Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

That Quilt I’ve Been Meaning to Make

For several years I’ve been noodling on a quilt idea for my spare bedroom. It was born out of a project I took on way back in 2006. A friend was opening a yarn shop and asked me to design and make some unique project bags for her to sell. I came up with several prototypes. One of the ones that I didn’t follow through on has a quilted front and back. When I was auditioning fabrics, I bought ½ yards of several shades of blue, aqua and teal. When I saw the pile of scraps, I thought they would make an interesting sort of variegated quilt top. But I did move forward with another bag design, and so for the next six months or so I was busy making project bags, and matching accessory bags. The fabric sat in the bottom of a chest, nearly forgotten, while I kept buying new fabric for new ideas.
In 2007, I bought a bunch of yellow fat quarters for the star on a Christmas wall hanging. Of course I couldn’t be content with just two colors; I bought eight different fabrics and again was left with a pile of remnants. About this time I started thinking about that pile of blue scraps as sky colors, and these yellow as sun colors. Now this idea was really starting to take shape.
I decided I didn’t want a regular pattern to the quilt; I was going to go for something more abstract – dare I say even cubist. So I started cutting those blue scraps into 2 x 2 inch squares. Now a 2 x 2 inch square yields a 1½ x 1½ inch block once joined with all those other squares. I calculated I would need about 2,000 of those little babies to make a full size quilt. Low and behold I didn’t have enough material, so I went to one of my favorite online fabric websites, and ordered about a dozen more ½ yards in assorted colors. When they arrived I eagerly cut them into tiny little bits. Then reality set it. I was going to have to sew all those tiny little bits together. It was going to take days and days. It made me so tired just to think about it that I stuffed all those little pieces into some of those plastic baggies that all crafters can’t see to do without, piled the lot into a lovely project bag and forgot about it.
Time passes. About a month ago I realized I was spending an awful lot of time working with yarn and sewing for other folks, but not doing much of the sewing I wanted to do for myself. Maybe it was time to pull out some of those quilt projects I had designed and cut out but not assembled. Yes, I actually have several of these projects sitting around. First on the list is that spare room quilt. I’m not much of a computer sketch artist, but I’m hoping it will end up looking something like this. For those that care about such things, the quilt will be 13 blocks wide and 15 blocks long. Each block will be comprised of 16 of those little 1½ by 1½ squares. That’s a finished quilt top that is 78 x 90 inches – perfect for a full size bed. And yes, that is 3,120 tiny little squares. Sigh… I have started. I have ten of the 195 six inch blocks completely. Wish me luck won’t you?


  1. Whoa! I admire your motivation on this! Such tiny squares ... makes me wonder, how will you quilt it

    Love the color choices, by the way!

  2. Great question, and one that may cause the finished quilt top to sit for a bit after it is pieced. Perhaps echo quilting outward from the central sun theme? Then again, I can see the "grass" thread painted in tall spikes, the "sky" tightly stippled to make it recede, and then some other detail quilting for the sun - perhaps even a little trapunto to make it stand away from the sky.