Wednesday 27 May 2015

Scrappy Rainbow Goodness

My daughter is rapidly coming to the end of her grade one school year and I want to make her teacher a quilt (as I did for her kindergarten teacher when I made Thank You Kate). I have been hemming and hawing about fabrics and patterns and then the end of May was approaching and I had to bite the bullet and pick a quilt already!

I ended up taking inspiration from a photograph of a quilt on Instagram by scrapstudio which I believe is based on a Moda quilt pattern. It is a very straight-forward pattern of HSTs and solid blocks so I just drew one up. Then I decided to make it very rainbow and scrappy and the insanity began.

Here is the layout I decided on in my notebook:
It took a long time but allowed me to audition different fabrics to get the look I wanted. Hopefully it looks good all put together too!
The solid blocks were easy but then I had a LOT of HSTs to make. The stack looked a bit overwhelming, especially since I opted to use the traditional two-at-a-time method so I can use the leftover HSTs for a quilt for the teaching assistant (if I have time).
I made the blocks 8x8" so I could trim them down to the 7x7" size I actually needed.

Trimming all those HSTs probably would have gone faster and had me less worried about a chopped tail if someone hadn't been so helpful.
I used a method to trim the HSTs that I had read about but never tried. It involved trimming the blocks before pressing them open. You line up your ruler (this is a great big 12.5" square ruler) with the size you want on the seam. In this picture, which is hard to see, the 7 is line up on the seam line (and was in the other corner as well) and then I trimmed around the remaining edges, then pressed them open. To learn more check out this tutorial that I used to figure it out.
Taking pictures at night=bad reflections
This gives you an idea of how the ruler fit over the HST (which is a very large HST- I think it would be even easier with a smaller block).
Before long I had a big stack of trimmed HSTs and pretty trimmings from those HSTs. It was SO FAST. And the results are excellent- accurate, neat, and the HST is still a perfect, well, half-square triangle! I'm never trimming them the old way again!
Success for less effort than usual!
I spent some time pressing them all open and they look great. Now I have to do the big layout so I can start putting it together! I think the time I spent planning it is paying off with how quickly the top seems to be coming together. Wish me luck with all those seams!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesdays!


  1. Good luck! I'm sure the teacher will be very pleased and touched with your kind gift.

  2. What a fabulous gift for your daughters teacher! Love how you auditioned the fabrics too! It will be beautiful!

  3. What a fun (and clever) little mini audition quilt. Your daughter must have some pretty amazing teachers... and if you decide to continue the tradtion, that's at least 11 more quilts to go! (and that doesn't even calculate that she might have 4 - 6 teachers in Jr. High/High School) Great color choices!

    Greetings from Germany!

  4. I can't wait to see more! I am right there with you on the needing less "help". My dogs are too big to make their way onto the table for cutting but they always make an appearance when I am laying out blocks on the floor :)

  5. I am glad you kept your assistents tail :)

    The layout and design process in your notebook look amazing. It will be a great quilt and a very happy teacher.

  6. Thank you so much for the HST trimming tip. I've been using a Precision Trimmer 6™ which works great but is time consuming. I am definitely trying this method. I like your modification using a regular ruler too. I have heard that it is best to be consistent with which brand name ruler you use so the calibration is the same. And about the photo glare ...? I have the same trouble. No solution yet - but the same problem. My glare is from the sun and not a lamp because I try to take my pictures during the day under a skylight in our house. I bet your "helper " had a blast playing with those trimmings. They'd make great Easter basket "grass" for under the candy meant for a quilter.

  7. I do love HSTs, and it's good to know that technique works so well, I'll be doing that next time! Thanks for sharing, and good luck!

  8. Ooohh... the little sketch of this makes me happy. I'm going to be delirious when I see the completed work! Good tip on trimming HSTs. I never thought of that. I recently purchased a rotating cutting mat... it's been a trimming game changer. As for those pesky little reflections, I find that sneaking a small object (piece of fabric, notepad) often changes the angle enough to avoid those flash reflections. And I have an Ottlite on my sewing desk that I reposition to get better lighting for those dim evening pics.