Thursday, 22 January 2015

A Red and White Quilt

Last year, while staying at my parents' place, I just couldn't get comfortable in their spare bed. It was too hot for the heavy doona, and too cold with just the sheets. The next morning, groggy and caffeine deprived (my parents don't drink coffee), I told my mum she needed a quilt on the bed.
"Can you make me one?" She asked, "And can we keep with the red and white theme in the room?"
Like a bolt of lighting, almost as good as coffee, ideas started crowding my mind. I started a Pinterest board so that I could be sure we were heading in the same direction. Mum liked the sampler quilts. I'd always wanted to make a sampler quilt. Mum turns 60 this year.
Yes. This was going to be fun! I bought a grid book.

I thumbed through the pages of my Farmer's Wife book. I'd always loved the quilts made from that book, but I'd never made the jump, held back by those darned templates. I'm just not the kind of girl to start something big and long if the first step is arguing with my printer. It really kills the mood. And 6" squares? I just wasn't sure I could commit to a queen size quilt of 6" squares. I thought about making them 8 inches, but that makes the 9 patch blocks tricky, and 9 inches makes the 4 patch blocks interesting. They would have to be 12 inches. Seven down and seven across. 49 of my favourite traditional blocks that could be made with only two colours, or adjusted to work. And, most importantly, cut with a rotary cutter. Yes!


I toyed with the idea of making it a pattern, but what I really wanted was a reference, here on the blog, that could be turned to for inspiration down the track, not locked in a pdf, on a computer, to be made when we get around to it. So I've decided to write a tutorial for each block, one a week, which will take us till the end of the year. Won't you join me?

While I've been making the blocks, I've been reading about their history, many over 100 years old. Even though most are connected to a place I don't call home, I've already connected to their stories. Women preparing to pack up their homes to make a better life for their families, making special gifts for friends or newlyweds, celebrating a birth, or even just drawing inspiration from everyday life. As a woman striving to live simply and meaningfully, I often experience self doubt about the place of quilting in my life. This year I want to dive into the long history of quilt making, and celebrate this craft as an important and worthwhile act of creative expression. So I'll be sharing what I can find about the blocks and telling my own stories along the way.


I've named the quilt Red Sky at Night. I'll be giving it its own tab on my page, and adding the tutorials there in a gallery as I go. If you want to make along side me, feel free to pick just one a month, or your favourites, if you want to make something smaller. And use the hashtag #redskyatnightQAL on Instagram to share your work there.

Ooh! I feel a little tingly! A bit like I did when I committed to a whole year without fabric shopping. I usually shy away from year-long goals, but when I have embraced them, the effort and the learning has been well worth it. I look forward to sharing it with you here! Starting Monday!

Joining in with Wip Wednesday

19 comments:

  1. Hi Jodi,
    Just wondering if you have a rough idea of how much Red and How much white you think we might need... may need to go shopping for supplies on the weekend :) Can't wait to start this :)

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    1. Good question Jodi! I calculated 5 yards per colour, so I'd get a bit extra to allow for mistakes and binding. I actually bought 8 yards of each. :)

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  2. This will be so pretty in red and white. I just finished a quilt top with blocks from the FWQ book that finish at twelve inches. Some I left six inches, and I was so glad I enlarged the rest. I look forward to seeing your progress.
    http://quiltkisses.blogspot.com/2015/01/modernizing-fwq-episode-10.html

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  3. This sounds great! I've always wanted to do a red and white quilt, I'll be happy to see how yours progresses. Good luck!

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  4. What a beautiful idea! My mum turns 60 this year too, and in december... I'm not very much into samplers or traditional quilts, but I like the idea of making her a quilt all over the year and giving it in december... let's see what I came with, my brain is working now! Thank you for the inspiration!
    Your quilt is going to look gorgeous!

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  5. Wish I had read this earlieṛ Went shopping yesterday and got a lovely red but just 1 mtr of it . So tempted by this sampler serieṣ

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  6. I'm in! But gonna use scraps and white cause need what I've got! Also might fall a bit behind cause I didn't bring my sewing machine this move... I know! I had a "I'll just do hand sewing til April"-moment?! Why?!
    But I'll try keep up xx

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    1. Hurray Becky! We'll just cross our fingers that Dougie becomes a super sleeping baby by April and you'll have (almost) all the time in the world! ;) Hope the move went well! xxx

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  7. What a wonderful idea, this will be a great present for your Mum and very interesting to see how you put all the different blocks together! xx

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  8. Oh I am so so tempted! But maybe using a rainbow of solid colours with white. I just don't think I can keep up though... thinking, thinking!!

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  9. I love the red and white! It's going to be gorgeous and I'm going to be watching! Love!

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  10. This is going to be gorgeous! You're ambitious! I can't wait to follow along with you.

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  11. I have recently fallen in love with red and white quilts, so this is perfect. While I may not make it along with you (or this year), I'm glad you're making a separate page for your journey so that I may come back to it when I start mine. :) Good luck with your blocks, and I'll be following your blog posts to see how it goes!

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  12. This sounds great, I am interested to take part, and also encourage some girlfriends to sew with me. Very generous of you to put the tutorials up each week, look forward to this.

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  13. I just happened to see this on IG and started following you. This is MY YEAR of RED & WHITE QUILTS! I have plans to make an Irish Chain, a Houndstooth and a Norway quilt all in Red & White. I have the fabric for all of them, all solids, which I thought I was happy with until I saw Norway quilt blocks popping up in various Red & White prints and I was kicking myself for not having that same vision. Now reading about THIS sampler quilt and the fabric requirements I think I can just switch out the solid red I have for Norway for THIS quilt and start over with my plan for Norway. Thanks so much for sharing your idea, your talent, your MATH and tutorials. I hope to start on the first block this week.

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  14. I love the idea of a red and white quilt--but I worry about the red bleeding. Please, please, pre-wash your fabrics, and use a couple of dye catchers. In my experience it is best to use caution. Surprisingly, I have found that Kona's blues are often the ones to bleed the most, for those of you who may use blue instead of red.

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  15. I'm interested to know where you source Kona solids from in Australia?

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  16. I've just seen this QAL and I'm so inspired to start, what a fabulous idea to write about the history too. Just lovely. I've subscribed to your blog now too! Looking forward to more inspiring posts :-)

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I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx