Thanks for dropping by to take a look at some of my thoughts and ideals. Hope you will let me know if this has been helpful, useful, inspiring or whatever, and remember to come back soon.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Scrap quilt?? or Kit???

A friend recently brought me a quilt to quilt for her that I think is just really a neat little quilt.  A very simple little quilt.  (In case you haven't guessed.....I love simple.)  This particular quilt was simply half-square triangles with a couple of borders.  What made it so neat was the  play of light and dark across the quilt.  The simple use of color made it a striking quilt.

As you can see the color is the highlight of this little gem.
Isn't this just a lovely little quilt!!  I really enjoy the way she used the light fabrics opposite from the darks and then in a few places there are the random pieces of medium thrown in for variation and it makes the light colors pop even more.  All this with simple half square triangles. 

Now the finished size of the square is 3" so the square had to be 3 1/2".  In order to make a half square triangle you can take two 3 7/8" squares, place them right sides together and cut them diagonally (corner to opposite corner) and sew along the diagonal cut and you will have a 3 1/2" square.  It's really a very simple trick that makes all your half square triangles the right size.  From the two original squares you will have 2 - 3 1/2" squares which will be 3" finished size in the quilt.

Just a little closer look at the individual blocks.
 Hummmm.  I just wonder if I have enough scraps to do one of these?   Of course, I know I do, but what about you?  If you are like most people you tend to lean towards a particular color scheme and you can pick out those colors from you scraps and wind up with a really great scrap quilt.  Just remember to use a variety of colors unless you want an all blue with the alternating lights or maybe you are into light blue and yellow, with alternating darks instead of the lights.  So many possiblities and what a wonderful way to use up some of those scraps.  Of course you could use any color combination, and you could use any size half square triangles to make up this neat quilt.

If you want to change the size of the half square triangles here is the easy way to do the math.  Just add 3/8" to the unfinished block square, or add 7/8" to the finished block size, either way works and while it may be just a tad aggrivating to cut on the 7/8" it is better than having off sized blocks.  Know how to do this little math step means you can add in half square triangles to any of your patterns and get them to fit properly with nice little corners.  So if I need a block that is 4" finished and I decide I want to toss in a half square triangle then I just add 7/8" to the 4" and cut my squares 4 7/8" for a perfect 4" finished block.

Now I know several people who routinely cut their left over fabric into strips and that is how they organize their stash.  I think they all cut different sizes too which makes it interesting.  If you are one of those people then you may have to trim your precut pieces to get a standard size.  If you cut your fabric in 2 1/2" strips then trim down the strip to 2 3/8" and cut those into squares.  It is really better to do the trim first and then cut your squares.  You will have a finished 1 1/2" half square triangle when you finish your quilt.  Whatever the size you have cut, remember to trim off that little 1/8" and then cut your squares and have fun sewing.

It can really be a headache to try to sew long strips of the half square triangles into rows and little errors in seam allowances can add up over the width/length of the quilt giving you something you really don't want to deal with, so the best way to do this quilt is sew the blocks into larger blocks and then piece those together.  For example, use the half square triangles to make a 9 patch block (3 blocks long, 3 blocks wide), or a 16 patch block (4 blocks long x 4 blocks wide) and then sew those squares into the larger sections.  This will help keep any errors in seam allowances spread throughout the quilt so you will have a quilt that is easier to square, and your machine quilter will like you a lot more!!

Speaking of machine quilting.....I really didn't know what I was going to do with this particular quilt because I didn't want to do an overall pattern that would detract from the lovely piecing.  What I finally decided was an outer border of "ocean waves" pattern, and an inner border with stars and then a special little pattern in the blocks.  I did a stitch in the ditch and then put a little design in the dark fabric.

One of these days I'm going to take a class in
photography!!.  You can see the ocean waves
pattern at the top and then the stars in the second border,
and finally the design in the dark triangles more clearly
on the backing.
I used a maroon thread both top and bobbin and the quilting really doesn't show up on the front of the quilt.
I think this is a better picture of the design on the dark triangles
and the freestyle stars on the inner border.

Quilting should enhance the quilt, not take away and this quilt really didn't need anything that would make it appear busier, so I felt the maroon thread was ideal for this little quilt that already has plenty going on with the play on the light and dark fabrics and the many pieces. 

I hope you all have fun reading this and it inspires you to try out this pattern.  If you do, please let me know and if possible send a picture.  I love seeing what others are doing.  Each quilt is a unique statement of our own taste, desires, and love of quilting. 

Take time this July 4th Holiday weekend to thank God for the independence we have in the United States and our wonderful men and women in the military who fight so we can keep those freedoms.  We have a wonderful country!!  If our leaders are not doing what you think they should, pray for them.  If they are doing what you think they should, pray for them.  Prayer works.  Have a great day!!

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