ScrapTherapy - Cut the Scraps!

ScrapTherapy Cut the Scraps!

SKU# 071321

7 steps to quilting your way through your stash

Joan Ford


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Other Formats
  • Product # 071321
  • Type Paperback
  • ISBN 978-1-60085-333-3
  • Published Date 2011
  • Dimensions 8 x 10
  • Pages 208
  • Photos 83
  • Drawings 315

All quilters know one thing for sure: a fabric stash is a living thing. It grows imperceptibly at first, but soon takes over your sewing room, and, if you’re not careful, your life. Joan Ford is a quilt designer who recognized a need to clear the clutter among her fellow quilters and came up with a fun and effective way to deal with it. Enter ScrapTherapy, Ford’s feel-good method for organizing the mounds of fabric — from yards and fat quarters to skinny scraps — and turning them into quilts and a wide array of accessories. In this innovative book, Ford offers step-by-step instructions for cutting a fabric stash down to size — quite literally — and provides 20 original patterns for quilts, pillows, table runners, and more.

Innovative quilt designer Joan Ford cleverly founded the ScrapTherapy program in 2006 as a way to help quilters get organized and cope with the clutter of fabric collected over the years. Ford travels around the country lecturing and teaching quilt classes and cutting workshops. Visit her website at

About the Author Joan Ford is the founder of the ScrapTherapy program and the owner of Hummingbird Highway in Syracuse, New York. She teaches cutting workshops and quilting classes at guilds and quilt shops around North America.


Preview a sample of this book below

Table of Contents

Part One - The 7 Steps
Chapter 1
Fixing the Scrap ‘Problem’
Step 1: Getting Started

Chapter 2
The Cutting Workshop
Step 2: Cutting
Step 3: Sorting 

Chapter 3
The Set Up
Step 4: Selecting a Theme 
Step 5: Gadgets and Tools to Save Time 

Chapter 4
The Quilt
Step 6: Piecing and Sewing 
Step 7: Finishing the Project 

Part Two - The Projects to Make
Scrappy Trails Quilt 
Feedsack Peaks Quilt 
Thrown Together Pillows 
Everything Nice Quilt 
Once Upon a Scrap Quilt 
Runaway Thread Quilt 
Something Fishy Quilt 
In the North Woods Quilt 
Lightning Strikes Twice Quilt 
Scrap Sack Satchel 
Table Stripes Runner 
Fly Away Quilt 
Bloomin’ Steps Quilt 
Lucky Chain Quilt 
Cheap Frills Pouch 
Tulip Patches Quilt 
Star Gazing Quilt 
Town Tote 
Duck, Duck, Goose Placemats and Table Runner 
Wild Salmon Run Quilt 

Appendix: Quiltmaking Basics 


The Challenge Ahead
So many quilters’ stories begin with sweet reminiscences of childhood sewing lessons at their grandmother’s knee. Not mine.

Mine started with a central New York December. It snowed every single day. I was so depressed, that I stock-piled several sweaters-worth of yarn to knit Norwegian sweaters all winter. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: this woman needs to get out more. That December, I received an inexpensive sewing machine as a gift. It sat in the corner for two months because I didn’t know how to use it.

February 8, 2003
On February 8, 2003, I took my first quilting class. Before I even got to class I read and re-read, cover to cover, the twenty-page soft-cover book on beginning quilting. I kept that book on my nightstand. I practically slept with it. I could not wait.

On February 8, 2003, I became a quilter. I started making quilts with a vengeance. Later that same year, my first entry in the New York State Fair won a blue ribbon in its category. I finished several quilts a month, while working a full-time job. I’m a ‘finisher,’ so these weren’t tops, they were finished quilts, bound and labeled.

I received lots of advice from friends who are quilters. One person said, “Save all those leftover pieces of fabric from your quilts; you may want to make scrap quilts some day!”

And my ‘therapy‘ began.
An accountant by training, I pride myself for my organizational skills. I found some clear plastic boxes, shoebox size, and stored my leftover pieces of fabric. The fabrics were all sorts of odd shapes and sizes, folded so they fit vertically in the box, fold-end up so I could see the colors. The boxes were color-coordinated. One box for warm colors: reds and oranges. One box for cool colors: blues and greens. Floral prints, novelties, darks, lights were all perfectly stowed away on the bottom shelf next to the washing machine in my basement. Ready to use...someday.

As time went by, my quilt ‘habit’ intensified. I started teaching, making samples, and designing easy quilts to promote fabric lines. And the basement stash continued to grow, neat and tidy, and safely stored. Thank goodness I’m so organized.

Then I went to a quilters’ guild meeting. A local woman had passed away, and she had been a quilter and garment-maker. No one in her family wanted her fabrics. The family members brought several huge bins full of her scrap fabrics in all shapes and sizes to the guild, hoping some one could use them. Not surprisingly, the guild members were thrilled! Free fabric! And I stood back and watched as the carefully stowed stash was plundered, soon to become gorgeous quilts made by guild members, most projects donated to local charities. 

And there I stood. I must be the most selfish person on the planet, because all I could think about was my own stash. Bits and pieces of my favorite colors, my favorite prints, my memories. Folded, lovingly stored away, in color-coordinated piles, neat and tidy for someone to use when I’m dead!
It was at that very moment that I knew I needed a better plan. I needed ScrapTherapy!

A quilt can be more than a quilt
At first, I never considered myself to be a scrap quilter. I love buying new fabric. It has a certain never-before-touched feel and smell. Oh, the possibilities… matching colors and prints, coordinating solids and accents. As I made more and more scrap quilts, I found that I could satisfy the itch to purchase new fabric and use it in a scrappy quilt project to combine the best of both worlds. In a way, making a scrap quilt can be similar to having a diet soft drink with a decadent dessert—using leftover fabric pieces while indulging in a new fabric treat—the two go very nicely together.

To begin any quilt, not just scrappy quilts, the quilter selects fabrics, then works with each piece intimately—pressing, cutting, sewing, sandwiching, and quilting. Every part of the quilt is touched over and over again by its creator, adding personality and energy at every step. As a quilt is used, it generates warmth. All that good energy wrapped into making the quilt, gets wrapped around you! Like a reusable hug.

Scrap quilts add one more dimension to a quilt’s ‘personality.’ Each scrappy piece of fabric with memories attached to it—a leftover from a graduation gift, a scrap remaining from a wedding quilt, fabric pieces from a holiday runner—is selected with care and sewn into the project. The positive memories and energies multiply.

Time for a change
But, there is a ‘dark’ side. The fabric scraps accumulate. Using them seems complicated at first, then overwhelming as the scrap stash grows. Where to begin, how to begin. And still, the bag of scraps remains. Lurking.

It’s a shame for quilters to feel badly about any aspect of this special hobby, but I see it all the time. Quilters roll their eyes when they consider all the unused pieces of fabric stored away in bags and boxes, unused, the guilt nearly overwhelming.

By presenting a logical method to organize and use perfectly wonderful leftover fabrics, I hope to inspire and motivate you. Quilters who love their craft can create from their own scrap stash, stress-free! The task may seem daunting at first, but it can be simple, and it can make sense—all in seven basic steps.

The ScrapTherapy concept, is about sorting, cutting, and storing scrap fabrics using a simple, sensible and logical process, and then using the sorted scraps in inspiring patterns that incorporate varied techniques. It’s fun and functional. Scrap fabrics in a wrinkled wad, aren’t keeping anyone warm. They aren’t satisfying the urge to create. They aren’t lifting spirits like a finished quilt would.

The process works. The ScrapTherapy method started with my own stash. Neatly cut and stored scraps take tons less space than the wrinkled bins full of messy fabrics. Thousands of cut up scraps from my stash have been repurposed into numerous quilted projects, some on the pages that follow. Locally, I teach the ScrapTherapy program at guilds and at a nearby quilt shop to quilters who are looking for fresh ways to use their stash. Then in 2007, the ScrapTherapy program became a popular class offering at independent quilt shops across the country and around the globe. The program continues to be a solution for many customers who say, “I can’t buy one more piece of fabric until I use what I have!”

Now, it’s in your hands! What do you have to lose? I challenge you to create irresistibly scrappy projects from your own stash! Are you ready to accept the challenge?

After all, they’re only scraps

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