19 May 2022

QAYG Scrap Gobbler Tutorial

Two years ago tomorrow, I decided I needed to use up my green scraps. I started what I then called QAYG Scrap Gobbler. Somewhere between then and now, I forgot about that name and resorted to calling it my Green Batik Leftovers Quilt-As-You-Go. Now that the quilt is finished, I've rediscovered and reclaimed the original name because I really like it!

I posted progress photos of my scrappy project in online scrappy quilt groups back during Safer at Home mostly for social opportunities but also because I thought the project was turning out pretty cool. I received quite a bit of positive feedback, including tutorial requests and even a collaboration offer by another quilter to write a children's story about each block. (Yes, I still think that would be a fabulous idea!!!) I got the main 12 blocks finished and then didn't get back to the project until recently. Now that the quilt is finished, I guess I probably ought to try to do at least a basic tutorial because this quilt did turn out rather awesome, and it's such a great use of scraps.

When I first came up with this idea, I cut a dozen 12-inch blocks from my solid green stash. I then raided my green batik scraps, which came from projects such as my first green batik skirt, my first green batik dress and my first green batik bag. Leftovers from those projects resulted in Welcome to the Jungle, and leftovers from that were used to create green batik shorts, my second green batik dress, Pieces of Braid, Orphan Vortex, my first ticker tape quilt, Square Robin, Scrappy Block-a-Day, my second ticker tape quilt and Lizard Toes. And now, this quilt.

I machine-appliquéd scraps onto most of the blocks, leaving the rough edges for a fun fringy texture as the quilt ages. Two of the blocks were pieced. I didn't use a pattern for any of the blocks. I just let my imagination run wild.

After determining block placement, I added borders to all of the blocks but one. Six of the 12-inch blocks (the first two blocks of the first three rows) were bordered on two sides with scrap-made 2.5-inch strips, with a 2.5-inch solid green square (also from the green scrap box) on each corner. Three of the 12-inch blocks (the third blocks of the first three rows) got a similar border across the bottom. Two blocks (the first two blocks of the fourth row) got a border on the side. One block (the third block of the fourth row) got no border. (In looking at the two-year-old photo now, I see I put two borders on the bottom middle block and no border on the first block on the bottom row - and now I remember why I did it that way; see * below - but the end result works out the same.)

I sandwiched each block with batting leftovers and jewel-toned fat quarters I earned via Ravelry's quarterly WIP challenge. The fat quarters were cut to fit the blocks. (Which, yes, I know, created even more scraps... sigh.)

I quilted each block, again letting my imagination run wild. I tried to leave roughly an inch all the way around each block unstitched to make sewing the quilted blocks together a little easier.

I machine-sewed the blocks together into rows of three using only the top layer, batting and one side of the backing, pinning the remaining backing away from the stitching so as to not accidentally catch any edges in the seams. I then stitched the top two and bottom two rows together using the same method, then stitched the two quilt halves together.

In rectrospect, I could have machine stitched through all the layers to fasten down the final backing fabric, but I enjoy the hand-stitching and love the finished look.

I folded and pinned the backing into place and hand-sewed each seam. I thought it was ready to be bound.

I held the unbound quilt up to see how well it would cover me. At 38 inches by 49 inches, it wasn't quite big enough, in my opinion. At the time, I thought I could enlarge it a bit by making more scrappy 2.5-inch strips, sandwiching them, quilting them, then adding them all the way around. Three things happened that prevented me from focusing on the project again for nearly two years. I decided 2.5-inch QAYG strips would be too squirrely. That lone un-bordered block wasn't the right size, and I didn't want to take apart that final row and make another block the right size. And, most importantly, my husband had emergency surgery. I became a full-time caregiver, and I decided to put the project away until I could be green batikly creative again.

During that nearly two-year break, I would sometimes stew about how to fix and finish the quilt during sleepless nights. I considered adding another row of blocks on one side and across the bottom. That would definitely use up more scraps!!! I thought about making the outside border bigger than two and a half inches. The more I visualized that idea, the more I liked the it, especially as the imaginary border in my head grew in size as I pondered. I finally decided to go with a ten-inch piano key border all the way around because I had (what I thought was) plenty of self-cut 2-inch and 2.5-inch batik strips, and I had a few bold batik layer cake leftovers I could use as backing. I ended up having to cut a few more strips from my green batik stash, but I did fairly well and wound up with just a few unused pieces when the quilt was finally done.

I worked up three of the borders and got them attached (except for the hand-stitching) before we visited my mother-in-law for a week. I finished up the hand-sewing while there and fully intended to finish that final border and the hand-sewing and binding last weekend. BUT... the lunar eclipse got in the way. Ha ha!

Yes, both photos are real. I photographically captured the perfectly silhouetted deer on the hillside a couple of weeks ago, and I digitally stitched that photo and one of my eclipse photos together to make a greeting card. But now it's time to get back to that quilt...

For the borders, I cut my leftover 2- and 2.5-inch strips into 10-inch segments and randomly pieced them to fit the two long sides of the quilt, trying to make sure I didn't have duplicates too close together. I sandwiched and quilted the two side borders, again leaving about an inch on either side unstitched, then attached the strips in the same method as I joined the blocks and rows. I then repeated the process to create borders long enough to fit the top and bottom of the quilt, then used strip scraps to create four 10-inch log cabin corners. (I even used scraps to make some of the inch-or-so-too-short border strips long enough!

I must have been half asleep or super stressed when I finished the quilt block that didn't fit and the final border section. Each was significantly short and already quilted. Both were fixed by adding strip fabric and batting remnants along the edge. Not picture perfect, but both saved me from picking out the quilting.

I also found an acid hole in one of the batik strips as I was quilting. I couldn't undo everything at that point to replace the strip, so I top-stitched on yet another appliqué patch (which I plucked from the scrap box without even looking) as I quilted. I think it adds personality to the quilt.

Finishing the borders gave me such liberation!

* While I was pinning the final border section, I realized why I did that weird middle bottom block the way I did, with borders on two sides. The backing fabric is my favorite fabric of the entire quilt, and I wanted to use every inch of it I could. I don't remember who sent me that fat quarter as my reward for finishing a quilt so many years ago, but, oh, how thankful I am for that gorgeous fabric! I never get tired of looking at and admiring it! It's like having a poem on the back of the quilt!

After joining the final border, I squared up the edges all around and bound the quilt with leftover binding I made for previous quilts with green batiks. I was about 14 inches shy of binding the whole quilt, so I added in one of four leftover 3-inch floral batik strips from other projects. And then the needle broke just eight inches from completion. The tip of the needle got buried in the quilt, and I had to dig it out. Then find my sewing machine needles; I'd accidentally buried them in a zipper box while spring cleaning. Finally, the quilt was done!

The finished quilt measures 56 inches by 70 inches. Now it's big enough! All quilting was done with Signature cotton in Kelly Green. For this project, I used up one heck of a lot of odd-shaped scraps. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if I decide to make another one), I did not use them all. I think there are enough scraps to perhaps do another whole quilt or two!!!

I'm so tickled green to be done with this quilt. It began when I wasn't sure life would ever have joy again. It helped me remember I like quilting best when I design as I go. Now I have a finished masterpiece and joy, too. This quilt is a symbol of triumph and perseverance to me.

Linking up with Alycia Quilts.


  1. What a beauty!! and what an amazing learning experience!!!

  2. Oh, yes, Scrap Cobbler is the perfect name for a perfectly awesome scrappy quilt. I love it. Very creative!

  3. What a story. Thanks for sharing. It's a wonderful quilt and love the greens.


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