What to do with a pack of charm squares that you just can’t bear to cut up? 

Over a year ago I bought a charm pack of 5” squares – Swanky by Moda.  I loved them, and still do.  They were a splurge at the time.  How can a pack of charm squares be a splurge?  I’d just gotten laid off, not a surprise due to my company’s overall performance.  We’d just sold our house for less than we paid for it.  Had moved from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.  And we wanted to buy a new house, believing in the sell low / buy low concept.  My old job required insane hours and was full of pressure.  I hadn’t seriously quilted in 3 years, so 90% of the fabric in my stash was 3-12 years old.  The colors in this charm pack were bright and clear.  The prints were fun.  And I wanted them.  So I bought them.

And there they sat.  On the bookshelf, in the quilt emporium, just above my book collection.  Waiting for an a-ha moment.

Which came, courtesy of a library book.  I love guilds – I currently belong to three, all different in style.  One guild has a great library, full of new and current books.  One of the books I checked out last month had a quilt that had rectangles bisected with strips.  I think it was intended for layer cakes.  I looked at the picture, looked at my charm pack, and knew what I was going to do.

The little quilt finishes to 27.5” square with 36 blocks set 6×6.  Each block finishes to 4.5” square. 

Fabric Required:

One charm pack.  Mine had 33 squares in it, so I added 3 random squares from my stash for a total of 36 squares.

Quarter yard (full length is better than a fat quarter) of white fabric.

Quarter yard for 3-2.5” strips of binding.

7/8 yard for backing

Cutting and Sewing –

Cut the white fabric into 1” strips.  No picture, I’m sure you can figure it out!

Subcut into 72 1″ x 5” strips.

Take the 5” squares and cut a 3.5” section off.  I cut through about 4 at a time.  Since I was cutting multiple squares at once, I found it easier to have more of the ruler on the fabric, which is why I measured and cut the 3.5” piece and not the 1.5” piece.

Sew a 1”x5” strip of white into the middle of the cut charm squares.  Press to the charm square.  The cool thing about insetting a 1” strip is that you have the illusion that the pattern continues.  This only works if you pay close attention.  To get this effect, make sure you sew the white strip along the edge you cut for both pieces.  In the picture to the left, that would be the edge of each piece with the blue/pink flower.

Cut, again.  Cut the block into a 3.5” section and a 1.5” section.  This time I only cut one piece at a time.

Sew, again  Inset the remaining 1” x 5” strips of white into your blocks.  When you sew, make sure that the seams for the original strip of white will line up when the block is finished.  See how the thread/seam line on the short piece lines up with the fold on the longer piece?  Press to the charm square again.

Lay out the blocks on your design wall or floor.  I laid mine out so that I ended up with continuous strips of white running through. 

I didn’t put a border on mine.  Of course, you can do what you want!

Baste, Quilt, and Bind as desired.  I quilted straight down the middle of the white bars.

Tadah!  Done and done.

Want a teaser?  I’m developing a pattern for this quilt with a shortcut piecing technique – look for it in my etsy shop, Aspen Hill.

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