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Scrapbook Quilts

Take scrapbooking to the next level by incorporating photographs and mementos into a quilt! Learn more with Sue Astroth's project tips and techniques.

Decide on theme for your scrapbook quilt. Select your fabric, nothing too big or distracting, something that will complement and help to tell the story you will be telling with your quilt.

Next start collecting treasures you want to include on the quilt (figure A). Lots of them! Think about your story and what items that really reinforce the theme. Keys, keyholes, buttons, snaps, pencils, vintage game pieces, even silverware. Look everywhere—ask friends, check out discount stores, thrift shops and garage sales. Also, select rubber stamps, papers and photographs that also relate to the quilt theme.

I typically use color photocopies of my original photographs (figure B) so I can make the photo fit to the size of my quilt. For my quilt, I selected my grandmother's photo. As grandma was a seamstress, I also selected items that related to a sewing theme. I usually select more items than I use. This allows me to audition items, choosing only the best, as I arrange them on the quilt top.

After selecting a spot for grandma's photo, I have the choice of using a ruler stamp or an actual vintage ruler (figure C) on the quilt. First I test the stamp. I turn the stamp over and apply the ink to the stamp. I place the stamp on some white paper, apply slight pressure then remove the stamp. The result was too bright, which lead me to the decision to use the actual vintage typewriter ruler instead. I also wanted to add some color to the thread packet stamped image. To do this I ink up a stippling brush then pounced color onto the image (figure D).

Next I audition other items that may add character to the finished quilt (figure E). I try the heart mold, it is a good piece that can be attached to the quilt easily, but it is too large and overpowers the overall design. Some other items I found were a piece of crochet work that I accent with buttons and snaps. Then I added some vintage game pieces, and a pair of sewing scissors for the finishing touch.

Once the items are placed on the quilt I draw a rough diagram for the quilt (figure F). This will be the map I use when I actually attach all the items to the quilt.

To sew on items that are solid I usually sew a small piece of cardstock behind the item then glue the item directly to the cardstock. For the scissors I take small stitches around the handles and on the scissor blade closest to the quilt to hold securely hold them in place (figure G). For a long object such as a pen, I use a ribbon sewn to the quilt and tied around the pen in a bow to hold it in place (figure H).

As these are scrapbooking quilts, there is usually a story to go with the quilt. Sometimes you can include your words on the front of the quilt as I did with "sew" on grandma's but sometime there is just more to say. To include the full story, you can make a paper pocket, large enough for a ready made tag, for the back of the quilt (figure I). Decorate it to match your theme and attach it on the back with jewelry or beading pins (figure J).

More of Sue Astroth's memory quilts:

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