“Postage Stamp” Quilt – a Graduation Gift

7 06 2017

My young friend Emily has reached a milestone – graduation from high school!

I love to make “Postage Stamp” quilts for graduates. All the tiny squares can symbolize the bits of knowledge they’ve crammed into their brains for the past 12 years. Amazingly, the bits and pieces combine together to make a beautiful and useful whole. I encourage young people to keep on learning.

“Postage Stamp” quilts are also a metaphor for keeping friendships alive by corresponding. Yes, it is an effort to keep up with friends long distance after graduation, but long-time friendships are worth preserving.

I made this quilt with 1 3/4″ squares that I cut from scraps and save in a box. My friend Linda made a portable design board for me by covering a sturdy piece of cardboard with batting and then with gridded flannel. As I lay out pieces for the wall quilt, my squares will easily stick to the flannel . . . unless I’m outside and it’s windy like on Memorial Day. In that case, I pinned each square to the design board, securing them until I sewed the squares into rows. I think alternating light and dark squares helps the eye to focus on the motifs of the dark fabrics. I arranged the 99 squares in 11 rows with 9 squares each. Click here to see a “Postage Stamp” quilt completely made with bright/dark squares.

The following picture shows how I pressed the seams so they would lock together when I joined the rows. Every other row is pressed to the right; the alternate rows are pressed to the left.

I obtained insider information from Emily’s mom for the border color; her favorite color is turquoise blue. I cut the inner solid border 2″ wide and the outer tone-on-tone border 3 1/2″ wide. The wall quilt measures 20 1/2″ x 23.” Straight line quilting with white thread in a cross-hatch design through the squares is simple, yet enhances the patchwork. I echoed the seam lines with white thread in the inner border and meandered with turquoise thread in the outer border. A congratulatory label on the back completes the gift.


Farewell Gifts

21 05 2014


It’s the time of year when about one-third of my friends move to different military installations. Although it’s sad to say good-bye, I try to lessen the grief by writing notes of thanks and encouragement, to assure them of my prayers during the stressful time of moving, to give some positive comments about the new duty station, and to give a tangible gift of remembrance . . . like a small quilt.

If you look on the Patterns page of this blog, you will find a link to “Steppin’ Up,” a simple baby quilt quickly pieced from 3 1/2″ strips. For this down-sized patriotic wall quilt, I cut 10 strips only 2″ wide and followed the “Steppin’ Up” instructions. However, instead of making a square quilt, I added two more rows. The quilt seemed complete without borders, so I quilted it diagonally through the squares with white thread and bound it in solid navy fabric. The quilt measures 15″ x 18.”


I decided to use the leftover strip-pieced squares to make a second farewell gift. Sixteen of the squares form the center of the Saw Tooth Star, and I raided my container of 2″ scrap squares for the extras I needed to complete the border of squares. Using ecru thread, I quilted diagonal lines through the squares, making an “X” in each. I meadanered in the muslin background. The quilt measures 15″ square.


To make a larger quilt, I cut ten strips 2 1/4″ x 40.” Again, I followed the “Steppin’ Up” instructions for cross-cutting and un-sewing the strip set. I had enough strip-pieced squares to add four rows to elongate the wall quilt. I cut 3″ borders of a mottled navy fabric. After a simplified cross-hatch quilting design in tan thread, I bound the quilt with a tan and navy stripe fabric. The quilt measures 23″ x 30.”


God-speed Jennifer, Peggy, and Nancy: “When this quilt you see, remember me!”


“Charmville” QAL #1

6 01 2014

Today’s post is regarding the “Charmville” Quilt-A-Long I’m hosting. I hope you will join in the fun!


The first step is acquiring the 2014 Feb./Mar. issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. That done, begin sorting the fabrics in your scrap bin into color families. Each little house needs one yellow square for a window and 8 squares of a color (green, for example). The featured wall quilt has 12 Nine Patches: 3 green, 3 red, 1 purple, 2 blue, 1 orange, 1 black, and 1 totally scrappy. Of course, you can make any color configuration that you like!


I actually made the “totally scrappy” Nine Patch first. I had planned on making all of the houses scrappy. But after making one scrappy house, my conservative, traditional quilt making tendency kicked in, and I decided to make the Nine Patches “controlled scrappy” by color coordinating the tiny squares.

If you need more variety of fabrics, persuade a friend to join the QAL and trade squares with her! The design calls for 1 1/2″ squares, but you could increase (or decrease?) the size.

More about the “windows” in next Monday’s QAL post.

Leave a comment below when you’ve sorted your fabrics and cut your squares for the Nine Patches.