Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Thinking Out Loud

I often find that when I write about a situation I'll come up with a solution.  Anyway, that's what I'm hoping for today ...

Earlier this month I wrote about my plans for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2022  using the block from Labor Day Madness that is in this book.

I love almost all of the quilts in this book and its sequel More Nickel Quilts.  However, I have an issue with the concept of starting with 5" charm squares in that many of the patterns require multiples of a single fabric.  How many store-bought charm packs have four of the same fabric?  Or if you have participated in a charm swap, how often do you get multiples of the same fabric?

My initial solution was to cut the required number of charm squares from some of my larger chunks of scrap fabrics.  And since I've already assembled quite a pile of potential candidates ...

... I thought I would devote today to cutting and kitting blocks to be made whenever that particular color is called for in the challenge.  But here's the rub:  In many of the patterns in these two books, the first step is to cut the 5" square into smaller pieces!  Knowing that, I decided to do a test run on a single block today to see if there might be a more effective way to cut the scraps I have chosen.

Right off the bat I could see that the side rectangles and center square of the background fabric could be more efficiently cut from strips.  I will still need two 5" squares of background to make the combination HST units, but I won't be trimming about 1/2" off two sides of two squares and throwing away three-fourths of a third square.  

Because the units and the finished block end up with 8th inch measurements, my next challenge is to see if I can change some of the dimensions to see if I can come up with nice round halves or least fourths of an inch.

The fun part of this process is that the combination units yield a second set of HSTs that "spin" in the opposite direction.

I will use these to test my theory and report back soon.


  1. I've got a nickel book and you know I don't think I have ever used it - or any other pattern book in awhile - I keep coming up with once block quilts instead.

  2. If you'd like me to put the pattern into Electric Quilt to manipulate it, let me know. It will print out rotary cutting instructions.

  3. I sometimes wonder if some of these books were written before people came up with more efficient ways to cut pieces. Either that or since her premise is make things with 5 inch squares, everything has to come from 5 inch squares. No matter what, if you can come up with better ways to do something, go for it! I enjoyed reading your "thinking out loud, Libby!"

  4. I have pieces and parts from several Nickel Quilts projects. Too bad they were someone else's projects and I have NO IDEA which fabrics were for which project!! Good luck with your experimentation, Libby.

  5. I have both Nickel Quilt books, too. I admire the designs but I'm not a huge fan of the 5" square gimmick. Like many gimmicks, it requires more contortion than it's worth. If I found a NQ quilt I wanted to make I'd redraw the block so that it used conventionally-sized units.

  6. I like the way you think! If there's a more efficient or effective way of making a block, go for it! What size is the finished block? When you figure out the cut dimensions, please tell us. It's a great block, and you're smart to plan for RSC ahead of time.


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