13 April 2012


Thanks everyone for your support of my donations-for-tutorials idea!

I'm going to do a couple more tutorials and see how it goes.

I got out of work early today and I've been pulling fabric from my stash for a new quilt...
It's a quilt to feature this Civil Rights Toile which I recently purchased (because I'm MADLY IN LOVE with it).

This fabric is in stores now. I found it at Hancocks of Paducah and Fabricworm.

Anywhoodle, I think I'm going to need to paper piece for my little plan to work...which I don't think I've done before.  Any tips?

07 April 2012

Kelp Quilt Tutorial

This tutorial explains how to make a 9” x 65” block for a Kelp Quilt
If you make 11 of these blocks, you’ll have a twin size quilt (65" x 93").

[Directions for queen size variations at the bottom.]

I'm posting this tutorial as a bit of an experiment.  I know I can make money sending these things to magazines, but I prefer blogland. So, here's the deal...

Anyone is free to use this tutorial to construct a quilt; I just ask that they credit me, Rossie, with the design or inspiration.

If you use the tutorial and feel so moved, please throw a buck or two in my tip jar (no obligation).   Rest assured, the money goes into my business account, Fresh Modern Quilts LLC, and I will pay taxes on it through the business.

I'm doing this because...

(a) I often feel that quilt patterns are over-priced, especially if I can tell just by looking at something how it was made.  I am almost never willing to pay $8 for a PDF quilt pattern.  However, I would be willing to give someone a dollar or two for using the idea they brought to my attention, I think you might be like me.
(b) I'm a copy-leftist. As such, I don't think it is possible or moral to claim ownership over most ideas or to try to control an idea.   I'm interested in people's willingness to volunteer payment for inspiration.

(c) I have this really cool idea for some quilting tools, but funds to get the prototypes fabricated.  (Mysterious, I know!)

(d) If this goes reasonably well, I can post more quilts on my blog, rather than keeping them secret while waiting for them to show up in magazines.

Ready?  Alrighty, here goes...

Recipe for one twin-sized Kelp Quilt

Fabric: *six yards of “ground” fabrics in one family of colors (4-12 different reds, blues, grays, etc; you'll use one 1/2-yard cut for each strip, and have one extra half-yard)
*3-yards of white fabric for the “plants”
*1/2-yard of complimentary fabric for binding (assumes 2-inch binding strip width, either straight or bias-cut)

Also needed:
rotary cutter
rotary cutting mat
sewing machine

To piece the patchwork:
1. Start with ½ yard of the ground fabric.

2. Press the fabric.
3. Cut the half-yard into two lengthwise (selvedge-to-selvedge) strips, 9” tall

4. Take one 9” strip and cut it in half again to make two pieces that are 4.5" tall
5.  Then cut those into 4.5" tall pieces into 20" and 12" and 12" pieces.
6. From the white fabric, cut a 1.5” x 20” strip, a 4” x 12” strip and a 3” x 12” strip.

7. Using the pieces cut in steps 3-6, sew each white strip to a blue strip of the same length. Then attach the remaining blue pieces to the other sides of the white strips.
8. Press the seams towards the blue fabric (pressing open works, too).  You'll end up with something like this:

9. Cut each of the blue-and-white sandwich pieces you just made into into 2”-4” widths.
10. Use a design wall, table or floor to arrange these pieces into a pleasing composition.

11. You’ve got another 44” length of blue fabric to play with. Will you insert it all without putting any white in it? Decide if you need more white in your block or if you’d like to fill in the rest of the 65” length with plain blue. If you want more white, plan out specifically what is needed and make those pieces and add them to your design board.

12. When you’ve got an arrangement you like, use masking tape to mark each piece with a number,
13. As you sew the pieces together, line up the CENTER, not the top or bottom.

14. Sew all of the pieces together and press
15. Use a rotary mat and cutter to cut the extra material from the top and bottom of the block (back down to 9”)

16. If your block ended up longer than 65” I recommend leaving it “too long” and deciding which end to cut from after you’ve made all your blocks and are arranging them into a quilt top!

17.  Now that you understand the basic steps, go wild and do it your own way!  Make some strips with lots of plants, others with just a few.  Look at the quilt my bee made based on my design (here) and notice the wide variation.

**You'll likely end up with extra fabric to use in the quilt back or save for another project.

**Queen size variation: Instead of 1/2 yard of fabric for every strip, you'll need 3/4 yard.  Make each strip 94" wide.  You'll need 4 yards of the "plant" fabric and 5/8ths of a yard of the binding fabric (assumes 2-inch binding strip width, either straight or bias-cut).  Eleven strips will get you a queen size quilt (94" square)

**For a baby quilt, I recommend shrinking every dimension (i.e., don't make the strips 9" tall, try 4"!)

I hope this tutorial is clear. Please let me know if you have questions or could use more photos/drawings. I want to learn to write in a really clear way, so your questions are a help to me on my journey!

I was playing in my friend Brenda's fabric shop and made some bundles for the Kelp Quilt, which you can find in her shop (Pink Castle Fabrics.) The bundles are no longer listed, but the shop should have the list of fabrics and be able to cut them for you if you'd like. 

both bundles