Pixelated Heart Quilt + Heart Quilting


My Pixelated Heart quilt , which is also my first finished quilt of 2014 (finished back in February) is something I intended to share here but never did.  I want to share it anyway, largely because the idea for quilting it was such a fun experience for me.


Because there is no sashing between the blocks, the horizontal feel of background fabric throughout the quilt seemed a little stronger than I wanted, so my goal was to find a way to balance the lines in the quilt.  I also wanted to keep the quilting very simple while trying something new, and my daughters hoped it would include hearts.  An idea struck and it worked, and I had so much fun doing it!


Vertical quilting lines, one line per each 2 1/2 inch strip of the quilt but with little hearts quilted in every other square, was what I did.  Super simple, and yet I’ve never seen it done before and it did the trick!  All of a sudden the movement in the quilt is balanced and there are all these cute little hearts dancing through the background between the pixelated hearts.  This turned out to be a simple way to quilt, almost straight line in nature, with a little bit of free motion quilting thrown in.  Not a bad way to practice, learn, get a little experience and develop quilting skills if you’re like me and spent way too long being afraid of free motion quilting.   I feel like the design adds to the design of the quilt.  Because I’ve had many people try to figure out how I did it, I thought a couple of photos of my sketches might be useful:


Essentially, there are 4 steps to the pattern.  A straight line down the center of the strip you’re quilting, then one half of the heart, then straight back up the center of the heart, and then stitching the other half of the heart, ending at the bottom point ready to continue down to the next one.  As I was quilting I kept thinking of hearts dangling on ribbons from the ceiling.  I didn’t like the idea of hearts everywhere, so I quilted each line in an offset way so that there would be open space as well.


I like the way each pieced heart is now framed by lots of little ones in the background.  Quilting this quilt was a fun experience in trying something new to see if it would work.  I think you could run with this idea of quilting in mostly straight lines but throwing in a small design along that line and use it with all sorts of shapes or motifs.  This is filed away in my imagination as an idea I may want to come back to in the future with some other design.  And like I already mentioned, it’s a comfortable way to step out of your comfort zone if straight line quilting is your thing.  I should mention that I used my darning foot, and not my walking foot, for this design.


The backing is made up of a vintage piece of fabric I’ve had for too long (on the top) and some sweet hearts on the bottom.


Continuing with my love of black and white bindings, I used a small houndstooth print to bind this quilt.  I love the way it frames everything.


And finally, I found this little label at my LQS and decided it was perfect for the quilt, so it now has a label on the back.  This is something I want to do more of.


The quilt has now seen many hours of use and I love seeing my children snuggled in things I’ve made for them.  When I wrote down my quilting goals for 2014, four main categories emerged for the projects I felt drawn to.  One of them I have labeled “chase an idea.”  I want to leave room in my sewing to follow an idea when it comes and see what happens.  The layout of the quilt (tutorial found here) , followed by the quilting, certainly fall into that category.  I find it is very satisfying when, after sketching and brainstorming, the idea comes and I act on it with decent results.


Hooray!  I hope you’re chasing an idea today!

Scrappy Heart Quilt – Free Pattern and Tutorial

Welcome to the tutorial for my Scrappy Heart Quilt .  This quilt was enjoyable, simple, fast and fun to make.  It is pre-cut friendly, using just 2.5″ squares and 2.5″ strips of fabric.  Since there is no sashing or borders, it comes together quickly and easily.  I hope you’ll enjoy the process as much as I did.

(Edited to add: the pattern is now available as a free PDF, available for download at the end of this post.)


The quilt is made up of these scrappy heart blocks, so begin by raiding your fabric and pulling everything you can find in your color scheme.  I chose variety in pattern and color, as it added to the pixelated look of my blocks and gave them dimension. Matching fabrics wasn’t a concern for me.  I did choose to avoid most of my fabrics with a lot of white in them so the blocks would have good contrast with my white background.  Let’s talk fabric and cutting requirements:


Fabric Requirements

Fabric requirements for the hearts (red, pink, purple, orange):

Each pixelated heart block requires 42 – 2.5″ squares
.  If you want to make a quilt the same size I did, you will need enough squares to make twelve blocks, or 504 squares PLUS another 7 squares to complete the layout with a staggered row of hearts down the center of the quilt, making a total of 511 .   Most 2.5 inch x width of fabric strips will allow you to cut 16 – 2.5 inch squares.   This means you will need at least 32 strips of fabric cut into 2.5 inch squares .  I cut more than this, knowing I would have leftover squares for another project, because I wanted more variety in my fabrics.


Fabric requirements for background fabric:

If you want to make a quilt like mine, the photo above indicates how many of each piece to cut.   You will need 2 yards of background fabric .  For an entire quilt, cut:
14 – 18.5″ strips 24 – 8.5″ strips 36 – 6.5″ strips 48 – 4.5″ strips 62 – 2.5″ squares To make just one block, you will need 2-3 strips of 2.5 inch wide x width of fabric strips.

For one block, cut:
2 – 18.5″ strips2 – 8.5″ strips 3 – 6.5″ strips 4 – 4.5″ strips 5 – 2.5″ squares squaresinheart

Block Layout and Piecing:

To make each block, begin by laying out your squares.  I found it easiest to lay out the 3rd & 4th rows first (9 squares across) and used those rows as a reference point for placing the squares on the rows above and below.  After arranging the squares as you like them, lay out the background pieces.  See the photo below if you’re not sure where to place each piece.


Sew each row together, making eight rows total.  At this point I ironed my rows with each row’s seams facing alternating directions.  Doing this allowed me to nest all the seams in each row with precision.


Sew the rows together, and as the last step in a completed block, add an 18.5″ strip across the bottom of the block beneath the point of the heart
.  Adding that strip to the bottom of the heart brings the block to an 18.5″ square and also eliminates the need for any sashing between the blocks.

To make an entire quilt, make eleven of these blocks.

*Note:  typically I like to iron my quilt blocks at this point, but I chose not to iron the horizontal seams of the blocks at this point.  Waiting will make sense when putting the quilt together.


Quilt Layout:

The final piecing for the quilt top will prepare the center column you see below, with the 12th heart cut in half.


After making 11 heart blocks, the final heart is made in two halves.  In actuality, it is made with an extra row, which is why we added 7 additional 2.5″ squares to the beginning number, as well as 2 additional 2.5″ background squares.  For the top half of the heart, piece the top 5 rows of a block together.


The 5th row also makes an appearance in the bottom half of the heart.  Piece the bottom 5 rows of a block together to make this half of a heart.


Now it’s time to lay the blocks out!  Arrange them in three columns, with four hearts on the outside columns and three hearts in the middle.  At the top of the middle row, place the bottom half of a heart.  At the bottom of the middle column, place the top half of a heart.

You will notice when you do this, that the middle column is one strip longer than the outside columns.  Take the top left and top right blocks of these outer columns and sew your last two 18.5″ strips to the top of them, as you see below.


Having done this, sew the columns into strips.  *At this point, I ironed the blocks, ironing each strip in the outer columns down, then ironing each strip in the middle column facing up.  Doing this allowed me to nest every row together as I sewed the columns together, making the seams precise.


Carefully sew the three columns together.  With those final two seams, you have a finished quilt top, measuring approximately 53″ x 74″.


There you have it!  A simple scrappy heart quilt top.  Approximately 3.5 yards of fabric will make a quilt back, cut in half and sewn together along the selvages.  I’m working on quilting mine now and hope to share it soon.  If you have questions please leave a comment and I’ll do what I can to answer them.  Thanks for visiting!

*edited to add:  We decided to make this tutorial available in PDF format for easy access and printing.

Click here to download it for free!

Relevant posts:

Scrappy Heart Quilt Top
Heart Mini Quilt Scrappy Pixelated Heart finished quilt + heart quilting Scrappy Pixelated Heart mini quilt Jennifer

Scrappy Heart Quilt Top


Like everyone else, I have projects to finish and a long list of quilts I want to make, but when my little girls requested a heart quilt I cheerfully began sketching.   I typically don’t do much around the house for Valentine’s Day, but after having Christmas quilts to snuggle under during the holiday season I understand their request for a Valentine quilt.   I enjoyed making my mini heart quilt last year, and wanted to take a scrappy approach once again but decided to go for the pixelated look instead of taking the time to make half square triangles.


I sketched out a block that would finish at 18 inches square and decided on a layout that requires no sashing between blocks.  Honestly, I think that’s my favorite thing about this quilt – the offset center strip of hearts that gives movement to it and prevents the white background from being overwhelming.


I cut strips of red, pink, purple and a bit of coral/orange fabrics for this quilt as I wanted each block to have lots to look at.  The range in colors also enhances the pixelated look of the quilt.   My littles are already enjoying picking out small details as they wait anxiously for me to finish this project!


The quilt top measures 53″ wide by 72″ long, a great size for two little sisters to snuggle under together.  A backing has been selected and I’m hoping for time to baste it later today.   Piecing this quilt top was relaxing and fun and I’m so glad I did it.  We’ll see if I can finish it by Friday!

*edited to add: I was asked to share a tutorial for this quilt top.

Find it here.

Jennifer P.S. I’m linking up for the first time in many months!  Feels good…

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