Color Stack Quilt Tutorial

Autumn is full of color, and I had to make a quilt to celebrate it before the season ends.  I decided to work with simple blocks made from 2.5″ strips.  While I knew I could look around and find a pattern to follow, I really wanted to just sew and see what happened.  This Color Stack Quilt is the result.

Because it is fast and fun to make, I’m sharing a free tutorial for you to make your own.  If you would like the convenience of downloading the Color Stack Quilt pattern, it is available here.  This 67″ x 80″ quilt requires two jelly rolls or 70 strips of fabric measuring 2.5″ x width of fabric (at least 40 inches long).  For the skinny black and white strips, you will also need 3 strips of 1.5″ x 40″ in both black and white.  For my quilt, I chose to cut strips of fabric from stash.

Select your 70 strips and pair them in sets of two.  Set aside three sets, or six strips of fabric, along with your 3 skinny (1.5″ wide) black and 3 skinny white strips.

With the remaining strips, sew each set together to create long strips.  You should have 32 long strips.

Cut each strip into five pieces that are 8″ long.  Set six sets aside to use for partial blocks.

Sew the five pieces together, alternating colors, to make a block that is 8″ by 20.5.”

Make 26 of these color stack quilt blocks.  With two of the remaining sets, sew four pieces together and leave the fifth separate as shown below.

And with the last four, make partial blocks of two and three pieces:

The quilt is made with 8 columns of 4 blocks in each column, and three skinny strips mixed in:

Two of the columns (columns 2 and 7) are made from four full blocks.  The other six have three full blocks and partial blocks at the top and bottom so that the stacks can be staggered between columns.

To make the skinny strips, first pair the black and white fabrics together and sew them into long strips just like the blocks you’ve completed to make three sets of strips.  Cut each strip into two pieces that are each 20 inches long.

 

Sew these two strips together, colors alternating.

Now cut this strip in half to make two pieces that are 10 inches long.

Stack them on top of each other and sew together again.

Repeat this process twice more, cutting the block in half and stacking until you have a long strip that is 2.5″ wide.  Make three.

With the colored 2.5″ strips that you set aside at the beginning, make three pairs of two fabrics and sew together into a long strip.  Cut these strips into 2.5″ wide units measuring 4.5″ x 2.5″.  These units will be sewn together to make 2.5″ wide strips of varying lengths.  Sew the units together to make ONE of each of the following lengths:  9 units, 8 units, 7 units, 5 units, 4 units, 3 units.

Take the strips that have 9 units and 3 units, and sew to each end of one black and white strip.  Take the strips with 8 units and 4 units, and sew to each end of a second black and white strip.  Finally, take the strips with 7 units and 5 units and sew them to each end of the last black and white strip.

Arrange blocks and columns to your satisfaction.  Sew the 8 inch wide blocks into columns.  Iron each column with seams going opposite directions for easy nesting of seams as you sew.  Sew the columns together to complete your quilt top!

If you’re looking for a quick but rewarding project, I hope you’ll give this a try!  If you would like to download the pattern which includes a diagram for placing the partial blocks, you can find it here for just $2.  Please share your projects with the tag #colorstackquilt

Happy quilting!
Jennifer

Favorite Pie Making Tools

Over the years I’ve made a lot of pies.  I now have a small collection of tools I love to use when I make a pie, and today I’m sharing them with you!  So without further ado, here is the Hopeful Homemaker list of favorite pie making tools!

  1.  I’ve had my marble rolling pin for more than 20 years and I wouldn’t use anything else.  I love that it’s heavy, which makes rolling dough easier, and the marble also stays cold, which is just what a pie crust needs.
  2.  This marble pastry board is convenient, useful and beautiful.  It keeps pie crust cold, and is portable and easily cleaned on those days when the kitchen counters are covered with preparations for a feast.
  3.  Parchment paper already cut into large sheets has been my favorite kitchen luxury for many years.  I use it for everything, from lining a baking sheet on the rack beneath my fruit pies (like my Dutch Apple Pie) to catch spills, to rolling up my pumpkin rolls or baking breads and rolls.  This size is the most convenient and I have a drawer in my kitchen just for parchment paper!
  4. Emile Henry pie dishes are my favorite to bake in.  They are made in France and the quality is amazing.  The heat retention is superior, yet they can also go directly from the freezer to the oven without any damage.  The glaze on these dishes is extremely hard, and although I’ve had mine for years and served dozens of pies from it, there is not a scratch to be seen and they still look new!  I gave one to my Mother-in-law several years ago and she has loved hers as well.  To top it off, they’re gorgeous.  I cannot recommend these dishes highly enough.
  5. A good tart pan with removable bottom is helpful for non-traditional pie recipes like my Chocolate Pecan tart.  I use these pans for many recipes and love them.
  6. A sturdy pastry cutter is a must-have!
  7. I love my dough scraper.  It’s really handy for unsticking any section of dough that sticks to my pastry board when I’m ready to transfer it to the pie dish.

Of course, the most important part of any pie is quality ingredients (including good baking flour) and good flavor, but these tools make pie-making easier and more fun.  They are durable (I’ve had all of mine for years) and beautiful.  What tools can you not do without when you’re baking?  Please share in the comments!

Happy baking!
Love, Jennifer

 

Dutch Apple Pie

dutchapplepie2

One of the best things I did a dozen or so years ago was take a pie-making class.  Not only did I walk away with some good recipes, but I also lost my fear of making pie and ditched the concept that a perfect looking pie equals a perfect tasting pie.  Best of all, I learned how to make this Dutch apple pie, and over the years I’ve made this pie more often than any other.  Some of my children request my Dutch apple pie instead of birthday cake.

The pictures I’m using in this post are representative of what happens when I make it.  I was lucky to get a quick shot of the last slice!

 

Dutch Apple Pie Recipe

Ingredients:
1 unbaked pie crust
6 medium Granny Smith apples
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoons Tapioca
1-1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

for Dutch crumb topping:
5-2/3 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour

Prepare the filling:

Fill a large bowl with a few ice cubes and 2-3 inches of cold water.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt to cold water.  This salted ice water will keep your apple slices fresh.  Peel and slice apples, placing apple slices into water.

Roll out pie crust into pie dish.  Note:  my favorite pie dishes are Emile Henry ceramicsThey are made in France, and are high quality and beautiful.  My pies always bake perfectly in these dishes!  They also make great gifts.

Drain water from bowl.  Add 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, Tapioca and lemon juice.  Mix together gently to avoid breaking apple slices.

Arrange applies in pie shell.

To prepare the Dutch crumb topping:

In mixing bowl, combine flour and 1/2 cup sugar.  Cut cold butter into slices and add to flour mixture.  Combine with pastry cutter or using a hand mixer.  Spoon topping over apples, spreading over entire top of pie to the edges of the pie crust.

Bake:

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place in oven on rack BELOW the rack your pie will bake on.  This will catch any drips as the fruit cooks.

Bake pie at 425 for 15 minutes.  Turn oven temperature down to 350, cover lightly with foil and bake an additional 45-50 minutes.

Remove pie from oven and allow to sit at least 20 minutes before slicing.  Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Enjoy!

During the holidays I serve this pie along with these other favorites:
Chocolate Pecan Tart
Coconut Cream Pie

Check out my favorite tools for pie making here.

Happy baking!
Jennifer

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