The Size of a Postage Stamp

I hate throwing out leftovers - whether food, yarn or fabric - especially fabric - which explains why I have a large bin overflowing with tiny fabric scraps, most too tiny to be useful. Of course, I don't see this as a problem because fabric, unlike food, won't go off. Besides, I love scrap quilts and I know that one day I will use up all those scraps.

However, I have never been able to see the beauty in the category of quilts known as Postage Stamp Quilts. All those tiny pieces (thousands of seams!) arranged in squares ... they just didn't look that exciting to me.

Until recently.

Very recently. I saw this incredible Postage Stamp Quilt and suddenly my views were forever changed. And for the better, I might add. I then did a search on Postage Stamp Quilts and was totally blown away by their beauty - and, in many instances, complexity.

Not to be out done (because if another quilter has produced a work of art, then surely I can try to produce something at least half as striking), I immediately pulled out my stash bin and started cutting up as many 2" squares and strips as I could. Within a very short time I had a lovely pile and then it was time to start sewing. This is the kind of sewing I like: straight stitching, rhythmical, almost mindless, sewing. It was relaxing and rewarding.

The Most Adorable Granddaughters in the World#4 and #5 visited and had a lovely time playing with my fabric stash and helping me draw up a plan of how I want my Postage Stamp Quilt to look based on the afore mentioned quilt. The most obvious difference is that I've decided to go with four-patch units rather than nine-patch. There is more rhythm to making four-patch units: sew two together, then sew two of these newly formed units together, then do the same again, and keep doing this until the block is the desired size. With a four-patch there is none of the stopping and starting that there is with a nine-patch, where you sew two units together but then you have to sew a single unit to the paired unit, and then you sew two rows together and have to stop to sew a single row to the two rows. It lacks that lovely motion where you feel that you could sew all day and never get tired of it.

After they'd gone home, it was more cutting of squares and strips. I prefer to sew squares onto a strip of fabric and then cut the pairs apart later. This is fast but only works if you don't mind using the same fabric more than once. I'm not a purist: I don't mind doubling (tripling?) up on fabric but I do plan to keep to no repeats within a 16-patch block. I estimate I need between 1300 and 1400 fabric squares and have about 800 in my stash - and that includes the tiny pieces I joined to make up a 2" patch. (Most quilters would laugh at such a small stash but my stash is literally fabric leftover from other projects - I never buy fabric because 'I can't live without it' or it 'speaks to me' or 'just because'.)

Today I managed to sit down and do an hour or so of straight chain piecing. While I was cutting the units apart, The Most Adorable Granddaughters #1, #2, and #3 arrived and had almost as much fun looking over the various fabrics as I had when I pulled them out of my storage bin. Perhaps there's something in every female that draws us to fabric.

William Morris said that there should be nothing in our houses that is not useful or beautiful. Most of my scraps were not useful and some were definitely not beautiful but I'm hoping to make something both useful and beautiful out of what others might term rubbish. But don't hold your breath: it could be a few years before I'm finished, although if the speed at which I've whipped up the first 300+ pairs is any indication, this just might be my speediest quilt ever.


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