Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Small Wonder Quilt

Over the summer last year, I visited a bunch of family members in Minnesota. At my grandma's house, hung casually over the stairwell- I found the most beautiful quilt I'd ever seen. It was my favorite quilt she'd ever made. Usually I see quilts and I want them (without the effort of making them, thanks) but I looked at this quilt and thought, "I want to make that."
I loved the bright, jewel tones that my grandma had used and the way they contrasted with the creamy background - but I could picture it, almost instantly, in my own scraps. Fabrics I'd hoarded and saved over the years. The thought made me dreamy and excited.
The quilt was ambitious for me, full of small pieces and points that lined up, but I was determined to make it- and not just that, but to make it big enough for my bed. So I took a bunch of pictures, and when I got home, I sat down with my graphing paper and calculator.

I actually love the process of designing a quilt. Often- if I can't get my mind off of a grisly thought or recent horrible news article as I'm falling asleep- I distract myself by trying to do quilt math in my head.
(Okay, if I want the quilt to be a hundred inches wide, and I have a 5 inch block, minus a half inch per block, I need 22 blocks. If each block is a pinwheel, made of four half-square triangles, then each HST needs to be...)
Let's just say, I did an insane amount of math to figure this quilt out. It probably isn't really that tricky, but - give me a break!- I was an English major in college.
I designed it to be a bit different than my grandma's version of the quilt, after all- but it is perfect. It's easily the most beautiful thing I've ever made. It's so huge that I couldn't quilt it myself, but I asked the long-arm quilter who did it to just keep it simple with  randomly spaced hand-drawn lines, to give it the simplicity it deserved and lend attention to my almost-perfectly pieced little triangles.
It isn't quite a square, but it nearly is, one side is just about 6 inches longer than the other. I also became pretty paranoid that I would finish the quilt, wash it (shrink it) and find that it was just barely too small for my bed, so I over compensated. This quilt turned out gigantic! It will easily fit a king-sized bed. I also added a big border around all four sides, again- trying to make sure it was big enough for my bed. I wasn't 100% sure of my math abilities!

Are you sick of pictures of this beautiful quilt, yet? (Impossible!)
Okay, now using poor iPhone pictures, I will give you a tutorial on how to make your own Small Wonder Quilt. (By which I mean, I will not, you can sew these squares together. I will give you the MATH to make your own!)

The quilt is made of four different blocks. I was surprised that the best way to make each star is by dividing it into quarters! 
Then, when I decided I wanted each square (around the pinwheels) to be complete and not go to the edge of the quilt, I had to design "edge blocks."
I'll give you the basics for the quilt, and the measurements to make either a throw or queen:

First, here are your blocks:

The two half-star blocks are trimmed to 6.5 x 12.5 " (6 x 12 finished), the other two blocks are both 12.5" square (12" finished).
They are made entirely of squares cut to 3.5" 
I made all my half-square triangles (HSTs) based on {this method} to make four at a time. I cut the original squares out 5.25" inches.

Block 1 is made of 11 HSTs and 5 white squares.

Block 2 is made of 8 HSTs and 8 white squares. 

Star Halves are made of 3 HSTs and 5 white squares.

Here's an example of how it's laid out (Sorry I was terrible at taking pictures during the actual sewing-process.)



To Make a Small Wonder Quilt Throw (60 x 72"):

Block 1: 16
Block 2: 4
Half-Star 1: 4
Half-Star 2: 4

3.5" White Squares: 152
HSTs: 208
Two-toned HSTs: 24
If you make the HSTs using the four-at-once method, you'll need to cut out 52 white and 58 colored 5.25" squares.

Note, you will also need 4 pieces of white fabric, about 6.5 x 12.5" to go in each corner of the quilt.)

To Make a Small Wonder Quilt Queen (96 x 84):
(I like my quilts extra big, so I added a border in addition to this. If you are worried about shrinking or anything, I would recommend adding a while border to some or all sides.)

Block 1: 36
Block 2: 12
Half-Star 1: 6
Half-Star 2: 6

3.5" White Squares: 336
HSTs: 516
Two-toned HSTs: 48
If you make the HSTs using the four-at-once method, you'll need to cut out 129 white and 141 colored 5.25" squares.

Note, you will also need 4 pieces of white fabric, about 6.5 x 12.5" to go in each corner of the quilt.)

As far as method goes, I sewed together four blocks at a time using a really scant 1/4" seam so I had lots of wiggle room to square them up perfectly to 12.5"
I ironed all my seams open. 
It was actually a pretty easy quilt, considering that it's just squares!
If you make this quilt, please comment with a link or tag me on instagram! @becky.pitcher. 
If anyone notices any problems with my math (inevitable!) please correct me so I can fix it in this "pattern."

Good luck and happy sewing!


Nana B said...

It turned out beautiful Beckey. I think you should post a photo of my quilt so people can see the differences and what you saw that started your journey to this wonderful quilt.

Carol said...

It is really beautiful!!

Jocelyn said...

It's beautiful! Wow!

Lindsey said...

That is the prettiest quilt! i love the colors and i love the design!

MARCIE said...

You are amazing! Your quilt i awesome! I'm so proud of you!

Abby said...

So beautiful!! Really great job :)

Angela D said...

I don't like most scrap quilts because they look like they're just using stuff up, but this one is lovely! I like the simplicity but how it still has the traditional quilty shapes. This shall be my project when I'm not baby-prepping (or later, caring for baby).

Angela D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.