Reversible Friendship Quilt

In 2022 I exchanged two sets of quilt blocks with two different groups of friends. The friends from my church’s Sew-n-Sews group exchanged house blocks, and the Block of the Month group that I taught at Sew There! Quilts and More exchanged framed square signature blocks. Since the amount of blocks from both exchanges was enough for lap quilts, I decided to make a reversible quilt.

The Sew-n-Sews admired my twin size “Painted Ladies” quilt as I assembled the blocks at our 2021 retreat. They decided, then and there, that we should exchange blocks for throw size quilts at the 2022 retreat. (Click here to see a picture of my twin size quilt. Click here to view the pattern by Eye Candy.) Each of us selected a different door color; mine was a black/white print. We had to make a few partial blocks for the tops and bottoms of the columns. The “Dune” quilting pantograph emulates clouds and faintly echos the spiraling dots in the light background fabric.

After trimming the thirty signature blocks to a uniform size, I arranged them in a 5 x 6 grid. I added a wide border all around so that the patchwork would be larger than the “Painted Ladies” patchwork and loaded the signature quilt as the backing in my longarm machine.

My friend, Bonnie, spearheaded this exchange, explaining that we could use leftover Jelly Roll strips to frame the 6 1/2″ squares. We exchanged a set of blocks each month. The first set contained plain centers, and we signed our full names. For subsequent exchanges, Bonnie encouraged us to ad lib with applique or piecing and simply sign our initials. Aren’t the colors and prints a feast for the eyes?! I listed the exchange participants in one of the plain-centered blocks.

This reversible quilt has found a home on my sofa. It’s perfect for snuggling under while napping or reading a book. I am so happy to have this tangible and cheerful expression of friendship.

“Painted Ladies” Finished!

In 2021, from January through August, I exchanged house blocks with three friends and my daughter, Trinity. The pattern is “Painted Ladies” produced by Eye Candy Quilts. (Be sure to click on the name of the pattern to see what the quilt is “supposed” to look like.) We purchased a bolt of light gray textured fabric to divide among ourselves so we would have a common background, and we agreed on a palette of relatively bright fabrics. Each of us chose a different color for all the doors of the houses we made. For example, all the doors of the houses I made are royal blue.

I decided to enlarge the quilt by adding two borders. By adding an inner border of the background fabric and an 6″ outer border of bright “Piano Keys,” my quilt will fit a double bed or will serve as a generous throw quilt. To make the “Piano Keys, I strip-pieced 3″ x 40″ bright strips and cross-cut them in 6 1/2” increments.

I considered using the strippy border at the four corners of the quilt as shown below, but I decided a purple square looked better planned and much nicer. The dark purple color recedes and does not draw attention to itself. Zoom in to see the stay-stitching on the border at the bottom of the quilt. Stay-stitching keeps the cross-cut “Piano Key” seams from popping open. Tip: Stay-stitching the outer edge of the border prior to adding it to the quilt is less cumbersome than stay-stitching after the pieced border has been sewn to the quilt.

I debated on a suitable quilting design and thread color. Since “Painted Ladies” is a contemporary design; I could quilt the “modern squares” pantograph design. Alternately, there is ample “sky” between the houses; I could quilt Es and 3s to simulate clouds. But in the end I chose “Tea Time” designed by Dave Hudson ( Why “Tea Time”? How does the design relate to my house quilt?

I have enjoyed sipping tea in the homes of each of the ladies I exchanged “Painted Ladies” blocks with. I enjoyed Cranberry herb tea with Trinity while watching the sunrise on her front porch in Texas. And one Thanksgiving weekend while driving from northern Virginia to my home in North Carolina in the midst of a terrific rainstorm, I was calmed by tea and conversation with Lori in southern Virginia. My friend, Pam, is all about hospitality, tea and cookies, and her loveable/frolicsome dogs. And Judy and I have enjoyed several sewing getaways replete with tea, quiche, and stacks of inspiring quilting magazines. Besides, china tea pots and cups go hand in hand with the Victorian homes perched on a hill in San Francisco for which the pattern is named.

My husband, Ran, is the expert quilt holder!

It was so much fun to receive happy mail each month from my daughter and friends; the brightly colored houses we exchanged delighted us all from month to month. And now we have beautiful quilts to snuggle under.