that it would be the start of something quite big for me in that not long after completing the project I was was asked to give a talk about it at my local branch of the Quilters Guild. I have since given that talk 'Tales From My Scrap Bag' to many guilds and groups around the country. It is a talk that has grown over the years, with other scrap busting projects being added to it, and I have to confess that I do quite enjoy seeing how it fires others up into wanting to go home and tackle their scrap piles. 

Deborah O'Hare

Which brings me on to my latest self imposed challenge. This drawer is from a small cabinet with five such drawers stuffed with scraps. I have literally been stuffing scraps into it for years and although the intention was so that I would always have somewhere to find that perfect little piece to use in some project or other, the truth is that I can count on one hand the times that I have actually done that instead of just painting what I needed. My plan is to use the fabric in these drawers to make small, quick little pieces. At the moment they are roughly 6 x 6 inch landscapes and I try and restrict myself to no more than three, sometimes less, thread colours.

Some of the pieces are in strips and some of the pieces have shapes already cut out of them which I try to incorporate, rather that change. Hence the very large fir tree and some strange looking mountains you can see in some of the pieces above. Some of the pieces have fusible on, most do not.
Roughly the colours in each one are greens, blues, pinks/purples, yellows/oranges/reds, blacks/browns

Deborah O'Hare

This is the first before I trimmed it down. My machine was set up for free motion so that is what I did on this piece and I am going with that as a rule. To sew with feed dogs up or down, however the machine is set up at that time. I have already got into a sort of rhythm. I am trying to do at least one a day. When I have completed one I pull out some more scraps so that the next one is already planned ready to go the next time I sit at my machine. This serves as a way of warming up for what ever else I am planning to sew.

Deborah O'Hare

The thumbnail sketches were done so that I have a quick reference for something to do and were copied from sketchbook pages I originally did in a sketchbook that actually became part of the 'Tales From My Scrap Bag' project. I have already begun other thumbnail ideas for when I have exhausted this one.

Deborah O'Hare

Now, she says blowing the cobwebs away from my last blog post, I did complete the 2018 Journal Quilt challenge. I first did it in 2014 and it is still my favourite of all that I did. I did it again in 2015, and even though these made it into my book, I got the least from it because in all honesty I thought I was being clever by simply repeating things I had already done but they just became a chore and I wasn't learning anything from the experience. 2016 was a miss because of said book. 2017 was more enjoyable but with some mixed results. That brings us to 2018 and below you will find Nov and Dec's offering which I didn't get around to sharing. 
All of the Journal Quit challenges I have done were completed using scraps and or stash with the exception of the first in 2014. 

Deborah O'Hare

This one was a sample of freezer paper stenciling that was done in a workshop, finished with hand and machine stitch.

Deborah O'Hare

I prefer a close up of Dec's which was done using a piece of experimental Gelli Plate printed fabric. I fine the back more interesting than the front on this one.

Deborah O'Hare

So maybe, maybe not, you are wondering why I have not joined the 2019 Quilters Guild Contemporary Group Journal Quilt challenge?
Well as much as I enjoy taking part they are quite strict about submitting your pieces on time, which is every 4 months. This is totally understandable and I always find it fine at the beginning of the year but not so much as I get busier, especially around August. Yet I still like the idea of these challenges to make something small. Something that encourages playfulness, as well as practice, without the need to be perfect. I am always inspired by the many such challenges that appear on Instagram such as the #100dayschallenge but I now have enough self knowledge to know that the type of commitment needed for that is not for me.

So that brings me back to  the start of this post. This self imposed challenge project has no time restrictions which means I can dip in and out of it when I can and  I can also change the rules. At the moment I am doing landscapes, but that might change, who knows!?!

I have included a few links here should you wish to to see any of the other projects mentioned in this post.

'Tales From My Scrap Bag' starts here and I swear I did not realise that I started it on the 7th May 2012 when I began writing this post, but I may have delayed posting for a day so that it all lines up nicely😃

Journal Quilts  2014  2015  2016 starts here with all pieces on my Flickr gallery which for some reason I am unable to provide a link to (see side bar icon strip)                  

As I do these I will be posting them on Instagram which is also linked to my Facebook Page and I promise I will do a round up of them from time to time here on my blog if you wish to follow my progress on whichever is your favourite bit of the internet.

Until next time...

Quilt Routes


  1. I love your work and these little pieces are very inspiring . My time is very limited at the moment due to my husband's health issues but something like this may just help my sanity .

    1. Thank you Sheila. Working on small easily repeated projects like this can definitely help with stress levels. I wish you well.