Back in February 2014, I saw a scrappy quilt in American Patchwork & Quilting that caught my eye. I pulled out the pages with the tutorial on how to make that quilt, and saved it - for 5.5 years to be exact! I loved the traditional feel of the blocks, but wasn't sure exactly what colors or fabrics I wanted to use. After a few wrong turns, I found this quilt, and knew I wanted to make mine Christmas colored (green circles and red lines).
This pattern is an adaptation on the Burgoyne Surrounded block, and I love how changing the sashing simplified it so much. One change and such a large impact!
I started cutting pieces for this quilt in the second half of 2019 and finished piecing it in March of 2020 (nothing like a pandemic to provide you with enough time to finish a quilt with one million pieces).
The "Tone it Down" block contains 97 pieces (oh mama!). The original pattern calls for 20 blocks and finishes at roughly 75" x 93". I edited mine to only be 16 squares so it finishes at 75" square.
When you count the sashing in my version, that makes for 1,817 pieces in total in this quilt. This quilt has the most pieces of any quilt that I've every made.
This was another quilt that required a ton of low-volume fabrics for the background. I pulled not only black-on-white fabrics, but also a few green-on-white and red-on-white cuts to round everything out.
I backed the quilt in my favorite pistachio extra-wide minky and had it quilted by my local long-arm quilter with this snowflake pattern called "White Out" from Urban Elementz.
I bound the quilt with this fun red, white and green diagonal stripe from Connecting Threads (but I can't find it on their website currently). Striped binding are fun, and Christmas stripes are the best!
I had this quilt quilted back in July, and saved it to share here with you during the holiday season. I absolutely love holiday quilts - especially new ones. Last year I gifted my two scrappy holiday quilts (see them here and here). This one, however, I am keeping for mysel! This quilt feels somehow monumental and I look forward to years of enjoyment.
If you've made (or are making) my Blue Goose quilt, then you definitely need to make something with all those corner trimmed off half-square-triangles. Those 4" x 8" flying geese trimmings make fantastic 3.5" unfinished half-square triangles: 324 of them to be exact.
When I realized that I would have a lot of HST squares, I started looking for a block that wouldn't result in bulky seams (most of the seams nested in some way). The Annie's Choice block (above left) caught my eye, but the math didn't work quite right. (I had 324 blocks...that makes for a quilt 18 blocks x 18 blocks, but a 4x4 block doesn't go in to 18 evenly.) So I started doodling, added another row to the block, and came up with a block that was made up of 6 squares x 6 squares (the math worked beautifully)! I named it my "Shattered HST" block because when you put a few of them together in a quilt they start to look like shattered glass. Now I'm sure that I'm not the first person in all of quilting history to come up with that block design - but for now that is what I will call it.
When I had all my squares laid out on my design wall, I realized that I wanted the quilt to be a little bigger. So I added an outer border of HST squares to get the quilt to finish at 60" square. That makes 400 HST squares for this quilt. My final layout is shown above.
I backed this quilt in my favorite silver minky and had it quilted with the "River Run" pattern again. As I said in my Instagram post, this quilt is so busy that the quilting would never show up on the front of the quilt, but I like the way it looks on the back.
As you may have read in my Blue Goose post, these quilts were made from the majority of my dark blue, light blue, and darker gray stash. I was happy that I found one last stashed gray piece that was long enough to make the binding for this quilt.
This quilt is crazy scrappy - and busy! But I love how it sparkles and has so many internal secondary patterns within the Shattered HST blocks. Can you see the radiating diamonds? Pinwheels in the corners where the blocks come together?
You can see more pictures of this quilt using the #shatteredhstquilt on Instagram.
Thanks for stopping by!
It was time for another big stash-busting quilt, and this time I went for my light and dark-tone blues (and had to throw in a few dark grays when I didn't have enough dark blues). I knew that I wanted bigger scale traditional blocks in repeat, and landed on the flying geese block, finishing at 4x8". I toyed with making the layout completely random, but settled on rows of blocks in alternating directions with clumps of blocks in the same background color. I have included a quick tutorial on how to make this quilt at the bottom of this post.
Before I began sewing my blocks, I laid out piles of my lighter fabric rectangles, and paired them up with darker squares. That way, I would have sets of flying geese blocks that had the same triangle and background. Sometimes I had more rectangles than squares, so in that case, I would make another pile of that rectangle with a new background squares. When I laid out the quilt, I kept the matching blocks together. Blocks that didn't have the same triangle and background would be put in their own group.
Once I had cut & sewn all my squares & rectangles (and trimmed them), they were all way easier to layout on my design wall than it would have been if I was trying to randomize the entire quilt.
I wanted to back this one with minky because on a chilly CO day, nothing is cozier. I had my long-arm quilter quilt it using the "River Run" pattern from Urban Elementz. I wanted a pattern that wasn't too angular, so it wouldn't compete with all of the triangles, and this one was nice and linear, with just enough curves to make it interesting.
I bound the quilt with one of the prints that was left over from the quilt. I don't love when my binding fabric matches one of the fabrics in the quilt in a scrappy quilt (like below), but my options were limited, so I went with it. I'll probably be the one person that notices it - or is bugged by it. As my friend always says: Is it something you would notice if you were riding by on the back of a galloping horse? The answer here: No.
Tutorial for Making a Blue Goose Quilt:
This quilt finishes at 72" square - a nice throw size.
There are 162 blocks, arranged 9 across, and 18 down.
You will need 3 yards of light blue fabrics, and 3 yards of darker blue fabrics. I used a total of 40 fabrics (20 light & 20 dark).
Cut your lighter fabrics in 162 rectangles 4.75" x 8.75", and your darker fabrics in 324 squares 4.75" x 4.75". After your blocks are assembled, trim to 4.5" x 8.5".
I alternated the directions of my columns of flying geese so that seams would be less bulky during assembly.
Note: my design at the top of this post doesn't show actual block placement. In reality, sometimes I had groups of 6 matching blocks, sometimes there were only 2 matching blocks. Whatever I had that matched got put together in the end.
You can see more pictures of my Blue Goose quilt at #bluegoosequilt
COVID log cabin quilt #3! (See the other two here and here.) I am loving the mindless straight stitching required for improv log cabin blocks - and loving how they use up so many scraps. The black scraps for this quilt came from my Little Improv Tents quilt. I made those blocks large, and trimmed 1-2"+ off of all 4 sides, so there were lots of black scrap strips left over.
After making my spring green log-cabin quilt (which was mosly low-volume fabrics with a few punches of color), I wanted to try making the opposite of that quilt: mostly dark with a few pops of white or color. The final inspiration for this quilt was all the bees that fly around in my gardens in the summer. Hence the name: Bee Wild (because for me, this color combo is wild.)
When it came time to choose a quilting pattern for this guy, I knew that I wanted something non-linear and I landed on this "Dizzy Izzy" pattern from Urban Elementz. I think that the quilting looks fantastic on the front of the quilt - and totally wild on the back. I can't put my finger on exactly what it reminds me of, but it's something like a zebra + 80's + Elvis or maybe John Travolta? I'm not sure, but it works.
I bound this quilt in an older Ellen Baker (The Long Thread) black/white print - maybe from a "paper cuts" collection?
This quilt is another one with 12" blocks, and a 5x6 layout. That means 30 blocks, and a quilt that finishes around 60" x 72" - that seems to be my sweet spot these days.
This next quilt was a long time in the making - at least the design percolated for quite a while.
The story of this quilt starts back in 2016 when I participated in the Lucky Spool "Mighty Lucky Quilting Club" where different quilters did a lesson each month. Jacquie Gering's lesson was on "Space: the Final Frontier" and prompted us to play with negative space using black and white paper. After reading through the lesson, I filed it away in the back of my mind...until a year or two later when I made the above sketch. I don't actually really like traditional samplers, but I do like traditional blocks. My thought was: what if I made simple sampler blocks with just 2 fabrics and no sashing: a more modern simplified sampler where the positive and negative spaces were random and new shapes jumped out at you.
In January 2020, I decided to finally jump in and begin making blocks. I had two larger cuts of blue solid fabric in my stash (Kona Nightfall & Mediterranean). They looked good together, so I began cutting and assembling blocks. I generally made two of each block and switched the color placement in the sets. You can see some of the 4-patch and 9-patch blocks above.
Can you see the traditional blocks when the quilt top is sewn together?
When I finished the quilt top in January, I felt like it needed a floral monochrome backing that incorporated both blue tones, but I couldn't find what I wanted online. So the top hung in my sewing room, until I ordered a fat 1/16th pack of Liberty lawns to make masks in August (ordered from Duckadilly). This blue floral fabric jumped out at my from the bundle. I loved the blues! Then it dawned on me: this was the backing fabric for my quilt!!
I quilted this on my own with my normal straight lines spaced roughly 1" apart, and I bound it with more of the Kona Nightfall fabric.
The blocks are 12" square and I used a 5x6 layout. That made for 30 blocks, and a quilt that finishes at 60" x 72".
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During COVID, given all the time we've been spending at home together, my quilts have become even more popular than ever (with my family). I made a new quilt for my youngest (read about it here), my middle child claimed my Scrappy Inner Star quilt, and my oldest child wanted me to make him something with minky backing. I had him look through some designs I had mocked up a while ago, and he was drawn to something similar to the design below. It is a derivation of the Criss-Cross block from "1000 Great Quilt Blocks" by Maggi McCormick Gordon.
To come up with our color palette, I matched the gray to his existing duvet cover, and the green to his existing rug. From there he established the he didn't want to introduce any new colors, so I went with a green several shades darker from the green that matched his rug. The colors that we ended up using are all Kona solids: White, Cactus, Grass Green, and Pewter.
Given that my child wanted his quilt backed with minky, I knew that I would have it long-arm quilted. (I've quilted one full-size minky-backed quilt and that was enough for me.) When it came time to choose the quilting pattern, I wanted something that didn't have strong vertical lines that wouldn't conflict with the strong diagonals in the quilt top. I also didn't want to use the same "modern waves" pattern that I've been defaulting to lately. So I landed on this "malachite" pattern from Urban Elementz. I love that it looks like a topo map and the "X" blocks remind me of a treasure map.
If I had had enough left over "Pewter" fabric, I would have used that for binding; or if the quilt wasn't for my son, I would have added fuchia or orange binding. But it was for him, and I didn't have anymore pewter fabric, so I went with this Timeless Treasures cross-hatch fabric. It works well enough for me and it was on hand: win-win.
I won't be writing a pattern for this quilt. My sewing minutes are so few and far between these days, and I don't want to spend the time working on Illustrator graphics, and cutting instructions. If someone really wants to know how I made this, let me know and I can walk you through it a little bit. For now, I'll say that this quilt has 12 blocks, and each block is made up of 16 - 5" pieces that make up a 20" block overall. I've got some highlights in my Instagram stories that will show how the 5" pieces are assembled.
The quilt finishes at 60" x 80".
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My youngest son requested a new (bigger) bed quilt and I was happy to oblige. A few years back I made a quarter-log-cabin quilt for him, but it's too short when we tuck it in on his bed (and actually use it as a comforter/bedspread). You can see pictures of that one here. That meant that my #1 goal for this quilt was "big!"
Back in May, when I began designing the quilt, my family and I were really missing some previously-schedule camping trips. We longed to get outside, and travel and see new things. So I went with tents for the quilt blocks.
I went with improv-pieced tent blocks with lots of black negative space. My son has fun Echino canvas curtains in his room (see above), so I made my tents turquoise, and ended up going with dark yellow for the center of the quilt.
I used one fat-quarter of black fabric per block and came up with a simple piecing method: I added two turquoise strips to my yellow triangle and then laid that triangle on the black fat-quarter. I cut one long line along one side of my tent (above that would be the right side cut), and then pulled that black piece away and cut the second background piece along the left side of my tent. Then I added the black pieces to the tent in the reverse of how I cut it, ie: in the example above I sewed the left side on first, then sewed on the right side. Once all my blocks were complete, I trimmed them down to 15.5" square.
At my son's request, I added two little fussy-cut applique bears in one of the tents. I know that I personally have spent many nights in a tent listening to branches and leaves scratching against my tent, and imagining that it might be bears outside. For that reason I think it's humorous to have the bears in the tent peeking out cautiously.
I added a few improv stars to the top of the quilt because I love them...and I knew that the top of the quilt would most likely be folded over on my son's bed ( so he could pet the minky as he fell asleep) and I didn't need to make any more tents.
This was the general plan that I laid out in Electric Quilt 8 (EQ8). The tents aren't quite the same scale that I ended up using in my blocks, in real-life the trees are much taller, and the tree blocks have much less negative space. I like the contrast in negative space between the tree blocks and the tent blocks. I designed this quilt to be 90" x 105" with the idea that quilting it would make it shrink a bit...and then washing and drying it would make it crinkle more. We checked for size and it's a keeper (see below).
(Spoiler: the quilt finished so large & heavy that it won't fit in my washer...and who wants to go to a commercial laundromat if you don't have to right now).
I backed the quilt in silver minky, and had it quilted with "modern waves". My kids all struggled to hold it up for me to take a photo - but we got it! One day, when the pandemic is over, I'll venture out to wash this quilt and the crinkle will be amazing (and it won't be quite so huge).
Until then, it's being used and loved and that makes me happy.
This is going to be super quick, but I wanted to document that I liked making my last log-cabin quilt so much (see here), that I made another one!
For these blocks, I used gray and varying shades of blues with navy squares in the center. I made this quilt one row longer, so it finishes around 60" X 72". Another difference with this quilt is that I backed this quilt with minky and had it quilted by my local long-arm quilter.
I used another shade of the Pezzy prints to bind this one - just like the spring green version.
I like to jump back and forth between making stash-busting quilts, and scrap-busting quilts. So after my last few quilts, it was time to get out my 2 1/2" scrap squares and play.
As I was laying these squares out on my design wall, one of my sons asked me if scrappy quilts took more or less time to make than a quilt made with fabric yardage. My answer: scrappy quilts like this take more time to lay out, but they sew up quicker than a quilt that requires assembling blocks. This one - like others similar to it - went quickly at first, as I pulled pre-cut scrap squares from my box...and then progress slows as I struggle to find enough low-volume scraps to cut in to more 2 1/2" squares. Then, once everything is on the wall, assembly flies by as I web-piece everything together in one fell swoop.
Sticking with the "use what I have" theme that I've had during this pandemic, I pieced another backing for this quilt (tho I had to buy a few new 1/2 yards to complete the back).
I quilted diagonal lines through every-other fabric square to create a nice texture, and bound it with an old favorite red and white print.
This weekend I am going camping and I am looking forward to bringing this quilt along for some in-camper snuggling.
This quilt uses 1,089 fabric squares that are all 2 1/2" x 2 1/2". I laid them out with 33 squares across and 33 squares down - resulting in a quilt that is roughly 66" x 66".
Thanks for stopping by and Happy 4th of July!
Back in 2016, I participated in a 30-day quilt design challenge. I had a blast doing it, and I produced several designs that I like - and have made. The hashtag was #30daysofquiltdesign if you want to see more of people's designs. The pictures/posts weren't fancy - most were just sketches on graph paper - but I believe it was a really good exercise. One day I shall do something similar again, but for now, I wanted to share my latest quilt (that came from that design challenge).
Sometimes when I draw up quilt designs, I just work with shapes on a page, and later I go back and figure out how I would actually construct the blocks and quilt. Other times I start the process by thinking of how I would manipulate or change simple block shapes to make a design. For this quilt, I just started playing with triangles laid out in lines, and when someone reached out to commission a baby quilt, I sat down and started to think about how I would actually make this quilt design become a quilt.
As you can see above, my design in EQ8 is a little different than my original sketch. Most obviously, my triangles are a whole lot closer together in the original design. Perhaps next time I work with half-hourglass blocks, I'll eliminate the horizontal sashing and see how I like that.
I went with Kona Cotton in Silver for the background of this quilt, and a Michael Miller blue pin-dot fabric for the backing. I went with more straight lines for the quilting and I did it myself on my Juki home machine.
When I was trying to figure out construction of this block, I googled "quarter-square triangle" and found this helpful tutorial from Bonjour Quilts (and math cheat sheet) to make what I now know are called "half-hourglass blocks."
This quilt is 44.5" x 44.4"
There are 49 blocks in the quilt (4" x 4" finished), along with horizontal and vertical sashing.
More pictures are posted on my Instagram account under #halfhourglassblocks.