Monday, November 3, 2014

Anita Solomon's tessellating tees quilt block design

My tessellating tees quilt, prepared for hand-sewing the flanged binding. Borders and binding from Henry Glass & Company's "Sunny Side Up" collection.

I have been a fan of Anita Grossman Soloman ever since making the "arrowhead" quilt from her Rotary Cutting Revolution (C&T, 2010) book in August 2011. (You can see the arrowhead quilt I made in my August 2011 post "Arrowhead quilt block from Solomon's Rotary Cutting Revolution".) When I saw that Soloman had a tessellating-tee block in the Mar/April 2014 edition of Quiltmaker Magazine, No. 156 this spring, I bought the magazine right away and got busy searching for fabrics.

I decided to use only fabrics from my stash. I needed about two yards of a solid for the background and about 1/3 yard each of six different prints. The majority of my prints came from patterns and colors from the "Sunny Side Up" collection by the Buggy Barn for Henry Glass & Co. that I bought a decade ago. I also used pieces of an old sheet my daughter gave me, and small cuts of a red stripe and yellow dot that brightened my palette.  I chose a 40-year-old cream fabric with green, pink and blue ducks for the background.
Soloman's tessellating tee six-piece block shown above, on point in center of photo. 

I love Solomon's fascinating stitching and cutting tricks that make creating her quilts like solving a really intricate puzzle. These tessellating-tee blocks were made by stitching two squares twice on either side of a diagonal line drawn through the middle of the squares, then making three cuts to create six pieces that are then sewn back together to make the block shown on point above. Soloman set her blocks square to make diagonal rows of tees across her quilt. I set my blocks on point to make straight rows of tees. Either way, getting those tees to match up across the top of the tee was not easy given my meager patchwork skills. But, I still had a lot of fun putting this puzzle together!
First block!
I finished piecing in a couple weeks and then added two borders:
A narrow green border.
And a wide blue border.

Then I put the top away for a couple months until my sister-in-law, Susan, came to visit in August when we began our annual shop hop and she helped me look for batting and backing for the quilted top.

We didn't find a backing, but I bought batting at JoAnn's for $8 with a coupon, and I explored my old-sheet stash for my backing. I found a well-worn, dusty-green sheet that I cut to size and I layered the quilt using large safety pins to hold the layers together. I wish I had used some spray adhesive to adhere the backing to the batting because my backing had quite a few wrinkles in it between the safety pins.

I decided to hand quilt along the piecing seam lines. I started quilting in October and finished stitching on the binding yesterday, November 2, 2014.

For the binding, I used the Shortcut Binding Tool by Franklin Quilt Co. that we bought on our trip to the quilt festival in Shipshewana, Indiana last year. The tool makes a flanged binding that I really like, but I wouldn't call it a shortcut! 

Flanged binding process:

  • cut two contrasting strips of binding -- one 1-3/8" wide, one 1-3/4" wide,
  • sew them together along their long edges,
  • press the seams open,
  • fold the strip in-half and press,
  • machine sew the binding strip on the back of the quilt,
  • fold the binding over the edges of the quilt in preparation for securing the binding to the front of the quilt.

I used large safety pins to secure the binding.
Flanged binding prepared for hand-stitching.

The neat trick with this flanged binding is that you can then machine stitch-in-the-ditch of the flange to sew the binding on the front invisibly, but I stitched mine on by hand, anyway, because that 's what I like to do. The flange on the binding looks kind of cool.
Very comfy, stash quilt!

I really had a lot of fun making this quilt. Everything about it was an interesting challenge, and I have a really soft and comfy quilt to use this winter. Thanks, Anita! 

Rotary Cutting Revolution now in Kindle format,
Anita Grossman Solomon,
My Arrowhead quilt,
Anita's info on the TessellatingTee,
Quiltmakers info on ordering Quiltmaker Magazine, Mar/April 2014 No. 156
Binding tool,, 615-794-4769