Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday is for Scraps -- and Granny Squares

 But first, a photo from quilt camp.  This is Payette Lake in Idaho, where I went to Camp Alice Pittenger for many years as a Girl Scout, and where I now attend Quilt Retreat with Granny's Attic:

I've managed to resist the Granny Square block from Blue Elephant Stitches, until today.  I wanted to make a red, white and blue candle mat, and remembered this tutorial by Jolene. So I opened my 2 1/2" squares scrap drawer and pulled out some red and blue squares:

(Why, yes, that is only a small portion of my 2 1/2" squares.)

I laid out the red and blue squares and added some white squares to get this block: 

Rather than use a straight sashing, I decided to add triangles to the four sides and get a square mat.  Adhering to the "right tool for the job" policy, I pulled out my Omnigrid 98L ruler.  Since my granny square block is 9" raw-edge to raw-edge, I placed the 98L ruler on a regular ruler and found I needed to cut the setting strips 5" wide.  Then it's easy to line up the "9" on the 98L ruler with the edge of the 5" strip:

And cut four setting triangles:

When sewing triangles to a straight edge, don't try to "eyeball" the lineup.  They won't come out even. (Ask me.  I know.)  Fold the setting triangle in half and finger-press a crease in the center.  Do the same for the block.

Now pin the setting triangles to the opposite sides of the block and sew:

It's easier to sew with this side up, so you can see where the seams on the squares meet:

See?  Nice, sharp points!

And here is the finished block:

Placemats and hot pads are a good way to use up scrap batting.  With the increased price of cotton, I save every scrap nowadays!  If the scrap isn't big enough for the whole block, sew two pieces together.  First, place one piece slightly over the second and cut a curvy line through both pieces:

Like this:

Then place one piece slightly overlapping the other and sew together with a three-step zigzag stitch, set to the widest stitch width.

Now we're ready to quilt the placemat.  I love sulky KK2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive for basting, it's much easier than pinning:

I quilted with my new Superior Threads King Tut in color #919, "Freedom" at 1/4" from the seams of the colored squares:

Tune in Tuesday for a tutorial on Susie's Magic Binding and the finished mat.  


Today it is holding my blue candle, lit in honor of the sailors on the USS George Washington who are preparing to depart for their summer patrol of the Western Pacific.

23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.
Psalm 107:23-31
King James Version (KJV)

From the desk of your


  1. Oh my...I spent several summers at Camp Pittenger...I loved every minute...thanks for the wonderful memory...cute candle mat!

  2. It is lovely...nice to do a quick thing and get it finished every once in awhile right....

  3. Just adore that photo. Thanks for the handy tutorial.


Thanks for taking your time to comment. If I don't answer in an email, it's because you're a no-reply commenter and I can't find you!