About Barbara

teacher and writer http://barbarachaineyquilts.wordpress.com www.barbarachainey.com

Scrappy Sundays – from the 1960s

Another visit to The Cupboard at The Rural Office and another scrappy patchwork top to enjoy.  This was a gift to Barbara many years ago, the background information being that it was begun but not finished by schoolgirls in the 1960s as part of their Domestic Science & Needlework curriculum.  Scraps of all types and weights of fabrics have been used, several different colours of thread, some or most of the papers already removed – this is what some patchwork looked like in the very early days of the UK revival.  We’re including it in our Scrappy Sunday posts because it most certainly is scrappy and also the single honeycomb shape used links back to an earlier Scrappy post about the honeycomb shape. Enjoy the pics!

don’t you just love that blue and white poodle?

and because all quilters like to turn things over, here’s the reverse side –

many of the honeycomb “papers” were cut from embossed wallpaper –

 

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Scrappy Sundays – a little bit of vintage

Barbara was recently rummaging through The Cupboard which houses her vintage quilt collection and brought out a patchwork top which seems to fit our Scrappy theme very well.  The patchwork has been made from a wide and charming variety of scrap fabrics and it looks as if the 60 degree diamonds might have first been made up into hexagon units and then put together.

Larger hexagons have been added in at the edges and the hexagon rosette at the centre is, in fact, composed of diamonds (see final pic below).  All very eclectic!

First, a detail of the reverse side – you can see both diamonds and hexagons here.

Notice that the fabric has not always been cut to a hexagon shape before being tacked over the papers;  in some instances there is almost as much fabric on the reverse as there is on the front.  It is possible that the maker began with appropriately sized squares of fabric to make her hexagons which would have involved less initial cutting and preparation of the patches.

Here’s roughly half of the quilt top showing the scrappy random arrangement of pieces and the unexpected selection of fabrics for the centre rosette –

and some details of the many different prints –

 

You can see from the above detail that this is a truly scrappy piece with very little organisation – lower right corner is one of the larger hexagons.

More vintage scrappiness at a later date …

Scrappy Sundays – more Half Square Triangles

We have to admit that we do love Half Square Triangles! Barbara got rather carried away after Chris’s post last week and had a quick rummage through Electric Quilt for a few blocks where HSTs predominated. Have a look at the results –

 

Block One  – Broken Dishes

A 4patch block requires 4 HST units, shown here with four mixed blue prints and a single light value.

For one 4inch Broken Dishes block cut squares 2 7/8inches and cut on the diagonal to yield 2 HST triangles per cut square. Arrange the pieces then join together to make the block.

Multiple blocks joined together might look like this –

Block Two – Pinwheels

One easy way to organise and use a wide variety of scraps in the same block/quilt is to add in a single consistent fabric for the background – we’ve hinted at this in the colouring of this Pinwheel block with 4 different blue fabrics and a consistent white background

To make 1 Pinwheel block cut 4 squares 4 1/2inches and a total of 20 scrap HSTs and 20 background/light scrap HSTs cut from 2 7/8inch squares. Pair up background and scrap HSTs, stitch together and press to dark, trim and make Pinwheel units. Lay out Pinwheel units and squares and piece together to make the block.

Here’s an indication of what a complete quilt top might look like with a simple sashing separating the blocks –

 

Block Three – Hovering Hawks

This is a great block for using scraps – the example above uses 5 different fabrics plus a single background.

To make a 12inch block cut 6 scrap squares 3 1/2inches, 10 scrap HSTs and 10 background/light scrap HSTs cut from 3 7/8inch squares. Arrange all pieces then pair up and stitch HST units, press and trim as necessary before returning to layout and piecing the block. in 4 units

Again, an indication of a full quilt top –

Block Four – Windblown Square

 

This block requires a total of 16 pieced HST units. Cut the individual HSTs from 3 7/8inch squares – you will need a total of 20 scrap HSTs and 12 background/light scrap HSTs. Pair and piece all the HST units, press and trim, lay units out and piece the block together.

A full quilt set with sashing – but it could be so much more interesting if the scrap colours were more varied and mixed – our example is blues only!

 

Block Five – Yankee Puzzle

Another traditional block which is made entirely from pieced HST units. For a 12inch block cut the HSTs from 3 7/8inch squares; you will need a total of 20 HSTs scrap and 12 HSTs background/light scrap.

No great leap of imagination required for a full quilt using this block –

And you could combine scrappy HST blocks of the same size –

Further musings on HSTs may show up in future Scrappy Sunday posts after we’ve had a serious rummage through the quilt picture archive.  Happy stitching!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrappy Sunday – honeycomb

“Honeycomb” is a relatively recent naming of a traditional hexagonal mosaic shape – way back in the 1970s it was often referred to as Church Window.  Whatever name is attached to it this is another hugely versatile shape that is perfect for using scraps.  Barbara has recently used this shape in several smallish projects and raided her bag of prepped honeycombs to set out some arrangements –

Honeycombs can be set interlocking and tessellating in an allover arrangement or they can be spaced with squares as above.  The squares would need to be the same size as the short sides of the honeycomb and could be cut from a contrast value and a single fabric.  In the example above the honeycombs alternate light and dark in each strip – this is a simple way to put some sort of order into scraps.

If you arrange honeycombs in sets of 4 of similar value you arrive at a secondary shape/unit which will fit and tessellate with others.  You could make huge numbers of this unit and then lay them out into your own arrangement –

Next, the same 4piece unit but this time with alternating values, each unit having 2 light and 2 dark honeycombs –

Put 4 of these units together to make a larger honeycomb unit, which again will fit and tessellate with others.

The same number of honeycombs and the same unit shape but coloured as a rosette –

Playing with the first 4honeycomb shape and adding in “background” shapes and maybe even some squares –

Four units of four set together and starting to infill with more honeycombs and squares –

Don’t overlook a really simple stretched rosette made from 7 honeycombs –

Turn 4 honeycombs around a square to make a new unit which can be set together with additional squares –

One of Barbara’s current projects involves honeycombs set on strips in a variety of ways –

 

And finally for this post here’s a detail from one of Barbara’s earlier EPP projects based on the classic patchworks of Lucy Boston –

Scrappy Sunday – more squares

We thought we’d take a second look at squares and scraps – this time with examples from EQ to show just a few possibilities.  One simple block composed entirely of squares, nothing could be simpler and it’s a perfect way to put lots of different scraps together without too much angst as to what goes with what.  Start with lots of squares, say 2 1/2inch ones, and divide them into two piles, one dark and one light.  It’s the dark vs light distinction that makes this scrap control process work because it eliminates the constant question “does this fabric look good with that one?”.  Most of us find “random” and “scrappy” very challenging concepts and the dark vs light division makes a good place to start.  Here’s a 16square grid for us to play with dark and light scrap values –

The first, simplest and most traditional arrangement for this grid would probably be a checkerboard –

and it’s fairly easy to predict what a whole quilt made from these blocks would look like, so we won’t!  But if we tweak the arrangement of lights and darks (remember, we’re ignoring colour here) the same grid might look like one of the blocks below –

 

 

 

And, yes, we have used one more value – medium – in some of the examples above.  That’s because once you have divided your scrappy squares into lights and darks you are sure to find that some darks are just darker and some darks are almost medium when compared with the light pile.  Now take a look at some quilt plans using the above blocks in a straight edge to edge setting –

And here’s one of the blocks set with sashing and cornerstones rather than edge to edge.  Giving scrappy blocks just a little breathing room with simple sashing can actually bring everything together really well –

We’ve just looked at arrangements of scrap squares of the same size – what if (our favourite question!) you mix scrap squares of related sizes in the same block? Here are two of Barbara’s scrappy square blocks finished into cushions.  Notice that there are very few, if any, fabric duplications – these really were conjured from scraps!

More scrappiness next Sunday – happy stitching!

 

 

 

 

 

Scrappy Sunday – “kites”

It’s Scrappy Sunday time again (this summer seems to be whizzing by don’t you think?) and this week we want to spotlight a versatile “kite” shape which is perfect for converting scraps into something stunning.  Barbara was browsing the shelves of the library at the Rural Office

and picked up two of our favourite books from way back when…..

We’ve already shown these books in a previous Scrappy post but we’re not apologising – they are well worth repeating.  Several years ago Barbara was looking for a scrappy style project and this page from “Scraps Can Be Beautiful” (left, above) demanded attention.

 

The test block was duly made

and then put aside (as so often happens).  Shortly afterwards, paging through an old copy of Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts, a hexagonal block, built from this same kite shape and titled “Antique Rose Star” was found.  Scrappy inspiration struck!  Using mostly scraps selected from browns, reds and shirtings it was not long before there was a stack of Antique Rose Star blocks.

 

The same block was featured in “Material Obsession 2” by Kathy Doughty and Sara Fielke (Murdoch Books, 2009).

Over the years Barbara has taught many hand piecing classes featuring this block and students are always surprised at how easy it is to piece and how effective changes of value can be.  Three kites make one triangle, twenty four triangles make one full block –

 

A small selection of blocks made in classes –

 

 

If you are looking for resources to help you explore some of the delights of the kite shape may we recommend the excellent template pack from Marti Michell


If EPP is your piecing preference then we suggest you check out Paper Pieces or Lina Patchwork for supplies of die cut kite shapes in various sizes.

Barbara has a Pinterest board devoted to this block and you’re sure to find lots more “kite ” inspiration on Pinterest and Google, to name but two!

Happy stitiching!

 

 

Pop up success!

Whew! What a great day we had on Saturday with our first pop up class – a full house of new and familiar faces and the sweet hum of massed sewing machines plus lots of chatter and laughs.  We had decided to feature the project Chris designed for The Corner Patch Retreat (and a big thank you to Jane Alcock (formerly of The Corner Patch) for helping out and for providing everyone with a little goodie bag) and there were lots of oohs and aahs when it was revealed –

Everyone got straight to work after the demo.

and we were soon admiring the first blocks in all their variety –

Really looking forward to seeing some finished quilt tops in the next few weeks!  It was such a good day with so many requests for more popup classes that we may have to have a high level Board meeting at HQ next week and discuss the possibilities for 2020.

In other news we have updated the EQ Doodles page so do click over and take a look – or download a colouring sheet here – August doodle

This is the week of the BIG quilt show – Festival of Quilts – here in the UK and we’ll be joining thousands of other quilters and enjoying some retail therapy and quilt viewing. Don’t forget to check back here for Scrappy Sunday at the end of the week – see you soon!