In January, I did a post on scrap quilting and stash building. In that post I talked about how I like to collect 1 1/2″ and 2 1/2″ strips. I was asked “what do you do with all those strips?” I thought it would be fun to show you some simple blocks that can be made with strips. I also use strips to make borders when I think my quilt looks just a little too plain and I use them for scrappy bindings. Let’s take a look at some of the blocks I make with strips. These are only some of the many, many blocks that can be made with strips. You are only limited by your imagination!
Block #1 – Rail Fence
Let’s start with some of the simplest blocks from strips, the Rail Fence. This block is very versatile because it can be bigger or smaller based on the length, width and amount of the strips. Below, I used 4 strips that are 1 1/2 x 4 1/2″:
Stitch these together to make a unit. Join 4 of these units together and you get a Rail Fence block! I made two of the units from different color strips to add to the scrappiness.
Block #2 – Four-patch
Here’s another really easy block made from strips. The Four-patch block:
And, no, you don’t have to cut out and stitch together individual squares to get this block. You can do it with strips! Here’s how. First you make what we call a strip set. Take 2 strips and sew them together lengthwise.
Then, cut the pieces you need from the set and sew them together to make a Four-patch block.
Block #3 – Nine-Patch
The strip set method can also be used to make the Nine-patch block. You will need 3 strips in your strip sets and you will need 2 different kinds of strips sets so the same colors are not next to each other. The illustrations below show what you need.
The above strip sets make a two color nine patch. If you want a scrappier block, you can use 6 different color strips, or if you want some tan or other neutral in there you can do that too.
Block #4 – Log Cabin
This one is my absolute favorite because it’s easy to make and there are many variations. The traditional Log Cabin has a center square with “logs” added on alternating sides. Cut the center square from a 2 1/2″ strip and the logs from 1 1/2″ strips.
Very easy stitching there. Here is another variation called Courthouse Steps:
These blocks allow me to sit by my strip containers and just pull out what I want. This is my favorite scrappy block.
Sometimes I get done with a quilt top and think it needs something else, either to bring out the design in the top or to simply make the quilt bigger. It’s a bonus when it helps you use up extra fabric from the project! Here are some of the borders I have done with strips:
The border above is called a piano key border. Really easy to make. Just choose a length and width for your strips that fits the size of your quilt top and you end up with the perfect frame. Here are a couple of variations on the piano key border by adding in flip & sew corners:
Finally, you can just add a simple checkerboard border or even just strips.
Finally, I use strips sometimes to make a scrappy binding. Just cut an assortment of strips from the leftover fabric from your project. I think it adds a bit of whimsy to my quilts when I do this.
Speaking of binding, next week’s blog post will be about how to make binding, both single-fold and double-fold. I will also demonstrate adding binding to a quilt, including how I make corners.
So that’s it for this week. Leave a comment on using strips, whether you use them now or not. I will choose a winner from the comment who will receive my pattern, Seaside Cottage.
I used a lot of 1 1/2″ strip sets in this one! It will give you some great practice. The drawing will be on Monday, March 8th.