Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Brown’s Happy Dance

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Quilts from the Scrap Squad continue today with another scrappy rendition of a design in Quiltmaker’s May/June issue, on newsstands now. To be sure you never miss an issue, subscribe easily.

QMMP 140600 cover 350 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

The Quiltmaker Scrap Squad is a select group of six QM readers who take one pattern from each issue and make scrappy versions of it to inspire others. You can see slideshows of past Scrap Squad projects.

 

QM MountainMorning Hoff Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Mountain Morning is the featured quilt from this issue. It was designed by Jocelyn Ueng who is with It’s Sew Emma, and made in Bali Batiks from preferred partners Hoffman California Fabrics.

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

scrapsquad beth2 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance
You’ll hear from Beth in her own words below.

*     *     *     *     *

I was likely the only quilter in the world who had not yet made a chevron quilt. Quiltmaker was clearly onto me and must have chosen this Scrap Squad assignment with the intent of bringing me kicking and screaming into 2014. Should I tell them I have yet to make a Dresden Plate or Mariner’s Compass, either, or will the rest of my Scrap Squad crew vote me off the island?

Mountain Morning seemed simple enough, though, so I dove into making the design more about me. I could immediately see that it was going to have lots of scrappy options, but I have to admit those rectangles were getting in my head a little as I played with my ideas in EQ7.

After several tries at relocating them in the design, I decided to just take them out, and immediately the possibility of a THIRD size of chevron strip (light blues and yellows) presented itself. Since Jocelyn Ueng originally designed it to play with two sizes of chevrons, I figured she might be okay with my taking the liberty of adding a third. Here’s hoping she’s not horrified.

chev 300x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

My first thoughts on a design.

I liked it okay, but it was a just little “meh.” I tend more toward disorder in my quilt designs (probably why I hadn’t yet made a chevron), s0 I decided to flip every other chevron shape over in the one-color strips. Because why not. Then I darkened the gray to black and I kind of ended up loving it. I was ready to hunt for fabric!

chev three 300x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Orderly disorder rules the day.

A friend of mine saw my EQ diagram and said, “Wow. That looks like Charlie Brown.” It really did, although with more happiness, so once again my Scrap Squad quilt had a name before I even sewed a thing. “Charlie Brown’s Happy Dance” was born.

For me, a scrappy quilt really means as many fabrics as you can throw in, and this quilt lent itself to dumping the contents of my scrap bins on the floor and wading knee deep in fabric to find as many chunks-0-scraps that were 4″ or 6″ squarish. Side note: It can be hard to ask your kids to clean their rooms with a straight face when you yourself are unable to find the floor of your studio.

After gathering what I could, I discovered that I was a bit low on reds; I had two. Apparently I hate red. And, weirdly enough, I was also low on purples and yellows, two of my favorites. Thankfully, I am a member of a fantastic guild (Squanicook Colonial) whose members could not have been more delighted to throw some of their red, yellow, and purple scraps my way. Many thanks to them and I hope they can find some of their scraps in the finished product.

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Maybe next time I’ll press my background for you.

I wanted a cool black print for the background, and whenever I am looking for a funkier tone on tone, Art Gallery Fabrics is my go-to. I found this black print (“Licorice” from their Oval Elements collection) on their website and Art Gallery Fabrics graciously donated the background fabric for my Scrap Squad quilt. Between AGF and my Squanicookies, we proved it takes a village to not only raise a child, but also to make a quilt. Many thanks to all of them!

marking 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Some people think they need to buy fancy marking tools. I prefer a pen I stole from Doubletree hotels.

So it looked like making half square triangles was going to be my life for a little while.

marking 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

I decided to make the yellow/orange and blue strips first because the fabrics were taking up the most room on my cutting table and the longer they sat there, the more likely I was to lose some in the miasma of creativity known as my studio.

halfs 276x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Aren’t these delish?

I interrupt this post to bring you a couple of thoughts on pressing. I’m not a purist in any area of quilting, and pressing is no exception. I thoroughly enjoy pressing to the dark most of the time, but I’m perfectly willing to shake things up now and then with an openly pressed seam.

yellow row 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Hey, look at that! I made a chevron!

For this project, I pressed the upper and lower segments of the chevron open so the seams would nest properly, but then I pressed the resulting seam open. This gave me the flexibility to move my blocks around in the chevron strip while I was still in the sewing/designing process and not have to worry about my seams being pressed in the wrong direction when I went to sew the strip together. Because nothing ruins a good day of piecing more than two seams pressed in the same direction, am I right?

seams 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

You know your quilt is going to be a scrapapalooza when it even looks scrappy from the back.

Adding the larger HSTs made from scraps and the background to the blue/dark blue and yellow/orange strips was an eye-opener. Suddenly I realized this quilt was going to be enormous. And due to the long, skinny rows, it was hard to get decent construction photos, so I hope you can use your imagination.

blue with background 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Objects in these photos are almost always longer and skinnier than they appear.

Making the larger HSTs for the green, purple, and red chevrons was very quick; probably the most time-consuming part was the trimming.

trims 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Quilter’s Fur Ball

I always want to skip that part, but this mess proves it is necessary unless you are an amazing piecer. Clearly I am not.

blue and green 197x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

I really need a bigger design wall. It may become my Scrap Squad mantra.

I’ll admit to you now – when I fell in love with the Oval Elements background, I didn’t consider the fact that the design was oval shaped. If only there had been some sort of clue in the name of the fabric.

So when I opened up the package and was done wrapping myself in ecstatic oblivion, it occurred to me that once cut, this fabric would have a direction since the ovals were not in fact round. (Believe it or not, I scored incredibly high on my geometry Regents exam in 9th grade, but apparently one forgets these basic tenets of shapes over the course of 30 years.) There may have been some panicked moments until I realized I didn’t care. I loved the fabric and was just going to HST it to death, put it back together, and what would be would be.

In the end, I don’t really notice it. If you do, I don’t really need to know, but feel free to mock my lack of attention to detail at your leisure.

coming together 264x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Ovals are a little drunken looking, but stand back 10 feet and who can tell?

With the rows together, I celebrated by taking the quilt outside for a bit of fresh air while I contemplated what to do about some borders.

without borders 300x210 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Yay! Rows together and a snow-free deck!

Am I the only one who takes photos of exceptionally amazing points in their quilts? As an imperfectionist, it is always amazing to me that I can match points at all, so these deserve a little shout out.

point 300x280 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

How precise is this point? Let’s just say Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah are jealous.

How precise is this point? Let’s just say Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah are jealous.

point1 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Look at me go.

Six fabric corners? Are you kidding me? It’s party time!

point2 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Six fabric corners? Are you kidding me? It’s party time!

After the champagne punch was put away and the streamers taken down from my impromptu Point Party, it was time to get cracking on the borders. I’m a huge fan of foundation piecing scraps onto strips of ugly fabric, and decided on that style of border for the top and bottom of this design.

border scraps 300x218 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

All of these were cut to 1 1/2″ wide.

That way I could use up some of my smaller, narrower scraps that weren’t big enough for my HSTs.

ugly 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

The ugly fabric from my stash I chose to use as the foundation. Avert your eyes as needed.

All I did was angle the strips a bit and sew and flip them all down the length of the strip. One strip was yellow/orange/red, the other was green/blue/purple. So easy and quick.

border construction 300x225 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

As the border got heavier, I had to pin it to itself to make it easier to work with.

Once all of the fabrics were on a border, this is approximately what it looked like after I threw it on the floor and moved on to the other one. If nothing else my admission that I throw things on the floor on purpose will make you feel either totally normal or totally superior in regard to your own quilting practices.

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Border in a pile on the floor.

My favorite part of this border construction is the trimming. There is an immense feeling of satisfaction when I place the ruler on the edge of the foundation strip and trim off all the wonky ends to make a straight-edged strip. I’m getting kind of giddy just thinking about it.

border trim 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

It’s a rush. Trust me.

I really don’t love this photo, but wanted to show you the basic look of the border once the scrappy strip was inserted between two 5″ strips of background fabric.

border in border 300x72 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Maybe you can get the idea.

For quilting, I decided to go with a modern, random straight line design. I divided the quilt into sections of four 5″ rows and quilted some diagonal lines from the top of the section to the bottom, then reversed the direction of the lines for the next section. It’s a little hard to describe, but these photos will show you what I mean. I used a rainbow variegated thread from YLI.

quilting1 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance quilting2 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance quilting3 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

In another small miracle, I had enough of the backing fabric left over to use for binding, and with time crunching in on me I threw caution to the wind and in the faces of the purists and decided to machine stitch the entire binding. But first I had to join the ends, and to do that I used two of my favorite tools, The Binding Tool and my Clover chalk wheelie marker thing.

chalk 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

I’m sure it has a real name.

In more True Confessions From the Studio, I had forgotten I owned the chalk marker and was so excited to find how nicely it worked on my dark binding that I ended up cutting the binding strip incorrectly and had to redo the ends, thus having to use the chalk marker a second time for the same purpose. The second time around wasn’t nearly as exciting as the first as I was too busy grumbling.

Those final stitches are always terribly exciting.

binding 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Almost done!

And voila! Another opportunity to grab my lovely assistants and tromp around the backyard until we get a good photo. This time I wasn’t knee deep in snow, although we won’t discuss the temperature.

charlie 214x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

Amazing how it looks almost exactly like the EQ drawing.

fold 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

There was suddenly a fold along the left side.

windy 225x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

There was wind, of course, flapping at the bottom.

cape 219x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Browns Happy Dance

And of course there was joyous merriment resulting from pretending it was a cape.

So there you have it. The gory details on how Mountain Morning turned into Charlie Brown’s Happy Dance. I say we all break out into our best imitation of the Peanuts characters’ dances in celebration. I’ll be Frieda!

 

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9 Responses to Scrap Quilt Ideas: Charlie Brown’s Happy Dance

  1. Because the admin of this web page is working, no
    doubt very soon it will be well-known, due to its feature
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  2. Beautiful! Love the colors!

  3. Melissa Heys says:

    What a fabulous story of how CBH came to be! Very entertaining!

  4. LuAnne says:

    Thank you for sharing it looks likes. Happiness!!

  5. Barbara Townsend says:

    What fun. Came out great. Love reading the thought process with the transformation.

  6. Marly says:

    It’s a terrific quilt; with all those colours you made the design SING!

  7. Claudia says:

    MY furball is bigger than YOUR furball.

  8. Aunt Marti says:

    Beth, I absolutely LOVE you idea of using “ugly fabric” as the foundation for strip piecing. What a clever idea!

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