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:
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.
In Memory of Ireland was meant as a snuggle/lap quilt. I made it for the wonderful couple (A & S G) who are naturalized citizens from Ireland and now own the wonderful motel I stay in annually on the coast of Maine.
Various green 8″ square (some even have shamrocks or Celtic knots) alternated with white 8″ squares. The interior three borders were done in the order of the Irish flag: green, orange, white. The borders were each 2.5″.
The outside border was cut 4″ wide and is a navy blue with a green Celtic knot design.
Machine quilted in a large stipple design by RLM. Self bound.
Finished size is 72″ x 72″.
They were so excited to receive an “American” quilt and say they will treasure it forever. I hope they use it and enjoy In Memory of Ireland.
Gift quilts don’t have to be complicated to make. They are easy to personalize by doing simple squares and adjusting the size or amount of squares to fit the need. Just use fabrics and colors that are personal to the recipients. They can be tied, machine or hand quilted based on the budget or desire.
Here are some other gift quilts that were fun and easy to make:
(PINK) FLANNEL ONE PATCH QUILT -Some quilts are made as heirlooms, some are made to be used (but not abused) and some are made to be loved to death. The fate of being loved to death is the story of this quilt.
I pieced it from a stack of left over mostly pink flannel blocks in 1994 – 1996. The blocks were cut 8″ square and there is no border. The backing was a pink flannel flat sheet. The “batting” was a worn white cotton sheet. It was tied with yarn.
My daughter (H) was the recipient of this and she also “helped” with the sewing and tying of the quilt. She was so excited about how soft and cuddly it was. She was four years old when we finished it.
We sewed it together so it looked like a pillow case, smoothed it out, and tied it. After that the open fourth side was sewn shut. It was a simple quilt and made to be loved to death.
She still thinks it was wonderful and did use it until it was a ragged mess that was finally thrown away when she went to college. H. has happy memories of the quilt itself and of us working on it together.
Finished size was 67″ x 80″.
The morale of the (Pink) Flannel One Patch Quilt is simply that not all quilts are made to live long lives and be beautiful. Some are made to be used, washed, played on and under, and just generally have a short life span – but the memories produced are for a life time.
I am a big believer in giving back to my community. Here are six simple donated baby quilts to the local crisis pregnancy center that I made. As I make these quilts, they get donated in batches of 6 – 12 to two local pregnancy centers.
The blocks are a mix of flannel and cotton with the batting being scraps left over from my own projects. The backing is usually a flannel or child print cotton. They are tied with yarn. People know that I make many of these annually so much of the supplies are donated to me for this purpose.
Nine 9.5” cotton or flannel squares (3 rows of 3 squares each)
Bright colored yarn
Backing fabric (flannel or cotton – 1.25 yard)
At a minimum they should be tied at each corner and in the center of each block. They could be machine quilted easily in straight lines.
I do a self binding by trimming the batting even with the top, and then trimming the back to 2″ on each side larger than the top/batting. Fold the over hang in half once (so now 1″ wide all around quilt) and sew down as binding.
If using fleece as the backing, when self binding trim to 1″ and zig-zag stitch down. I have found if using fleece for the backing, I do not use batting.
If you ask or look around your own community, there are people or places who would love to receive warm and cuddly quilts. These are also a simple way to teach people basic sewing skills.
In the past, I have used these quilts to teach basic sewing and giving skills to a group of teen girls at church. It was a fun way to learn and for them to socialize as well. Currently I am making the baby quilts alone as the girls have all left for college and none of the current teen girls are interested in sewing.
We lived in Germany for five years during the 1980’s. The short version of this story is that I lost the coin flip and we spent Christmas in Paris 1985 (instead of Rome). It was certainly exciting to be in Paris, and we saw all the tourist places during those five days (Arc de Triomphe, Norte Dame, the Louvre Museum, Versailles, Eiffel Tower, etc.).
Not to mention walking around downtown and getting lost, or that my husband got food poisoning. It was a memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience (he is rolling his eyes right now).
Never did I think of making a quilt as a keepsake for the trip – I had lots and lots of photos that are still fun to look at. However, I was in a fabric store recently, the Rockin Bobbin https://www.rockinbobbinquiltshop.com/ and there was some really pretty Paris themed fabrics.
The light bulb went off – a quilt to commemorate the Christmas in Paris 1985 trip would be fun so I picked up several different pieces. After washing and ironing the fabric, I cut it up without thinking to take photos before this fabric was cut up, but here a close up of a piece that is used as an alternate block for the quilt.
I went through my Christmas prints and chose some that were glittery (like Paris, right). The goal was a simple wall hanging so I cut 8″ squares of the Paris fabric, and a few glittery Christmas fabrics for a total of 20 squares which I sewed together 4 squares x 5 rows.
A gray stone looking fabric was chosen for between the blocks and the glittery music outer border.
It was easily pieced in a day and is ready to go for machine quilting. The finished size is 41″ x 48″.
The backing is a Paris toile and I will hand cross stitch a pretty tag to put on the back once it is quilted.
I am normally the person taking photos, I am not fond of having my own picture taken but here are two photos of a much younger me in Paris during December 20 – 25, 1985.
Life’s events can certainly be commemorated with a quilt, either simple or complex. What life event would you like to commemorate with a quilt?
I made this large lap/small twin size quilt for my nephew, who turned 16 in July 2018. He requested the color red with dogs and cats for the quilt.
It was fun to work with fabric that is not a theme (the dogs and cats) I would normally have or use. It forced me to shop for fabric I would not normally even look at. I had plenty of solid red on hand already.
The blocks are cut 8″ and the black borders are 2.5″ strips. The “piano key” border was 6″ wide and made of the small strips of left over fabrics from the blocks.
The backing was a solid red and the binding was self bound (the back fabric folded over the sewn on the front). This is a fun quilt and intended to be used.
Machine quilted by RLM.
Our families met in Illinois for that 4th of July weekend and he received this quilt in person. He was really excited to get a quilt that was very personal to him. I would say that the Color Red with Dogs & Cats Quilt was a hit!
Today fabrics come in so many designs and themes. If I am making a quilt for a specific person, I really do try to make the theme and/or colors very personal to that person. Besides, it also pushes me to work with colors or fabrics themes I usually would not even try to do.