Sunday, April 29, 2018

Hands2Help - How is a quilt pattern like comfort food?

Hi, all!

Welcome to another week of the Hands2Help Challenge, and another great guest blogger!  Joanne lives in Canada, and blogs at Quilts by Joanne.  She is a prolific scrap quilter, and has a way with rectangles, which she will share with you now - so I turn the blog over to her....


This year's Hands2Help Charity quilt drive will soon be coming to a close. The guest bloggers have shown some terrific ideas for quilts that anyone can make and that will provide comfort to those in need. In my post today I would like to share two ideas that use up the almost smallest bits of fabric and, while they may take a long time to make a quilt top, they work and they help avoid throwing out those still useable pieces of fabric.

I love bricks as a quilting shape. They are so very versatile. You can cut bricks from your leftover projects in a wide number of sizes. The photo shows different sized bricks.

The bricks in the photo are all the way from 3/4" x 1", 1" x 1 1/2", 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" (my personal favourite), 2" x 3 1/2", 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" ( my second favourite), 3 1/2" x 6 1/2", 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" to finally 5" x 9 1/2". 

When I am trimming my scraps to store them I trim them into strips and I have found over the years that I like to trim to 5" strips, 2 1/2" strips and 1 1/2" strips. Those are the sizes that I use most often. There are many "Scrap Saver Systems" and as you work with your scraps you will find the one that works best for you. These strips are then stored in containers and I can pull as needed. Bricks can be cut quickly and with relatively little thought. If as an example you are cutting 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" bricks then dig into the 2 1/2" strips and all your cuts are the same size. This is a great time saver if you are making up kits for a sewing day. And would likely be even more quickly accomplished with a cutting system.

The two brick patterns I am going to describe can be made with any size brick. You can imagine that the larger bricks will yield a larger block and will work into a quilt top much more quickly than a smaller brick.

To decide which of my two favourite brick designs I am going to use I need to look at the collection of bricks I am going to work with. If I have a wide variety of scraps of various numbers in a  range of colours then I decide on my favourite simple bricks pattern. If however I can arrange my bricks in groups of four that match then I look to the Windmill design as I first saw it demonstrated by Diane Harris on the Quiltmaker's magazine blog several years ago.

Above is an example of a simple brick quilt made with a wide variety of scraps. I did not have an even number to make sets of four so this was my best way to use this set of scraps. 

To make a simple bricks quilt you need to select the size of brick you are working with and them make the blocks needed to create a quilt the size you need. The steps to making a single block are very straight forward. First stitch two bricks together along the long side of the bricks and press. Second add a single brick to the top and the bottom of this pair. Third stitch two pairs of bricks together on the short side. Press these and then add to the sides of your block. This is a simple brick block. Note that you can keep going to make this block larger by sewing more bricks together on the short side and adding to the top and bottom and keep building the block up that way.
Simple brick block components
Once you have stitched together the number of blocks you need then arrange them so that the centre bricks are vertical then horizontal. As you can see in the picture above, this eliminates a great deal of seam matching and makes the block go together smoothly. 

Then let your inner designer show through. Make your centres light and your outer ring dark... use an established color scheme... go scrappy... the sky is the limit!

This little quilt shows the windmill blocks. I used a variety of colours with a consistent background, but for each block I needed four bricks that were the same color.

To construct the basic Windmill block you need two sets of four bricks.

Stitch together as shown. first stitching the pairs together on the long side then pair those up so that you are stitching a horizontal pair to the right of a vertical pair. It is really important to keep the components in the same relative position when you are stitching. Pressing each component in the same direction is helpful also.

To get to this point and have a finished windmill you need to rotate ONE of your pairs and stitch it to the other. I like to twirl my seams at the back of these blocks to help them lie nice and flat.

Quilts made from either one of these blocks are simple and comfortable - just like comfort food!


Thank you for sharing these two beautiful quilts with us, Joanne!  Great ideas, and a wonderful way to use up those smaller scraps....

I've used Joanne's theory of rectangles in the past, to create one of my favorite quilts - the Gum Wrapper quilt!  If memory serves, I used 1.5x2.5"rectangles for the outside edges, and 2.5x4.5" rectangles for the center.  All scraps, and so much fun to make!  So grab your rectangles and see what you you can come up with  - as Joanne says, let your inner designer show through!

See you next week, when we'll have another great guest blogger to share with us.  




  1. Thanks for inspiring and reminding me of the fabulous designs that can be created from simple shapes.

  2. What a great use of scraps! I love the gum wrapper.

  3. YAY! I have bricks cut and ready to go...for I couldn't figure out what?! Now I know :-) Thank you, Joanne for the inspiration and tutorial.

  4. I never thought of the windmill quilt as a 'brick' quilt-cool! Thanks for the ideas!

  5. Great quilts! Simple designs are so often the most striking.

  6. I just washed 3 quilts today to get ready for donating! And I ironed 5 tops that are yet to be quilted!

  7. Great ideas with bricks! And OH that gum wrapper quilt brings back memories of Juicy Fruit...did you make those 'belts' too?!


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