Scrappy Plus Sign Quilt (- and tutorial)

Gosh – first of all, Happy New Year! I hope this year is a happy and creative one for you all. I’ve been really slack at blogging last year, but I am keeping up regularly on Instagram, so do come and say hello on there if you are an Instagrammer!

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Now and then though, I feel the need for more words than you can put on Instagram, and this quilt calls for one of those times. It isn’t my design, in fact a lot of folk have made a “Low Volume Plus Quilt” before, but since I changed the measurements from what you can find on google to be charm pack friendly, I thought I would include those measurements here.

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I completely love this quilt! The design was first devised by the amazing Ashley of Filminthefridge.com , who took one of the borders of Alexia Abegg’s “Marcelle Medallion” quilt and made it into a quilt all on its beautiful own. You can see hers here; it is a slightly different pattern to mine and different measurements, but a similar effect:

http://filminthefridge.com/2013/04/02/marcelle-plus-quilt/

A scrappy low volume quilt has been on my radar for a few years now; but I realised  that in doing so many fairs and commissions, I had accumulated a great stash, but had had no time to do any of the selfish sewing I had wanted to for a while… suddenly 2016 felt like the right time to try some of those long-awaited projects. Just before Christmas and New Year. Well, the muse strikes when she strikes!

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I had accumulated some low volume fabrics (fabrics which read as neutral or almost white) for the background, but in order to keep it really scrappy looking, I started with a couple of Moda charm packs of a great low volume line – Zen Chic’s Modern Backgrounds Paper. I then topped up with all kinds of low volume fabrics from stash and scraps, including lots of leftover charm squares from other projects. Because of that I had to choose measurements which were as charm pack friendly as possible, and decided on this block:

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Excuse the terrible image! I made it on Word, but then couldn’t work out how to save it as a jpg to insert – ended up taking a photo of it. I’m not going to win any awards for tech any time soon!

Obviously for the bright crosses, you can’t use charm squares – unless I guess you used  five 2.5″ squares of the same colour and increase the scrappiness! That would look cool too.

It’s such an easy block – there are no seams to match, and it is all extremely forgiving. You can likely work it out from the diagram above, but just in case you would like some basic directions for a 50″ x 60″ quilt, here goes:

You will need: 

30 different printed fabrics, size 2.5″ x 11″

120 low volume fabrics, size 2.5″ square (or 30   5″ charm squares, cut into 2.5″ squares)

120 low volume fabrics, cut into 4.5″ squares.

I liked making mine as individual blocks, so that’s how I will describe it, but obviously you could chain piece them all if you like. Sew using 1/4″ seam throughout.

  1. First cut your printed fabric strip into one 6.5″ x 2.5″ piece and two 2.5″ squares.
  2.  Sew a low volume 2.5″ square to each of the printed 2.5″ squares, and both ends of the printed rectangle.20161129_171907
  3. Sew the 4.5″ low volume squares in rows as the  diagram or the photo below:20161129_181342
  4. ~Ta-da! Easy-peasy. The block should measure 10.5″ square and will finish in your quilt at 10″ square. 20161129_184356
  5. Make 30 of these blocks and then sew them into a 5 x 6 grid as shown in the “I’ve just been basted” photo below: 20170105_165253

It goes together so quickly and I loved making those blocks! And I have a new-found obsession with low volume fabrics; me and any new found fabric obsessions are not a good combination for my wallet.. I might need to start doing commissions again! I batted it with my favourite Quilter’s Dream Orient batting – an all-natural blend of silk , cotton, tencel and bamboo that quilts, feels and drapes beautifully and quilted it with some free-motion loops, daisies and leaves. I’m going to have to show you some photos:

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And OH MY. Look at that backing. It’s my current favourite print – a grey/navy floral from Tilda’s Memory Lane collection. It is a definite indulgence, but I’m so happy to have a whole quilt back with it. I love the back almost as much as the front! Because the back is so dark, I didn’t want the thread to be too visible in the bobbin. So I used The Bottom Line thread in white by Libby Lehrman for Superior threads – it is a 60wt polyester which has given a beautiful subtle quilting line in my print, not too obvious in the navy but keeping the pink flowers fresh and clean. In the top thread I used one of my favourite cotton threads – Konfetti 50wt Egyptian cotton thread by Wonderfil which doesn’t break in my machine unlike, sadly, Aurifil does. And a size 70 topstitch needle. Thread can make such a difference to a quilt – especially when you don’t want to detract from the prints or busy up the design too much. So important – but I do agonise over it sometimes!

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I’m off to snuggle it, and hopefully also  the wearer of those battered old shoes which you can see below that quilt! Wishing you all a wonderful 2017.

Until the next time, Poppy xx

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8 thoughts on “Scrappy Plus Sign Quilt (- and tutorial)

  1. This is absolutely gorgeous Poppy and has inspired me to make one for myself. I love the Zen Modern Background range and getting a charm pack was a great way of mixing it up. But I spy quite a few other neutrals including my fav Foxgloves fabric. By sheer fluke I’ve chosen the same measurements simply because it fitted an accuquilt die I have. I hope now it’s draped over the both of you that the quilt holder now sees it’s true beauty!!

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    1. Aww thank you so much honey! I love the beginnings of your blue plus quilt, I’m so flattered that it was inspired by mine! You’re right, about half the low volumes were fabrics from other ranges, I only used 2 charm packs and you’d need 4 to make it all zen chic. I love that there are a couple of fabrics from one of my very first quilting fabric purchases in there! I guess that’s the appeal of scrappy, revisiting old memories alongside the new – all wrapped up in a snuggly bundle! Haha, I don’t know if he will ever quite appreciate this quilt the way we do, but I think he approves now! Looking forward to seeing yours progress. I’ve neglected blogs for ages, off to read yours! Xxxx

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  2. Wow! I really wish I could quilt like that! I mainly stick to dressmaking and English paper piecing, but your beautiful quilt has inspired me! I love the quilting especially.

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  3. Wow! I love your quilt so much! I mainly stick to dressmaking and English Paper Piecing, but you’ve inspired me to maybe give a bit more quilting a go. I especially love the quilting!

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    1. Hi Anna, thanks for coming over from Instagram and thank you so much for your lovely comment! So, in my mind you’ve already mastered the more difficult parts of sewing. There’s no doubt that if you can do that you can do this. The problem with quilt making is how expensive it is, esp if you want to use modern or designer fabrics. With EPP you can use smaller pieces of fabrics and the design is so intricate it has a beauty which relies less on fabrics and more on design and work. There’s no way I could have afforded to quilt like this until I started working (and I didn’t have the time until I went part time after my son was born!). But in terms of talent, you have it in shedloads, talent is definitely not holding you back from doing this! I think you will get into quilting, whether it’s now our later, I still think you will make quilts, although I hope you keep sewing clothes, what a talent! I think you’d really like trying some free motion quilting too. Instagram makes you think that you can only free motion quilt with a long arm machine, but actually there is a real pleasure and art in doing it with a domestic sewing machine – but instead of moving the needle to draw you move the fabric. I stick to simple quilting designs but this year I’d like to branch out, maybe some feathers and stuff… Thanks again Anna!

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  4. Poppy is it OK if I link your tutorial for making this block to an email we are sending out to bee members about making a quilt for #quiltsforgrenfell. It’s such a lovely perfect block for scraps and easy and effective. Any probs do let me know.

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    1. Of course lovely! I’m flattered that you want to use my tutorial. That’s such a great cause, to bring comfort to those affected by such a tragedy. 😢 I’m going to raid that WIP drawer of mine for a quilt top or two, I’m sure I have something. I love that you guys are making a quilt from scratch. 💙💜❤

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