Thursday, September 13, 2012

The humble (yet mighty) square

I love patchwork.  

I could sew simple squares together all day long and be perfectly happy.

As a matter of fact, at the shop, some of our most popular and enduring projects are those that use just one shape: a simple square.

What's not to love about a simple square?

So friendly, so unassuming, so attainable...

And depending on your choice of fabrics: so different (vive le difference!)

To that end, I thought I'd share with you some of our shop samples and show you how beautiful and versatile a simple grid of patchwork squares can be...


These mellow squares are teeny: they finish at just 2" square and were cut from a Bali Pop.
I'm using this grid for a pattern I'm writing for the shop.  I love the pop of orange in there and I always love a good use for a Bali Pop.

Do these squares look familiar?  They became Baby Boy Butler's Patchwork Sleeping Sac from my last post.  These were all pieced together from scrippy-scraps in my stash.  They're pretty teeny squares, too, and finish at 2" square.  They're a great size to use for English Paper-Pieced Hexagons.

 These squares are a bit larger: they're cut at 4.5" square and finish up at 4".  I had the gals at the shop stitch this up when the umpteenth customer came in and exclaimed how much they loved the voile we carry, and how SOFT it was, but what would you do with it???  Umm, how about making a quilt?

 And then we loved the first one so much that we had to make a second one... This quilt is so soft and buttery... its' not super big:  45" by 54" or so.  The best part is you only need 8 fat quarters to make this quilt.

Let me say that again:

You only need 8 fat quarters to make this quilt.

Because the voile fat quarters are larger than regular fat quarters (18" by 27" vs. a standard fat quarter at 18" by 22"), you get a bit more mileage out of them.  Plus, the humble (yet mighty) square means you waste hardly any fabric at all.

Didn't I tell you there was a lot to love about a simple square?


And last but not least, our latest shop creations: the Nani Iro Patchwork Quilts!

Pam and I stitched these up sometime in July.  Much like the beloved voile, people will come into the shop and just fall head over heels in love with the Nani Iro fabrics, but then wonder about what to do with them...

My standard response?

You cannot go wrong with simple patchwork squares.

So, we stitched up a couple of samples.

The fabric is so lovely, you want to keep the pattern simple (what's simpler than a square, I ask?) and for this quilt (which measures in at a deliciously-cuddle-worthy 40" by 45"), all you need is 10 fat quarters.  That means that even with the rather dear Nani Iro fabrics, your quilt top will only cost you $55.00, and ladies and gentlemen, I guarantee you will love this simple quilt to bits.  Best $55.00 you ever spent.

Want to make your own simple patchwork quilt?

I recommend a 4.5" square (you seem to get a lot of mileage for that size), a handful of 10 fat quarters or so, and 1.5 yards of a backing material.

I like the 1.5 yards because you can easily make a throw-size quilt without having to piece a backing.

1/2 yard should be plenty for a binding.

Of course, Charm Squares would work splendidly (and they're already cut for you!).

A patchwork throw in quilting cottons would be amazing (think of all the combinations you could make!), and next on my radar is a velveteen patchwork throw...

We either tie our quilts or quilt with a walking foot in a simple straight line pattern, always keeping a quarter inch away from the seams.

And of course, if you are using the voile or the double gauze, the wool batting is a must!

Thank you for entertaining my rambling on about the humble (yet mighty) square.

I've wanted to get this post out of my system for a long time!




Anonymous said...

I love these kind of idea/ instruction type posts....they get my " juices" flowing. I'm one of those kind of people that say "wow, this is beautiful, but what could I do with it ......?
More of this, pretty please?

Penelope said...

Yes, I agree with the poster above. I, too, am inspired from your visual shots and instructions. And now let's see that velveteen beauty, please.