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 –

 

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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 – a little bit of vintage

Barbara was recently rummaging through The Cupboard which houses her vintage quilt collection and brought out a patchwork top which seems to fit our Scrappy theme very well.  The patchwork has been made from a wide and charming variety of scrap fabrics and it looks as if the 60 degree diamonds might have first been made up into hexagon units and then put together.

Larger hexagons have been added in at the edges and the hexagon rosette at the centre is, in fact, composed of diamonds (see final pic below).  All very eclectic!

First, a detail of the reverse side – you can see both diamonds and hexagons here.

Notice that the fabric has not always been cut to a hexagon shape before being tacked over the papers;  in some instances there is almost as much fabric on the reverse as there is on the front.  It is possible that the maker began with appropriately sized squares of fabric to make her hexagons which would have involved less initial cutting and preparation of the patches.

Here’s roughly half of the quilt top showing the scrappy random arrangement of pieces and the unexpected selection of fabrics for the centre rosette –

and some details of the many different prints –

 

You can see from the above detail that this is a truly scrappy piece with very little organisation – lower right corner is one of the larger hexagons.

More vintage scrappiness at a later date …

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.

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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 –

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!