Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a select group of eight QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue and make scrappy versions to inspire you.
This is the new July/August ’13 issue with a warm summer sun on the cover. Isn’t it lovely? The featured Scrap Squad quilt from this issue is Turning Points by Carolyn McCormick.
The fabrics are in the Love Flows collection from Maywood Studio. It was quilted by Carol Willey. You may recognize Carolyn McCormick’s name as the inventor of the Add-A-Quarter ruler and as a popular author for Kansas City Star Quilts.
Today’s featured quilt is by Becky Ball from Blue Springs, Missouri. You’ll hear from Becky in her own words below.
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Carolyn McCormick’s beautiful wall hanging first came to the Scrap Squad as just a diagram. We didn’t see her finished quilt until much later. I think this had a bearing on how I approached it.
I usually start with fabric selection so I pulled fabrics first. I wanted to use colors appropriate for a Quilt of Valor, but wanted to try a different combination for the “reds.” I used Joen Wolfrom’s 3-in-1 Color Tool and selected the fabrics below.
I tried to pick fabrics that had been around for a long time. (See this separate blog post on using this Color Tool!)
I had one blue fabric that has been in my stash for at least 18 years. I loved the blue with grey stars in the middle, but who wants huge borders of leaping frogs? I tried to give it to a niece that likes frog fabric, but even she didn’t want it. I decided to trim off the borders and use the fabric in the middle for this quilt.
Then I went to EQ7 to play with colors, blocks, settings and more. Since the block is made of 16 “spotlight” units it was easy to draft there. I have 33 colorations of that block left in EQ—and also 30 quilt tops after deleting out a bunch. This should have alerted me to something: I didn’t like my colors!
Much later I found this bird picture on Facebook.
One Scrap Squad member broke the quilt down into Units—I called them Stars, Footballs and Maltese Crosses. I cut out a bit of fabric, and began making some trial units. I had decided to enlarge the original unit, and made 3″ spotlights to make 12″ blocks. Although I’ve made some paper pieced quilts (using Carolyn McCormick’s Add-A-Quarter for every seam), it isn’t my favorite way, so I brought out some Marti Michell templates and cut out my pieces.
I cut out a lot of pieces.
I started making modules:
When I started playing with them on the design wall (as well as in EQ7), I saw that if I just moved the “football” a quarter turn I could make another star (remember I have a tendency to make every quilt a star quilt).
It makes more sense to see it as the units are on the wall.
I started making all the components. I had noticed that it was really difficult to make the cross units, so I started with the stars—18 stars, no problem. Then I made footballs. I grew weary on these. How do you press the points? They are thick, lots of older (thicker) fabrics and they make a lump. It is so hard to match points, and I’m a stickler for matching points.
I switched over to the Cross blocks: 12 pieces of fabric coming together in the center. This is when my original EQ plan was downsized!
I did toy with stopping here and scrapping the whole thing! My Scrap Squad cheerleaders urged me to finish.
After the first striped border, I looked for a fabric that would tie it together (yeah, right, as if anyone would make a fabric combining these colors). What I found was four strips of that frog border fabric center. I put one up on the design wall. It was only about 4″ longer than the center. Not to worry—I used partial seams and sewed that border on clockwise like it was a log cabin block. (Editor’s note: Great trick, Becky!)
Okay, let’s quilt this puppy—right (not)! Since there were “puffiness” issues, I decided to use a piece of wool batting. I put a thin piece of cotton under it and I (mistakenly) thought I wouldn’t have as many tension issues as when I tried wool the last time. I loaded Bottom Line on the top of the longarm, as well as in the bobbin (another never again). Why didn’t I stick with what I knew worked well?
I decided to use a Circle Lord template that makes radiating lines out from the center of the stars. I’ve used it before, with good results. I centered it, then began stitching out and back. I chose to use every line on the template. For the borders, I did some of my first ever stitch in the ditch and then Circle Lord stars randomly in the outside border.
As much as I thought I had tested tension, when I cranked over the first stitching on my quilt, I cried, then began ripping out. If it looks like the thread is shredding on the top, it will be worse on the bottom. It went downhill from there! When I finally finished quilting and removed it from the frame, I immediately had “C” cups in the center of the stars. I will never use every line on the template again. It was finished. Blocking is a miracle worker.
I used Susie’s Magic Binding, but—note to self—when you use two battings, cut wider binding!
Here’s the finished quilt – but PLEASE READ ON!
I had a gazillion left-over pieces as I had cut out enough for most of the planned larger size. At this point I had seen Carolyn’s beautiful quilt, and began to wonder how I could make it, with a little tweaking, and solve the lumpy corners problem.
I made her original block. I had enough components for five complete blocks. That would make a small top resembling hers. I did make one addition. I cut 1″ pieces of sashing (1/2″ finished) and bitty yellow cornerstones. I had used this trick with many star quilts—I should have thought of it before. The seams are all pressed towards the sashing, but the sashing is small enough that it has no visual impact. The cornerstones look like the centers of flowers.
Since I had changed the size of my blocks, I (actually it was my dear husband) had to do the math for the setting triangles. At first I used all one color—the only color I had enough left of. I didn’t like the results.
I found a bit of a piece of blue that I hadn’t pulled for this project, cut strips, ripped out part of the seams on the sides of the setting triangles, trimmed off half the yellow, added the blue, then sewed it up again. I thought about trying to make two-color setting corners, but my mind was too addled. Here’s my version of Carolyn’s Turning Points:
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Wow, what can you say about a Scrap Squad member who makes not one but two gorgeous quilts?! Lovely job, Becky Ball!
I can’t tell you how much we appreciate each and every Scrap Squad person on this year’s team. They do a lot for QM. Let’s show them some love and have a giveaway!
Leave a comment below by midnight Sunday, June 23. Tell us what you like about Scrap Squad posts and projects. I’ll choose a winner for a bundle of quilty pleasures and announce it here next week. Good Luck.
The winner is Judy, who left comment #132.