It’s not a finish but it’s a top! The scrappy Friendship Star/Nine Patch blocks Barbara made are sashed and bordered and moved to the “await quilting” pile. This was a really quick make and a great side adventure using some of those 2 1/2inch squares that were cut at the beginning of March.
It looks like we are going to turn our attention away from squares for a while. We’ve had a few high-level virtual consultations over the last week (HQ of course is closed at the moment so everything has been screen to screen and bring your own caffeine..) and we think it might be time to feature traditional blocks which work well with scraps. One of our go-to references for scrappy and traditional is “Great Scrap Bag Quilts” by Jan Halgrimson – here’s the sideways version
We’ve mentioned Jan’s books in earlier scrappy posts – our copies are VERY well thumbed and have been a source of much inspiration over the years. Here’s a peep at one page (P.85) which caught our eye – the block is Scrap Bag Star.
This is a 12inch block and we are trying not to focus too much on that instruction that says “cut 24 light, 84 dark” – that’s a LOT of pieces for a 12inch block! But it would make a reasonable dent in a stack of very small scraps …. The lovely thing about the early books of patchwork patterns is that they are black & white only and you can use your imagination to put colour in them. And the equally lovely thing is that we now have EQ8 (and its predecessors) to draw, colour and make virtual quilts with these blocks. Here’s our first EQ8 stab at Scrap Bag Star –
Then it’s hard to resist clicking on the random recolour tool –
We’re off to get more scrappy inspiration from Ms Halgrimson – tune in next week for June’s EQ Doodles, Free Pattern Friday and more scrappiness on Sunday.
Squares, squares and yet more squares. You may recall that right at the beginning of this Covid madness Chris started joining her 2 1/2 inch scrap squares into 9-patches.
The number of those little blocks grew and grew.
What to do with them now? How about using up the bag of white strips? All different widths and shades of white (and a bit of cream). So the long enough lengths were sorted into another bag, pulled out at random and stitched around each 9-patch.
Surprisingly there was very little discrepancy in the block sizes – they ranged from 9 inches to 9 3/4inches in one direction and from 8 inches to 10 in the other. There were six 9 inch blocks, and six 9 3/4 inch ones so they formed the top and bottom rows of the quilt top. The other blocks were all around 9 1/4 to 9 1/2 so they were trimmed to make six blocks of each size for the remaining rows.
A little fiddling around with the layout on the design area (the bed) and they could be stitched together.
Another top done and awaiting a border.
And then . . . searching for ideas in the EQ block library there was this block – Flying Squares. It would have been ideal! Another day perhaps?
See you next week for more scrappy ideas and adventures.
Over at the Rural Office the focus is still on squares but there are signs that half square triangles may enter the picture in the near future. A week before everything came to a halt Barbara had cut a bag of 2 1/2inch squares and we’ve shown some of the blocks that have grown out of that bag in previous posts. The bag is now greatly diminished but proved a handy starting point to lay out some reference pics for an informal online challenge with a group of indefatigable hand stitching students.
Here’s the original greyscale plan for a small (18inches square) quilt top –
And here’s a glimpse of Barbara’s progress so far – just 2 blocks to finish and then choose sashing and borders –
A further progress report in a future Scrappy Sunday post – happy stitching!
The May doodle is called Jungle Flower – a variation on Drunkards Path. You can download the templates to make a 12 inch block here. Over on the Doodles page we have just shown the block and possible settings in grey-scale, such as this one –
We have shown various possibilities for shading but not for colour and the quilts use the same – or at most two – shadings. So what could the blocks look like with a bit of colour added?
And if we used lots of colour, making each block different, and then put them together in a wonderful colourful scrappy quilt?
Download a quilt to colour here – and remember that you can print it out as many times as you like, cut it up, turn the blocks around and generally play with the possibilities yourself.
Barbara has been very happily stuck in a groove of scrappy squares and it looks as if there will be many more squares cut, marked and stitched together in the coming weeks. All sorts of ideas are floating around but we thought you might like to see the current state of play.
Four of the five 4patch/9patch blocks might go together like this and there would be one block left over – each block measures 12inches edge to edge before setting seams.
or put all five blocks together like this –
The five smaller double4patch blocks might go together like this.
Blocks measure 8 inches edge to edge before setting seams.
or possibly like this –
Barbara’s stash at the Rural Office has been the subject of thorough investigation to come up with suitable scrappy choices for settings and sashings. The investigation has not yet reached any firm conclusions so it’s back to stitching squares into pairs for a while!
Chris has been browsing her bookcase in the last few weeks and unearthed one of her earliest patchwork books – The Perfect Patchwork Primer by Beth Gutcheon.
All black and white, no colour at all, and lots of useful information on making and using templates and sewing patches together by hand – no rotary cutter or indeed machine stitching mentioned. On the other hand it does contain a lot of blocks and one that caught my eye was called Becky’s 9-Patch as it consisted of different width strips plus a couple of squares.
You can download the rotary cutting instructions to make a 9 inch version here (courtesy of Electric Quilt). I then had a play with the colours. If you make all your blocks the same colours (and remember they needn’t be the same fabrics as they are in my diagrams, they could just be the same shade of whatever colour) then you get some very interesting patterns appearing depending on where the colour emphasis is and which way you turn the blocks.
You do get more of a mish-mash if you make everything a different colour.
But you could try to make just the long edges all the same (ish) to get some pattern and symmetry back into your quilt.
Download a quilt to colour in and/or cut up to play with – you can print it out as many times as you like.
Can you believe it’s yet another post on squares? Barbara was rummaging in The Cupboard at the Rural Office and turned up this really simple (but finished!!) quilt she made a few years ago –
One or two Charm Packs may have been put to good use in a very simple sashed setting, longarm quilting courtesy of The Bramble Patch. This was definitely a quick and easy make.
Barbara’s hand stitched 4patch project has progressed to this tentative layout which would be 3x 9patch blocks of 4patch units and borders of 4patches on point. But the stack of 4patch units continues to grow so something larger may be in prospect –
Or maybe the 4patches themselves could be made into larger blocks, and maybe those blocks put on point….. One thing for sure is that the original stack of squares could make quite a few more 4patches and there seems to be no let up in the production rate. One 4patch is just 3 short seams and really fast to hand piece.
In fact the squares into 4patches concept has worked so well that Barbara is quietly considering opening up the (large) box containing 2 1/2inch strips cut from most fabrics in her stash and sacrificing just 5inches from each strip to cut again into squares. Just to see what happens……