Archive for July, 2012

Helene’s Birthday Quilt

Thursday, July 19th, 2012


By Nancy

Here it is, the quilt I made for my German host sister, Helene, for her 40th birthday!

It’s based on Blue Baskets from the March/April ’05 issue of Quiltmaker.  I changed the flower blocks from baskets to tulips because I like tulips better. You can’t really tell in the picture, but the yellow nine patch blocks are made from 5 or 6 different yellow fabrics that I had in my stash.  I also used green, red, orange, and purple fabric from my stash for the tulips.  I wasn’t sure what color I was going to make the setting triangles until I had finished all of the blocks and had them laid out on the dining room table (I have a patient family – no one bats an eye at this anymore).  I decided that white setting triangles and solid yellow binding would look best.  The only fabric I bought for the quilt was more white tone-on-tone for the background, yellow for the binding, and more of the green for the backing.  Not bad, I think!  I was helped immensely in finishing the quilt in time for our trip by Marty and Ann, who played with the boys while I machine quilted and sewed binding like crazy.  Helene was surprised and very happy with her quilt!

A Quilt for Us??

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

By Ann

Crackpots with good memories will recall that many years ago, I began talking about making a quilt for Lou and me in black with ‘jewel tones,” i.e. primary colors, or as Marty put it, an Amish style quilt. Aside from buying lots of ROYGBIV fabrics, I have gone nowhere with the idea – until now. Suddenly, I think I may have a pattern. And here it is:

I got the idea from this quilt in the April, 2012 issue of Quilter’s World, which I don’t like at all.

But then there was this variant on the block, and something clicked.


It’s an interesting block – 11″ square – so each of those strips is 1″ wide and there are 5 1″ squares in each block. So I will have to work at perfecting my piecing accuracy. Quilter’s World ranks the quilt as for the “confident beginner.” I’m hoping that my confidence is not misplaced.

The next step was doing some simple math. I measured our bed and decided that my quilt should be 94″x97″. (That will probably be modified to make it a square.) That meant I would need 8×8 11″ blocks, but that didn’t leave much for borders, and I like interesting borders. Also, making 64 blocks did sound daunting. So I decided that 7×7 blocks would give me ample room for borders, and 49 blocks is significantly less than 64.

Next I drew 6 blocks on 1/4″ graph paper, filling in only the black background and leaving all the 1″ strips white. I colored in 2 of the blocks in a pattern that I thought would be interesting and immediately concluded that I really needed to be working with the full 7×7 array to get a good sense of what I was getting in terms of primary and secondary patterns with the different colors. So I took the 4 black and white blocks I had left and made multiple photocopies of them. These I taped together, being careful not to put any tape on the right side of the paper since I knew I wouldn’t be able to color over scotch tape. That in itself proved to be an interesting challenge. Then I realized that I might color in 70% or 80% of my 49 blocks and decide I didn’t like the pattern and have to start all over again. That would mean more cutting and taping and assembling, and that seemed like a possibility to be avoided, so I took my carefully taped 7×7 black and white pattern to Kinko’s and had 4 copies made. Then I started coloring. And the above pattern is what I came up with. I’m amazed by how much I like my first try. In fact, the more I see it, the more I like it. So I think this is the Quilt Pattern.

Then the fabric. Here is what I have acquired:

Yikes! When I bought them, I was trying for a dark and a light of each of the 6 primary colors. The purple variegated fabric was a bonus, and I  absolutely love it. The green variegated was part of the Lorene Lewis collection. I don’t like it nearly as much as the purple, but it may prove to be just the ticket for a border when the quilt is assembled. We shall keep an open mind. But now that I have a pattern, I don’t think I need a light and a dark of each color, so here is my pattern with what will probably be my final palette (except for the black, of course).

The next steps will be to compute how much yardage of each color I will need. I have a yard of each and am guessing that that will be enough. I’ll need more yellow and green than any of the other colors, and if I’m short of those, I’m sure I will be able to come up with a Plan B. Then I need to get a lot of black and start cutting an piecing and measuring and piecing and measuring until I can get those scant 1/4″  seams to be just right and consistent. Then I will want to put 4 or 9  blocks together to be sure I like the pattern as much in fabric as on paper. Maybe I’ll hold off on buying a lot of black until I’m sure. (-: