A clever twist on traditional block patterns, this vibrant quilt was our previous editor's entry for an exhibition with the theme transitions, first shown at the Festival of Quilts 2005.
Davina Thomas lets us in on her secrets
- A selection of fat eighths in your chosen colour range. 28 different fabrics were used here, however, the quilt could be made with 15 (one each of coral, dark
green, dark pink, mid green, light purple, light green and pink and two each of mid, dark and light blue and dark purple)
- 65 x 98cm of backing
- 65 x 98cm of wadding
- 20cm of fabric for binding (will not be seen on finished hanging)
61 x 91cm (24 x 36in)
can download a pdf copy of the original magazine pages for this project
A Twist of Colour
The blocks used are all very simple blocks, so a confident beginner could
make the quilt. Pay careful attention to the seam allowances, as small errors soon add up. If you piece the nine patch block and measure it, including seam
allowances it will be 6 1⁄2 in. If yours is not then check your seam allowances and
Davina suggests piecing the blocks in diagonal rows, as each diagonal has the
same blocks; only the colour changes. That way you will be able to cut the pieces
at the same time. When you have pieced a block, pin a label to one of the seam
allowances with the row number and block position to help you remember where it
Figure 1: Nine Patch
- The simplest block is the nine patch. Cut five 2 1⁄2in squares in dark purple
and four in light purple. Sew into rows following the block piecing diagram and
then assemble into one block. Press and label. You need one block. See Figure 1.
Figure 2: Nine patch with four patch corners
- The nine patch block with four patch corners is also made from squares. Cut
four 2 1⁄2in squares in pink for the large squares and 10 1 1⁄2in squares each from light and dark purples for the small squares. You could cut 1 1⁄2in strips and sew into pairs of light and dark fabrics and then cut into 1 1⁄2in segments to create the small four patches. You need two blocks, press and label as before. See Figure 2.
Figure 3: Railroad block
- The third block, Railroad has added triangles to it. Cut the following:
Cut the large squares in half on the diagonal and use to make four half square triangle blocks. Piece the small squares as before and piece into the block as shown. You need three Railroad blocks. See Figure 3.
- 10 1 1⁄2in squares from pink
- 10 1 1⁄2in squares from blue
- Two 2 7⁄8in squares from pink
- Two 2 7⁄8in squares from blue
- Home Queen block replaces some of the small four patch blocks with single pieces. Note the direction of the four patches, they are no longer in a chain and vary between the blocks. Refer to the quilt diagram to make sure you make them facing the correct way. This block uses three fabrics. Cut the following:
Piece the block as shown using the 2 7⁄8in squares for the half square triangles and the 1 1⁄2in squares for the small four patches. This makes one block, the other colour combinations are purple/pink/light blue, purple/dark pink/light blue and mid blue/pink/light blue. You need four blocks in total for the quilt top. See Figure 4.
- Six 1 1⁄2in squares from dark purple
- Two 2 1⁄2in squares from dark purple
- Two 2 7⁄8in squares from dark purple
- Two 2 7⁄8in squares from light green
- Six 1 1⁄2in squares from pink
Figure 4: Home Queen block
- Steps to the Altar uses five fabrics. Cut the following for the first block:
Piece the half square triangles following Figures 5 and 9 for colour placement. Piece the four patches as above and join into one block. You need four blocks.
- Six 1 1⁄2in squares from dark blue
- Six 1 1⁄2in squares from light blue
- Two 2 7⁄8in squares from dark purple
- Three 2 7⁄8in squares from mid green
- One 2 7⁄8in square from dark blue
Figure 5: Steps to the Altar block
- The Double Hour Glass block is a basic block with just half square triangles and squares. Cut the following for the first block:
Piece the half square triangles and then
join into one block. You need four blocks.
- Four 2 1⁄2in squares in dark blue
- One 2 1⁄2in square in light blue
- Two 2 7⁄8in squares in light blue
- Two 2 7⁄8in squares in mid green
Figure 6: Double Hour Glass
- The Double X and Wild Geese blocks have the same layout but utilise different colour placements. For the Wild Geese block cut five 2 7⁄8in squares in each of two colours and use to make half square triangle blocks. They are all arranged in the same direction as shown below. You will have one spare
half triangle. For the Double X block cut 2 7⁄8in squares and use to make half square triangle blocks as follows:
Arrange as shown in Figure 7. You need three Double X blocks and two Wild Geese blocks, see Figure 9 for the colour combinations needed.
- Three light blue/mid green
- Three mid green/mid blue
- Three light blue/mid blue
Figure 7: Double X (top) and Wild Geese blocks
- Birds in the Air is the final block. It is constructed from just two fabrics. Cut three 2 7⁄8in squares in light green and two in dark blue, cut into half square triangles. Cut one 6 7⁄8in square in dark blue and cut in half diagonally. You only need one of these large triangles. Sew into the block
Figure 8: Birds in the Air
Figure 9: Quilt Layout
Assembly and Finishing
- When the blocks are all complete lay them out in order and check that you are happy with the colour movement. Sew the blocks into the rows as shown in Figure 9.
- Join all the rows together to make the quilt top and press well. Check that you don’t have seams pressed the wrong way.
- Layer with the backing and wadding to make a quilt sandwich and safety pin or tack the layers together prior to quilting.
- As there was so much already going on in the quilt top, Davina decided not to add too much quilting. With the walking foot and invisible thread she quilted gently curving lines across the quilt diagonally. Big stitch quilting in the same direction with variegated thread would have been effective too. For a simple alternative quilt in the ditch between the 6in blocks in both directions. This will hold it all in place without distracting from the design.
- When the quilting is complete, make sure the edges are square by pinning
and pressing with a steam iron if necessary. Leave to cool before moving,
as this will help it keep its shape. Trim the edges square level with the quilt top using a large square and ruler.
- Cut strips 1 1⁄4in wide for binding. Sew the binding in place as usual but when you are turning it to the back pull all the binding to the back. This is quite hard at the corners, you may need to cut away a fraction of the wadding before turning the binding over. This completes the top without a distracting binding all round the edge.
- Add a label with your name and the date.
First published in Popular Patchwork March 2006