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.

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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!

 

Scrappy Sunday Half-Square triangles

How do you acquire scrap half-square triangles? Easy! You use the ‘square’ method to make Square-in-a-Square units, or Flying Geese units which will both give you paired sets of HSTs. Or you acquire them when you join strips on the bias and cut off the excess triangles. Or you find you have cut too many for a project – when it tells you to make (say) 24 HST units and you absentmindedly cut 24 squares of each fabric only to end up with 48 HSTs.  And sometimes you find you only need one out of the two you get from a square. What to do with them?

Firstly you should probably sort them out by size and then by colour or whether they are light, medium or dark. You could start a separate heap/box/bag for those that have already been joined into HST units. Only then can you really decide what they could be turned into.

But before we do that we could have a look at a few ideas and finished quilts – and it doesn’t have to be a big quilt, you could make a cushion, or a bag, or a table runner if you haven’t many triangles of the right size and shade.

So here are a couple of Ann Jermey’s quilts – with a rainbow of triangles but all with a white background

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And then more muted with the triangles arranged into squares of one light and one dark triangle then set on point.

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This one is a vintage quilt belonging to Ann and has some Quarter-Square Triangles added to the blue HSTs to make a Windmill block. The blues are not all the same.

Blue Windmills AJ

This little Pinwheel quilt was made by Chris using the leftover triangles from a set of Flying Geese units.

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All the Sawtooth Star blocks in this quilt were made with left-over triangles from  Square-in-a-Square units made for another quilt.

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And finally some photos from the design wall of a collection of blue and yellow triangles. Should they be alternated to make clearly defined stripes or maybe offset slightly or . . . ? How would you arrange them?

But then here’s another one Chris made earlier – much earlier (and maybe it belongs in ‘squares’ rather than triangles?). Long, long ago there were hardly any local quilt shops and we ordered fabrics from Strawberry Fair in Devon – send a stamped addressed envelope and receive a bag full of one inch squares cut from all their fabrics, send the order form back with the squares of the fabric you wanted to buy. Simple! But what to do with all those tiny sample squares? Chris joined some of them into nine patches – ‘light’ ones and ‘dark’ ones. These were then paired, right sides together and a seam stitched either side of the diagonal – giving a selection of scrappy half-square triangles. Turned into a bag, these are the two sides –

More scrappiness next week!

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.

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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.

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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.