Sunday, April 10, 2022

English Garden and Whirling Petals for Hands2Help

When it comes to making comfort quilts, for me they are often Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts that I make all year according to the colour of the month as set by Angela at soscrappy. Sometimes it's a DrEAMi (Drop Everything And Make it!) moment where I've seen a fun fast pattern that I just HAVE to make, and make now. So, fast and fun are often a key for comfort quilts, along with using scraps. When Mari of The Academic Quilter, who is hosting H2H this year for Sarah, asked if I would write up a tutorial for her this year I said no problem! With fast, fun, and scraps in mind, here is the first of two comfort quilts for you today.

This first one is English Garden, and it is, as my mum's garden was, rather a riot of floral crazy. It was born of a need to use up (haha) allll my floral scraps and pieces from when I was into colour wash quilting. I don't know about you, but I have an embarrassment of floral fabrics. Often these are the trimmed off strips from quilt backings, a ton are .25 and .3 metre cuts for colour wash quilts, some were scraps from a feature fabric around which I built a quilt, still others are leftovers from making bags or even (head hanging in shame) scraps from clothes I made my girls and myself, even scraps from balloon shades I made for our bedroom in the 90s (the mostly white one with scattered blue and pink flowers on it)!

I almost scrapped this quilt altogether, which is why I started a second one. But then it sort of grew on me... (Did you catch what I did there? Unwittingly at first!)

Before I go any further, the inspiration for this block came from Libby at Life on the Hill. She designed it as a 4" block for one of Angela's Tiny Tuesday posts. I upsized it to finished at 10". Libby graciously has allowed me to use this block which is actually a pared-down rail fence with two rails instead of three!

English Garden

A four by five block quilt needs 20 blocks, which means 80 floral rectangles. It will finish 40.5" x 50.5".

Floral fabric
One strip 5.5" wide yields (9) rectangles 4.5" high. So you need 9 strips = 49.5"  = about 1.5 yards 
One strip 4.5" wide yields (7) rectangles 5.5" wide. So you need 12 strips = 54"  =  about 1 5/8 yards

Whirligigs fabric
1.5" x 5.5" rectangles 
7 per strip; you need 80 rectangles so 12 strips = 18" = .5 yard

For strip-piecing, you need one WOF (width of fabric) strip that is 1.5" wide and one that is 4.5" wide. Sew them together along the WOF edge.

If you don't have 4.5" strips, but a bunch of chunks of scraps, as I also did, then cut (4) 5.5" x 4.5" rectangles to make a block. Line them up along the 1.5" strip and sew.

Press to the 1.5" strip. Cut apart and trim to 5.5" squares. Lay them out as shown below

Sew in a 4-patch style. For my quilt, I did four blocks by five blocks. I made six with yellow skinny whirligigs, six with orange and eight with fuchsia. Most of the blocks have two rectangles each of two different fabrics. 

Here are two possibilities I drew up in EQ8. One has all the 1.5" strips in one colour, black, with a rainbow of rectangles.
The second one is rainbow with two values of each colour in the blocks.

Whirling Petals

The second quilt is inspired by another Tiny Tuesday block. It is called Violet, and can be found on Block Lotto. The directions are there for six sizes of blocks from 4" to 12"! I made my blocks 8" finished, so you need:
(4) 4.5" squares
(4) 1.5" yellow squares for the flower centres
(8) 2.5" squares (I elected to use my AccuQuilt Go! die for 2" finished HSTs.  One WOF strip will yield 26 HSTs!)
The block goes together quickly. Piecing directions are in the link above.
Was that one a nice surprise! I had a eight-layers-thick stack of rectangles left over from a Stack 'n Whack pinwheels quilt, so I cut a couple sets of four squares. I did not think I'd get a nice twirling kaleidoscope effect with just four repeats!
Here’s one with leftover Kaffe Fassett fabric.

I'm doing 25 blocks in a 5 x 5 block layout with 1" finished sashing between the blocks, and I think perhaps 1.5" vertical sashing between columns. Here's the possible layout in EQ8.

I am sewing sets of five in columns and offsetting the columns 4", so the quilt will finish 46.5" by 52.5" if I add top and bottom borders as in the mockup. I'll update this post with a photo of the top later today, fingers crossed.

Hope I've given you some ideas for using up scraps or chunks and turning them into quilts!

If you're like a lot of us, trying to use up stash, well, allow me to give a little plug for my sixth annual Quilt Along, Pop Star, which just started this past week, with the fabric requirements (stash friendly 😇) and pattern released yesterday!
The quilt on the blog graphic is the throw which I will be making during the QAL using an upcoming line by Amanda Murphy called Winter Jewels by Benartex Designer Fabrics. Here is the baby version I finished up this past week, and which you can read about here.

Temmmptations, that's what you get here at mmmquilts! Oh, and did I mention there are lots of fabulous prizes?


  1. I'm always on the hunt for a good scrap quilt, usually one that uses 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" squares which are the smallest scraps I cut. Actually, I don't have many floral prints, as I've never been a fan... but give me a graphic print, or a low volume, or a solid, and my heart sings! You've made great use of your florals to make the perfect comfort quilt. Good work!

  2. Beautiful quilts and great ideas for a comfort quilt. Thanks so much!

  3. Great tutorial and such a fun design!

  4. Sandra, both of these are quick and easy ideas and easy to include with your stash. I dont have many florals, as you say unless from backing fabrics. English garden is definitely a design with many possibilities. Thanks for sharing today!

  5. Black strips and those bright colours, that's my pick, and to use us those floral pieces, a wonderful way to be in the H2H this year. Love the MMM or mmm repeating itself.

  6. Those are two great ideas for using up scraps for a donation quilt! And there's no shame in saving those floral scraps for *just the right* project, lol! I didn't leave a comment on your QAL post yesterday, but am envisioning my fabric pull (or maybe a trip to the LQS!) to be ready for next week. Good to know the yardage needs- thanks, Sandra!

  7. Both are wonderful ideas for using scraps and making quick charity quilts!

  8. Oooh, the twirling kaleidoscope effect of the florals in the whirling petals block is lovely. Great tutorials that I'm sure will inspire!

  9. Thanks Sandra & you're not the only who is embarassed by the amount of fabric we have. I am too. I'm thinking scrappy quilts for some of our flood victims if I can get a bit more time among other things, so these patterns might fit the bill. Take care & hugs.

  10. Fun projects and thanks for taking the time to share the tutorial, Sandra!!

  11. I.need to use up scraps too...and ive for a few baby Quilts to make ..playing catch up from when I was ill...I'm feeling much better quilting is and hugs Sue xx

  12. Thanks for the shout-out Sandra. Any of your English Garden variations will make a lovely quilt. I've slowly whittled down my florals so I might have to go with the solids version ... or TOTs with matching solid strips ... or ...

  13. Our quilt ministry stash has an abundance of floral fabrics, English Garden will be a perfect quilt pattern to use up some of them. Thanks for sharing!

  14. My favorite is your scrappy English Garden. Wonderful and simple. Thanks for sharing.

  15. What a great tutorial and a fast quilt to make. Perfect for H2H and for #TTot22nd - thanks for linking up!


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