Thrifty Quilting

Some of my quilting friends will cringe at what I’m about to tell you, but – like the honey badger – Scrappy Camper don’t care.

I just bought a boatload of fabric from Walmart.

I HAD to. It was only $1.00 per yard. ONE. Dollar.

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The orange piece – while not the most attractive fabric I’ve ever seen – was just 75 cents per yard. I bought all of it, and I’d do it again.

I’m not insane. Like all quilters, I do love designer fabrics. Tula Pink, Michael Miller, Kaffe Fassett, all make my heart go pitter-patter, but at $10-$15 per yard, I can’t buy as much of it as I’d like. I save those for my special projects. Here then, are my top five tips for thrifty quilting, and how I use those lower-priced fabrics.

1. Walmart

For a while, Walmart quit carrying fabric and I was sad. I find their fabrics to be decent quality and even at regular price, it’s about $5-$6 per yard. Then, of course, there’s the $1 per yard sales.

2. Thrift Stores

I have found amazing fabrics at my local thrift store. Excellent quality quilting fabrics, entire bolts, bags full of scraps. All for a great price. The two prints above were in a big stack of quilting cottons I picked up for about ten bucks.

3. CraigsList

Oh, how I love CraigsList. I check it on a regular basis. I once scored two HUGE cardboard boxes of scrap fabrics for $30. HUGE.

4. Yard Sales

This is a little morbid, BUT…I once went to a yard sale where a widower was selling his wife’s stash for $2 per yard. All of it was quite expensive quilting cotton from our local quilt shop. I bought as much as I had cash for. My husband will probably be doing that one day.

I also once bought a garbage bag full of fabrics and inside I found several coin strips, including the one pictured above. I put them together with some of my low-volume jelly-roll strips to make a quilt top. Even though it’s not that attractive, I love it, and I often wonder about the person who made the strips. Did she die, or just get tired of sewing? I’ll never know.

5. Closet

Men’s plaid shirts make beautiful quilts. The fabric is often very good quality, and who doesn’t love a plaid quilt? I haven’t made one yet, but it’s on my list.

You can also check out my Pinterest board, Thrifty Quilting, here:

So, then, what do I do with these thrifty fabrics? As mentioned above, some of my finds are excellent quality and can go into my best projects. As for the rest, I like to use it for:

  • Quilt backing
  • To test new pattern designs
  • For utility quilts
  • Small projects like notebook covers, wallets, etc.

What are your thoughts on thrifty quilting? Yes or no?

Aloha Halloween

Aloha y’all. It’s October and that means one thing, and one thing only. Halloween. If I still lived on the mainland, I’d probably be sewing pumpkins right now, but I’m in Hawaii so…

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The pineapp-o-lantern is a beginner project – nothing more than squares, half-square triangles and a couple of quarter-square triangles. Grab a stack of 2.5″ squares and get started. 🙂

Download FREE pattern

Winning Color Combinations – Red and Brown

Quilting inspiration comes from many places: a photograph, a shape, a memory even. For me, it almost always begins with color. One of the reasons I love fabric so much is all the scrumptious eye candy. It’s like a painting you can cuddle.

In this series, we’re going to discuss awesome color combinations, and we’re going to begin with one of my all-time favorites: red and brown.

All the Feels…Color always sparks some emotion. Blue is calming, yellow, uplifting. Red on it’s own can be angry or passionate, but pair it with brown and it becomes cozy, warm, (sometimes) rustic. And who doesn’t love being warm and cozy? That’s why it’s the perfect combination for a quilt.

Here’s what I’m currently doing with red and brown.

This is basically a fence-rail block with a pinwheel in the middle. It’s a UFO from several years back. Maybe, probably, hopefully — no, dammit — I WILL finish it one day. I think this would have been just fine without the orange, but I ran out of my reds and browns so being the innovator that I am… haha.

How do you feel about red and brown? Have you ever used it in a quilt? I’d love to see it.

Thanks, y’all, for stopping by.

Posies and Plaid

Throwback Thursday

This little lap quilt is another treasure from my Alaska days. The girls and I spent a wonderful year there while my soldier did an unaccompanied tour in Korea. Between hubby being gone and the bitter cold winter, I had lots of time on my hands, most of which I spent quilting and sewing.

My 5 favorite things about this quilt are:

  1. The plaid shirting – a freebie I picked up at a fabric exchange. Oh, and that pink floral…I wish I’d bought a whole bolt of it. It goes with everything.
  2. Accuquilt friendliness factor – I cut every piece with my Accuquilt Go.
  3. Color scheme – The pinks and greens are delicious…like ice cream sherbet.
  4. Quick, easy piecing – This would be a great beginner pattern. It went together very quickly, but it still looks great.
  5. Beautiful quilting – My go-to long-arm quilter in Alaska, Mary Lou Frahm of Honeybee Quilting did a fabulous job, don’t you agree?

At about  57″ square, this quilt is the perfect size for the beach, or curling up on the couch. I think it would make a great baby quilt too. I might have to make a few more. 🙂

Mahalo, y’all, for stopping by.

I Need a Bigger Bed…

Chaos Theory is coming along nicely, except for one thing. It’s too big to lay out on my queen-sized bed. In fact, there’s not a space in my house big enough to lay out the entire quilt. When finished, it will measure a whopping 96″ square. I don’t know what I’m going to do. For now, I’ll just keep sewing.

I have completed seven of the 16 sections. Only 1,296 small squares left to sew – sooooo – I better leave you and get back to work.

Earth Song

A Finished Quilt Top (Or Flimsy, If You Prefer)

My other New Year’s Resolution, besides the one involving my scrap tub, was to finish something old and something new every month. It’s a contract I made with myself after realizing my UFOs had gotten out of control and that I was going to die one day with a zillion unfinished projects if I didn’t do something about it soon.

My first instinct was to say I couldn’t start any new projects until I finished all the old ones, but a wise friend suggested I alternate one UFO with one new project to stave off boredom. It’s a system that’s worked marvelously. Thanks, Kelly.

Earth Song is my Something New for March. It was inspired by a quilt I saw on Pinterest by Adrianne Ove of Little Bluebell. It’s a bossy little quilt. It insisted on that hippy name. (Not that I’m denigrating hippies. Far from it. I have quite a few hippy tendencies. My two daughters are named after trees and I’ll tie-dye anything that gets in my way.) However, I’m not that great at naming my quilts, so I let this one have it’s way.


There’s a small scrap element to this project. The yellow center squares came from my famous tub. The yellow used in the sashing was a fresh purchase. 😦 🙂 Everything else came from my stash, which is great because I need to use that up too. Yay, me.

Now, when I say “finish,” I mean I finished the quilt top. It’s not quilted yet. I’ve been saving for a long-arm quilting machine, so for the moment, I’m stacking my quilt tops on a shelf and waiting patiently. Hopefully next year will be my year to really finish all my projects. Having said that, I welcome any and all advice on which long-arm machine I should purchase.

Skill Level: Beginner

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to beginner quilters. It’s not only easy, but it comes together quickly. More advanced quilters can take it up a notch by using a pinwheel as the center block (A) or incorporating a more complex sashing.

12-inch block w/2-inch sashing (finished)

  • A = 4½” x 4½”
  • B = 4½” x 4½”
  • C = 4½” x 8½”
  • D = 4½” x 8½”
  • E = 4½” x 12½”


  • Yellow strips = 2½” x 12½”
  • Brown squares = 2½” x 2½”


  • 24 blocks
  • 6 rows of 4 squares
  • Finished quilt size: 58″ x 86″ 


I hope you like it. Thanks, y’all, for stopping by.