Sunday, October 14, 2012

Friendship Quilts

Hey there! It’s been a while. The month of September got away from me and if I’m not careful, October will too. Our autumn routine was abruptly interrupted when my husband had an accident at work. He conked his head in a fall, resulting in some facial injuries. We're hoping there will be no permanent damage, other than a sinister looking scar when he furrows his brow.

Incidents like these make things particularly tenuous for our household. With me so dependent on Jim for my basic needs, we worried about how we’d get through his four week recuperation. With patience, and help from both our sons on the weekends, we managed.

So, let's talk about quilts instead, friendship and signature quilts in particular. During my years at QBU quilt shop, we signed and exchanged many blocks as mementos between friends and colleagues.  Shari Tischhauser used the "Old Italian Block" to make this friendship quilt for my birthday one year.

For each 6“ (finished) block,
Cut 4 - 4” squares
Cut 4 - 4” x 2 ½” rectangles
Cut 1 - 2 ½” square of muslin
Sew as you would a nine patch.

Center a 6½“ square ruler on point and trim the block to size.

This method creates some waste, but the excess triangle trimmings can be used for another project. It also results in bias edges on the outside of the block, generally a no-no, so handle blocks carefully.

I’ve sewn and swapped scads of these blocks, probably enough for a couple of quilts. One set of blocks is signed by quilters from guilds, bee groups, and retreats I‘ve attended over the years. The other set is still blank, awaiting an occasion worth commemorating. Here are mock ups of potential layouts.

In this case, adding sashing and cornerstones to each block as you go helps control the bias edges.

Be even more careful with a zig zag setting. It's a little trickier because you'll be sewing bias to bias.

I’ve not tried it but Anita Grossman Solomon demonstrates a waste free method for cutting 6 inch blocks with straight of grain on the outside edge. Give it a try.


  1. sounds like you all had a bad scare but i'm glad to hear that he is on the mend.

    the signature small quilt is really pretty~!
    i think i like the zig zag setting despite the tricky bias issues. that green fabric would be a very nice choice as well.

    it's always good to see a post from you.


  2. so sorry to hear about Jim! Hope he is doing well.
    You know I love signature quilts and your post was a joy!

  3. Glad your husband is going to be okay and that you all made it through a tough time. It's October - I've been thinking of you and your liberated jack o'lantern. take care.

  4. Love this quilt. Thx for the tute! I mailed the books to you today...Enjoy!

  5. Wonderful that your husband is on the mend!

    Love this signature quilt, too!

    I'm new to your delightful blog, Diane and will visit you again, soon!

    :) Carolyn

  6. My hubby was in an accident in August--pretty scary moments but he was not seriously injured--pretty banged and bruised and a bad sprain to his wrist. Glad your hubby is doing well! Love these quilts, they are such great color and print combos and the added bonus of lovely memories tied up. The zig zag setting is intriguing!