Friday, January 24, 2014

That Scrappy Block!

To have a group of quilters start out with the same quilt pattern, and then allow creativity to take it the rest of the way, is my idea of a great journey in quilt making. The added twist to heighten this adventure was to provide only black and white images; that would magically be transformed into beautiful renditions of the story being told. I look forward to seeing your finished quilts!!

Another option... was to add variations, so these quilts could be even more unique to the story being stitched into fabric; and allow quilters of all skill levels to create a beautiful quilt.  So we could choose to do a nine-patch or a four-patch or a plain five-inch block or a scrappy block. Or maybe even try something else, not suggested here.

In previous posts, I've shared the nine patch and the four patch. The plain block really doesn't need much explanation; except to say that there are many gorgeous fabrics that could be featured in this quilt; a few examples: beautiful floral designs; kid prints, or vivid hand-dyed fabrics. Any theme would compliment the appliqued blocks.

Scrappy is a great technique to use when you have a heap of beautiful scraps waiting to be featured in your next quilting project. They may not look like much tossed and crumpled in that drawer or basket; however, they do create some interesting blocks, when used. With the huge variety of patterns, books, and designs available; there really is no excuse for us, not to use these great leftover fabrics.

For this quilt along, I've decided to use these scrappy blocks in my own quilt; and use the nine-patch block to create a smaller version of this pattern. (Hopefully, this layout will be featured in next week's post.)

So to make this scrappy block, here are some tips:

1) Use a variety of shapes, sizes, patterns, and colors to make the blocks interesting.
2) When stitching together these odd shapes; it works best if you press before adding the next piece.
3) Do not worry about placing colors next to each other, that we generally think don't work together.
4) Trim extra length off the last piece added, before adding the next piece.
5) Continue adding pieces until you are nearly at the size required.
6) It is generally best if wider pieces are added on that final round around the block.
7) Once large enough, use your rotary ruler to trim it to the size required.
8) Seam allowances do not need to be a perfect quarter inch.
9) None of your ten blocks need to look the same. Select a variety of fabrics to create a unique set of blocks.

Taking the four variations that I provided in the quilt along lessons, the plain block needs no instruction as it is a five inch square of fabric. However, you could select a specific theme to help tell this quilt's story.

Let's check out the fourth option: the scrappy block -- that I'd like to show you, in case you find this one more difficult to construct. Here we can go as wonky or perfectly spaced, as desired. If you'd rather make a more perfectly balanced scrappy block, you could opt for the standard log cabin block, or go wonky and stitch random widths as you go around the block.

This scrappy block can be started with a square or strip of fabric. You can continue around the block, in log cabin fashion; or add pieces to random sides, place them at random angles, or use pieces that already have more than one piece joined together. Just remember to trim your pieces, to avoid adding bulk, as you work around the block.

  1. First, begin with a pile of scraps: in squares, rectangles, strips, or previously joined pieces....
  2. Start with two pieces of fabric, placing them with right sides together; and stitch them together. Here you do not have to make the perfect quarter-inch seam.
  3. Once stitched, press so both fabrics are open. It is best to press each time a new piece is added, to make sure the block lays flat. 
  4. Take another scrap piece and add to the first two.
  5. Continue in this matter, going around and around, until you have a piece that is the size your require.
  6. Place your rotary ruler on top and measure to make sure your piece is large enough. 
  7. Then trim any edges off that are not needed. You can place your ruler on the block, in any direction; only be careful to cut it to the five inch piece, that is required.




I had sewn my block to the point where it could have been a six-inch block. This required careful placement of the ruler, to get enough of the outer strips to be more than a sliver in width.



My Motto: If you are not enjoying the process, then change it!! 
Do what you can, how you can, and when you can. Quilting has that versatility, built in! 

As you continue each week adding your own style to each block, select those techniques that best suit your skill level; or challenge yourself and try something new. 

Thank you for your comments, sharing your quilt blocks on Facebook, letting me know what you think, or sending me questions when you need help. Enjoy the process!!


If you don't receive my email that contains the link to the next lesson; you'll be able to find it on the website. For those of you on the group mailing list; an email will be going out on January 25, to let you know when the next lesson is available. (Anyone that has joined between January 18-24 will be added to the list.) 

Then, the final addition to the group list will be done on February 1. An upgrade will be available to allow those that want to stay in the quilt along; but can't seem to get the email or have other difficulties will get direct access to the weekly lessons. This is open to all participants that join between December 24, 2013 and January 31, 2014, but is still optional. (There will be a small fee; but it includes a bonus offer!)

Please note: If you post a question and don't give me a way to send you a response, I will not be able to assist you. If you don't have my email, visit the about me page on my website. 



Flora said...

O, I so much like the bright colors in those scrappy blocks! I could look at them all day!

Darlee Byron said...

Thanks Flora. I'll be making two for the quilt long. This may be the one I give you!

Flora said...

ooh, so excited.. that would be awesome. I was thinking scrappy might also look good for another jewelry quilt. More work for you!

jean95552 said...

getting things underway.