Category Archives: Quilting and Sewing

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

My Moda Building Blocks Quilt, Rediscovered

I was looking for something today in my sewing room when I reached behind the fabric stack at the front of a shelf, and found this:

 

It’s my partially completed Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt!  I began this quilt nearly a year ago, and it’s been almost that long since I last worked on it.

It’s always fun to look at blocks I’ve sewn after not seeing them for a long time.  In some ways I like them more.  I really liked this quilt pattern made in all solids, but couldn’t justify spending more on fabric, so I chose my Anna Maria Horner stash for this quilt, with a few others mixed in.  I remember being worried/disappointed about some of my fabric choices back when I made these, but I’m not bothered by them now.

I also found a stack of fabrics that I remember choosing for my next blocks before I stalled on the project entirely.  The problem is, I don’t remember which fabrics were for what blocks, and I didn’t write it down, so… we will see.  There are a lot of six inch blocks ahead!

I would really like to finish this quilt, but I think it will need to wait until the new year when I hope things will settle down a little.  (wishful thinking, I know)  Still, it’s nice to have rediscovered these blocks.

What unfinished project have you rediscovered lately, lurking in some random place?  I wish I could say this is my only one, but in truth I have several.  One of these days I’ll finish them up!

Collection Quilt Progress – sections 5-7

I am making steady progress on my Collection quilt, finishing sections 5-7 in the past couple of weeks.

I was able to assemble six of the sections and loved having it come together!  I have two more sections to go and then the quilt top will be completed.

I am following the general color scheme of Carolyn Friedlander’s original quilt, but using fabric from my stash.  It is fun to mix and match as I work with the colors and the prints to achieve what I want.  Section five (above) was particularly fun to plan as I chose the bottom print and built the section from that point.

I had a little mishap with fabric placement in the bottom right corner where the applique is hard to distinguish from Sarah Watson’s awesome print, but I decided to leave it and enjoy the little things about this Collection quilt that will make it mine.

Section 6 features another Sarah Watson print that I just love, paired with Anna Maria Horner’s gorgeous Loominous stripe.  I took a couple of risks with this section.  First, the print is much larger in scale and in contrast than anything I’ve included in the quilt.  It’s also busier, and I worry the applique won’t show up well at a distance.  Additionally, the weave of the stripe made me worry about using it for applique.  I hope it holds up and that there is no risk of it coming undone.  I was very careful while stitching these blocks.  I must say that I love that blue and am happy to have it included in the quilt.

Section seven was one of the most fun blocks to stitch, although I didn’t read the instructions carefully enough at first and had to re-cut all the applique fabrics.  The second try was a success, however, and I continue to learn!

I remember when this Collection quilt pattern was first released.  I loved it so much but was intimidated by it.  I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to just make it.  It isn’t as hard as I thought and is such a unique quilt design.  It is also smaller than I thought it was, and I am thinking about adding borders to make it bigger.  My children are growing so much that they rarely reach for the small quilts anymore; everyone wants them larger.    The question is, what would I use for the border?

I have selected my fabrics for sections 8 and 9, and have only to make time to cut and baste them.  Once that step is completed, it is easy to find a few minutes here and there for some stitching.  I will share more soon!

Jennifer

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