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Playing with Waste Scraps

April 21, 2020

Playing with Waste Scraps


This article is one from the Magazine archives, and this is a technique you’re going to love!  This ‘crumb quilting’ is a free-form, few rules, kind of technique that is great for improv quilting and stash busting and using up those saved little scraps that we all have!

Jenny Bowker is a super talented Australian quilter and she has won numerous awards world-wide for her quilts. You can find more info and images of some of her work at – .

“The challenge for my local quilt show this year is Go Green.

I know – they will probably get fifty green small quilts. Each has to be 50 cm x 70 cm. I know there are options on thinking about how to reduce waste, use of power – any environmental issue in fact.

I had a day up my sleeve, and I felt like a bit of mindless playing.

I decided to make use of a small bag of fabric pieces from dyed scraps – actually scraps from scraps. I have no idea why I did not throw these out years ago but they have been drifting around and now and again I consider chucking them – and do not quite do it. There were mostly very small pieces but a few positive/negative images left over from contemporary techniques class I used to run.

I always set a few personal rules on any project. I decided that I had to pick up a piece from the scrap box and sew it to something green.

Then I had to join those pieces together and keep doing so until I could cut a few little blocks from the piece.

Some of the scraps had already been sewed together but I treated these as one. I used a range of different green hand dyed fabrics as my filler fabrics. I opted for straight line piecing and just cut the bits of green off with scissors at the machine.

Because the first piece I took from the ironing board to the cutting mat divided neatly into four pieces that were 3 1/2 x 4″ I decided that would do as my size. If I ever repeated this exercise I would cut the pieces square as then I could turn them around.

If a piece was missing a corner I just sewed a bit on. If a bit was left over I sewed it to something green. If a colour was too strong and dominant I cut the block in half through that section and joined them to other bits.









I found a couple of pieces that were like little trees, in pink and greens, and set them in too.











It was enjoyable, no fuss, easy and very light hearted as an exercise – and you could use any colour as your fillers.

Have fun.”

Get playing with your scraps and see what you can create this week!


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