QM Scrap Squad: Jackie’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: Jackies 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: Jackies 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 Jackie Hughes from Spirit Lake, Idaho.

JackieHughes1 QM Scrap Squad: Jackies Chain Reaction

Jackie Hughes

You’ll hear from Jackie in her own words below.

I was a little nervous about the first scrap squad quilt. What if I hated the pattern? I needn’t have worried. I loved the design the moment I saw it.

jackie1 QM Scrap Squad: Jackies Chain Reaction The hardest part for me is deciding on a color scheme. I had several ideas and it was hard to narrow it down. I looked at my stash of 2 1/2″ strips. There was a definite majority of red and black and that’s how I made my final color choice. The two-color background was a fun accident. My original idea was a black background, but I considered white too. As I had both colors pulled out I tried them side by side and discovered I liked that effect.

I tried to make my fabrics varied. My reds were brighter and darker, some pinkish and some orangeish. My whites were small and large prints.

jackie2 QM Scrap Squad: Jackies Chain Reaction

I found it awkward to cut the block, measuring in 1/2″ and then aligning the 30-degree mark on my ruler with the edge of my block, without moving from that 1/2″ mark. I don’t often use all those lines on my cutting mat but I discovered a great use for them this time.

I lined my block up with the markings on my mat so the corner of the block was 1/2″ away from the 30-degree line on my cutting mat. Then I knew exactly where my 1/2″ was and I could easily make sure my ruler was at the right angle, too.

jackie3 QM Scrap Squad: Jackies Chain ReactionWhen I had it sewn together and on my design wall for a final photo, it just didn’t seem complete to me. I felt it needed a border to finish it off.

jackie9 QM Scrap Squad: Jackies Chain Reaction

I auditioned blue and yellow for an inner border but decided on a checked fabric. I fussy cut it to show exactly two squares in the border.

jackie41 QM Scrap Squad: Jackies Chain Reaction

I had scraps left from making the quilt and wondered if I could somehow incorporate them into the border. I pinned them around to get an idea of my design and the spacing between them.jackie51 QM Scrap Squad: Jackies Chain ReactionI had 41 of these scraps and I didn’t really want to cut more. I figured nine on the top and bottom and 11 on the sides equals 40. Since these scraps were cut on an angle it was hard to figure out exactly where to measure and cut in order to piece them together.

jackie7 QM Scrap Squad: Jackies Chain ReactionI determined how far apart they should be and laid two on my cutting board that distance apart. Where the strips overlapped, I aligned my ruler with the edge of the top one, moved it over 1/2″ to allow for a seam allowance, pulled the top strip away and cut the bottom one.

jackie10 QM Scrap Squad: Jackies Chain ReactionI sewed these pieces together and added a 2″ strip of black on either side with a black square in each corner.

jackie8 QM Scrap Squad: Jackies Chain ReactionI made the top border and was nervous—would it be the right size? It was just a little large so I went back and resewed an extra one-eighth inch on each seam, then spaced them a tad closer for the bottom border.

jackie11 QM Scrap Squad: Jackies Chain Reaction

Jackie's finished Chain Reaction

Quilting was a simple stipple in the background/border areas and outlining of the chains.

*     *     *     *     *

Another beautiful job by a new Scrap Squad member! Stay tuned for more reveals 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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12 Responses to QM Scrap Squad: Jackie’s Chain Reaction

  1. Cheryl says:

    Using the black and white checkerboard fabric for the inside border really pulled the fabrics together … this is one striking quilt! You did an amazing job on this quilt.

  2. Marcia Petty says:

    I love the pattern, but the border you added makes the pattern even better. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful idea!

  3. Marlene says:

    I love the use of the fabrics and colors for this quilt. Great border. I love the details on how the quilt came together, the end result was absolutely fantastic. I love this quilt.

  4. Lynette says:

    Ingenius use of those block scraps!! It looks really terrific.

  5. Karlene says:

    Very nicely done and clever border. Love it!

  6. Nancy in Minnesota says:

    Mixing white and black background strips adds a lot of interest to this quilt. I think the three colors are balanced nicely. The border treatment is perfect!

  7. Elaine Phillips says:

    Great job, Jackie. Love the quilt, and your narrative on how it came about.

  8. Claudia says:

    Seat-of-your-pants designing is always nerve-wracking, but usually well-worth it in the end. And, this time, very well worth it! Good Job, I like it.

  9. Donna Amos says:

    I love the colors you used and the border treatments are just great. Those checks must have been a lot of fussy cutting, but added so much. What a lovely quilt.

  10. Sarah says:

    Incredible quilt, Jackie. Reminds me a little of JJ’s. The border is fun, great design!

  11. Kris Douglas says:

    Beautiful quilt. Nice job.

  12. Leanne says:


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