Tag Archives: Quilt block

Still Climbing Mountains

Last year I had fun making a medallion using big prints. (If you click on the photo, it will open in a new tab.)

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The Mountain. 60″ square. November 2015. Made from stash. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

It was a challenge for me, because big prints tend to mute contrast. I like strong contrast and the sharp edges it reveals. I named the quilt “The Mountain.” In the linked post, I said this about the name, “I am not sure why the name came to me, other than that I have been climbing and climbing, mentally and physically and emotionally and artistically, and now I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere, though of course I’ll never reach the peak.” To see more about the design process, click here.

Early this year I saw a quilt top on this site that also merged big prints, but in a completely different way. (I didn’t link the quilt top itself, because the photos disappear when she has sold the tops. And I won’t copy her picture, because it is her picture. However, as of writing this, the top appears in the set of tops over $100.)

I thought about how to make a similar quilt and make it my own. This was the result:

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Still Climbing Mountains. 57″ x 64″. August 2016. Made from stash. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

The name, “Still Climbing Mountains,” is for three reasons. First and most importantly, the block style used is called “Delectable Mountains.” Second, I am still climbing! And third, it reminds me of The Mountain because of the big prints.

In truth, though, there are all kinds of fabrics in this quilt. They range from solids and tone-on-tone, to very large prints. There are batiks and traditionally printed fabrics, ethnic-ish designs and geometrics and Civil War repros. The fabrics were purchased over many years from local quilt shops and large retailers. Browns, teals, rusts, olives, and tans, I just kept pulling fabrics from stash until I had enough.

There are 48 blocks in a 6 x 8 layout. If you look at the photo above, they are arranged by value. The first column (left to right) is very dark and medium dark. Column 2 is medium dark and medium light. Column 3 is medium light and medium dark. Columns 4-6 reverse the order to finish with very dark.

Construction was amazingly simple. I began by making 48 half-square triangles that would finish at 9.5″. That is a weird number, but the unfinished size is 10″. (I cut squares of fabric at 10 3/8″. I cut them on the diagonal and then stitched HST from them. If you cut oversized and then trim, you would trim to 10″, so a finished HST would be 9.5″.)

Each HST then was sliced into 4 segments of 2.5″ by 10″. The segments are rearranged and sewn back together. The new block finishes at 8″ x 9.5″.

hst sliced rearranged

The coolest thing was how each block transformed as it was rearranged.
Del Mtn blocks in process

Assembling the top was easy, too. I assembled each of the six columns, being careful to match them in the one place where the jags fit together. When sewing the columns together, you only need to match the block corners, because that is the only place where contrast shows. In fact, though I’m usually pretty careful in my construction, this was a really forgiving quilt top! My blocks were not all exactly sized and my within-block seams didn’t match up, and believe me, there is no way to see any of that! It was fun and fast — the hardest part was picking the fabrics, and I’m not kidding.

This is one of four quilts I finished in August. September will be a lot lower output for me, so it was nice to mark some finishes.

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A Delectable Idea

The other day I showed you the photos below. They show a sequence of steps to creating a block, which is a variation of a block called “Delectable Mountains.” The variation is in using two fabrics (the teal blue and the stripe) for one half of the block.
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sliced
rearranged

This method to create the block uses a large half-square triangle. Once the HST is sewn, it is sliced into four equal-width segments. The segments are rearranged and sewn back together. My block uses a HST at 10″ (unfinished.) Each slice is 2.5″ wide. The finished dimension of the block is 9.5″ x 8″.

Here are a few HST and transformed Delectable Mountain blocks I made recently. Cool, huh?
Del Mtn blocks in process

I used the idea at the top with multi-fabric HST halves again. This time I edged my triangles on both sides, with a much narrower strip. You can see the paprika color is edged with a pale gold, and the mid-brown is edged with black. The four blocks are built but not sewn together yet. I plan to add turquoise to the center, using a stitch-and-flip method for each of the four blocks.
nav mtn blocks

I’m playing, experimenting, designing as I go. Though I have an idea of where this is going, I’m ready to be surprised.

A Gift for My Friend BJ

Recently I mentioned I’ll be giving away a few quilts. I sent off two on Friday, and yesterday (Saturday) the first one arrived for its new owner!

In July and August I had a few quilts displayed in a local quilt shop. One day my friend BJ met me there to take a look, and to enjoy some time together. BJ and I met 18 years ago (MY GOODNESS!) at the bank where we both worked. We worked closely for several years prior to her retirement, and we’ve remained friends since then.

BJ is a sports fan, and while there were a couple of the quilts she especially liked, I thought this one suited her well. It is named Play Ball! and is 46″ x 56″.

This fun little quilt started from a pillow panel. Several years ago, on my first excursion into our local Mennonite thrift shop, I found two square pillow covers. With their vintage baseball theme and strong blues, reds, and greens, likely they were used in a boy’s bedroom. Besides the square(ish) panels on the front, the envelope closures on the back were lined with small baseballs on navy blue.

I used one panel to inspire a baby quilt for my youngest grandchild. (He is going on 5 now, so not a baby anymore.) It uses the Burgoyne Surrounded block on the front and the pillow panel to center the back.

But I still had one panel left. With a nice range of color and value, I continued the baseball and All-American theme.

The dark green tone-on-tone framed the panel to represent the grass of the infield, and then I mimicked the baseline and bases in the corners with cream and tan. Spark and movement comes from the simple border of 4-patches and half-square triangles.

The busy stars print frames all that, followed by borders only on top and bottom to elongate the quilt. This border uses the “economy” block, or square-in-a-square, described in this tutorial. I was able to use four of the fussy-cut baseballs for the corner blocks. Finally I framed the whole thing with red. This gives a balance between the red, navy, and green in the center panel.

I enjoyed making this quilt. I have a feeling BJ will enjoy watching her baseball playoff games and quite a lot of football snuggled under this lap quilt.

Hourglass Top Done … AND Giving It Away

You might have noticed I’m not quilting much lately. (Plenty going on, though — I haven’t been idle.) However I did finally finish the top to my hourglass quilt. It’s big, about 94″ square, a good size for a queen bed. And it’s too big for a photo while it lies on the floor. But here are a some shots to give you an idea of how it looks.

The blocks are 8″ finish in a 10×10 layout, making the center 80″ square. The borders add another 7″ on each side. I chose a 3-layered border because the lovely rusty red print was too busy to sit next to the busy blocks. It needed separation. The innermost border is very dark green, though it might read black on your screen. The narrow middle border is orangey-gold. I have a dark green with olive print to bind it.

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My sister Cathie will quilt it when I visit her in a few days. I’m looking forward to seeing it finished, and then giving it away. (I’m looking forward to see her, too. 🙂 )

In fact, I’ve sorted my quilts and picked a number of them to give away. I won’t miss them when they’re gone. Do you?

Visiting Quilts

I mentioned we went to visit our son. Coincidentally, we visited three quilts I’ve made for him.

The first one is actually a comforter. I made it for him when I was a new quilter and he was in high school. I made nine 9-patches of 8″ patches and set the 9-patch blocks in a 3×3 layout. Five of the big 24″ blocks are in solid navy and a dark blue print. The other four blocks are in solid dark green and a dark green print. Solid navy bordered the whole to make a cover that is 88″ square. I used fat, fluffy polyester batting and a navy flannel sheet for the back. It was so big and the batting was so poofy, I knew I’d never get it quilted. Instead I yarn-tied it.

As humble as it is, it is his favorite of the three quilts. I know why. Jim and I slept under it for almost two weeks. It is soft and cuddly, and very lightweight due to minimal piecing and the (now nearly non-existent) batting.

The second one I made as his college graduation gift. I designed it myself using EQ7, and I must have tried dozens of iterations before deciding on the final version. I wrote more about it here, including the design inspirations and the construction process.

[Son’s] Flight. 81″ x 81″. Finished in 2012. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

The final quilt is one I made last fall. Coincidentally, it also is in blues and greens!

For Son. 68″ x 68″. November 2014. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

I wrote more about this quilt here.

It’s always fun to see the quilts I’ve made, especially knowing that they are used and loved. All three of these quilts fit that bill.

Do you ever get to visit quilts you’ve made?