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 –

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 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.

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.