What is a "scrap quilt"?

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When I first started quilting and I told my sis that I was making a scrap quilt, her expression was “ugh”.

Then she saw it - and decided that “Hmm…that’s not quite what I was thinking!”

I think she thought this was what I meant when I said I was making a scrap quilt - (She has told me in no uncertain terms that this is by FAR the ugliest quilt I have ever made.)

A Hot Mess

A Hot Mess

Of course she wasn’t a quilter at that point- and I was sort of a beginner. But when I showed her that this is also a scrap quilt - she said, “Fine - then I like them!”

Dots and Dashes

Dots and Dashes

What is a scrap quilt to you?

Is it when you use up your scraps?


Is it simply a quilt that uses a lot of little pieces which you may actually go and buy just for that quilt?

Probably both. I’m not sure that you can actually distinguish between the two as a finished quilt unless someone tells you the origin of their fabrics.

Someone wrote me once and told me I should use at least 20 different fabrics in a scrappy quilt and he wanted to know how many I had used (in one color). I wrote him back and said I didn’t know and that I hadn’t heard about that rule and that I didn’t know exactly how many of any one color I had used. I had no idea that there were “rules”.

So what do you think?

Is a quilt made out of a “Jelly Roll by Moda” a scrap quilt?

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I make my scrap quilts MOSTLY with scraps, adding only from my stash if I am short. Most of the time I don’t actually go cut up stash to make one of the 2” strips and squares quills unless it is for the “constant” in the quilt - the white or the black or the red, etc.

However, a few times I have searched for small pieces in the colors I needed and I have gone ahead and made strips out of it in order to finish up a top.

I know that I need to make mostly scrap quilts because I don’t always have access to a lot of any one fabric. Making a scrap quilt solves that problem nicely.

Let me show you.

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My most recent finish - I called it my Beige Wedding Quilt was in reality, a scrap quilt. I did use what I could find - and I made these blocks: I had to. I needed beige and didn’t have 8-10 yards of any one fabric. I did have 1/2-2 yards, however of several different ones. It was my answer to how to make a quilt in those colors while not having a ton of any one fabric. And access to a store? Hmm. There are on line shops and a couple in Warsaw, but selections are limited.


Here’s another one. My husband came home from a trip to the Ukraine and told me that his coworker there needed a quilt - he had recently lost his wife and was sleeping in a room with a nautical theme but didn’t have a proper quilt. So, he asked my husband asked me if I could come up with one with boats - especially sailboats - as the theme.

I used a bunch of different blues in this and as many of the nautical prints as I had. In many ways it’s a scrap quilt - though I pulled it from my stash. They are not small scraps - different people have different definitions of what is a scrap.

I used a bunch of different blues in this and as many of the nautical prints as I had. In many ways it’s a scrap quilt - though I pulled it from my stash. They are not small scraps - different people have different definitions of what is a scrap.

So this is what I did. I didn’t have a TON of fabrics - but I did have a few with sailboats on them (I told you my stash is BIG!)

There are a lot of different blues in this - and frankly, I’m undecided whether it is a scrap quilt or not.

Technically, I suppose not - but it does have a scrappy look - especially up close when you can see the variety of fabrics I used - specifically the blues.


I hadn’t thought of this one as a scrap quilt but in reality - I used pretty much anything I had that was even close to the colors I wanted in it - I made it before my scraps/stash had grown to such mammoth proportions that it is now. It’s from 2013 and I was aiming for cappuccino brown and dark red - the wife had told me they were her favorite colors. I remember posting it somewhere - probably on quilting board and someone wrote me and asked me what “line of fabric” I used. I just laughed (to myself). I had hardly “heard of” lines of fabrics back then. I certainly wasn’t following any designers or brand names. I just used what I had.

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Some people say a scrap quilt is when you throw a bunch of pieces of fabric in a bag, for instance, and pull it out and then use that one as the next piece of fabric to sew.

That’s one way.

I don’t generally use that method. It is a good way to make a string quilt like this one, however. I didn’t really plan the string placement.

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Most of my quilts are what is commonly called “controlled scrappy” - meaning that there is a planned color scheme -

It can be a careful placement of lights, brights, darks, browns, blacks, low volume, etc. It just depends. Some of the scrap quilts I’ve made are MOSTLY scraps with a little “planned” pieces and some are seemingly not very many scraps.

Here are a couple of the the ones that are mostly scrappy - not really a very controlled color scheme - except for the sashing and cornerstone blocks.

Ice Cube Prisms

Ice Cube Prisms

and this one which uses a lot of scraps as well but it is a very controlled scrappy - using darks and lights carefully.

Warm Fuzzies

Warm Fuzzies

Some of them use fewer scraps -

Urban Development

Urban Development

and more background!



I think they can be simple like this one I call simply Light and Dark:

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or they can be quite complicated:

Arapaho Roads

Arapaho Roads

They can have a “country” feel

Snowballs ‘n Scraps

Snowballs ‘n Scraps

or not -

Scrap Drama

Scrap Drama

It just all depends!

So, if you happen to be one who really does like scrappy, but you have a friend who says, “I hate scrap quilts - what do you like about them?” maybe she is thinking like my sis was - Maybe it’s time to educate her (or him)! You can start by showing them this post! Then talk about it.

Scrap quilts aren’t for everyone - but being educated - well THAT can be for everyone!

Have a great day wherever you are reading this!

Be sure to check out what my sis has for you in the store!

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Birthday Bash Fun!

To enter to win a free reusable Polish bag and a yard of Polish fabric, answer this question in the comments below:

Is a quilt made from a “Jelly Roll” a scrap quilt? Tell me what you think!