I’ve always been a scrap quilter at heart. From my earliest log cabin quilts decades ago, I’ve enjoyed pulling out the leftover strips and strings and turning them into something interesting.

Inspired by my friend Susan Lapham’s scrap quilts in the month of January, I decided to gift myself some time to play this week.

So far I’ve made a start on a strip quilt using my warm yellow/orange/red scraps along with some leftover print strips from a quilt I made last year. I chose that color recipe, and the strip shape to start.

Playing with scraps February 2024 – CIndy Grisdela

I’m trying to let the strips define the lines–that is, I didn’t trim or square them up–so the lines are a bit organic and not ruler straight. Some purples snuck in, and that’s OK. I’m just building slabs of color and putting them up on the wall to see what happens.

I’m not sure how big it will get. Maybe that depends on how the scraps hold up! Currently it’s about 20″ square before taking the strips on the upper left into account.


Small scrap quiltlets 2024 – Cindy Grisdela

Also in the mix are these 8″x 8″ quiltlets that use some of the same scraps in a smaller Improv Log Cabin format. They are pieced, quilted, and mounted on painted black canvas so they hang on the wall like a picture–or they can stand on a shelf or bookcase if space is at a premium.

I had fun adding some unexpected elements into the outer borders to make them more interesting–two gray linen fabrics that are similar but not the same in the one on the right, and a narrow black and white strip plus a similar but not the same rectangle in the one on the left. To let you in on the secret, I had to do that because my strips weren’t big enough, but I like the way the “coping” elements add to the design!

If you are interested in my method for mounting on canvas, visit my free tutorial at https://cindygrisdela.com/2017/05/17/mounting-art-quilts-on-canvas-tutorial/

How do you use your scraps?

UPDATE 04.26.2024: The original top grew to about 40″ h x 35″ w. It was interesting to see how much those neon yellow elements created a support structure for the design to hang from. I’m already thinking about another one in cool blues, purples and greens with a pop of orange or lime green!

Summer – unquilted top – Cindy Grisdela



  1. Beth McLeod on February 2, 2024 at 4:40 pm

    I have so many different scraps from so many favorite pieces. I don’t know where or how to start on an improv. But pick a color span and the shape is a good direction to start. 👍
    I love your work and have followed you for a long time. I’ll try to catch a class when you come to Wisconsin!

    • Cindy on February 2, 2024 at 4:59 pm

      Great–I’m glad you found the idea helpful! And thanks for your kind words about my work–I hope to see you in class sometime!


  2. Jean Haese on February 2, 2024 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you for such a great idea to use up scraps. I have quite a lot building up so this is a great way I could use mine. Jean 🎎🇯🇵🧵

  3. Jane Bernauer on February 2, 2024 at 5:07 pm

    I LOVE the way you create a couple of parameters and then start. Your work is just my idea of beautiful and fun. Thanks also for the info. online about how you mount quiltlets onto canvas. I’m going to try that with my current mini as soon as I quilt if. Thanks for the oodles of inspiration! I grew up in Wisconsin so delight in claiming you too!

    • Cindy on February 3, 2024 at 8:40 am

      Thank you Jane!

  4. Carol A on February 2, 2024 at 5:26 pm

    Hi Cindy, I share you desire to make vertical and horizontal stripes. I also like to use something of mine, piece of cloth recycled to make it my own. The Gees Bend quilts inspire this, I think!

    • Cindy on February 3, 2024 at 8:41 am

      Thanks Carol–yes, Gee’s Bend is definitely an inspiration!

  5. Lynette on February 3, 2024 at 1:02 am

    So inspiring. I would love to do one of your classes, do you ever come over to the UK ?

    • Cindy on February 3, 2024 at 8:39 am

      Thank you Lynette. I don’t get over to the UK in person much, but I do have online classes you can take. The next one is Improv Puzzle in March.

  6. Wendy Hall on February 3, 2024 at 11:24 am

    I love your sense of improv design. I can’t wait to see where the reds, purples and other warm colors take you! I am going to look into your Improv Puzzle class in March. Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Cindy on February 5, 2024 at 10:38 am

      Thank you Wendy–I appreciate your kind words!

      Let me know if you have questions about the Improv Puzzle class–that one is a lot of fun!


  7. Wendy Hall on February 3, 2024 at 11:48 am

    I am looking forward to your class through Creative Spark today!

  8. Kim on February 4, 2024 at 9:56 pm

    I like that you made those tiny quilts!

    • Cindy on February 5, 2024 at 10:37 am

      Thank you–they are such fun!