A colleague showed up at my desk one day, carrying a large trash bag filled with fabric scraps. “My wife wondered if you could use these,” he said. “She’s going to throw them out otherwise.”
A giant bag of fabric? Ummm. Yes, please.
For two months, that bag mocked me from the corner of my crafts room. You should do something with these treasures, it whispered in the night. But, stubbornly, I held out for the perfect inspiration. And then one day…I tripped over the bag, scattering fabric everywhere. While stuffing scraps back into the bag, I could see that although none of them were very big, combined with several yards of white fabric I happened to have, they added up to more than enough to make a quilt — the kind of thing a beginner could make and anyone could appreciate. Spare. Modern. Striking but simple. And so it became.
The Quilt Top
The top is composed of 6 by 4-inch rectangles stripped together with 3 by 4-inch white rectangles. To piece the front, you need a variety of scraps of patterned fabric and about 4 yards of white fabric.
706 by 4-inch rectangles of patterned fabric — block A;
70 6 by 4-inch rectangles of white fabric — block B;
114 3-by 4-inch rectangles of white fabric — block C;
Two white borders, 5 by 66.5 inches for the sides of the quilt*;
Two white borders, 5 by 54 inches, for the top and bottom of the quilt*.
Stitch together a row, alternating A and C blocks — 7 A blocks and 6 C blocks. Start and end the row with an A block (patterned rectangle). Repeatto make a total of 10 rows.
Stitch together a row, alternating blocks B and C — 7 B blocks and 6 C blocks. Start and end the row with a B block (large white rectangle). Repeat to make a total of 9 rows.
Starting with a row of patterned blocks, stitch a row with patterned blocks to a row with white blocks. Repeat to add remaining rows, alternating between patterned and white rows.
The Quilt Back
If you have enough of one fabric for the back, simply measure the top and stitch together a piece large enough for the back. I didn’t have enough yardage of any one fabric, so I pieced the back.
One 26.5 by 38.5piece for the center;
Eighteen6 by 4-inch rectangles of patterned fabric;
Twelve 6 by 4-inch rectangles of white fabric;
Four 3 by 4-inch rectangles of white fabric
Two 3 by 38.5 and two 3 by 41.5 strips for the first colored border*;
Two 6 by 45 and two 6 by 47.25 strips for the second colored border*;
Two 6 by 47.25 and two 10 by 50.5 strips for the outside border*.
*Important Note: Measurements vary. Measure your piece and cut borders to fit.
Stitch together a horizontal row of blocks A and C — 3 patterned A blocks and four white C blocks. Repeat to make a second horizontal row.
Stitch together a vertical row of six patterned 6 by 4-inch A blocks and six C blocks, alternating between A (patterned) and C (white) blocks. Repeat to make a second vertical row.
Stitch one horizontal row to the top and one to the bottom of the center piece, matching centers. Add one vertical piece to each side of the center piece, matching centers.
For the first, second and outer borders, match the center of one side border to the center of one side of the quilt assembly; pin and stitch. Repeat on the opposite side.
Match the center of a top border to the center of the top of the quilt assembly; pin and stitch. Repeat on the bottom.
Sandwich the top, batting and backing, and pin in place. Quilt by hand, on a standard machine, or a long-arm quilter.
Bind the edges.
When I went home to Missouri for Halloween, I carried the top and back in my suitcase, and Mom helped me quilt it. (Thanks, Mom.) Here she is, pinning the quilt onto the long-arm quilter.
After we finished the quilt, the story continued.
Back at the eHow office, we raffled off the quilt to raise money for Movember. Bryan Koch, who won the quilt, plans to give it to his grandmother for Christmas. Isn’t that sweet?
Huge thanks to Megumi and Phil Hadviger for the gorgeous fabric and Nora Farris for her help. Like anything shared, their gifts ripple on and on.
Photo credit: Dave Johnson, Jerri Farris