Two of my many failings are that I cannot resist a bargain, and I cannot waste anything. It used to be cardboard tubes, yogurt pots, bits of string: now it is fabric scraps, ends of thread, and selvedges. So, imagine my delight when I found for sale in a basket half hidden under a stall at a quilting exhibition, bags of cut-off ends of pre-cuts. Well, What would you do? I bought three bags!

One was long strings of batiks, of which more at another time. But two more were tiny ends of jelly roll strips, some 10cm, some 2.5”. All kinds if colours but clearly from Whole rolls of fabric being cut up for kits.

And….the birch tree quilt -a complete experiment-was born. I sewed long lines of scraps of selvedge and jelly roll ends together into strips. Then I stitched these trimmed strips into squares of dark grey, sloping some, tapering some. As it evolved, I found I liked the freedom of the random placing, rather than the tree effect I had originally Then, after squaring up, I sandwiched them into rows. Levelling up the edges and horizontals, I found I had a large enough area to make a throw. My other half expressed admiration and suggested it could protect our grey sofa from our lazy black cats’ hair, as they sneak on there when we are out.


This quilt caused much comment and some mirth at my quilting group. You can imagine! There are many very fine and imaginative quilters indeed in my group but sewing quantities of tiny bits of stuff they throw away together in no discernible order was a step too far for some! Especially as I could not say where I was going with any certainty until this point.

I tried to include a scrap of red in every square, to give the grey a little lift, and used the neutral beiges, charcoals, and browns. The red then had to be the backing colour, and I liked it so much I bound it in red too. The quilting gave me a wonderful chance to try lots of patterns in my free motion quilting. I ran riot! I counted 51 stitch patterns by the end! I even stitched my name and the date in a “label”.

My other half declared it a success, high praise indeed! And he asked me to make another for the other sofa! So I did. After all, there are two black cats… And, …. I had lots of bits left over….

This one was cream and used the dusty green, pinks and blue scraps. I was less concerned with tapering the inserted scrap rows for this one. And I made dusty pink the signature colour in each block and, of course, the backing. I even had enough scraps left for a row in the backing of this one. And I felt a tree bark pattern free motion would be the right quilting. I had really enjoyed doing that on the grey one. And after all that-I had enough bits left for a matching piano key binding!