Engagement quilt/Christmas present for my brother and his fiancee – part 1

My brother R proposed to his fiancee M several months ago.  We are all over the moon about the engagement.  We love her and how happy she makes him.  I decided to make them a quilt as their engagement/Christmas present.  R’s favorite color is red and M’s favorite color is pink.  They met in law school and their school colors are green and white, so I decided to incorporate those four colors into the quilt.

I have a book of 500 quilt patches and I searched through it, looking for something that would give the illusion of two colors meshing together, if that makes sense, to represent their upcoming union.  I found something better: a quilt block called Steps to the Altar.  It was perfect, the right kind of imagery and the symbolism of the name. The block is a nine-patch.  Three of the patches are made of up four tiny squares.  The other six are made of half-triangles.

I used the instructions for the 12″ block. I wanted to make a king-sized quilt.  I have never made anything so large before.  I started cutting the pieces, dozens of tiny squares and triangles.  It seemed to take forever!   The four-square patches I made of alternating pink and red squares.  Four of the half-triangle patches were green and white, and two were either pink and white or red and white.  It was a lot of pieces.  In some cases I did my math wrong (no surprise; my quilt problems generally tend to be math issues) and I had to go back and cut more pieces.  Below are the four-square patches:IMG_7162 IMG_7160

I started to lay out my blocks.  Here are some samples:

IMG_7163 IMG_7164 IMG_7186 IMG_7187 IMG_7158 IMG_7157I changed the layouts several times,  The bottom two pictures didn’t last in that formation – I decided to use two green prints in each block, like the top three pictures.  Each block had two half-triangles in either red or pink and I arranged the center four-square patch so that the corners touching the red or pink half-triangle match that color (i.e. if the half-triangles are red, the four-square patch is oriented so that the red squares touch the half-triangle).  Then the other four-square patches were oriented the opposite way, so that the pink squares would touch the red squares.  I think the pictures make that far clearer than my explanation.  The design idea of that may have been unnecessarily convoluted – I probably could have had the four-square patches oriented every which way, or maybe consistently through each patch.  I probably made more work for myself in doing.  I tried not to repeat the red and pink prints too much in any one block, but it can’t be helped.  I had many many red and pink prints, but I also needed many many pieces and it basically wasn’t possible to not repeat prints.

Here are some assembled blocks:

IMG_7197 IMG_7198

I laid the blocks out on my couch, which is really the only large surface I have – and even there I had to layer them in rows.  As such, I had trouble getting a picture of everything all laid out.  The top picture is probably the best one, and it doesn’t show all of the rows.  I suppose there are several ways you could lay out the blocks, but making large Xes and forming white squares seemed like the most logical option, and the most pleasant design.

IMG_7280 IMG_7281 IMG_7282

I sewed the blocks into pairs and then into fours to make Xes.  (See below.)  Then I sewed them into rows.

IMG_7283

I realized when I was laying out the blocks that the number I’d made was not the number I’d thought I was going to make, or maybe I laid them out differently than I’d expected to. Somehow, though, I was a few blocks short.  I think I ended up wanting one extra row than I’d originally pictured (so that I would have three complete rows of Xes instead of two rows of complete Xes and one row of half an X.)  Rather than make several new blocks, I decided to use solids.  I cut six solid squares and used them in the top right and the bottom left corners.  The corner square in each is a white square.  I had just bought a beautiful green fabric that I used in each corner, as well, and then I used a pink square in one corner and a red square in another corner.

IMG_7284 IMG_7285

I added strips of white fabric to make a border.

Next post: assembling the quilt!  I’m going to draw this out into three posts, I think, so the third post will cover the quilting.

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