It’s gotta be Fun. It’s gotta be Fast. And it’s gotta be Fabulous.
Okay, so maybe it’s not a sophisticated approach. But it’s a helpful one. Most of us have started complex quilts that, after awhile and only half completed, make their way to the side stacks of the sewing room. So why not use the three Fs to choose the quilts you’ll make? If a pattern looks fun at first glance, is fast to construct, and turns out fabulous in the end, you’ll feel assured that you’ll enjoy the process—and complete the quilt!
As you’ll learn in her guest post below, Victoria Eapen (of the blog Spun Sugar Quilts) creates her quilt designs from many different angles, but she always keeps the three Fs in mind. The big quilt-block patterns in her new book, Large-Block Quilts, turn out impressive designs in a jiffy—all with no tiny pieces and no tricky sewing. (And no borders too!) And take a look at her fresh color combinations. Victoria has a knack for bridging the gap between traditional and nontraditional tastes—and that, along with passing the three Fs test, makes for a win-win situation!
Gift quilts, retreat quilts, charity quilts, or quilts just because—you’ll find designs in Large-Block Quilts to make for any reason. We’re so pleased to introduce you to Victoria today, along with her beautiful, no-fuss quilts. Tell us how you set about to design your beautiful big quilt-block patterns, Victoria!
At some point in time each and every one of us can be overwhelmed with the busyness of life. I know too well myself, being a mom, a wife, and a dentist. Quilting is my creative time, play time, and relaxing time. I squeeze it in whenever I can. Sometimes I want to make a quilt I see in a book or a pattern. Other times I don’t want to spend time cutting; I’d rather just sit and sew. Precuts are perfect for this! And sometimes I’m content with making the same block over and over again or using large pieces so that the quilt comes together fast.
As I developed Large-Block Quilts, all of those quilting “angles” were mulling around in my mind. Several of the quilts were made with precuts, including “Fascination,” “Twirly Swirly,” and “Hidden Baskets.”
Other quilts were developed by sitting and sewing without a real direction at first. For instance, it wasn’t until I’d sewn more than 100 half-square triangles that I realized I had the start of a lap-sized quilt with “Good and Plenty.”
When I wanted to make a quilt fast, I dabbled in using large pieces—one of the quilts in the book, “Spin Patch,” is made with a 24″ block!
There are even a few quilts in the book that were initially designed in completely different color schemes, like “Quaint” below. But when I sewed a test block with my stash fabrics, the quilt took a different turn. I ended up making the entire quilt with that stash! Using your stash fabrics for a test block can lead to new and interesting combinations. I suggest you try testing out your stash fabrics with one of the blocks in Large-Block Quilts.
The book is divided into sensible chapters. Quilts with squares and rectangles are first, and all of the designs are fairly easy to sew. The next chapter progresses to half-square triangles, and after that come quarter-square triangles. The last chapter introduces combinations of all of the units.
HALF-SQUARE-TRIANGLE TIP: Half-square triangles are traditionally rotary cut from a square that’s ⅞" larger than the finished size. For example, if you’d like to make a half-square triangle that measures 4″ finished, you cut two fabric squares to 4⅞", cut them on the diagonal, pair the triangles, and sew with a ¼" seam. But I always cut my squares to 5″, cut them diagonally, sew the half-square triangles together, and then trim the unit to 4″. It’s an extra step, but it really improves the accuracy of your half-square triangles.
One advantage in the book is that all the blocks are large, so it doesn’t take very many blocks to make a quilt. In fact, many of the quilt tops can be made in a weekend. Ask me how I know this! Yep, I do nearly all my sewing on the weekends. Of course, sewing any time is good.
Despite the fact that it looks complicated, it’s made with just one block, which is turned in a specific way to create the secondary pattern. That’s not the only reason it’s my favorite; I’m drawn to the blue and orange shades in the quilt. I tend to gravitate toward bright, cheery floral or pastel fabrics, like 1930s reproductions. But I have a “dark side” too, when Civil War fabrics and warm autumn colors make my heart sing. I am definitely seasonally affected! The variety of fabrics used in my quilts reflect this part of me.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that there isn’t a fabric I didn’t like at one time or another. If a fabric is paired correctly with other fabrics, it can make a quilt sparkle. I encourage you to branch out of your comfort zone and use fabrics you might not normally put together. If there’s a quilt in the book that looks too daunting, just try to sew one block. Make a pillow or incorporate it into a pieced backing. The possibilities are endless.
What’s your favorite go-to idea for making quilts fast—big blocks? Strippy rows? Precuts?
Share what works for you in the comments and you could win a copy of the Large-Block Quilts eBook! A winner will be chosen one week from today; we’ll notify you by email if you’ve won. Or, purchase Victoria’s book today and download the eBook for free. Start playing with Victoria’s patterns in a matter of minutes!
You can see all of the designs from Large-Block Quilts in the slideshow below.
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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The randomly chosen winner is Amy, who writes:
“I love these innovative ways to use all kinds of blocks and make a striking quilt! My go-to timesaver idea is to use precuts, like charm packs, layer cakes and jelly rolls to save time choosing fabrics. Plus, they are just so attractive before you even use them!”
Amy, we’ll email you about your free book. Congratulations!