Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a select group of talented readers who take one pattern from each issue and make scrap quilts to inspire you. Today we begin posts featuring a new Scrap Squad quilt from Quiltmaker’s Nov/Dec issue.

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

This is Christmas Ribbons, designed by Carolyn Beam. The fabrics are Chalkboard Christmas by Melissa Ybarra for Windham Fabrics.

QMMP 141200 CB 5061 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Christmas Ribbons, designed by Carolyn Beam and made by Hatty Brown. Fabric: Chalkboard Christmas by Melissa Ybarra for Windham Fabrics. Batting: The Warm Company. Quilted on an HQ24 Fusion by Handi Quilter.

You’ll find the pattern in the Nov/Dec issue of Quiltmaker, on newsstands now. The digital pattern is also available as a single from

QMMP 141200 cover 500 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Plenty of holiday and scrap quilt patterns are inside Quiltmaker’s Nov/Dec ’14 issue!

Today’s quilt is by Louisa Robertson from Merritt, British Columbia.

Louisacropped copy Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Louisa Robertson

You’ll hear from her in her own words below.

 *     *     *     *     *

The process of Christmas Ribbons becoming a Corn Maze included many detours and changes of direction.

The detours began with those 6″ Snowball blocks. They’re perfect to show off a feature fabric as in the original quilt. But for a scrap quilt they presented a challenge. Perhaps I could add the snowball corners to scrappy pieced blocks? Wonky pieced log cabin blocks, just the right size, were at hand.

first blocks Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Maybe this doesn’t work!

I added corners to a few blocks. Hmm—they are very busy and I just don’t like the effect.

Time for a new plan.

9 patch with sashing2 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Colours of the season

The colours of the season led me to a palette using some of the yellow and gold fabrics recently received as a gift. I decided on golds, rich browns, yellow-greens and reddish purples.

fabrics Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Fabrics for Corn Maze

snowball adapted Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Lines added to make a square-in-a-square

Snowball block1 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Snowball Block

But I still had not solved the problem of the large pieces in the snowball blocks.  Turning to my Electric Quilt software, I adapted the block by connecting the ends of the triangles producing a square-in-a-square.



This new block led to construction challenges because the resulting patches were non-standard, i.e. rotary cutting would involve guesswork between the eighth-inch lines of the ruler. That did not sound like fun, so I printed off a foundation piecing template.

I was able to rough-cut the pieces a bit too large and trim them to exact size as the block was constructed. My freezer paper foundations were re-usable. Three sets were enough to construct all 32 blocks.

block trimmings 300x231 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

The trimmings from the foundation pieced blocks blend the colours nicely.

As I worked I found that my fabrics included plenty of lights and lots of darks, but not enough of the mediums for that inner frame in the block. Raiding the stash of a friend helped fill this gap.

snowball blocks Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

The smaller rectangular snowball units were simple to construct by adding triangles to corners of rectangles—although I was thoroughly sick of stitch-and-flip corners by the time this step was done!

As I played with these blocks in EQ I saw that turning the smaller snowball changed the direction of the design. Adding sashing to the design opened it up, giving more space around the Snowball blocks and creating a path between the blocks.

A dilemma emerged when it was time to decide on the background fabric. My favourite scrap quilts use “Total Scrap.” However, the only colour family in my collection that would accommodate the large area of background fabrics needed was lights/creams. I wanted to use blues to suggest the summer sky behind the corn fields. Finding a good variety in the right value range would be a challenge.

A visit to my LQS confirmed that it would be difficult to gather a stack of blues that would play together gently enough to back up my muted colours. However, on the sale table I found one lovely blue print.  I purchased a generous length and took it home.

background auditions Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Should background be cream? Or blue?

For a few days I wavered back and forth between cream and blue. At last I re-read my teaching notes in which I tell students that scrap-plus-constant is a good way to give unity to a scrappy design, and I convinced myself that yes, I could use this single fabric for background.

A path was created by adding sashing pieces between blocks, some pieced, others plain. Sashing units are the same size as the F units of the smaller snowball block. Strip piecing made the construction simple, and pressing the seams to one side ensured that seams would interlock.

sashing strip pressing 300x220 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Pressing seam allowances in opposite directions makes it easy to match seams.

The components of the quilt barely fit on my design wall.  I sewed them together row by row, carefully checking my “map” to make sure the path through the maze would come out correctly.

blocks on the wall Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Quilt blocks on the design wall

Then it was time to create the maze by filling in the sashing pieces.

sashing added Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Make sure those blocks go in the right direction!

I added simple borders to repeat the colours in the blocks and continue the path out to the edge of the quilt.

quilting paths Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Quilting the pebbled paths

The quilting step gave me an opportunity to play with designs, knowing that my errors and wobbles would not be very visible on the printed fabrics. I practiced “pebbles” in all the areas of the quilt that were the “path” of the maze.

quilting spiral flower 263x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Spiral flowers in the pieced blocks

This took a long time – and lots of thread! I emptied 12 bobbins on that part of the quilting. I outlined the blocks to make them stand out more clearly and quilted a spiral flower design through the pieced blocks.

louisasfinish Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

Corn Maze, 61″ x 77″

This might be my new favourite quilt!


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13 Responses to Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa Robertson

  1. Fran Wiest says:

    Your quilt is beautiful Louisa! I love your colour palette

  2. Becky says:

    I wasn’t sure are first, but wow, I love the finished product! Good choice on the blue background!

  3. jenn says:

    SUPER cool! and the quilting motifs you chose were perfect. Very impressed that you made a real maze ( :

  4. Janie says:

    Love the fall colors!

  5. Karlene says:

    Love the changes you made and the fall colors are so pretty.

  6. Juliet Wood says:

    I had to go back to the original post, I couldn’t believe your quilt was the same. I found your journey fascinating and very interesting, I love the end result. It is so helpful to watch experts making decisions.

  7. Laura McFall says:

    Beautiful! I love how you gradiated the colors of the blocks so it looks like the changing of leaves over time. Thank you for sharing your process!

  8. Anne Wiens says:

    Love the maze quilt!

    I’d revisit that little log cabin idea. The only problem is that the white scraps in the alternate block are trying to steal the spotlight from the log cabin blocks. That creamy fabric that didn’t make the cut in your maze quilt might be perfect for the supporting role in the log cabins quilt.

    • Louisa in BC says:

      That’s worth investigating, Anne! I love making the random log blocks and a setting like this could be a great place to use some of them.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Oh, wow! That turned out great!

  10. VERY fun, Louisa! I really love the changes you made and the pebbled path is perfect. Now I really need to get mine done. Ack!

  11. Emily says:

    Great job! I love how you changed it up with the maze idea. Your fall colors are lovely.

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