Saturday, September 23, 2017

Great Scrap Buster Block Tutorial

It's my turn to be queen!    Yay!  And I am queen in two different bees for the month of October (yes, I am a little early) so there is going to be some major happy mail coming my way.   Fellow hive mates, you will be helping me make my first ever quilt for my own bed!  I am so excited!!   Getting blocks in the mail will be like getting housewarming gifts!

I don't think the block I'm going to have you make has a name.  At least, not that I know of.  It's just a bunch of HST's and squares arranged in a pleasing way.  Here is a sample of them sewn together.  My favorite thing about this block are all the secondary patterns created when you put them together facing different directions.

There are diamonds

There are X's

Plus signs (this one has a diamond in the middle of it)

And stars!

All from one single block!  It is hard to only make one or two of these blocks because you want to see the secondary patterns develop as you put them together.  I timed myself and from cutting out fabric to a finished block took me less than one hour and that was even after having to rip out a row and sew it on right.    If you hate making points match up, don't worry.  I am not super picky about that.  Once all the blocks are put together, it is the overall effect that holds your attention and not whether the points are perfect.  I love the personality of a patchwork quilt, imperfections and all.

OK, let's get down to business!  (click HERE for simplified directions without all the detail)

You will need two  contrasting fabrics for each block.     They don't have to be the same color, as long as one is light and the other one dark.  If you're unsure, just choose one favorite fabric of yours and then a low volume or white on white fabric to go with it.

NOTE:  The fabrics in the shown sample are kind of old fashioned and dated but my preference is for bright and modern.

For you that like to fussy cut, even novelty fabrics are perfectly ok as long as they contrast with the partner color and are on the bright side.  Did you notice the frogs and the bees?

If you don't have any brights, just choose your favorite.  Small scale prints  that read mostly as one color work best; however, if you do use a large scale print as one of the choices, it works best if the other fabric is a solid or a tone on tone.   Let me show you how one fabric can be both the light and the dark in two different blocks.  Here we have the orange as the dark fabric in one block and as the light fabric in another block.  Again, the key is contrast.

One 5 3/4" square and four 2 1/2" squares from each of your fabric choices.  That's it!  This will make an 8 1/2" block that finishes at 8 inches.   Since it is so small, please make two blocks and no need to sew them together.

Eight 2 1/2" HST's using any method you prefer.  Following is my favorite method:

Take the large square of each color with right sides together.  Draw lines from corner to corner on the lighter color like this:

Sew 1/4" inch away from the line down one side and back up the other on both of the drawn lines.  I forgot to take a picture of this step so I am borrowing this from a tutorial I already have.  Here are the sewn lines:

Next, cut on both of the drawn lines and without moving the block cut from the middle of the left side to the middle of the right side and from middle top to middle bottom like this:

You will have 8 little half square triangles in no time!  Trim these HST's to 2 1/2" and for best results, please press open.    This is the only place I will ask for this.

The way I trim is to first make sure that the diagonal 45 degree line on the ruler is exactly on top of the seam between the two colors and the corner is as far up as you can go (making sure your diagonal line is still exactly on top of your diagonal seam and then trim off the dog ears and top and right side if necessary.

Then turn the half square triangle all the way around so the right top corner you just trimmed now becomes the lower left corner, again placing the 45 degree line exactly on top of the diagonal seam matching up the 2 1/2" marks on the ruler to the bottom and left edges of your square.  Then trim.  My HST's size before trimming turned out large because I accidentally cut my squares 6 3/4 instead of 5 3/4.  It still works!

Now for the arranging.  It works easiest if you start with the four light squares and arrange them like this:

Then add 3 HST's on each side of that row with the darker side toward the four light squares you had in a diagonal line.  You'll end up with three butterflies.

 Then take the four dark squares and add two of them to each side like this:

And then the final two HST's with the light side pointing toward the corners.

Sew together one row at a time and wait until you have all four rows sewn together before you press.  Press the seams on the first row one direction (doesn't matter which way) and the the second row the opposite direction, alternating directions for all  four rows.  I tried doing it with pressing the seams open but it really does work better to be able to nest the seams together.  Your points will come out better.

And now you should have a nice finished block.  I am looking forward to seeing every color of the rainbow appearing in my mailbox!  HAVE FUN!

P.S.  I've already had one person tell me she was a little confused by what colors I want.  I prefer bright and bold colors in either tone on tone or a small print, but really just about anything will work. The main goal is to have high contrast.  If you are having trouble figuring out what to choose, just use a low volume or white for the light color.

Here are some examples of fabric pulls I will probably be making from my own stash.  Hope this helps!  And yes, although I donn't have a purple example here, I like purple too.  Anything goes!

Linking with:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict


  1. That looks like a fun block, and you've got some great fabrics already! Have fun with it!

  2. Thanks for the tutorial... and for using ORANGE (for the RSC) in your sample blocks!!!

  3. Pretty block! I'm looking forward to seeing all your bee blocks together. How many do you think you'll receive?

  4. Oh Queen Janice, I bow down to you, hehehe, great block! It will be so fun for you to see all the different ones that come to your mailbox.

  5. Love your Hoovering Hawk blocks. They will make an awesome quilt. Enjoy! ;^)

  6. Great! An early heads up! I'm a little confused with your colours but I'm sure once I get in front of my fabric cupboard I'll find something that speaks to me. I love all the little flowers on your blocks, I might see if I've got something like it.

  7. I like the way you laid it out Janice, it's going to be a beautiful quilt. I'm looking forward to seeing all the blocks.

  8. Ooh. I have just the perfect fabric for this. Gonna work on it tomorrow.

  9. That's going to be a fun quilt for your bed!

  10. I was already eyeing my stash this morning thinking "what would Janice like?" :) This is going to be fun.

  11. Enjoy your happy mail! How nice that you'll finally get your own quilt.

  12. What a fun block! Enjoy your happy mail and your first quilt for yoU!!!!

  13. Excellent timing, Janice. New house - you are the queen and the blocks start pouring in. Soon, you will be snuggling with a new quilt just in time for the cooler temps. Please tell me you got a new cutting mat.


I LOVE meeting new quilting friends and always respond to comments so I'd love to hear from you!