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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April's Completed Comfort Quilts: Strips Quilts and St. Louis 16-Patch

I started 2014 with the goal to make 30 lap quilts for donation to hospice using strips. I was inspired by the jelly roll race quilts, but I wanted to mix it up a bit. I have 2", 2.5", 3", 3.5", 4", 4.5", 6.5" strips, not always width of fabric as they are left over pieces from sashing and binding, etc. And to turn these into a set of quilts

Here are 3 completed strip quilts, ready for donation:
This quilt was just a series of various width strips. I like how the brights are contrasted by the pinks, and the solid.
This second quilt incorporated some blocks with the strips. Flying geese units the same size as the strip they are included in.
This third quilt has a number of small pieces worked in, blocks just laying around that were the same size as the corresponding strip. Also many more very narrow strips got worked into this quilt.

These 3 quilts are all 42" wide by 55" long, backed with either flannel or polar fleece. The fleece quilts don't have any batting, while the flannel quilts have a batting.

From my friend Joanie, over at Joanie's Trendy Quilts, I got the pattern for the St. Louis 16-patch, and I thought these would make great, quick quilts for donation as well. Here are 3 samples that I have quilted up that I am taking to my quilt guild next week for a 2 hour quilt-a-thon where all the people will be working on making these blocks. Several months back I brought 200 fat quarters to the quilt guild meeting, and passed them around the room. You know most quilters can't resist fat quarters. I told people they could take one and match it up with an ugly fat quarter in their stash that they had no use for, as this is the perfect pattern to mate an ugly fabric with a nicer one and make a stupendous looking block. But for those people who just didn't have an ugly FQ laying around, I let them take 2 or 4, with the thought they could make the 16-patches and bring them to this meeting so we would have blocks to start making quilts.

Our quilt guild also had a fun night where there were FQ games in January, and they collected another 200 FQ towards this project, so those new FQ are coming to this meeting. People are bringing their sewing machines, rotary cutters, etc., and I'm hoping we can get enough blocks made for 25 quilt tops.

So here are my samples to motivate the people in the guild (it always takes one over-achiever to get people motivated!)
First quilt is using just 2 fabrics. At first I didn't recognize it as a St. Louis 16-patch, but that is how it was constructed.
This second quilt was made with 6 fat quarters, a number on the green side. Several random green strips for sashing holds it together. The great thing about sashing these blocks is now there are no seams to worry about matching. If one block turns out 16.5" and the next 16.25", no problem, it's hidden by the sashing!
And finally this third St. Louis 16-patch. It used a number of FQ's that I made from 1 yard cuts of fabric I picked up in an online sale - 10 - 1yard cuts for $20!  All end of bolt items. These fabrics turned out to not be my cut of tea at all, but look how wonderful this quilt turned out. I especially like the scrappy sashing - who says your sashing has to all match, this was using the various scraps of sashing that were left when doing the blocks, and there wasn't enough green, so the red was pulled in for the 2 ends. Looks planned - that I think is one of the secrets of a great looking scrappy quilt, use up your fabrics and when you run out of something to match, throw in a contrasting fabric and it adds some spice and zing to the quilt.

So this brings me to 9 strip quilts completed so for in 2014, towards my goal of 30.  Slow and steady wins the race.  How are you doing on your 2014 quilt making/finishing goals given the year is now 1/4 over?

Posting this as part of Let's Bee Social! week #15. Click on the badge and check out what other quilt bloggers have been up to this past week.

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Lily's Quilts hosts "Fresh Sewing Day" to link up finishes. So check out Fresh Sewing Day to see what other quilt bloggers have been finishing up.
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Have a great week and keep sewing!  Remember, find 10 minutes a day to do a little sewing, and in a week you will have sewed an hour, and 4-5 hours in a month. Before you know it, you will have made progress towards finishing a quilt.


  1. good morning, I am visiting from lets bee social
    what a great project to use up strips and then to donate them-loving the last photos too
    have an awesome day

    1. Thanks Kathy. Yes, it is a great way to use up fabric that just accumulates into bins and bins and bins. And with making close to 20 of these tops so far, I still have so many strips - I keep finding strips I had put away for a rainy day.

  2. Simple quilts are awesome too!

    1. Kathy, there are times where you just need to sew something really simple, yet still create. It really is good for the soul and for recharging your creatively.

  3. Visiting from Patchwork Greyhound -- love your ideas for the strip donation quilts something I'm going to "borrow" for our quilt group so that this year we can exceed the 79 we did last year ( we're a small group with 22 members) and make gift quilts mainly for the Linus Project here in UK

    1. Frances, that is exactly what was happening in my quilt group. We had a pattern that made 9 patches out of 2" squares, so it took a lot of time to make one lap quilt, and a number of quilters got frustrated when all their points didn't match. We could never make enough quilts for the groups we donated quilts to. I was in charge of the fabric cutting, and we kept getting boxes and bags of fabric donations, which don't disappear fast when people make 2" square 9-patches. Plus the beginning quilters felt totally lost

      First I started with a pattern using 12" squares - let's you use those wonderful fabrics and we had children as young as 8 making quilts, and we had senior citizens who didn't have sewing machine, but would piece by hand making quilts - and they were excited to be able to make a quilt.

      Last year I made one of those 1600 Jelly Roll Race quilts at a retreat, you get a jelly roll, sew it into one long strip, then sew it back on itself over and over until you have a 50x60" quilt (jelly rolls are the 2.5" (6cm?) strips. My quilting friend and I had boxes of strips, and part strips left over from the charity quilts, as well as our own projects, as well as cutting up donated fabric into blocks, the last bits were always kept as strips. So I thought why not make some quick quilts using the strips - especially mixing the wild colors and prints with the solids and pale prints. And they looked great, went together quilckly, and the cancer & hospice patients still love them. And I could get rid of some of the boxes of fabric littering my house and make those gift quilts that we could never have enough of.

      So now I take each size of strip, and sew them end to end to make long strips. Then I sew these strips together, right sides, press, sew together pairs, etc., until I have something 12" - 20" wide by maybe 600" long. Then I cut into the width of the finished quilt tops we are making, and piece them together. And it's amazing how I just sew together civil war with batiks, 1930's with big prints, without regards as to what goes to what, and when it's all done, it's always amazing to see area of all blue or all reds turn up, and the fabrics really do all go with one another. And you can through in your left over blocks, flying geese, etc., with the appropriately sized strips - just adds some variety.

      Just ask if you have any questions. I'm sure you can double the number of quilts you made, and reduce the amount of spare fabric laying around your studios. And there are no mistakes, anything goes. Great to use up some ugly fabrics that someone donates to the cause, you just place the ugly between some nice fabric, and it makes the nice fabric look even better!

  4. Really like these quilts and good to know they are for a good cause too.

    1. Thanks Dinah. I feel it's important to help out, while at the same time bond with other quilters - we have a group that all make quilts, and I'm responsible for getting fabric donations and creating kits. I'm always looking for something new and simple, as the quilters get bored making the same pattern year after year.

  5. What a great idea, Paul. Active program, build camaraderie within the guild AND create lovely quilts for charity projects. You are a motivator! Thanks.


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