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.

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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!

 

 

Scrappy Sunday – more strips

What else can you do with leftover strips from various projects – whether they are 2½ inches wide or any other width?

Chris had quite a lot of short lengths left over from her Autumnal Log Cabin quilt. Joined into pairs, one thin strip plus one fat strip and then cut into squares they could be arranged to make yet another pattern. Turning the small quilt they made on its point suddenly made it much bigger – the autumnal leaf fabric surrounding them was a lucky find. A few fabrics were auditioned as a narrow border between the leaf triangles and the pieced square but none of them looked as good as the square and leaf together with no border. A final wide border made a good sized wall-hanging from just a few left-over bits.

autumn leaves

The same design was used with some left-over 2½ inch strips to make two cot quilts (or play mats) for twins. This time the strips were paired with white strips the same width. No fancy turning on point either, just a simple border and binding with a bit of stitch-in-the-ditch (ish) quilting. Download a free pattern for these cot quilts from our Free Patterns page.

cot quilt

Ann Jermey had a few strips and bits left over but of varying lengths. Her cunning plan was to join them together fairly randomly end to end and then trim to make long strips all the same length. Narrower strips of the same fabric were then placed between these pieced strips.

One strip left over AJ

Finally lots of strips all the same width (but yours needn’t be) joined together and then cut to make (in this case) pieces that were 6½ x 8½ inches. A 2½ inch wide strip of white was then added to the bottom of each strip set to make them all 8½ inches square. And look what you could do with them. It’s proving too hard to come to a decision!

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!

Scrappy Sundays – 60degree diamonds

Diamonds are almost as popular a shape as hexagons when it comes to making every scrap of fabric count.  The 60degree diamond in particular is exceptionally versatile and is a shape Barbara has been working with a lot in her hand piecing classes – here’s a really quick run-through of some favourite arrangements.

Join 60degree diamonds into a strip for a striking pleated effect which is great for borders –

Join 60degree diamonds into 3s to make a hexagon, then take it one step further to  magically create a 3D effect by consistent value placement – this is the traditional pattern sometimes known as Tumbling Blocks or Baby Blocks.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join 60degree diamonds first into pairs then into 4s to make a diamond, put 6 of these diamonds together to make a star or put 3 together to make a chequered hexagon  (not  shown)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join 6 60degree diamonds together to make a star, 3 diamonds and 3 diamonds then a centre seam, fill in the outer spaces with diamonds to make a hexagon star.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Barbara’s class samples shows the pleated border and hexagon star options and uses jelly roll strip scraps left over from an earlier project.  There was not enough of any one fabric to make repeating choices which made the placement process quite a challenge – but very satisfying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Scrappy Sundays – Log Cabin

Log Cabin is such a classic (and simple) design; although often seen with a limited number of fabrics it is one that cries out to be made from scraps – as it would have been back in ‘the Olden Days’. These are two of Barbara’s vintage quilts – the black and light one is just a coverlet (no wadding) while the other one is a folded Log Cabin.

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The basic premise of the block is that you start with a central shape – usually a square and then stitch strips around. The strips are usually the same width so you should end up with a neat collection of squares when you finish. The number of strips you add is up to you – stop when you get bored! The more strips you add the bigger the block; the wider the strips, the bigger the block; the bigger the central square, the bigger the block. Talking of which – your central square could be an orphan block or a random orphan unit such as a half-square triangle. Likewise, in theory, you make half the block from light fabrics and half from dark – like the black and light quilt above. But you don’t have to. These blocks are again some vintage ones from Barbara’s collection.

If you use different width strips – narrow light ones (say) and wider dark ones then you can get the illusion of circles or curves in your quilt. You do need to make a less than subtle difference in the widths for this to show up properly. Chris’s autumnal quilt only has a slight difference in the widths of the strips.

Autumn woodland LC

Having half the block light and half dark – whether the strips are the same width or not – can allow you to play with all sorts of settings before you decide which one to stitch together.

You don’t have to have all the same size strips either – you can make a ‘wonky’ log cabin block by randomly stitching different sizes of strip around the centre and then trim everything square and the same size at the end (thus creating even more scraps, but tiny ones), or add a border around each block to make them square.

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You can find the pattern to make the quilt this collection of blocks eventually turned into in British Patchwork and Quilting magazine July 2019 issue – and the finished blocks did not look like the photo above, that was just one try-out!

Or you can, as Ann Jermey has done with these ones, stitch random strips around squares and/or rectangles to make a variety of blocks to put together into a quilt, with a neat sashing to hold it all together.

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Although all these quilts are ‘scrappy’ they have one thing in common – they stuck to a particular colour palette (autumnal) or a particular fabric type (hand-dyes and flannels).

And one thing you can never have too many of – books for inspiration!

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Flaming June

– at least that’s what it feels like at the Overseas Office where at last the temperature has settled in to the traditional summer reading of 30 degrees C or higher.   At C&B Towers however the story is a little different and work on the park-like gardens has been interrupted by blustery wind and rain.  So, for different reasons, we are both busy with indoor sewing and planning – samples to finish for the next round of classes at The Corner Patch are high on the list.

We’ve refreshed the EQ doodle page again – another simple block this time but a straightforward and quick make if you felt so inclined.  Download a free colouring sheet here June doodle and try out your own variation without any fabric being involved.  As many of you already know, we are both keen advocates of EQ and can’t imagine our quilting and teaching life without it.

The main desk at the Overseas Office has been fairly productive and a number of projects have been “progressed”.  This is our new preferred description, it sounds a lot more positive than “still not finished”….. Here’s a quick glimpse of just four of the projects – 


C&B Towers – before the rain

and at the Overseas Office –

Happy stitching!