Whether you have a bagful, a few drawers full, or a room full of scraps, get ready to celebrate them! Today we’re sharing ideas for quilting with scraps—with one important consideration in mind: choosing blocks that are perfect for the scrappy approach. If you’ve ever wished that you could stitch scrappy blocks with abandon—without worrying how they’ll come together in the end—the blocks below just might make your wish come true. They lend themselves to looking sharp in scrap quilts for three reasons: the value choices are simple, the piecing is doable, and the designs are beautiful.
Whether you have time to piece just one scrappy block a day or you prefer to “block” out time to make a big pile of them in one sitting, four-time author Lynn Roddy Brown has some solid advice to share. Her solutions will inspire you to experiment with settings, sashings, and more to create a scrap quilt that shines with personality—which is why we save all those scraps in the first place!
Discover just a few of Lynn’s tips in the following excerpt from Simple Strategies for Block-Swap Quilts. Then get inspired to play with her scrap-quilt designs, as well as the designs of the other authors featured below. Download any of these eBooks instantly—get them all for 40% off this week only!
Excerpt from Simple Strategies for Block-Swap Quilts
by Lynn Roddy Brown
CHOOSING SCRAP-FRIENDLY BLOCKS
Blocks that are good for scraps can be set many different ways and work well with alternate blocks. Choose blocks that are easy to piece and range in size from 4″ to 9″ square. This encourages the making of many blocks and allows for more design possibilities.
Fewer seams usually means more accurate blocks. I find that if I’ve made many easy-to-piece blocks, it isn’t difficult to set aside a few that I don’t like. If I’ve spent hours making 12 large, complicated blocks, my expectations will be high. This often results in disappointment.
For Lynn, simple sewing is key. Left: Four-patch units and half-square triangle units show off blue and yellow scraps. Right: the same units, made with a rainbow of scraps, create an energy and charm all their own.
ADDING ALTERNATE BLOCKS OR SASHING
After my first look at a group of blocks in a straight setting, I will try them on point. An on-point setting often creates diagonal lines, which keeps the viewer’s eye moving across the surface and makes for a more interesting quilt.
If blocks don’t seem to go together, separating them with alternate blocks often helps. Adding alternate blocks is also an easy way to make a larger quilt. Since alternate blocks will be as much as half of the blocks, they can also cause a shift in mood. If blocks need to be calmed down, add alternate blocks in grayed tones. Bright alternate blocks can perk up a boring group of blocks. Adding alternate blocks is also a way to shift color. If you want a blue quilt, add alternate blocks in a blue fabric that you really like.
Churn Dash, four ways. Top left: Churn Dash sits on point with the addition of triangles on all four sides, creating a secondary zigzag pattern between the blocks. Top right: Church Dash gets a lift with Flying Geese sashing. Bottom left: “Civil War and Blue” by Fran Urquhart is a good example of using alternate blocks to bring out one particular color. Bottom right: In “I’ll Fly Away,” Barbara Reynolds set her blocks on point and side by side, creating additional patterns and interest.
Let Lynn introduce you to many more scrap-friendly blocks in Simple Strategies for Block-Swap Quilts, along with ideas for organizing your own block swaps. Click here to view a gallery of all the quilts in the book; download the eBook this week for only $11.39.
A little goes a long way: scrap-quilt blocks from Bits and Pieces by Karen Costello Soltys
Left: the Chinese Coins quilt block is a favorite old pattern that combines narrow bits of scrap fabrics into long strips. Here, the coins are all made using strips of plaid fabrics (get the ePattern here). Right: Easily make either or both of these half-square triangle quilts with scraps in red, blue, gold, purple, and green (get the ePattern here).
Left: The Ohio Star block is a perennial favorite among quilters. Make the quilt interesting by using a variety of prints, plaids, and stripes for the star centers (get the ePattern here). Right: Pastel Pinwheel blocks combine two sets of Karen’s favorite fabrics—Japanese prints and hand-dyed pastel solids (get the ePattern here).
Discover more simple-to-sew blocks for your scraps in Bits and Pieces, which includes 18 classic quilt patterns. Click here to view a gallery of quilts from the book; download the eBook instantly for $11.39 this week only.
Make ’em in multiples: Scrap-quilt blocks from Quilts from the Heart II by Karin Renaud
If you’re a fan of chain piecing, Karin’s block choices are right up your alley. The units in this Fanny’s Favorite block are perfect for chain-pieced patchwork. As you can see from the close-up of the block, once your color palette is chosen, anything goes. (Get the ePattern here.)
Create a profusion of movement with the Swamp Angel block, made up of half-square and quarter-square triangles. Different-colored scraps can be placed almost anywhere with a forgiving white background; the architecture of the block reins the design in. (Get the ePattern here.)
The Jacob’s Ladder block lends itself to many layouts—off center as shown, radiating from the middle, forming Xs to make a lattice, or turned blocks that make diagonal lines. (Get the ePattern here.)
Choose from 18 quilt patterns in Quilts from the Heart II, each designed with your scraps in mind. Click here to view a gallery of quilts from the book; download the eBook instantly for $11.39 this week only.
Which quilt blocks have you featured your scraps in? Share your top picks in the comments!
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