Scrappy Sunday

It seems to be December already. Again! So I suppose the Scrappy Sundays ought to look at using up some of those red, green and white scraps that we will have accumulated. Chris was playing with these when making the braid strips the other week but if we go back another couple of weeks there were Christmassy (oops, said the C word) scraps used in some of the Dresden Plate blocks.

These may (or may not) be destined to be turned into a runner or table mats at some unspecified time in the (distant) future.

But the Dresden Plate can be turned into other useful things at this time of year. Such as a wreath

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or a tree skirt

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The big one is still lacking its ribbon – and may well continue to lack its ribbon!

If you would like a guide/pattern to making either of these you can download it here.

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.

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You can piece the strips with contrast fabrics.

block d

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

block b

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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.

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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 – any old hexagons

Over at the Rural Office Barbara’s store of vintage quilts continues to offer some scrappy inspiration – today we are showing details from an unfinished top that was offered to Barbara on her teaching travels.  Yes, we are back with our old friend the hexagon but this top is a little different from many vintage hexagon pieces – the fabrics are not dress cottons but slub weave furnishing fabrics, some wools, some mixes.  Dark colours predominate and Barbara was intrigued to find a wide range of green prints scattered throughout. Dating this piece is still at the “considering” and research stage but it may turn out to be somewhere around 1900. The hexagons are small – 1inch sides – and appear to have been folded over the papers from rough chunks and squares of fabric rather than cut hexagonal shapes.  We thought you might enjoy a few close-ups of the various green prints –

Scrappy Dresden Plates

If ever a block called out for scraps it has to be the Dresden Plate in all its guises. Each petal only uses a tiny piece of fabric (especially when making 6 inch blocks) and they can all be different. Even when you use the same fabric more than once in a block you still won’t need a huge piece. Here’s one Chris made earlier (although it has to be said – Barbara did the hand applique!)

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The blocks are six inch squares and have the same orange fabric for the centres but the petals are scraps of blues or yellows.

Another tiny one waiting to be finished (at some unspecified time in the distant future) is this little yellow scrappy one – lots more petals and pointed ones this time

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but note that it has quite a large centre circle (or it will have one day).

You can use fabric strips to cut your petals from – these were jelly roll strips but any scrap strips will do. This block is about 16 inches square.

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Who says your centre has to be a circle? Here are a couple of examples from Chris’s students

You can have a lot of fun changing the size of the centre, or the size and shape of the petals as you can see from these other examples from students work

Normally when making a Dresden Plate you stitch the petals into pairs then the pairs together as you build up the units until you just have two halves to join – and hope it all lies flat – as in these two examples.

But you can ‘cheat’ and use fusible web with satin or zig-zag stitch instead

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and, if you have a large enough scrap you can even ‘fussy cut’ some of the petals and/or the centre.

Over on our sister blog Meadowside Designs there is a whole series running on different Dresden Plate designs – they are all 16-petal ones and you can download the templates to make 12 inch blocks. Pop over there, have a read – its been running for a couple of months now so scroll through to find all the posts – and follow the links to the tutorials and the templates.

Scrappy Sundays – machine hexagons

Chris has been loving the pictures of Barbara’s  hexagon ideas and vintage quilts, but . . . . they are all hand-pieced – which Barbara loves doing and Chris cannot get her head (or more importantly: hands) around.

But it is possible with a bit of thought to make hexagon-style quilts by machine without having to do those dreaded Y-seams. How? By splitting the hexagon into half or into triangles. Ann Jermey started Chris off with her quilt – Hidden Hexagons

hidden hexagons

There was also a craze for cutting up cushion panels and rearranging them – a sort of ‘stack and wack’ precursor – which led Chris to make this little wallhanging

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There were probably six cushion panels to start with which were then cut into 60degree triangles which were arranged to make hexagon kaleidoscope-style designs with the remaining triangles filling in the gaps. You can see a little better from the close-up photos

half hexagonsAnn’s hexagons were made from strips split on a 60degree angle but you could just just make half hexagons and join them in strips to make a honeycomb-style quilt on the machine.

Making your hexagons from triangles however opens up all sorts of new design opportunities. Instead of joining the triangles into hexagons as you would if hand-piecing though you need to think and plan ahead – a design wall or pet-free floor helps here so you can lay all the pieces out – as you will be stitching  row by row.

You can now make Tumbling Blocks

or even Tumbling Boxes by machine

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You can see in the first picture that the gaps were filled with plain triangles, by the second and third ones these had been replaced with plain strips – much easier! The triangles for these last three quilts were also cut from pre-stripped fabrics too.

We’ve probably strayed a bit from ‘scrappy’ at this point because the Tumbling quilts do need quite large pieces of fabric rather than scraps, although the last one with only three boxes didn’t use much.

We’ll be back next Sunday with yet more scrappy ideas.

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 What If?

Barbara’s post last week got me thinking. What if I took some of those HST blocks and cut them up, then rearranged the bits? Fiddly, yes . . . but I had to try it. Think of Disappearing 4-patch or 9-patch but with variations! There were several orphan blocks and HSTs lurking in the scrap bags to play with so I hunted them out and got cutting.

I started with the Pinwheel block as I had two of those. I could have cut them somewhat randomly but because I thought I might mix up the bits from the two blocks I was a bit more considered in my cutting. The blocks were roughly 4 inches square so I measured and cut 2 inches from the centre seams.

I made all these variations with just the orange block and leaving the centre mini Pinwheel where it was. I didn’t get around to moving that centre to a corner or to one side and playing around again.

Then I added in the bits from the purple Pinwheel to make this block. Again there were so many other ways to play with all these bits, I shall have to set aside a day (or two).

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Next I found a Broken Dishes block and some more triangles to make a second. Again I measured 2 inches from the centre seams to cut them up.

Then mixed the bits around a little.

Plus the other Broken Dishes block.

I could mix up the two different blocks (Pinwheels and Broken Dishes) couldn’t I?They were the same size (more or less) to start with.

What other blocks could I cut up and mix about? And I have only cut horizontal and vertical lines.

The Broken Dishes block could be divided in half along a diagonal and then the two halves of different blocks put together – especially if you cut the diagonal one way on one block and the other way on the next.

Some other blocks might lend themselves more to diagonal lines – like the 9-patch blocks I was playing with a few posts ago to make my bag.  I’m off to hunt in the orphan blocks bag – it could be the beginning of a whole new scrappy quilt, one that doesn’t look like a lot of orphan blocks in random fabrics squidged into an almost coherent design.  Or am I merely going to create yet more little bits for the scrap bag?!

Yet more happy scrappy ideas next week!