We’ve been browsing some of our photos and patterns and thought we might remind you about these two red and white chain quilts, the pattern for which can be found here. These two late 19th century quilts belong to Ann and Barbara. Ann’s is a coverlet (no wadding) and is simply quilted with a crosshatch design. Barbara’s has been well worn – the Turkey red squares have all but disappeared except at the edges which were presumably out of the sun. Hers is quilted with a simple curves and cross-hatch pattern.
These chain quilts are really quick and easy to make if you want a graphic quilt for a bed or a wall-hanging and are ideal for the men in your life who don’t want anything fussy or floral. Make them in plains or tone-on-tone prints for the graphic effect. Try different colours too rather than sticking with red and white.
For the younger ones perhaps a print instead of the white – dinosaurs, tractors, trains, spaceships . . .
Or for girly girls try prettier prints with fairies, unicorns, flowers . . .
Fussy-cut big prints can look effective as well and the colour you choose for the smaller squares can make quite a difference to the look of the quilt.
If you want to have a play with this design you can download a colouring sheet here or, of course, you could buy the pattern and make one for real!
Hannah Hauxwell was an amazing woman who lived on a remote farm in Yorkshire almost entirely cut off from the outside world until a TV documentary was made about her in 1972. She died in February last year and next month Tennants will be auctioning the quilts from her house. You can find out a little more about them (and Hannah) in this blogpost from UK Quilters United.
I was really taken with the six-pointed star quilt in one of the photos I found on the auctioneers website and wondered about making something similar. At first I thought the blocks were the standard square, but when I tried to draw the star I realised that the blocks had to be rectangles – the star is based on a hexagon and won’t fit into a square. Back to the drawing board (or EQ anyway!).
The original quilt has a lot of blocks and a bright pink binding. I have just drawn a quilt with a few blocks, but have tried to keep those blocks fairly small – 4.5 x 5.25 inches as I think they would need to be (whisper it quietly!) hand-pieced. At which point I decided that no way was I going to be making this quilt except in the virtual world. So I thought I would give you the chance to do a bit of hand-piecing and you can download the templates and a quilt to colour here. Have fun!
Aunt Dinah is a variation of the Ohio Star – it has our featured ‘Mary’s Triangles units in the four corners. You can download the instructions for making the block here.
When I first coloured in this block I came up with this
Bu I felt poor Aunty looked a bit dull, so (as it is November and therefore nearly December) I decided to jazz her up a bit with some red and a few snowflakes and stars.
Like Ohio Star this block can be bit ho-hum just straight set on its own and you can lose the stars – they become a pieced sashing.
But add plain sashing between the blocks or alternate the colours of the stars and things look a better.
Or you could turn the corners of the block around and then alternate these with the original, changing the colours of the block as well
Even ‘dull’ Aunt Dinah doesn’t look too dull when given this makeover
Of course, given the time of year, you could always make something a lot smaller –
– give it a border, and maybe ‘pointy’ ends . . . ?
Or you could head over to our Payhip shop and buy a pattern to make a runner – we featured it way back in 2014.
This is a very similar block to last month’s Grandmother’s Choice – the only difference is that the centre rectangles have been split into two squares. You can download the instructions for the Spinning Tops block here.
Try different ways of colouring the block – it can look quite different in pastel shades for example –
Because we have coloured the corners differently and because alternate units are turned the blocks are not symmetrical which means you can have a lot of fun turning them around – alternate blocks, or alternate rows or . . . mixing them with alternate Grandmother’s Choice blocks.
Or you set them on point, with or without sashing. This is what the pastel ones look like –
Have fun playing with these blocks. You can download a blank quilt to colour here – you can print lots of copies, cut them up and design your own unique quilt.
Quite a number of the blocks using the Mary’s Triangles units are 5-patch (sometimes known as uneven 9-patch) blocks. For this reason they are best made at sizes that are multiples of 5 – and 10 inches is usual. This month’s block is Grandmother’s Choice and is a typical (and simple) 5-patch block. You can download the instructions to make this block here.
The block on its own just set straight together is not very exciting, but if you alternate the colours in the block it starts to look a little more interesting.
Add in another colour perhaps, as sashing?
Or go pastel?
Or on point with sashing and cornerstones? It is starting to look very different.
Enjoy playing with this quilt – change the colours around – it looks quite different done in brights and lights for instance.
This is the first of our simple blocks which has Mary’s Triangles units and, as with most blocks with these units, they are in the corners.
You can download the free pattern for this block here, along with a few ideas for quilts.
Just because the block has the triangles on the outside doesn’t mean that you can’t turn the units around and make a completely different block.
Notice that the colours have been reversed as well. If you mix these two colourings in a quilt you get something far more interesting than just the blocks on their own.
Or you can put the blocks on point; all the same block but with a dark background –
– it looks far more dramatic than the light background.
But what happens if we turn those corner units so the triangles point outwards?
And then set into a quilt, with alternate colourings –
Its a very different quilt to the one we started out with.
The colouring (placement of lights and darks) of the block as well as the orientation of the corner units can have quite a dramatic effect on the appearance of the block and the quilts. Here’s a slide show of a few ideas –
This little unit crops up in a number of blocks but is also a block in its own right. It has a variety of names including Jewel Box (or Block), Squared Triangles, Square and Triangles and the one I’ve picked – Mary’s Triangles.
You can make these units one at a time by cutting the individual squares and triangles or you can make two at a time with a very nifty method I read about so long ago I can no longer where, or when, but it has become an accepted method – it involves no triangles! You can download the Tutorial sheet for the unit here.
As with all units based on Half-Square Triangles you can have great fun with colour placement, scrappy looks and turning those units round. Here’s just a few ideas to get you started.
Start off by just putting the units together in a straight set, then change the lights and darks around, turn the blocks around, add in another colour for a bit of contrast . . .
And here’s one I made earlier
What will you make? Download the instructions for Mary’s Triangles here – it has a few quilt ideas and a blank quilt for you to colour in or play with.