Using my smallest scraps

Not one to be able to work on a single project at a time (!!!) I started something new last night. I had stopped by a local quilt shop to buy some backing fabric for my Japanese quilt, which is getting close to completion — and I did find the perfect fabric for that, so I’m happy. But whilst there, I ran into another quilting friend who mentioned the new Modern Quilt guild that has started up in our area. The next meeting is this week, and guests are welcome.

Anyway, excited about the prospect of joining a new guild, I came home and immediately felt the itch to make something modern. So I started flipping through my Pinterest boards looking for something that I could start easily, and that could use my existing fabrics. Happily, I found a picture of a quilt by Linda Rotz Miller that was pretty simple — squares that have been spliced with a colour scrappy strip. Easy, check! I have fabric already that I can use, check! And double bonus — it can use up my smallest scraps!!! Check, check, check!

scrappy strip squaresI made a couple of blocks last night — though technically one is a cheater: I found a scrap of bright orange fabric that already looked like a scrappy strip, so I could use just that one piece of fabric for the splice. But the blue/purple block is pieced from bits smaller than 2″ square.

There was only a picture, no pattern. But the formula isn’t hard to figure out. You really don’t need a pattern:

  1. Cut background colour blocks. I have shown just the beige fabric in the above pic, but I have a tan and a cream one I plan to use as well, so there will be a total of three background fabrics, but of the same family. I’m not as exact as I’d like to be with cutting and sewing, so I’ve given myself a little fudge room: I cut these beige blocks to be 5.75″ wide by 6″ tall, with the plan to trim them down afterward to 5.5″ square.
  2. Next, I pieced the colourful insert strips. The finished strip will be 0.5″ in the block, so the pieced strip must be 1″ tall by 5.75″ wide. I have a box of “littles” –bits of fabric I think are pretty, but are smaller than 2″ square, or slightly irregularly shaped, so they work perfectly in this project! They just have to be at minimum 1″ high (though a bit higher is good, so that you can trim your pieced strip to 1″ after piecing). Press your strips. Trim so that the strips are exactly 1″ high — you don’t have to trim the length yet.
  3. Cut 1.1/2″ off the top of the solid block (so this strip will be 1.5″ by 5.75″). Actually, you can cut the block anywhere you like — I chose the 1.5″ randomly
  4. Lay a strip along the cut edge of the larger piece. Sew. Trim the strip so that it is the same width as the larger block.
  5. Add the 1.5″ top on the other side of the pieced strip and sew. Press the block. Now, I wanted to press the seams into the pieced strip, so that the seams wouldn’t show against the beige body of the block, but I found that to be too bulky, so I pressed the seams away from the pieced strip.
  6. Trim the block to 5.5″ square. Easy-peasy.

I find it fun and vindicating to use up my eensy-weensy scraps this way. Each block has a different strip, with different fabrics and colours — that tiny amount of fabric makes such a pop in the plain square!

I think it would be fun to try this as a baby quilt — pale blue background fabric for a boy, rose for a girl. Or to make a Christmas runner using red and/or green fields with red/green/gold in the stripes. More things to try…

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