I found this drawing on Pintrest and thought it would be an easy way to use up some more of the scraps. There were no measurements with the drawing so I could make up my own. I named the pattern “Simply Square Frolic” because it seemed to fit – at least in my mind.
I already had a box of 3″ squares cut out and so this is a way to use them. The 3″ scrap squares are sewn into rows of 6 squares (5 rows) with 1.25″ strips between the rows of squares would make a 16″ block. I decided to do mine in red, blue, and beige squares with solid white strips between the rows.
The blocks go together easily and it is really nice to find a use for more scraps. I have decided to make a total of 12 blocks (3 rows wide x 4 rows long) which will fit nicely on the wall in my dining room.
Here are two completed blocks sewn together. It’s always great when the math works and the blocks fit!
For now, this wall hanging top is set aside to complete another project. With all the seams, it will definitely be machine quilted.
I can see this pattern “Simply Square Frolic” working for other color combinations or even just total scrap.
Some other ideas for easy quilts that use squares:
Waste not, want not or so we are told. The Basketweave Nine Patch Quilt is a classic example of not wasting those pesky scraps that keep filling up a tub in my sewing room. This is a super easy pattern to do and can be adjusted for any size quilt. If you have not made a quilt from this pattern, let me encourage you to do so. It is easy to make and can be adjusted to any size strips you want to use.
Too many scraps….
I saw this pattern in some quilting magazine back in the mid to late 1980’s while living and working in West Germany. I thought yippee!! A great way to use up some of these scraps.
Obviously even then, I had a real problem with scraps!
I understand that rotary cutters were available by this time, but I had not seen one yet, so I actually cut all those pieces out by hand with scissors! It made for sore hands. Plus the issue of keeping those sharp scissors out of the little folks reach since I generally sat at on the floor to cut my fabric and they were playing around me.
So I eventually cut enough rectangles out for four queen size Basketweave Nine Patch Quilts that were completed over several years. It’s ok, you can say and think that this poor woman had a serious problem with fabric addiction. You would be sooooo correct.
Easily adjusted to the size you need
In the first photo, the quilt has blocks made of 9 “Roman Stripe” patches. I don’t remember the exact size but the three strips sewn together were the same length and width. Just alternate them as shown in the clip art below when sewing together.
The next step was simply adding solid black sashing between the Basketweave Nine Patch Quilt blocks. The post was a square the same size as the width of the sashing. I believe the sashing was 4″ wide, which would mean the posts were 4″ square – obviously this was a personal choice size wise and could easily be adjusted to fit any size quilt.
The top was finally put together in early 2007 and machine quilted by RLM the same year. It was given to our son M. for Christmas.
Scraps can be so much fun to use and the ideas are are numerous as the quilters who have those ideas. Go ahead, bring out all those scraps you have stashed in boxes and bags and give a scrap quilt a whirl. Quilts made with scraps can be addictive – who knows, you may never make a planned quilt again. Have fun.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
It’s so easy to do the same style of quilts in the same colors or fabric designs which is why I push myself out of my own comfort zone periodically and do something I have not done in the quilt realm. It’s so easy to get stagnant and I want to learn new things – even in quilting.
I rarely do mystery quilts because I am very visual and want to see how the top looks when it is finished. Which apparently takes all the fun out of it…..
I passed the pattern to another quilter when the top was finished. However, I do remember that it was all squares and rectangles which went together easily.
Easy One Patch Baby Quilts (or my “go to” pattern for a simple, quick baby or lap quilts) is the One Patch. They can easily be made in any colors or themes desired. Simple beauty at its’ best.
I use 8” blocks of whatever colored or themed cotton fabric is wanted for the quilt. For these two quilts, I did 4 squares by 5 squares for a total of 20 squares in each quilt. I then added a 6” border. A great thing about doing quilts this way is that they can be adjusted to bigger or smaller by using more or fewer blocks.
The gray was yardage I had on hand, the yellow blocks were scraps, and the border print was purchased last week at Hobby Lobby. I was working at a comfortable speed (with the phone turned off) and the ironing, cutting, and sewing took me three hours to complete both tops. They will be machine quilted to complete.
The finished sizes are about 43″ x 49″.
The two baby quilts pictured here are for a couple at church who have been approved for fostering to adopt. They are not sure whether they will get boys, girls, or one of each so wanted the fabrics to be gender neutral and cheerful.
The really great thing about doing this simple pattern is that it can look so different based on colors, themes, or even some different border design.
Check out how different a One Patch Quilt can look:
As a child I was fascinated by the beautiful illustrations and animal stories of Beatrix Potter. When I found this cute border fabric of her storybook characters, it just had to come home with me. This colorful fabric is in my stash whenever I needed it for a project. It would make a cute and cuddly baby quilt. When a family friend’s daughter was pregnant, I made this “Remembering Beatrix Potter Quilt” for the expected baby.
This was a fun quilt to make with the Beatrix Potter border print and strips of coordinating fabrics that I pulled from my stash to make a 45″ x 50″ quilt in 2009.
My notes don’t say what size the strips were, but I can say that I just played with various size strips of scrap fabric until I figured out the right size of borders and strips. All machine pieced.
Batting was polyester, and the back was a plain pink cotton.
Machine quilting is an all over loop pattern done by RLM.
Using strips to piece a quilt top is easy and makes for a great looking quilt. The strips can be cut to the width and length you need for a project. I love being able to adjust a quilt design for my own personal needs without redrawing patterns or doing very much math.
I found this “cheater” panel and the matching cardinal fabric at Paducah one year, and just had to make something for Christmas from it. This cute Christmas Cardinals wall hanging was just fun to make. It could have been much quicker if I had not gotten distracted with other quilting projects.
I started out with the center panel, added some leftover pieced squares, then a border in red. The outside border is the coordinating cardinal fabric. The machine quilting is a small stipple design by RLM. I completed it with dark green binding, and a tag on the back.
Finished size is 35″ x 35″.
Fabric panels are also called “cheater fabric”. My thought on quilting is that is should be fun and that whatever technique I (or you) choose to do is fine.
I don’t waste time on the “quilt police” that occasionally show up in my life – you know the ones – “I only do hand quilting” or “I would never use that fabric in that pattern” or “I hand piece all my quilts” or “I only do traditional patterns” or “I use cotton batting” or………. Folks like that will not change their minds if I (or you) try to explain why doing a particular thing in quilting is just fine, so do not stress yourself. The process of quilting should be fun, satisfying, and enrich your soul.
Using fabric panels
The only real rule in quilting is to do good workmanship. Everything else is personal – the pattern, the fabrics, the quilting design, hand or machine quilted (or tied), and hand vs. machine piecing. Do the techniques you enjoy.
Feel free to mix techniques in your quilts. Quilting and quilts should bring you joy. Your quilts can be as individual as you are. Enjoy the process.
I use a mix. While I love the traditional look of quilts, I personally don’t want a home full of traditional looking quilts. I like to use the colors and designs of fabric that catch my eyes.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
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.
Today is Memorial Day. We probably all know at least one person who has served this country either as active duty, reservists, or as a loving spouse. Have you considered making one or many veteran quilts for our patriots? If not, please take a moment to think what a quilt means to you – it’s a kind of warm hug, right? Our service members would love to have that “hug” as well.
Ideas for places to take or send veteran quilts
There are several places to donate veteran quilts for our patriots. Please check the sites out, find the one that feels right to you, and follow the guidelines they have for the gift quilts if you are interested.
Please don’t forget that local VFW posts might take quilts for their members, and local quilt guilds can also have members who head up quilts for veterans. Check around at local fabric shops or libraries for points of contact. Also local churches may know or participate in making veteran quilts. Many nursing homes have veterans as residents.
My personal journey with veteran quilts
I am extremely patriotic and have had exposure to military members and their families my entire life. They give an awful lot so I have the rights available to me to as an American.
I have donated many lap size quilts over the years to groups or churches who dealt directly with wounded or traumatized veterans. The need is great. Sometimes I worked on the quilts alone, sometimes as part of an informal group who wants to do more than just say “thank you” to veterans.
I do not have bragging rights because of helping with this worthy cause. It was within my skill and interest simply to do something.
Other people told others that I was involved in this and suddenly people starting donating fabrics and supplies. Many, many thanks to those who help by keeping me or us in supplies. Not all the fabric was patriotic themed, but all of it is used.
With the informal group, the lap “quilts” were crocheted, tied, machine quilted, and even sometimes hand quilted. We give them to local wounded vets, and I know of one woman who keeps several in her car to be given to those “old” men that are seen in caps that say “______ veteran”.
Sometimes I cut the pieces and hand those off to another quilter to piece. Or I tie the finished tops. I bind many that need it. All those involved worked around their own schedules. We only get together every 2 or 3 months for a work day together. Here are photos of a few simple veteran quilts that I have been involved with over the years:
Quilters tend to be very giving in mentoring new quilters, making quilts for local charity auctions and local victims of domestic abuse or house fires. Here is another idea for volunteering your time and talents by utilizing your quilting skills to make veteran quilts for our patriots. Think outside the box. Look around your community and see who would love to have quilt “hug”.
Thank a veteran today.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
Millennium Quilts – looking back 20 years. Were you quilting 20 years ago? If so, do you remember if you had a special quilt project for the year 2000? I went through a pile of quilts last week that needed to be aired out and refolded. In the pile were two millennium quilts that I made.
When I found the millennium quilts and realized 20 years have passed – wow!! The time is just flying by day by day. So many changes, both in my quilting and personally.
As far as my quilting, the past 20 years have been mostly fun. I have tried more hand applique. Using the rotary cutter has become second nature and I learned after one serious accident to keep my fingers firmly on the ruler. Combining colors and designs of fabric no longer scares me. I rarely feel the need to respond to the question “how many quilts have you made? – it is not a contest. Quilting gives me joy and a sense of peace, plus I can actually enjoy and see the finished item, which is not something visible in my daily job.
The making of my millennium quilts – looking back 20 years
In the late 1990’s I saw ads in quilting magazines from people all over the world who wanted to trade 3″ squares to make millennium quilts. I thought it would be a fun challenge to make a quilt with 2000 different fabrics. So I traded, and traded…….. Eventually I traded 10,000 three inch squares with other quilters all over the world. Each envelope was so exciting to open and see what new treasures were inside.
The squares came from all over Europe, Canada, and the USA. There were even a few packages from Africa, India, Japan, and South America. I certainly never thought about all the different fabrics that were available the world over. This project really opened my eyes to quilting being international – not just American.
In fact, the post mistress of our little town was so excited about all the places these envelopes came from that I would open them right there so she could see what they contained. The selection of fabrics was amazing. Ultimately, I ended up with 43 repeats out of the 10,000 squares traded!! And only one person did not trade back (or maybe the envelope was lost somewhere in the mail system).
2000 Millennium Charm Quilt – looking back 20 years
I cut the 3″ traded squares to 2.5″ simply so they were actually all the same size. If you have quilted any time at all, you know how my 3″ square maybe a bit (or a lot) different than your 3″ square. I have never figured that out, but that is not the point either.
The variety of colors, patterns, and even quality of the cotton was amazing. The squares were kept in plastic bags by color groups. I changed my mind several times about exactly how I would design this millennium quilt – after all, the year 2000 was a big deal (or was supposed to be!).
Finally opting to do 16 square blocks. It was a simple way to double check to make sure there were no duplicates. This way also allowed me to loosely use the squares by color. I didn’t stress over if my planned look for each block turned out differently – frankly I just let myself have fun putting the blocks together.
Even as I pieced this top together during Jan. to March of 1999, the packages of 3″ squares continued to come in. It seemed that no matter how many I used, there were more to work with.
I finally stopped making the blocks, and added a navy blue border with “2000” in it. Then I added another border down two sides of more blocks. There is one square of the border fabric somewhere in the top so that there are exactly 2000 different fabrics for this millennium quilt.
It was quilted in Nov. 1999 by MG in an all-over cloud design. The final size is 90″ x 98″. The top is all cottons, the batting is polyester, and the backing a queen size flat sheet.
2001 Millennium Charm Quilt – looking back 20 years
Still using the 2.5″ charm squares, I simply just randomly sewed the medium and dark ones together. I was still getting packages in the mail and at this point just felt overwhelmed at how many different cotton fabrics there were around the world.
I pieced the quilt header “2001” area using the lighter squares as the background and darker ones for the 2001.
I worked on this quilt on and off during the first half of 2001. In Oct. 2001 it was machine quilted by CM in the loopy design. The backing is a light colored large flat sheet.
While the machine quilting was fine, the quilt was not centered on the backing. Truthfully, it really made me angry to work so hard and long on a top to have it treated so disrespectfully by the machine quilter. However, I wanted it completed. So a creative answer to fixing this issue for binding was to simply cut off part of the borders on two sides. It ended up being finished size 92″ x 104″.
I continued to use the millennium charm squares in other projects as I was able. The squares also got bagged up and “gifted” to other quilters for birthday or Christmas gifts.
I loved the challenge of working with the squares. It was fun, if time consuming, to keep checking for duplicates. My challenge to other quilters is to do a charm quilt of some sort during your quilt journey.
The year 2000 has come and gone. But I have two very special quilts to represent that year and am so glad I did all those exchanges with so many other quilters around the world.
I am so glad that I took the time and challenge to do the millennium quilts. It has been fun over the past week to look back over the past 20 years of quilting – wow. For myself, somehow those millennium quilts were really freeing for quilting in my life. They improved my critical thinking skills (as in how am I going to fix this problem/mistake?). I spend less time thinking about the individual aspects (will this fabric really match?) and more about the whole quilt design. There is also just making the quilts because each one suits me or my current need.
Each quilt you and I do expands our skills and allows us to learn something new about ourselves. Have fun with your quilt making journey.