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Monday, December 04, 2006

Too Small To Keep, Too Big To Throw Away (TSTKTBTTA)

After a question about a technique that was sort_of_in_the_neighborhood_ of TSTKTBTTA was posted on QuiltArt today, I thought a quick tutorial might be of interest. I save scraps of my hand dyed fabric (Hey - it's expensive!) and developed this technique to use those scraps, which range in size from 1/2" wide to 5". I have made a number of quilts that use this technique.

Scraps of fabric. Can be irregularly shaped or left-over squares and strips. If a scrap seems too big or isn't the correct shape, I take scissors to it!

Fusible web.

Base - can be batting, Peltex, muslin or other fabric. This is a good place to use those too_thin_really_ugly_outdated_what_was_I_thinking fabrics, since they will be covered. I like my base piece to be slightly larger than the finished dimension. Example: for postcards, start with a 4.5" x 6.5" piece of Peltex.

Apply fusible web to base. OR: Use scraps that already have fusible web on the back.

Arrange scraps on base. Overlap edges slightly (1/4" at most). When you like what you see, fuse them down. In the example shown, which is about 8" wide by 6" high, I think the scrap on the top right is too big.

Optional step: sew down raw edges.

My August 2005 Journal Quilt - "I Grow Flowers, Not Vegetables" (8.5" x 11") is one of the three quilts in my pattern, Tres Flores. All three quilts use the TSTKTBTTA technique to create the background.

Once I have the base covered and fused, it generally becomes a background. Sometimes I cut it up to create applique pieces, such as the leaf in this piece.

Have fun!


Jeri said...

oh, Alice, THANK YOU!!!! I am so glad you posted this. I surfed in from the QuiltArt list but I've had you hotlinked on my blog for quite awhile. I think this is a wonderful tutorial and a great way to use the scraps. Thanks again for sharing.

Jeri at

Alison Schwabe said...

Ah, Alice, I'm a piecer at heart, and nothing is too small for me :) I keep lots of very little bits of gorgeous fabrics I've used and adored, in those large clear plastic bags pillows come in, I can pull out something I need and piece it in - for examples of how small I'm talking, see detail shots of the quilts in my Ebb&Flow gallery especially the first one you come across, Maelstrom. Some fav bits are now down to 1" sq ...and there some in there from quilts I made last century, in the '90's.