The Scrap Squad is a small, select group of Quiltmaker readers who make scrappy versions of one quilt from each regular issue. They’re a talented bunch.
Today’s featured quilt was made by Rebecca Ball from Blue Springs, Missouri.
You’ll hear from Becky in her own words below.
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When we received Donna Benham’s Western Waltz as our next project I was so excited! I loved this pattern with its interlocking rings, my second favorite star in their centers and the cool corner treatment of the borders.
I went right to Electric Quilt’s EQ7, drafted the two blocks and arranged it for a king-size quilt. I planned to use an assortment of Kaffe Fassett fabrics I’ve collected with some various grays for the rings…then reality set in.
That was the last of June, I was traveling most of July, had another trip in August, plus the grandkids most of the summer. I had to revise. Perhaps a baby quilt would be possible.
Do you have a container like this? You just keep stuffing in all those groupings of fat quarters that were “cute” for a baby quilt, soft colors, scraps from other baby quilts and similar fabrics you bought to “help out” the fabric store because they weren’t selling well.
This would be my challenge for this project—to use something from this box!
I picked the hardest grouping (for me).
I like working with brights and pure colors, so toned pastels would be a stretch. I added the lavender because it was in the panel, but not much of the panel ended up on the front of the quilt. I pulled additional soft yellows as needed for backgrounds. Other than the lavender, I was working with just fat quarters or small scraps. I did end up buying one more peach—a solid—for the inner border.
The first thing I had to do was to change the dimensions of the block. All the pieces I wanted to fussy cut for block centers from the panel were at least 4″. That was easy—we went to a 16″ block from a 12″.
I used Marti Michell templates (B and D sets) and Tri-Recs rulers for cutting. The 4 1/2″ square was great for fussy cutting centers. The rest of the pieces were cut from 2-1/2″ and 4-1/2″ strips until I reached the setting triangles. Once again, no paper piecing for me. There are newer rulers and templates available for cutting these same shapes, but these old timers have worked well for me for a lot of years.
I made block Z first.
Right away you need to be alert that there are a lot of mirror images in these blocks.
I cut the rectangle/wedge blocks in pairs with the fabrics folded wrong sides together. Each cut gave me mirror image pieces, so I cut 4 pairs of each fabric for each block. I had to lay out each block, each time, to keep from reversing some of the pieces. My seam ripper and I still became close friends.
To make sure that I wasn’t leaving notches where the wedges made the circles, I used an extra pin as a guide. I leave the pin in place to sew towards until the machine is only a stitch away, then try to have the needle go into the same hole that held the pin.
On to block Y.
There are more mirror images in this block if you use stripes. Gina has a good explanation of making these blocks. I have to lay them out as they appear in the block and can still turn them around just by picking them up.
Three more Y blocks, and now it looks like this: HUGE!
At this point I was running low on background fabrics from what I had originally pulled, and had only saved back a few partial fat quarters for the setting triangles. I altered the layout to be just these five blocks. The center would already finish at about 45″.
Math: Since I had changed the size of the block from 12″ to 16″, I had to recalculate the setting triangles—both side and corner ones. Because part of the triangles are pieced wedges that measure 12″ (finished), the diagonal of the CORNER triangles had to be 12″, exactly. I thought I could easily do that as a proportion using Quiltmaker’s cutting sizes – WRONG!!
Do the equation correctly:
12″ /1.414 = 8-1/2″ plus 7/8″ seam allowance = 9-3/8″ square
So my new corner triangle was a square cut 9-3/8″ then cut once on the diagonal.
I didn’t have fabric pieces large enough to cut these as one piece. I decided to piece them to match the ring pieces that would be added on.
I started to copy this so I could paper piece them, but looking at it, I decided I could just add seam allowances to the pieces and cut them using my ruler with a paper template under it. This allowed me to put the outsides of the triangle on the straight grain of my fabric. I also cut my small E pieces with the long side on the straight grain.
Now to tackle side setting triangles. OH, two corner triangles equal one side triangle. Duh! (If you want to cut them from one piece it is: 12″ times 1.414= 17 (rounded) + 1.25 seam allowance = 18-1/4″ square cut twice on diagonal)
The setting triangles are all very scrappy. I’m glad I stopped at a five-block quilt, as there was very little fabric left from the original set.
Borders: I like the borders on Donna’s original Western Waltz, but I have used straight borders on my last four quilts, so I just had to do a pieced border. Also, I wanted to use up every scrap of this group of fabrics. Using the Triangle piece of Tri-Recs, I cut 48 triangles from scraps, and 44 lavender triangles, plus four sets of lavender Recs pieces for the ends of each border.
The pieced borders ended up 48″ long (finished). The center finished at 45.25″ square. To make up the difference, I added a “coping” border to make the pieces meet. The difference between the two is 2.75″. Divide this by 2 since we are adding it to both sides of the center, so 1-3/8″ plus seam allowances so cut it 1-7/8″ wide. Two borders are cut 45.75″ long, the others cut 48-1/2″ long.
Before you sew the pieced border on, it is handy to trim the points. Make sure you leave 1/4″ above the point so you aren’t sewing into the points. Note to self: Trim both sides of the border before applying. It’s a lot easier than trimming with the whole quilt up there!
I used the left-over fussy cut blocks from the panel as cornerstones. I added a 2″ outer border of the lavender cut on the true straight grain (parallel to the selvage) as it helps me keep the quilt square on Black Bart (my longarm), at least sometimes.
Quilting: While visions of how this quilt could be custom quilted were dancing in my head, reality set in—this is a baby quilt—so I quilted it with simple wavy lines using Superior SoFine thread on top with Bottom Line pre-wound bobbins. The batting is Hobbs 80/20. I once again used Susie’s Magic Binding to finish this.
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Great job, Becky! Doesn’t this make an elegant baby quilt? And you’ve got to admire a quilter who forces herself to step outside her comfort zone and use some colors that stretch her. Beautiful quilt, and a job well done.
This Scrap Squad rocks!