The Making of a Special Quilt, Part One
Life-changing events in our family always warrant at least one quilt. If I’m being honest a sunny day in July can warrant a quilt - but I digress! When Lindsay got engaged last year on the Fourth of July I knew the construction of a large quilt was in my future. I made king-size quilts for her sisters when they got married as well as a throw for Sara and a wall-hanging for Melissa. I haven’t mentioned a second quilt to Lindsay so she may not remember that her sisters actually received two quilts. If she actually reads my blogs then I may be making another one for her too. I’ll keep you posted!
For Lindsay’s king-size quilt she found a pattern on-line called Interwoven by Brittany Lloyd of Lo & Behold Stitchery. She also requested that I make it with a gradation of blues with a white background. It looked like a manageable pattern so I ordered it. When the pattern arrived I spent some time studying it and soon realized what I was in for. Seventeen different blues cut into 1 1/2” strips were required to make this quilt. My first challenge was to figure out where I was going to find 17 different colors of blue and my second challenge was to figure out how to sew 1 1/2” strips together with the perfect 1/4” seam.
Robert Kaufman Fabrics has a line of 366 solids called Kona Cottons and the wonderful quilt shop located just 20 miles from my house stocks many of them. So one day I headed to Quilt Stitches in Beatrice to check out their selection of blues. I was able to purchase 13 blues on my first trip but needed a second trip a few weeks later in order to get the final four colors when an additional shipment of fabrics was delivered. I used the monotone camera setting on my phone to be sure that I had chosen blues with enough difference in their values. What an awesome tool to have so close at hand!
(As I looked at this picture I realized that fabric #14 looked darker than fabric #15 so I switched them around. I was lucky that I hadn't stitched those rows yet!)
Having purchased - as well as washed and ironed - 17 total yards of solid blue fabric and 13 yards of solid white I was ready to tackle the cutting. Armed with a June Tailor slotted Shape Cut ruler marked in 1/2” increments I was able to make short work of the task of cutting the 1 1/2” strips. This ruler is a game changer - after aligning the left side of the ruler with the straight edge of the fabric I could make eight cuts before needing to move the ruler. When I was finished I had 315 blue strips and 312 white strips. After cutting each of blues I labeled them with a numbered pin - #1-17 - and placed them in their own bag. I also determined that it would be best to construct each of the 17 rows - one for each color - before beginning construction on the entire quilt. The blocks are laid out horizontally but because they are on point they are constructed diagonally. As a result all of the blocks need to be completed before the quilt can be put together.
The quilt is constructed using four different blocks which the designer labeled B1, B2, B3, and B4. Each block measures 10 1/2” before it is sewn into the quilt. Block B1 is a fairly simple block consisting of five blue strips alternating with five white strips.
Block B2 requires a horizontal strip set of three blue strips alternating with two white strips paired with a vertical strip set of five blue strips alternating with five white strips.
Block B3 is the most time-consuming as well as the most challenging. The end result is an awesome-looking chevron pattern. I’ll save the details of my adventures with the B3 block for another blog.
And the B4 block consists of three parts - a vertical strip set of three blues alternating with four whites paired with a horizontal strip set of one blue and one white with a narrow strip set of five blues alternating with five whites added to the right side.
Once I figured out the most efficient way to construct these blocks I have really enjoyed the process. There have definitely been some challenges along the way and I’ll fill you in on those in a future blog. I can’t wait to see how this quilt comes together!