February 28, 2014

Big Block Quilt

A few weeks ago, one of my followers made the comment to create a big block quilt that could be completed in a weekend or a day. How genius is that?  Well I had to chew on the idea for a while as I wanted it be something realistic, but fun.  The easy way out would make a quilt using squares and do some simple straight stitching.  My goal was to create something visually appealing and simple.  This cute little baby quilt finished at 37 inches by 37 inches. 

As I was working through the farmer's wife sampler quilt, I kept thinking how great the 'four winds'  block would look blown up baby quilt size.  The design uses half square triangles and squares, so it is manageable for people of all quilting abilities.  I hope you will join me in this quilt in a day challenge.

Here is the timeline for my day ... 

8:00 am. - Color selection. 

I decided on a white print for the background first then decided on everything from that starting point.  Then I paired a deep purple, an orange, and a green color together to complete my colors.  Here is what you will need for yardage (please don't feel limited to using my color selection, be bold and be daring, try something new).

Materials List: 
Orange - Color A - 0.5 yds
Purple - Color B (Center Print + Backing)- 1.5 yds 
Green - Color C - 0.5 yds
White - Color D (Background + Binding) - 0.75 yds 
2 - DMC # 3801

8:15 am - Cutting.  

Once the colors are selected it's time to cut.  Below is the quantity and size of each block and color.

Cutting Directions:
Orange - Color A - (12) 7 inch squares
Purple - Color B - (4) 7 inch by 7 inch squares 
Green - Color C - (4) 7 inch squares, (4) 6.5 inch squares
White - Color D - (8) 7 inch squares, (4) 6.5 inch squares, (4) 2.5 inch by wof

9:00 am - Set-up.

Start by matching the 7 inch squares into pairs.  These blocks will all become half square triangles.

6 pairs - Color A (Orange) & Color D (White)
4 pairs - Color A (Orange) & Color B (Purple)
2 pairs - Color C (Green) & Color D (White)
2 pairs - Color A (Orange) & Color C (Green)

**You can place the 6.5 inch squares to the side.

Begin by marking each with a pencil line, diagonally from one corner to the other.  This creates a guide line to sew a quarter inch from either side.  

9:15 am - Go time!

First thing, sew along either side of the guide lines for the half square triangles.  Cut the squares diagonally along the guide line.  Press open, for half square triangles I usually press the seam open, but pressing to one side also works.  

Next, trim all the squares to 6.5 inches.  Use the diagonal sew line to help you square the blocks.  

10:00 am  - Assembly + Snack.  

The image below is to help layout your quilt.  Start by putting the rows together. 

Once the rows are together, press the seams in alternating directions.  This will allow them to 'nest' making the next step easier. 

Sew the rows together.  Press the whole quilt.  Once the top is completed, it's time for a snack!  

11:00 am - Basting. 

This is my least favorite part of the process.  Although this quilt is small so it was painless.  

11:30 am - Hand-quilting.

If you would like to use the same method to hand-quilt, check out my tutorial.  I have to admit I am not the fastest at hand-quilting so these times could vary.  Another alternative is to machine quilt and it would also be much faster.  

12:30 pm - Lunch.  

1:00 pm - Back to hand-quilting.

I really like how the back is turning out.  This is an unplanned pleasant surprise!

3:00 pm - Binding.

Start by sewing each of the 2.5 inch strips together.  Press the strip in half.  I use a walking foot to bind on my quilts, but I'm not sure it matters.  

Time to hand stitch the binding.  I usually put on a good show and just relax.  

5:30 pm - Celebrate.

Ta da, this quilt is done!  In total, it took 8.5 hours.  I happened to complete the whole thing in one day, plus time I spent photographing.  This little project could easily be broken into multiple days. 

Phew, this is a long post.  Hope you enjoyed my quilt in a day.  If you also decide to join me, please send along pictures.  I would love to see them!  

Sew long for now, 



  1. I really enjoy your photography. I "sew" need to get me a new camera because I am really into photography too. Your blocks are beautiful. I like the cheerful colors.

  2. I love this block as a one-block quilt. I am so impressed that you made it and hand-quilted it in a single day. I may take on the challenge and see if I can make this in a day, but mine will be machine quilted. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. you chose a great block to make extra large :) I enjoyed reading you quilt-in-a-day timelime

  4. I love the hour by hour analysis of what you did - really interesting.

  5. This is very pretty quilt. I like that you can make it in a day. I will need to find time to make one. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This is a lovely quilt. Thank you for sharing. If you don't mind, I'll link to your post on my blog's "Friday Find" where I share interesting blog posts I discover.

  7. This is so cute! I'm a big fan of finishing a quilt in a day! Thanks for the tutorial. You have a very cute blog!

  8. Such a beautiful quilt in a day. Lovely colors and pattern and hand-quilting. Now I want to go back and find your Farmer's Wife blocks :)

  9. I love this!! I am totally going to make this. When I do I will comment with a link.