Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs) Revolutionized

English is my second language. Therefore, many words and phrases that seem normal, routine, or commonplace to a native speaker make me go WOW. How did they come up with that phrase? For example, there is more than one way to skin a cat!!!

I have a cat, Jonesie. He is adorable, a bit shy around strangers, but very affectionate. To picture him in pain is painful to me. Skin a cat??? No way. Research tells me that the "cat" in that phrase refers to a catfish. That makes sense. Phew!!! what a relief.

Now since the cat-catfish-skinning mystery is resolved, I agree that there are several ways of getting to your destination. Today's destination is Quarter Square Triangles or QSTs.

What is a Quarter Square Triangle?
It is a square made up of four same sized triangles.

How do you make QSTs?
Well, you could cut 4 small triangles and join them to a make a square (YUCK).

In my opinion, that is not a method that requires a blogpost.  All other methods of making QSTs start with making HSTs (feel free to check the internet) or require paper piecing.

So what is new about this method? It is SIMPLE & EASY. Allow me to show you.

Fabric Requirements - 8 squares of fabric 5" each.  You can use charm squares.
I am using 4 different squares, two of each kind.

1. Make two four patches. See pictures below.

Layout of the 4-patch blocks

Place RST 

Chain piece the squares.
Chain Piecing

Cut the connecting threads and iron to the dark sides.

Match the two halves of the 4-patches

Place RST and chain piece.
Placed RST

Chain Piece
And you have your completed 4-patches :-)
Completed 4-patch blocks
2. Starch and iron the finished 4-patch blocks. At this time, you can square up the blocks. They should measure 9.5".

3. Place the two completed 4-patch blocks RST and stitch all around using a 1/4" seam.
4-patch blocks placed RST 
Can you see the 1/4" seam?

4. Cut on the diagonal, both ways.

5. Open, iron and enjoy your QSTs. You will get 4 QSTs each measuring 6 1/4".

Ironed and Ready to go!!!

Yes, there are several ways to make QSTs. Why do I like this method?
Because, I got four QSTs without drawing any lines or using any special rulers.

If you like this method, please leave me a comment. Because getting a comment from you is like getting an e-pat on the back!!! 

Based on a comment received from Quilter Jackie of So Cal, I am including the size chart here. 
In the tutorial, I started with 5" squares and the resulting QST is a little larger than 6.25". You can square it down to 6" (red highlight). See chart below. I am hoping that this chart will be helpful to you!!!  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lady Edith rides a Giraffe

With that title, I am sure I have your attention...

This is a two-story quilt (no tall tales here) and it begins in two places - Cyberspace, and a house in Laurel, MD.

6-23-14, Cyberspace - Somewhere in cyberspace Cathy Rush is surfing the internet and she comes upon a beautiful fabric - Lady Edith's Rectangles. So moved by the spirit of the fabric, she writes a blogpost. You can read it here.

7-12-2014, Laurel, MD - A beautiful house is a venue for a meditation event. Meditation is followed by dinner. I am one of the several attendees, mostly families some with young children. I know most of these people. We meet regularly for meditation and music events. The following conversation ensued:

A: You remember my mother, don't you?
Me: Yes, of course. It has been a  while. So good to see you, Auntie. I hope you are here for a good few months. When can I come and sample your wonderful cooking?
A: Any time, you are most welcome
Me: Perfect. How about next Saturday, the 26th?
A: We look forward to it.

While I was inviting myself to A's house to sample his mom's cooking, A's wife N was talking to another woman, mentioning her boy's (cutest boy ever) upcoming birthday on July 20th. He would be three years old. And although I heard it (and I knew his birthday already), I did not make any connections. Typical!!!

It was two days later that I realized - what have I done???
I am going to A and N's house for lunch, one week after their boy's birthday. I cannot go empty handed. No, flowers and chocolate just won't do it. I need to make a quilt for that cutest boy ever.

Make a quilt - in a  hurry. What an oxymoron...
There is a big difference between 2-minute noodles and a quilt. It is two weeks!!! (noodles take 2 minutes, a quilt takes 2 weeks and 2 minutes). What pattern, what fabric, what craziness?

As these thoughts swirled in my mind, I come upon the said blogpost by Cathy Rush. And magic happened. I found the perfect pattern for the birthday quilt for the cutest boy ever!!!

I had all the fabrics I needed. I chose giraffes fabric (left over from Down to Earth backing) as the focus fabric. I had to adjust the sizes a bit based on the fabric limitations.

I cut 12 rectangles - 6.5" by 11".

And this is what I was left with - close call, indeed!!!

I used these matching fabrics (remnants from Joann) to make the 4-patch block.

Once I had the giraffe rectangles and the rectangular 4-patches done, this quilt top came together so very quickly.

All 4-patches are not aligned the same way. Yes, I made a mistake conscious design decision to create some interest in the otherwise simple layout ;-)

My dear friends at the Missouri Star Quilt Forum helped me choose the border color.
Border Fabric Audition

Although green looks the best next to the giraffes it fades a bit next to the teal. I decided to go with yellow. And here is the completed quilt top.

I chose this super cute fabric for the backing.

This two-story quilt is truly amazing. I started and completed the quilt top on Saturday. I started and completed the quilting on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday, I admired the cute fabrics and my handiwork. The binding was completed on Friday. And the label was completed on Saturday morning, minutes before I jumped into the shower to get ready to leave for A & N's house!!!

Can you believe that this quilt was completed in time in spite of my lollygagging? That is because it is such an awesome quick design. For all those of you who (like me) want their quilts like their noodles - instantly, you should bookmark this page. Better yet, bookmark Cathy's page for a quick reference for quick quilts with just 4 fabrics!!!

If you make this quilt, what focus fabric you will use? I know there is one in your stash...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Coming of Age

Yesterday I turned 21.
I finished my 21st quilt. It is a "Coming of Age" quilt for me.

Here is why...
  • It is my first truly modern quilt
  • It is my own design (the process is documented here)
  • I stepped out of my comfort zone when it came to quilting this baby.
  • It was also the first time I used masking tape to guide my quilt lines.

Quilt Top - White, Charcoal and 16-Patch Blocks
Batting - Warm and White
Backing - Bright Blue Printed Fabric (from
Binding - Charcoal Solid (same as the quilt top)

Backing Fabric

As recommended by my blogging buddy (, I quilted horizontal lines on the white and vertical lines on the charcoal fabric. My usual quilting style is - how soon can I finish this thing - and move on to the next. I usually quilt pseudo-straight lines using "stitch around the ditch method". Therefore, quilting this took a while :-) and more than usual patience.

I quilted the white portions first using horizontal lines. No masking tape used.
By the time that was done, I had developed quilting fatigue. Therefore, the vertical lines on the charcoal portions are much less dense :-) Someday, I will develop a quilter's patience...
Actually, I did it to create difference in textures of the two fabrics (ahem!!!). That is my story and I am sticking to it. Oh, look at the really dense horizontal lines quilting in the right on the white. That is the skinniest stretch of white fabric. It conveys the feeling that the river has to squeeze through that narrow opening. No, it was not intentional. However, I am quite happy with the organic quilting and the resultant texture.

Here it is - quilting completed, trimmed and ready for binding.

Completed quilt pictures follow:
The finished quilt measures 42" by 53"

My eyes are drawn to the dense quilting in the skinny white portion of the quilt, creating a quilt focus!!!

The colors look different in the light of the setting sun and the quilting on white seems subdued but the quilting on charcoal appears more distinct. My tall husband is the model :-)

And some more...

 I think I will keep this one!!!

Thank you to all of you who came along with me on this journey of my first truly modern quilt. Your comments made me smile and gave me support. Thank you for quilting suggestions, tips and tricks!!! With your encouragement (nudges and pushes), I did it!!! 

There is one last thing. What shall I name it? I have a few ideas - Coming of Age, A River's Journey; but I would love to hear your thoughts.