The Humble Square…

…and it’s near relative, the Rectangle.

Don’t you just love a square? Squares are so solid and reliable and they fit in with other shapes without a single complaint. Not like those mean triangles with their elbows in everything ; )

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These one and a half inch Liberty fabric squares look fantastic on a grey background

So, what can you do with a square?  Well, about as much as you can do with a rectangle, which is rather a lot.

First a reminder of how to make an EPP square:

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The edges are pinked on charm squares to help to discourage them from fraying.

Have a paper template ready. And a piece of fabric: You can make this easier by using a ready cut square of fabric like a charm or mini charm square. Or simply lay your template onto the wrong side of a piece of fabric & cut around it, leaving about 3/8”  all the way around to fold over your paper template.

The paper pieces I am using here are from Sew and Quilt in the UK, where you can buy a range of sizes and shapes in varying amounts.

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You can find them at http://www.sewandquilt.co.uk. People outside the UK might prefer to find some at www.paperpieces.com. They have a fabulous range of shapes including some unusual ones.

These pre-cut pieces are wonderful to use because they are all EXACTLY the same. They are only a little harder to sew through than regular paper and the accuracy they offer more than makes up for this.

They are called “Paper Pieces” but in fact they are fine card which allows your to fold your fabric neatly and accurately over the shape without bending or distorting it; something that can easily happen with regular paper.

I do use regular paper, when the size of template I want to use isn’t available to buy or when I’m working with much larger squares and/or rectangles. Here is a a piece of a step quilt I am making from rectangles (the templates here are made from coloured paper that I found reduced in a stationery store). The finished size is seven and a half inches long, by three inches wide. You will see that the paper template is a little crumpled. This is because large shapes need to allow for more manipulation when basting and card can make this too difficult.

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Secure your paper piece to your fabric with a pin to stop it moving while you sew. Then holding the two pieces together, fold the edges of the fabric over the square, securing them all the way around with a tacking stitch (a long running stitch). This is called basting.

Begin by pushing your needle in from the right side of the fabric and work your way around the square until you are back where you started. Finish on the right side of the fabric close to where you began. 

Here is a batch of 1 1/2″ inch squares I have just basted:

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Some of the basting gets a bit higgledy-piggledy when you are in a hurry to make some progress, but it doesn’t matter as these stitches are temporary. The time to sew carefully is when you are sewing the squares together. You don’t have to knot your thread at each end because you will want to be able to pull it out easily, later. Just leave two little tails of thread. I often start with a knot but I don’t make a knot where I end. You will see that a little more fabric is folded on one side than another in the square on the top left hand side. This is to allow me to get the pattern where I want it on the other side. I can trim it later if I want to.

These little squares are made for a small quilt called ‘Wee Windows’ using Moda ‘Sunny Side’ mini charm squares  They will be sewn in blocks of 4 with thin white sashing between to look like little windows and sewn into a background of grey pin dots. That’s the plan anyway.

Squares are everywhere and combine well with other shapes to dozens of patterns for small or large quilts but they can also be joined to make ‘picture’ blocks like a house, a person on a dog:

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A wee Scottish But ‘n’ Ben

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“The fish I caught was THIS big!”

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This is layered like an applique but it could be made into a regular block by replacing the piece underneath the ear and the hind leg with the piece on top.

These are roughly made, just for this blog post, to show some uses for squares and rectangles but, if I was using these in a quilt I would probably angle the dog’s back, ears, face and paws, and round off the mans face and hands, to make them look more realistic. There are always improvements to be made….. but you get the idea.

TIP: Buy an A4 pad of 5 mm squared graph paper and doodle in it to see what shapes and patterns you can design for yourself with squares and rectangles. Some online sites allow you to download these for free. Here are some examples I have come across, though I haven’t tried them.

https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/477451997968073998/

https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/311241024218950741/

Alternatively, head on over to my ‘Simple Squares (and Rectangles)’ Pinterest board  where you will find plenty of quilt designs made up of squares and rectangles. 

https://uk.pinterest.com/tartansanta/quilts-simple-squares-and-rectangles/

I also have a plenty of EPP boards on Pinterest that might give you further inspiration:

‘EPP Ideas and Tutorials’ at this address:

https://uk.pinterest.com/tartansanta/quilt-technique-epp-ideas-tutorials/

‘EPP Mini and Micro Mini Quilts’ at this address:

https://uk.pinterest.com/tartansanta/quilts-epp-mini-micro-mini/

EPP and PP(Paper Pieced) Patched Pictures at this address:

https://uk.pinterest.com/tartansanta/quilts-epp-pp-patched-pictures/

EPP Printable Templates and Shape Sheets at this address:

https://uk.pinterest.com/tartansanta/quilts-epp-templates-and-shape-sheets/

I hope this post inspires you to dream up some new creations with squares and rectangles.

Bye for now…

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