Pretty in Pink

Materials

  • 13 fat eighths of fabric (a fat eighth is approx 10 x 20in so you could just use scraps)
  • 1m square of wadding
  • 1m square of backing fabric
  • 25cm of Bondaweb
  • Sewing threads to match

Use 1⁄4in seam allowance throughout

Finished Size

36in (92cm) square

Skill Level

Intermediate

Pauline was asked to make something using these springtime pastel colours rather than the usual light/medium/dark range. She used the plainer pink and green fabrics as the background fabrics of the nine patch centre block to contrast with the patterned appliqué flowers and the crazy Log Cabin blocks that make up the first border.

Nine Patch Centre

Figure 1: One flower sewn in position
Figure 1: One flower sewn in position
  1. Cutting requirements:
    • Five 6 1⁄2in squares from the pink fabric
    • Four 6 1⁄2in squares from the green fabric
  2. Lay out all nine squares with the pink ones in the corners and the centre; join together to make a nine patch block.
  3. Trace nine flower shapes and nine flower centres onto the Bondaweb and roughly cut around the shapes. Iron one flower and one centre to the back of nine different fat eighths, being sure to keep as close as possible to one corner of the fabric each time so that you have a long side to use for cutting strips later.
  4. Cut out neatly on the drawn lines and lay the flowers and centres onto the background squares, choosing the best contrasts. Peel off the backing paper and iron the flowers and then the centres onto the nine patch squares. Sew the flowers and centres with a small zigzag stitch to hold them securely in place. Figure 1.
Figure 2: Trimming the blocks
Figure 2: Trimming the blocks

Crazy Log Cabin Blocks

  1. Cut eight 2in squares each from the pink and green fabrics for the centres of the logs. Pauline then divided the rest of the fabrics into those that were predominately green and decided to use these as her darks and the rest were used as her lights.
  2. Cut four 2in strips from the longest side of two of the other fabrics and three 2in strips from the longest side of the remaining nine fabrics.
  3. Starting with your lights, add the first two strips to the pink and green centres and press away from the centre of the block. Then add the dark strips, always turning the block in the same direction. Press well.
  4. Placing one end of your ruler on the corner of your square and the other end 1⁄2in from the adjacent corner, trim a narrow wedge of fabric from the first side of your block. Using this first cut edge as your base line and with the right-angle edge of your ruler trim the other three sides of the block back to a square shape. If you can make some of the cuts go clockwise and some anticlockwise you will have more movement in your blocks. Figure 2.
  5. Add the second round of logs to the trimmed square, remembering to mix the colours between the blocks again. Press well. If you have a 6 1⁄2in square ruler then use that; if not, cut yourself a 6 1⁄2in square of paper to use as a template (lay your ruler along the edge of the paper to cut into shape). Figure 3. Make 16 crazy Log Cabin blocks and keep all the spare scraps from the logs, as they will be used for the binding.
Figure 3: Trimming the block to 6 1⁄2in square
Figure 3: Trimming the block to 6 1⁄2in square

Assembly and Borders

  1. Lay the nine patch centre on a table and then lay the crazy Log Cabin blocks around it. Play with various combinations that please you to ensure an attractive arrangement of colours. Pin three of the blocks from one side to each other, sew together as a strip and then join them to the side of the nine patch centre, matching the seams as you go
  2. Sew the three blocks from the opposite side together and join to the nine patch centre. Sew the two sets of five blocks together and join to the remaining sides of the nine patch centre. Press well.
  3. Cut two 3 1⁄2in squares each from the pink and green fabrics used for the nine patch centre. Cut forty 3 1⁄2in squares from a mixture of the remaining fabrics and stitch into four strips of ten squares.
  4. Stitch two strips onto opposite sides of the quilt. Press well. Stitch one green and one pink square to opposite ends of the remaining ten-block strips. Stitch these two strips to the remaining two sides of the quilt. Press well.
Flower template
Flower template
  1. If your fabrics are fraying you can bind the quilt before quilting. Cut the remaining fabrics into 2in wide strips, and with the scraps left from the logs join them into one 2in wide strip long enough to go round the quilt. Press the seams open along the strip and then press the strip in half lengthwise, WS together.
  2. Lay the backing fabric flat on the table, spread the wadding over it and then lay the pieced quilt on top. Pin or tack the three layers together. Match the raw edges of the folded binding strip to the edge of the quilt and stitch in place. Trim some of the excess wadding from the seams, especially at the corners, and then turn the binding over the edge and slip stitch the folded edge to the machine stitching line.
Quilting Design
Quilting Design
  1. You can either quilt by hand or machine. Pauline chose to machine quilt for speed, using a variegated, pastelcoloured Madeira thread on top and a cream cotton thread in the bobbin to match her backing fabric. Setting the machine to satin stitch, but lowering the feed dogs and using the darning foot, Pauline free satin stitched around the flower centres and petals, which gives them a softer edge. If you do not feel confident enough to do the free machining then just use satin stitch in the usual way. The two borders were free machine quilted using a continuous leaf pattern, but any other design would work just as well. For hand quilting you could choose to echo the shapes of the flowers on the Log Cabin blocks and quilt around the flowers on the nine patch centre, adding extra quilting where the patches meet
Pretty in Pink
Pretty in Pink

Design Idea

The soft pastel colours of this quilt make it look very gentle but exactly the same pattern if sewn in black and grey would a sophisticated and stylish throw for the back of a chair or sofa.

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 14 Number 4 - April 2005