Friday, 26 May 2017

Scrap Vortex - finished!

Really thrilled to have finished this one: I started making the Scrap Vortex quilt last summer in summer 2015 (where did all that time go?!) as part of Amanda Jean Nyberg's quilt-along on her Crazy Mom Quilts blog. 

I loved Amanda Jean's quilt and her bright and cheerful colour palette, and her approach to using scraps in many and varied ways. I reviewed my own scraps and was slightly surprised to find I had quite a few brights bits, so it seemed like a great opportunity to join in.  Here is my finished-top post from August 2015.

Having got the top together reasonably speedily (I started in June 2015, here), it languished unfinished as I was anxious that I wouldn't be able to spiral quilt it.  I read various posts about how to do this and was particularly worried about the starting point, the small circle in the very middle of the quilt. 

I got as far as layering the top, wadding and backing last autumn, and then chickened out. It all sounded quite scary and I didn't want to make a mess of the quilt and have to unpick a lot of tiny stitches, possibly damaging the fabric. Even a scrap quilt deserves good quilting.

Eventually in February/March this year, as part of my major drive to quilt and complete my backlog of unfinished tops, I plucked up the courage. I was in a bit of a groove with finishing quilts and had been using my walking foot a lot.  I reasoned that if I started off with a slightly smaller stitch length and a very slow speed I should have enough time to turn the quilt slowly enough to get round the initial very tight curve. 

I made a template out of greaseproof/silicone paper and practised on some scrap calico and wadding. Somewhat to my surprise this worked out very well, and I checked that the paper tore away without damaging the stitches, which it did easily because the short stitch length had perforated the paper. 

Once the diameter of the spiral had increased I was able gradually to increase the stitch length and to eyeball the spacing between the lines of the spiral. I guess if you have a guide bar which fits the walking foot for your machine you would get a more accurate and regular spacing between the lines: I don't have this for the Juki but fortunately I don't mind the odd wobble as it goes with the informal scrappy style of the quilt, I feel.

The process of spiral quilting, once started, proved quite straightforward, though there is inevitably a lot of turning of the quilt sandwich. (Quilt measures 61" x 66" so not too huge.) It is important to try and keep a smooth curve and not stop and start jerkily after repositioning the bulk of the quilt. It also takes rather longer than you might think, and uses a LOT more thread, as the quilting is fairly dense. But I love the effect and think it absolutely suits the character of this quilt.  I am so pleased I finally tried something new!

So why has it taken me till May to blogpost this finish? The reason for the delay, having finished the quilting, was that I couldn't find the scrap binding strips I had planned to use.  Needless to say I had put the strips in such a safe place that I didn't think to look there, eventually finding them when I had looked every other possible place, twice or three times over the space of several weeks. So exasperating...

So this has been a rather drawn out project but nonetheless one I feel very positive about.  It is one of those quilts which cheers me up whenever I look at it. I love all the tiny pieces and the interplay of colour and pattern and the way that fabrics you would never put together in a million years if you were planning a quilt, just work brilliantly because they are rubbing shoulders with a zillion other little pieces.

So thank you, Amanda Jean, for your inspiration and helpful instruction (tutorials here on the Crazy Mom Quilts blog, I've linked you to week 4 but you can pick up the rest from that one): I am saving my new scraps towards another Scrap Vortex quilt in a few years' time. Meanwhile I still have the other leftovers' quilts from the bright scrap bag awaiting quilting....

Linking to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, her finishing rate is astounding! Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine!


  1. excellent job!! I very much like your scrap vortex!! ugh - I hate when I put something in a safe place only to hide it from myself. glad you eventually found you binding scraps :-)

    happy sewing ~ Tracy

  2. This turned out so beautifully--kudos to you for all that quilt wrestling--I love the look of spiraling--but not, I think, all that turning!1 (my shoulders are tellin me, noway girl!!).
    I love the scrap vortex and have just (always late to the show I am) begun sewing twosies--
    yours came out so well hugs, Julierose

  3. Congrats on such a fun scrappy finish! :)

  4. I really want to do a scrap vortex, but am concerned that my colors might end up looking muddy. I don't lots of bright modern fabrics. I may give it a start though and see what develops. I can always turn it into a dish mat or something, if it is totally "ugly"! "grin"

    1. I have the same problem. Mine are more medium and dark and not bright and modern. I think I will pick a theme that can pull the scraps together. I'm thinking about some red squares. You could also cut up a couple of fat quarters of pretty calico. Something like that.

  5. Very nice! I love the fabrics you used. I've tried spiral quilting on a small wall hanging using my walking foot. Go you for getting this done!

  6. Good on you and many congratulations for perservering and finally getting to the finish line. I tried spiral quilting on a wall hanging about 48 in square a while ago, and was really pleased how it turned out. It is quite a slow method, but so pleasing when the circles finally get bigger and bigger. I rather like your idea of drawing the centre lines on paper to get started.