I chose the Tumbling Blocks pattern, from McCall’s Quilting February 2005, as the I Love This Quilt project for McCall’s Quilting March/April 2018 issue. The pattern originally appeared with several design variations, all using the 6″ Tumbling Block. Knowing the resemblance to one of the earliest traditional block patterns, just for kicks, I checked on the origin of the block. Barbara Brackman (Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, 1993) identified the same block pattern as a Building Block design found in the Royal New Yorker in April of 1932. She also listed it as a Baby’s Block, the same name passed to me from my grandmother. This name and the McCall’s Quilting publication date are the reasons I chose the pattern for my I Love This Quilt—because of its significance to our family. My first grandchild was born in February of 2005.
I made a few changes to the original pattern design. The finished size of the one featured in 2005 was 45-1/2″ x 50″ baby-size quilt; my version is a king size 110″ x 110″ bedspread. I wanted a more modern aesthetic for my quilt so I enlarged the 6″ Tumbling Block pattern to 12″, stacking 15 blocks to form a pyramid against lots of white space. Because I really liked the pieced border of one of the examples with the original pattern I incorporated a version of the border with 2 additional borders to finish my quilt’s design. I looked for fabric that spoke tradition to me and at the same time felt modern. The Muse collection designed by Alice Kennedy for Timeless Treasures was an immediate choice. The green, pink and yellow print fabrics are vibrant for the blocks, but not overwhelming. I chose Moda Fabrics’ Grunge collection of tone-on-tone fabrics to complement the Muse fabrics and to add texture to the quilt’s background.
Traditionally, a Tumbling Block is constructed using set-in seams. The uniqueness of the Tumbling Block pattern published in 2005 is that it is made with foundation-pieced sections. I immediately knew resizing the block pattern could be an interesting challenge because of the angles of the patches in the top and bottom sections. I thought I might just take the original section patterns to the copy machine and keep resizing the copies until I came close to a 12″ finished size. I checked in with a couple of resources for direction. I reviewed the On-Demand CraftU course How to Resize Quilt Block Patterns with Deb Finan. And, I asked our Art Director, Denise Stark, for advice. She suggested I take a look at an article in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Volume 13, Summer 2016, Resizing Blocks. With the foundation patterns resized I began to make the blocks for my quilt.
The center of the quilt measures 90″ x 90″
Total # of 12″ Tumbling Blocks: 15
- Green print and tone-on-tone blocks: 6
- Yellow print and tone-on-tone blocks: 5
- Pink print and tone-on-tone blocks: 4
- 1 each foundation sections 1 and 2 and 1 print and 1 tone-on-tone 5-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ rectangle for each block
Border #1: 3″ pieced
- Identify the length of the pieced sections you’d like to make. Cut 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ patches to complete a pieced strip and one strip of background to make the length needed for each side and top and bottom border strips.
Border #2: 2″ (cut 2-1/2″ strips)
Border #3: 5-1/2″ (cut 6″ strips)
Here’s a fun fact: After I had all of the patches and strips ready to sew, I completed the top of the quilt in a weekend.
For a FREE copy of the original Tumbling Blocks pattern from McCall’s Quilting February 2005, click Here.