Beth Markel

Using old blocks for something new

Posted on December 11, 2017 by Beth Markel

It has been a lovely, long Fall season here in Michigan, and I took this photo 2 weeks ago when there were still leaves on the tress.  The change of seasons seems so fitting as we look forward to our first grandbaby on the way.

Last leaves of Autumn 2017


After completing a quilt that was an emotional roller-coaster, I wanted something simple, and frankly, easy.  I recently inherited a box of squares, all cut in somewhat different sizes, although I did not realize this at first. They were all cut by my darling mother-in-law, who passed two years ago this month.  One of the cousins had the box for a while, and I think it may eventually make its way around to all the cousins who sew.

So this is what I started with.  I just dumped the box out since it was rather jumbled from travelling, and found some squares already sewn in strips, some in pairs, and lots and lots of free-range squares.  This means, in my book, nothing matched!  So you have red, pink floral, orange florals, some Southwestern cactus graphics, batiks, medium tone grays with modern flair, some vintage feed sacks, lots and lots of shades of white, and even some upholstery fabric, as well as chintz…

Grandma Dee's Bucket-0-Squares

Grandma Dee’s Bucket-0-Squares

Wanting to use some of the squares my darling MIL had sewn, I found some that I knew she had marked on – she always penciled in a line for half-square triangles.  My goal was to make a new quilt for our first grandbaby, but one that his Great Grandmother had sewn part of.

Dee's pencil marks

Dee’s pencil marks


I did not realize until after I started sewing that some of the squares were NOT 2.5 x 2.5, but rather 2.38 x 2.5 or 2.25 x 2.25…or any combination thereof!  The lesson here became sew a four-patch THEN square it up so there is some unity in size.

Squaring up the box of squares

It is not finished yet, but I have now sorted and sewn light/dark or white/pattern pairs, 100 pairs, and will try to put them together in some charming way.

Lots of pairs

Lots of pairs


I’ll post when it’s finished and quilted.   In the meantime, enjoy the time you have with family & friends.





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