The Scrap Squad is a select group of eight QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue and make scrappy versions to inspire others.
The featured Scrap Squad quilt in Quiltmaker’s March/April ’13 issue is Majestic Garden, below.
Today’s quilt was conceived and made by Rebecca Ball from Blue Springs, Missouri. Becky blogs at Becky’s Quilt Obsession. You’ll hear from her in her own words below.
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I was excited to receive our first Scrap Squad project. I knew I wanted to make a Quilt of Valor, so the size (55″ x 65″ to 72″ x 90″) and colors (patriotic) were already decided. I found the block in Block Base, pulled it into EQ7, and started work. This was my first plan.
Next I needed to pull fabric. Never use one fabric when 20 will do!
- Reds: I pulled the pure reds and blue reds, leaving out the orange reds. I included one red with small yellow figures in it to include the touch of sunlight every quilt needs. The bottom fabric with white flowers was eliminated as too “girly” for a Quilt of Valor in my eyes.
- Blues: I pulled the navy and dark blues, some with darker figures in them. I discarded the ones with too much white, as they wouldn’t read triangular if they blended with the background (the ones under the orange fabric in the photo).
- Light blues and backgrounds: I wanted light blues, preferably toned (grayed) to appear as another layer behind the dark blues and reds. I didn’t have enough gray-blue in scraps, so I ended up with just light blues to make up the diagonal lines. I later pulled out the light blue with vines on it as they were too distinctive. The backgrounds are all shirtings and conversation prints out of the 2-1/2″ strips bin.
I cut all my pieces from 2-1/2″ and 4-1/2″ strips to make better use of my scraps. I used Marti Michell’s Template Set B, but the same thing could be done with the Easy Angle ruler. I made a gazillion red and cream HSTs, then started making blocks. I made one block, then three more and played with the settings. You can do a lot with this block.
Clockwise from top left: Four blocks make stars, Square-in-a-Square, a zig-zag border and six-pointed angled stars.
After making the actual blocks, my original plan looked too busy – and there would be LOTS of points to match.
In EQ I tried adding sashing, but lost the diagonal lines.
I dissected the block, and decided I could make a half block diagonally and add a red setting triangle.
Make eight of them, and voilá—a Big Star on its way to a medallion setting. There were still a lot of points to match, but not as many. My design (and size) was morphing!
I really liked the look of this, but it created math problems. I chose a 4″ border, as that would equal adding one block in the next round. I started playing with this in EQ. By adding only one block, I would end up with asymmetrical borders—the corners didn’t match.
My traditional style kept shouting, “Make them symmetrical!!” (My mind doesn’t wrap around asymmetry well.) I finally asked the engineering expert sitting next to me (DH*) for help; he suggested extending the border out into the next border. DUH! It worked.
The rest was just the mechanics of putting it together.
If you haven’t started this yet, please consider pressing all your seams OPEN. I usually don’t, but matching all those points is much easier this way. As it was, many of the seams had to be “stacked”, and I didn’t like the result as well as the ones that were pressed open.
I used a single yardage piece of blue for the plain borders to make the top more cohesive. I cut the borders on the lengthwise grain to prevent stretching.
When I finished the top to 60″ square, I decided to add another pieced border made with the leftover blue triangles (and another gazillion HSTs). I used up the last of the red 2-1/2″ strips for the final border.
I loaded it on ‘Black Bart,’ my long-arm machine, using bright blue backing I already had, wool batting, So Fine thread (cream) on top and Bottom Line pre-wounds (blue) in the bobbin. I quilted it using Circle Lord spiral templates. I love this pattern as it has lines about every inch, and the curves seem to soften the look of the strong points.
I used a bias binding, stripes (as in stars and stripes, pun intended), and turned it on the back by hand. A triangular label, sewn into the binding, completed the quilt.
It will be donated as a Quilt of Valor after Quiltmaker is finished with it.
Thanks, Quiltmaker, for letting me play with your blocks. The quilt finished to 72″ square after quilting, perfect for a wall quilt hung from a six-foot wooden hanger to decorate a veteran’s new home.
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What can one say besides “wow”! Isn’t a quilt so much more interesting when you use many fabrics instead of just a few?! And isn’t it great when you have an excuse to buy more fabric? Kudos to Becky for a stunning Quilt of Valor. A soldier somewhere will be touched.