It is so hard to keep up with trends these days, but keeping up with a 9-year-old’s trends is pretty much impossible. I believe my daughter has gone from being obsessed with unicorns, to alpacas, to mermaids, and back to alpacas, and that was just over this past summer!
My 9-year–old niece turns ten in October so when I found out she was really into sloths and I happened to find this adorable fabric with sloths hanging on a tree branch, I knew timing was of the essence!
Need a quilt pattern fast?
Whenever I’m in a panic to find a great quilt pattern the first place I go is the Quilting with Precuts Online Course series that’s available at The Quilting Company. There are three different pre-cut courses in the series and while my sloth material wasn’t pre-cut, I am one of those crazy people that loves cutting fabric so the pre-cuts courses are a wonderful resource for me.
The first course, Quilting with Pre-Cuts: 5” Squares, launched last month and not only was the course full of great tips on using 5” squares, it included 14 free patterns.
This month the Quilting with Pre-Cuts: 10” Squares course launched with 15 free patterns! I knew I wanted to create some big blocks so my niece could really see those sloths hanging out, so this course was the perfect place to find a pattern.
Picking the Pattern
After looking over all the patterns in the 10” square pre-cuts course, I decided on the Cartwheels in the Garden pattern because I thought it would be fun to spotlight the sloths in the cartwheels and I liked the idea of pink snowball blocks. My niece’s bedroom is covered in pink, so I figured the more pink I added, the more she’d love and use the quilt. I hadn’t worked with half-square-triangles (HST) very much so I thought this would be a great way to get much more comfortable creating blocks with HSTs. It was amazing how easy it was to cut my fabric down to the 10” squares. I highly recommend if you don’t have your fabric pre-cut, cutting large 10” blocks is a breeze.
It’s Okay to Stray
I always look at patterns as more of a suggestion than the-end-all-be-all of the quilt design I’m creating. I love adding my own personal touches when it comes to fabric choices, so along with the sloth fabric and the dark pink, I decided to use two different white, tone-on-tone patterned fabrics for my background.
Okay, truth be told, I had already cut the fabric for the snowball blocks and knew I needed more for the cartwheel blocks. I thought I was buying the same white tone-on-tone material. It wasn’t! Instead of freaking out, I decided it would be a “design choice” to use the different tone-on-tone white fabric for the cartwheel blocks. I was surprised how much I actually really liked it! Happy mistakes are truly the best!
The finished quilt size is 80″ squared according to the pattern. I took some liberties with the quilt size as well. Instead of making the quilt five blocks across and five blocks down, I decided to only do four blocks across and down. It’s still plenty big for my niece and because I didn’t decide to do this until after I had cut all the snowball pieces, I ended up having extra snowball blocks that really added a special touch to the quilt backing.
Piecing the Quilt Back
I have been working with the wonderful team at The Quilting Company for almost three years now and having an office next to Lori Baker was one of the best work perks ever!
Lori is pretty much my quilting hero. She has never once turned me away when I’ve cornered her with a million questions on whatever quilt I’m working on at that time. Lori is the queen of pieced quilt backs, so in true Lori Baker fashion, I used those extra snowball blocks to create a fun diagonal line of blocks on my quilt back. I even had enough of the sloth material to create two pink snowball blocks and two sloth snowball blocks. I was thrilled with the final design on the back of my quilt.
Don’t Stray too Much
While I do tend to stray from patterns when it comes to fabric choices, I’ve learned the hard way that I should not always stray when it comes to making sure my blocks are squared up. I did a very bad job of making sure that the HST pieces were trimmed to 4 ½” after they were cut in half. Also, twice I had to redo the cartwheel block because I didn’t square up my 8 ½ “ pieces that created the entire block. It only took me two times to figure this out, so that is progress for me! It’s taken me three or four times on some other quilts to figure out how important squaring up can be for your finished quilt top. If you’re not sure how to square up your quilt blocks; this blog will teach you everything you need to know!
The Cartwheels in the Garden pattern is only one of 15 free patterns you get when you take the Quilting with Pre-Cuts: 10” Squares course at The Quilting Company. You won’t regret taking the course and you’ll love how often all those patterns will come in handy!