Monday, 11 May 2015

Spider Legs - Red Sky at Night Quilt

Because I sew instead of do housework, I've developed quite a a symbiotic relationship with the spiders in my house. They are mostly daddy long legs, and they are really very good at catching the billion flies that love to visit my home because I have children that leave doors open, and I live next to a sheep paddock. Every so often, when I feel grosed out by bug debris, I'll vacuum them up, but they come straight back. And I don't mind.
There's a particularly beautiful spider, that until last week, (when someone who shall remain nameless, kindly cleaned my front verandah for me) was living just outside my sewing room window. I think it was a St Andrew's Cross, but we just called her Charlotte. And she reminded me exactly of this block. And she encouraged me to keep making.

I was reading Charlotte's Web to the kids earlier in the year, when I was planning this quilt along. It has become one of my favourite children's books, and the more meaningful to me, the older I get. I've written here before that in my twenties, I really did expect to change the world. When I became a mum, it felt like one long experience of failure. The washing basket was never empty (still isn't), grocery shopping happened when we'd been living on beans and eggs for three days, and I certainly never made it to the cobwebs. But Charlotte made me feel like if I just used my creativity and intelligence and wit and was open to the little opportunities around me, I could make a big difference, even in one little life. And that even the little life of a pig was a meaningful investment. She reminded me that making quilts and tea and memories could be the most wonderful way to spend a life.

This block is an altered version of one found in The Farmer's Wife. I couldn't find it in Brackman's Quilt Block Encyclopedia, nor anywhere else online, apart from in Farmer's Wife quilts. But I wanted to keep it anyway as a special one for me.

Did you enjoy your break from half square triangles last week? I hope so, because these ones are teeny!


You will need:

Red: Four 4.5" squares, eight 2.5" squares, eight 1.5" squares, twelve 2" squares cut in half to make make half square triangles. (Do you hate me yet?!)

White: One 2.5" square, eight 1.5" squares, twelve 2" squares cut in half diagonally to make half square triangles.

1. Sew the red triangles to the white triangles. Press seams open. Trim to 1.5".

2. We're going to start the block by making the centre star. Lay out as below, with the 2.5" white square in the centre. And small red squares in the corners.

3. Sew the star points together. Press open.

4. Add the side points to the star's centre. Press the seams towards the centre.

5. Sew the red corners to each side of the top and bottom star points. Sew the three rows together to make your star.

6. Next we're going to make the eight 'legs'. Arrange the arrows as below, with the white triangles pointing together and a white and red square on opposite corners.

7. Sew the top two pieces together, then the bottom two. Press towards the square. Then sew these two pieces together.

8. Make the other seven identical!

9. Arrange the little arrows/legs in a square as below, with 2.5" squares in the corners. Sew them together.

10. Repeat for each corner of the block. Then lay out like this:

11. Sew together in rows. Press towards the whole squares. Sew the three rows together to complete your block!

I loved making this one, but I did cut it out and sew those baby triangles together a few weeks ago. So maybe if you break the steps up, it won't seem so daunting.

This morning I put most of mine up on my design wall, and decided I really liked them on point. What about you? If we sew them together on point, we need only 41 blocks to make a queen size bed, rather than 49. I'm still going to make the 49, with tutorials and stories, and then I'll see what I like best. If I go with this layout, I'll use the extras for the back. I just thought I'd let you know now, in case you want to pick and choose what you make for the front. It might make the QAL feel more manageable to take a week off now and then!
FYI: 50 blocks, on point, make a king size quilt, in case you want to go really big!

E.B White finishes Charlotte's Web with this:

It is not often that someone comes along that is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both. 

Ah, that makes me smile every time!


  1. Wow Jodi the blocks are looking really cool :-)
    I don't let anyone kill the Daddy long legs in our house because spiders are apparently territorial so they keep the bad ones like White tails away! We saw a Red back on our camping trip at easter. Creepy!

  2. Beautiful Jodi I just love how you think and express it so beautifully! Xx

  3. And a true & wonderful friend you are who is also a brilliant writer & amazingly creative & talented quilter. Really you are super Jodi. Love this block. If you wind up with spare blocks you could also make pillow covers with a quilt block & solid or cushion covers to put on the bed or on a chair if the room has one.

  4. Yes I did "hate" you but it's done!
    I too don't kill the long as I can still see them, I'm okay with that

  5. Love this Jodi and really enjoying seeing all these come together!

  6. This is a beautiful block, I have lots of daddy long legs in my house too .... crafty people aren't meant to do housework anyway.

  7. I loved no HST's but this block is so cute, I'll manage LOL

    Everyone that sees my blocks fall in love with them. You've picked some good ones so I'm excited to continue to follow along and sew.

    Peggy in NJ, USA

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  10. Hey Jodi just doing this now heads up you need 12 of the 1.5inch red squares xx 8 for the legs and 4 for the star.


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