Want to make a dent in your scrap bin? What about making a simple quilt in your favorite colors? This quilt, Lemon Drops and Blueberries, will do either or both. Plus it was fun and easy.
This quilt can easily be made with 3″ wide strips and strip pieced together if you have yardage or bigger scraps. However, I was working with small scraps and cut individual 3″ blocks.
Starting step for Lemon Drops and Blueberries Quilt
Using the same idea from Pintrest as I did for a previous quilt, Simply Squares (indianaquilter40.com/simple-squares-quilt) I cut out stacks of 3″ squares from the scrap bin. I narrowed my color choices to blues and yellows.
For this quilt, I made the blocks 6 squares long by 6 squares across. I use the foot on my machine for the seam line and it is a bit bigger than a quarter inch. My blocks turned out to be 15″ square.
I decided to make the quilt five blocks across and six blocks long (30 blocks total), plus the sashing and posts. So I did not loose count, I pinned the finished blocks together in stacks of 10 blocks.
Adding the posts and sashing to Lemon Drops and Blueberries Quilt
The blocks finished at 15″ square which is the length I cut the sashing. The sashing is 3″ wide.
By sewing sashing, block, sashing, block and repeating, I was able to sew the six rows of five blocks together quickly.
Then I sewed the post, sashing, post, sashing, etc. together until it was the length I wanted to match the block row.
Adding the borders to the Lemon Drops and Blueberries Quilt
The only fabric that is not scraps is the border on my quilt top. I cut it 4″ wide.
I sewed the top and bottom borders on, then ironed. After that I sewed the side borders on and ironed.
The top is complete !! The size is 94″ x 110″.
Remember that this quilt can be adjusted several ways:
The square size can be made larger or smaller than the 3″ squares that I used if you desire. This will enable you to utilize the fabric you have.
Or the number of squares sewn into a block can be adjusted to more or less based on the needs for your own quilt. I used 6 blocks across and long (so 36 squares in each block).
Even the posts and sashings can be narrower or wider than the 3″ I used.
The border can be easily wider or narrower based on the size of quilt needed.
Other ideas for using simple squares and scraps to make a quilt:
Have you ever considered making a personalized quilt as a gift for a special person in your life? Below are two examples of lap quilts that are very personal to the quilt recipients. They were fun to make, and I kept them simple and easy.
A personalized Quilt As A Gift – Reversible Sunflower & Ocean lap quilt
My sister loves sunflowers and the ocean (actually any body of water). I wanted to make her a lap quilt for her birthday. Something she could take along on travels and snuggle in. I made her a reversible quilt that includes both her favorite things.
This is the sunflower side. It is five different sunflower fabrics. The medium green separates the sunflowers. The border is a black. I believe the sizes of the strips are six inches for the sunflower and three inches for the green.
For the water side, I started with a lighthouse panel. By adding 4 different fabrics that coordinated with it the theme continued. The fabric right next to the panel is actually two fabrics – the top part is clouds and lightening, with the bottom fabric being waves.
The outside black border is the same on both sides. It is also the binding.
Finished size is 62″ x 53″. Pieced during Dec. 2017.
Machine quilted by RLM in January 2018 in a stipple pattern.
A PERSONALIZED QUILT AS A GIFT – TEAL & YELLOW LAP QUILT
My niece asked for a quilt in teal and yellow for her birthday. I had plenty of scraps to make the blocks. Bought enough of the teal and yellow paisley fabric for the outside border, binding, and the back.
The blocks started out as 8″ squares sewn diagonally and cut apart, so there were two identical triangle blocks. Directions are in this post. Sewed those into rows, and added the border.
Remember that you can easily adjust a simple pattern like this for your own needs. The blocks can be smaller or larger. The border can easily be adjusted to complete the quilt in the size you want.
Machine pieced and machine quilted in Feb. 2018. The quilting pattern is an all over stipple.
Her mom says that she loves it, and that the quilt is on top of her bed over the other blankets. I am always glad to know that quilts I make are loved.
We were so poor growing up, and my mom hated to sew. I don’t remember ever using anything for a doll quilts around my “babies” but old worn out towels. However, I do have special memories of a doll quilt my mom kept safe and gave me as an adult. This is a brief story of my yo-yo doll quilt memories.
Apparently these quilts were popular during the 1920’s to 1940’s. They were portable, could be used for scraps, only required a circle template (a plate or cup would do), did not need a sewing machine, and many did not have any kind of batting or backing. Quilters make due when times are tough.
Yo-yo doll quilt memories
This 18″ x 22″ yo-yo doll quilt is a really pretty example of this technique. Most of it is 1930s fabrics with a few pieces being 1940s. My grandma (the same wonderful woman who years later would teach me to sew) made it from scraps she had available. There is lots of blues and pinks, with some yellow and multi colored fabrics typical of the time in it.
When grandma died, I inherited her treadle sewing machine and fabrics. With the scraps were some still bright fabric pieces that match the fabrics in this quilt.
The yo-yo’s are sewn down to a piece of muslin for stability. My mom had a real baby doll to play with. Mom was born in the mid 1930s so life was still hard and the Great Depression still a real part of life.
When I was growing up, this yo-yo quilt was stored in a chest in my parents’ room. Once in a great while, mom would bring it out for me to touch and look at. The texture was wonderful. The backing had thin spots and a few small holes. A few of the yo-yo’s themselves were starting to come undone at the center.
Mom would tell me stories of her childhood while I rubbed my hands across the fabrics and thought about the huge family my mom was part of and how various people played such a part in her childhood. Most of the children of those same people were my playmates.
If you have a quilt that is passed down to you, please find out as much as possible about it. When it is passed on again, the story will make the quilt so much more precious.
I encourage you to keep some sort of notes and photos for the quilts you make. Put a tag on the back telling who and when it was made by.
Quilts are like hugs across the generations and years. There are quilts that are made to be loved to death with usage. Some are meant to be used and enjoyed. There are some that are meant to be heirlooms. The world needs all three types of quilts.
Have you ever had an idea for a quilt that was so totally different than what you see normally in the quilt world? The idea just rattles around in your head and you can’t get away from it? But you think it is embarrassing to even consider something so different from “normal” quilts. Stop thinking that. Quilting should be fun, and making quilts from the ideas in your head can be so satisfying.
I am going to share three very different quilts from my quilt scrapbooks because I want you to make the quilts that make you happy. We are all unique creations, and it should not be surprising that we have ideas for unique quilts.
Before we start, put away the angering, sad, and depressing thoughts about the current events in our country. We are taking a break and just going to have fun for a few minutes.
Making quilts from the ideas in your head – Queen’s Crown #1 Mini Quilt
See here about this fun, hand quilted mini quilt that is embellished with beads.
Making quilts from the ideas in your head – Welsh Beauty Whole Cloth Quilt
When I mentioned making this whole cloth quilt to a few ladies in the local quilt guild, they gave me either blank looks or were verbally negative. The kindest comment asked me why I would “want to quilt silk fabric, and use itchy wool batting? And something about extremely sore fingers. I continued on with my plan for this beautiful quilt.
Welsh Beauty is posted on my old blog here, see for details.
Making quilts from the ideas in your head – Maxine Strikes Again (reversible quilt)
My mom-in-law really, really likes Maxine (you know, the really sarcastic old woman comic strip). When I found both the Christmas and regular fabric versions, I had the wild idea to make a reversible quilt.
This is probably pretty tame compared to my “normal” outside the box quilt ideas, but it was fun. Coordinating fabrics from my stash. A little math to make them the right size.
The Christmas side I made 2″ bigger all the way around than the regular print side. This was so I could do self-binding.
advice to you
Go ahead and make quilts from the ideas in your head. If you have an idea for a quilt, follow your heart and mind, and just make it. So what if the quilt is not how you imagined it. If it truly is not what you want when it is done, gift it to someone else in your family or community.
But it may turn out better than you ever thought. Just think what a satisfying finished quilt you would have missed if you had not made it. Follow your ideas.
Enjoy your quilting journey.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
Remember the saying “Laughter is the best medicine”? This week has been rough. We need something light hearted in the midst of all the anger and fear being projected by events and media. Quilters – laughter is good for us.
Let me encourage you, this time shall pass. The year of 2020, which started with promise, has deteriorated into a full blown mess. But as my grandma would say, “make lemonade from those lemons.”
With that in mind, I thought just to share a few things that made me laugh today. I am hoping they cheer up your day, and that you get a laugh from them. All of the following are from my Pintrest board “Fun Quilting Quotes”.
Remember quilters – laughter is good for us. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” (KJV) Proverbs 17:22
Are you new to quilting? What are must haves for a basic quilter’s tool box to get started piecing? If you have been reading my blog for anytime at all, you know I am all about keeping my life fairly simple. Several readers ask recently what I absolutely have to have in my basic quilter’s tool box to piece a quilt top.
There are so many gadgets in stores, quilting websites, and advertisements that claim to be “must haves” for the beginner quilter. It makes it hard to decide, and it is easy to get distracted. For those on a tight budget there is no money to waste on something not really needed.
Forty years ago, I started quilting with my sewing box from Home Ec class. All these years later, I am using many of the same tools because they still do the job. However, as I have gotten older and have a bit more money to sink into better tools, I have… if it is something I will actually use.
I am more about my tools being functional than pretty or the “newest and greatest”. There is nothing wrong with those things, but there is also nothing wrong with using simple things to get a project done. It is not a contest, decide what works for you.
As stated numerous times in various posts – get the best supplies you can afford now. You will be happier than just buying whatever is cheapest to save a few dollars. If you continue to quilt then upgrade as time, interest, and budget allow for better tools and gadgets.
Forget the fabric and thread for right now – this list is the “prequel” to that.
A super basic list for (in my mind at least) the basic quilter’s tool box:
This can be a separate table, an old desk, or any other flat surface. You just need a flat space that will hold your machine safely and allow you enough room to use it.
In my life time of sewing, I have used the end area of a long table, an old sewing cabinet, a small kitchen table, and a plastic picnic table. Now an sturdy old wooden desk with drawers is home to my sewing machine and tools. Post on old blog about my desk (and other useful stuff) is here .
Something to use as an ironing board, and an iron.
I own an ironing board, but the reality is I rarely use it. Why? Because I like more room when ironing. See here . If you prefer to have an ironing board, then get one. They are readily available and not expensive.
However, in the past I have used a table top covered with several layers of towels. I have also (when much younger) spread an old wool blanket on the floor. Think outside the box here, if you do not have space or a budget for an ironing board, what can you use that is already on hand?
For me personally, I don’t spend a lot of money on irons. I am hard on them plus they get dropped routinely (no one ever said I was graceful). I do use a spray bottle for water instead of filling the iron. This one has lasted longer than the normal (for me) six to twelve months. What you need is what will be comfortable and usable for you.
A reliable sewing machine that is easy to use and maintain.
Find one that fits your budget with features you will use. Some people get a machine with all the bells and whistles, others go with what can be purchased at Wal-Mart or JoAnn’s.
I openly admit I own and use a Pfaff sewing machine. I use my sewing machine constantly. The machine needs to be a work horse. It needs to be easy to clean and maintain. Another requirement is simple to use. Before you say, those machines are way out of my budget, look at the less fancy ones. Mine has useful stitches, but mostly it is just a hard working machine. No computer to crash, it is functional without lots of extras I will not use.
I just looked at the shop in Indianapolis where I bought this one in 2011 and the new price for the current model of this one is $649 + tax. Ok, not cheap but not unreasonable either.
Rotary cutting mat in a size that works for the area you must use it in.
These mats come in all sizes from a few inches to large enough to cover a table top. The original mat I bought was 12″ x 18″. When I had more space and money to upgrade, I got one 24″ x 36″. I still have the smaller mat and it is great for those times I am traveling and take fabric with me to cut. Get a mat that fits for your needs.
A rotary cutter and ruler that is a “general” all purpose.
Rotary cutters come in different sizes and with various types of handles. If you spend hours cutting what you want is one that fits your hand and is comfortable. I prefer the straight one above and a 45 mm blade. Be safe with your tool, they are sharp and a nasty cut (with possible stitches) will slow down your quilting project.
Rotary rulers come in different sizes and shapes for different projects. I encourage you to get a general size and shape for the first one. My favorite is still the 18″ x 3″ pictured above. When you shop, think in terms of one that will work for strips and squares, is easy to handle, has a safe area for your fingers to hold the ruler down, and is comfortable.
The yellow handled one is my original and it still sees a lot of use. The gray one is a commemorative model for 25 years of Olfa cutters. The handle is a bit thicker and feels different. I use both, but am looking at the ergonomic ones that are available now. My wrists and elbows are not as young as they once were.
Fabric scissors that you like and will use.
Even with the rotary cutter, you will need at least one pair of scissors. They will be used for cutting threads, small amounts of fabric (like for applique), and just general fabric cutting. Mark them as only for fabric, or store with your sewing supplies. Cutting paper, wire, and cardboard will make them too dull to cut fabric or thread easily.
Sewing scissors come in various sizes with different kinds of handles. Again, try them out if possible and get the pair that feels good in your hands. Make sure you get right handed or left handed scissors depending on your need.
Quilting pins and a container to safely hold them.
Quilting pins are a must for pinning blocks together at intersections. They are helpful for bindings, and pinning rows or blocks together. They are just a great tool with numerous uses. Sometimes I think mine act like extra fingers.
Along with a pin cushion or some form of container to hold the pins is necessary. Unless you find the game of “pick up pins” to be fun. I store my pins in a regular canning jar. When I am using them they get put in a magnetic cup that I bought for $2 at the Dollar Store in the automotive section.
This basic quilting tool comes in various sizes and shapes. Find something that fits your hand. When sewing it is easy to make mistakes or not sew a straight seam. A seam ripper is tons easier to use to fix this then a pair of scissors.
A BASIC QUILTER’S TOOL BOX Needs a container to keep all the small items in.
This can be a clear plastic box with a lid, a cardboard shoe box, a fancy sewing box, or something else. The important thing is to have a container to keep all the small tools in.
I use my ugly orange Tupperware sewing box that originally held all my sewing tools for Home Ec class in school. It still does the job, and with a tight fitting lid can travel or be moved around without loosing items.
A good reference book or website that will walk you through the steps to making your first quilt top.
I still have these books for reference and ideas. Do some research and talk to other quilters to see what they use for instructions. There are some really good books. If you prefer videos, see what you can find on YouTube.
The important thing is to find an instructor or instructions that help you. I remember seeing an Eleanor Burns video and being so excited because she was fun and made the quilts look easy.
Finally for your basic Quilter’s Tool Box…
There is a learning curve to using the tools and getting comfortable with them. The most important thing is for you to like the tools and practice with them. This is especially true with the machine and the rotary cutter.
But it is something you can learn. Quilting is not rocket science. It is very do-able. Just remember to have fun with it. Find another quilter who can mentor you when you get stuck. The most important tool is you being willing to learn, and enjoying the process.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.