Monday, January 7, 2019

U and U QAL January 2019

Overlapping Octagons

It is all about "U"! Thank you all for getting as excited as I am about this project. So many of you have signed up for this QAL! I am excited to see so many versions of a quilt.

The first quilt I picked screams both - Unconventional and Unexpected!

Facts and my observation of this quilt: 
Find it in your book, Unconventional and Unexpected Quilts on page 51. 

The maker is unknown and so is the pattern. I am going to call it Overlapping Octagons.
Quilt in the book measures 77 X 66 inches.
Finished blocks 8 X 8 inches
Fabric used shirting and flannel

I must say the maker was pretty clever! She made this simple pattern look quite complicated.

Our eyes are so trained to find a square block in a quilt.. I couldn't see one, can you?

I looked closer to study the construction of the quilt and deconstructed the "Block".

I think this quilt was hand pieced. Two different units were used to make this quilt. A square for the center of each octagon and string pieces rectangles with triangles on either ends.

Why do I think it was hand pieced? Those rectangles with triangles on either side are string pieced  and some of the patches continue from the triangles to the body of the rectangle.

Here is another close-up.

I am not sure about you all but I do not want to hand piece a quilt top at this time in my life.
So here is what I came up with.

The best way to sew these Overlapped Octagons is to sew them in columns using required units..

Here are some loose instructions I promised.

This quilt can be constructed with finished,

2" Quarter Square Triangles
2 X 4 inches String Pieced Rectangles
4 X 4 Center Squares

Are you with me? If not, I have more to say :)

You will construct it in columns. Yes! Strips!

  • You will need (give or take)

132 Center Squares - 4 1/2" X 4 1/2"

156 Stringed Pieced Rectangles - 2 1/2" X 4 1/2"

156 Quarter Square Triangles - 2 1/2" X 2 1/2"

  • Strip Set - A 
Sew 12 strips starting with quarter square triangle alternating with string pieced rectangle and ending with quarter square triangle - 74 1/2 " long. For each strip you will need 13 squares and 12 rectangles.
  • Strip Set -B
Sew 11 strips, Starting with stringed rectangle alternating with a plain center square, ending with pieced rectangle. For each strip you will need 13 Rectangles and 12 Squares. 

Sew strip one and two in alternating order.
The quilt should measure 68" X 74" or something like that.

Here are few other things to consider.
  • Use many shades of same color to mimic the use of recycled shirts.
  • Observe the size of the scraps and compare those to the prints you may be using. Large prints will definitely get lost when cut providing even crazier look!
  • You don't need to make entire quilt with small blocks. Play around with large scale prints and large size blocks. The blocks can be reconfigured as long as the measurements are divisible by 2
  • What if you choose those 4" squares to act as background? How will those overlapping octagons act against same fabric throughout? 
  • Consider low volume, high contrasts. "Take a trip" to another country for inspiration and use colors inspired from it.
  • Use your travel pictures for color inspiration.
  • Use stripes, dots pr plaids to create drama.
I can go on and on. 

If you are not interested in making this quilt, pick the one you like. There are so many beautiful quilts in the book, just have fun, make it your own.

I am still trying to figure out the best way to have one platform to visit each-other's projects. Meanwhile, let's make some dent in the scrap box!

If you are on Instagram, use #unconventionalandunexpected and #UANDUQAL
I am told U&UQAL will not work.

And lastly, you do not need to have a blog nor the IG account. I really hope you have fun making these quilts.

Happy Monday you all! 


  1. I am beyond excited about this..glad to see you posting again. I can see this using your hourglass method from your book. I just finished a quilt top with that method and love it.
    Now I must think about what direction to go with this! Love it Thank you! I love the way your mind works! :0)

  2. There's another possibility. Units were string pieced (possibly on newspaper foundation) then cut with a pattern that included the end triangles - kind of an elongated hexagon. That reduces the pieces to TWO - the large square and the strip pieced elements. I really like this quilt and haven't seen this exact pattern before.

  3. Oh, hooray - this QAL has officially begun! I'll be starting with my version of Log Cabin, variations - attributed to Deborah Pettway Young of Gee's Bend shown on page 105. Will share a post about what I'm calling the Peas for a Princess project on my blog and on Basket Full of Scraps soon . . .

  4. Even without pictures, I would love see what quilts have been chosen for "interpretation". Please give the page number for the one or ones you find most fascinating. I have chosen the image on page 2. I know this is the back of the quilt on page 1, but I have been fascinated by it since seeing it on the cover of Kiracofe's 2013 book, "Quilts 2".

  5. What fun to figure out how you'll piece this quilt. We have a family scrap quilt made with similar lozenges. I think she machine pieced scraps on newspaper and cut them into those elongated hexagons. But then it appears to be hand sewn.
    It's a good challenge to work from a vintage quilt. Thanks.

  6. I can absolutely see myself making this quilt! Mine will be smaller than the original (fewer "blocks") and will just use up scraps.

  7. Starting to sort scraps for this today!

  8. Looking forward to diving in to this one! I'm thinking to upsize it to a 10" block - using 2 & 1/2" and 5" pieces. So many possibilities. I'm working on samples for a demo later in the year using string piecing so this will work in perfectly. The U&U book is back on the arm of my couch with my sketchbook. Thanks for the nudge.

  9. Oh my goodness....Thank you...I am so excited about so many things... Can I really start 1000 new quilts for the million ones I want to do??? How do I choose...My brain overflows....

  10. Such a good start to my day here in New Zealand to see your post! So we are now officially at the start line of the U&U QAL adventure, this is exciting. I have yet to decide whether to go with the suggested design or one of a number of other designs marked as possibles. A few days play will help me decide.

  11. At first I could only see squares and no octagons :)
    I'll start by looking at my scraps and see what jumps out and says "pick me"

  12. Thank you Sujata! I wonder whether it is quicker to make long strings on paper and then cut them to 2 X 4,5?

  13. How do u I sign up, sujay? Do I just follow your blog? (Hi)

  14. There's lots of excitement for this QAL! You have brilliantly figured out how to make this quilt using our current tools and methods. I look forward to seeing everyone's progress!

  15. Work is getting in my way of a start. I have time marked on my weekend calendar to begin!

  16. I believe I have that book, but might have to pass on the project. You know... way too many quilty things already in the queue. I just discovered your blog, tho, and am looking forward to perusing more posts. Also looking forward to seeing you next month at the PVQA Quilt Show. Love your work!

  17. Great to see way to make the blocks. I have some strips already sewn together that may be my starting point for this project, so it won't look like made with shirts! Thank you for the tips!

  18. Working on the challenge this weekend and it’s more of a challenge than I originally realized- not technically so much , but in creating a pleasing and different version of this beautiful original. I broke down the 3 units up on my design wall and I’m working the process now. I’d say right now it’s looking like modern, Amish, grandma’s attic, retro. It’s diverse and everyone is getting along. Pics soon.

  19. Lovely quilt. Can I play along on my own schedule? Looks so pretty. would love to participate.


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