Scrappy Strips Block Tutorial

I am the Queen Bee for my group in February.  When the schedule came out in early December, I decided that this year I really wanted to create my own block.  I then proceeded to spend nearly 2 months trying to figure out what block to make!  I started to play around a bit to find a design I like, and I think I came up with a good one.

I’ve seen several postings on Pinterest showing how to use up scraps, and I always found the projects that put together scraps into long strips using receipt tape cool (like this).  I thought I’d start with that idea.

I have a bin I keep above my cutting table for scraps, so I pulled the bin down.

The examples I’ve seen use paper (receipt tape) for the piecing.  I didn’t want to have to tear off all of the paper so I used muslin instead.

To do this yourself, begin by cutting the muslin into 2″ strips then string the strips into one long piece.  From there, start pulling out scraps.  The scraps can be of any size – they just have to be wide enough to cover the 2″ strip.  Below you can see my long muslin strip, and my scraps of different sizes covering the muslin.

I used a thread catcher – a small piece of fabric at the end of the piecing – rather than having to cut lengths of thread before and after every scrap.

After a scrap is added to the strip, fold it, finger press it back, and pin it down to the muslin.  You don’t need to bother to press each scrap as you go.

Place the new scrap on top of the last one and sew it down.  Don’t worry too much about wavy edges – you can always cut it down to a 1/4″ seam after you sew it.

Keep adding scraps to the strip until you get a good length of scrappy strip.  I was working on this during the NFL playoffs and made 4 yards of scrappy strip during the first half of one game!

This is a strip after piecing all the scraps on to the muslin, but before trimming:

Once you get your strip to the length you want, trip it down to the width of the muslin:

After the trimming, the scrappy strip looks like this:

Now that you have a long length of scrappy strip, it’s time to use that strip to make a block.

For my Bee block, I’d prefer blocks that have at least 2 scrappy strips on them, in any configuration you like.  One option is to make a cross block.  To make a 12.5″ block with two scrappy strips, you will need at least 26″ of scrappy strips – probably best to do a full yard.  Make your scrappy strips on a 2″ muslin strip to yield a 1.5″ strip for the finished block.

As the finished block should be 12.5″, start with an all white block that is at least 12.5″ big.  I often have problems getting the block to be big enough in the end, so I find it best to cut my starting piece quite a bit bigger than what I want the finished piece to be.  In this case, starting with a 14″ square will likely give plenty of extra space.

Cut the white square at an angle you like:

Cut a scrappy strip to a length to cover the cut you made, then sew the strip to both halves of the block:

Cut the block in half again on another angle, then cut a scrappy strip to cover the block length.  Sew the scrappy strip to one half of the block:

I often have a hard time getting the cross to match up on the other side, so I developed this method. Use a small ruler to continue to the line of the cross from one side of the block to the edge.  Place a pin in the fabric where the ruler meets the edge of the fabric.  Repeat this on the other side of the strip.

Place the other half of the block over the placement pins, and pin the strip in place (remembering your 1/4″ seam allowances!).

Sew the strip in place and press the block.

This is the finished cross block:

For the Bee block, you don’t need to do a cross.  You can do any design of strips across a solid white background that you like.  For my second block, I started with two strips running across the block:

I didn’t love this – I thought there was too much white space.  I cut it in half and added another strip:

…and I like it much better!

These are my two finished blocks, and I’m pretty happy with them:


I hope you enjoy doing the block.  If you aren’t in my Bee group, I hope you try making scrappy strips and some fun improv blocks.  I’d love to see what you make!



The Bee Quilt

This quilt was a quilt-a-long from the Moda Bake Shop in mid 2016, designed by Pamela Morgan at @sweetlittlestitches.  I started the blocks at the time the quilt-a-long began, but took my time and had fun finishing them all.  There was a really helpful Facebook group for the project, and I got a lot of inspiration from the group for the embroidery.  Between that group and Google/YouTube, I learned a ton about embroidery!

After assembling the top, I had to get up the courage to quilt it.  I was a part of the HandiQuilter Ruler Club during the last 6 months of 2017, and as part of that group we got this cool oval ruler.  I wanted to try it out, so I decided to use it for continuous curves in the sashing.

For the rest of the quilt, I drew a lot of inspiration from Charisma Horton from Charisma’s Corner Long Arm Quilting in Washington state.  Her quilt, and the one she quilted for another group member, was absolutely beautiful.  She had the idea to add an echoed hexagon to the quilting, which looked awesome, so I wanted to add that design element to my quilting as well.

This guy took a long time to quilt, between the dense quilting and trying to complete it in December around the holidays, but it was fun to do and I love how it came out.

Here he is just off the frame, with some nice detail:

and here is the finished top

I got a new camera for Christmas, so please excuse the following oversharing of photos and detailed shots:

(isn’t her head tilt cute?)




These blocks are my favorites:

and the back:

It was a pretty day in January for a photo shoot – look at those New Mexico skies:



I had fun making all the blocks and doing the quilting was a fun challenge.

This was on my Q1’18 FAL list, so I’ll link up there at the end of March.

Also linking up with Wednesday Wait loss, as this as been on my FAL list for a year and a half, and Let’s Bee Social.

Wednesday Wait Loss


Q1’18 FAL – Goal Setting

I have a few projects from 2017 to finish and a few new projects that I’m planning.  I actually have a lot of quilty work to do in Q1 so I better get pretty focused!


  • Bee Quilt – I’m about halfway done quilting this guy and should finish it soon.
  • Alison Glass Quilt – I have a secret project that I need to get done by mid/early March.  I have all of the fabric pulled so I need to get cutting, piecing and quilting to get this done.
  • Hazel the Hedgehog – I made a few test blocks and I love how they came out.  I can’t wait to make the rest of the blocks and get the top together.
  • Dog Gone Cute Bee Quilt – these are the blocks from my Bee group last year.  They are so cute!
  • Red and Blue Squares – all the little squares are cut out and ready to sew together.  Lots of squares and seams to match up.
  • Hawaiian batiks –  I finally bought the sashing fabric, so this guy is ready to be finished.  I may have a purpose for this quilt now, so I think I’ll get it done this quarter.
  • The Cat Quilt – I have a plan for this quilt, as well as the fabric, but I need to figure out how to get it put together.

I’m looking forward to getting the Bee quilt finished, and the secret Allison Glass project will be really cool when it is done too.  Should be a fun quarter!


Linking up with the Q1’18 FAL Linky.

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