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

Dresden mini tree skirtDresden tree skirt

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.

block c

quilt 1

You can piece the strips with contrast fabrics.

block d

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quilt 6

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!)

dresden spring

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 – in the pink

Barbara is still stuck in the groove of looking at vintage quilts that link to our Scrappy theme and this is her latest offering.  It’s an interesting US quilt dating from maybe 1890s with some earlier fabrics.  The block is a C&B favourite and we refer to it as Sawtooth Star.  There’s a real mix of scraps in this quilt and plenty of piecing of scraps together to make bigger scraps as you can see from some of the details below.  The scrappy hand pieced blocks have been set with alternating squares of a classic “double pink” print which becomes dominant by repetition.  A great example of pulling random scrappiness together into a coherent whole.  Diagonal lines of machine stitching hold top and back together, edges are bound.  If you feel inspired to try something similar with your own scraps you’ll find a pattern guide for this quilt over on our sister blog Meadowside Designs – look under the Heritage Quilts tab.

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 – from the 1960s

Another visit to The Cupboard at The Rural Office and another scrappy patchwork top to enjoy.  This was a gift to Barbara many years ago, the background information being that it was begun but not finished by schoolgirls in the 1960s as part of their Domestic Science & Needlework curriculum.  Scraps of all types and weights of fabrics have been used, several different colours of thread, some or most of the papers already removed – this is what some patchwork looked like in the very early days of the UK revival.  We’re including it in our Scrappy Sunday posts because it most certainly is scrappy and also the single honeycomb shape used links back to an earlier Scrappy post about the honeycomb shape. Enjoy the pics!

don’t you just love that blue and white poodle?

and because all quilters like to turn things over, here’s the reverse side –

many of the honeycomb “papers” were cut from embossed wallpaper –