ScrapHappy: Fusion Redux

Those pretty scraps do accumulate . . .


As recent posts suggest, I’ve been knee-deep in vintage linens. Summer is the perfect time to slog through my bins of old linens, clean them up, iron and photograph them, and get them ready to list for sale.

But as I do this, I’m still finding damaged pieces, the scraps of pretty that led to the making of the first fusion quilt.

I have many, many scraps of loveliness. And more every day, since friends have begun to bring me theirs.

I have the first quilt on a twin bed and it’s perfect, but I have two twin beds . . .  and one of them looks quite naked now.

I learned a lot from making the first quilt and like the idea of applying the lessons learned.

So, here we go again!

My scrappy happiness for the coming months will be another fusion quilt.

The basic process is really quite basic.

All one needs to do is cut fabric and batting into squares of the desired size. My squares are all 5 inches, although I cut the batting ¼ inch smaller, to reduce bulk at the edges.

Next, I make stacks composed of a pretty piece, a piece of batting, and a backing—you could use all bright shiny new ingredients but I’m using scraps of batting, scraps of random off-white fabric, and my scraps of pretty old embroidery, fancywork, lace, and damask.


Once the pieces are stacked in the correct order (pretty piece and backing piece need to be right sides together. Don’t ask me how I know this. I just do), I just stitch around the outside, back stitching at the start and end, and leaving a biggish opening to allow me to turn it all right side out.

The process can get more complicated, since I’m using vintage scraps. Sturdy pieces can be done as described but if the pieces are fragile, like a fine old hankie, I reinforce it with fusible web. If a piece has pretty edges or cutwork, it needs a backing piece, so the batting isn’t exposed. This backing might need to be sewn to the pretty piece first. Some need both fusible web and a backing piece.

The layers all get sewn and then turned. This is where I almost lost the will to continue the first time around.


Can this mess be saved?

Poking the corners out helps. I use a wooden skewer but only the blunt end. If you use the pointy end, it can poke through and make a hole in your piece. Don’t ask me how I know this. I just do.


Top stitching and the blanket stitch and crochet I do around the edges will help, too, but I’ll tell you more about the process in months to come.  And it will be months—I need 108 squares . . .

(Hover over the photos in the mosaic, if you want a bit more info about the scraps)

My progress to date is:

Many scraps of fabric and batting and vintage linens, cut and ready in stacks of 5-inch squares.

11 squares finished to the point of having been sewed and crocheted. I still need to sew the crochet ends in and block the crochet.

12 squares sewn and turned and ready to be top stitched.

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. She welcomes new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let Kate or Gun know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so they 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, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry (that’s me), Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

84 thoughts on “ScrapHappy: Fusion Redux

    • We’re all patient, just with different things, I guess! I actually like all the steps because they take different skills and the process doesn’t get boring.

  1. I am in awe of every step of this process. To take these beautiful scraps of other people’s lives, bind them together, and have such a gorgeous finished quilt is just amazing. Thank you for sharing because it is truly inspirational to the rest of us. 🙂

  2. Amazing. I can hardly believe how much time it took just to put together the post with all the mouse-over descriptions — let alone the amount of work involved in making the quilt squares and the quilt! I believe your are at the forefront of what could be a new field of the art.

    • It’s funny–I keep thinking of new directions for this fusion concept! I have all these bits and samples of hand-woven fabric, too . . . maybe they could be connected and displayed in a fusion quilt . . .

  3. Ooh, a second one already. You’ve put me to shame as I’m nowhere near finishing the first one yet – although that’s my fault as it became a WIP or possibly a UFO. However, you have, again, inspired me as I too have quite a few vintage linen scraps and feel that I could incorporate them into the quilting cotton charm packs I was using. Also my crochet skills have come on in leaps and bounds since my attempt at this and I should have speeded up a bit now. I notice your edging around each square is a simpler affair – I was doing some sort of cluster stitch – so that would help me speed up a bit too.
    I’ll be watching with great interest and hoping you will point out some of the things you do differently this time as I know you felt there were flaws and things you could improve on with the first quilt although, of course, nobody else saw anything but a beauteous thing.

    • I do hope you’ll get back to your fusion project, as it was the inspiration for mine–I had never heard of the technique before you! And regarding the crochet–I really do not know how to crochet so I can’t do anything fancier than double crochet over and over again. I’ve seen other fusion quilts with very impressive crochet that I admire but I tell myself that I wouldn’t want to do that because it would take away from the beauty of the vintage linens (Aren’t I clever, telling myself only what I want to hear?)

  4. Oh, brilliant! Another heroic rescue of dainty textile fragments in distress! I loved the first one, the second one is going to be even better! I’m always fascinated to see what people use to poke out corners they’ve turned – my favourite implement is a small size crochet hook: it has a point, but it’s blunt enough not to go through a seam. And you have to love a slow, meticulous and painstaking project with no deadline. Permission to work contemplatively…

    • It is lovely, for sure, to work with no deadlines and no rush. I do a little every week when I meet with my sewing group and a little most evenings and that’s that. And it grows!

  5. I just love everything about the is project, and reading the lessons you learned along the way. I poke corners out with crochet hooks, knitting needles and I have been known to employ a pencil for the task!

    • I was very impatient the first time around, to see the whole thing develop–I wasn’t sure I’d like it, really, when it all came together. Now that I know how nicely it turns out, the pressure is off and I can go at a more leisurely pace.

  6. Twin quilts for twin beds, and they will both be works of art. I take it you are doing these blocks by the dozen? That would make a nice little pile, not too overwhelming, but still varied enough to be interesting. 😍

  7. Hurray! I love this project and I look forward to seeing your progress! As I have said before, I want to do one of these too, and I certainly have the materials for it. Then, on a post somewhere, I saw a picture of a window valance that is just all the hankies turned on point, and draping down at all different lengths, and I was tempted — “That would certainly be a lot easier!” Although it can’t be good for them to be in the sun, in your way they will become an heirloom. So I need to listen to the angel on my shoulder and do it the proper way. 🙂

    • You can do both, really! Pretty but not spectacular hankies are so readily available, you could use those for valances and use the truly exquisite ones, with handwork, etc., for a more serious project.

  8. Your writing is just as inspiring as your wonderful sewing, crocheting, quilting, and weaving projects. I love how you repeated this phrase: “Don’t ask me how I know this. I just do…” Thank you for sharing your current creative process and enlivening so many of our days as a result.

  9. Thanks for giving these damaged lovelies a way to make public appearances rather than languish in drawer and trunk bottoms. Thanks also for using scraps to line your squares rather than newly bought supplies. And this one should go together faster now that you’ve already made one, right?

    • I do end up feeling rather saintly, with all the salvaging I’m doing! Ha! And, yes, this one should go more quickly, although I don’t work on it for very long on any given day–it’s an evening-with-a-glass-of-wine sort of project.

  10. This post makes me so happy – you know why 🙂 I always have to stop myself rushing off to try and find old linens to save in order to emulate your work……… but I know I’d be biting off more than I can chew so I shall just follow along again and be happy that you are making a friend for the existing pretty and enjoy each confessional post ❤

    • I expected to hear cheers from you, yes! I could see you doing a project like this with bright new fabric in blues for your pretty place! You could make it so fresh and airy. Someday I may make a version with new fabric, too . . .

      • Oh now – there’s a new thought! I could maybe do that too …………. Maybe just small pieces of many types of new fabrics??? I don’t think it would have the same delicate beauty as your vintage pieces, but it’s a cracking idea 🙂

  11. All those beautiful old linens have met the right person! I can’t believe all the steps and piecing together, but it sure did result in something lovely last time, so I bet this is going to be wonderful, too. And it’s nice to read about it, even if I’ll never do anything quite like it–and nice to see a bit of a mess, too, as I always have plenty of those when piecing something together!

    • I can’t tell you how horrified I was, the first time I turned one of those squares rightside out! I truly almost stopped right then and there. Now I’m glad I didn’t! And you’re a good sport, to read along and be so supportive of a project that isn’t really your thing!

      • Well, I’d never do the quilting squares like that, but I do like seeing the variety of crafts others do! And that these things get used again because they’re so pretty. Human creativity is a wondrous thing.

  12. I did go look at your finish on the first one, and it is a beauty. What a lovely plan you came up with, and you’re right, no one else will see all the flaws, just the beauty of your quilt. I look forward to seeing this one move along, too.

      • Yes, but I do enjoy what you and your fellow-stitchers get up to. You make me realise that I am the one who’s missing out. One day, when I’m less busy(!) I may pick up a needle. In fact I was helping children with a holiday sewing project at Fountains Abbey only yesterday, so I’m not beyond hope!

    • I thought I’d wait longer to start the second one but I sort of missed the nightly work I had been doing for two years! I hope to finish this one somewhat more quickly . . . .

  13. I enjoyed looking at the blogs of all of your ScrapHappy friends. Jill’s bags are great…I see she has an Etsy shop and will have to check that out. But the blog that really cracked me up was Sue L’s Going Batty in Wales. The way she described her home and garden in her I’ve Been Busy post had me laughing out loud. Her ScrapHappy project for August was building a garden gate from old wood cuttings and in July she built a garden path from pieces of wood and concrete left over from other projects from years past. She is an inspiration…

    • Oh, good–you visited the others! It’s a fascinating bunch, and so varied. And i enjoyed the two you mentioned, too–that garden gate project blew me away!

  14. I love these. I really love them.
    Makes me want to quilt. Instead I’m going to try and think of something I can do in an inventive way with discarded jewellery……I may be some time!

    • I can throw some old linens away, if they’re stained or very plain but, when I think of the time and love that went into some of this embroidery and crochet, etc., I feel compelled to save it!

  15. I’m a sucker for the occasional home decor magazine and I’ve always liked seeing the somewhat alike quilts upon twin beds. This will be perfect! I’m rather partial to the colorful french knot runner piece. 🙂

  16. I just love that your making another Fusion quilt. The first was so lovely! Thank you for the wonderful directions and peek at all the gorgeous vintage pieces. 🙂 This was and is one of the loveliest projects I have ever seen ~ Sharon

    • Thank you, Sharon–that’s a lovely thing to say! I’ll keep posting the basic steps in the process as I go along, and “lessons learned.” Maybe, someday, you’ll try this sort of quilt!

  17. I’m in love with this type of project and so inspired to try one of my own (BUT) so many things I have to do jump in ahead of the things I want to do. I’m hoping the list gets shorter as the days do. I sometimes wish my house and I could be invisible for long enough to get the fun things done. I love all the tips you are passing on so maybe it’s a good thing I haven’t started yet. 😉

    • I can SO relate to what you’re dealing with–I am torn, every day, between what I should do and what I want to do. And you are doing the “shoulds” while I do the “wants.” That’s going to come back to bite me, I know . . . BUT, one of the nice things about this project is how easy it is to pick up and put down, just fitting a little in when you have a quiet moment. And I know you have fabric you could use . . . 😉

    • It is perfect for me, indeed. And the pile of pretty scraps grows faster than I can use them. I’ll need to come up with another idea, when I’m done with this quilt . . .

  18. I have often admired these vintage pieces and wondered how they could be saved. I love this idea, but I my head is elsewhere. Please see my utube channel where I am promoting a new crochet hobby .

  19. I knew it would only be a matter of time before you started the next quilt! Lovely to see these gorgeous scraps and the new life you are giving them.

  20. Pingback: ScrapHappy: Fusion Redux #2 | Love Those "Hands at Home"

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