And thanks to Hobbs for providing the battings we are using in our projects this year.
And thanks to Hobbs for providing the battings we are using in our projects this year.
The June challenge for the 2018 Island Batik Ambassadors is to make a Modern-style quilt. This is proving to be a bigger challenge for some of us than for others. Personally, I consider my project, The Highland 9-Patch, a “splendid failure.”
You see, I had purchased a copy of fellow ambassador Carole Lyles Shaw’s book Madly Modern Quilts. I’ve always loved the 9-Patch, so her “Fractured Disappearing 9-Patch” project really appealed to me. Check Carole’s blog post and you’ll see how she works her magic.
It seemed simple enough… make a 9-patch, slice it up, sew it back together, slice it again, insert a strip, and voila! Nope. Didn’t happen. My muse likes to know where a pattern is going before we begin construction, and having just spent months trying to work through an improvisational project, he would not cooperate. So we compromised, my muse and I, and came up with the Highland 9-Patch. It’s still sliced and spliced, but looks nothing like Carole’s.
I did begin with a 9-Patch. Mine has an 8″ square of navy blue in the center, 9″ squares of a bright green in the corners, and the side “squares” are actually 8″ x 9″.
Then I added a 2″ border all around the block.
Next, I sliced the block vertically 2.5″ outside the center seam on both sides of the center squares…
…and spliced in a 1″ strip of navy blue.
Then I did the same thing, slicing and splicing in 1″ horizontal strips.
After that, it was a simple matter to add wide borders of the background fabric. My friend Kathy at the Creative Needle quilted it in an all-over leafy pattern, and I bound it in navy.
The Highland 9-Patch is 56″ x 72″, so it’s a nice lap-size quilt.
I began quilting in the early 1970’s, so I have pretty much seen it all, as quilting has developed from a scrap craft revival to a celebrated artistic genre, from Grandma’s hand-quilting frame to computerized longarm quilting machines in nearly every quilter’s studio. I have to admit, I dismissed the Modern Quilting Movement early on as a “fad”, but I’ve always loved big, bold, graphic art, and since it seems Modern Quilting is here to stay, I’m in!
Check out the Modern Quilts my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors are making:
Quilting Affection Designs
In the case of this 45″x 54″ quilt/wallhanging I designed for Island Batik’s “Looking Back” challenge, the title is sadly ironic.
You see, I began designing this fun little quilt a few months ago. The challenge was to take a vintage quilt pattern and use it as inspiration for a modern style quilt. I chose the traditional “Hourglass” block, also commonly called a quarter-square triangle. This pattern features 3″, 6″ and 9″ Hourglass blocks, and I titled the pattern “Plenty of Time.”
In mid March, my life was turned upside down, when my mother was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer. My weekends, usually my quilting time, were suddenly spent sitting by Mom’s hospital bed, and the top for this quilt was sewn during the few evenings I had to myself in a hotel room. The doctors had told us we might have up to six months. As it turned out, we had just six weeks. We said our goodbyes on May 15th.
For the last week of her earthly life, I slept in a recliner next to Mom’s bed at Peace Hospice in Great Falls. One night I dreamt of her passing from this world into the next, and into the welcoming arms of my grandparents and a host of friends and family members who have gone before.
I have tried several times to change the title for this quilt, but it won’t let me. “Plenty of Time” just seems right.
Thanks to Island Batiks for providing the fabrics. I used a package of 5″ squares, and the “Stash Builder” bundle of 5″ x 21″ strips, cut into 5″ squares, plus a few larger scraps and yardage.
The quilt was sewn with thread provided by Aurifil, and quilted by Kathy Brown at the Creative Needle in Shelby MT.
Batting provided by Hobbs.
Want to see more great quilts inspired by vintage quilts? Check out the blogs of my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors:
Quilting Affection Designs
My second Layer Cake® quilt pattern for Moda Fabrics has posted on the Moda Bake Shop blog. It’s called “Stargazer“, and I made the sample quilt with 10” squares from the new 30’s Playtime 2017 collection, paired with a royal blue Bella Solid, also by Moda Fabrics.
The Stargazer quilt is 64″ x 84″ as shown, which includes a 4″ solid blue border across the top of the quilt to give it the length I prefer for a twin bed quilt. That border also gave me an opportunity to include a practical feature that I have only seen once, on a vintage quilt in an antique shop.
It was a strip of muslin folded over the top edge of the quilt and basted in place. There was a row of daisies embroidered along the bottom edge. I wish I could have purchased the quilt, or at least taken a photo of it. When I described it to her, my Grandma Wiens explained that the muslin strip was a “bib” or a “whisker guard”.
If your quilts are used as blankets, as mine are meant to be, they are most likely to become soiled along the top edge by body oils and/or worn through by whisker stubble as they get tucked up under chins on chilly nights. Can you imagine trying to launder a quilt by hand, or even in a wringer washing machine? So, Grandma explained, she would baste a strip of muslin over the top edge of the quilt. Instead of washing the whole quilt, she only had to snip the basting thread, pull the “bib” off, launder it, and baste it back into place!
I did a little online research and found another form of quilt bib. This one was a sort of long, narrow casing that slips over the top edge of the quilt.
To make mine, I purchased 5/8 yard of one of the fabrics in the 30’s Playtime 2017 collection. I cut one 8.5″ x 40.5″ strip and two 8.5″ x 13″ strips, then sewed the shorter strips to the ends of the longer strip.
Next, I sewed the lace along one long edge on the right side of the piece to hide the basting stitches that would fasten it to the quilt, and keep them from snagging little fingers.
Of course, there are other options for attaching the bib to the quilt. You could sew several buttons at intervals along the border of the quilt, and button holes on the casing. Remember you will need them on both sides of the quilt. A row of snap tape front and back would also work.
I don’t expect quilt bibs to come back into vogue anytime soon, but it was fun to take a step into history for this project.
Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol. 14 debuts today, and not quite smack dab in the center of the cover is my block, “Star Route”.
Here’s a better photo:
This block is a combination and slight adaptation of two of my favorite traditional quilt blocks. A “Hole in the Barn Door”block, surrounded by a Sawtooth Star. I live in farming and ranching country in north-central Montana. Many rural residents get their mail by “star route” carriers.
I wondered where the term “star route” originated, so I consulted the USPS website. Long story short, instead of writing out “celerity, certainty and security” on the bid paperwork, postal clerks took to using three asterisks (***), and the contracts came to be called “star routes.” Follow the link for the long version of the story.
There are a lot of pieces in this block, but it isn’t difficult to make. It’s mostly half-square triangles with stitch-and-flip tips. It is a little time-consuming.
Here’s what the block might look like in a quilt:
You may notice that I added an orange triangle to the pink triangles of the original block. That’s because when I started setting the blocks together, I found that I had large pink diamonds forming, and they distracted the eye from the block centers. Those orange pieces are cut the same size as the blue pieces in the block.
These are actually square units, though they may not look like it on your screen.
Square #1 – The “green” square is the same as the star-point units in the block, substituting black for white in the half-square triangle.
Square #2 – The “pink square starts with a 3.5” black square. The stitch and flip pink corner is the same size as the one in the corner square of the block. The orange stitch and flip corner is the same size square as the blue square in Square #1.
So that’s one way to use the Star Route block.
My Quilt Pro design software and I had a lot of fun playing with this block, and you will be amazed at when I came up with for the next Quiltmaker special issue Quilts from 100 Blocks. However, you’ll have to wait until the magazine comes out next spring.
I have a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol. 14 to give away. To be entered in the random drawing, just leave a comment on this blog, and tell me what town would we be sending your prize to?
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I came home from Quilt Market last Spring with a fun little bundle of nine fat quarters from Cotton + Steel, a division of RJR Fabrics:
These are prints I would not normally choose for myself, which I think is one reason I bought the bundle. The real reason is that they were on sale. I’m shameless that way.
Now what to do with them?
I wanted a quick project that would use as much of each FQ as possible, and the project I came up with is something I call the “Swap Meet”.
The math worked out beautifully – each FQ will yield enough pieces for one block, so you need only to figure out how many blocks you need and buy that number of FQs!
I had nine FQs, and needed twelve for a 42″ x 54″ quilt, so I added three more FQs.
I bought enough of that teal solid to add a 3″ (finished) border.
I divided my bundle into pairs. Each pair needs contrast in value and scale.
I opened and pressed each pair of FQs.
Oops! C+S sneaked a regular quarter-yard cut into the bundle…and it’s a border print to boot. That will not work with this pattern, so I swapped it out for another pink print.
Now it’s time to cut, swap and sew. I decided to work with just one pair of FQs at a time, to avoid confusion. I cut one pair, sewed the blocks, then cut the next pair of FQs. If you prefer to do all your cutting at once, cut a pair, put all the pieces in a zip-bag, then cut the next pair and repeat.
From each FQ, cut one 6.5″ x 20.5″ strip and two 3.5″ x 21″ strips.
Cut the 6.5″ strip into one 6.5″ square and four 6.5″ x 3.5″ rectangles.
Cut each 3.5″ strip into six 3.5″ squares.
Now swap the 6.5″ squares and eight of the 3.5″ squares.
You now have the makings of two blocks. One will have a light star on a dark background, and the other will be a dark star on a light background.
Use the “stitch and flip” method to make four 3.5″ x 6.5″ flying geese units for each block.
If you are not familiar with this method, click HERE for a very good tutorial from Quiltmaker. You’ll notice that Diane folds her squares to find her diagonal sewing line. I prefer to mark mine lightly with a mechanical pencil. Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to. You’ll get the same results with both methods.
Sew one flying geese unit to opposite sides of the 6.5″ square.
Sew the remaining 3.5″ squares to the ends of the other two flying geese.
Sew these strips to the top and bottom of the center strip.
Each pair of FQs will give you two blocks.
When all of your blocks are complete, lay them out in a pleasing arrangement, and sew together. I added a 3.5″ (unfinished) border for a 42″ x 54″ quilt top.
For a 54″ x 66″ lap quilt, make twenty blocks, set four across and five down. A 66″ x 90″ twin-size quilt would need 35 blocks, set in seven rows of five blocks. In this case, you would need 36 FQs, and would have one block left over. The dimensions listed also include a 3.5″ (unfinished) border.
Who among us doesn’t have a bunch of FQs that don’t seem to match anything in our stash, whether they are leftovers from project bundles, spoils from the last guild raffle, or FQs purchased in a weak moment when they were on sale. Pair ’em up and the next time you feel like sewing, but don’t want to start a new project, cut a pair or two up and make a few Sawtooth Swap blocks. Set them aside, adding a few to the pile now and again. You’ll be amazed how quickly these blocks multiply! You’ll have a quilt’s worth in no time.
In my last post, I showed you a couple of ways to make a “Candy Heart” quilt block.
Then I left you with a little cliff-hanger. My plan was to sash them with white-on-white, but would I set them straight or on point? Okay, so that’s not so much a “cliff hanger” as a “standing on the top of the cliff and peering over the edge.”
In the end, I did neither.
I made 20 Candy Heart blocks, and sewed them into four rows of five blocks each.
The sashing strips (5 of them) are 3″ wide.
The top and bottom border rows are made of fifteen 3″ Squares.
Here’s what you would need to make this 45″ x 57″ quilt:
I made my blocks using Option 2 in the Candy Hearts Blocks post.
I started with twenty 10″ squares of assorted brights, plus ten more 3.5″ print squares.
I needed 1.5 yards of white-on-white.
Cut three 3.5″ x WOF (Width of Fabric) strips and cut into thirty 3.5″ squares. You will need twenty of these squares for the blocks.
Cut five 3.5″ x WOF strips and trim to 39.5″ long. Sew a 3.5″ square to both ends of each strip. These are your sashing strips.
Cut three 2.5″ x WOF strips and cut into forty 2.5″ squares for the blocks.
Cut two 2″ x WOF strips and cut into forty 2″ squares for the blocks.
Sew the blocks into four rows with five blocks in each row. Separate the rows with the sashing strips. Sew two sets of 3.5″ squares with fifteen squares in each row. Add these to the top and bottom of the quilt top.
Cut six 2.25″ x WOF strips for binding. If you prefer a 2.5″ binding strip, you will need 1-5/8 yards of white instead of 1-1/2 yards.
To make a little larger (54″ x 69″) quilt, you would need:
Thirty 10″ print squares plus six 3.5″ print squares
2-1/4 yards white.
Cut three 3.5″ x WOF squares and cut into thirty 3.5″ squares for blocks.
Cut four 2.5″ x WOF strips and cut into sixty 2.5″ squares for blocks.
Cut three 2″ x WOF strips and cut into sixty 2″ squares for blocks.
Cut six 3.5″ x WOF strips and trim to 39.5″ long.
Cut three 3.5″ x WOF strips. Cut two 15.5″ strips from each, and sew one to each of the 39.5″ strips. These are your sashing strips.
Sew the blocks into five rows with six blocks in each row. Separate the rows with the sashing strips. Sew two sets of 3.5″ squares with eighteen squares in each row. Add these to the top and bottom of the quilt top.
Cut eight 2.25 (or 2.5″) x WOF strips of white for binding.
Enjoy your Candy Hearts.
I have a very special project coming up for you in April. I’m dying to tell you about it, but sworn to secrecy for a little while longer. Meanwhile, I’m dreaming of spring and working on a little “Crocus” block for you next.
Welcome to “Seams Like a Plan”!
If you’re reading this, you are no doubt looking for sneak peeks at the blocks included in Quiltmaker Magazine’s new special issue, 100 Blocks, Volumn 9.
Well, here’s mine:
It’s called “Common Thread” and is block #900, the last block in this issue, which should be on your newsstand next Tuesday. Of course, if you leave a comment at the end of this post, you could win a copy!
The prototype block is made from all scraps.
I kept a scrappy theme, but changed up the coloring just a bit for three quilt ideas.
The first quilt is pictured in the 100 Blocks designers’ gallery section. A friend gave me a yard of a print featuring cats “helping” in the sewing room. “I saw this and knew you had to have some.” she said. I have the best quilty friends in the world!
You should see the quilting on this piece. I gave it to Tiffany Barcus at Unique Quilting. I told her it had a Victorian vibe to me, and I only had one request…that she quilt a spiderweb in one corner. It’s a common theme in crazy quilts popular in that era. She had carte blanche with the rest of the quilt. She obviously had a lot of fun!
You’ll notice that while the blocks in “Spools & Bobbins 1” have various pinks, the corner diamonds have the same blue and green fabrics.
I have to be honest. I don’t love this top as much as I had hoped I would. They say a little yellow goes a long way, and in this quilt, it goes a little too far. If I were doing it over, (I’m not – it doesn’t bother me that much) I’d use the purple diamonds in pace of the gold ones. Then again, I might go back to the original idea of all scraps in those diamonds.
Which brings me to “Spools & Bobbins 3”, which isn’t finished yet, but here’s a block:
This block goes back to the scrap diamonds, but instead of an off-white border, uses the same white-on-white for all of the background. All of the blocks in “Spools & Bobbins 3” will have the same teal blue “thread”, and there will be more diamonds in the borders.
This one will be the most contemporary of the three quilts. I’ve toyed with taking it Amish or Modern, using all solid colors and either a black or white background.
Now…for the 100 Blocks, Volume 9 give-away.
Leave a comment below and tell me, how many spools of thread would you guess (you don’t have to count them) do you have in your collection, and what is the most common color?
One winner will be chosen at random at the end of the week.
Thanks for stopping by “Seams Like a Plan.” If you click on the blue “Follow Seams Like a Plan” button at the top of the page, you’ll be notified whenever I publish a new post. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, but there’s usually a block or quilt pattern involved.
In May 2010, my local quilt shop, The Creative Needle, hosted a launch party for The Thrifty Quilter: Make (Nearly Free Quilts from Leftover Fabric. This little quilt was not in the book, but it was in the shop window display, draped over an antique treadle sewing machine. All of the quilts from the book were on display in the shop, but it seemed everyone was interested in this one. I blame the frogs. They’re just too cute.
Recently I posted this photo on the Thrifty Quilters group page on Facebook, and had many requests for the pattern So here you go:
Lots of charts and numbers here. As you notice from the chart above, the crib and lap size quilts use the “small set” of Thrifty Quilter pieces, and the Twin, Full and Queen sizes use the “large set” of pieces. Choose the quilt size, and cut your scraps accordingly.
You noticed that I gave you piece counts instead of yardage amounts for everything but the sashing and binding. This is a true scrap quilt.
“Bits and Pieces” is a great way to use up….well, bits and pieces of scrap fabrics!
Join me here tomorrow morning for a sneak peek at my “Common Thread” block from the upcoming Quiltmaker Magazine special edition, 100 Blocks, Vol. 9!