Category Archives: 4-Patch Wonder

Reach for the Stars: Side by Side

My quilt Catch a Falling Star, based on Minnesota quiltmaker Terri Krysan’s Reach for the Stars quilt, is currently hanging in the Pine Needle Quilt Shop where it is receiving very nice comments from customers.

Several people have asked how my quilt differs from Terri Krysan’s (other than the obvious difference of fabric choices) so I thought I would give you a look at both quilts side by side:

Reach for the Stars3
Left, Terri Krysan’s original quilt “Reach for the Stars” (86¾” x 106½”), 2012. Right, Dawn’s version, “Catch a Falling Star” (84″ x 105″), 2015.

(Photo on left copyright Quilter’s Newsletter. Used with permission. Photo by Melissa Karlin Mahoney. Photo on right by Bill Volckening.)

The center medallion and three of the blocks were made following Terri’s design. From there I departed in ways both large and small. I’ll use the quilt outline below to explain those differences:medallion quilt layout

Blocks 1 and 2: no changes.

Block 3: incorporated fussy-cut images in outer part of block.

Block 4: changed center of block to a fussy-cut image enclosed in an inset circle. Moved to Block 11 position.

Block 5: no change.

Block 6: replaced pinwheel in center of block with a 4-Patch Wonder block. Moved to Block 7 position.

Block 7: eliminated appliquéd circles, incorporated fussy-cut image in center of block. Moved to Block 14 position.

Block 8: incorporated fussy-cut image in center of block and changed design of outer part to incorporate fussy-cut border stripe. Moved to Block 6 position.

Block 9: added four triangles to create a star. Moved to Block 13 position.

Block 10: replaced block completely with design spotted on a coffee mug.

Block 11: replaced block completely with a block I dreamed up (although it may well exist elsewhere). Moved to Block 4 position.

Block 12: made the center a square within a square and changed the color value in the corner four-patches to avoid having dark fabric in the points where they would bleed into the black sashing. Moved to Block 9 position.

Block 13: incorporated fussy-cut image into circle in center. My circle is inset rather than appliquéd. Moved to Block 8 position.

Block 14: replaced center of block with a double pinwheel block incorporating fussy-cut images. Moved to Block 12 position.

That’s it for the blocks, though I should note that Terri used fussy-cut images in seven of her 14 blocks. I challenged myself to incorporate fussy-cut images in all 14.

The setting triangles were made following Terri’s design but I altered the design of the checked border to make all four corners symmetrical. I’m very proud of that achievement.

Now you probably think all 14 blocks are different, don’t you? Not so! Two of the blocks are exactly the same design. They just look different because of the fabrics used. Can you spot which two are the same? Here’s a bigger photo of my quilt to help you look:

CAFS front BV photo 800Happy hunting!

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, update | 5 Comments

Another February Finish: Olivia Twist

My first (but not my last) bedrunner quilt is back from the longarmer. It’s also bound, labeled, and ready to display. So satisfying to report another February finish! Here it is:

Olivia Twist front (2)

Olivia Twist, so named because of the floral focus fabric (A Garden for Olivia by In the Beginning Fabrics) and the twist block, measures 31″ x 76″ — a good size for the bottom of a double or queen-size bed. The design is adapted from my pattern 4-Patch Wonder with a Twist.

I’m delighted with the free-motion quilting done by Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts. I’ll bet you’d like to see some details, wouldn’t you? Happy to oblige.

In the 4-Patch Wonder blocks Jolene quilted a radiating blossom, repeating the same motif in the small black squares between blocks:

Olivia Twist quilting detail front 2
You can also see the whimsical leaf-and-loop motif she quilted in the lattice strips. Here’s another block:

Olivia Twist, quilting detail on front
In the background Jolene quilted a free-form spiral motif with pebbles here and there. Check this out:

Olivia Twist, quilting detail background

(The background fabric looks almost purple in the photo above. In actuality it is a very dark navy and black batik print.)

On the back of the quilt is a full length piece of the focus fabric as well as three leftover 4-Patch Wonder blocks set on point:

Olivia Twist back

In this close-up of the back, you can see more of Jolene’s playful free-motion quilting:

Olivia Twist, quilting detail on back
I’m already thinking about my next bedrunner quilt. My choice of pattern may surprise you. I hope you’ll check back in a few days to see what I have in mind.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, bed runners, faux-kaleido quilts, free motion quilting, update | 4 Comments

Star Steps

Step 1. Make an 18½” star block. Why? Oh, just for fun. And to use up focus fabric left over from another project.

2015-1 Long Pointed Star 800


Step 2
. Put a ring around it. Now it measures 24½”.

Seeing Stars block


Step 3
. Make three more blocks and put all four up on the design wall:

Billie's Star


Step 4
. Decide that it needs “something in the middle” to draw attention to the secondary star formed when the blocks are put together.

That’s where I was when last I posted about this project. Here’s where I am now:

Billie's Star 1
Isn’t that a fun addition? Using triangles instead of squares, I made a 4-Patch Wonder block (my term for four fabric repeats layered, cut, and rotated to form a symmetrical design) and then added ¼”and ⅜”-wide sashing strips.

Here’s a close-up of that little faux-kaleidoscope block. With the sashing strips it measures 4″ square:

Billie's Star center
So what’s Step 5? Borders! I want to float those blocks so I’ll add border strips in the same blue background fabric. When I’m done my quilt top will measure 56½” square. Then it’s on to Step 6: piecing a backing.

And I vow not to start something else “just for fun” until I’ve finished the three quilts that got moved to the back burner when I started Seeing Stars.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, update | 6 Comments

4-Patch Twist Bed Runner

I finished piecing the bed runner I started a couple of weeks ago. (I wrote about it here and here.) When last you saw it, it looked like this, measuring about 34½” x 68″:

Olivia Twist 1

The plan was to increase the length so it would drop over the sides of a queen-size bed. I had very little of the background fabric left, though. (It’s hard to see from the photo that the background fabric is an inky blue and black batik print. I had only a yard to begin with — and I used every bit of it.) I inserted a 1½”-wide decorative strip at each end, working with the two fabrics used as lattice strips around the 4-Patch Wonder blocks in the interior.

Now the bed runner looks like this:

Olivia Twist vert OS

The inserts and end pieces added 10″ to the length. I trimmed a bit from the sides so now the bed runner measures 32″ x 78″.

My quilt already has a name: Olivia Twist. (Yes, that’s a nod to Charles Dickens.) The reasons behind the name? First, the focus fabric is from a line called A Garden for Olivia by In the Beginning Fabrics. Second, the quilt is based on the twist block that produces the wonderful interlocking design you see above. The twist block dates back to 1870, which by coincidence is the very year Charles Dickens died.

Now it’s on to the backing for this quilt. I have a good-sized piece of the focus fabric on hand for the back. People always want to know that the fabric looked like before it was cut up!

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, bed runners, faux-kaleido quilts, kaleidoscope quilts, snowball blocks, update | 6 Comments

4-Patch Twist Update

It’s still in progress but here’s a shot of the bed runner quilt I’m working on:

Olivia Twist 1
Dawn’s Variation on 4-Patch Wonder with a Twist

Can you believe all the blocks came from the same focus fabric? I never tire of making these faux-kaleidoscope blocks. It’s so much fun to see the amazing variety of images created by stacking four repeats and cutting them into squares. For more information on the fabrics I used and the two simple blocks that created the interlocking twist design, see my previous post.

Right now my quilt top measures 34½” x 68″ but it’s going to be a little bit longer because I want more of a drop over the sides of the bed. I haven’t decided yet whether to simply add strips of background fabric to the short ends or incorporate a pieced element with color.

Hmmm. Maybe I should sleep on it.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, bed runners, faux-kaleido quilts, kaleidoscope quilts, snowball blocks, update | 4 Comments

Banana Appeal

My quilt Banana Split has been back from the quilter for several weeks now. I finally got it bound and photographed, and now it’s ready to be presented to you:

May-2014-Shoot-LR-1
Banana Split, 40 1/2″ x 50 1/2″ (2014)

 

If you look at the fabric in the centers of the stars, you can see where my quilt got its name. Here’s a close-up of one block:

Banana Split, close-up of one block
4-Patch Wonder Block, 11″ with Sashing

The centers are all 4-Patch Wonder blocks, my name for blocks made of four repeats yielding a faux-kaleidoscope effect.

Banana Split was beautifully quilted by Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted, LLC. I went to Debbie’s studio and together we selected the thread and the quilting motifs (spirals in the main body of the quilt and in the corners, and piano keys in the borders). I expected the thread of choice would be a pale yellow. Much to my surprise, it was a deep gold that looked the best when we pooled all of the contenders on the quilt top.

The thread had such a lovely sheen that I asked Debbie to put it on the back of the quilt, too:

May-2014-Shoot-HR-2
Back of Banana Split

 

The panels on either side of the big star block above show the focus fabric I used on the 4-Patch Wonder blocks. The circle in the center is a kaleidoscope made from the same focus fabric. Here’s a close-up of the big star:

May-2014-Shoot-HR-2 - Copy
Dawn’s Big Block (18″ Square)

The more I look at this big block, the more I like it. I was just goofing around when I made it but now I think it has real possibilities. Four blocks would make a perfectly sized baby quilt. I’ll hold on to that thought, as I have a couple of baby quilts to make in the next few months.

In the meantime, I have plenty of works in progress that need attention, not to mention the stack of UFOs (Unfinished Objects) I am committed to whittling down this year. Happily, Banana Split is no longer in that category.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 2 Comments

Reach for the Stars: Block 6

Well, it’s about time! Recent events have conspired to keep me out of my sewing room but I am happy to report that I am back in it and working on Reach for the Stars, the series sampler quilt currently featured in Quilter’s Newsletter magazine. I just finished Block 6:

RFTS Block 6
Block 6, Finishes at 12″ Square

 

The pattern as designed by Terri Krysan calls for the center block to be an hourglass but I substituted a faux-kaleido 4-Patch Wonder block (my name for a block made of four identical layers of fabric that are cut in squares and then rotated to make a pleasing symmetrical design).

Here is the block on point, as it will be in the finished quilt:

RFTS Block 6 on point
So Pretty on Point

 

Here are my first six blocks:

RFTS 1st six blocks
Do You Have a Favorite?

 

I’ve decided to incorporate some fussy-cutting into each block. With eight more blocks to go, I have plenty of time to change my mind but for now I’m liking the added visual interest the fussy-cut images bring.

By the way, fellow Portlander Jennifer of the quilted cat has joined the merry band of quilters (which includes three other Jennifers) making Reach for the Stars! Check out her palette and great fabric choices here.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, update | 6 Comments

Banana Split

In my continuing quest to complete a stack (not sayin’ how big) of Unfinished Objects and Works-in-Progress, I recently pieced a back for a quilt top I made three years ago. Three years! I don’t know why I waited so long to make the back. Here is the top, which measures about 42″ x 52″:

2013-10, Banana Split, 42 x 52

The centers of the stars are 4-Patch Wonder blocks I made from a banana-themed fabric that caught my eye in a quilt shop in Kearney, Nebraska in the summer of 2010. That was the year my husband and I took a 30-day road trip around the western United States. I hit a fair number of quilt shops in eight states that summer. My own little Shop Hop, so to speak. My husband joked that our gas mileage steadily declined during the trip as the trunk filled with fabric. Hmmm. Maybe he wasn’t joking.

When I pulled out the tub of fabric I had used for the quilt top, I discovered that I had also made several octagonal kaleidoscope blocks out of the banana fabric (enough to make another quilt, in fact). I used one of those kaleido blocks to make an 18″ block for the quilt back, which looks like this:

2013-10, back of Banana Split

You can see the clusters of bananas on the outer pieces of fabric. The repeat on the fabric is very small — just 8″ — so I cut 2¾”squares for the 4-Patch Wonder blocks, resulting in a 4½” square center block. The star blocks finish at 9″ square.

For the big block I converted the octagonal kaleido block into a circle and made an oversize star. Here’s a close-up of the kaleido block:

2013-10, banana split, detail of back block

The minute I started slicing those bananas, I knew what I was going to call this quilt.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 4 Comments

Playing Around with the Twist Block

Time to show you more of the project I’ve been working on since my last post. I actually started this project over a year ago, when I got a bug to make a new quilt based on my 4-Patch Wonder with a Twist pattern. This is the first quilt, which is on the cover of the pattern:

2011-9, It's All in the Twist, 57x65

The 12 snowball blocks are very different from each other but they are all from the same piece of focus fabric, made into 4-Patch Wonder blocks (my name for blocks made of four identical layers of fabric that are stacked, cut in squares, and then rotated to make a pleasing symmetrical design). An alternating block — red and green in this case, on a black background — helps create the illusion of interlocking strips. The quilt looks contemporary but the twist block actually dates back to 1870.

The fabric I had in mind for a second version was this lovely print, “Ella,” by Kathy Brown for Red Rooster Fabrics:

Ella fabric

I was attracted to the folk-art feel of her design and the rose and purple tones set off by green vines on a black background. My thought was to make the lattice strips out of three colors — rose, purple, and green — instead of two colors as I did in my first quilt. And I thought the “Ella” print would make great 4-Patch Wonder blocks

Trouble was, the first couple 4-Patch Wonder blocks I made were — well, they were pretty but not nearly as pretty or as interesting as the original fabric:

Ella 4-pw blocks

I abandoned the plan for 4-Patch Wonder blocks and simply cut squares. Then I dug into my stash for the rose, purple, and green fabrics needed for the twist strips. I pulled out quite a few pieces, all reading as textured solids. Pretty soon I had several options for each color. (What does this tell you about the size of my stash?)

Somewhere along the line I got the idea of using four different fabrics for each of the three colors. That’s right — 12 different fabrics for the twist strips. I just about drove myself crazy deciding which strips would go where, and then devising a way to keep track of them once their positions were assigned. Maybe that’s why I made just a few blocks and put the project away for over a year. Another Work-in-Progress, languishing . . .

Out it came last week, ready for some close personal attention, and here is the result so far:

Ella 800p

I’m very pleased with it! Still to come: borders. With quite a few 2½” strips left over from the lattice, I’m thinking about making an inner border of 2″ squares using all 12 lattice fabrics. I hope you’ll check back in a few days to see what I’ve done.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, snowball blocks, update | 5 Comments

Test Block, Part Two . . .

A few days ago I made a test block for a new quilt, using the classic Burgoyne Surrounded quilt block and a fresh floral print from Fig Tree’s Tapestry line for Moda Fabrics. I made a second block, added it to the first, stepped back to admire my handiwork, and took a photo.

Oops. Little problem there. Do you see it?

2013-4 Burgoyne blocks, ooops

It seems so obvious to me now but it wasn’t until I inserted the photo in this post that I noticed it:  at the top of the block on the right, the middle strip is upside down. Isn’t it funny how you can look at a block over and over and not notice until much later that something’s wrong with it?

Here it is, fixed . . .

Burgoyne, fixed

. . . and here are a few more faux-kaleido 4-Patch Wonder blocks:

2013-4, 4-PW Burgoyne blocks

This fabric has a very small repeat — only about 6″ — so there’s not a great deal of variety in the blocks. Still, I still find them very pleasing, especially against that wonderful butterscotch-y background fabric by Moda.

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, update | 3 Comments