Hello we are Elizabeth Evans and Elizabeth Evans… two girls who married brothers and ended up with the exact same name! We also are the same age, have the same number of children and, are both former school teachers. Together we blog over at Simple Simon and Company where we love to write about sewing, quilting, and the art of homemaking.
Today it’s me (liZ…short name, short hair) that gets the chance to share some thoughts about quilting with you. And the quilt I’m talking about is one that is a current work in progress that I started after being inspired by Jenny’s Alter Ego Quilt Tutorial.
There are two things that I really love about this quilt top tutorial:
#1. How the finished product looks complicated and time consuming when in actuality it is simple enough to be completed by even a novice quilter! (Over at Simple Simon and Company we love simple, beautiful projects….so this tutorial was right up my alley!)
#2. How versatile this tutorial really is. Just by changing up fabric styles and combinations you could make this top countless times and have an entirely different looking quilt each and every time. (And because most of us who quilt are making quilts for others rather than ourselves I can see this fast becoming a go-to quilt top to make for gifts.)
So let’s get down to brass tacks…the making of this quilt top.
For this quilt I used 16 fat quarters from RJR’s “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” fat quarter bundle along with 2 yards of plain white fabric and a ½ yard of Riley Blake Design’s basic black and white Swiss Dot.
(I love this fabric. It has such a happy, vintage vibe and working with it is a pure delight. Yes, a pure delight…some fabric just is that fabulous.)
But before I made my first cut into this fantastic fabric I came up with a plan. Even when I am following a pattern or a tutorial I jot down notes or sketch out my plan in a notebook.
It’s not fancy but it helps me collect my thoughts and gives me a direction for what fabrics I would like to place where. And for this quilt I wanted to try something a little different.
The Alter Ego quilt top is made using alternating 4 Patch and Hourglass quilt blocks. Each of these blocks have 4 different areas or zones. And my idea was to start in the center of the quilt with solid patterns…no white…and slowly add white into the mix until the rows on each end were solid white.
So you can see in my plan where the middle two rows were constructed of solid patterns.
Then the next row on either side of the middle would have ¼ of each block be constructed out of white.
The rows after that would be constructed from blocks where ½ of the area would be made from white.
And finally the two rows on each end would be solid white.
That was my plan but when I got to here I stopped:
I’m not sure I feel like only ½ of the blocks done in white gives the quilt enough white space to transition into an all white row.
Which is where you come in…what do you think?
Here is the original plan:
Solid, ¼ white, ½ white, all white.
But here is what I am thinking I should do instead:
Solid, ¼ white, ½ white, ¾ white, all white.
So that would mean adding two more rows (one on each end of the quilt before the all white row.)
I think this would make the flow better…and I have exactly enough little squares already cut to make it happen.
But here is what it would do to my quilt size:
If I stick with my original plan the quilt will finish at roughly 72” x 72” (which I like…because I LOVE square quilts). However, if I add the two extra rows it will become about 72” wide and 90” long…kind of a strange size.
Which leads me to my question (and the reason my quilt top construction has come to a halt): Do I go with the better design and weird size or better size and a design that is not as strong?
I am leaning toward the stronger design….what do you think?
Here’s where I am at…and can go either way:
While you are thinking you can check out Jenny’s terrific tutorial for The Alter Ego quilt and then you can pop on over to Simple Simon and Company and read about a quilt making tip that saved my marriage when making this quilt top!
(And when I decide which way to go I will be sure and share photos the finished quilt with you!)
Visit Simple Simon and Company: https://www.simplesimonandco.com/
Read more about this quilt from Simple Simon and Company: https://www.simplesimonandco.com/2017/04/alter-ego-quilt-tutorial-reboot-and-quilting-advice-that-could-save-your-marriage.html/
Hi there! I’m Amy Ellis, first a wife and mom to four kids, second a quilt and fabric designer, with five books to my name, most recently Modern Heritage Quilts! I learned to sew garments as a girl, and taught myself to quilt as I became a mom. By the time our fourth came, I realized how much I needed the creative outlet for my sanity, and was piecing and quilting on a daily basis! I’m so blessed to MAKE and inspire others everyday.
I had so much fun making the Square in a Square quilt, with my new Adventures fabric (get your’s HERE)! The colors are rich and take me back to where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest.
The Square in a Square tutorial is a fun and simple project, that I think most quilters would enjoy! I cut all of my pieces from the precuts to the size that I needed, then enjoyed the chain piecing marathon.
Mixing and matching the different prints from the charm pack and jelly roll is always fun, I try to stay organized as I work so that there’s no repeat or confusion in my blocks. I like to look for a contrasting color and a print that is different in scale from the center, for the most visually pleasing arrangement. That’s a bonus when working with a fabric collection, everything works together!
Are you “one with needle” while stitching, or do you like to listen to music/podcasts or watch tv? I do all of the above, it just depends on the day!
While piecing this one, I pretty much worked the same way as Jenny – she’s already so efficient! Working on the opposite sides, pressing, then working on the remaining sides for that round of piecing. I trimmed the edges as needed and once the blocks were complete to have nice square edges for quilt top construction.
This quilt block is very forgiving, meaning even if you sew too wide a seam, it will most likely work out, but one thing that always helps with any quilt construction is double checking your ¼” seam allowance. I like to verify every couple of weeks, so that I know I’m piecing accurately, while you are at it – change your needle. I typically change mine once a week, but occasionally will forget and this is the perfect time to get it done.
One of my favorite parts of the quilt making process, is layering texture over the top of my quilts. I love finding the pattern that works best and shows off the piecing too. For this quilt I added an arrow with circles, it fits the quilt, and is just the right amount of quilting to make it great for snuggling with.
I can’t wait to see your interpretation of the Square in a Square quilt! It’s a great project to make and enjoy!
Happy quilting –
Find me online here:
When it comes to quilting, we like to think that Jenny Doan is the go-to guru for quick and easy quilting with precuts! Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the amazing inspiration that comes from her tutorials each week, which is why we’ve brought you the Tutorial Reboot series on the first Monday of every month, so we can revisit some of our favorite tutorials from the past!
This month we’re taking a new look at the X’s and O’s Quilt. This is a tutorial that was first released five years ago, but it is a simple block that serves as a beautiful foundation for some of our favorite quilt patterns.
Here’s a list of everything you need to make this version of the X’s and O’s quilt.
- 2 –Dark De Lux Cuddle Cakes (10″ Squares)
- 4 – Dark De Lux Cuddle Charms (5″ Squares)
- 1.75 yards – Navy 90″ Shannon Cuddle Yardage (includes yardage needed for binding)
There’s no fabric cozier and more forgiving than Shannon Cuddle fabric and since we’re getting into the season of holiday gift-giving, I thought it would be the perfect choice for this oversized X’s and O’s pattern. All you need to do is follow Jenny’s original tutorial, but instead of using 5″ squares and 2.5″ square snowballs, use 10″ squares with 5″ squares to snowball the corners. Since Cuddle isn’t as stiff as quilting cotton, the larger squares will be easier to handle.
You can find some excellent tips on working with Shannon Cuddle HERE. The walking foot is extremely helpful with this project and make sure to lengthen your stitch to 3-3.5mm. The finished size of this quilt is approximately 54×54 inches (I used a .5″ seam allowance). I chose to leave out the black pieces in the precut set, since I had 40 squares and only needed 36 to create the quilt top.
I decided to have this quilt machine quilted using Missouri Star’s Machine Quilting Services and I am so glad that I did! I just love how it turned out (I chose a Simple Stipple quilting pattern)! If you want to add a little bit of extra weight to the quilt, you can use batting, but you actually don’t have to use batting when you’re working Cuddle.
When it comes to binding with Cuddle, you may not know that Jenny has a tutorial that tells you everything you need to know!
Instead of the typical 2.5″ strips for binding, you only need your strips to be 1.75″ – 2″ when you’re working with Cuddle! (Side note: I LOVE using Wonder Clips when I’m doing binding! They’re so much easier to handle than pins)
I used the serpentine stitch for my binding, just as Jenny recommends in the tutorial. Cuddle fabric really is very forgiving, so you can’t even tell what color the thread is. It just creates a fun finished edge!
The result is an extremely cozy Cuddle quilt, which is a perfect gift for the holidays! I love the colors in this particular precut because they’re just perfect for the men in your life!
Whether you use Cuddle or your favorite quilting cotton prints, I hope you’ll give this Oversized X’s and O’s Quilt pattern a try! It comes together so quickly and the result is just beautiful!