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I was very inspired at the December QGIN meeting when everyone showed their five-inch square quilts. Such variety in styles and designs! I didn’t participate in the exchange early in the year because I’ve had my own piles of five-inch squares that I’ve been cutting from leftover scraps.

Of course, after viewing the wonderful quilts in show and tell, I decided to pull out my scraps and finally start using them in a quilt or two. I discovered my taste in fabrics have changed since I started collecting these. I’ve gone from dark muted colors to bright colors now, so when I looked over my collection, I was a bit disappointed at first. Most of the fabrics were mediums to darks which meant I had to add lots of lights to brighten them up. I decided to use some Grunge gray/white for the background and discovered that this blended very well with everything I used.

The block I decided to make was a disappearing pinwheel. Starting with two squares (one Grunge and one medium or dark print) I made two half-square triangles and then placed them in a scrapy pinwheel. I trimmed to pinwheel block to 8 ¼” and then cut it into 9 squares of equal sizes. I think each square measured 2 ¾”. The squares were rearranged to make a new block with a small pinwheel at the center and something like a churndash surrounding it.

Bonnie Hunter said that if your fabric is too ugly is just isn’t cut small enough and she’s right. I found that even the ugly fabrics I would have tossed out disappeared into a beautiful scrap quilt. So, my advice to you is that even though your tastes may change, you can still make a gorgeous quilt you will like from your leftovers.

To make the blocks pop I sashed them with a heathered purple fabric that I had in my stash. I loved the textural quality of the fabric and I thought it was a nice complement to the rest of the quilt.

Just for fun I decided to add a piano-key border from the remaining five-inch squares. I did this by taking the squares and sewing two together on two sides and then cutting them into three rectangles and continued matching a piecing until I had a long strip of striped fabrics. I cut the strips in half thereby doubling the strips I had until I had enough to make all the of the borders. What a great way to make a colorful border in very little time!

The resulting quilt is shown below with a detail of the block. I hope I inspire you to use up those squares and please share them on the Forum or at Show and Tell sometime. I’d love to see what you are working on.

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Mary Ellen Straughn
Mary Ellen Straughn
Jan 17, 2021

if you like this post and have done quilts with five inch squares, please post a picture and tell us about your quilt.

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