WIP Wednesday — Fire

Fire, not fully assembled, and more borders to go. 64″ to this point. Don’t know why it imported the photo sideways…

I don’t have a final name for this, but it isn’t finished, so that’s okay. Most likely its name will refer to fire. I’m thinking “Don’t Look Back.” If I choose it, I’ll tell you why later. :)

This design started easily with the variation of the Odd Fellow’s block in the middle. It’s a 32″ block. The star-in-a-star-in-a-star is so distinctive and gave the quilt a great start. I also knew I’d want a sawtooth border following that, but originally I assumed I’d turn the big block on point and choose a different configuration of the sawteeth. That quilt must be waiting its turn for another time.

I’ve monkeyed with the design past the bright purple strip border, too. I haven’t often used two borders that interact, especially not with a variety of blocks. (The next border, not built yet, will play with the last border you can see.) And of course, no matter what I draw in EQ7, the fabric I have changes things.

I’m happy with how this has started and eager to see how it progresses.

Free Design #3 | The Commissioning Quilt

I have shared this quilt with you before. In honor of Memorial Day, I am posting it again. It’s a quilt I made in May 2013, to thank a friend of our son. The friend had flown from Seattle to be with us for our son’s Air Force commissioning ceremony. In fact, as a retired Airman, the friend was part of the ceremony, conveying our son’s first salute.

The finished quilt measures 54″ square. The pieced border makes it look more complex than it actually is. The center consists of 4 Ohio Star blocks. Each outside border strip includes 7 hourglass blocks. If you have consistent 1/4″ seams, the borders should fit well with little adjustment.

The picture shows a narrow final border. I drew this to represent the binding. It is not included in directions below. I drew this design in EQ7 with 4 fabrics. According to the software, the yardages are as follows:
A: 1 yard white
B: 1.5 yards light blue
C: 1 yard red
D: 3/4 yard dark blue

I used yardage from my stash and did not measure this for accuracy. The methods I use for cutting may make differences in this, and your yardage may vary.

The center blocks measure 15″ square, finished. In the basic 9-patch format, each patch measures 5″ finished. Sashings are 3″ wide. The narrow border is 1.5″ wide. The outer pieced border is 6″ wide. Some people can use this and figure the rest themselves.

These directions are for the rest of you. I made the hourglass blocks in the Ohio stars and in the border using the “cut twice diagonally” method. If you have another method you prefer, perhaps using strips, feel free. The cutting instructions here use my method.

A Fabric (White)
16 5.5″ squares
4 6.25″ squares
8 7.25″ squares
With the 6.25″ squares and the 7.25″ squares, cut in half carefully and completely across the diagonal. DO NOT move the fabrics after cutting. Now, cut again across the other diagonal. You will have 4 triangles from each square.

B Fabric (Light Blue)
12 3.5 x 15.5″ strips
8 6.25″ squares
8 7.25″ squares
Cut squares twice on the diagonal, as above.

Tip: When cutting sashing strips, I cut strips along the selvage, as it is more stable and less likely to distort for size when sewing. When sewing sashing to blocks, I know the sash is the correct size, and can adjust better for the pieced block. I also pin about every 2″, using thin pins. 

C Fabric (Red)
4 2 x 39.5″ strips, cut along selvage as above; you might need to piece these for length
4 6.25″ squares
7 7.25″ squares
Cut squares twice on the diagonal, as above.

D Fabric (Dark Blue)
4 5.5″ squares for block centers
9 3.5″ squares for cornerstones
4 2″ squares for border corner blocks
7 7.25″ squares, cut twice on the diagonal, as above
2 6 7/8″ squares, cut ONCE on the diagonal

Use a 1/4″ seam allowance for all sewing.

Sew 16 5″ finish hourglass units, for Ohio star blocks. Each hourglass unit will have 1 A triangle, 2 B triangles, and 1 C triangle. You will have 4 pieced units per block. Complete the Ohio stars as 9-patches.

Sew 28 6″ finish hourglass units, for the border. Each hourglass unit will have 1 A triangle, 1 B triangle, 1 C triangle, and 1 D triangle. You will have 7 units per border side.

Sew 4 6″ corner blocks. Each corner block will have 1 A triangle, 1 B triangle, and 1 large D triangle.

Assemble the center blocks with sashing and 3″ corner blocks.

Attach the narrow strip border with 1.5″ corner blocks.

Assemble the hourglass units in strips of 7 per border. Attach the first 2 borders on opposite sides. Attach the 6″ corner units to the last 2 borders. Attach these.

Check the post called The commissioning quilt for another variation using a different center block and different colors.

You are more than welcome to use this design. (Don’t sell the design — that would be stealing!) If you have questions about construction, do feel free to ask and I’ll help you however I can.

Do You Like to Color?

Yesterday I played in EQ7 with a design for a big bed quilt. As drawn, it would finish as a 96″ square, a good size for a queen bed. Add one more plain border on 3 sides and it would easily fit a king-sized bed.

I wondered what it would look like in different colors. Now, one of the problems with simply re-coloring a design is it gives me preconceived ideas of value placement. Why not start from scratch?

Old Maids Coloring Page

You can see the lines very differently this way, can’t you?

If you click on the image, it will open as a separate tab. You can print it from there, if you’d like.

Something New and a Couple of Questions


And When We Kiss… 32″ so far. To be bordered and then turned on point. When done, will be sized for a big bed.

Last week at my local guild meeting, we had our annual book sale. Our guild library keeps an inventory of about 300 items. Each year we sell some that are outdated or not of interest, and members also donate unwanted books from their own libraries to sell.

I bought three books, two bucks apiece. One of them offers a number of patterns for 60″ blocks. Add a couple of borders to a block that size, and you have a quilt!

The block above is adapted from one of the book’s blocks. I didn’t have enough of the grey background fabric to make it at 60″, so I downsized it to 32″.

I like the star in a star in a star arrangement.

Here’s a question: how accurate do your seams need to be to keep you happy? What magnitude of error (points not showing, seams not lining up) leads you to re-do a seam?

Another question: do you always press seams to the side? or open? Do you ever deliberately press seams multiple directions, just smashing them down in between?


Last evening I finished Marquetry. (Thanks to Kate for this quilt’s name. She said it reminded her of inlay marquetry. When I saw the photos she linked, I knew it was right.)


Marquetry. 87″ square. Finished May 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

I started this quilt for my Medallion Improv! class. When I teach (and blog,) my goal is to help quilters make their quilt, not mine. So for the class I started two quilts of vastly different styles. Doing so, and making my quilts along with theirs, helps show that the process works regardless of style or fabrics used.

The class template is for a 60″ quilt. This gives a guideline for people to follow if they want, but at least half of my students go rogue, either ignoring the template altogether or deviating at some point. Both of my quilts deviated this time, because it was the right thing to do for the quilt. Marquetry is substantially larger at 87″ square. I did follow the template through the first 60″ (the large red/light half-square triangles) but it wasn’t done yet.

A few process/evaluation comments
The overall feel is exactly what I hoped for. With the dark reds and black Jacobean print, the quilt could have been very serious and dreary. What I wanted was joyful and bright, and that’s what was achieved. The cheddar (orange) color adds zing, and the strong value contrast (lots of cream/white/light values) keeps the quilt from getting gloomy.

The proportion and balance are good with Marquetry, better than I achieved in XX’s Quilt, below. And Marquetry is happy, while XX’s seems very serious.

One of the design issues I faced was the HST border in greens and creams. The first time I tried their placement, I ran them in a sawtooth around. (No! I did NOT sew them together like that! This is a thing you try before stitching!) But I hated them and thought I would scratch that border altogether. But HST can be placed many different ways, so always try a few out before deciding what to do. Once I set them in their tumbling pattern, I knew they would work just fine, and in fact echo the hourglasses near the center.

One of the few “weirdnesses” to note is something other people might not notice. In general, I am careful with my corners, because corners are a focal point in medallions. The diagonal lines they create draw attention, so that attention should be positive, not negative. In this case I didn’t coordinate the corners at all. I made each corner only relative to its own border. As your eye moves outward from the center, most every corner is different in design. Though I mention this, in fact it doesn’t bother me on this particular quilt. There is enough (deliberate) busyness of design that the corner differences don’t stand out. Yep. I guess that’s why it works okay here.

I started with an economy block for the very center, which I made late last year. The fussy-cut medallion print was from a yard I bought in Boulder City, NV, after Jim and I visited Hoover Dam in 2011. I’ve used it in a similar way in two other quilts, also shown below. Note, also, that I used it in outer corners in all three quilts. Likely I won’t use it this way again. :)


Marquetry. 87″ square. Finished May 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

XX's Quilt. 75" x 75". Begun with a medallion print purchased in Boulder City, NV. Finished in February 2015.

XX’s Quilt. 75″ x 75″. Begun with a medallion print purchased in Boulder City, NV. Finished in February 2015.

A wedding quilt, about 78″ square. February 2013.

My verdict? Success! This quilt makes me happy to look at it. It uses really simple blocks but looks complex. I think it was a great example for my class.

Gallery Updates

Yesterday Jim asked me how many medallion quilts I’ve made. Since mid-2013, most of my quilts have been medallions. I made several more before that, as well, and I’ve been in a handful of round robins. I don’t have an exact count, but the total is somewhere north of three dozen. Sometimes I surprise myself. :)

With that, I decided it was time to update my galleries. In particular, I created a gallery combining the non-medallions of 2012-2014. (I like strip quilts, too, as you’ll see if you look.) In addition, I added this year’s medallions to the medallions gallery. If you’re interested, you’re very welcome to take a look.

And I’m indulging myself by showing this quilt again. It will long be a favorite, I think.

Garden Party. 62" x 68". Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning Fabrics. Finished March 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Garden Party. 62″ x 68″. Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning Fabrics. Finished March 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.