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.
PERSONAL QUILT SHOW & ROAD TRIP – The corona virus is getting to all of us it seems. I love being home and able to do things here. But after a week of “quarantine” even I needed a change of scenery this past Tuesday.
My husband had the day off and so we decided to do a road trip to see if we could see any barn quilts. I also thought it would be nice to take along some quilts and stop at a state park to photograph them.
Most of our trip was in Vigo County, IN. The first thing of interest was a round barn.
We also found two barn quilts. They actually seem to be getting more common and I watch for barn quilts now when I am driving around.
Our road trip goal was Fowler Park, which has several things to do normally. We walked around the Pioneer Village and used it as a backdrop for taking photos of the quilts. The day was cloudy but warm and dry. The park had only a few other people walking around, so we could safely do the current status of “social distancing” while enjoying the outside.
This quilt started out as a Birds in the Air quilt, but I was not happy with how the blocks looked laid out that way. So after moving blocks around and combining them with more of the same blocks, I came up with this design.
This quilt was really fun to do. All the teapots are different. The tea cups around the border just give it a nice “finished” look. It was hand quilted. After looking at it again, I am thinking about making another one. For more info: https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2010/06/teapots.html
And so I come to the end of my PERSONAL QUILT SHOW & ROAD TRIP for this time. It was a nice way to spend a few hours outside and exploring an old pioneer village.
My Challenge to You
I know that right now we all need to be careful to stay healthy and avoid situations that may spread corona virus. However, part of staying healthy is exercise and sunshine.
Quilts look different outside in natural light. Usually the colors are brighter and the quilting design is more visible. Even if you don’t want to take a road trip, try taking a quilt (or quilts) outside and getting some photos of it (or them). Wash lines, tree branches, fences, and porches are also great places to display quilts outside.
Sometimes a change of scenery can be inspiring and encouraging. A new perspective can lead to new ideas.
Have fun and stay well.
Please note that all the quilts in this post are mine. I also took all the photos. You are welcome to use the photos, but please give proper credit. Thank you.
The Bird in the Air quilt that I had given me the idea had lots of blocks all set together in rows with narrow sashing and posts. There is nothing wrong with that, but once I had enough blocks made to start playing with how I would set them together that “look” just did not inspire me. Um….now what?
Finally after some time of playing around with different settings, I came up with this by putting four blocks together:
So I made a total of 16 large blocks (each made with 4 of the original Birds in the Air blocks). At this point I did not want to make anymore of these blocks. I sewed the 16 large blocks into four rows of four large blocks. The top of Scrap Bonanza #1 was about 60″ square.
It is really cheerful and bright and busy at this point. I love it but wow, I need somewhere to rest my eyes. So I will add a solid border – I still have lots of 2.5″ strips. Just FYI, the brown border is linen left over from another project.
I have two plastic containers of 2.5″ strips for log cabin blocks. What if I made a piano key border to complete this quilt? Can I be honest – I am not a fan of piano key borders. They are time consuming to make and right at this point, I just wanted this quilt top done.
So I looked around at my stash of UFOs – was there other blocks that could be used as a border? Not that I wanted to use for this. How about just a plain old solid border? That would be quick and easy. None of the fabrics I auditioned for an outer border looked right.
Yep, back to my first idea – make a piano key border. So I just started pulling strips out of the container. No rhyme to the colors I just sew the strips end to end into a long, long, long strip.
Cut the strips into 15″ lengths. Sew those lengths together in pairs down the long sides. Make enough to add to sides of top so this border goes all the way around.
I added the border to one side, then opposite side. Made a lot more border which I added to the remaining two sides. It was time consuming, but really easy. This quilt top “Scrap Bonanza #1” is done and I am really happy with it.
I also did not stress that all my points were not perfect. The “quilt police” are not coming after this quilt (I would not listen to them anyway). It was fun to make and really made a dent in the scrap problem I am trying to conquer.
Your mission should you decide to accept is to make a dent in your scrap bin. Step out of your comfort zone, do something fun (and maybe a little wild) with all those scraps you have been holding onto because they are just too nice to throw away. Have fun. Be creative. Enjoy the quilt journey you are on.
Now I am confined to working from home until further notice. It is so much easier to be productive on my quilts when I am right here at home. So I am challenging myself to see how many “quarantine” quilts I can make during this time.
Feel free to join me in this if you want. We can always give the tops or quilts away to friends or family. Or we can donate them to a worthy cause.
I pieced the 36 blocks for this “I Spy” Log Cabin Quilt while in Maine during September 2017. The scraps are bright, cheerful and fun. The variety of novelty fabrics make it even more interesting – there are all kinds of things to “spy” including: corn on the cob, Snoopy, Minions, cats, rocks, cars, planets, etc. All the fabrics in these blocks came from my scrap bin.
Each center block was a 3″ square sewn into a half square triangle (HST). The fabric strips were 2.5″ wide and as long as I could cut from each scrap. The exception was the outside border which was cut 4″ wide.
The borders also include more strips sewn long-way instead of the usual piano key type border. This was a quick way to finish up the quilt top and allowed me to use up a few more scraps. (Did you notice the mistake? One side has only one strip of scrap border instead of two like on the other sides).
This quilt was a Christmas 2017 gift for my daughter and grand-daughter. It makes a fun way to snuggle and play “I Spy” with the various fabrics. The backing was purchased by my daughter and is a peacock theme.
All cotton fabric and poly batting.
“I Spy” Log Cabin Quilt was machine quilted by RLM in November 2017 in an all over stipple design.
The binding matched the outer border. Machine sewn to the front and hand sewn on the back of the quilt.
Finished size is 96″ square.
I admit it – I was super slow to figure out how much fun Log Cabin quilts could be. The blocks can be set different ways depending on how the quilter wants the finished quilt to look. Log Cabin quilts can be scrappy or planned or even planned scrappy. There is simply no limit to what can be done with this pattern. Try the Log Cabin design out and see what you come up with. Have fun.
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:
I pieced French Country Life in early 2013. I collect toile fabrics but can’t bare to cut them up for piecing. Plus they are so busy it is hard to work larger pieces of them into a quilt. So I decided to be “brave” and just cut up a piece of toile to go in this quilt.
Many of the yellow and blue fabrics of the nine patches are reproductions of historic prints. Combined with the toile, I thought it would make a really historic looking quilt, especially if I hand quilted it.
I am going to admit that I didn’t measure correctly (a good reminder to measure twice and cut once) and the quilt ended up to big for my hand quilting frame.
The flip side of it being to big for my hand quilting frame is that I simply love the colors. It has a real “old world” feel and look to it. I can and have put it on the bed back side up for a different look.
French Country Life was machine quilted in an all-over wave design by RLM in May 2013, and it took me until Dec. 2013 to get the binding and tag done.
I made the binding from left over pieces of blue and yellow bindings from previous quilts.
The top is cottons, it has a poly batting and a blue/cream floral backing.
The finished size is 102″ square.
Even if there are mistakes in your quilts, finish them. If you are happy with the end product – enjoy the quilt, show if off, and tell it’s story. If you are not happy with it, complete and give to a family member who does like it. Or donate it within your community. Quilts are comforting and snuggly even with mistakes.
More ideas for nine patch quilts. Also toile fabric:
AMISH 4 PATCH DOLL QUILT: A fun and easy project to make for the wall or a doll.
I pieced this a few years ago on one of my trips to Maine. It was easy and a great way to see if I liked the pattern in these colors.
This was a the perfect size quilt to “stitch in the ditch” on my sewing machine It only took about an hour to pin and quilt. Then it went into the pile that just needed to be bound and get a tag. Of course, it got sucked to the bottom. When I found it a few months later, it only took a couple hours to hand bind.
The backing was a print of Amish life I found while at the quilt show in Paducah, KY. I only bought a yard and used most of it on this project.
The finished size is 24″ x 28″.
The Amish 4 Patch Doll Quilt is currently hanging in my dining room and the colors just glow.
Another great thing about small quilts is that you can have a personal, rotating quilt show in your office or cubicle. At home, they make a great show on room walls or hallways.
I cut all the individual blocks rather than do the 4 patches using strips. I was working with various scraps so it was easier just to do them as blocks. However, the next time, I will sew the strips together and then cut the the blocks.
I learn something new with every quilt that I make.
I encourage quilters to do small projects as well as large ones. The small ones allow you to try a technique or color scheme before committing yourself to something large.
What do you do for a wedding gift for a cousin who waited forever while finding the right guy and has a complete house already?? Make a wedding quilt of course !! This wedding quilt was simple and personal and super easy to make.
Cousin and hubby like to do road trips on the motorcycle, so that was the theme I went with. It’s not like they got a duplicate of this. They loved it.
Finished size: 70″ square.
For this quilt I purchased a yard of the center fabric and cut it square (so about 34 – 35″). I added 5 borders in various widths (2.5″ to 6″) that coordinated with the center fabric until it was the size I wanted. In this case I wanted a big lap quilt that my cousin and her new hubby could snuggle under on the couch or recliner.
I cut and pieced this quilt in one day while in Maine in Sept. 2015.
Machine quilted by RLM in an all over stipple design.
This wedding quilt could easily be made in any theme or size depending on the need or fabric available. This is a super easy way to make a personal quilt for that special person in your life.