Week in Review 2019 – 10/25

How small is too small? The answer depends on what you are talking about and your personal predilection. I ask myself this question when deciding what fabrics and fabric trimmings to keep and what to toss. My personal choice has varied over the years.

Sunrise Over the Gulf River – piecing is complete
Early Days

When I first started quilting I kept nearly everything but trimmings. You never know when that bright yellow fabric scrap might be perfect as a highlight. Well, when you save every scrap for 30 plus years of working with fabric, those scraps turn into scrap mountains. Sure, I have used the occasional scrap, but I use far fewer scraps than I thought I might. So, mid career, I became far more cavalier about tossing out scraps.

In the age of recycle, repurpose, and revere our planet, tossing out scraps willy nilly, seems uncaring. My current solution is to use my leftovers to intuitively piece the back of my quilts.

Time to use the left over triangles on the backside of Sunrise Over the Gulf River.
Present Day

When I finished piecing Sunrise Over the Gulf River, I had quite a few precut triangles left over. I used these to form 2″ square units. Next I selected a length of contrasting fabric for “filler”. I’m having fun floating the units in blocks measuring 6″ square, 12″ square and 6″ x 12″ rectangles. Voila! My first modern quilt back is taking shape.

I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


  1. You’re very dedicated about the use of your scraps! I love the piecing in Sunrise over the gulf river. Do you have problems with your back piecing being crooked? I’m always worried that if I use a striped print or pieced back I won’t be able to get it really square with the front and then it will be obviously wonky. Maybe I’m just not very good at basting!!

    1. Great question, Shannon. The answer depends on the person responding. Personally, I don’t sweat the small things. As the axiom goes, all things are small things. Paula Nadelstern’s attitude is if you can’t see it from a galloping horse don’t worry. This was her recommendation when explaining the intricacy of not just her seams matching, but the fussy cut fabric matching as well. If you look at her kaleidoscope quilts up close, it is easy to pick up seams and pattern that don’t butt up perfectly. But step back to gallery distance and wow, what mastery of design. My attitude with the backside of Sunrise Over the Gulf River, is it is the backside. Close enough, is close enough. I no longer baste my work in the traditional manner (pins or stitches), instead I have five layers. Layer #1 – top, layer #2 – fusible web, layer – #3 batting, layer – #4 – fusible web, and layer #5, backing. I started doing this after reading how Betty Busby handles her work. First I lay out the backing, then everything else is folded, one at a time in quarters, the center of the two folds is placed at the center of the backing. Since my work is designed to hang against a wall, who is going to see if the back is running at slant? The curator, me and perhaps my heirs. What I do, do is carefully square up my work based on the top, after quilting, and trim to size then.

      Thanks for the positive feed back. Much appreciated.

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