Do Your Square’s Dance??

I posted a short time ago about my boring Square-in-a-square quilt and the way that I found to make it less boring……

I enjoyed making this quilt and realized that it would make a simple pattern…..

……so I wrote it!!

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Once I finished this quilt, I wanted to play further so, after I made the Square-In-A-Square blocks, I decided to change the straight square blocks a bit.

I started with a 2.5-inch square and added a border on two sides of the square……

….and then a border on the opposite sides……

After that, I treated them as normal squares, adding the background strips to each side and then alternating them with the “S-I-A-S” blocks.

I like how the design turned out……

The additional light blue border adds a bit more sparkle to the quilt!!

I wouldn’t mind playing further with the design to see if I can make those squares go “WILD AND CRAZY”!!!

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Tuning the border!!

Earlier this year, my friend Diane passed after a short battle with cancer. It was heartbreaking to lose such a creative soul and friend.

Diane was one of those women who rose early and I could be sure that she would post a comment on my blog just after it was published at 5:30 AM.

5:30 AM friends are always the best!!

At her memorial service, I was told that Diane had asked if I would finish the quilt that she had started. Of course, I was honored to be asked!!!

She was in the middle of a sampler quilt utilizing lots of fun fabrics. This was how it looked on her design wall…..

My first thought was to add the horizontal sashing…..

….but it needed something else!

Fortunately, Sue (another friend) had gone to Diane’s studio and gathered all of the fabrics that were used in the top and I had those stacked on my cutting table.

The more that I thought about it, I KNEW that I needed to do something to pull all of those fabrics into the border and a PIANO KEY border was the way to go!!

After putting a bunch of strips together, I realized that it was going to be too wide for the top….

It was drawing all of the attention to the border rather than the blocks.

So, I carefully cut down all of the strip sets to 2.50-inches!!

(The good thing is that now have a 2-inch Piano Key Border ready to go for a future quilt!!)

I found one of the blue fabrics that had enough yardage to add a final border and now the top is complete….

I always love a Piano Key Border and this one did exactly what I wanted it to!!!

The top now travels to another friend (Sheila) who is going to quilt it. It will return to me for binding and then we will enjoy presenting it to her husband and daughter.

I mean…..isn’t that what quilters do for each other??

Making it less boring

When I left you yesterday, I had made a bunch of Square-in-a-Square blocks and was bemoaning the fact that they were fairly boring when set side by side!!

However, I did like this arrangement better……

AND, since I had already cut a bunch more of the inside squares, the fillers HAD to include them!!

After thinking a bit, I decided to simply add strips around each side of the blocks, starting with one side…..

….pressing them out to the strips…..

….and then adding the opposite strips…..

I purposely made these strips a bit wider than needed so that I could trim the block down to the EXACT size!!

To help with lining them up, I used a water-soluble marker to modify my 6.5-inch ruler…..

I placed the ruler on the block, being sure to line up the diagonal lines to each of the corners of the inside square…..

Since my ruler was the exact size of the needed block, I simply cut around all four sides…..

….and my block was ready to use…..

I matched the two designs into pairs…..

…always pressing AWAY from the point.

Before I knew it, the quilt top was finished…..

I love the movement that comes from the on-point squares and the straight squares!!

It reminds me of some of the “jewel matching” games on my iPhone…..

Maybe I need to make one with LOTS of different jewels on it!!

BUT….now I am thinking about other ways that I can modify the alternating blocks….the wheels are definitely spinning!!!

Quilting Economics!!

Before you completely tune out, I am not talking about Economics in the normal sense of the word but, instead, about the “Economy” block.

OR, as I call it….. “Square in a Square” block…..

I had posted previously about a stack of 6-inch squares that I had procured from our Charity Bee and was determined to make quilts from. This was my first quilt…..

…and now it was time to make another one!!

When I was at the International Quilt Festival back in November, I laid down a bit of cash for a series of rulers from Deb Tucker. One of the rulers was the Square-in-a-Square block…..

…or as she calls it….. “Square Squared”!!

Like many of her rulers, this one is used in two separate steps.

First, you use one side to cut the inner square….

Since I am making a 6-inch finished block, I am using the largest of the squares.

Now you look at the chart printed ON the ruler to see what size the cuts need to be for the setting triangles….

Following these instructions, I cut my squares at 4.25-inches, and then cut them on the diagonal to make triangles….

Moving to the machine, I sewed one triangle onto opposite sides of each square. In her video she suggested that you sew from the cut square side rather than the triangle side…..

This was really helpful to keep things lined up better, particularly when I was sewing the second set of triangles.

Once the first two are sewn on, it looks like this…..

Those dog ears bothered me, so I clipped them off…..

I pressed to the triangles and was left with this…..

Now it was time to add the second set of triangles…..

…..again….sewing from the cut square side…..

It really didn’t take long to piece the block….

But now it needed to be cut down, which meant using the OTHER side of her ruler.

The first step was to line up the ruler over the block, making sure that all four corners matched the 6-inch markings…..

You trim one side and then turn the ruler to trim the other…..

The result is a perfectly sized block…..

Now I started laying these up on the design wall…..

….and honestly, it looks fairly boring!!

I liked this arrangement a lot better…..

…but now I have to find something to add to the alternating blocks!!

Come back tomorrow to finish the quilt!!

There has to be a minimum!!

For many years I have carefully cut my scraps into various sized strips and squares, starting with 1.5-inch and moving to 2-inch, 2.5-inch, and 3.5-inch.

While I think that this is a decent system, the truth is that I don’t use most of those sizes.

I have a large drawer of 1.5-inch squares……

….another drawer full of 2-inch squares…..

….and a stack of 3.5-inch squares that are simply NOT being used.

So, WHY am I spending time cutting them???

I regularly clean out my 2.5-inch strips and the box of 2.5-inch squares has been replenished many times……

I also find many uses for the 1.5-inch strips.

This past weekend my plan was to start working on this large bin of scraps and fabric pieces that had been gifted to me…..

I started out cutting all of the different sizes and then decided that LIFE WAS TOO SHORT!!

It was really freeing to limit the cutting to 1.5-inch and 2.5-inch strips and 2.5-inch squares!!!

I am using my AccuQuilt to cut the pieces and found that it was easiest to use the strip die to cut the fabrics.

I first placed a number of scraps on the cutting area….up to 6 layers deep…..

After the first pass, these scraps were cut into 2.5-inch strips…..

I then stacked the strips up perpendicular to the cutting lines…..

….and ran it thru again……

The result was a nice stack of very USEABLE 2.5-inch squares…..

So far, I have cut these strips…..

….these squares……

….and I still have this much left to work thru…..

Now, much of what is left to do looks as if it will be too small to use so I HOPE that I can keep my resolve and add them to the dog bed bits…..

How about you…..what is your smallest “scrap”?