Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a select group of readers who take one predetermined pattern from each issue and make scrappy versions to inspire other readers. We feature a new Scrap Squad quilt almost every week.
QM created the Scrap Squad because we know our readers want to use fabric they already own to make lively one-of-a-kind creations from our patterns.
Today’s featured quilt is by Beth Helfter from Pepperell, Massachusetts. Beth blogs at Quilting Hottie Haven.
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Ah, Summer Love. I have thoughts of donning my poodle skirt and surrounding myself with all my besties while we dance on a lunch table and sing about Danny Zuko. Except I can’t sing.
It also makes me think of one of my favorite things about quilting – brights, brights, and more brights! Or maybe that is three things. Either way, I knew when I saw Summer Love that I wanted to brighten it. I settled on hot pink, lime, and something between teal and forest that I am going to refer to as blue-green—while fully recognizing that Crayola might have a better name for it. I chose these in part because they were my most overflowing scrap bins, and in part because they made me happy.
Immediately all I could see was watermelon, and “I Carried A Watermelon” had a name before I’d sewn a stitch. Don’t you love it when that happens?
The first step of pressing and cutting all those little scraps into submission is always the most fun. (WHEN will someone come up with a sarcasm font?) I’m still waiting for my girls to be old enough to use my rotary cutter properly; it will be fantastic to pay them to cut all my pieces. But thanks to a good book on Audible, it all got done.
My vision for this quilt was to alternate the lime and blue-green fabrics around the pinks, which I separated into light and dark tones. So while I made my pink and green flying geese for the block centers, I built them with a lime on the right and a b/g on the left.
It didn’t take me more than four geese to realize that in order to complete that pesky vision of eight fabrics marching light/dark/light/dark around the block, I also had to make sure I was pulling a matching lime or b/g from the pile each time I added one to the pinks. Otherwise I wouldn’t have enough of each fabric to match them up in the next step.
After all my pink centers were together, and the block centers sewn with a lighter and a darker pink, I had to work with each block center individually to complete the next step. So much for chain piecing.
So after grabbing a center, I rummaged through the whole pile of green squares I had oh-so-conveniently thrown off to the side to find the four matching fabrics. It was a little bit like a game of Go Fish with those rainbow-colored fish cards, lacking only my daughter cheating her face off.
Next, I sewed the lime to the left and the b/g to the right along with my ultra light pink background to form some more flying geese, then matched up the fabrics and sewed them to the block centers.
This part took a while as I had to do each individual block on its own after finding the fabrics and therefore couldn’t chain piece, but I love how they turned out so it was worth it. The moral here is that quilting is awesome as a whole, but certain parts can be tedious. This may or may not be why God created wine.
Next up: The remaining sides of the block. While the original Summer Love featured one background fabric on all sides of the black prints, one of my favorite discoveries in EQ was that adding a hot pink to the corners of the blocks suddenly gave the whole quilt a new movement and a sultry, juicy, come-hither-and-look-deep-into-my-eyes-y attitude.
Hither I went, and built the remaining flying geese with two-colored backgrounds, hot pink on the left for the dark greens, hot pink on the right for the light greens. Unfortunately this meant I could not take advantage of the fast flying geese construction recommended in the pattern for this step. There was a little sadness about that, I won’t lie.
Once all the geese were cooked, I sewed them together into strips with the hot pinks on the corners,
made sure that the greens in each strip didn’t repeat in the block, AND that I was putting it on the right side of the block,
and VOILA! A block! Now just to make 17 more.
Once I got my groove on, I sewed the rest of the blocks over the course of a day or two. I may have forgotten to go do my library volunteering in my daughter’s class one day, so caught up was I in piecing these blocks. The good news is that the world did not end and the books got put away.
Yay! All of my blocks are done! And they are too big for my design wall, so they are on the floor!
Husband—not thrilled with the idea I have for complete rehaul of studio because it wouldn’t fit on the wall.
Knowing I was naming this quilt after watermelon and Patrick Swayze, I decided to make the sashing squares black to represent the watermelon seeds, and the sashing strips a bright lime green, because I am sure I wore something of that color when I went to see Dirty Dancing in 1982.
As a designer, my normal block creations tend toward the less traditional, and to make a quilt using 18 of the same block in the same fabrics is not generally my thing. At. All.
But that is one of the 9000 things I love about being on the Scrap Squad: I made this traditional block my own by scrapping it up, and each time I finished a block I was amazed by how beautiful and how different from each other they were looking. And once I got the entire thing together, I was kind of floored by how much I loved it.
As you can see, the setting triangles were cut from several different pinks, and set around the quilt in a light-to-dark fashion.
I thought the quilt deserved an exciting border, so working with the pinks I had left, I cut them into 4 1/2″ strips and JUST BARELY had enough to make it all the way around. I placed the darker borders on the side with the lighter setting triangles, and vice versa. I believe it was the perfect way to continue the light/dark movement of this quilt. I have no idea what possessed me to miter the corners, but I’m glad I did it.
To pull more green to the borders, I threw a 1/2″ flange in there, using a green I particularly liked and happened to have plenty of. It’s just a 1″ strip about a mile long (not really, but it seems that way when you’re pressing!) pressed wrong sides together and sewn to the quilt top in between the setting triangles and the border.
Some people don’t like flanges because they are three-dimensional and can cause stress in regard to the quilting. (Do I quilt around them? Do I quilt over them? How does that affect my thread choice? Argh!)
But as the queen of imperfectionism I don’t give any of those things a thought. I didn’t end up quilting over the flange. But I have done so on other quilts and the world did not end. So either way works.
A fancy, award-winning machine quilter I am not. But what I am is an enthusiastic one. As I am wont to do, I quilted the heck out of this quilt, trying some new designs and generally just having a good time.
I bound the quilt in the same green as the flange, and then it was time for the photo session. I braved two feet of snow in my backyard while two of my daughters held “I Carried A Watermelon” off the side of the deck. There was complaining about how heavy it was. I reminded them that an actual watermelon would be harder to hold above their heads and they shut up.
Photo sessions are always fun, aren’t they?
Thanks for letting me regale you with the fun of my first Scrap Squad assignment! I hope you enjoyed it! I’ll leave you with one final close up, one that will hopefully having you dreaming of summer fresh fruit and learning to mambo!