In 2012, Connecting Threads had a wonderful neutral collection called Neutral Love. As it was a large collection, I was able to design a very big, very scrappy quilt I called Arbor Window using 27 fabrics! The block is called Grandmother’s Pride, but I named it after a variation called Arbor Window. I am drawn to scrappy quilts and neutral fabrics, so I was excited about this design!
Arbor Window Quilt Pattern (click on the name or the quilt below to go to the pattern)
Eager to make my own version, I gathered fabrics in neutral tones (off-white, cream, beige, taupe, tan, latte, and shades of brown). Color value is important to the impact of this design, so I organized my fabrics in piles from light to dark. Each block uses four fabrics. I found it easiest to achieve “planned random scrappiness” by making a set of four blocks, with each of four fabrics in one of the four positions in the design. That way, when it came to arrange the blocks for the quilt top, I could scatter the fabrics by using one from each set, and repeating until all the blocks were used.
I like working on my Sew Steady table when piecing – especially scrappy quilts – because I have two work surfaces.
Chain-piecing helps with organization and efficiency. Pinning aided accurate seam alignment. I am a pinner. I know some quilters piece with minimal or no pinning, but I am not one of them. I know by pinning, I can have seams match over 95% of the time. I rarely have to stop to rip out and resew seams. There are a LOT of seams in this quilt, so to me it was worth it. I do pin one pin placed diagonally as shown below.
After sewing the individual rows, I stacked the rows in preparation for sewing the blocks into rows.
First, the over-sized triangles needed a trim. They are cut larger than usual for setting triangles so the blocks will appear to float against a background when the blocks is completed. This will facilitate joining the blocks – no points to match!
2012: Here are the finished blocks organized in sets of four blocks using the same four fabrics but in different positions in the design.
2015: Here they are again – untouched – but ready to finally be pieced into a quilt top. My son took his bed quilt to college, so I wanted a new one for his bed when he came home for Christmas.
Fortunately, I made the pieced second border at the same as the blocks using leftover strip sets from the block construction.The quilt top is ready for the professional long-arm quilter!
I chose some quilting designs from Quilting by Design, which includes a CD with digitized patterns. I found designs that were not overly flowery or traditional and my son picked his two favorites.
Terri, the long-arm quilter, was able to use one of them.
The loft of the wool batting showed off the quilting well.
The bed is full-sized but the quilt is 101-1/2″ square, so it is a large queen-sized quilt for the future. I had some blocks leftover and two Euro pillow sham inserts taking up space, so I made two pillow shams for his bed and had them machine quilted with the same design. I made envelope backs and added binding.
While the Neutral Love fabrics are long gone, the good news is that the Arbor Window Quilt Pattern is still available as download. You can pick your color scheme and make sure you have a balanced assortment of light to dark fabrics. Connecting Threads has many great collections to choose from, including the Quilter’s Candy Basics which would add even more coordinated fabrics to round out the 27 fabrics needed for this design. Or you can make yours even scrappier! Enjoy!