Squares are one thing that seem to accumulate in the scrap bag, or else packs of charm squares are purchased for some reason which is then forgotten. But we have a cunning plan for those squares.
First you need a collection of squares that are the same size – 3 inches or slightly larger seems to be about right, but perhaps no bigger than 8 (when they cease to be ‘scraps’ anyway are become ‘useful’!). Add to those a selection of background scraps – background means a fabric (or fabrics) that contrast well with the main fabrics, so usually dark or very light.
Place a background scrap across a corner of a square, right sides together, and stitch – the background should cover the corner of the square when folded back. Repeat for all four corners and you should end up with something that looks like this
Make lots of these, changing the angles of the backgrounds as you go, and then join them together into a quilt. You will get four-pointed star shapes appearing where the blocks meet.
Play with the colours – you may prefer to use squares of background with coloured scraps in the corners which will give you lots of blank space for quilting. . . ?
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.
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!
Reporting in with progress on the 4patch front – here’s the present position
About half of the first stack of squares have been converted first into pairs and then into 4patch units. No counting at this stage, just keep marking up and stitching and enjoying the process.
Then there’s the urge to lay out just a few 4 patch units to see how they look – maybe this block arrangement?
or maybe something like this? –
Remember that your local quilt shop will have jelly rolls, charm packs etc if you want to freshen up your supplies. Pre-cuts are a great way of enhancing yourstash and are excellent value for money. Barbara often starts a project or class sample with a selection of 2 1/2inch strips cut from half lengths of jelly roll strips – sort of having your cake and eating it….
You may remember these from a scrappy hexagons post last year –
At the time of writing these lovely fresh springlike fabrics are available at a discounted price at The Corner Patch – we just might be acquiring further supplies and adding to the stock of ready-to-use hexagons. Grandmother’s Flower Garden anyone??
Barbara and I are bouncing ideas off each other with these scrappy posts. I said I would do scrappy stars this Sunday but hadn’t decided which one to look at until I saw Barbara’s post last week about squares. There is a star block called Sawtooth Squares. This is how you usually see it coloured in – just one colour family for all the pieces.
But no reason why you can’t do a scrappy one.
Or several ones and turn them into a scrappy quilt.
Download the rotary cutting instructions for a 12 inch block and have a go. Remember that your backgrounds can be scrappy too.
Download a colouring page as well – a little downtime amid the chaos of life today.
One thing it is easy to cut scraps into is squares. But the same size squares, or different size squares?
Same size squares can be joined into 4-patch blocks
Different size squares (one set twice the size of the other) will make Double 4-Patch blocks.
These Double blocks can make quite interesting quilts when done as light, dark and bright scraps and the blocks rotated. These are just 4 blocks by 4.
What happens if we add alternate 4-patch blocks to these? Again this is 4 blocks by 4.
But if we add extra (smaller) blocks – 7 by 7 say –
Or 12 by 12 even – if those little squares are now 2 inches and the blocks are 8 inches you have a giant quilt of 96 inches square.
More scraps next week!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 . . .
Join us next Sunday for more scrappy-ness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The pattern for this quilt was first published in British Patchwork and Quilting magazine in July 2013 or you can buy the pattern here.