Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I May Have A Scrap Problem... How to Make A Slab Block!

Hi, all!

Wow, it's been a really good scrappy week!  I feel like I've been playing in them constantly and it's a good feeling.  First of all, here's the next block for the Long Time Gone quilt...

I used some leftover Fig & Co. strips, from both a jelly roll and a honey bun, to make these Jacobs Ladder blocks.  A pretty traditional block, but I chose a less-than-traditional layout for them.  It's the little things that make a quilt like this your own!

I also spent some time today preparing kits for the next two sets of blocks, and dug through a bunch of scraps for these, finding many of them in my string hamper!  Those churn dash blocks are really tiny!!

I don't know how many of you are also working on the Long Time Gone quilt by Jen Kingwell, but I am really enjoying the process of this quilt!  It's fun making so many different blocks and using up so many scraps....

I also dug through my vintage scraps to repair this beautiful old quilt, which went back to its owner today..

So it's been a really good week for working with scraps!  And if you saw this past Sunday's blog post, you saw a scrappy quilt made using a slab technique.  Several people mentioned that they were unfamiliar with that technique, so I thought I'd do a quickie tutorial for you so you can discover this great technique for using up little pieces of scrap that are just too precious to throw away!

I keep a plastic shoebox labeled "Little Bits" that I throw the little pieces, usually at least 1.5" to 3" on a side, that are leftover when I trim down my scraps.  This are great for making slab blocks, so I dragged them out today and pulled out mostly greens, with one bright orange piece to give the block an interesting focal point.

I took the orange piece and found another scrap that was approximately the same length on one side, then sewed them together.  If your scraps are different sizes, no problem - just trim after you sew them  together!

I pressed my seams open, because there will be so many seams on the back of this little piece.  I've found this works best for me.  Then I took my first piece and found another scrap that was about the same length of one of the sides, and sewed them together.

Now I have a piece that is larger than any of the scraps in my box, so I took a couple of pieces and sewed them together to get a piece longer than the side of my base block.  

After attaching that piece to the base block, it's time to square up and trim.  At this point, it's simpler to make several blocks like this, then join them together.  I used strings from my string tub to bridge the gap between the different scrappy blocks.  Once it was at least 8.5" in all directions, I trimmed it square using my 8.5" ruler.  And here's my finished slab block!

Looking at this now, I wish the orange piece was closer to the center, and that the solid green at the bottom was either more internalized or narrower, but those are things that you learn as you go.  If this block was part of a quilt made up completely of this type of block, you would never notice those things!

Slab blocks are a great way to use up tiny scraps, and can even incorporate small orphan blocks or solid larger central pieces.  They don't take very long to make, and you can keep a little box of them going until you get enough for a quilt top.  

Are you feeling inspired now?

Link up below to share your own scrappy progress!  I don't know about you, but I need all the inspiration I can get!




  1. love seeing what you do with the scraps, your latest block looks so good but I disagree re the orange I think it works so well where it is, a great block

  2. The orange and the deep teal are perfect where they are, and the paler green at the bottom,if it goes next to a strip with a lot of smaller pieces, will fit in beautifully, Love the tute, and love the block.

  3. I must admit I didn't know what a slab block was until I saw yours I guess I hadn't seen them called that but I don't remember what name I have seen them at

  4. Great tutorial and thank you! I don't think I've seen this shown this clearly before. Wonderful way to use up those scraps!

  5. that's super cute block. I've been collecting scraps too and "plan" to make something. Thanks for the inspirations.

  6. What a fantastic idea for using up scraps! Thanks for showing the method!!

  7. Cute blocks and that vintage quilt is lovely! I am working my way through Long Time Gone, oh my! an awful lot of pieces in this weeks block!!

  8. Thanks for linking up! I really love that vintage quilt.

  9. I like the idea of the bin for the bits as well as the great idea for using them up! Thanks! Wendy at

  10. Love your idea and photos of the slab blog. Need to pull out my scrap box when ever I have a free moment and work on some blocks. Thanks!

  11. Great idea to have a "little bits" box! I've been piecing little scraps with others to make strings before they go into my scrap bins, but then I don't have small bits later and end up cutting them again. Seems inefficient! Gotta stay Efficient to keep on top of scraps. And we all know Efficient is just Lazy with better marketing...

  12. I'm loving your Long Time Gone blocks. I looked up that book. The whole quilt is beautiful. Maybe someday . . . from my own stash . . .


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