QM Scrap Squad: Cathy’s Chain Reaction

The QM Scrap Squad is a select group of seven QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue of Quiltmaker and make their own scrappy versions to inspire you.QM scrap squadB3 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain ReactionThe featured quilt from the March/April issue is Chain Reaction, a design by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced. Here’s the original quilt made in Pear Tree fabrics by Thomas Knauer for Andover.

downsizedchain QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction designed by Lee Heinrich. Fabric: Pear Tree by Thomas Knauer for Andover Fabrics. Appears in Quiltmaker March/April '12, No. 144.

Today’s featured Scrap Squad member is Cathy Buel from Clinton Township, Michigan. You’ll hear from Cathy in her own words below.

CathyBuel1 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain Reaction

Cathy Buel

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Is this cool or what?  That is me in print below…Cathy Buel, part of the 2012 QM Scrap Squad. (Editor’s note: Can you tell this gal is excited to be part of the Scrap Squad?! We love it.)

cathy1 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain Reaction
When I first saw Chain Reaction, I thought “no way”…but as I read the directions I found it was going to be easier than I thought. You just need to pay close attention to your measurements.

I started by cutting out strips of 66 different red prints and 66 different blue prints. I found a background print I liked and cut patches for 66 blocks.

cathy2 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain Reaction
I made a few practice blocks.  I learned a lot.

cathy3 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain Reaction

My measurements were off and the blocks didn’t match up.

cathy4 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain Reaction


I found I had to be very careful on my 30 degree cuts.


cathy5 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain Reaction

Once I got the hang of it my blocks were looking good and the quilt was coming together quickly.  My rows were growing and it was time to choose my backing and binding fabrics.

cathy10 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain Reaction

I chose a floral for the backing and planned to use my background fabric for the binding.

cathy6 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain ReactionAfter marking, I pin basted and quilted it on my domestic sewing machine.

cathy7 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain ReactionI stitched in the ditch around the chains and then did a zig zag down the background in between the chains.

cathy8 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain ReactionHere is my completed quilt.  And BTW…my husband has already called dibs on this one.

cathy9 QM Scrap Squad: Cathys Chain ReactionThe last thing I did was make the quilt label. I used my Hallmark Greeting Card software. I used a blank recipe card format, added a frame and inserted text. I ironed muslin onto freezer paper, cut it to 8 1/2″ x 11″ and put it in my inkjet printer. After printing, I set the ink with a hot dry iron. I’ve done this many times—the labels come out of the washing machine looking the same as when I first printed them.

For someone who first thought “no way,” she came through with flying colors, don’t you think?! I see a couple of smart things Cathy did.

She made practice blocks. Great idea, especially on a technique you’re not completely familiar with. She worked out the kinks beforehand. Simple idea but brilliant!

She used plenty of pins to baste. I often try to skimp on pins and the result is not good. Use enough safety pins and you’ll avoid lump, bumps, puffs and pains. If you don’t have enough pins, invest in another bag of them at the quilt shop. Well worth the money!

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More Scrap Squad versions of Chain Reaction in the days to come!

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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8 Responses to QM Scrap Squad: Cathy’s Chain Reaction

  1. renee says:

    hello love your quilt and your site showing us, and too my surprise my Brother lives in Clinton township his wife and family their gran children many moons ago i lived there wound up far away too sub tropical FL. its wierd how we hook up now and then but great tips very helpful

  2. Terry says:

    Your quilt turned out great, I need the inspiration to continue with some new ideas for my project “50 quilts for 50 beds for 50 lone soldiers”( more about that on my blog http://www.Movibear.blogspot.com), the minute I saw this pattern I knew it was one that could be included in my project, thanks for the tips about accuracy in the cutting stages and making a few block before actually starting. I liked the two color combination you used. When you said your hubby liked that quilt I know it is one we will try.
    Well done.

  3. Great job, Cathy! It looks beautiful. I’m glad it turned out to be easier than you thought! From the finished result, you would never know you had any problems.

    Love the quilting, too! : )

  4. Jill C. says:

    Love it! It’s great to get ideas for scrappy quilts.

  5. I think it’s cool that you are having people make quilts from previous patterns but out of their scraps. How fun. Great job, Cathy! It looks just great! I also like that you told us how to trouble shoot. That is really awesome!

  6. debm says:

    Well Done, Cathy. It turned out quite nice. I would also like to thank you for pointing out the areas where you had a little trouble. It is very helpful to know where I may have trouble, and what may be the problem and answer to solve it. I Love your honesty. It makes this wholeQM Scrap Squad project much more educational. Blessings :o )

  7. Karlene says:

    Good job Cathy. Can see why your husband called dibs on this one. I love your label.

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