One of my favorite quilts is a Jewel Box Quilt and one only has to do an internet search for Jewel Box Quilt to find many, many beautiful quilts. The scrappy quilts are Jewel Boxes, but also wonderful are the ones done in coordinated colorways.
Sometimes the inspiration for a quilt is the fabric one has and for some reason (maybe four granddaughters) I have collected a fair amount of pink fabric including an entire bolt of Riley Blake Bee Basics pink plus another large piece of Riley Blake Crayola pink. Thus, the inspiration for a Jewel Box Quilt came my way.
This is the typical piecing configuration for the Jewel Box Block and can be found in the AccuQuilt Library as Block PQ10554:
Playing around with this in EQ, this is how this block appears in a quilt:
However, as I began to work making four patches and half square triangles with my pink fabric, I found that I had four of the same fabric together in the corners as you can see with the dark green and dark blue in the layout above. And when I mixed the lighter pinks into the four patches to get a mixture in the corners, the chain effect created by the 4-patch subunits was completely washed out. I went back to the drawing board.
As it turned out, the two pinks mixed nicely with the triangles and the darker pink worked much better to create the chain effect. And to get a nicer chain effect so that the solid square in the middle balanced the triangles, sashing and cornerstones were added. In the end, the original design was made into two separate blocks – one with squares and one with triangles as seen below.
This is still a work in progress, but so far I am pleased with it.
Uneven 9-Patch Block:
Work in Progress:
This is one of my favorite quilts. The fabric I used came from my Mother. She always wanted to make a Scottie dog quilt. She had this little one yard or maybe a little more blue fabric and in making this quilt, I used every last scrap of it. But when it was time to bind it, there wasn’t enough fabric. Amazingly, I found a perfect blue (from Mother’s stash that I inherited) to match the blue in the Scottie dog fabric.
I used the AccuQuilt GO! 8″ and 12″ Qubes to make this quilt, but you can use individual dies or rotary cutting.
Connector Block Cutting Instructions
2″ Finished Square (Cut 48 black dot, cut 48 light blue)
- Shape 2 – AccuQuilt GO! 8″ Qube
- Rotary Cut 2-1/2″ square
4″ Finished Square (Cut 24 light blue, cut 6 medium blue)
- Shape 1 – AccuQuilt GO! 8″ Qube or
- Rotary cut 4-1/2″ square
Applique Block Cutting Instructions
6″ Finished Half Square Triangle (cut 24 light blue)
- Shape 3 – AccuQuilt GO! 12″ Qube or
- Rotary cut 6-7/8″ Square and cut once diagonally to make two finished 6″ HSTs
6″ Finished Quarter Square Triangle (cut 24 black dot)
- Shape 4 – AccuQuilt GO! 12″ Qube or
- Rotary cut 7-3/16″ square and cut twice diagonally to make 4 finished 6″ QSTs
6″ Finished Square for embroidery (cut 6 light blue)
Border Cutting Instructions
- Inner Border – cut 5 strips 2-1/2″ x WOF (width of fabric)
- Outer Border – cut 6 strips 3-1/2″ x WOF
- Binding – cut 6 strips 2-1/2″ x WOF
Quilt Layout and Construction
A lot has changed around here. We started an addition to our house in May, and it is now complete. School started in August as a virtual school only. With five grandchildren here in town and all in school, we have taken on the job of working with our oldest granddaughter in the 8th grade. She has some special needs because of the four brain surgeries she had as a toddler.
I told you yesterday that I had used the Comfort Quilt that Barbara designed to make a bed quilt. Our house addition was a downstairs master bedroom and while there are lots of quilts all over the house, they are not bed size quilts. With a new bed downstairs, there was an urgent need for a quilt for the bed. I decided to do something that I thought would be easy, but that turned out not to be the case.
The quilt was sized to comfortably fit a queen size bed without going all the way to the floor. I laid out the top and it seemed just perfect. I had a King Size wool quilt batting which I love for bed quilts – warm in winter and cool in summer so I used that when I quilted it. When it was finished, I threw it in the washer and dryer to soften it up.
What a surprise when it came out ten inches shorter and narrower than when I put it in. I have used wool batting in the past and this never happened. I don’t know if this was a different brand from my past batting as I don’t make many bed quilts. I still love wool batting, but will have to figure out how to shrink it before quilting next time.
The quilt is beautiful – just too small to be comfortable for sleeping – although we’re using it until I can make a quilt that fits. I am sure this one will fit a standard double bed perfectly.
This is the quilt and you can see that the drop is just not enough to be comfortable.
This has been a strange time with the constant fear and uncertainty of the pandemic ever looming. For me the semi-isolation is probably the hardest in terms of creativity. It seems there are lots of ideas, but then little motivation to act on them. Back in March I finally spent a lot of time making masks for my grandchildren and the neighbor children. And there have been some finishes around here.
Sherry Gray is always around to help with binding and encouraging words. Bea Lee has also been fun for conversation and inspiration. Most of our conversations are via text, but that’s how it was before the pandemic. I am going to show you just a few quilts at a time over the next few days.
The following pictures are quilts made from a set of blocks that I made over 10 years ago. There were well over a hundred blocks. There was a time when Drunkard’s Path blocks were one of my favorites. That, along with a subscription to Batiks Etc., monthly batik pack kept me going. I was working full time in those days and made a block or two a day. I showed the blocks to Sherry. She and her husband are absolute color gurus and they took on the task of sorting the blocks for color combinations and then Sherry stitched them together. I quilted them, and she did the binding. If only you could see them in person. They are gorgeous and have been gifted to my three granddaughters who live here.
This post is a little off the topic of quilting, but I’ll tell you about my new applique toy at the end. Yesterday the second grader came after school with the condition that he read for 30 minutes. However, for some reason his book didn’t make it to his bookbag so we had to find something to read here. At first I didn’t think I would find a chapter book that was right for a second grader, but then I spied my Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic, a favorite. We read 29 pages and it was so much fun to watch that little boy read as he understood the subtle humor and threw his head back and giggled out loud.
My husband reads every night at bedtime. He is a very careful, detailed reader and always goes back and re-reads the last couple of pages before starting new material. For the last few years he has read on a Kindle paperwhite. About a week ago he bought a book on World War I which is over a thousand pages and has lots of pictures and charts. He bought the real book this time rather than a digital book for the Kindle. The first night when he started the book, he reached over to turn out the light and then realized he couldn’t read a real book in the dark. We had a little chuckle over that.
I listen to audiobooks that I get from the public library or from Audible. The best book I’ve “read” in recent weeks was A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean. It is about a young American woman who discovers pictures of her grandmother with a Nazi soldier. The story plays out with her grandmother telling how it happened. It is a fascinating story, and I got a lot of stitching done while listening. This was one of those books that I wanted to know what happened, but didn’t want it to end.
And now for my new “tool”. I bought a Cricut Maker to cut fabric appliques. And I LOVE it. It has a rotary blade and cuts the most beautiful, crisp fabric shapes I have ever seen. The computer software interface is not nearly as nice as the Silhouette interface, but the cutting is better than any other I’ve seen.
Grandchildren are such a joy. A cute little story about one of the second graders is about his reading. He comes to our house after school on Tuesday and Thursday to play. One of his school assignments is to read 30 minutes every day. For the last two weeks he has found one excuse or another at home to avoid his reading. Yesterday he missed his visit to us because his mother restricted him to no more grandparent visits until his reading was done. We got a message late yesterday afternoon that he sat and read for a solid hour. We had a good chuckle over his motivation and the fact that we can never understand why it’s more fun at grandparents’ house than his own. Nevertheless, he has won a visit to our house today on a rare Wednesday but is required to read with us for 30 minutes of that visit.
This is one of the projects I’m working on right now. It was started about five years ago. The background fabric I chose was pink and as the grandchildren kept coming, they were all boys. At one point I stopped with the last three letters, x, y, and z unfinished. Finally two years ago the last grandchild was born and it was a girl. She’s two now and thinks she’s the queen of a house full of brothers and her dad. So a couple of weeks ago, I finished the last three letters and am in the process of putting this quilt together.
The embroidery designs are an alphabet from Designs by JuJu. I love her embroidery and this makes such a cute quilt with the bright colors. I added a princess crown, carriage, queen bee and castle from another Designs by JuJu embroidery set to make the rows come out even.
I’m still working on a decision as to the border fabric, but I think it’s going to be the batik even though the print looks really good with this.
This is the rug in her room and the turquoise hopefully will coordinate with that as well as the hints of blue in the sashing fabric.
And this is that wild child with her sweet brother.
This is a belated Valentine. Somehow my New Year’s resolution to write several posts a week has not come to fruition. What happens is that I get so involved in projects that the hyperfocus excludes all else.
When my second grader grandson was here on Thursday, Feb 13, making Valentine’s and asked what to write on his Valentine cards, I told him to write “Happy Valentine’s Day” or “Be My Valentine.” He asked me what that means. My response was that it’s like saying “Merry Christmas” at Christmas time. That was not the best explanation but the first thing that came to mind. Children ask the most unexpected questions, and I often wonder how they process and perceive what we say.
And it’s been incredibly busy here. A couple of the projects I can’t tell you about yet, but there are two others that are interesting in that one in my opinion is a complete fail and the other is beginning to shape up into something pretty.
First for the complete fail. I was looking for fabric to go with the pink and purchased the green fabric as I thought it would be perfect and it’s such a cute print. I made one block and thought it looked pretty good so decided to make the rest of the blocks. As I worked, it was very apparent to me that I didn’t like the green but was determined to finish what I had cut. So here’s the block and the quilt top. They definitely are not on my list of winners. The top has to be quilted and I will do that soon and then see if there are any takers among the 10 grandchildren.
The one good thing about this quilt is the blocks I chose to go together. I love the look of the stars framed by the chain. Now the challenge is to make it in colors I love.
I’ll tell you about the second project tomorrow. It’s a much happier story.
What fun I’ve had quilting with Minkee.
Yesterday I loaded and finished quilting a lap quilt made by my granddaughter, Kes. This is a favorite pattern of ours using a 3-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ rectangle die and the 2″ strip cutter. The blocks are made of a Laurel Burch horse print. I love the fabric designs and this was fabric left over from a larger quilt that I made for Kes.
When Minkee fabric was on sale a few months ago, I bought yardage for quilt backing. I have used it already on the back of one of Ezri’s quilts, and Kes wanted it for the back of hers. When I bought the Minkee, the issues related to fuzz simply escaped my mind. For a soft backing, working with flannel or fleece is a better choice. However, when I started to cut, fuzz was front and center. It’s not the fuzz I mind, it’s the cleanup. Now that this is quilted, the plan is to use the serger to finish the edges to prevent so much fuzz everywhere while binding.
This is a picture of the backing just loaded on the quilt frame. I had cut the lower edge of the backing to even it up before pinning it to the leaders. I used a lint roller to pick up all of that fuzz.
And as soon as this is finished, I am going to sew the rows together on Ezri’s rail fence quilt that she’s making for Vivi. Vivi wants a quilt with a “soft” back, so it will get quilted with Minkee on the back too. These are real challenges the week before Christmas, but fun ones because of the precious children who are the recipients. The biggest concern I have is that Vance, (Vivi’s twin) will want a quilt with a soft back. My hope is that I have a panel somewhere in the stash that can be quickly bordered and quilted for him. Will keep you posted.
Once the table runners were finished, I moved on to digitizing embroidery for an AccuQuilt applique die that will be coming out in the next few days. I am sworn to secrecy so can’t tell you what it is, but can say that it’s really cute. What I can tell you is that sometimes there are NO SHORTCUTS! Let me explain. And keep in mind—you’ll get a kick out of this—during my career in clinical research I once had an employee who told me that I was “too process driven.” I’ll admit she was a creative soul even though she didn’t last in clinical research very long.
When doing machine embroidery applique with die cut shapes or with Silhouette machine cut shapes, I sometimes will skip the fusible step, cut the fabric shape and use a glue stick on the background fabric just inside the placement stitches and will work the shape into place and stitch it. That works sometimes with some fabrics and some shapes and looks good. However, the shape I’m working with right now has some tiny little points and little nubs around the edge and while the glue stick works, the end result looks really “homemade”. After a couple of tries, I cut the Steam A Seam Lite and fused it to the back of the fabric and using my mini-iron to secure the shape into place, created some really pretty machine embroidery applique. This simply reinforces that saying, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it well.”
Another tip is that if you are using the tackdown and trim method instead of cutting the shape with a machine, using a fusible on the back of the applique fabric can make the shape easier to trim and will cut down on fraying around the edges. A lot depends on the fabric that is being used.
Since I have no pictures today, I’ll share this one with you. It’s a love note that one of the 4 year old twins left at my house last week. I’m not sure what it says, but usually when one of them writes a note like this, they tell us what it says. I believe this was from Vance, and he found the magnet and posted this on my refrigerator just at 4-year old height.
This blog post was published on the AccuQuilt blog yesterday and has the machine embroidery for the lowercase alphabet die that was recently released as well as my Holiday Elements machine embroidery design set.
As always, if I made this again, I would make snowflakes that showed up just a bit more—a darker thread for the stitches around them would give that little bit of additional contrast that is needed. But I absolutely love those cute snow people as well as the lettering.
This is stretched on a 20″ x 24″ canvas frame and has batting underneath, but does not have quilting stitches through the layers.