Christmas Doodles

The December Doodles are here on our Doodles page and Barbara was feeling a little festive when she started colouring these in! The blocks used are Rolling Star and Five-Patch Chain.

December quilt 7 festive

You can download a colouring sheet to design your quilts – festive or otherwise – here.

If you head over to Meadowside Designs you will find the templates for a 10 inch Rolling Star block and the cutting instructions for a 10 inch Five-Patch Chain block in case you fancy recreating your design in real fabric.

Scrappy Sundays – Braid

Strips and hexagons again this week – but not at the same time. Braid is an excellent way to use up left over strips, particularly those of different widths. Chris was demonstrating this at the weekend’s quilt show in Eccleshall. Starting with a triangle (these ones cut from 5 inch squares as they were available) it involves sewing strips to alternate sides of that triangle and trimming as you go. Chris had a bag of assorted green strips and a bag of assorted red strips beside her and just picked from each bag in turn and at random. To get the chevron effect half the triangles were started with the green on the left hand side and half with it on the right.

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These sections were cut to the width and length of the ruler available on the day, which was a small one, but you can make your strips any length or width you like – the width is determined largely by the size of triangle you start with. If you make your strip really long (bed length) you may find it starts to bend like a banana by the time it gets beyond 4 foot – take care with the pressing to try to correct this; also, with luck, when you join all your bendy long strips together you can fudge/block (in extremis – dampen it slightly, pin it to the carpet so it is square and straight, leave it to dry) the whole thing straight!

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You can be a little more ordered with your braid and cut all the strips the same width to start with.

block c

quilt 1

You can piece the strips with contrast fabrics.

block d

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quilt 6

You can add squares to the ends of one set of strips so they travel along the centre of the braid.

block b

quilt 2

You could make the strips on one side of the braid an equal width and the strips on the other side alternate wide and narrow and light and dark.

quilt 7

quilt 8

When you put the strips together you could separate sections with plain ‘sashing’.

You could make very ordered (in terms of colour and width) braid strips which can give a totally different look.

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But didn’t someone say ‘hexagons?

Yes, you can make braid strips with these! They do need to be the same size, and actually they are half-hexagons . . . . but  . . . !

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These ones were cut from jelly roll strips, so there’s another way to use them up.

And if you fancy (or have to) use completely random strips in a variety of colours? Try to use darks on one side and lights on the other if you can.

And those pieces Chris was making last weekend – they may end up as a runner a bit like this

runner

Scrappy Sundays – more triangles

Barbara has branched out into other shapes and her collection of vintage quilts. Chris meanwhile is still playing with half-square triangles and Electric Quilt. This hasn’t been helped by Ann Jermey giving a talk on her quilts the other night – many of which featured scraps, and triangles in particular. She even made a quilt featuring different ways to put triangles together –

 

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So Chris came home and played around with EQ and some triangles, turning them this way and that, adding squares in or not . . .

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But these triangles have also been a feature of recent quilts. The other week at The Corner Patch Chris was teaching Roman Stripe – and what is it but half-square triangles. One half of the square is pieced with diagonal strips and the other is a ‘plain’ triangle. Just like the simple HST units these blocks can be put together in a variety of ways with or without plain squares and will create interesting designs.  Note that you can cheat and use a striped fabric instead of creating your own from strips.

By the way – the pattern for the Roman Stripe quilt used during the workshop is available from the Meadowside Pattern Store.

Another quilt Chris has been completing is one started several years ago when demonstrating ideas for 2 1/2 inch strips. These batik strips were paired with a white on white print. The problem was choosing a setting.

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You can cut up 10 inch (or other size) squares, join them back together in a random sort of way and then pair those resulting squares with a plain one to make HST units as well.

In fact the possibilities are a bit endless.

And so we leave you with another couple of Ann’s quilts . . . .

. . . . the first is just ordinary half-square triangles but sorted into colour families and arranged to make stars across the quilt (sorry its not a brilliant photo but I had to snatch an opportunity after the talk)

 

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This last one is another take on the strips plus plain triangle –

 

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More scrappy quilts and ideas next week.

PS We will play around with ‘crumb’ quilting and ‘improv’ piecing in future posts but we’d just like to point you to a blog with instructions for making crumb blocks using your scraps which will then go to the charity Siblings Together. Read all about it here.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet More Squares

With the magic of EQ we’ve come up with yet more square ideas. One day we really will have to make one or two of them.

Starting with squares of different sizes – suppose you have the equivalent of a layer cake and a charm pack for example – plus some strips of similar ‘background’ – plain whites or white on white/cream prints for instance. The Checkers block will make good use of these and will soon grow into a good size quilt.

checkers block

checkers

Lots of different sizes of square plus a couple of different ‘backgrounds’ will make the Squares and Oblongs block and (if you have enough squares and oblongs) a quilt.

squares and oblongs block

squares and oblongs quilt

More squares and backgrounds will make the Hen and Chicks block – and if you switch the backgrounds over in alternate blocks it will, again, make an interesting looking quilt.

hen and chicks

Did you realise it was possible to make Half-Square Triangles from squares – with no cutting involved? Take your ‘background’ square and a ‘star’ square the same size. Fold the star square in half along the diagonal and place over the background square, matching the raw edges. Tack the raw edges together if you’re not going to stitch lots of them straight away. This little quilt of Friendship Star blocks was made in this way – the two different reds are in fact the right side and the ‘wrong’ side of the same fabric. You could put four of these squares together to make a Pinwheel or Windmill block.  Make yours with lots of different coloured scrap squares – keep the same colour, if not fabric, in each pinwheel or star if you haven’t got four identical squares.

folded stars

But as this fold is on the bias you could roll it back into a curve and make curved pinwheel blocks. How clever is that! Stitch the curves down with an invisible stitch or a decorative stitch or just topstitch.

 

Or you could put four of those folded triangles onto a square a different way – around the edge and tucking them under each other. Use a bright colour as your base square and two colours for the triangles. Roll back the edges and stitch to reveal the base square. If you have used similar colours for your triangles then you will get whirling stars appearing where the blocks meet.

whirligig star

whirligig stars

And then, of course, there’s Cathedral Window . . . which you can make the traditional way by hand, or you can make them on the machine or you can make faux ones with folded triangles . . .

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Join us next Sunday for more scrappy-ness.

 

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 Sundays – Squares

Organised folk often cut their smaller scraps into squares and store them in clearly labelled boxes or bags; others of us just tip out the scrap bags and chop various bits into squares of the right size when inspiration strikes. Whichever side you fall on – organised or haphazard – here’s a few ideas for using up those square(ish) bits or that charm pack you can’t think what to do with.

This first quilt is an old one and made from shirtings – scraps or samples from a local factory perhaps. The squares are not quite square and have been joined into rows then the rows joined together. But the initial size may have been too small as others rows were added around the centre and are running the other way – so the centre rows are horizontal and the outer rows are vertical; but it makes the design more interesting.

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The back is made from strips of the same fabric. There is no wadding, the two layers have been roughly stitched together with some straight(ish) lines down the quilt – with several tucks and pleats. Another reminder to us all not to fret about mistakes but to be happy you have finished a useful article.

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This next quilt was made from a pack of Laura Ashley squares back in the early 1980s – I fear it could now be classed as vintage. Just squares joined into 9-patch blocks with simple crosshatch quilting it made a quick and useful quilt for a new home.

Laura Ashley squares CF

Ann Jermey always has excellent ideas for using up her scraps (she is organised and keeps them in labelled boxes and bags!). Here are a few of her quilts using up some of those squares – notice how she makes the most of a small number of pieces by turning things on point, or using a tilted setting.

If you have a charm pack or a more organised set of squares you could consider setting them on point with sashing between and grading the colours to make a quilt like this one. The idea originally was to try to make a leaded window looking out into a flower garden – with the view distorted by the old glass panes. I’m not convinced it worked but it still makes an interesting little quilt.

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Through the magic of EQ we can bring you this idea to use up charm squares or layer cake squares or something in between. Use the ‘square corner’ method to make snowball blocks from your squares and stitch the left-over triangles together (you can do this before you trim them from the square). Use these triangles to make pinwheel blocks as cornerstones in a sashing and border.

snowballs

And finally this big quilt uses up yet more jelly roll bits – these ones were too small for anything except squares, but sewn into blocks and separated with two contrasting sashings they turned into a large bed-size quilt.

Sbends CF

The pattern for this quilt was first published in British Patchwork and Quilting magazine in July 2013 or you can buy the pattern here.