Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Inspiration! That's all I needed. 

I recently decided I needed to clean up my sewing room. It was difficult to even get in the door. Part of my problem is that I have too much fabric that I will probably never use. I started going through it by myself and then decided to invite Friend Fran over and have her help me in purging my "stash". I started this purging with the thought that I was going to give the material to Hillcrest Thrift Shop. (I have done this already.) Then as I was checking out some of it, I thought, "Why not give this to Blankets of Hope (our quilting group at church) since so many of the prints were prints we use there to make our lap throws and small quilts for people who need a little hope." That's when I decided to invite Fran over to help me. As we went through the stash, we had two piles going - one for the church and one for the thrift shop. We ended up with five big cloth grocery bags full for the church and one for the thrift shop.

Then  a couple of days later I was going through some old quilt magazines (something else I needed to get rid of in the room) to see if I could find anything that looked interesting and that is when I got inspired. 

The pattern/quilt in the 2009 Quilter's World magazine was called  Rhapsody in Blue and was designed by Jean Ann Wright. I thought I would use blues as Jean did, but then I saw some shades and prints in purple and decided to make a Rhapsody in Purple quilt. Crazy thing though was I needed four different prints and only had two in my stash that had enough fabric for the quilt. Really wanting to use the purples, I had to go buy two prints just to use two from my stash. Oh well, my stash is two less pieces now.

I have the top finished but not finished with the quilting. As soon as I completely finish I will share a picture of it. But for now....

Lots of diagonals going on, but I am really happy with the results so far. 

Here is picture of just four blocks so you can see the pattern a little better with the prints I used...

Jean's quilt has a narrow border and a much wider border around it, but the finished size of the "center" will be about 48" x 60" which is a good lap/throw size.

Generally speaking - with more details and tips to follow below (if my words are confusing, hopefully the pictures will help): 

You need to select four prints - one dark, one medium, and two lights. While they all need to coordinate well together, you especially want the dark and medium to work well together and the two lights to work together. 

To begin, you will cut twenty 8 - inch squares from each print.

Then, without measuring precisely, you will cut about a third off the top diagonally....

and then about a third off the left size. 

You will match one light with the dark and the other light with the medium print, and replace (sew) the cut off pieces with them.
Then you will cut this "crazy" block down
to a 6-1/2 inch block. (I know it is a different block - didn't take a picture of the previous one after I cut it down.)

After you have that done, you will arrange them in the pattern to sew - four simple blocks containing two sets of simple blocks with the lights as the larger piece and four simple blocks containing two sets of simple blocks with the dark and medium as the larger piece. 
The quilt top consists of ten each of these two 4-simple blocks just described. 
(See details below re sewing the simple blocks together.)

Here is what the top two "rows" look like sewed together. 

Jean said in her directions to "eye" the "third" not to measure it when you cut it off. Even though this was difficult for ME to do, I followed her directions. (Obviously since it is a diagonal cut, the approximate "third" is at the widest point.) If randomness bothers you as much as it does me, it would be okay if you made each cut the same amount. Why? Because if you look again at the picture when I trimmed the block down, you can see there is quite a bit of excess. You can control where you place the 6-1/2 - inch template and make the blocks different.

To cut 20 blocks from each print, you will need one yard of each print...(if you are using fat quarters, it will take 5 fat quarters of each print)

cut four strips 8 " wide across the width of the fabric. 

(If you are like me, you don't have a ruler 8" wide. Lay two rulers that together equal 8 " along the cut straight edge you cut of the fabric.

Then you can lay another ruler that is long enough to go across the fabric.

Remove the two other rulers to cut the 8" strip on the right side of the ruler.

The ruler is resting on the cut 8" strip.

After you cut the selvage off of the strip (A), you will cut the first 8" squares from the cut edges not the fold (B). The fifth square will be cut when you open out the folded part (C).



After all of the 8" squares have been cut, sort them out so that you have one print each in a pile. You will cut these at the same time when you cut the "thirds" off.

Makes piles of like prints in the three different shapes...(didn't get the larger pieces in the picture)

I was slowed initially trying to keep the pattern straight because I was anxious to see how my prints were going to look in the pattern. If you can be patient, the pattern will be easier for you if you go on and make all twenty of each block one at a time. (Or work in sets of eight - that's how many it takes to make one "set row".)

To make a simple block....

With the two prints (one light and one darker you have decided to group together), use the large piece of one (darker in my picture) and the "side" third of the light matching as best you can the cut diagonal edges and sew a scant 1/4" seam. (In this picture, the two match up fairly well....they won't always as they were "eyed" when cut not measured the same.)

SET THE SEAM by pressing the seamed as it was sewed...
and then press open - pressing the seam away from the larger piece.

Pick one of the "top" pieces from the pile and match it to the top of the piece and stitch with a 1/4" seam.

After you "set the seam", again press the seam away from the larger piece.

You can trim the block down now or wait. If you are working in sets of eight to make two set rows, I would just wait and trim them then. (As I said earlier, you can move the template around to make the blocks look different. Just make sure you don't cut too much off of the top third. Remember you will lose 1/4" of it when you sew the blocks together.)

Even though I talked above about laying the simple blocks out in the larger block pattern, I would actually recommend that you lay the simple blocks down in the two-row pattern but then sew the simple blocks together in single rows and not the big block. It helps to lay the simple blocks down in the two-row pattern to see the pattern, but I say this because it is important that when you sew two simple blocks together, that you press the seams all the same way in the single row. Why? Because you want to be able to "nest" the seams together when you pin two single rows together to sew. This will be easy to do if you press one row with the seams going one way and the next row, going in the other directions. (I usually press the first row (odd numbered row) with the seams back toward the beginning of the row <-, and the second row (even numbered row) the other direction ->. I can remember odd - left and even - right.)

Another way to think of the pattern that might make it easy for you to keep the prints straight, is to remember you will make twenty simple blocks with each print as the larger piece in the block. Also, once you decide which light print is going to go with each darker print, it doesn't change. Those two prints are always together in the simple block; you will have twenty simple blocks with the light print as the larger piece and the darker print as two "sides" AND twenty simple blocks with the same darker print as the larger piece and the same light print as the two "sides".

(I searched all my pictures I took while making the quilt top and unfortunately I didn't have pictures that showed the two prints in the two different patterns. I hope you can see in the above picture what I am trying to explain. The opposite simple blocks are using the two prints in the described pattern. That simply put is the repeated arrangement for the pattern.)

As with all of my tutorials, I try really hard to explain so that any skill level can successfully make the project. If you have any questions re this pattern that I am calling Rhapsody in Purple, please leave them in the comment section and I will do my best to answer them. You can also email me at mypatchworkquilt@gmail.com with your questions.

I will share pictures of the finished quilt once I get that done. Until then, I hope you will give this pattern a try.


  1. Absolutely beautiful thank you for all the detailed instructions! This may be my project one of the days! I have too many going at this time.....thanks for all that you do it's much appreciated ❤

    1. Thanks, I look forward to seeing your creation as I know it will be fabulous. Hope my tutorial will make it easier for you.

  2. I love this! I can't imagine it in any color other than purple! Its perfect!

    1. Thanks, Julie. I think I would like to try it in pinks. My granddaughters would like that.