Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jewels in the Night Quilt Tutorial

My friend Jesse has Lupus and is really sick.  I texted her and asked her what her favorite color is so I could make her a quilt.  She texted back, eggplant, and blue and green and red, but not yellow or orange. Oh, and black.  Really?  That's one color?  Ok.  You asked for it Jesse!  Here's the quilt I came up with just for you!  I call it Jewels In the Night.  I based it off of several Amish Quilts I've seen and several different string quilt patterns I've seen on the internet.  I'm not sure it is exactly a new design, but it is not exactly like anything else out there either, so if you find something too similar, please let me know.  I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes or copy anyone's pattern.  I just want to make my friend feel better and share what I came up with.  I hope it inspires you to create something beautiful and to share your passion for quilting with your friends too.

First, you need to cut 7 strips 2 1/2 inches wide.  I used my Accuquilt Studio Fabric cutter.  You can just cut them by hand with a rotary cutter, but I love the accuracy and quickness of cutting all of these strips at the same time.  With one roll of the Studio, I can have all of my strips cut out and know they will all be exactly 2 1/2 inches.

I got my Studio cutter about a year ago, when we started making quilts for the Tsunami survivors in Japan.  I am the area coordinator for Binky patrol and we make quilts.  Lots of quilts.  If you don't make 1,000 quilts a year, you might not need the Studio cutter.  The Go! cutter might be more your speed.  I have one of those too and love it for my personal quilting. 

One of these days I'm going to do a comparison between the two fabric cutters.  I love them both, for different reasons.  It's like saying pick your favorite child.  Depends on the day :)  I love them all equally, just some days...well, if you have kids, you understand.

Ok, back to the quilt.  You need 4 colors of fabrics, and 7 strips of each fabric.  That's about 1/2 yard of each color.  I got 1 yard of the purple, because that was my friend's first choice and I used it as the inner border color.  You need 3 1/2 yards of black.

Cut 7 2 1/2 strips of each color
Cut 20 13 inch squares of black- you will be trimming those down to 12 1/2 inch after sewing
Cut 6 4 1/2 inch strips of black for outer border

Backing fabric and whatever you want to use for binding (I haven't quilted it yet, so I can't say how much, but I'm going to guess 3 yards and about 7 2 1/2 inch strips, maybe 6?)

The only bad thing about the Studio cutter is the GIANT footprint it takes up.  Here it is sitting on my kitchen table.  No way to fold it up and store it.  It needs a permanant home somewhere in the sewing room, or if you don't mind it as a table decoration :)

I like to pin my strips so I don't have to draw a line.  I can stitch two strips at one time, just pin both strips, one after another.  You want to pin the strip about 1/4 inch from the center of the block.  You don't have to be perfect because you will be squaring up the block when you are all done sewing.  You will need 5 squares with each color as the center strip: 5 red, 5 green, 5 purple, 5 blue.

Sew along the edge of the strip.  I used my foot as a guide and just sewed along the edge of the strip
Take the strip to the iorning board
Press after sewing a whole bunch of blocks.  I get impatient and sew about half the strips and then press, but you can sew all of the first strips and then press.  The pressing is important...don't skip this part!
Sew the second strip to the first strip.  I didn't need to pin any of the other strips, but you can if you need to.  Keep sewing, flipping and pressing each time until you get to the end of the block.  You can see from the next picture, the last strip is a black strip.  There are 4 strips of color per block and one black strip.  I have 5 blocks of each center color and stuck with a pattern for each of the blocks: Red, blue, purple, green, red, blue, purple, green, so if I started with the green, the next color would be red.
Place your block on the cutting board and using your 12 1/2 inch square ruler center the diagonal line on the ruler in the center of the block.

Trim two sides.
It would be really nice to have a lazy susan revolving cutting mat that was big enough to put this block on.  I have one, but it is small.  I love it for cutting smaller blocks.  But, since this block doesn't stretch, it worked out ok.

Flip your block and square up the other two sides.

Lay out your blocks any way you like.  I chose to have the same color stripes going diagonal.  See how the green goes from top left to bottom right.  I also decided to add another row of blocks to the bottom of the quilt. 

The final quilt, turned upside down!  Why do I always do that?  Oh, well, you get the idea.  Now to be quilted over the next couple of days so it is ready to gift on Monday.  My friend isn't working, but I will give it to her daughter who goes to my school.
Before you ask, the paintings in the background were done by my dad.  The woman is my mother.  She says it looks nothing like her, but I think it is pretty good :)  She is the reason I do all of my quilting.  She is the best quilter I know!

1 comment:

Kate Brown said...

It looks beautiful. I think the pattern is Roman Stripes. I am working on a version of it for my husband in flannel. I like the way you did the piecing , alot less waste than the way I started mine.