A Quilt for Us??

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. (-:


3 Responses to “A Quilt for Us??”

  1. Marty says:

    Your drawing (coloring?) looks great. Are you planning to use a solid black, like Kona cotton? That would make the colors stand out even more. With your color scheme, I think it goes beyond “Confident Beginner.’ Just keeping the placement straight…

    One thing that is frequently suggested to get accurate 1/4 inch seams is to stick a piece of tape or even moleskin (depending on the configuration of your presser foot) exactly 1/4 inch away from the needle so you can slide the fabric right up against the edge of the tape or moleskin. It can also help to use a straight stitch presser foot and throat plate.

    I’ve never used the tape method when peicing, but I have used tape or a sticky note on the machine bed to mark wider distances for things like topstitching or stitching the rod pockets of curtains.

    Sally Collins has written a couple of books that focus on precision in the miniature blocks she makes. I have her older book, but I think the newer one has even more info. Another good book is Rotary Magic by Nancy Johnson-Srebro. I have that one, too. Lots of good tips.

  2. Nancy says:

    Wow! Your drawing is really pretty! I agree with Marty that a solid black background will make the colors stand out. You’ll definitely need to keep your drawing in front of you as you work. I think the fact that most blocks will be different color combinations will keep the piecing from being monotonous.

  3. Ann says:

    Yes, I do plan on a solid black background. What you see in the drawing is variegated because I used a colored pencil instead of a black magic marker, which was a good choice, because I had to do some erasing. Thanks for the tips, Marty. I’ll check out your books during ATW.

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