Surprise Quilt

I made this paper pieced wall hanging for my son, Tyler, years ago. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have it anymore. When we were out in Denver visiting, he mentioned that he really missed the quilt. Hey, I know how to fix that. Wait… no way am I remaking that quilt again. Paper piecing and I don’t get along all that well.

Bang! Inspiration! When I saw this book at the library I knew the quilt on the cover would be perfect for Tyler.

I drove to The Old Country Store in Lancaster and stacked up bolts. I was looking for a good color selection of not quite solid fabrics and the Moda Grunge collection was exactly what I wanted.

It’s so nice to follow a pattern. All the math in the yardage requirements has been worked out. I took my fabric home, tossed it in the washer– yep, even the white with all the colors. I decided to be brave because this is a bed quilt and I expect it to be used and washed. Gosh, Moda fabric is the best. Not a bit of color bleed, hardly any raveling and the fabric came from the dryer barely needing to be ironed. Worth every penny for quality fabric.

The design is made from squares and half square triangles. A LOT of hst’s. A LOT. I’ve never used this method of making 4 hst’s at once before so I thought I’d give it a go.

Layer up two colors of fabric squares, sew a quarter inch all around the edges then cut diagonally,

With this method, you trim the triangles down to size. I used a piece of quarter inch masking tape on the ruler to line up the seam allowance.

I nipped the “dog ears” with my rotary cutter by eye.

Pretty nice, accurate triangles. But here is where things can go wrong– pressing the seam allowance to one side. As a Longarm quilter, I have appreciation for pressing to one side to create the “ditch” to stitch a quilt line. But for me, it’s easier to keep my triangles square and to match points when sewing if I press seams open.

I lay out the triangles on my Strip Stick and the square stays nice and straight. I have the short and long Strip Sticks and I use them both all the time.

Did I mention LOTS of triangles. LOTS.

No problem matching a billion points with seams open.

I got one “block” sewn together and up on the design wall to admire. You’ve got to be kidding me– I was so careful to keep the order straight. I just could not quit for the night and have a glass of wine, leaving that mistake for morning.

Oh no, I picked out that rogue square THREE TIMES. And re-sewed it back in, exactly wrong, THREE TIMES. Gary was hearing some words coming from the sewing room and had the wine bottle opened by the time I finely got it right.

I was determined not to make that mistake again and laid out the blocks on the floor.

I didn’t have too much time to ponder the quilting design. The quilt in the book was outline quilted, very minimally. Didn’t care for that. I found this photo on Pinterest with a swirly quilting design. I didn’t feel that was in keeping with the pieced top.

I decided to go with sorta straight lines, horizontally quilted across, which was fast and easy.

I didn’t even have time to make a label, just wrote directly on the quilt back. I boxed it up and sent it off to Colorado– not quite in time for Christmas but that didn’t seem to bother Tyler. He loves his new quilt.

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  1. That red paper pieced quilt is gorgeous and so is the new one. I like the simple, modern quilting that you did on it too. Great gift for your son!

  2. Great start to finish! So appropriate for CO and a son!

  3. Kelly P Meanix says

    What a very cool pattern!

  4. Donna Thomas says

    Absolutely stunning! Love the color choices! I hope Tyler loves it too!!

  5. Beverly Sensabaugh says

    What a beautiful quilt! There is nothing more frustrating than finding a block in the wrong direction! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Laura wacker says

    That is such a wonderful story, and a great quilt too. You are simply amazing.

  7. Peggy Hallowell says


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