Friday, October 13, 2017

Meadow Dance Blog Hop - Baby Quilt Tutorial

A few weeks ago I was part of a blog hop for Amanda Murphy's new line of fabric, Meadow Dance on Benartex's blog, Sew In Love With Fabric. This fabric is so pretty that  I couldn't choose just a few, so, because I'd made this quilt twice already, and had requests for a pattern, I thought it would be the perfect occasion to show off all the fabrics in the line as well as make me write up a pattern. Now that the hop is over, I can share the tutorial right here on my blog. A PDF of this pattern will be soon be available on Craftsy for free download. Just click here to go to my pattern store. (affiliate link)

I was super-excited to be asked to take part in the hop for Meadow Dance. I have been a fan of Amanda's designs and her quilting for some time, and I own her book, Modern Holiday, but this is the first time I've worked with her fabric. And what a line!  Love! The various prints work so beautifully together.  Here is the quilt, Ribbon Stars, on a farmer's fence, in a meadow! Get it?

In case you're thinking, gack! an entire quilt? Rest assured this baby goes together in no time at all because of a very intelligent (if I may say so) construction method that eliminates several seams. The quilt measures 42.5 X 45.5".

Fabric needed (based on 43" of useable fabric width)
Background: 1 yard
Star points: 1/4 yard of each of two different fabrics (Note that the four cornerstones in the border will be cut from the remainder of one of these fabrics.)
Centre ribbon blocks: a variety of prints to TOTAL 1/2 yard, OR if you prefer to do all the centres the same with four colours only, then a 1/4 yard of each colour will do it.
Border:  1/2 yard
Backing: 1 1/2 yards (This means your quilt will just fit across the width of the fabric; if you prefer to have extra allowance along the sides, you will have to piece the backing, so 2 yards will allow for this.)
Batting: a piece that is approximately 45X50"


Cut 2 strips @ 7 1/4". Subcut into seven 7 1/4" squares.
Cut 4 strips @ 3 1/2". Subcut into 12 rectangles 3 1/2 X 12 1/2" and four 3 1/2" squares.
Cut 2 more 3 1/2" squares from the remainder of the 7 1/4" wide strips for a total of six 3 1/2" squares.

Star points
Cut 14 squares @ 3 7/8" of two different fabrics for a total of 28 squares.

Centre ribbon blocks
Scrappy look: cut a total of 48 rectangles @ 6 1/2 X 2" which will make 12 centre ribbon blocks.
Matching: cut 12 rectangles @ 6 1/2 X 2" of each of four different prints to total 48 rectangles which will make 12 centre ribbon blocks.

Cut two border strips 3 1/2 X 36 1/2" (or the width of your quilt centre) and two strips 3 1/2 X 39 1/2" (or the length of your quilt centre)
Cut four cornerstone squares @ 3 1/2" from the remainder of one of the star points fabrics.
Quilt centre pieces all cut! No borders cut yet; might be an idea to wait to check your quilt centre measurements before cutting yours.


Star points
Draw a diagonal line on each of the 3 7/8" squares. I like to use my Hera marker. Lay two squares of one colour across the diagonal of a 7 1/4" square as shown below, left. The 3 7/8" squares will overlap slightly in the centre. Sew a scant 1/4" on either side of the drawn line. Cut apart on the drawn line.

Press the seams to the 3 7/8" squares (turquoise in my case). The units look a bit like a heart shape.

Now lay a 3 7/8" square of the second star point fabric atop the background fabric at the bottom point of the heart shape unit. Again, sew a scant 1/4" on either side of the drawn diagonal line.

Cut apart on the that drawn line. Press to the star point fabric. Trim to 3 1/2 X 6 1/2".  You will get two of each orientation as shown below. Make 28 of these flying geese units. (Note that the quilt requires 27, so you will have one extra.)

Centre blocks
Sew four 6 1/2 X 2" rectangles together to form the centre ribbon block. Tip for scrappy: I separated my rectangles into basically cool and warm colours, and then paired them up. Then I sewed the pairs together. This controlled the scrappiness a bit, and evenly distributed the cool and warm colours as well as the prints. The block should measure 6 1/2" square.  Make 12.

Quilt Assembly

The quilt is constructed in columns, not blocks. There are 9 columns. Lay out the pieces on your design wall according to the diagram as shown below.

Sew the pieces for column 1: a 3 1/2" square, a flying geese unit, a 3 1/2 X 12 1/2" rectangle, another flying geese unit, followed by one more 3 1/2 X 12 1/2" rectangle. Press the seams toward the background fabric, away from the flying geese units, or open if you prefer. Place column 1 back on the design wall; you can label it column 1 if you wish with painter's tape or a numbered pin.

Now piece column 2: a flying geese unit, a centre ribbon block oriented horizontally, a flying geese unit, a centre ribbon block oriented vertically, a flying geese unit, and so on, but press the seams toward the centre squares. This will ensure opposing seams nest. Continue in this manner until you have all 9 columns pieced.

Now sew columns 1, 2, and 3 together, pressing the long seams outward. Set this unit back on the design wall.  Now sew columns 4, 5 and 6 together, and then 7, 8 and 9 together, pressing as before. You will have 3 larger columns now.

Finally, sew these three columns together to make the quilt centre. It should measure 36 1/2 X 39 1/2".

Sew a 39 1/2" border strip (or whatever length your quilt centre measures) to either side of the quilt. Press to the border fabric. Sew a cornerstone to each end of the two 36 1/2" border strips. Press to the border fabric (away from the cornerstones). Sew these units to the top and bottom of the quilt. Press.  Your quilt should measure 42 1/2 X 45 1/2".

Quilt, bind and enjoy!  I free-motion quilted wavy flowing lines across the quilt but switched to vertical wavy lines where the ribbon centre blocks were vertical. I did a simple dot to dot design in the cornerstones. In the floral border I did a piano key motif, but just with wavy lines, not sraight!
It gives a wonderful texture to the quilt and quilts up in about an hour. I used Floral Blender Turquoise for the binding.

Here's the back. I love pieced backs that are fun and give the viewer a surprise. However, for this quilt, I'd intended to use my favourite print, Wildflowers in white/multi as the sole backing, but when I got the fabrics, I fell hard for this one and so I cobbled together leftovers from the centre ribbon blocks to allow me to have the half yard of fabric I saved grow up into a cushion aka pillow or maybe a bag. So I got my fun quilt back after all!

This quilt has so many possibilities. I've got a rainbow rendition on the go (it was my pattern testing quilt) that has the ribbon centre blocks all the same using another Benartex line, Fleurish by Maria Kalinowski. Here it is in the early stages. You can see the column construction technique.

Here are the other two renditions, the first, in soft pastels, for Hands2Help2015:

Ribbon centres have varying widths and numbers of strips as I used scraps.

And the second, for one of my aunt's for her 80th birthday, in blues:
This one has bigger blocks because I used 2.5" strips for the ribbon centres, and two borders.
So you can see there are lots of possibilities!
Have fun, and if you make your own, please send me a photo, ephdra (at) gmail (dot) com, as I'd love to see it.

As for the quilt I made for the hop, it was listed in my Etsy shop with the hope that someone would snatch it up. I had said I was donating 100% of the sale proceeds to the Mosque School of Elul Bayt (link to how to help Syrian refugees in Windsor) who are fundraising to send money to help the humanitarian crisis of the Rohingya people. They are being ethnically cleansed out of Myanmar (formerly Burma) by Buddhist (yes, you read that right) militants. They have had their throats slit, some have been forced to watch that happen to their family members, they've been gang-raped, tortured, starved, houses burned, and are fleeing into Bangladesh, a country who is having a hard time feeding, housing, and giving medical aid to these people who have done nothing wrong but believe in a different benevolent God, and worship in a different way.
Anyhow, since CBC Windsor did a news piece on the fundraiser, I called and am giving them this quilt to raffle off. I hope it brings in more than the  $140CA I'd asked for it!

There is so much need out there right now, horrific fires in California, the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, even worse hurricane and people being not treated the same as TX and FL in Puerto Rico, all the animals in crisis, and Humane Societies needing funds to go get animals and try to re-home them...sigh. Remember the Red Cross is a wonderful organization where you can send money and can designate which cause you want it going to. Quilters have done and are doing so much to help; it makes my heart swell to read of online auctions, block requests, etc. We CAN do good in an often doesn't-seem-so-good world.

As one of my yoga teachers used to say to end his class:

"Go do something good today."

Linking up
Crazy Mom Quilts (did you see her Emma and Myrtle fabric line at Connecting Threads? -affiliate link - And her bag she made from the fabrics? Lovely!)


  1. No matter what colour you used this pattern looks lovely! You do have a little cutting error (Cut 2 strips @ 7 1/4". Subcut into seven 7 1/2" squares) how do you get a 7 1/2'' square when using a 7 1/4'' width?

    1. LOLOL Thank you so much Cindy! Fixed that baby. :-)

  2. Thanks for the freebie, nicely done girl!

  3. Beautiful pattern. Love those dark juicy colors on your design wall. Beautifully quilted into cuddly quilts!!!!
    Wherever I look there is misery. The Rohingya Muslims are fleeing from persecution in Myanmar but they are not welcome in Bangladesh either. Heart breaking and gut-wrenching.
    Thank you for doing all that you do.

  4. Nicely done. And your quilting shows up so well, almost as if you used 2 layers of batting. Did you use warm and natural?

  5. Sweet little pattern, Sandra! I really like how the blue star points on the Meadow Dance one look like friendship stars swirling out of all the colors. Thank you for your words of encouragement about giving back to the world, too. We must be the change we want to see!

  6. It's beautiful Sandra. I might have to make this one....someday!

  7. A great new rendition of your quilt - and I'm liking the look of the construction - fewer seams (to match!) sounds great. I hope your quilt does well in the raffle :-) (PS I liked the meadow quilt in the meadow photo - and I could see it dancing in the wind, too).

  8. Those fabrics are so adorable. Thanks for the pattern. It seems this quilt is beautiful in most any color or fabric palette. Have a great weekend!

  9. I love how you put this quilt together in columns. I'm going to file this one away in my "need to make for donation" file in my head. I might enlarge a little so I'll have to do a little figuring but I don't think that will be a problem. The pattern is so versatile for age and gender. I liked that you offered your quilt on Etsy to raise money, but to increase the potential for even more funds with the raffle is a wonderful idea. So much pain in the world right now. So many people to cover with comforting quilts.

  10. Great pattern. Thanks for sharing the tutorial. I hope your quilt makes a lot of money at the fundraiser.

  11. Great tutorial, Sandra! This is on my bucket list. I love how you showed some of your other quilts using this same design. I love that Ombre blue one as well.

  12. A fun pattern. I can't pick a favorite version, they are all colorful and fun.

  13. Now I'm catching up after a very busy weekend! All I can say is 'wow'! This quilt looks great no matter what fabrics are chosen! Very clear tutorial, thanks a million. I know how much work it is to put one together and I really appreciate it!

  14. My next project I think ;-). Quick n easy! Exactly what I need this time of year. Thanks!

  15. A great pattern Sandra. Lovely to see it in so many colourways. Not sure what colours I’d choose ..... although probably it would be something along the lines of your pink/purple version.
    I like your wavy line quilting, it’s very effective!
    Thank you for the tutorial.
    Barbara x