Create Quilts with the “Magic Inch” Technique

Magic Inch Quilts by Kerr and Ringle on Sewing With Nancy - Nancy Zieman - Improv Modern Quilts

Create Quilts with the “Magic Inch” Technique

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Magic Inch Quilts NancyZieman Cover
It’s common to watch improvisational comedy or be involved in a spontaneous game of softball, but have you ever thought that quilting could be equally spur-of-the moment? Please welcome my guests Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, masters at improvisational piecing with one inch strips. Bill and Weeks of Modern Quilt Studio will share their technique from the new book Magic Inch Quilts on Sewing With Nancy.

Magic Inch Quilts by Kerr and Ringle on Sewing With Nancy - Nancy Zieman - Improv Modern QuiltsIn part one of the new Sewing With Nancy series, Bill will share how he and wife, Weeks,  like to begin a quilting project with an overall plan but make individual design decisions as they go along, as opposed to having a specific design that they follow inch by inch.

SewingWithNancy WeeksAndRingle

Chorus Line Quilt

Their quilt, Chorus Line, is the ideal quilt to begin this series. The rows of 1″ strips gradate from numerous to few and give the impression of a Broadway musical’s grand finale. Bill will show you how to create this modern quilt design.

Magic Inch Quilts NancyZieman 1

Magic Inch Quilts by Kerr and Ringle on Sewing With Nancy - Nancy Zieman - Improv Modern Quilts

Splice of Life Quilt

Working in columns is a fun and fast way to tackle our next quilt, Splice of Life, in any size. You’ll love the freedom of choosing the number of splices and the spacing of them to make this quilt your own. Choose two colors for a graphic quilt similar to the one shown here or dig into your stash for a scrappy version.

Magic Inch Quilts NancyZieman 5

See how we create these quilts with sewing demonstrations on Sewing With Nancy. Watch it online, today. Find your copy of Magic Inch Quilts at Nancy’s Notions.

WeeksRingle NancyZieman

Watch Magic Inch Quilts on Sewing With Nancy online.

SewingWithNancy WeeksAndRingle 2

 For a chance to win a copy of Magic Inch Quilts from Modern Quilts Studioleave a comment sharing your answer to: What is smallest fabric scrap you save?

Magic Inch Quilts by Kerr and Ringle on Sewing With Nancy - Nancy Zieman - Improv Modern Quilts

Nancy Zieman's Giveaway Winner

The winner of a copy of the Second Chance T-Shirt Gifts DVD from , is Gail Beam.

Her comment was, “I probably have 35 or 40 T-shirts lying around, plus a number of children tees that never got worn. I love all of the fun projects that you created out of T-shirts and would love to win this book to make some of the neat projects you present in your book.”

The winner of a copy of the is Starla.

Her comment was, “What great ideas—especially the stockings and gloves!”

Bye for now,
Nancy Zieman The Blog

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  • Lorna DeSantis
    December 22, 2016

    I don’t save scraps smaller than 2 inches by 2 inches, but I might have to change that!

  • carolyn white
    December 22, 2016

    The smallest scrap of fabric I save is 1 1/2″.

  • Dorie E
    December 22, 2016

    I have been working with 1.5″ strips on a group block exchange. I have created 1″ strips when trimming down jelly roll leftovers. They work well in my Block A Day 4-6″ paper piecing.

  • Kathy Collins
    December 22, 2016

    I have 2 1/2″ squares.

  • Jane h
    December 22, 2016

    Great ideas! I probably keep 3 inches as my smallest scrap. My scrap bags are organized by color too.

  • Brenda E.
    December 22, 2016

    I save small one and a half inch squares for a current scrappy block that is my leader ender project. I cut all my small pieces of fabric up into usable sizes for wish list projects.

  • Shirley Gentry
    December 22, 2016

    The smallest scrap of fabric I save is one that can be cut to a 1″ square.

  • Linda Nelson
    December 22, 2016

    If it is a fabric I adore and can use it in fussy cut, I’d say an inch square. Otherwise 2-3 inches.

  • Eliza M
    December 22, 2016

    It looks interesting and easy, something I need at this hectic time

  • Jennifer Reinke
    December 22, 2016

    I do not normally keep anything smaller than 1 1/2 inches myself, but with this the possibilities are endless! How exciting this is and makes me think out-side the box!

  • Karen B.
    December 22, 2016

    I save everything sorted by size. Sometimes I just need a little piece for applique or make a mini quilt.

  • Cheryl M.
    December 22, 2016

    My scraps go into a tub and strip scraps go into a large paper bag. My theory is that if you can sew a seam on both sides and the fabric still shows save it. You never know when they might come in handy! Sometimes my system gets out of control (like now) and I have to use the scraps or donate some of them. This book might be the miracle I’m looking for.

  • Cyndi
    December 22, 2016

    I feel like no matter how large or small my scraps are they have taken on a life of their own. We NEVER want to throw away any piece of fabric because we might need that one piece for our next project. I have been making dog beds for our local Humane Society and using scraps, as stuffing.

    I love the suggestions in this book to use more of my scraps and make quilts! Thank you!

  • Susan
    December 22, 2016

    I love these quilts. I’m typically a more traditional quilter but the simplicity of these really are eye catching and something I want to try this year. Thank you.

  • Lori Brown
    December 22, 2016

    I save salvages, 1/2″ strips and usually nothing smaller 1″ square, unless I really love the fabric and have to figure out how to use the last morsel. I save the triangles cut of floppy corners.

  • Wendi Morris
    December 22, 2016

    The smallest scrap of fabric I ever saved was one inch square.
    I was making a quilt using half square triangles and after I sewed the seam for the triangle I sewed another seam next to
    it and made another one inch half square triangle to use in
    another quilt. Usually I save scraps that are two inch and larger. The Magic Inch Quilt looks amazing, would love to make one. Thanks

  • Denice Korcal
    December 22, 2016

    About 1/2 inch by any length is the smallest I save.

  • Denise Ezell
    December 22, 2016

    The smaller scraps I save is 7/8

  • Elizabeth Larson
    December 22, 2016

    I have bins full of scraps. The smallest are 1 inch strips. I love making scrap quilts and it is nice having the pieces already cut. I would love to try the quilts in this book!

  • vera schmidt
    December 22, 2016

    smallest piece of fabric I keep are 1″ squares and 1″strips

  • Linda
    December 22, 2016

    I love to save small, teeny, tiny pieces. I then fmq them into shapes using cookie cutters as inspiration and appliqué them onto a background fabric.
    I met Weeks Ringle at your sewing expo one year and found her to be fun and gracious.

  • Debra Waldrop
    December 22, 2016

    A lot of scraps, smallest about 1″ x 1″. That’s why I usually cut scraps bigger!

  • Marilyn M
    December 22, 2016

    I just met Bill Kerr at our long arm guild meeting earlier this month. Really enjoyed his presentation. The smallest scraps I save are
    1 1/2 inch squares or 1 inch strips.

  • Cheryl
    December 22, 2016

    I save almost every scrap, even the selvedges. I keep thinking some day I’ll find a use for them.

  • carol Schuldt
    December 22, 2016

    At last, a quilt that I can make with all those little strips I have saved. I have bags of strips that I need to use up. What a great idea for a modern quilt. I would like to know more.
    Thanks for presenting this to all of us.

  • Clovis
    December 22, 2016

    I don’t know what the smallest scrap I have. I just save my scraps. You never know what piece you might need in a pinch.

  • Marty
    December 22, 2016

    I save 1.5″ squares in plastic containers (divided by lights and darks) and anything smaller goes into a bag to use as stuffing for toys. LOVE this “Magic Inch” program & look forward to more!

  • Shelly Kiker
    December 22, 2016

    I save almost everything because I have only been quilting for a year. I am even saving selvage and strips to small to see to make a rug someday! I love your show and I want to thank you for sharing inspiration and helping me to have the confidence to try challenging techniques!

  • Patricia Evans
    December 22, 2016

    Usually, the smallest piece is 2 1/2″ – if it’s a material I just love, then I will save 1 1/2″ strips also.

  • Gina M
    December 22, 2016

    WOW! Great samples of what can be done with bits & pieces!
    I save 1.5″ scraps. I usually take a minute to cut them from the scraps while working on another project. I hate to admit it, but after a quilt class, I ‘peak’ in the trash to see what students have thrown away… and retrieve the 1.5″ possibilities!

  • Patti Rouse
    December 22, 2016

    I throw nothing out when it comes to fabric. It’s to expensive to buy. Even the smallest piece can be used. I do art quilts. I keep the bitty bits in resealable bags by color. The smallest white can be used in the iris of an eye for example

  • Dorothy M
    December 22, 2016

    My accumulation of scraps is getting out of hand I can’t
    seem to bring myself throw anything away (I might use
    it one day). I do have some one inch pieces that have
    little motifs that I plan to fuse onto something or another

  • Jade
    December 22, 2016

    I like to use my Accuquilt to cut up scraps, so as long as the piece of fabric is big enough to cut a 1″ finished half square triangle, or a strip at least 1″ wide, then it’s worth saving!

  • Mary Swinehart
    December 22, 2016

    I save everything. I wrap long salvage pieces and others in a ball. Have an entire basket of balls – they look cute and I enjoy them. When I had a cat he loved to play with them. I’ve thought of using them someday to make rugs. Looking forward to this new process – looks like fun

  • Mary Howard
    December 22, 2016

    The smallest scraps I have are 1″ squares.

  • Marcia
    December 22, 2016

    It is so hard to toss even the smallest scrap– if it is a fabric I really love. It can always be used when paper piecing mini quilts.
    Both Bill and Weeks have spoken and taught at our Guild. Great teachers. What a pleasure.

  • Susan Shrum
    December 22, 2016

    I’m a quilting newbie and haven’t been saving all my scraps. I continue to be inspired by your videos, but this one especially. Thank you.

  • Nancy
    December 22, 2016

    My rule for tossing is get rid of any scrap less than 1″. And sometimes I save those tiny pieces as well to use as seam leaders.

  • elsa laine
    December 22, 2016

    I can now see that I’ve been limiting myself on how narrow a piece I could use in a quilt. I don’t save anything as small as what is shown in these examples. I need to learn this technique. I LIKE what I am seeing here.

  • Leah
    December 22, 2016

    Probably 2″ x 4″ left from sewing costumes for a theater arts production

  • Helen
    December 22, 2016

    For square scraps, I save 2 – 2-1/2 ” pieces, but strips are 1-1/2″ wide.

  • Arlene
    December 22, 2016

    This looks like a very fun and great way to design a quilt – it would reflect the taste of the recipient in the colors chosen.

  • Jan Hintzpeter
    December 22, 2016

    I save small pieces that can be cut into 1.5 inch squares or strips. They come in handy for “pops” of color!

  • Aileen
    December 22, 2016

    I have actually saved all size scrapes even down to an inch wide. I always thought I would make a crazy quilt or find some use for those tiny scraps. What a great idea to use up those wonderful little scraps. Think I will be sewing a few of these!

  • Charleen SULIVERAS
    December 22, 2016

    I save and use my scraps for when I cut and slash pieces I have sewn together it makes for an interesting project.

  • Starla
    December 22, 2016

    I try to save everything 1 inch and larger — but I also have some random bits and pieces.

  • Nanette Edmonds
    December 22, 2016

    I’ve only been quilting about two years and have made only a handful of quilts, so I don’t really have many scraps. Most are large, but I have a few 2×3 or 4×6 pieces.

  • Deborah Herold
    December 22, 2016

    The smallest scrap I keep is 1/4 inch as I save them to put in a quilt that I will cover the pieces with voile or a fine netting. And I have done postage stamp quilts too with the tiny 1 inch scraps.

  • Elaine Neth
    December 22, 2016

    I have an embarrassing overabundance of fabric so I usually don’t save scraps. However, seeing how I could make use of them, I will save scraps at least 2″ wide by 6″ long.

  • Rhonda D in KY
    December 22, 2016

    Now I know what to use my 1″ strips for!! I make a lot of stuffed animals, balls, food type items for the grandchildren so I save most everything (no matter how small) to use as stuffing.

  • Nancy McFall
    December 22, 2016

    I save anything that’s at least 1″ square. They all go into a bin and are used to make scrappy, crazy paper foundation pieced blocks.

  • Christy
    December 22, 2016

    If it is batik fabric I save scraps as small as 1/2″ because they don’t fray. Other wise most of my scraps are about 2″.

  • Carla Scobby
    December 22, 2016

    I save all scraps even selvages are being used for cute and unique items. You never know when you need just a small amount of something for an art quilt. Where I live, our quilt guilds make dog beds for the shelter and we use scraps for the filling. Nothing goes to waste.

  • AmyB
    December 22, 2016

    I’m primarily a garment maker who occasionally forays into quilt and purse making, so I generally don’t have very small scraps. When I do have leftover bits, they get saved to make paper.

  • Annie
    December 22, 2016

    1″ by 2 1/2″

  • Traci
    December 22, 2016

    I save all batiks scraps; those are treasures. Other quilting pieces that are 1 inch or more goes into a box. My mind has been trying to come up with a way to use them. This is a great idea. Thanks 🙂

  • Florence Dupuis
    December 22, 2016

    Looks like an interesting quilt. I saw some pretty small pieces. At lot depend on my mood the day I am cutting. I have been known to save some pretty small pieces.

  • Ilana Joffe
    December 22, 2016

    Generally about 1″ is the smallest strip I keep. But if the fabric has fusible web on the back, I keep even the tiniest pieces to use in making postcards.

  • Stacia Schwartz
    December 22, 2016

    I keep them down to 1″ square, but they live in the “pet bed” bag until needed.

  • Jane Niday
    December 22, 2016

    I have only been quilting about 2 years…after 35 years of teaching primary grades. I love making things from my scraps especially hot pads to give to friends, book marks, mug rugs, and small log cabin quilts for the center of the table. Just finished a 9 heart paper-pieced project made from all scraps of red/pink/white. Your quilt gives me more ideas!

  • beth d.
    December 22, 2016

    I do not save anything that is under 2″ inch length and width.

  • Elaine
    December 22, 2016

    I am a beginner, so I don’t have a lot of scraps. I will see a pattern, love the look, and order the jelly rolls and then forget what the pattern was. So, my scraps consist of many jelly rolls waiting to be used. I also have a plastic jar that I put selvages in because I read I should to be used for ? One time I cut some leftover blouse fabric into 2-1/2 strips but I don’t remember which plastic container I put it in. I love Nancy’s new fabric and am using all my discipline not to order just to see it added to my other treasures. I think with the patterns she has offered, I could remember.

  • Jan N.
    December 22, 2016

    The smallest I save is 1.5″. After viewing your Magic Inch video, I will now be saving everything 1″ and over. I have to say Frazier Smith’s wooden quilt sculptures are over-the-moon amazing!

  • Anne Dirks
    December 22, 2016

    Right now I am making a Swoon 16 quilt. The blocks make loads of 2 inch half square triangles. I’m saving them but don’t know what I’ll use them for. Am putting borders on A Christmas Vortex quilt. That used a lot of scraps and was so much fun.

  • Beth
    December 22, 2016

    I save anything larger than 1 inch for scraps.

  • Gayle
    December 22, 2016

    My smallest scraps are 1 1/2 inch strips.

  • Susan Spiers
    December 22, 2016

    My smallest scraps to save are about 1″ square. These can often be used in paper-piecing, which I like to do the best!

  • Cindy Hoover
    December 22, 2016

    I’m totally a hoarder of scraps! I save anything that is larger than say 1/4 in. because I might be able to use it in a strip quilt, paper piecing small squares, or applique. Consequently, it may look kind of messy in my sewing room, but I almost always can find something that will work.

  • Pat T.
    December 22, 2016

    I save all scraps!… (Just can’t toss out lovely fabric, no matter what size!… But, scraps less than 1 inch are saved for stuffing pet beds for donation)…
    I’m so happy to see these great quilt ideas for small pieces!… Just what I needed!
    Thank you!

  • Carla Cutting
    December 22, 2016

    I save scraps larger than 2 inches. I enjoy using the pieces in a scrappy quilt.☺️

  • debbierhodes
    December 22, 2016

    I save it all using less than 1 inch goes into a bag for stuffing

  • Christine M
    December 22, 2016

    I save anything over 1 inch…and I need to stop!!

  • Madge Phillips
    December 22, 2016

    First I want to thank you for offering such a generous prize.

    I love applique so I will save anything as small as a leaf. But on fabric that is not used for fussy cutting, I have made myself toss out anything less than a half inch. Because by the time I put 2 seams In it there is no more fabric.
    Although I have to admit that I have about 4-6 bins of scraps that need a good going through.

    Happy holidays to all of your readers, to you and your family and your staff and their families

  • Beth
    December 22, 2016

    I save just about everything. Scraps larger than 2 inches are put away for use in scrappy or crazy quilts, smaller pieces go in a freezer bag and get used to stuff pin cushions.

  • JoAnn France
    December 22, 2016

    What, am I supposed to be throwing the little pieces away? I was raised by the adage waste not want not. Anything to small to sew into a project goes into stuffed toys for little ones.

  • Judy Phillips
    December 22, 2016

    I have saved 1 inch triangles from precious batik fabric.

  • Gail Beam
    December 22, 2016

    Since I like to do machine embroidery applique I tend to save some very small pieces of fabric. The smallest though is probably not smaller than 1×1 in. in specialty fabrics.

  • Heidi Story
    December 22, 2016

    I have a scrap of fabric with a puppy face on it about the size of a fingernail. Its too cute to toss.

  • Karrie Smith
    December 22, 2016

    Anything over an inch

  • Kate
    December 23, 2016

    Quilters the world over would be doing the equivalent of dumster diving in my waste basket, if it’s not at least 3-4″ it doesn’t get saved. I just don’t have a useful project to use these in. Maybe the book will save me from this sinful act.

  • Joy Sedgley
    December 23, 2016

    I save as small as 1″ x 1″.
    Small pieces are great for school art projects.
    Less money teachers have to spend from their own pockets!

  • Phyllis Holcomb
    December 23, 2016

    Nothing smaller than 1″.

  • Michelle Lynch
    December 23, 2016

    Strings at least 3/4″wide 6″long, triangles cut off from bias joining 2.5″strips to make binding. Patches 1″x 1.5″.

  • Jane Drewel
    December 23, 2016

    I pretty much stop at one inch square. Anything smaller and it gets lost.

  • Cassy L.
    December 23, 2016

    I try to limit myself to no smaller than a 2″ square.

  • Sandhya Karandikar
    December 24, 2016

    I throw nothing as even the tiniest wonky scrap is useful in confetti quilts or the more traditional Indian quilt called ‘Godhadi’

  • Susan Ibbotson
    December 24, 2016

    I find beautiful fabrics at several quilts store in North Georgia and North Carolina were I live. When I I was teaching my friend to make a rag quilt, I showed her how cut fabric so she can still have 1 and 2 inch scraps for her next project. For example a log cabin quilt. She was so excited to make her first quilt.

  • Bonnye
    December 24, 2016

    I don’t throw any scraps away. Those scraps that are smaller than 1″ are put in a plastic bag and eventually become filling for pet beds that are donated. I always find a home for the larger scraps.

  • Doreen Linehan
    December 24, 2016

    It’s rather odd but I save everything. Even thread snips. At the dealer classes I take my friend gives me her scraps and thread snips. I’ve been able to use some of those scraps in applique` and in the hoop projects.

  • Sandy Trachsel
    December 24, 2016

    I save all my selvedge strips. And most pieces 2″ or larger. May have to rethink that!

  • Judy
    December 24, 2016

    One inch is the smallest strips that I save. I have plastic drawers markers with various sizes and sort scrap strips accordingly.

  • Em Williams
    December 26, 2016

    I’ve been keeping a box of 1.5 inch squares in hopes that some day I will actually use them!

  • Alejandrina Pattin
    December 26, 2016

    1 1/2 inch strips. These beautiful quilts may push me to the 1 inch strips 🙂

  • Janet
    December 26, 2016

    I save everything from selvages to small odd shaped pieces that can be used for small applique shapes. I cut large pieces to straighten the edges and other pieces go into bins for graduated sizes. I’m not a fabric hoarder. I’m a fabric ENTHUSIAST!

  • Francine
    December 26, 2016

    My sisters and I are making quilts from Mom’s clothing. We have lots and lots of strips left and we don’t want them to go to waste…this is a great idea!!!

  • patricia geishirt
    December 29, 2016

    2 in square, 1 in strips

  • pat g
    December 29, 2016

    2 in square, 1 in strip

  • Dawn
    December 29, 2016

    I have tubs of small scraps would love to make some of the quilts.

  • Alice Boudreaux
    December 29, 2016

    I save those little slivers of fabric leftover from squaring up my blocks. I use them in art quilts, to embellish clothing, etc… my favorite scraps!

  • Pam Willey
    December 30, 2016

    Depends on the fabric! If I really love it, I save a bit so I can see if I can find it again at the store. Otherwise, I start getting snowed under with fabric.

  • Sandra
    January 1, 2017

    I save 1.5″ squares, then sew them together to eventually have a postage stamp quilt!

  • Judy W.
    January 1, 2017

    I save scraps & strips that are at least 1.5 inches wide. I was recently given a 30-gallon bag of scraps and am having fun going through it. Making a magic inch quilt sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book!

  • Carol
    January 1, 2017

    1″ X 1″ is the smallest scrap in my stash

  • Christina Gingerich
    January 4, 2017

    What a great way to use up those little scraps! Thanks.

  • Lori Schloesser
    January 11, 2017

    I keep 1.5 inch squares and 1 inch strips. I have ongoing projects that use those sizes

  • Barbara Abplanalp
    January 11, 2017

    I previously saved all scraps and had them sorted by color. Then I began to feel like the fabric was crowding in on me so I gave them to St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. When I went back the following week to buy a piece I meant to keep, they were sold out.

  • Patricia Hitzler
    January 12, 2017

    I don’t throw anything away. I use my smallest scraps as pillow stuffing. Which include scraps from scraps. When pillow is full just sew closed and make a new pillow cover size and design is your choice.

  • Mary Moffett
    January 14, 2017

    I’m saving little 1/2″ triangle pieces for an art quilt project.

  • Melanie Belisle
    January 15, 2017

    I would say the smallest scraps that I save are 1.5″ x 1.5″. I haven’t gone through them in a while though. Love Weeks and Bill and all their ideas. Very fun projects.

  • Jann
    May 30, 2017

    I save strips that are about 1″ wide and I also save most dogears. Really enjoyed learning about this quilt technique!

  • Katherine H Leith
    November 24, 2017

    Where yarn or fabric is concerned, nothing is too small or insignificant to be thrown out. I save even the tiniest pieces, some smaller than 1″ x 1″; if I cannot use them in a quilt or knitting project, I’ll use them as eco-friendly “stuffing” in packages I send to my family members in Germany.

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