Scrap or Scrappy?

I saw a post on Facebook today that I thought was rather interesting. Someone asked how people would definite scrap quilt as they were going to include that category in their local Quilt Show. I thought it was interesting that the responders made a distinction between a scrap quilt that was made from leftovers versus a scrappy quilt with many different fabrics regardless of whether they were leftovers or not.

When I started blogging 16 years ago, I called my blog “Making Scrap Quilts from Stash” and I didn’t (and don’t) definite a scrap quilt as only using leftovers. I’m also reminded of the time that someone said that my quilts weren’t really scrappy … commenting on ones that were made in two or three colors. I would disagree with that. A scrap quilt can have a limited color scheme but use many different fabrics. Like this one …

or like this one… I consider both of these scrap quilts.

Some of my scrap quilts ARE just from leftovers like my Strips and Strings Log Cabin quilts.

And other scrappy quilts are made from leftovers as well as other stash like this log cabin quilt. Because I used my Accuquilt die to cut this one, I needed pieces of a certain size.

And for this Forest Bricks quilt, I probably used a bit of almost every green I had in the stash whether it was leftover or not!

My HeartStrings quilts are made from leftovers so I guess everyone would agree they’re scrappy but I do use one fabric for my center strip for most of them.

When we moved from Minneapolis in 2014 my stash was at our condo (until 2018) and we were in Florida so I started to use a lot more precuts because I didn’t have easy access to the stash and while I rarely made quilts with a limited number of fabrics except for my Quick Strippies … right now HeartStrings is doing a 3 yard Quilt Project so I’m making a bunch of quilts with just 3 fabrics!

Scrap quilts are still my favorite but I do have fun working with precuts and the 3 yard quilts too! What are your favorite quilts to make and do you have a strict definition for scrap quilts?


  1. I’ve not made many quilts but I loved making my quilt that looks like yours in the last photo, using the same colour blue fabric in the centre of each square 🙂

  2. Interesting topic, I love making scrap/scrappy quilts, but I prefer to call them scrappy quilts, because to me scraps is something you don’t want and might otherwise throw out… kind of like scrap food or leftovers that you might feed to the dog or cat.

  3. I think there’s a difference between a true scrap quilt (made from leftovers) and a scrappy quilt (made with lots of different fabrics), but it matters not one bit to me. I love them both!!!

  4. I’ve always distinguished between the two. Like Joyful, when i use the phrase “scrap quilt” I’m referring to one made only from leftovers, and when I say “scrappy quilt” I’m referring to one that uses a mix of many fabrics, some of which may be scraps, one made in the style of a scrap quilt. I love seeing how other quilters use their scraps, those small pieces of fabrics that are too precious and beautiful to toss but are too small to make a whole block. Either way, scrap and scrappy quilts are my favorite kinds of quilts to make.

  5. I think there is a difference, at least in my mind. A scrappy quilt is from MANY fabrics, be it leftovers or cut from yardage. Your pink and brown quilt is a multi-fabric quilt, not true “scrappy,” That’s how I define things anyway. But, it doesn’t truly matter. Whatever floats your boat. I rarely make quilts from just 3 or 4 fabrics any longer. Most of my quilts are donation quilts, and they have many, many different fabrics in them. Many are from strips I’ve cut in a specific width. I made over 100 string blocks during the pandemic which are now in almost 4 tops. I ran out!!! Need about 7 more blocks. Now, THOSE are TRUE scrappy and scrap quilts. Love making those. I still have a ginormous Hefty bag about 2 feet x 2.5 feet FULL of strings. Don’t think I will ever run out of strings. I just keep making “kitchen sink” type string blocks. They are all so different. It amuses me to use up what some people would throw away. My strings are the bits and pieces of what is left after squaring up a fabric or what is left from yardage or a FQ. All different widths, some straight, some pretty crooked. It all looks great in the end, I think. Stephanie from Stashbusters/Heartstrings would CRINGE at my bag of strings as most of them need to be pressed before I can use them. Especially if I feel the need to reach in the way bottom of that huge bag!!

  6. I don’t think I ever use the term ‘scrappy’ when defining a quilt, I use the term scrap. A scrap quilt has many different fabrics in it. It can be just one color, like blue, but many different blue fabrics. I kind of think a scrap quilt is like cooking using a pinch of this and a pinch of that.

  7. What an interesting post. I’ve never made a distinction in my mind. I’ve made many a quilt from leftover fabrics. But I’ve also cut into yardage to get the just right color I need. Why differentiate? You pay the same price per yard whether it’s used from yardage or leftover pieces.

  8. It only takes a small scrap to cut a small shapes but a scrap quilt isn’t necessarily all made of small scraps. Anything smaller than 1/4 yard qualifies for a scrap in my studio. To me scrap or scrappy both refer to many different fabrics used in a quilt, not what size piece I have cut it from. I have used the term multi-fabric quilts when I was promoting a class so people without a scrap collection would feel included. I typically use 50 or more fabrics in a quilt cutting from both scraps and yardage to get the effect I am after.

  9. Loved all your Quilts! I’ve always thought scrap quilts were Always just made from scraps. They are one of my favorite quilts to make. That and the strip quilts. Right now I’m doing a Grand mother’s Flower garden Quilt. It’ all done by sewing it by hand. Gosh only knows when it will get done. It’s really fun to do. I’ve done a lot of applique Quilts too. xo

  10. Oh your quilts are so beautiful ❤️ Good question…scrap used to make me think at least something in the quilt was from a scrap pile (though now I see that may not be correct!). So scrap v scrappy I’m not sure 🤔

  11. I think it is just semantics. I personally use both left over fabric from my bins and fabric pulled from the stash. I use many fabrics in all my quilts. Using just 3 or 5 fabrics does not hold the appeal for me. And I rarely use a limited color pallet. For me its about the value-light and dark, and the contrast to make the shape in the block stand out. To each his own I guess….LOL!

  12. I like colorful scrappy quilts the best! I guess I get bored with too many blocks that look the same.

  13. I call mine scrap quilts. No matter how long the fabric’s been hanging around my studio. Or whether I’ve cut pieces from that fabric purchase before or not.
    My quirk is that I like to have at least 31 different fabrics in each quilt. Some kind of mathematical principal, but I’ve forgotten just what.

    My Vanilla Quilt, which was once displayed at the Texas Quilt Museum, has over a hundred fabrics in it. Cream, ivory, white, pale grey, very light tan, etc. Close up, there are flecks of blue and pink and green. But overall, it’s Vanilla. And definitely a scrap quilt.

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