Have you seen the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine? It is chock full of wonderful ideas for holiday quilt-y decorating as well as designs appropriate for display all through the year. And on page 60, you’ll find my very scrappy “Magic Cube” quilt.
This quilt was so much fun to make! To begin with, I was inspired by a string-pieced star quilt top that I viewed in the “Quilt Speak” exhibit of the North Carolina History Museum last January. Historians were able to date the quilt top from 1941 because it was pieced on a newspaper foundation which had not been removed. Rather than making twenty stars like the original quilt, I made one star as the center of my medallion style quilt. The polka dot background adds quirky fun to the design.
Subsequent borders of the quilt are separated by a black tone-on-tone which lends definition and gives your eyes a rest from all the scrappy chaos. I raided my bin of 2″ squares and combined them with a white, small scale polka dot to make the Four Patch border.
Next comes a Piano Key border of various width strips pulled from my container of strips and strings. I thought this quilt would put a dent in my overflowing bin of strings; alas, it did not. (Notice that the darkest area of the quilt is this Piano Key border. If you want to increase the size of this quilt and end with a dark frame, I suggest adding another Piano Key border after the Shoo Fly border.)
The final pieced border of “Magic Cube” is composed of Shoo Fly blocks sashed with a medium scale polka dot. I made the blocks at the impetus of Bonnie K. Hunter’s 2019 Leader/Ender challenge, “Shoo Fly, Shoo.” (I modified the composition and size of blocks she suggested, but you can read her instructions for the challenge here.)
The wider black border which finishes my quilt gives a glimpse of the “Happy Times” edge to edge quilting with polyester silver gray thread. I am pleased with the way that gray shows up on the black border but blends entirely with the scrappy bright fabrics of the quilt.
At first, I was surprised that the McCall’s editor would include this quilt in a holiday issue. But we can think of the central star as the Star of Bethlehem which guided the Wise Men to the home of the Christ Child. Consider it, then, as a contemporary Christmas quilt which can both brighten the winter holidays and be enjoyed all year round!