Sister’s choice

Materials

  • Use fabric scraps at least 3in square to add up to the following quantities
  • One fat quarter in total of each flower colour
  • 40cm in total of different cream and white fabrics for background
  • 1m of green fabric for border and binding (needs to be one piece not scraps)
  • 90cm square of wadding and backing fabric
  • Quilting thread to match flower colours, cream and green

Note: Use a 1⁄4in seam allowance

Finished Size

32in (81cm) square before quilting

Skill Level

Beginner

Elisabeth traced the block using a paint program on the computer and coloured it in several different ways. Being instinctively drawn to symmetric designs it took her a while to come up with something different. But when she did she realised there was a flower hidden in the block! Figure 1 shows the original Sister’s Choice block and Figure 2 the new variation. The pieces are exactly the same in each block but the different use of colour and tone creates the flower effect.

Elisabeth designed and made this quilt while working on Linda Kemshall’s online City & Guilds Patchwork and Quilting course. To find out more about the course visit www.lindakemshall.com

The Blocks

Cut:

  • Eight 2 1⁄2in squares of background fabric
  • Four 2 7⁄8in squares of background fabric
  • Two 2 1⁄2in squares of green fabric
  • Four 2 7⁄8in squares of green fabric
  • Seven 2 1⁄2in squares of red fabrics
  1. Sew the half square triangles. Lay each 2 7⁄8in background square on top of a green 2 7⁄8in square with RS together. Mark a diagonal line on the background squares. Using your 1⁄4in foot, sew 1⁄4in on either side of the marked line. Cut along the marked line and press the seam towards the green fabric. You will have a total of eight half square triangle units.
  2. Piecing the block. Arrange your pieces on a piece of wadding to form the block as shown in Figure 2 (the wadding will stop the pieces moving). Put the darkest square in the middle of the flower for the centre.
  3. Lay each square from the second column on top of its immediate neighbour from the first column, RS together. Sew each pair together without cutting the thread between pairs. Repeat with the third and fourth columns. Carry the chains of pieces to your ironing board and press all seams. Lay back on the wadding to form the block again.
  4. Continue in this fashion until all the pieces are joined into five rows of five squares each. Sew the first row to the second one, then add the third one, followed by the fourth and fifth ones until completed.
  5. Repeat the same process to create a pink, a blue and a yellow flower block, always making sure that your darkest coloured square is in the middle of the block to form the flower’s heart. Press the blocks.
Figure 1: The original Sister’s Choice block Figure 2: Simple changes of tone create the flower block
Figure 1: The original Sister’s Choice block
Figure 2: Simple changes of tone create the flower block

Quilt top and Borders

  1. Arrange all four blocks on a design wall or table. Sew the red and the blue blocks together and the yellow and the pink ones together. See Figure 3 for layout; check that the blocks are rotated correctly. Press seam allowances in opposite directions then sew all four blocks together.
  2. Measure the width of the quilt top. Divide by two and add 1⁄4in. Cut one 1 1⁄2in strip in pink, blue, red and yellow to this measurement. Sew together the pink and yellow strips and add next to the red and blue flowers. Sew together the blue and red strips and add next to the yellow and pink flowers. Press.
  3. Measure the new length of the pieced section. Divide by two and add 1⁄4in. Cut one 1 1⁄2in strip in pink, blue, red and yellow to this measurement. Sew together the pink and blue strips. Add next to the red and yellow flowers. Sew together the yellow and red strips. Add next to the blue and pink flowers. Press. Note: If yours is a true scrap quilt you may have to piece these strips.
  4. Measure the width of the quilt top and cut two 5 1⁄2in green strips to match. Add to the top and the bottom of the quilt. Press.
  5. Measure the length of the quilt top including the two strips you have just added and cut 5 1⁄2in green strips to match. Add to the left and right side of the quilt. Press the whole quilt top well.
Figure 3: Quilt top layout Figure 4: Quilting pattern for the blocks
Figure 3: Quilt top layout
Figure 4: Quilting pattern for the blocks

Quilting and Finishing

Elisabeth has hand quilted her top using the pattern shown in Figure 4 on the flowers and a diagonal grid over the rest of the centre blocks. The border is quilted with two narrow diagonal lines spaced at 1in intervals around the border.

  1. Using two round objects such as a reel of thread, small glass etc, draw a small and a larger circle in the middle of the quilt top, straight lines radiate from these to the corner of each flower. Continue the pattern on the flowers as shown in Figure 4.
  2. Cut a piece of backing and wadding slightly larger all round than the finished quilt top. Lay the backing RS down and place the wadding on top, place the finished top RS up and pin or tack together to stop the three layers moving. Quilt along the marked lines or follow your own design.
  3. When the quilting is complete, trim the edges of the quilt square cutting away any excess backing fabric and wadding. Measure the top – quilt tops will differ at this point as it depends how much the quilting has shrunk the finished top. Cut strips of green fabric 1 1⁄4in wide sufficiently long to go around the finished top with about 9in over.
  4. Join the strips into one piece and sew in position on the edge with RS together and raw edges level. Mitre the corners if you want or sew two opposite edges and fold the binding to the back and then complete the remaining two edges. Turn the binding to the back, fold the raw edge under and slip stitch in place. Attach a hanging sleeve if required.
Sister's Choice
Sister's Choice

First published in Popular Patchwork March 2004