SCRAPPY 4 PATCH QUILT (or diving into that scrap bin)

Many of us have been in “stay at home” or quarantine mode for several weeks at this point. The situation can make for some creative solutions to quilting when it comes to supplies. I was going through my scrapbook of quilts recently and this quilt, Scrappy 4 Patch Quilt (or diving into that scrap bin), was made in a similar manner just because of my location then.

Scrappy 4 Patch Quilt of 2" squares made into four patches.

I lived in Germany (then West Germany) from 1985-1989. As a quilter, supplies could be a problem to get depending on what I wanted. Muslin was unknown and had to be shipped from the US. Cotton fabric was very limited in color and design. It was also very expensive. Batting as we know it was unknown. Thankfully sewing thread was easy to obtain in many colors.

Typical of quilters everywhere, I already had a lot of scraps from other projects. In 1987 I started cutting those small scraps into 2″ squares. Please realize that I did not have or have access to a rotary cutter so this entire quilt was cut one piece at a time. With scissors. Using a cardboard template for the squares.

The making of ScrapPY 4 Patch Quilt

Through 1987-1989, I continued to cut needed 2″ squares and 3.5″ alternate squares. I used a strawberry pink cotton purchased locally as the alternate blocks for most of the quilt.

A creative solution to the continual rows of small blocks was to make a center medallion square with blue alternate blocks framed by 2 borders of 3.5″ solid fabrics (my mom sent the blue from the US). This same blue also was used for the binding.

This quilt was great for using many of the scraps. Soon after this quilt was made I moved back to the US and started collecting scraps all over again. Quilters just seem to do that.

The batting was an old flannel blanket I had on hand. And the backing was thick curtains given to me by a German neighbor. The color was a hideous neon orange, but it made a very warm backing and this quilt was made to be used.

This quilt still holds my personal record for most needles broken while making it (3 packages) because of all the pinned seams of all those small pieces and my not slowing to go over the pins (we do learn as we get more experience, don’t we?)

I used embroidery floss in pink and blue that matched the alternate blocks to tie this quilt in June 1989. It was really heavy and would have been very hard to quilt. Besides, I just wanted to get it finished.

And now –

This quilt is in my daughter’s possession at this point.  It has been washed frequently, is faded, and parts of it have been re-tied over the years. However, it is still warm and makes a great quilt to snuggle up in, especially while camping.  The grand-daughter has also been known to make a tent with it to play under/in.

2010 - Scrappy 4 Patch Quilt still loved and used.
Here is Scrappy 4 Patch Quilt in 2010 – worn and faded – but still used and loved.

A tip for you –

Not all quilts are meant to be heirlooms – don’t be afraid to make a quilt to actually use hard. Some quilts are for snuggling and comfort.  Using an old blanket or a large piece of flannel for the batting is fine.  Using an old sheet or curtains (no holes please) for the backing is a way to deal with this and also is a way to reuse/recycle. 

More 4 Patch Quilt Ideas –

When Life Hands you Scraps, Make Quilts!



Scrappy Tumblers Quilt completed top.

Are you looking for a simple pattern that can be done in any color combo? What about using lots of scraps? How about easy to put together? This Scrappy Tumblers quilt is the answer to all those questions.

I have been working on another tumbler quilt from scraps that will look totally different (hint: look at the very bottom of this post for current photo). Anyway, I went looking for photos of the Scrappy Tumblers quilt to share with you since it is easy, looks great in scraps, and is an easy one piece design to make.

Scrap tumblers cut out and ready to sew together.

I started this quilt back in 2015 as a way to try to empty out the scrap bin. I originally sewed all the tumblers together…..and just stopped. There was no where for my eyes to rest, and it made me a bit dizzy to look at it. I had no idea what to do to make it better. Disappointed, I folded it up and put it in the stack of UFOs (unfinished objects).

Scrappy Tumbler Quilt - how the tumblers look all sewn together with no resting spot for the eyes.

Then in the spring of 2016, I was in a quilt shop that had a tumbler quilt on display and I loved it. The only real difference between the one in the store, and mine was there were narrow white borders between sections of the tumblers. It made all the difference – there was a place to rest my eyes.

Going home, I took the rows apart and added the narrow brown strips to make three sections. Yes, such an easy solution. During June and July of 2016, I sewed on and completed the wall hanging top.


Here is a PDF of the actual size tumbler pattern I use for the Scrappy Tumblers quilt. It is also the same one I am using for my current project, Scrap Happy Tumblers.


To make the Scrappy Tumblers quilt I cut tumblers from scrap fabric. I just starting cutting up scraps meaning I did not count. The easiest thing I found was to iron the fabric, then stack it up 4 – 6 layers thick with the lightest color on top right side down. I traced around the pattern on the back of fabric on top of the stack. Cut out using ruler and rotary cutter.

Obviously, this could also be cut one at a time with scissors if so desired.

The brown cotton sateen fabric that is between the sections of tumblers is 2.5″ wide. The outside border is 4″ wide.

The finished size of the wall hanging is 56″ x 54″.

It was machine quilted in Dec. 2017 by RLM in a all-over stipple design. I chose to not hand quilt it for two reasons: I was ready to move onto another project, and I didn’t want to deal with all those seams when quilting.

I put the binding, hanging sleeve, and label on in Jan. 2018.

Scrappy Tumblers quilt finished.

I found this really neat Thanksgiving toile in Paducah one year and used it for the backing.

A Thanksgiving or autumn themed toile fabric is the back.


This quilt is a super easy way to use up scraps. It also goes together easily. Best of all is that the finished size can be adjusted to your wants by using more or less tumblers and sashing between the sections.

Have fun with this simple project.

Other ideas for using tumbler pieces to build a quilt:

And here is a photo of my newest tumbler quilt. I have used all the cut tumblers so will have to cut more before I go on. It is currently about 3/4 of a twin size quilt.

Another setting for tumblers. Rows alternating tumblers and a solid fabric.



This quilt, Long May She Wave, started out several years ago with the purchase of the directions and 4 screen printed old patriotic (fabric) postcards.

Long May She Wave packet with directions and screen printed fabric postcards.

I wanted to make a patriotic wall hanging that did not require a whole lot of work or time. Good intentions, right?

After buying, I brought the packet home, found coordinating fabric to use, and promptly lost the package. It has not to be seen for several years despite looking all over for it.

First page of quilt packet.

This week I found the packet rolled up in another project! I stopped what I was doing quilt project wise and made the wall hanging. It is a good idea before the packet got lost again.

I read the directions and made an “executive” decision to not follow the them but just do it my own way. It was a measure and cut as-I-went thing to make it my own quilt.

The machine quilting is simply straight lines in strategic places in the blocks. These lines are done freehand and aren’t always as straight as they could be. I quilted it in about an hour.

I am happy with how the wall hanging, Long May She Wave, turned out. The binding is not done yet so there is still a little work to do on it, but I am happy with how it turned out.

Finished except for the binding.

Moral of the story……

I work in a job that requires following the rules and regulations, but when it is time to quilt…well, I rarely follow the directions closely. I look at a pattern and think how I would like to make it.

That being said, each quilt is its’ own creation. Obviously sewing rules need to be followed (machine tension is correct, seams are lined up and sewn right, points match, etc) but that does not mean that you can’t move things around. Or eliminate or add something. Quilting should be fun, so make the quilt your own.

US flag and clouds

Other ideas for patriotic quilts:


HAPPY HIBERNATION QUILT (or using those crumbs & strips – Part 2)

Happy Hibernation Quilt
Happy Hibernation Quilt done through the first border.

I am back to share Part 2 of the Happy Hibernation Quilt which is a fun and cheerful way to beat all the ugly news about COVID-19 on the news. I am trying to remain upbeat and content during this stressful time. Hopefully quilting is helping you through this very odd time as well.

**At the bottom of this post are photos of this quilt after it is machine quilted in early 2021.**

In the previous post ( I gave you ideas for block sizes and foundation material for your crumb/strip blocks.

In part 2 I am going to show you how I actually make a crumb block. Remember the blocks are more small puzzles than any pattern. It may take a couple blocks to feel comfortable, but we all have to practice our technique.

Supplies needed for the crumb blocks of Happy Hibernation Quilt Part 2:

A place to iron the fabric, and an iron. Remember that the foundation material needs to be iron-able.

Scraps of whatever size, color, and shape you want to use. You do not need to have lots of scraps. Have fun with this.

Thread for sewing – I used odd colored spools and bobbins that I wanted to get rid of.

Your cut foundation squares.

So let’s make a crumb block for the Happy Hibernation Quilt Part 2:

Pick a scrap that you want for the center of your block and put it approximately in the center of your foundation material. Lay the second scrap piece along one of the edges right sides together. I put a pin at the top where I want to start sewing. Make sure that the edges of the scraps line up so there is no hole in the seam that will have to be fixed or re-sewn.

First and second piece ready to be sewn for crumb block.

Sew the seam and then iron it. Decide what fabric to put down next.

Happy Hibernation Quilt

Here are the first 4 pieces sewn down to the foundation material. As you can see, I am working in one direction. I did not cut the strips so they were the same length, however, you can if you wish.

4 pieces of the crumb block sewn down.

The chosen piece of fabric is bigger than the corner it will cover. This is what I prefer to do so I do not have some small place that will need another small piece of fabric sewn down to fix that.

Sewing on the piece that will cover the first corner of the crumb block.

First corner covered, ironed, and trimmed to the foundation material. Yeah! The first corner is done. That was pretty simple right?

Happy Hibernation Quilt

You’ve finished the first corner, only 3 more to go

Now I am going to sew crumbs/strips in the other direction. I try to pick the direction I am going to go based on what scraps I have that will fit. Also what will be the easiest to cover since all the seams need to be sewn so there are no spots that later need re-sewn or fixed.

More strips sewn to crumb block.

The last piece sewn down that direction is bigger than needed. No problem – trim it up to the foundation material.

Happy Hibernation Quilt - one block partially sewn.

I laid out the fabric for the corner and it appears it should cover the corner with no problem at all.

Sewing down the corner piece on this crumb quilt.

After ironing the triangle down, I can still see the foundation material. Um…I should have measured a bit better. Oh well, I will need to sew down another strip to cover that.

Can still see some foundation material. Now I will sew down another strip to cover it.

Fabric laid down to sew to finish covering the corner. Pin is where I will start sewing.

Fabric laid out to sew down to cover corner of crumb block.

There is the narrow strip to finish covering the foundation material. I always think I should have eye-balled (or measured for real) pieces better so this does not happen. Iron the seam flat and then trim to the edge of the foundation material.

Building a crumb block for the Happy Hibernation Quilt.

Block is half done – Yeah!

So I want to make sure all the raw edges are always covered as I move on adding strips or crumbs to the block. I decided to do one long strip here.

A long scrap strip that will cover all the raw edges of the crumb block. Half of the first block for Happy Hibernation Quilt part 2.

The block is progressing right along. That long strip covered all the raw edges.

Crumb block is progressing along and all the raw edges are covered.

I added the second long strip and now there is only a small piece of the foundation material left to cover. Moving right along. See isn’t this easy!

There is only a small area of the foundation material left to cover with fabric.

Another strip sewn down. That space to cover with fabric is much smaller now.

Happy Hibernation Quilt - a crumb block.

With the final piece of scrap fabric added, the corner is covered. Trim up even with the foundation and you have completed the first block.

Completed crumb block for Happy Hibernation Quilt part 2.

I am finding these blocks to be addictive. They are fun and pretty easy to make. The blocks use those scraps that really aren’t big enough or the right shape to do anything else with.


Make the amount of blocks you need for your quilt.

I did not try to make the blocks look the same, and each one went together a little differently.

Here are photos of a few more blocks of the Happy Hibernation Quilt:

Crumb block 1.
Crumb block 2
Crumb block 3
Crumb block 4

To make the Flying Geese border for the Hibernation quilt, please refer to my directions here .

Other ideas for crumb/strip quilts:

Updated photos 03/09/2021:

Just back from machine quilter – no binding yet. Quilted in an all over “cloud” design.

Happy Hibernation Quilt - machine quilted.

Backing of Happy Hibernation Quilt

Crumb blocks
Some of the blocks
Another crumb block
Another crumb block

I like it – maybe I will make another crumb quilt in the future.

Enjoy your quilt journey. Make it fun.

Clip art of girl, quilt, and sewing machine.


HAPPY HIBERNATION QUILT (or using those crumbs & strips – Part 1)


The news at this point is full of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully quilting is helping you get through this anxious time and giving you a positive project to work on. What are you doing for “quarantine” quilting? I have been working on this crumb/string/strip quilt that I am calling my Happy Hibernation Quilt Part 1 (or using those crumbs & strips).

I googled “quilting trends 2020” this morning thinking there would be several posts on other blogs about “quarantine” quilts since the news is just full of “stay in place” and “quarantine”. Surprisingly there is more about color and pattern trends. There is also many articles on quilters doing masks for our medical workers which is very worth while.

Knowing quilters in general have scraps and need to do something cheerful and not mind boggling right now I thought you might like to drag out the scraps and make a fun “hibernation” quilt of your own.

crumbs & strips of scrap fabric
Source: google images

What do you do with all those crazy fabric pieces that are really no longer large enough to get the size blocks or strips from them that you want? Maybe the solution is a simple crumb or strip quilt.

These blocks are pretty simple really – more like a puzzle to fit together than an actual pattern to be followed.

Here’s photo of my bin of crumbs and strips. You don’t need lots of pieces to make these blocks. I have just been putting left-overs in here a long time. The scraps you have on hand will work fine for this project.

Bin full of colorful scraps of fabric.

Happy Hibernation Quilt Step 1 –

Decide the block size you want. I recommend between 8″ to 12″ however this is your quilt so please pick what you want. Remember that you will be sewing the pieces directly down to whatever you choose as the foundation.

If you want sashing and posts like I did in the top photo, I did 5″ wide sashing and 5″ square posts. However, you do not have to decide about sashing, posts, or even alternate blocks right now.

Happy Hibernation Quilt Step 2 –

The next thing is to decide what to use as a backing to build the block on:

Old scrap paper such as newspaper works well, though I personally recommend pulling paper off when you are done with the blocks. You may find it is easier to take out by wetting it first.

Sew-in lightweight interfacing also works well. Just read the label or test it first to make sure it can be ironed. This can be left in after the blocks are completed.

Years ago I used old thin white sheets that I cut into the size blocks I wanted. Stains or small holes will have no effect on the final blocks. Again, this foundation can be left in when the blocks are done.

Happy Hibernation Quilt Step 3 –

You have decided what size the blocks will be. You have the backing to build the blocks on. Now please cut the background into the size you want. I started out with 24 background blocks, and was having so much fun I ended up with 30.

Cut the number of blocks you want in the size you want. The quilt is for your enjoyment – I am simply giving you guidelines to make a fun hibernation quilt for yourself.

Foundation material for quilt
This is what I have on hand for using as the foundation of these blocks.

I cut 10″ squares because that is the size of the roll of foundation material I am using.

10" square of foundation material for  Happy Hibernation Quilt.
Here is a 10″ cut square of foundation material. I will sew the scraps to this.

Happy Hibernation Quilt (Part 1) summary:

This quilt is a fun way to use up scraps that are already on hand. The colors can be as wild, colorful, or calming as you wish. Have fun. Enjoy the process.

The next post will show you the basics of making a crumb or string quilt.

In the meantime relax, eat healthy, get some fresh air, and spend some time on the phone or using technology to connect to those you want to visit with.

Happy hibernation.

Here’s some other ideas for “crumb” or “string” quilts:

Clip art: make today amazing.




This is a super easy and fun quilt to make. It is a scrap buster for those who want to use up those scraps on hand. This cheerful “Simply Squares Quilt” is the way to go. All skill levels can do this quickly and confidently.

Pintrest had a photo that was similar to this project. I liked the look and that it used scraps so I thought it would be fun to try.

Simple Squares blocks

I started with a bin of already cut up 3″ squares left from another project. This quilt can be easily adapted to whatever size squares or scraps you have already.

A plastic bin of 3" squares

I want the colored squares to really stand out so I will use white scraps (solid, and white-on-white) as the alternate squares within the block. Doing some calculations, I decided to make my blocks 8 squares x 8 squares. However, this could easily be adapted to available fabric and your personal taste.

Scraps squares within a quilt block.

I made 12 complete blocks – again, this is adjustable for the number of blocks you want for your own beautiful quilt.

Simple Squares sashing & posts

I added 3″ wide sashing between the blocks the length of the blocks. The posts are also 3″. For me, going with the same size squares, sashing, and posts makes for easy math.


I did white sashing and scrap posts all the way around for the first border.

Simple Squares borders

This is the quilt top with just the first border complete on two sides to see how it looks.


Measure your own blocks to find out exactly what size sashing you will need.

The second border is 8 colored 3″ squares which is separated by a white 3″ square so it is the opposite of the first border.

A quilt block with sashing and posts.  Also the 3 borders.

The outside border is just solid white.

Are you a visual person? I am. It was a beautiful day so I took the quilt top outside for its’ photo. This is why I keep a clean pair of large plastic clamps on hand just for hanging quilts up on the privacy fence. Standing back from the quilt I really like the Simple Squares quilt top as it is.

My mind says “yes” it is finished, so it is time to move on to another project. However, you do what appeals to you to make it your own wonderful quilt.

Finished size: 78″ x 100″.


I hope you found this quilt project fun and cheerful. It is super easy to adjust to what you want to do size wise. The quilt top is cheerful and a great way to utilize the fabrics you have on hand.

Happy Stitching.

Other ideas for simple quilts to utilize the fabric on hand:

Clip Art - Make Today Amazing



Is it possible to over-dose on quilts and all things “quilty”? I believe most quilters would say no. Quilters seem to go to quilt shows to see other quilts and buy wonderful fabrics and other supplies. Here is more of the beautiful Quilt Show in Paducah, KY 2006 (part 2).


In today’s world the term is “network” with other quilters. You know – trade ideas of what this particular fabric could be used for. Or how easy/difficult that pattern is. Maybe ask around about what sewing or quilting machine others are using successfully.

Quilted wall hangings on display

Then there are the kind (or not) comments about how that person would have done such and such on the display quilt instead of what was done. Let’s try to be kind or constructive – being snarky does not become us.


When I ask other quilters what they like about quilt shows, the responses always include: other quilters, new ideas, shopping, and feeling revived or energized (especially to start or finish a project).

Castle themed quilt

The Quilt Show in Paducah, KY 2006 was four days of crowds, shopping, new ideas, wonderful displays, beautiful quilts, great classes, and energy. It was an amazing event. Also every year the quilts are different from the previous year.

Enjoy the Quilt Show in Paducah, KY 2006 !!

Amish like quilt pattern with detailed machine quilting.
Album quilt that looks very "old world" or maybe Lancaster County, PA.
Scenery quilt: trees, house
Quilt has 4 woman sitting on a bench
Lone Star Quilt
Two quilts hanging side by side
Amazing quilt with beads or sequins that sparkle in the light.

I hope all the quilters reading this post enjoyed the photos. While the current crisis is not fun or to be taken lightly, being an armchair traveler is great. We can travel in our jammies, with our favorite food or project close at hand, and on our time table.

For other photos of the Quilt Show in Paducah, KY 2006 see:

Please note that none of the quilts in this post are mine, but the photos are.



So many of us are in “stay in place” right now that I thought sharing some photos from the quilt show in Paducah, KY during 2006 might give you some new ideas. Or at least some different quilts to look at.

Applique quilt - fruits and vegies

I really try to make an annual trip of the show in Paducah each spring. There are just so many quilts to see, which means so many more ideas of quilts I would like to make.


These quilts caught my eye for one reason or another, which means the camera comes out. Besides the actual quilts on display, there are vendors from all over with a variety of patterns, supplies, fabrics, sewing and quilting machines, books, and a whole lot more. Plus classes from some famous quilt teachers and designers.

Quilt of snowflakes

I have long since lost my handbook for the show so I can’t tell you any details about these quilts. But you can enjoy just looking at them, right?


I am always amazed at the creativity and skill of the quilts on display. So many are one-of-a-kind designs solely for the purpose of making a quilt to display in the Paducah show.

Scenic quilt viewed through an archway.

If you would like to see more quilt images, another place to check out is:

Scenic quilt with brick wall and window

I left the photos large so you could see the detail of the quilts. After all, we are all about the details right.


The Quilt Show in Paducah, KY 2006 was not one quilt show, but shows within the main quilt show. There were smaller shows of themed quilts, or regional quilts (Japan comes to mind).

I will post the rest of the photos from this show for the next post.

In the meantime, have fun with your quilting. This current situation will pass and we will once again be able to travel and enjoy time with other quilters.

If you want to armchair travel to some other quilt shows:

Quilty Pleasures

Please note that none of the quilts in this post are mine, but the photos are.


This quilt started out as…well, not what it ended up. It is sections made of left-over parts from other quilts. However, it is finally finished: Flowers & Tumblers !!!!


The machine quilting has been done for a couple months, but I couldn’t decide what color or fabric to bind it in. I finally decided to continue the left-over idea and go with making a binding of pieces of other bindings that there is not enough of to do any complete quilt.

Waste not, want not as the saying goes.

This quilt was machine quilted in a “meandering” or stipple design. Thread is a variegated gray.

Batting: 80/20 poly and cotton mix.

Finished size: 102″ square.

To see the progression of this quilt, please look at these posts:

Part 1:

There is also a PDF of the hexie and the tumbler for your use.

Part 2:

Part 3:

This quilt was done in sections: the tumblers, the English paper pieced hexies, and finally the flying geese borders.

Close up of tumbler section of quilt
Close up of tumbler section – there is a total chaos of various scraps.


Looking at the above photo of part of a tumbler section – there certainly is no rhyme or reason to the fabric scraps. This is what happens when a person just buys and uses fabric they like. If it is any comfort, my stash has the same kind of wide variety of fabric designs and colors too.

Don’t be afraid to follow your heart with colors, and designs of fabrics. Make every quilt you make so that you are satisfied and happy with it.

English paper pieced flowers using hexagons made of fabric scraps.
English paper pieced hexies “blooming” on a rick-rack “vine”.

English Paper Pieced Hexagons:

The above hexies are hand sewn and appliqued along the “vine”. I intended to add leaves but actually forgot about adding them until after I had already moved on to another project.

I made the “executive” decision to not add the leaves or stress about it. This quilt grew and changed as it was worked on.

Have fun with your quilts. If the direction of the quilt changes as you “birth” it that is just fine.

Flying Geese border. Notice the different fabrics that make up the binding.

Flying Geese borders:

So I decided to make the final border out of Flying Geese. Wow, did I mess up on the math! But rather than start over, or whine about it, I came up with a quick fix.

I sewed as many geese together as possible to make a “almost” complete border on each side. At that point my choice was sew another goose on and have to cut part of it off. Or I could add a piece of white backing to fit. The geese do not completely go around, but the solution looks like it was planned.

I tend to not ask other quilters about solutions to fix quilts. Why ?? Because once I come up with something, other folks generally think that was my intended design in the first place. They don’t see the mistake and that is a nice boost after a struggle to fix an issue.

The beauty of making quilts from simple shapes and patterns is that mistakes can be generally easy to fix. Put the quilt top where you can look at it for a few minutes or hours (or days). What fabric or design element can be added to fix the problem?

Get out magazine or quilt books for ideas. Look at Pintrest. Look at your stash. Think outside the usual box for this pattern. Ask other quilters or FB groups. You can do this.

Pieced together backing of this quilt,
The pieced together backing of this quilt.


Because I made math errors, I had to add fabric to the backing. The small strips of toile fabrics at the ends are left-overs from other backings.

After piecing together this backing, I have seriously given some thought to doing at least one reversible quilt. After all, why should the front be the only pretty part of the quilt….

Thankfully this quilt is finally finished: Flowers & Tumblers (part 4). It is time to move onto the next quilt adventure.

Call to Arms:

I hope you will use the Flowers & Tumblers quilt to inspire you to make a quilt from fabrics or patterns you have never combined together into one quilt before.

Think outside the box, have fun, and enjoy the journey as your quilt comes together.

Some ideas for tumblers and hexies:

Clip art of pieced block