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Controlled Chaos – a free scrap quilt pattern

Controlled Chaos - a free scrap quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

It’s finished!

The Controlled Chaos Quilt is finished! And I love it soooooo much!

Controlled Chaos - a free scrap quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

Before I get to the story – I want to give you all the link to the free scrap quilt pattern. It’s really much more than a pattern, because there are also lessons about working with color, and videos teaching all the skills I used – from cutting to sewing, quilting, and binding. It’s really a complete scrap quilting workshop. Get all the details here and make your own!

I started this quilt way back in May 2014. My scrap bins were overflowing and I particularly wanted to use up a lot of the smaller scraps. I thought about sewing them together randomly, creating a chaotic splash of colors – but I decided to control the chaos and create patterned blocks with those scraps. I’m so glad I did!

My plan was to make one block a week, so I would be done with the piecing in 20 weeks.

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Fifteen months later I finally finished piecing all the blocks. 🙂

This was a project that I set aside repeatedly – every time work got busy. But I always came back to it and I loved seeing the pile of finished blocks stack up.

Controlled Chaos Scrap Quilt - block #16

Block #16

It took me another three months to sew the blocks together and add sashing. It shouldn’t have taken that long, but it was the middle of the pre-holiday prep season and I had to set it aside again.

Once I got the top finished and basted, I decided to hand quilt it using Big Stitch Quilting.

That was the best decision ever!

Quilting the Controlled Chaos Quilt

Jo took one look at the quilting and announced that I was completely bonkers. In her words, “That’s going to take FOREVER!”

It actually took seven months.

Seven months of absolute bliss.


If I knew I was going to get some couch time with my quilt in the evening, I looked forward to it All Day Long. I’ll continue to machine quilt the quilts I want to finish quickly, but for the personal projects that are all about taking my time and enjoying the process – it’s Big Stitch Quilting forever for me. I don’t think I’ll ever do traditional hand quilting again.

Controlled Chaos - a free scrap quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

Look at that texture!

The whole quilt took a little over two years from start to finish.

That’s a long time for a single project, but I enjoyed every minute of that time – especially the hand work. In fact, I think my next big project like this will be all hand work from start to finish.

If you look at my timeline, the place I really stalled was piecing the blocks. In a way that makes sense. I sew at the machine during the day – which makes it work time. I sew by hand at night – free time while I watch television. Since this was a personal project it got set aside during busy work times. If the next one is all hand work, I think my progress will be more steady.

Get the free scrap quilt pattern to make your own Controlled Chaos Quilt here.

Happy quilting!

Controlled Chaos - a free scrap quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World


  1. Wendy SAYS...

    Oh!! I Love this quilt and all the lessons to go with it!! Thank you so much for sharing Everything!! Your teaching style is Wonderful- such a Gift you share! Thank you Thank You! I can hardly wait to do one- have to get a few more scraps in my basket ;0).

  2. Shirley E. SAYS...

    Looking at this picture made me feel like I must be drunk! The colors play tricks on your eyes so much. Pretty cool.

  3. Jenny O'Hara SAYS...

    I made this quilt about two and a half years ago just after you posted it the first time and I can tell you it gets plenty of raves. My hubby just loves this one particularly – I think it’s the texture – or whatever, but we have slept under it for the past 2 winters. It only took me one of our (non existant) winters from go to woa. It DOES get cold enough for quilts here in Aus. so we still love our quilts. Many thanks for the pattern, but unfortunately it still didn’t use up all my scraps. Oh well – keep on quilting!

  4. Pingback: Scrap Busting Quilt Patterns – Quilting

  5. Laura SAYS...

    I would really like to see the back of this quilt. Do you have it shown somewhere? It is beautiful!

    • The back is just the solid gray. Nothing fancy. 🙂