Simple pieced rectangles become triangles in this block quilt by Elizabeth Openshaw. This quilt could also be called eat your scraps as it is ideal for making using small scraps left from other projects
This quilt uses a lot of scraps but if
you wish to purchase fabric, choose
a bundle of a dozen fat eighths with
a central theme as a starting point,
then a selection of at least twenty
four fat eighths in light, medium and
dark shades, giving 36 in total. Be
adventurous with colours, as you are
not using much of each, but do make
sure that not all the fabrics are highly
patterned, otherwise the end result
will be too busy.
- 2m of black for the background,
borders and bindings
- 1.5m of wide sheeting for backing
(sufficient to make 135 x 165cm)
- 1.5m of wide wadding (sufficient
to make 135 x 165cm)
125 x 155cm (50 x 62in)
can download a pdf copy of the original magazine pages for this project
Eat your Fruit and Veg
Quick and Easy Block
The technique devised by Elizabeth
Openshaw is given here to enable you
to make any block size. But for those
who don’t want even this much work,
we provide the cutting measurements
for the quilt.
This block consists of squares and
triangles and can be made without actually
having to cut out any triangles, nor do
any fiddly fractions of an inch have to be
considered. Four units make up the block
but for each unit stitched,
two are created giving
accuracy and less work!
The system works by first
making a pattern, or marker,
to be used in conjunction
with a rotary cutter and ruler.
Once the markers are made
there is no more measuring.
To make the pattern
- You will need a sharp
pencil, a ruler, some thin
card, scissors and squared
paper. The squared paper
used for sums is ideal and
available from stationers.
- On squared paper, using
printed lines as a guide,
mark out a right-angled
triangle. The side is the size
of your finished unit. Increase
or decrease the measurement
if required. See Figure 1.
- Draw a 1⁄4in seam
allowance on the diagonal
edge of the triangle. Add
another 1⁄4in seam allowance
and keeping the corners
lined up directly under
one another, draw another
triangle to match the first.
Figure 1: Drawing the first pieces
- Add a 1⁄4in seam allowance to the
outside edges of the rectangle.
- Transfer this shape to thin card,
extending central diagonal line
to outside edge and marking with a
notch at each end. Call this pattern
- Returning to your original diagram
divide each triangle into a square
and two small triangles. The point the square must meet the diagonal of the
original triangle. Ignoring the diagonals for
a moment, the vertical of the top square
will continue to the vertical of the lower
square in a straight line. You can see that
the rectangle is now divided into two
squares and two smaller rectangles.
See Figure 2.
- Split apart the four sections and add
1⁄4in seam allowance to the inner edges.
Transfer one square and one small
rectangle to thin card and cut out. Mark
the square with B and rectangle C. These
are all the templates you need.
Figure 2: Constructing templates B and C
Making up one block
- Draw the templates following the
instructions. Drawing the templates
will give you confidence to use a differet
size another time. To make one block, cut
out two large rectangles using template A
in dark fabric. Use two different fabrics if
you wish. Cut four squares using B, again
varying the fabrics if you wish. Finally, cut
four small rectangles using C. See Figure 3.
- With RS facing, sew each B square to
the short side of rectangle C Press
towards the darker colour, then invert
every other piece and with RS together,
sew into a rectangle. Your rectangle should
be the same size as rectangle A.
- Snip a little notch into the centre of the
seam so that you can press towards the
darker sides if wanted. Place one of the
pieced rectangles on the table with its RS
up. Then place one of the dark rectangles
RS down on top. Mark the diagonal
between the notches using template A
with a light pencil, checking that the
marked line runs through the small
rectangles not through the squares. If it
does run through the squares, simply turn
over pattern A, the result will be exactly
the same. Sew diagonals 1⁄4in each side of
the marked line. Cut apart on the line.
- Repeat with remaining pieces and you
now have your four units ready for
assembling into complete block. Before
stitching them together, play about with
them first. How many different ways you
could assemble them? See the quilt photo
for ideas or look at Figure 4.
Figure 3: Sewing the units
Figure 4: Some possible arrangements
- Cut out and make up twenty blocks to
previous instructions, using up to five
different fabrics for each one. Vary the
tonal values so that some of the large
triangles are in medium fabrics. Cut some
of the squares and small rectangles in light
and dark fabrics.
- From fat eighths there will be some
small pieces left, put these aside for
the border later. You may find it easier
to cut and make up a few blocks, then
a few more to balance the colours.
- After assembling all the blocks,
organise them into an arrangement
that you like. You need four blocks in
each row and five rows in total.
- From the background fabric, cut strips
1 1⁄2in wide along the length. Cut into
10 1⁄2in pieces and add as sashing between
the blocks. then measure the length of
your rows, cut pieces to this measurement
and add to divide the rows as shown. You
might like to cut and sew one row to make
best use of your fabrics.
- Cut two strips along the length 2 1⁄2in
wide and machine these to each side.
Measuring as you go and checking lengths
often will achieve a better result.
- Cut two more strips 2 3⁄4in wide and
machine these to the top and bottom
of the quilt. Press towards the border.
- Returning to the remaining scraps, cut
them into pieces 1 1⁄4in wide and varying
in length from 2 to 3 1⁄2in. Join these
together lengthways, then cut into two
strips measuring 49 3⁄4in and two strips
measuring 59in. Check your own quilt top
measurements before cutting. Sew these
to the edges, starting with the long sides.
- The final black border is 1 1⁄2in wide for
the sides and 1 5⁄8in wide for the top and
bottom, measure and attach as before,
press the borders to the outside as you go.
Quilting and Finishing
- Lay out the well-pressed backing fabric
RS down and lay the wadding over it.
Place the patchwork RS up over the top
and tack thoroughly making sure there are
no creases in the top or backing.
- Quilt 1⁄8in from the seams, the other
side to which the seams have been
pressed and across the large triangles.
- From the remaining black fabric, cut
strips 3 1⁄4in wide and join them all
together into a long strip. Press joins open,
then press strip centrally with the WS
inside to make the binding. Sew the raw
edges to the front edges of quilt, starting
with longer sides first, then turn the edging
over to the back, pin in place and machine
in the ditch or hand stitch on the back.
- That’s it now you just need to add a
label, giving details of where you saw
the pattern and the year you made the
quilt. Then start using your new quilt
Don’t forget for a bright summery
look use light sashing and borders,
it would look so different. Lay the
prepared blocks onto different
backgrounds to gauge the effect
First published in Popular Patchwork July 2006