Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do Class Plan

by Roberta Horton


Class #1: Scrap Quilts. The emphasis of Class #1 is to teach students how to understand and use fabrics in a scrap quilt. They will gain the most if they can actually compose a quilt (or the beginnings of one) within class time. I wouldn't bother to allow for sewing time.

Class #2: Folk Art Quilts. Class #2 is intended for students who want to push their creativity, but within the comfort zone of working with traditional quilting fabrics. The class is a hands-on approach in how to make a one-of-a-kind quilt.

Chalkboard or whiteboard on which to write and sketch.
Large bulletin board or pin-up space. Students must be able to pin/tape fleece to wall of classroom, or attach fleece to foam core.
Table upon which to display quilts for inspection.
Irons and ironing boards.


Number of Sessions:
2-4 three-hour sessions
Supply List for Students
Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do by Roberta Horton
Pencil and eraser
Graph paper
Template plastic
Paper scissors
Sewing pins
Rotary cutter, rotary mat, and rotary ruler
Push pins
Masking tape
Assortment of fabric (minimum 12" square):
   Variety of colors
   Light, medium, and dark values
   Small, medium, and large scale
   Variety of fabric style -- Florals, Geometrics, Stripes, Plaids
1--2 yards Pellon® fleece, Thermolam®, or white flannel (no printed grid)
Reducing glass (optional)

Session #1
1.   Class begins with a discussion about "What is a scrap quilt?" Cover the 7 points on the "list of ingredients" described in Chapter 1. Looking at 2 to 4 antique quilt tops or antique quilts will demonstrate these points.
2.   Discuss categories of fabrics to be used in a scrap quilt (pages 30-47). This is an opportunity to broaden the students' appreciation of fabric and to encourage them to work with something new. Show examples of fabrics you're proposing to use together, then show a completed block. You can pull bolts from the shop to use as your examples of each fabric type. Glued mock-ups of completed blocks are very helpful, especially for the more unusual categories for your area (plaids, batiks, hand-dyes).
3.   Refer to the Calm/Busy Chart (page 48) as a summary of the fabric categories.
4.   Discuss color (pages 48-50), value (page 52), proportion (page 53), mood (pages 54-55), and temperature (page 56).
5.   SHOP FOR FABRIC! Build time into class for shopping.

Sessions #2 and #3
(If this is done as only one session, select simpler blocks.)
1.   Select pattern, considering the time available for cutting and composing. Students will learn the most if they pick a block which uses light, medium, and dark values rather than just a two-value block. (Pages 135-138 offer possibilities. All of these blocks can be done in three values.) For the best learning experience, don't allow sashing or plain alternate blocks. I find it more exciting if each class member works on a different block pattern.
2.   Demonstrate how to create the pattern. (Refer to pages 128-129 for necessary technical information on drafting patterns.) Analyze the most efficient way to cut out blocks, using stack cutting whenever possible.
3.   Students arrange fabrics in light, medium, and dark rows. Select fabric for four blocks. (See pages 20-21 for guidance.)
4.   The fabric shapes will be placed on fleece on the wall. (See page 21 for arrangement of blocks.) Students should rearrange within the four blocks until they're satisfied, cutting more pieces if necessary.
5.   Encourage students to include one block variation (pages 12-13) or a fade-out block (page 16).
6.   Instructor should critique at this point. Check for the following:
·   Are all combinations color coordinated? (I hope not!)
·   Is there a mixture of fabric categories within each block? From block to block?
·   Are calm blocks placed next to busy blocks?

Session #4
1.   Add more blocks to the composition.
2.   Critique for color usage. (Refer to pages 48-50, check summary.)
3.   Discuss possible borders.
4.   Discuss quilting possibilities.

Number of Sessions
Without sewing time included, 2 three-hour sessions
With sewing time included, 3-4 three-hour sessions
Supply List for Students
Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Doby Roberta Horton
Pencil and eraser
Paper scissors
Fabric scissors
Rotary cutter, rotary mat, and rotary ruler
Sewing pins
1 1/2 yards fleece or flannel
Push pins
Masking tape
Typing paper, larger sheets of newsprint paper
Assortment of fabric:
   Plaids, calicoes, solids
   Dark, medium, light values
   Small and medium scale
   Variety of colors (don't color coordinate)
Additional supplies for class with sewing
Sewing machine (straight or zigzag)
Variety of colors of sewing threads
1 yard lightweight tear-away fabric stabilizer
Extension cord

Session #1
1.   Discuss "What is folk art?" (pages 94-95) Read the first paragraph on page 119 about building necessary skills.
2.   Draw letters (page 119).
·   Instructor demonstrates with own name.
·   Students write their names in upper case, then in lower case.
·   Cut out shapes; combine upper and lower case to make the most interesting composition.
3.   Cut letters directly in paper (page 120).
·   Instructor demonstrates.
·   Class cuts out shapes.
4.   Instructor demonstrates cutting letters directly in fabric (page 120).
5.   Move on to simple shapes (page 121). Instructor and class cut in paper:
·   Symmetrical heart
·   Asymmetrical heart
6.   More complicated familiar shapes (page 122). Instructor demonstrates, class follows:
·   Symmetrical person
·   Asymmetrical person
7.   Instructor demonstrates paper cutting when using a design source (page 123).
·   Class cuts bird (page 123). Compare masterpieces on the bulletin board.

Session #2
·   Compose quilt, using the quilts on pages 92-110 as inspiration. No commercial patterns are allowed. Encourage students to cut directly into the fabric as much as possible.
·   Select a border.

Sessions #3 and #4
(For version of class with sewing time allowed)
1.   A longer version of the class allows for actual sewing used in the creation of the composition itself. Before the quilts are composed (Session #2), instructor will want to demonstrate creative piecing.
·   Have students create a pieced free-form shape (page 130).
·   After instructor demonstrates, have students free-hand cut and sew a curved seam (page 131).
2.   Also talk about appliqué options. This can be done at the start of Session #3 or #4.
·   Hand appliqué (page 127) – demonstrate if necessary.
·   Satin stitch (pages 125-126) – demonstrate if necessary.
·   Raw-edge (pages 125-126) – This technique lends itself best to the spontaneity of the class. Talk about and demonstrate if necessary. Anyone can do this technique, and it adds to the primitive flavor of the piece.
3.   Discuss possible borders.
4.   Discuss quilting possibilities.
"I'm convinced that hiding inside all of us is a creative side which we don't always access. Sometimes we don't even realize it exists. Being creative merely means that we make our own choices, and we learn to be satisfied with our own images or our own version of how a quilt should or can be made. As we learn to understand fabric pattern and color better, we can become more creative and confident in our own selections for our quilts. Strive to keep your mind and eyes open."