My latest project is a half square triangle quilt. I’ll be adding a wiiiide border so it will fit our king size bed, and may possibly add a date or a phrase or something along an edge. (Even though I’m actively working on it, it’s still in the planning stages and I’m still undecided. I’m like that sometimes.) I’m throwing in 24 squares to represent the 24 years we’ve been married so far.
My lovely niece Alexis requested this quilt after learning that the father of two of her good friends at school had been diagnosed with leukemia. We worked together to come up with a design we liked. She wanted something simple, in part because we wanted to work quickly, and it needed to be suitable for a man. I set up a Etsy favorites list with sample fabrics and possible quilt designs and we texted back and forth with ideas. We chose a Quiltcon bundle of fabrics, which I’ll try to link here once the shop is back from vacation. The colors are bright and happy, and not “girly”. We started with a plan of cheerfully random half square triangles, and I started cutting and sewing.
As I was sewing, I prayed for him and thought about him sitting under the quilt. I started to imagine our prayers laying over him, and realized I could make a border of gray along the sides and let the riot of colors in the middle visually represent our prayers. When he lays under the quilt, the colors will cover his body, so he can see our prayers for his health. My niece liked the idea, so our random quilt became more focused and found its name, the Healing quilt.
I explained the situation to my quilt shop and asked if it were possible to get “rush quilting” done. I was told they do let emergency quilts jump the line — who knew there were emergency quilts?! — and so this has become my 30th quilt instead of Kaori’s Hugs and Kisses quilt. The quilt shop was finished in one week, and it took only 30 days from the day Alexis asked me to make a quilt to the day I handed it to her. (Previously unheard of from this full time working Mom!)
So the quilt is off to its new owner in Tennessee. I don’t know if he’ll realize the backing was picked because it’s the colors of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where his kids attend school with Alexis. (I also threw in just a few extra orange and white half square triangles, not an obvious amount but maybe just enough to ensure that a true fan might feel drawn to the quilt.) I do hope this will help him see that he is loved and cherished, and that many, many people are hoping he’ll soon be well again.
And just because I couldn’t help it, I took a picture of the Healing quilt with my not-quite-finished dining room wall. I pulled many of the colors in the wall directly from the quilt fabrics.
After a LOT of quilting, the second of ten couch pillows has been completed! This pillow pattern is also from the fabulous book Pillow POP! I’m used to making half square triangles that use value to create design, but this one uses a difference in warm and cool colors. I wasn’t really sure how it was going to work out, but I do love the result!
My pillow forms are a little larger than those used in the book and I also used smaller half square triangles, so the look is a little different. I also quilted this one very, very heavily, as I expect it to be the one that sits behind my husband most often. He’s not really gentle with handmade things, so it needs to be tough. Extra quilting means extra strength!
And now my couch pillow project is on pause because my lovely niece has asked for my help in a very worth quilting project. I think the fabric will arrive this afternoon, so the timing of this finish was perfect!
This is possibly my favorite quilt, and it’s certainly the one that has had the most “how can I make one” questions as I was making it, so I thought I’d share some tips on how to make your own.
First, the story behind it: This quilt is a gift for my best friend Kim, who is engaged to Matt. I wanted to make a quilt for them that would illustrate the blending of two hearts, two lives and two families. I named it Lava Meets Sea, because when lava hits the sea it makes rock, a strong foundation.
To start yours, decide on the colors you’d like to use. To make it easy on myself, I bought bundles of fat quarters of coordinating reds and blues. Both are Colorstory Fat Quarter Bundles by Robert Kaufman. The red is called Hot Spice, the blue is Grecian Waters. This gives you a wide range of lights and darks in each color to work with, but keep in mind that this quilt is based on value (the depth of color) as much as it is on color itself. Be sure when choosing your colors and making your blocks that you continue the pattern of dark and light even as you change colors. With the bundles of colors I chose, the red bundle is darker than the blue, so notice how the colors meet in the middle of the quilt. The darker shades of the red are used with the paler shades of blue to keep the dark and light values moving through the center of the quilt where the colors meet. It is very important that you not rely on the different colors to create the effect, make sure you’re keeping the dark and light values even through the color changes. That might be easier to see from this photo where I was first laying out blocks.
Here’s my super fancy chart. Notice that this was not meant to be shared with the public, as I even wrote my optometrist appointment reminder at the top of the page. *Sigh* This makes a generous lap sized quilt, big enough to share for a nap on the couch.
If you follow my chart, you’ll want to cut 201 red squares and 195 blue squares for a total of 396 squares. Then you’ll want to make 127 red blocks, 121 blue blocks and 148 mixed blocks for the middle. (I’m not sure that I kept completely to the chart, but it is helpful when you first start laying out the blocks.) You can see how I separated my colors into two stacks each of dark, medium and light, one for the “solid” red (or blue) and another for the mixed (middle) area.
The blocks for this quilt are the most simple blocks you can make, half square triangles. Even if you’re new to sewing, with just a little practice you can make perfect blocks. There’s a full tutorial here if you need to learn the method. (I started with five inch squares just as in the tutorial.) The tutorial will explain to separate colors into dark, medium and light and then mix them together to get the contrast you need for each side of the block. By looking at the photos here, you should be able to lay out the blocks to form the diamond pattern that flows across the quilt. Remember, if you’ve made half square triangles with contrasting values, you can create many different designs just by changing the direction of the blocks. Play around with them and you may find a design you like more than this one!
I chose a plain black binding, something that wouldn’t distract from the strong pattern of the quilt.
Please let me know if you have any questions about construction, and I’d love to see your photos if you make one! Please link me up so I can see what you made. :)