Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Happy Scrappy Houses!

Happy Scrappy Houses!

(Click HERE for printer-friendly .pdf file)

These fun house blocks finish at 7.5" square (before triangle sashings) and are made completely from 2" strips,bricks and scrap squares!

For each house block you will need:
Roof: (1) 2"X 8" rectangle
House: (1) 2"X8" rectangle
(3) 2"X3.5" rectangles
(1) 2" square
Door: (1) 2"X3.5" rectangle
Window: (1) 2" square
Chimneys: (2) 2" squares
Background: (5) neutral squares

If you want, you can speed piece all your chimney sky units by sewing 3 background 2" strips alternating with 2 2" red chimney strips, and sub cut them all into 2" sections. I was using precut 2" scrap leader/ender squares for my chimneys and backgrounds so this kept them random in my blocks. It is up to you if you want your background pieces scrappy or all uniform. Adapt the pattern to fit your needs!

Lay out the pieces as shown in the pic above left. On the roof rectangle, place your two background squares right sides together with the rectangle. In the second picture you can see that I have drawn diagonal lines across the squares. It is important that you have one uphill diagonal line and one downhill diagonal line so the angles on your roof will turn out right!

When sewing these squares onto the roof rectangle, I start with one side, and trying to make the stitching of the block as continuous as possible (you can see behind the presser foot in the first picture that I have already sewn some of the other house sections together as well) I bend up the bottom end of the rectangle to continue sewing onto the second background square without clipping threads.

Clip off the "dog ear" corners, and press the background triangles out from the roof piece. The block is assembled in rows across. Use the pic below to show you how to assemble the sections.

Here is the block assembled into sections. Sew the sections across in rows! One house done!

I had alot of fun making these houses. I made 42 houses and set them 6 X 7.

Adding the "topsy-turvy triangles"

For topsy-turvy triangles for ONE house block cut:
2 rectangles 2.5" X 11".

This is the tricky part. The houses go "up hill" or "down hill"
Depending on how you make your diagonal cut. You need to remember which is which.

First, place rectangles both right side up on top of each other. For "up hill" houses you want to place your ruler so that it runs DOWN HILL from upper left to lower right across your two rectangles. Use your rotory cutter to slice from lower right to upper left, corner to corner, through the rectangles.

Up hill Cut Down Hill Cut

For "down hill" houses, it's going to be the opposite. Still place both of your rectangles right side up on top of each other. Place your ruler the opposite way, from lower left, to upper right....your ruler is going "up hill" but the triangles will turn your houses opposite, it will be going down hill by the time you sew the triangles to the block.

For demo purposes, since my quilt top is already together and I don't want to make another house, I am going to use a different orphan block of the same size to sew the triangles to, but the method is still the same.

The first pic shows how the triangles are sewn around the block. Notice how the straight grain of fabric is against the block and the 'not quite bias' is on the outside edge. I sew the two side triangles on to the block first. With right sides together, you can line the square corner of the triangle with the corner of the block.

Before you get to the bottom of the block, snip off the excess long skinny triangle tip with the scissors. Repeat for other side. Press triangles away from block. Rotate block and sew on the two remaining triangles in the same way. You will notice that all the triangles go around the block pointing in the same direction. The block is now an "up hill" block! When you sew the opposite triangles on a block to create a down hill block, the triangles will point in the opposite direction than they do above. Just remember to keep the straight grain of the triangles against the block edge.

After the last two triangles are sewn on, you will see that the corners go off at odd angles! The block needs to be squared up. Using a large square ruler (I use a 12.5" ruler) Trim the right side and upper edge of the block, placing the 1/4" line on both sides up against the corners of the inset block. Trim side and top. Rotate block...find the 9.5" markings on the ruler and trim the block to 9.5" square. You might need to fudge a bit here and there to keep that inset block centered. You will find what works best for you and your ruler.

This was a lesson in trial and error for me! The first time I tried this, I cut the rectangles too short, so had to unsew them to try again. *NOTE* These blocks square up to 9.5" unfinished, with the corner of the house blocks being only 1/4" from the edge of the block. When the black sashings are sewn on, they take up that 1/4" so that the corners of the house block are up against the sashing. If you want to make your houses float farther into the center of the block, You need to start with a WIDER rectangle, say 3.5" to 4" instead of the 2.5" size that I used. Experiment with it, see what works for you. These are just the directions for the house blocks as I did them. :c)

At the bottom of the page is a list of gallery pics that people have sent in. Check out Lynn D's. She said that she cut her topsy turvy triangles 3"X12" and that gave her a bit more room. She squared her blocks up to 10", so that is an idea for anyone wanting to set them block to block without sashings.

After topsy-turvying all the blocks, I laid them out on the floor. Oscar thought this was the perfect place to take an afternoon cat nap!

I liked the blocks laid without sashings, but I didn't leave enough floating space from squaring up the blocks to put them next to each other. Next time I will twist and turn them with deeper triangles so that when I square them up there will be more than 1/4" from the edge of the center block.

So I decided to sash them instead. I found the black-on-black checked sashing fabric at Joann's on 4th of July and it was 30% off and worked perfect. The blue cornerstones came from my stash, as did the yellow inner border. The outter border is a black/blue check with stars on it..daisy kingdom! I thought it was pretty horrid when I bought it, but walmart was closing it out at $1.00 a yard. I was using it on the back of neonatal intensive care quilts...They wanted dark backs to make the incubators darker when they covered them with the baby quilts. Long story short...I never thought this fabric would be perfect to show on the FRONT of anything! *LOL* Who knows when this will get quilted, but I'm thinking of what kind of quilting to do on it...

Close up of borders showing sashing, cornerstone and border fabrics to complete top.

Sashings are cut 2.5" X 9.5"
Cornerstones are cut 2.5" square.
Yellow border is cut 1.5" wide.
Blue checked star border is cut 5" wide.

Quilting Detail!

I machine quilted this quilt in continuous baptist fans using varigated thread!

Oscar definately approves!

I hope you have as much fun making your houses as I did my own! I'd love to see any pics you want to send my way!

Happy Scrappy Houses Gallery


  1. Anonymous1:55 PM EST

    merveilleux travail !

  2. Anonymous2:36 AM EDT

    I don't save 2" scraps. I do have 1.5 and 2.5. Do you think this would work with either of these... I guess the answer is try it and see.... which I will but thoughtI would ask. Not sure if you will see this as the tutorial has been up there a long time but will ask just in case

  3. Each quilt I see on your site makes me say "ooooohhh I want to make this one"! Love them all! I think I'll do this as my leaders and enders. I have lots of 2" strips in my stash and my granddaughter will eventually be the recipient. Bonnie, thank you for sharing your talents with the world.

  4. Que preciosidad de colcha!!
    Muchas gracias por el tutorial, Bonnie.

  5. I've used your pattern and made this quilt. Totally scrappy. Thank-you for sharimg it with us.


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