Sparks Baby Quilt Pattern

A little while back, I mentioned that I’d be posting the pattern for  the Sparks Baby Quilt. Here it finally is!  I’ve learned that writing up patterns feels like real homework to me… no fun!  But I do want to start doing it more.  I feel like the more I do it, the easier it will get.

Let me preface by saying that I hope that this pattern works out for you.  It’s the first quilt pattern I’ve written up and I’m generally not someone who follows patterns. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s mistakes and/or confusions.  Please drop me a note or comment if you have thoughts or suggestions for changes.  Also, do let me know if you make the quilt!  I would love to see your results.

Ok – here’s the pattern!

Sparks Baby Quilt

Sparks Baby Quilt

The finished quilt measures 46.5″ x 60″

Needed Fabric:

Blocks – all of mine are different fabrics, but that’s up to you!
- 20 3.5″ square centers
- 20 frame sides,  3.5″ x 6″
- 20 frame tops and bottoms, 8.5″ x 6″

Sashing – I used off white Kona cotton:
- 15 strips of  2.5″ x 8.5″
- 4 strips of  2.5″ x 38.5“

Border – I used off white Kona cotton:
-2 strips of  4.5″ X 48.5” for side border
-2 strips of  6.5″ x 46.5” for top and bottom border

CUTTING:

Let’s do the easy part first.

Cut the sashing and border

Sashing & Borders cut out

Sashing:
15 strips of  2.5″ x 8.5″
4 strips of  2.5″ x 38.5“

Border:
2 strips of  4.5″ X 48.5” for side border
2 strips of  6.5″ x 46.5” for top and bottom border

Then, cut out the fabric for the blocks

Cut centers:
-20 centers,  3.5″ square.

For my centers I did lots of fussy cutting.   After measuring and cutting my first square, I like to then use it as a template for cutting out the rest of the centers.  Some people hate templates, but I find them helpful for fussy cutting.

Fussy Cutting

Using the template makes it easier for me to see which part of the fabric I want to cut out.  Make sure to use the same square as the template all along, and not to trim its edges as you go.  You don’t want the squares you are cutting to gradually change a bit in size.

Cut frames:
- 20 frame sides,  3.5″ x 6″
- 20 frame tops and bottoms, 8.5″ x 6″

Cut Fabric

Next, cut the fabric for the block frames in two.

I do it randomly, but first I lay them out and do some design planning before I decide which squares will be cut which way.  Here the fabric is stuck up on my (tri-colored, yes it’s just three pieces of felt!) design wall so that I see how it will all look.

Design decisions

There are a couple of things I consider before cutting the fabric for the frames in two.  I wouldn’t want to find down the road that all of my oranges have the center in the upper right.  Or all of the blocks that I want on the left edge of the quilt have centered centers. That’s wordy, but I hope you see what I mean.

Also, keep in mind that some of your blocks have a right side up (unless you didn’t fussy cut) – so you can’t flip them around later to change the position of the center.

If you aren’t comfortable cutting the frames randomly, I have broken it down like this:

Block options

8 blocks – off set top & bottom, off set sides
- Cut 8 of the 3.5″ x 6″ down to 3.5″ x 2.5″ & 3.5″ x  3.5″
- Cut 8 of 8.5″ x 6″ down to 8.5″ x 2.5″ & 8.5″ x 3.5″

When piecing these 8 blocks put:
- 2 centers in upper left
- 2 centers in lower left
- 2 centers in upper right
- 2 centers in lower right

4 blocks – off set top & bottom, centered sides:
Cut four  3.5″ x 6″ strips down to 3.5″ x 3″ and 3.5″ x 3″
Cut four  8.5″ x 6″ strips down to 8.5″ x 2.5″ and 8.5″ x 3.5″

When piecing these 4 blocks put:
2  centers higher in the block
2  centers lower in the block

4 Blocks – centered top & bottom, off set sides
Cut four of the 3″ x 6″ strips down to 3.5″ x 2.5″ and 3.5″ x 3.5″
Cut four of 8.5″ x 6″ down to 8.5″ x 3″ and 8.5″ x 3″

When piecing these four blocks put:
2 centers to the left
2 centers to the right

4 Blocks – centered top & bottom, centered sides
Cut four of the 3″ x 6″ down to 3.5″ x 3″ and 3.5″ x 3″
Cut 4 of 8.5″ x 6″ down to 8.5″ x 3″ and 8.5″ x 3″

All four of these blocks are pieced the same way.

PIECING:

Piece all the blocks, randomly or as indicated above.

Ready to peiceStep 1Step 2

Here are all of my pieced blocks:

Finished Blocks

Next, piece the sashing.

First attach the blocks to one another with the fifteen strips of  2.5″ x 8.5″ until they are put together in 5 rows.

Connecting blocks with sashingRows with sashing

Then continue by attaching all the rows to each other with the four strips of  2.5″ x 38.5“.

Sashing 2Sashing 3

Finally, piece the border.

Borders

First sew on the sides, the 2 strips of  4.5″ X 48.5”.

Borders 2

Then sew on the top and bottom, the 2 strips of  6.5″ x 46.5”.

Congratulations! You have a finished quilt top!

Finished Quilt top

From here, if you need to, check out this post for links on how to baste, quilt and bind!  Hope that you enjoyed the pattern!

Babies on my quilts.

I couldn’t resist.  These photos have all shown up in the past couple of days… so it couldn’t be helped. I mean, really, TWO sets of twins!  Oh how I love to see the gifts enjoyed.

Sam & Harry

Fay week 15 136_NEW

Molly&Bridget

The Bushfire Quilt project

Tia over at Camp Follower Baby Lady is organizing a lot of quilts being made for the victims of the fires in Victoria, Australia. It’s such a quick and easy way for us to help out in our own way. She’s having people make wonky stars which I’d never done and is so much fun and a great way to use up scraps! I might have to make more of them…

Stars

Please consider making some yourself ! Just head on over here for more details.

Flora & Fauna Quilt all finished!

And now you know the name I came up with for the biggest quilt I’ve made!  I think that it’s perfectly fitting because there’s lots of both flora and fauna in the quilt.  And that’s it.  Don’t have to dig too much to get to the meaning! Ha!

Flora & Fauna Quilt

Flora & Fauna Quilt

I have to say… I’m proud of this one.  I think that it’s my favorite quilt that I’ve made.  I put this one together block by block and, to me, it really represents the progress I’ve made in my quilt design. Improvisationally pieced, lots and lots of different fabrics, and a balance with solids. These are all things that I’ve really worked on and have all come together in this one quilt. This one is going to be hard to part with! But it will be very near by and I will visit it often.

A quick mention ’cause the photos aren’t really true… the dark solid is chocolate brown, not black…

Flora & Fauna Quilt

For the back I put together something that worked with the white fabric I had.

Flora & Fauna Quilt - back

This has to be the biggest log cabin block I’ll ever make! It’s huge!

Flora & Fauna Quilt - back detail

This quilt also reminds me how much I enjoy blogging and recording my progress. Back on November 5th of last year I posted this photo of fabric that I had pulled for my next quilt.

The next quilt

And here we are, three months later and (plus or minus some fabrics) it’s finished. I really just find the whole process so rewarding and satisfying. From raw fabric to completed quilt!

Flora & Fauna Quilt detail

Lots of cuddly quilt

Starting new projects

Since I’m stitching on the binding of the huge improv quilt (I’m going to have to come up with a good name for it!) it was time to get started on a couple of new projects!

First, I started some blocks for my mother’s quilt. 6 down, 29 more to go!

Beginnings of Mom's Quilt

I’m really enjoying making these blocks in my usual improv way, but using colors and tones I’m not prone to pick . It’s really fun to be both in my comfort zone and out of it at the same time. If that makes any sense at all…

Otherwise, I’ve officially fallen in love with spiderweb quilts. Ashley who’s in Block Party! with me asked us all to make her two blocks. Didn’t she pick amazing fabrics?!? Who doesn’t love red and aqua.

Block Party - February

After making them I was so taken with both the process and the look, that I knew I had to make a quilt of them for myself.  I actually took the time to sort through all of my scraps before starting.  This block is the perfect way to use up the tiniest bits of fabric!

Spiderwebs

It’s feeling a bit more chaotic than most of my quilts, but I just love it all the same. It takes me about an hour to make one block (I’ve only made four so far!) so this is going to be a long term project. And it’s destined to be a lap quilt I think…

I’ve been using this tutorial if any of you would care to start making some.  But look out!  It’s addictive.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

A little close up. I’ll never tire of fussy cutting Heather Ross fabrics.

Spiderwebs close up

Hope that you’ve all had a great weekend!

Quilting

With my new visitors from Sew, Mama, Sew! I have been getting the same question quite a bit:  How do you do that “all over squiggly” quilting?  I do it on my normal little sewing machine, and you can do it too!  It’s called free motion quilting – and that pattern is called stippling.  I’m certainly no expert, and there’s lots of other info out there about free motion quilting, but I thought I’d type up a post, with all my thoughts and tips, to direct people to.

Quilting

First off, I want to mention that it’s not that hard. I feel like before I did any free motion quilting, everything I read about it scared me off. People made it sound like it was incredibly tough to master.  But it’s not.  It takes practice, but beyond that, it’s something that anyone can do.

The nuts and bolts: you use a darning foot on your machine, and you put your feed dogs down.  From there, practice lots on quilt sandwich scraps before diving into your first quilt top.

Other things that help:

- Always set your needle to stop in the down position so that you can stop and start as much as you need to.
-The key to even stitches is to find the balance between the speed you move the quilt and the speed of your needle.
- For me, going fast makes my stitches more even – but from what I’ve read that’s not the case for everyone.
- If you run out of thread in your bobbin in the middle of your quilt, just keep going from the same spot, making sure to sew a few locking stitches over where you left off.
- I check that the back of the quilt looks right A LOT. Tension problems often don’t show on the front.
- If you’re quilting a big quilt, having a table to your left to hold the weight of the quilt is incredibly helpful. You can see what I mean in this photo.

Quilting

Beyond all that I’ve mentioned, there is an amazing flickr discussion here that gives you all the tips and tricks you could ever need. And Amanda Jean put up a GREAT video tutorial here. Both of those helped me a lot.

The other question that I’m often asked is how I organize my quilting… meaning, where on the quilt do I start and how do  I work my way through the quilt.  I have an incredibly tough time explaining it in words, so I did a drawing for you! Here it is:

How I Quilt

I hope that’s clear! I don’t start in the middle as is often suggested, but this seems to work for me. The first couple of quilts I stippled would get some yucky puckering in the back but now I pin LIKE CRAZY (I mean, I think I might OVER pin!) when I’m basting and that problem has stopped.

Quilting has come to be my favorite step of quilt making. I still get a thrill every time I sew over a seam and “unite” the quilt top a bit more. I love watching it all come together. It’s so much fun!

Sew, Mama, Sew! Doll quilt sew along

Today part 1 of my 4 part doll quilt sew along of this little quilt is up over at Sew, Mama, Sew!

Completed Quilt

Maybe you’d like to join in? Would love it if you did!  Drop me a comment if you’re sewing along – I’d love to see what you all make!

Got the HUGE quilt top all finished!

It’s big.  It’s reeeeally big.  Right now it’s 106″ x 95″.  My goal is for 104″ x 93″ when it’s all washed so I went just a bit bigger… and it’s BIG! But I love it.  I really can’t wait to see this one all finished.

Finished HUGE quilt top

I’m a bit scared about tackling the quilting on my little sewing machine, but I’m just gonna go for it!!  First I need to make the back though.

Here’s a couple of my favorite blocks in it:

Favorite Block 1

Favorite Block 2

Blue & Green + Yellow Baby Quilt

I just finished up another baby quilt. I’d mentioned before that this color scheme was requested so it forced me to leave behind the comfort of my orange or pink. I am so pleased with the results! I really find this quilt so vibrant and bright. I hope that it is well loved!

Blue&Green+Yellow Baby Quilt

Blue&Green+Yellow Columns

The back:

Blue&Green+Yellow baby quilt - back detail

And a detail of it all cozy and folded up!

Blue&Green+Yellow baby quilt - all folded up

Sew Mama Sew Editorial Board

I was thrilled and honored when Kristen & Beth from Sew Mama Sew contacted me asking if I’d like to be on their editorial board for the next couple of months… Yes, please!

They did an amazingly nice intro post about me today. I’ll be doing a sew along for them next month so I hope you’ll be sewing along with me then!

-Alissa

Page 40 of 47« First...102030«3839404142»...Last »

MY BOOKS:

Modern Minimal

Block Party

I’m a member of the MQG!

QuiltCon

I sew on a Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP

Archives

Copyright ©2008 - 2014 Alissa Haight Carlton - All Rights Reserved