The Perfect Fusion: HQAL and ScrapHappy

The stars are aligned, with a perfect confluence of energy.

In a serendipitous meshing of ley lines, the designated dates for ScrapHappy and for the Hand Quilt Along have come together on this very day.

My scrappy weaving is finished for now and my big hand-quilting project is on hold, awaiting cooler weather. The fusion of ScrappyHappy and HQAL provides just the right time to write again about my fusion quilt.

The fusion quilt, for newcomers (or readers who don’t remember every detail of a post from months ago!), is a quilt combining sewing and crochet. Small squares are made of pretty fabric chosen by the maker, a blanket stitch border is added, and crochet is hooked into that border, to make a lovely edging. Eventually, many, many of these squares are crocheted together, to make a throw.

I’ve seen gorgeous fusion quilts made of all new fabric. But that wouldn’t be scrappy and that wouldn’t be me.

My fusion squares are the special bits of vintage linens–the embroidered flower, the tatted hem, the lacey furbelow.

I can’t bring myself to cut into vintage linens that are in good condition but that hasn’t limited me in any way. I have dozens (hundreds?) of damaged linens. They’re too stained or holey to use or to sell but they have sections of perfection.

Those 5-inch sections are the heart of my project. The last time I wrote about this, I had completed 24 squares and now my total is 54.

I still have not done any work toward attaching the squares one to another; I still feel as I did last time, that “I like seeing the stacks and shuffling through the squares, like a deck of cards, an encyclopedia of needlework techniques done by a sisterhood of stitchers and lace-makers and crocheters.”

Their scraps are my happy!

You, too, can participate in one or both of these blog happenings!

The Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

KathyLoriMargaretKerryEmmaTracyDebConnieSusan,  NanetteSassy , Edith, and Sharon

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Email Kate at the address on her Contact Me page. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley and Dawn


84 thoughts on “The Perfect Fusion: HQAL and ScrapHappy

  1. Oh, this is going to be fabulous! What a lovely way to use those delicate old pieces and preserve them in a way that lets them be enjoyed and be useful. I’m with you on not joining everything up too soon. You need time to look at them all together and think…

    • Yes, and I keep adding new ones, some with bright embroidery and others that are white-on-white and very subtle. I think the final placement is going to matter, although I will try not to be TOO obsessive!

  2. Kerry, for a scary moment i thought you made coasters, and I thought ” nobody can put a wineglass on such pretty artwork?!?!” What a relief to find out, it’s becoming a lovely quilt…phew! xo Johanna

  3. I love this project. What fun it will be for you to spread out all those squares and figure out how best to place them for the finished quilt. Something to look forward to!

  4. Wow, that’s a lot of squares. I know what you mean, I purchased an old, beat up quilt and my plan was to re-purpose it. I can’t cut it up! It’s been folded in my cupboard for two years! LOL.

  5. Oh my … these little pieces are wonderful!! The ladies that made the linens are smiling down at you making you happy as you crochet.

  6. These are just growing into an amazing pile of loveliness, Kerry. They will make a splendid quilt for sure! You will have so much fun deciding how to put these together when the time comes.😊

  7. I know just what you mean about shuffling through them. It’s always a pleasure to enjoy the finished steps and look forward (or not). These squares are really charming and whimsical. You have to admire the creatures of such tea towels!

  8. These are gorgeous, Kerry. I am very vaguely thinking of turning the material in my wedding dress (lace and dupion silk) into some kind of beautiful patchwork throw (after all, it’s doing no-one any favours in its box in our store) – do you have any preferred methods of adding stitches to fabric? Is it just a matter of doing a round of blanket stitch and crocheting on to that framework?

    • Each bit of fabric is sort of a mini-quilt, with a backing and batting, plus the front “fancy” piece (and the most delicate of those are stabilized with fusible web). I stack them, sew them, and turn them right side out, then top stitch around the edge. Then comes the blanket stitch and, yes, I crochet into the blanket stitch. I’m not a good crocheter so I just do a round of single crochet into the blanket stitch and then a round of double crochet, with three at each corner. If you go forward with your idea, practice on scrap first! And let me know what questions arise.

      • Such brilliant info Kerry, thanks so much! Treating each piece as its own mini-quilt makes absolute sense and yes, very wise to practice. At the moment, I am torn between feeling rather daunted by the prospect of cutting up my lovely dress and feeling a bit sad that it is just shut away at the back of a cupboard. Decisions, decisions…!

  9. This question might sound daft, but I’m not a quilter, so… will those patches be crocheted together, or are you going to sew the crocheted bits together?

    BTW – was thinking of you when I visited the old textile mills in Lowell, MA, and saw all those looms.

    • Funny that you’ve been to Lowell and I haven’t, when I live so much closer! Some day . . .

      Yes, the squares will be crocheted together–and I must say, I’m not looking forward to that bit!

  10. These are lovely Kerry, it will look fantastic once it’s together but I can understand the pleasure in shuffling through the squares before the quilt has become what it’s going to be.

    • When the whole thing is put together, the impact will be impressive, I think, but each square will become less important. Right now is the time to enjoy each little bit for its own self.

  11. I do remember these – I was wondering how they were doing recently. Orlando would LOVE to assist in pressing them for you!! Isn’t it so very satisfying seeing the pile grow and grow – though yours is becoming a tower…… and I can appreciate the shuffling through and admiring thing too. And I can imagine the sheer textural beauty of it all made up!! Soooo beautiful ❤

    • Yes, you do understand watching the pile grow, with your crocheted tiles! My crochet is pretty basic and pretty pitiful-I’m hoping people will focus on the beauty of the little pieces and not my craftsmanship!

      • Oh, I don’t know – those crochet borders look pretty good to me! And I love the tone on tone choices you have made too. You make classy colour choices – mine are always a bit on the gypsy side of things 🙂

        • It’s interesting–I often see my color choices as safe and boring (my wardrobe is almost 100% navy blue!). I like your spin on it, though! Classy! But I’d really like to go gypsy . . . .

          • Oh well, if we are talking clothes…… My basic wardrobe is all black. But I love me some brightly coloured shoes, scarves, bags and even the occasional top – oh and bangles 🙂

  12. Wow these squares are so precious! I love the entire look with the crocheted edge. What a great use of less than perfect linens too. Just so lovely!

    • Thanks, Cathy–I had been pondering, for years, what to do with all these bits and pieces. When I first saw the fusion quilt idea, on another blog, I knew, right away, that this was the answer!

  13. Those are delicious! I’ve often wondered how people add the crochet edging as it’s just beautiful. I have a bit of vintage linen here that I’m certain now I will never get to do anything with. You make such wonderful use of yours.

    • I think with very fine crochet thread and a tiny hook, sometimes people just poke through the fabric and crochet right into it. But I’ve also seen this technique, of first doing a line simple blanket stitch and then using that as a foundation for the crochet. My crochet thread and hook are bulky!

  14. What a lovely stack of squares that you can shuffle through like poker chips to remind you of your bounty. Have you considered attaching them quite loosely to each other so they could hang as an airy panel? Obviously not terribly functional, but it could make an interesting screen.

    • I am planning to crochet them together so there will be an inch or so of relatively loose crochet between each little fabric square. As for use, if I know me, I’ll finish it and put it in a cupboard and never look at it again . . .

  15. Let me add my oohs and ahhs too ~ they are wonderful. That you are sewing and crocheting the edges honours the linens too. Many of them would have been edged in a similar way.

    • Yes! And I’ve preserved a fair amount of the original crochet where I can. It’s been fun to try and figure out how to attach each little bit, while showing off the edges or cutwork. Never boring!

    • Thanks, Sheryl. I’ve also been giving other bits of damaged fabric to the women in my sewing group–some are making crazy quilts or doing things similar to this fusion quilt of mine.

  16. These are fantastic! Like a few of the other commenters, I’m curious as to how you do that edging. It’s one thing to poke a little hole through one or two layers of cotton to start a crocheted edging, but you’ve got the batting too. I am picturing a big darning needle and some sore fingers?

    • After I have each little quilt-like square made, I top stitch around the edge on the sewing machine, about a quarter inch in. Then I use a big needle and 5/2 mercerized cotton to do blanket stitch around the edge, right into that top stitching. The blanket stitch, then, is the foundation for the crochet. Going through all the layers with the needle can be difficult but, if you put the needle right into a hole made by a machine stitch (from the top stitching), it slides through a lot easier!

    • Don’t you love the pink kitty?! I think you could definitely do this with handwovens! Or at least use the basic idea as a stepping off point. Oooooh, do it!

  17. Your scrappy quilt with crochet edges is perhaps my all time favorite!!! Which is hard to say, because I LOVE all of your work. I love the vintage embroidery and prints, the fact that you saved these bits and pieces from larger pieces that weren’t usable in their current condition, and the embroidery around each piece really sets them off nicely. I just love the piles of finished squares. They are each a little piece of art on their own. I can’t wait to see what happens next. And yes, I am once again tempted with the quilt bug. Just this weekend my younger daughter was sorting through the fibers to kept, and those to say good-bye to. We came across a box of lovely fabrics some used, others gifts of special fabric (now old, but unused) from dear friends. I’ve added these to my possible quilt list and wondered today about handweaving the fabric for the back (is there a name for this?) of my imaginary quilt. My ideas are flowing. Now if I ever catch my ideas up to my daily calendar. You continue to inspire me. Thank you, Kerry.

  18. As with the last time you showed these, it has reminded me of the one I started and is now languishing. My crochet skills have improved immeasurably since I set off on this project and you have (again) inspired me to at least move it from my UFOs to my WIPs.
    I absolutely love your idea of using vintage linens and the resulting quilt is going to be so amazing – I can’t wait to see it.

  19. Your fusion squares are so pretty! I quite understand you not wanting to start sewing them together – they look wonderfully exciting in a heap! Best to wait until all the squares have been finished before you put them together forever.

    • Thanks, Clare–and that’s exactly how I feel about joining the squares together (plus, I think its going to be an onerous task and I’m putting it off as long as possible!)

  20. Pingback: Scrap Happy, Interrupted | Love Those "Hands at Home"

  21. Pingback: Hand Quilt Along: On the Road | Love Those "Hands at Home"

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