Friday, January 19, 2018

Free Pattern Friday: Charming Ideas, Part 1

Sometimes what's old is new again. This is part of an article I published in Quilt Magazine in 1995 when I was the Special Projects Editor. I gave several patterns for making scrap quilts using charm squares. I will address one of those ideas today. Come back for Parts 2, 3 and 4 in the coming weeks.

Taken from Quilt Magazine, 1995

"Some days I just want to cut and sew. I want to play with a lot of pattern and color and a scrap quilt is just what I need. Several years ago I swapped 5” charm squares with other quilters and now I have a large plastic bin full of hundreds of these squares and it’s fun to find new ways to make small quilts with them. If you don’t have any, you can cut 5” strips from a variety of fabrics and get your 5” squares from those. We will cut these into rectangles for  three quick quilts variations."

You may be working with a set that is all one color family:

Red/pink colored charms
 Or just a lot of various color and pattern:

Various colors
Back to Quilt Magazine:

"The Criss Cross block and quilt is created using one constant fabric as a neutral. This could be muslin, black or any other color that you happen to like and have on hand. Let’s use muslin for our example here. Cut several 5” strips of muslin. R andomly select 8 charm squares and align them end to end along the muslin strip."

Now, you may be working with fat quarters for your background fabric. Then you are only able to get 4 charms along one length (5" x 22").

Charms pinned end to end, right sides together with my light gray 5" strip
"Stitch them to the muslin strip along both long sides of the muslin. Recut each long strip into 5” wedges so that you now have a muslin square sewn to a charm square along two opposing sides.

Charm stitched to neutral fabric along two opposing ends and cut apart into 5" units

Trim these units to 4-1/2” wide as shown. This is because you have taken up 1/4" seam on those two ends. Discard the little 1/2" strip.
Trim 1/2" from one end as shown
Now cut these wedges in half down the middle, making your cut parallel with the two rows of stitching.
Cut the 4-1/2" x 5" two-fabric unit in half

Open these out and press the seams toward the darker fabric. Repeat for all remaining units. You now have two-fabric units that measure 2-1/2" x 4-1/2”.

Criss Cross Units

"Sew these together, keeping the matching fabrics separated as shown. Arrange into the quilt blocks as shown."

8-1/2" x 8-1/2" Criss Cross Block (finishes to 8")
And two blocks together show how the charm fabrics never touch.

Two Criss Cross Blocks
 Here is my digital rendition from 1995. First, in two colors.

25 Block quilt center = 40" x 40"
Then truly scrappy:
Same quilt using a variety of colors and prints
And my leftover charms await another project!
Here are more charms waiting patiently in a little plastic page protector.
So, grab one of those charm packs you have in your stash and some 5" strips of a neutral (I used a very light gray) and you will have 8" blocks in no time.

Come back next week for Part 2.  I will be talking about Chinese Coins, Staggered Bricks and Stacked Bricks - all using 5" charm squares. Oh, and even Thousand Pyramids. One technique at a time.

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  1. clever ideas. I used to do a swap of 5" squares, (nickels) all geared toward Pat Speth patterns. made lots of her quilts and still have hundreds of nickels left. I'll have to give this pattern a try, it looks pretty
    Joan G

  2. Hello Debby; It is nice to know that I am not the only one who on some days just wants to sew. Even when I have a couple of other quilts started. LOL. I really appreciate the tutorial for this scrap buster or for a specific fabric selection and that it is a nice and easy pattern that looks lovely in the end. I look forward to seeing your next patterns and to making this one today! Have a great day!

  3. Hi Debby,
    This is fabulous! I love projects that use charm packs. And so versatile too. If you wouldn't mind, may I share this on my blog in the future? With credit given to you, of course. ~smile~ Roseanne


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