QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

QM scrap squadB3 QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

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.

QMMP 140400 cover 200 QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

 

The Scrap Squad quilt from the March/April issue is Summer Love, designed by Kimberly Jolly. It was made by Nancy Parkinson in fabrics from Marcus Fabrics.

QMMP 140400 summer 450 QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

Summer Love, designed by Kimberly Jolly, made in fabrics from Marcus Fabrics.

 

Today’s featured quilt is by Beth Helfter from Pepperell, Massachusetts. Beth blogs at Quilting Hottie Haven.

 

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You’ll soon see that Beth doesn’t take herself—or much else—too seriously. She keeps it fun. You’ll hear from Beth below, in a way that only she can get away with!

 *     *     *     *     *

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.

Pink Lady Shirt with Pink Fancy Poodle Skirt2 QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

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?

beth1 QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

They almost look like they should make my hands sticky.

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.

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Finally ready to sew!

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.

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Amazingly, every matching square was accounted for.

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.

beth3 QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

Are you noticing the light/dark/light/dark thing I’ve got going on yet?

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.

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Upper right corner is proof positive that I rarely remember to shut my rotary cutter. I am indeed a teacher’s worst nightmare, and the girl no one wants to sit with at Open Sew.

Once all the geese were cooked, I sewed them together into strips with the hot pinks on the corners,

strip 300x80 QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

Really loving this project!

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,

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Eh, one out of two.

and VOILA! A block! Now just to make 17 more.

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Sometimes a block just makes you smile.

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.

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In other dirty little sewing room secrets, yes, I have indeed given up on lint rolling my design wall.

Yay! All of my blocks are done! And they are too big for my design wall, so they are on the floor!

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Finished blocks

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.

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In truth, the “seeds” ended up a wicked dark green, because that is what I had and I was too cheap to go shop. But it worked.

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.

bethfinish QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

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.

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I won’t lie. I celebrated this miter with a cookie.

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.

beth6 QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

You can see some of my quilting in this photo.

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.

bethfinish QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

“Do we HAVE to hold it so high?”

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Yes, you do. Because the snow is so darn deep I can’t see the border when you do that.

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Then let’s let the wind help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

beth7 QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

Just plain yummy!

 

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15 Responses to QM Scrap Squad: I Carried A Watermelon by Beth Helfter

  1. Valeria Maria Ayub Santos says:

    Amazing your quilt. I intend one day, i will do. Thank you for share with us.

  2. Pat Evans says:

    I’ve been waiting to see Beth’s quilt since she announced on her blog that she was selected to be on the Scrap Squad. It was worth the wait. Awesome quilt! It’s truly amazing to see how color/value choices completely change the design.

  3. Susan says:

    So impressed with how the colors change the look! Your quilt is really amazing!

  4. Liz Engman says:

    WOW! Just, “WOW!” The power of the scrap is seen here. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Lynn Czar says:

    Love it,I a scrapper too and love using what I have.

  6. Gina says:

    Wonderful quilt and an interesting article! Well done!

  7. Margaret K in Virginia says:

    Love your quilt, and how it looks totally different from the previous reveals! Glad you apparently ascribe to the “lime green is a neutral” philosophy as I do. Love your borders and those mitered corners also! Well done, Scrap Squad sister :-)

  8. Claudia says:

    WHY do I smell watermelon?

  9. Carolyn says:

    Love your quilt Beth, and you had me laughing out loud in my office. I hope everyone near me wasn’t bothered—I guess I should have closed my door first. Great job!

  10. Cathryn says:

    Love your quilt! Best of all I love the way you told the story of how it went together and shared your picture taking adventure. May just have to see what scraps I can pull together and tackle this pattern. Thanks for the morning enjoyment :)

  11. Pam Winterrowd says:

    Beautiful quilt; hilarious commentary.

  12. Melissa Feuer says:

    So. Now I want to make this quilt!

  13. Anne Wiens says:

    Buster Poindexter is singing in my head. You’re right, Buster…Beth’s quilt is “Hot! Hot! Hot!”, and just a little hypnotic. ;0)

  14. Roberta Miller says:

    Congrats Beth!

  15. Aunt Marti says:

    Love love love the colors you chose! Clever name for your quilt, also.

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