It’s Hip to Piece Squares

August 5, 2009 § 56 Comments

Beach Squares

Beach Squares

It’s an old joke, I know.  Sorry!  I couldn’t resist.  But, I’m having fun with these squares.  All I’ve done so far is cut out triangles from the backs of the shirts to make these 9-inch squares .  This one on top of the pile is my favorite.   Each shirt back made about 2 or 3 blocks… except for this one on top.  There is only one.

9 shirts = 21 squares

9 shirts = 21 squares

For the most part, I wasn’t too fussy about matching up the stripes.  And in some cases, it was impossible.  The shirt stripes were too big to match without wasting a bunch of fabric.  My rationalization is that it’s going to be used as a picnic/beach quilt anyway… so why worry?

But if you are NOT going to be using your quilt on the beach or at the park and want to carefully matching up the stripes, Nancy over at Life is a Stitch recommends sewing the triangles together without pressing the seams down. She got more precise matching of the stripes when she chose to forgo the pressing.

I tried both ways, pressing and not pressing, and I don’t think I cut out the triangles precise enough to make a difference. But I did notice that by NOT pressing, the squares came out more flat and more square in the end. Give it a try and see what works for you!

If I’m going to follow the Shirt-Stripe Boxes pattern from the book Passionate Patchwork at all, then I will also be making some 6-inch squares and some 3-inch squares. To be continued….

Quilters Pocket Reference

Quilter's Pocket Reference

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a give-away. So, I decided that this quilt-along is the perfect time to give away some of my favorite tools & resources.

This week, I would like to give away one copy of The Quilter’s Pocket Reference. We use this all the time in the shop where I work. It has standard bed sizes, yardage requirements for backings, yardage calculations for squares (ie: how many 2″ squares can I cut from a 1/4 yard), how to calculate square sizes for half- and quarter-square triangles, and more.

Leave a comment here OR add a photo to the fickr group to be entered into the drawing and tell us what you are recycling.  One chance to win per name.  I’ll draw a name on Wednesday, August 12th.

§ 56 Responses to It’s Hip to Piece Squares

  • Em says:

    This is going to be a great beach quilt. I love way the squares look.

  • Kris says:

    I love how your putting together these blocks, it’s so clever!

  • MichelleB says:

    I LOVE your squares! I’m still waiting to get my Passionate Patchwork book. In the meantime, I need to go get me shirts to cut up, too.

    As far as recycling – I’ll be recycling shirts (when I get them), and, of course, we recycle paper and plastics and glass.

  • susan says:

    your blocks look great!
    i will try to upload a pic to the group, but so far all i have is some cut squares (denim). if i get the rest cut and arrange them i will take a pic

  • I have the giveaway book already (and love it!), so please don’t include me in the drawing. I just had to say I think your quilt squares are beautiful! I can’t wait to see the finished quilt (I bet you can’t either)!
    I’m posting my 100th Post Giveaway on Friday. Hope you can check it out.

  • Jan says:

    I really like these blocks – the stripes are mesmerizing! I think a bit of ‘almost wonki-ness’ adds to the effect!

  • GTM says:

    Hi, I love your blocks. I wish I had stripes shirts to recycle too…maybe that means going to the thrift store! I’m planning to do a quilt made out of vintage lines/pillowcases. I’m excited to upcycle them!

  • Lee Ann says:

    Those blocks are wonderful! Stripes are so fun to play with!

  • isabel says:

    I’m so glad to see the work that you have been doing on this quilt along! It is beautiful, useful and very creativ. After I finish my medallion, because I will, maybe I’ll do this one too. Until then, I need to recycle dozens of used silk ties, that I couldn’t just send away. I also have some felted sweaters apart to sew together, maybe on a blanket.

  • Cynthia says:

    I have always loved these block in Passionate Patchwork and am enjoying seeing what you are making from it. Your giveaway book would also be very very useful for me. Thanks for hosting.

  • KnittySue says:

    I love those squares and they will make a great beach blanket. Right now I’m recycling gently used sheets for backings and afew hospital blankets also for backings(they are my fam’s fav backings).
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Caron Mosey says:

    I LOVE your squares! That’s going to be a neat quilt. My piecing of stripes would never turn out that good. Stripes hate me. Never seen that book before… count me in, pretty please!

  • Paula Thompson says:

    wow, your blocks look wonderful! I love the way the stripes all come together to make the pattern in the middle. Your quilt is going to be gorgeous! I’d love to win your book – thanks for the chance to have it!

  • Rachael says:

    Your blocks are great– thanks for being so generous! I bought the biggest striped shirts I could find at Goodwill, but after looking at yours, I think I need to purchase waaaay more!

  • joyce says:

    I love the way the stripes make a square. Neat idea. I recycle nearly all the embellishments I use in my wall hangings. I get them at thrift shops.

  • becky says:

    I love what you are doing. If I didn’t have other commitments in front of it, I would be at Goodwill looking for shirts too. I may yet, but later.

  • Old shirts and jammie bottoms are what I am recycling. I think it is going to be a blanket for my nephew in Illinios 🙂 I love, love, love your squares. I have been wanting to try matching up striped fabric, but as I am sure you know, there are always twenty other projects in some state of finished 🙂

  • Liz says:

    Your blocks look wonderful – pretty darn good for not really trying to match up the stripes.

    I am slowly working on my recycled quilt. It is still in the “what am I going to do now” stage. But, I hope to have something soon to show.


  • Sue Cahill says:

    I gathered up all my Dad’s dress shirts when he passed away thinking I could make a quilt in his honor with them, this would be a great way to use the striped ones!

    I could really use that book, math is not my fortay, I struggle to figure out what I need to buy.

    Thanks for the chance.
    Sue Cahill (sbonetsue at yahoo dot com)

  • Lisa says:

    Your squares look great! I can’t wait to see your finished quilt. I am recycling men’s shirts and working on the same quilt.

  • Sam E. says:

    I’ve been *dying* to make this quilt and am following your progress eagerly! And I’m terrible at math (major handicap as a quilter) – that book would come in tremendously handy. 🙂

  • Angela says:

    I would likv to have that book. I am currently reusing some window treatments and shower curtains as a back for a picnic quilt. The decorator weight cotton should hold up well to all the grass stains.

  • Rachel says:

    Those squares are so cool – they kind of make you dizzy to look at them. This is going to be a beautiful quilt! Great idea to recycle the old shirts!

  • Tiffany says:

    Love the colors – so muted and graphic. Looks great.

  • Renee says:

    Your quilt is going to be gorgeous!! I can hardly wait to see it. I’ve been recycling old knits, harvesting the yarn from them to knit up something new.

    That’s so nice of you to do a giveaway, what a great resource book.

  • Marla says:

    Wow, what detail on getting those squares together. Great job!

  • This is so beautiful. Love it, Anita… What a work 😉

  • Pokey says:

    Your squares are very tempting, and I see these shirt scrap quilts popping up everywhere in blogland. Thanks for the write-up with pictures! I would like to take a close up in your book giveaway, also. Thank you for the opportunity!

  • Leslie says:

    These are turning out great!! I will have to give them a try! Not sure what pattern I will use on my shirt quilt yet, but I want something simple. Still cutting all my shirts!

  • tina says:

    I love your squares. I have some leftover shirt fabric. I may try that pattern later for a quilted tote bag. I finished cutting out my pieces for the delft baskets today. There are a LOT of pieces. Now I will begin piecing. Still no new machine. I’m waiting for a miracle. The gal at the quilt-machine shop took my name to let me know of any trade ins or specials. If nothing good happens by the time I have the top pieced, I will go shopping again.

  • Dena Martin says:

    Your shirt squares are awesome and will make a great beach quilt. I’ve never recycled clothing or linen for quilting, but lately I’ve seen a lot of inspirational pieces that are great motivation for doing so.

  • Joyce Barham says:

    I love how the striped squares are coming out. I will use recycled striped shirts for my quilt.

    The book looks very useful. Thanks for the give-a-way.

  • Diane says:

    Love the quilt – count me in on the book.

  • amy says:

    OOooh, I love your pretty squares, Anita! Your fave is wonderful! No need to include me in drawing, I too wanted to write to adore your blocks. That is a great reference book — seeing the cover is like seeing my security blanket. Off to see Nancy and find out about this no-pressing option…

  • lily boot says:

    wow! trust you to make exquisite blocks out of old men’s shirts! I don’t believe you that the stripes don’t match – they look like they match most perfectly in the photos 🙂 Gorgeous Anita!

  • Leah says:

    I love your striped blocks, the more I look at them the more I am tempted to go to the thrift store and buy some old shirts. 🙂

  • Nancy-Rose says:

    You know what? We need a “blog badge” for the Shirt Stripes Quilt. Do you know how to make one? I have a total of 166 blocks done so far this week – – yes, 166! I just came back from the thrift store with another half dozen shirts, and threw them in the washing machine.

    Please don’t include me in the draw – – I just wanted to leave a comment (I already have a similar book)


  • Rebekah says:

    These blocks look amazing! It is going to look fabulous in the final quilt.

  • Lisa says:

    I love your squares, esp the plaid-ish one on the upper left. I’m dying to make a picnic blanket myself, but my stash of recycled fabrics is small and jumbled.

  • Fernanda says:

    I just started getting interested in quilting and find your blog so inspirational. I’ve been collecting bedsheets from yard sales and am making a quilt from them (mostly to learn on). It will probably also be a beach/picnic blanket.

  • Amy says:

    Love your blocks. They look awesome! I’ve been collecting plaid shirts and vintage sheets for quite a while. I’m planning several quilts using them. Can’t wait to see your finished quilt.

  • woolywumpus says:

    What beautiful squares! I wish my shirt stash was bigger. I’ve been recycling old tee shirts and using them in place of paper towels. Maybe I should be putting them away for the tee shirt quilt on my Lifetime To Do list…

  • jo says:

    I am so excited about the recycled shirts!! I love the idea. My sons just went through and threw out a bunch. Their loss is my gain!

  • Melody says:

    I’m going to recycle old jeans. You know, the ones with the holes in the knees from my kids!

    I hope I win, I could really use all of the conversion tips!! 🙂

  • Colleen Gander says:

    I know that you didn’t mean that we had to do the striped boxes from men’s shirts but I was intrigued by how they go together, giving a modern look but out of recycled materials. I have begun but the perfectionist in me needs to back off. I can see where I may go a little nuts matching the stripes to form the boxes. What a treasure trove of shirts I found while thrifting this week! Now, about all those plaids from my last idea…well they will be the winter project I guess. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • sewplay says:

    The squares look great simple- I’m sure they’re not simple to do tho’- and great! I’ve just been unpicking LeMoyne stars. There are stripes and checks competing with each other all over the place and I’m scurrying around looking for plains.

  • I love your squares! I just found your blog as I was hopping around and I’m so glad I did! 🙂 I was thrifting yesterday and came home with a few plaid shirts~too bad I hadn’t seen your blog before, I would’ve looked for stripes too!

  • jacquie says:

    i’m playing with kaffe’s shirt stripe blocks too…i think i’m going to add some solids in too. i’ve also got my tablecloth all cut into panels…oooh that was hard! i love how your blocks are coming together!!

  • Cathy says:

    Oooh I would love to win that little book, how incredibly helpful that would be! Thank you for the chance. I do love your shirt squares, beautiful job. xo

  • Candace says:

    Now who would have ever know your hubby’s old shirts could look so fantastic in a quilt block! I think its great that you’re not being too fussy about matching the stripes – it will be all the more “humble”, Anita!

  • Beth says:

    I love the look of the stripes and the way the four triangles together plays with the eye. I would love to make a quilt like this. I’m keeping this idea saved…. thanks for the book idea!

  • adina says:

    that sounds like a good book to have instead of searching the internet for every little thing.
    your beach quilt is coming along nicely.

  • kmom says:

    I’ve been recycling fruit and vegetable kitchen wastes by feeding them to my “livestock”–worms happily creating nutrient-packed castings in my Can-O-Worms. That’s probably not what you meant! If it’s fabric recycling you’re looking for, I’ve picked up a couple of well-used soft linen tableclothes at estate sales which I plan to use as quilt backings. Also have been cutting up some old cotton shirts to add to the fabric stash (and button box).
    Great stripey blocks! How will you set them?

  • JaneR says:

    I love those squares! I’ve wanted to make a boy’s quilt in this fashion for some time now. Please enter me in the contest. I could use a good resource for keeping me accurate!

  • I just blogged about you~ I had to blame all the new striped shirts I got on someone!! LOL 🙂

  • Emily says:

    I love the squares! Maybe that is what I will try for my first one – tacking would work OK for it with all those nice corners.

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