noelle o designs

creativity + sewing + upcycling inspiration

craft, fabric, projects, sewing

making a scrappy pioneer quilt

20120216-093441.jpgLast winter I spent ridiculous amounts of time cutting all my scrap pieces of fabric into squares, I think I was listening to some epic novel and enjoying the mellow wintertime journey. Here’s the stash or 4 inch squares that were created. All spread out here it doesn’t look like much, but there are probably enough squares pictured above to make 5 king-sized quilt tops.

20120216-093458.jpgAnd so… I begin. Here is queen-sized amount of squares (20 squares by 22 squares) carefully placed next to their new friends and neighbors. The excellent thing about a quilt like this is that it’s a working quilt- meant to be used and not hung on the wall. There is no need for preservation or fancy display only good times stretching out ahead of you- something to brighten up a bed, inadvertently display by throw over a chair (at a jaunty angle), snuggle up with at the 4th of July rodeo, keep in your car and save you from freezing to death when your car breaks down on a deserted highway in a raging snowstorm, a fort building tool for the kids, a handmade gift to a loved one (insert special memory fabrics into the project) and a storytelling device (to those who will listen) of the heartwarming memories you have of all 440 different fabrics. Sigh.

Here is how I start putting all the pieces together-Start with accurately cut squares, this will make all the difference when you start sewing them together. I gather up and stack each horizontal row, starting at the left and moving right, ALL of the stacks are organized this way. You should create a system or a pattern for piecing (sewing) the squares together that you will follow all the way through. This matters because I really did arrange the colors and patterns when laying it all out- spreading out plaids, bigger patterns, bright and pale colors, busy and plain fabrics. I don’t know how much this matters to the finished look of such a busy quilt, but I like having some control over the final product. Let’s see how long it takes to get these all sewn together. I’ve been listening to Bossypants by (and read by) Tina Fey- very entertaining- I should be good to go for hours.


  1. Erica

    February 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Wow this is beautiful! Cant wait to see it finished!!
    I really want to start making one, its just finding the time. How big did you cut your squares?!

    1. noelleodesigns

      February 18, 2012 at 12:42 am

      Thanks for the vote of confidence! These are 4 inch squares- I like the look of this size square in a finished quilt.

  2. MadeByYoursTruly

    February 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    This looks like it’s going to be a really gorgeous quilt! I’ll be watching with bated breath. I’m also very jealous of your fabric stash and storage. My husband doesn’t think I can turf the kids out of their room to create a sewing room for me. Harrumph.

    1. noelleodesigns

      February 18, 2012 at 12:37 am

      Hopefully, this will be done soon… like all the way done- quilted and bound and over a napping person done! These squares are 4″ by 4″, I’ve also made 5″X5″ and 6″X6″ quilt tops. The smaller squares look better, but take lots longer to piece.

  3. Sissy

    November 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    love the little girl kissing dolly good-nite in top frame. Love scrap quilts. I too have been cutting fabric scraps down to manageable squares and am inspired to make one.

    1. NoelleOlpin

      November 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      I love that fabric too, you can never go wrong with Alexander Henry fabrics!

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