About Barbara

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

Scrappy Sunday

It’s not a finish but it’s a top!  The scrappy Friendship Star/Nine Patch blocks Barbara made are sashed and bordered and moved to the “await quilting” pile.  This was a really quick make and a great side adventure using some of those 2 1/2inch squares that were cut at the beginning of March.


It looks like we are going to turn our attention away from squares for a while.  We’ve had a few high-level virtual consultations over the last week (HQ of course is closed at the moment so everything has been screen to screen and bring your own caffeine..) and we think it might be time to feature traditional blocks which work well with scraps.  One of our go-to references for scrappy and traditional is “Great Scrap Bag Quilts” by Jan Halgrimson – here’s the sideways version

We’ve mentioned Jan’s books in earlier scrappy posts – our copies are VERY well thumbed and have been a source of much inspiration over the years.  Here’s a peep at one page (P.85) which caught our eye – the block is Scrap Bag Star.

This is a 12inch block and we are trying not to focus too much on that instruction that says “cut 24 light, 84 dark” – that’s a LOT of pieces for a 12inch block!  But it would make a reasonable dent in a stack of very small scraps ….  The lovely thing about the early books of patchwork patterns is that they are black & white only and you can use your imagination to put colour in them.  And the equally lovely thing is that we now have EQ8 (and its predecessors) to draw, colour and make virtual quilts with these blocks.  Here’s our first EQ8 stab at Scrap Bag Star –

Then it’s hard to resist clicking on the random recolour tool –

We’re off to get more scrappy inspiration from Ms Halgrimson – tune in next week for June’s EQ Doodles, Free Pattern Friday and more scrappiness on Sunday.

Happy stitching!


Scrappy Sunday – more squares?

Over at the Rural Office the focus is still on squares but there are signs that half square triangles may enter the picture in the near future.  A week before everything came to a halt Barbara had cut a bag of 2 1/2inch squares and we’ve shown some of the blocks that have grown out of that bag in previous posts.  The bag is now greatly diminished but proved a handy starting point to lay out some reference pics for an informal online challenge with a group of indefatigable hand stitching students.


Here’s the original greyscale plan for a small (18inches square) quilt top –

And here’s a glimpse of Barbara’s progress so far – just 2 blocks to finish and then choose sashing and borders –





A further progress report in a future Scrappy Sunday post – happy stitching!




Scrappy Sunday – still stitching squares!

Barbara has been very happily stuck in a groove of scrappy squares and it looks as if there will be many more squares cut, marked and stitched together in the coming weeks.  All sorts of ideas are floating around but we thought you might like to see the current state of play.

Four of the five 4patch/9patch blocks might go together like this  and there would be one block left over – each block measures 12inches edge to edge before setting seams.

or put all five blocks together like this –

The five smaller double4patch blocks might go together like this.

Blocks measure 8 inches edge to edge before setting seams.

or possibly like this –

Barbara’s stash at the Rural Office has been the subject of thorough investigation to come up with suitable scrappy choices for settings and sashings.  The investigation has not yet reached any firm conclusions so it’s back to stitching squares into pairs for a while!


Scrappy Sunday

Can you believe it’s yet another post on squares? Barbara was rummaging in The Cupboard at the Rural Office and turned up this really simple (but finished!!) quilt she made a few years ago –

One or two Charm Packs may have been put to good use in a very simple sashed setting, longarm quilting courtesy of The Bramble Patch.  This was definitely a quick and easy make.

Barbara’s hand stitched 4patch project has progressed to this tentative layout which would be 3x 9patch blocks of 4patch units and borders of 4patches on point.  But the stack of 4patch units continues to grow so something larger may be in prospect –

Or maybe the 4patches themselves could be made into larger blocks, and maybe those blocks put on point…..  One thing for sure is that the original stack of squares could make quite a few more 4patches and there seems to be no let up in the production rate.  One 4patch is just 3 short seams and really fast to hand piece.

In fact the squares into 4patches concept has worked so well that Barbara is quietly considering opening up the (large) box containing 2 1/2inch strips cut from most fabrics in her stash and sacrificing just 5inches from each strip to cut again into squares.  Just to see what happens……

Happy stitching!

Scrappy Sunday

Reporting in with progress on the 4patch front – here’s the present position

About half of the first stack of squares have been converted first into pairs and then into 4patch units.  No counting at this stage, just keep marking up and stitching and enjoying the process.

Then there’s the urge to lay out just a few 4 patch units to see how they look – maybe this block arrangement?

or maybe something like this? –

Remember that your local quilt shop will have jelly rolls, charm packs etc if you want to freshen up your supplies.  Pre-cuts are a great way of enhancing yourstash and are excellent value for money.  Barbara often starts a project or class sample with a selection of 2 1/2inch strips cut from half lengths of jelly roll strips – sort of having your cake and eating it….

You may remember these from a scrappy hexagons post last year –

At the time of writing these lovely fresh springlike fabrics are available at a discounted price at The Corner Patch – we just might be acquiring further supplies and adding to the stock of ready-to-use hexagons. Grandmother’s Flower Garden anyone??

Scrappy Sunday

Chris’s post on squares gave us both pause for creative thought in these challenging days.  Barbara was unpacking class “stuff” this week and picked up a bag of assorted jelly roll strips and decided to cut some  2 1/2inch squares before sorting the strips and putting them away.  No  Grand Plan, just making a stack of 2 1/2inch squares. A dig into one of the stash crates produced a few more strips for squares without any serious loss of fabric – one or two strips from three or four half yard pieces is barely noticeable. And now the plan is shaping up – it’s not Grand, but it is do-able and will fit in well with these changed circumstances.

Make 4 patch units – mixed colours, prints, 2 dark squares, 2 lighter squares. Be as random as you dare!

If you like setting goals for yourself you could think about stitching 1 unit a day as a minimum.  We’re thinking ongoing stitching here which will fit into daily life rather than marathon sewing sessions.  Barbara will be adding these to her other hand sewing projects, you could make your 4patches by hand or by machine (but don’t mix the two processes!!).

Make more 4patch units.

Keep all units together in a Safe Place or a Satisfying Stack

Cut more 2 1/2inch squares.

Make more 4patch units.

At the end of April set out all the units made so far, take a picture and let’s review our production.

Classes at The Corner Patch may be suspended for the time being but we can still buy online – supporting your Local Quilt Shop is vitally important.  There’s a particularly yummy range of black prints that Barbara has her eye on……. and then there’s the threads, notions and all sorts of things that might be needed.  We’re off to do a little web browsing – and make 4patch units!

Scrappy Sunday

When we first thought about setting up Scrappy Sunday posts we both wrote satisfyingly long lists of possible topics and titles in our respective notebooks and quaffed a considerable quantity of caffeine at HQ.  It seemed such a good idea and we have been delighted with the response to the weekly posts.  This week we’re re-visiting one of our absolute favourite scrap-busting blocks – Log Cabin.  Both of us have taught this piecing classic for many years and it is one we return to time and again – in fact Barbara is teaching a class at The Corner Patch this month (making sure that Chris’s Little Book of Log Cabin is in her class resources bag).

We both have well-thumbed copies of the Bonnie Leman/Judy Martin book Log Cabin Quilts published in 1980


and it’s really interesting to see just how much quilting publishing has changed and developed over the years – compare the presentation and illustrations here to what we regularly see in books and magazines nowadays.

 Probably the first instruction we followed for Log Cabin blocks was in the BBC booklet Discovering Patchwork –

 Just look at the suppliers list at the back of this publication! –

This is 1978 – what a difference today!!