QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna Amos

QM scrap squadB1 QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna AmosQM’s Scrap Squad is a team of eight select readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue of Quiltmaker and create scrappy versions. Those quilts are revealed on Quilty Pleasures one by one while that issue is available. For the Jan/Feb ’12 issue, the Scrap Squad worked with Hip to Be Square. Below is the quilt as it was featured in the issue. Fabrics are from Riley Blake, quilt designed and made by Elizabeth Dackson.

hipdownsized QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna Amos

Hip to Be Square, designed and made by Elizabeth Dackson. Fabric: Delighted! by The Quilted Fish and designer solids for Riley Blake Designs.

Today’s featured Scrap Squad quilt is by Donna Amos. Donna is full of life, ideas and enthusiasm. Keep in mind that she is 77 years young as you read what she shared with me about her quilt:

EQ7 L3d QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna Amos

I am a new Electric Quilt user and this is my first attempt to draw a specific block, put it into a quilt setting, color it, rotate it, and just have fun exploring how it could be used. The Hip to Be Square block by Elizabeth Dackson has proven to be a very versatile, pretty block and I like it a lot.

donnahip1 QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna AmosUsually, I am drawn to use bright, clear colors but after trying several possibilities in EQ I decided to use a more subdued palette. The centers of the block are all very scrappy.

donnahip2 QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna AmosThe corner units (they come together to look like a rectangle with triangles on the end) are the same fabrics in all blocks.

donnahip3 QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna AmosSince this quilt is called Hip to Be Square, I thought maybe I could make it “more hip” if I added more squares. So by rotating every other block until the corner aqua units came together (instead of the 4-patch unit), a new aqua square was made inside a larger white square, which turned out to be “on point.”

donnahip4 QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna AmosOnce the blocks were completed, I laid them out like the original pattern and then tried them with every other block rotated. I liked both, but decided to use the rotated version for my quilt.

donnahip5 QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna AmosWhen I make a pieced border, I like to pull out an element from the block. The centers of the Hip to Be Square block made a great border; each patch is separated with a one-inch piece of background. By putting the squares around the corners, I can always get a perfect fit for the border, because I can adjust the length of the background fabric in the middle portion.

donnahip61 QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna Amos

Donna's finished Hip to Be Square


There is so much to love about this quilt! Here are things to notice and learn from:

• Donna’s colors are subdued but the quilt still sparkles because the background she chose is a fairly bright off-white. To make fabric sparkle, try contrasting it with something bright or dark.
• The quilt contains very lights and very darks and everything in between. This holds your interest and keeps your eye moving. It works! Try to use a wide range of lights, mediums and darks in your quilts.
• What a great system for a customized border! You can do this too. If you only put the shapes (whatever they are) around the corners as Donna did, you can adjust for a perfect fit by cutting the middle part of the border to any length needed. Genius!
• Donna is learning to use Electric Quilt at age 77! The lesson for all of us is that it’s never too late and we’re never too old to learn new skills. Donna’s can-do attitude is probably what keeps her young, interesting and curious. She is to be congratulated. I am so proud of her! (By the way, I have Donna’s permission to tell you her age.)

QM scrap squadB1 QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna AmosMany more versions of Hip to Be Square are still to come! This Scrap Squad rocks!

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email: editor@quiltmaker.com.
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18 Responses to QM Scrap Squad: Hip to Be Square by Donna Amos

  1. Linda Bodkin says:

    Love the newer quilt pattern (better than the original!) and the colours! What a beauty!
    I am always looking for a way to cut fewer pieces, so I would make this in rows with alternating square-in-square blocks and the pentagon-and-2-dark-corners in one row, Then I’d make the other row with the dark square alternating with another pentagon block turned 1/4 turn! Of course, finishing with 1/2 squares would be necessary!
    I did this with a Buckeye Beauty, looking for the smallest block and fewer combinations!

  2. Rachell R says:

    Love this! I love the balance of dark, medium and lights. I love how at one view, the dark star points showing a diamond-path of stars comes up to surface, and yet another focus brings giant diamonds, and yet another shows weather vanes! Love the color choices too.

  3. Judith says:

    I love your quilt and I much prefer it to the Original “Hip to be Square.”
    I have yet to delve into EQ. But, perhaps one of these days I may get it.
    I have a very long list of things I want, but when I finally get EQ I hope
    I am as fearless as you are.

  4. Carol Barringer says:

    I love Donna’s layout! It looks clean and open — and makes stars! The border is truly inspired. Thanks for sharing. CarolB

  5. Sandra Robertson says:

    I love Donna’s layout the best. And she used my favorite colors–blue, brown and cream. sandra

  6. Marjorie says:

    Donna, I really like your borders! They are out standing and very simple to do. What an idea! I knew that block rotation can work but your color choices really made it work beautifully in the “Hip to be Square” quilt. You are an inspiration and I’m going to work on a quilt back and might put a border on the quilt back so I can use the ‘left over’ blocks and pieces in your border method on the back.

  7. Patria Flowers says:

    I wasn’t really impressed with the fabric and pattern of “Hip to be Square” but after seeing your quilt and what you did by rotating the orientation of the blocks I may just try this quilt pattern using your layout. You brought life to this pattern for me. Thank you Donna and may the New Year be full of Happy Scrappy quilts for you and those you love.

  8. Susan Salo says:

    I really like how you changed the rotation Donna! And the border is a great addition .

  9. Karen says:

    Beautiful! I am once again amazed at the effect changes in orientation make!

  10. Claudia says:

    Ooooooooh, I love it. The colors, the patterns that advance and recede, and, oh! yes! the border. I love it. Smart cookie, there’s a way to noodge and knoodle (sorry Doreen Speckman, I never saw those written out) the borders to make them do what you want.

  11. Wonderful work, Donna! I especially love what you’ve done with the border. What a fantastic interpretation of my pattern! :)

  12. Carol Vickers says:

    Great job Donna! Love your layout and the border really does “rock”. May have to “borrow” that idea in the future.

  13. Annie K says:

    This is just gorgeous!

  14. Karin T. says:

    Love the quilt! You did a great job with the colors! You are an encouragement to younger and older quilters!
    Have a wonderful Christmas and healthy and happy new year!

  15. MarciaW says:

    This is a beautiful quilt – so different in appearance from the original. Good work!

  16. Kim says:

    Great colors Donna,
    Yes, you rock!

    Happy Sewing and Merry Christmas

  17. Teddi Munslow says:

    Fantastic quit! my quilting guild best bud is 92 and still making quilts that rock..I love Donna’s quilt and she encourages me to start trying to use my EQ7. thanks

  18. Pingback: Hip to Be Square by Donna Amos | EQ Blog

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